Friday, October 10, 2014

Can you affair proof your relationship?

Below is a link to a talk by Dr. Sue Johnson.  She provides an interesting view to creating a safe bond with your partner and thereby affair proofing your relationship.

This is Dr. Sue Johnson talking about relationships.

Your comments are appreciated.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Why Emotionally Focused Therapy May Save Your Relationship

Emotionally Focused Therapy can make you and your partner closer.

How to get results in your relationship that will last.

Some say EFT stands for extremely funny therapy, but actually it stands for Emotionally Focused Therapy — a short-term approach (only 8 to 20 sessions with a therapist) that gets great results solving problems in your relationship. EFT started in the 1980s and developed alongside the new science of love and bonding. The EFT therapist uses this science as a guide in every session so he or she knows how to get to the heart of the problem fast. We don't teach communication skills or focus on how your family history has impacted your relationship so much as help you really see the dance you get into with each other and the emotional music that plays and keeps you stuck in conflict.

We help you make sense of your powerful emotions and your relationship needs, and talk about these things in a safe way. No one has to be the bad guy; all relationships reach sticky points. We also help you know that it's ok to have relationship needs. Often we don't feel entitled to our needs or can't quite articulate them in a way that our partner can hear.

There are three stages to the EFT process.
Stage One You learn to step out of painful patterns so that you can both feel safe again.

Stage Two You learn how to reach for your partner in a way that helps them respond and come closer. We can all learn to make sense of our feelings and express them in a way that pulls our partner towards us. At this point, we also help people heal wounds such as affairs. Research shows that EFT is successful in helping couples struggling with these kinds of injuries move into forgiveness and renewed trust.

Stage 3 Focuses on consolidating your gains so that you can continue to handle differences well and find your way. Here we ensure that you don't just have a satisfying relationship, but a truly loving bond.

We work with all kinds of couples, including those who struggle with problems other than relationship distress, such as depression or problems with anxiety.
The rhymes and reasons of romantic love have been discovered in the last 15 years. And now that we understand it, we can shape it. Love relationships do not have to be hit and miss or a matter of luck anymore. We all need a loving connection and more and more of us are learning how to make that happen.

You can read about the new science of love and the way we understand relationships in Hold Me Tight (2008) and Love Sense (2013) By Dr. Sue Johnson, Professor

Excerpt from a blog by Dr. Sue Johnson.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Focusing - an Essential Life Skill

 Focusing can help you:

* Trust yourself more and feel less self-critical;
* Get underneath repetitive thoughts and feelings that go nowhere;
* Feel more connected to your creativity;
* Make wiser decisions;
* Have clearer boundaries;
* Cope better with pain and other physical challenges;
* Discover new choices when you’re feeling stuck;
* Be guided by your feelings without being overwhelmed by them;
* Take more responsibility for your own mental and physical health;

While focusing is a natural process, it can be developed, like a skill, to help you tune into your body’s own natural wisdom. Your body picks up information all the time about people, situations and experiences of which you are not explicitly aware. Focusing is a powerful experiential process that takes you beyond the limitations of your intellect to your innermost knowing. In this process you hold an open non-judgemental awareness of something that is not yet fully known but is distinctly felt by the body.

You are naturally focusing whenever you have the vague, nagging sense of something and then you sit with it until it becomes clear. For example, sometimes you might feel unsettled with a certain decision but can’t say why. Then, when you sit with that sense of “feeling unsettled” you suddenly realize what was bothering you. At that moment, you feel a sense of relief and clarity.

This information is registered in a subtle knowing, which is termed a “felt sense.” By attending to this felt sense we come to find out the essence of what we were picking up (as in the above example.) This, in turn, allows fresh information to come that can bring about new perspectives, growth and change. Focusing helps us to live closer to our natural gift of inner knowing (intuition), which comes from direct perception, as opposed to conditioned thoughts.

Focusing comes from the pioneering work of philosopher and psychologist, Eugene Gendlin ( He first observed this natural process while researching the question, “What makes therapy successful?” He described the process as a series of teachable steps, so that those who are more disconnected from their body can reconnect.

