Posts by ksnyder

4 Signs You Need to See a Marriage Counselor

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4 Signs You Need to See a Marriage Counselor Relationships are rarely easy; they require hard work, communication, and understanding. When a marriage is under strain, many people are reluctant to seek help and go to couples therapy. It is common to think that you and your partner can resolve any fights or issues on your own, which may be the case in some situations. However, there are certain signs in marriages that indicate it is time to seek the help of a marriage counselor. Here are the top four signs that suggest you may need couples therapy: You or your partner has had an affair. This is the most common issue that leads couples to seek professional help. Affairs can happen for many reasons—common explanations are revenge and lack of intimacy in the marriage. Affairs are almost always a sign of deeper issues in a relationship, and marriage counseling is often the best way to uncover the underlying reasons for an affair. You are having the same arguments repeatedly. If you and your spouse seem to be constantly having the same fight, it is probably time to see a counselor. This is especially true if the argument is about important issues, such as finances, kids, or religion. It is natural to have disagreements, but if you feel like you and your partner keep going around in circles about the same topics, it can be very beneficial to your relationship to seek the help of a marriage counselor. You aren’t talking. It is no secret that communication is key in a marriage. When you and your spouse simply are not communicating, the distance between the two of you will only widen over time if the issue is not addressed. A visit to a marriage counselor can help create or restore open and honest communication in your relationship. There has been a shift in your sex life. It is common to go through different phases of intimacy in a marriage, but if there has been a significant change in your sexual relationship with your spouse, this may signify deeper problems. A marriage counselor can help you address this issue with your partner. If you are going through any of the issues listed above, it may be time to visit a marriage counselor. Seeking the help of a counselor is not a sign of weakness or shame. In fact, seeing a counselor can be a sign of commitment to a healthy relationship with your spouse. If you are considering marriage counseling, do not hesitate to contact the office of therapist Kathleen Snyder MFT. She has years of experience helping married couples through a range of problems, and will do everything she can to see that you and your spouse find strength and happiness together. Contact the office of Kathleen Snyder today by calling (512)...

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Reality TV Distorts Couples Therapy

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VH1’s newest hit television show, “Couples Therapy,” is shining a light on the practice of couples therapy. Along with new shows such as “Felt,” which uses puppets as stand-ins for real-life couples in therapy, it seems that reality television has chosen couples therapy as its latest source of inspiration. Unfortunately, like much of reality television, these shows do more to confuse than illuminate the reality of couples’ therapy. Couples therapy and marriage counseling are, to begin with, not simply things which can be managed to fit into short time-blocks for TV programming; they are an ongoing process that includes not only the time spent working with a therapist, but also the time that a couple takes to put the principles that they learn about to use. Additionally, real couples therapy doesn’t have the convenience of editing to resolve issues. Instead, it requires the honest, open efforts of both spouses to find a common ground that will allow their relationship to flourish. It may be entertaining to watch couples therapy on television, but it’s important to remember that that is all that these shows are:...

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My Logos: Old and New

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I love my new logo.  What better image than that of a tree at dawn to capture the enduring, incrementally growing union of couplehood, from sprout to fully contributing giver of life: to children, to community, to extended family, to the inspiration and empowerment of many? My first logo, created in Seattle, Washington by Puget Counseling Center was also a tree at dawn, none other than the familiar and majestic Texas oak.  Starting my career at PCC in 1986, how was I to know that I’d move back to Texas and adopt this lovely logo for my marriage counseling practice?  Here is a rendition of that logo which I created for PCC as a farewell gift upon my departure in 1993. My new logo takes the tree image deeper into the meaning of couplehood.  If you look closely you will see that it is two trees in one.  This image gets closer to the meaning at the heart of a marriage that thrives:  two individuals, both growing and learning, becoming stronger in the winds of life, intertwining their lives for the betterment of each other and all.  You’ll find my new logo at the top of any page here on my website. What image would you create to capture the aspirations of your...

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The “Fight or Flight” Responses

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Here’s what the “fight or flight” responses typically look like in “couple” terms.  One partner prefers to tackle things that need solving and likes to press forward towards that goal. The other partner prefers not entering into conflict for fear that it will “get out of hand.”  In their moderate forms each inclination is constructive.  The first adds energy towards getting to a solution.  The second helps the emotional climate remain calm enough so that the first can be accomplished. But each of these inclinations has its downside, too.  Under stress, when the inclination to press forward towards a solution become more extreme, its energies escalate into a “fight” kind of energy where volume increases and things can be said or done that are hurtful.  Under the same stress, the inclination to back away from conflict can turn into  stonewalling and “shut down.”  Then the conversation goes nowhere. The trick to resolving differences is learning to be aware of, and to manage these “fight” and “flight” energies.  In my marriage counseling practice, I give couples the tools and the “here and now” practice, in session, for doing just that. As couples gradually adopt these practices as their own, they take them home and use them between sessions.  Through this gradual “handoff,” couples acquire a skill set they can use for the rest of their lives to reliably work out their differences and increasingly deepen their...

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Will I Still Be Me?

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When I first begin with a couple in marriage counseling, the question sometimes arises, ” Once this process is done, will I still be me?”  The question usually comes out as a statement that goes something like, “If I make all the changes my partner seems to want, I won’t even be myself when we’re finished.  I can’t do that.”  It’s understandable.  Who of us can (or wants to) change at the expense of our true self?  “Who we are” is about as basic as it gets.  I like to reassure with two points. One is that the changes that your partner seems to want, seldom turn out to be as vast as they appear.  This is because positions/needs in couple relationships tend to follow a polarizing pattern as a problem develops.  This is when, roughly speaking, the more one does X, the more the other does Y, which leads to the first doing more X, and