I utilize Focusing in conjunction with other approaches that complement my work as a therapist. Regular practice of this natural process can have profound benefits for you both personally and professionally.

If you want to find out more about this process, please contact me at: 416.769.6810 or

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Have you taken care of YOU lately?

Worried about your Emotional and Mental Health?

Emergency!  You hear the announcement from the pilot to put your oxygen mask on.  What do you do first?  Put the mask on your child, or yourself?    We're so focused on caring for others that we instinctually put the mask on our loved ones first.   We reason once they're safe, then we'll put our mask on.    Sadly, that would be a big mistake. 

However, it tends to be the way we run our daily lives.   We take care of ourselves (stop laughing) when we have the extra time (again, stop laughing!!!), putting our needs last on a long list of ‘to do’s’ which we never get to (stop crying).  

Where does that put you?  Are you on the top of the list or at the bottom?  If you put your ‘oxygen mask’ on, then you'll have the mental, emotional and physical strength to do what’s necessary to help those around you.  If you put it on your child first, they won't know what to do next when you collapse because you didn't get the needed oxygen in time.  They are alive, but helpless.

We're juggling so many things, it’s exhausting.  You can’t find any time for yourself.  But if you could you'd hide yourself somewhere to steal some ZZZZZZZ’s!!!!!

We all know sleep is important to our overall health, so we rest. 

We all know exercise is important to our overall health; so we set the clock an hour earlier to do running, or yoga, or whatever our choice.   We're learning about exercising our brains.  So we learn to play an instrument, a new language, or just learn something new. 

All of the above can put stress on your emotional & mental wellbeing as well as your interpersonal relationships.  If your needs are put on the bottom of the list, you may never get healthy on any level.   People around us will continue to ask us to do things for them, and we want to help them.  Unfortunately, your oxygen mask is not on.  Everyone else is wearing theirs, but NOT YOU!   You are in a precarious position and it should change for your health and wellbeing.

Take the time to review your actions.  Learn to say no.  Put yourself first, so that when you are stronger you can handle just about anything anyone throws at you.

This is where psychotherapy helps. I’m here to help strengthen your emotional and mental wellbeing so you can handle life’s challenges.   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Feeling Safe

Quite recently a friend of mine told me about a workshop her friend attended about ‘coping with stress” offered by her employer.   Of all the helpful suggestions she heard, this one incident was what she remembered the most. 

The facilitator was asking the group what they did to reduce stress.  Comments such as ‘alcohol’, ‘food’ and ‘sex’ were called out from the audience.   She then asked ‘who in this group had at least one person they could talk to, just off-load all their worries and fears without any judgement from this other person?’   Out of a group of 40 people representing all ages, gender and backgrounds only 2 people raised their hands!  Her friend was one of them. 

Sadly this is the reality faced by most people!  Some of these people are married!  Some in a steady relationship!  A member of a family!  

Worse yet, if YOU feel you cannot open up to your partner, and your PARTNER likewise feels the same towards you, your relationship is heading for serious trouble. 

Checking synonyms for the word ‘safe’ it gave some very nice alternatives.   ‘Protected’, ‘Out of harm’s way’, ‘In safe hands’, ‘Safe and sound’.    Absolutely, we all want it!

Where did the feeling ‘safe’ disappear to? 

 If you don’t feel safe, protected, or in safe hands, you’ll naturally back away from the other person.  You’ll withhold your feelings so you don’t get hurt, ridiculed, or laughed at.   It’s natural.   And because you’re withholding your feelings, your partner feels that.  And now they don’t feel safe.  They start trying to figure out what they did wrong.  They can’t read your mind to know what the problem is so rather than getting yelled at, ridiculed or laughed at for not understanding, they too pull away from you.    Can you see that there is no happy ending here?

Fearing ridicule by someone they love dearly, they don’t want to appear weak.  It’s all about emotion and communication.

Wouldn't it be awesome to feel safe, protected and in safe hands?! 

I have helped many people overcome this issue; I can be that one person you can talk to.

Friday, February 28, 2014

What is Love? How to Find and Keep it.

“We are obsessed with love and love relationships. But what do we really know about love? We instinctively know that here is no other experience that will have more impact on our lives-our happiness and health-than our success at living and being loved. We know that love makes us vulnerable, but also that we are never as safe and strong as when we are sure we are loved.”1

According to Dr. Sue Johnson in her newly acclaimed book: Love Sense, love is not the least bit illogical or random, but an ordered and wise recipe for survival.  The need for connection is our first and most basic instinct.

Romantic love is an attachment bond, just like that between mother and child; emotional interaction with partners buffers us from stress and makes us stronger in the face of life’s challenges. 

Touch and intimacy spur the growth of mirror neurons, which help us “read” and respond to our partners.

A good relationship is the best recipe for happiness and health and a powerful antidote for aging.

Dr. Sue Johnson’s Love Sense opens the door to the revolutionary new science of emotional bonding.  It provides you with the confidence and tools to deal with make-or-break moments and weathers the key stages in your relationship.

Dr. Johnson outlines the 3 basic strategies for handling your attachment needs and fears, and offers fresh insight into the link between sex and emotional bonding.  Learning how to enhance or repair the bond with your partner no longer has to be a matter of guesswork.

1 Love Sense by Dr. Sue Johnson copyright 2013, Little, Brown and Company

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Return on your Relationship Investment

We’re all looking for that great vehicle to invest our dollars.  We want little or no risk  but with large returns.  

Where should I invest?  How much?  Who do I trust with my money?  Is my money safe?  Do I have any control over my monies?  Are there any guarantees I won’t get burned? 

We scramble trying to find the best investment for us at year end.  Don’t want to pay more taxes than one has to!  After all, must think of my future and my security.

We put a lot of energy into our finances; and so we should.

How you’ve been investing in yourself, taking night courses to stay on top of your game, reading relevant books and articles to stay current.  Know your strengths and weaknesses; and then make the necessary improvements.  We join social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter to stay in touch with our friends and peers.  Personally, I find it takes a lot of time; so why do we do it?   If we don’t, we feel like we are left behind.  

We don’t take our jobs for granted.  We could get fired.  We toe the line, speak with respect with our co-workers and supervisors and put in a good days work.  Or do we?

The workplace also has Labour/Employee Relations in Human Resources.  Why?  The cost of discord in the workplace is worth the annual salary of this person(s).  Litigation is very expensive.  Negative employee relationships such as arguing, back-biting, gossip, harassment, abuse, to name a few, tears down office morale and decreases productivity.  So does sick leave caused by stress at home. Money is being saved if we nip problems in the bud.

So why don’t we put the same energy into our intimate relationships?  Even if there are problems, deep down don’t you still love them?  Don’t you wish it could be like it was in the beginning?  Have we not chosen this person to spend the rest of our life with, for better or worse?  Is this relationship not more important than anything else?  It affects the quality of our life.

Yet, we hesitate to invest in our intimate relationships.  Somehow spending on the price of a good meal is easier than spending on relationship counselling. Don’t forget how costly a divorce can be.

You will never be disappointed when you improve your relationship.  You become a better all-round person.  Just focus on understanding yourself and on the interactions of your relationship. Perhaps you are aware of certain negative behaviors you just cannot overcome.  Don’t worry, that’s where I come in.   I’ve heard it all over the past thirty years.  You are an investment you can trust.  When you do the work, positive results will come.  No risk.   You have full control of the outcome. 
Is your intimate relationship worth investing in?  Are you willing to leave your ‘money’ in this vehicle for 5, 10, 15 years or more? That’s a lot of trust.  Returns don’t happen over night.  Financial advisors will show us the chart of how investing is a series of peaks and valleys. It’s just the natural flow of investing, as in relationships.

Fortunately, you will see results a lot sooner.  There will be ups and downs, but the return on your investment, your relationship growth, will continue.

Are there risks?  Sure there are, but are you not worth it?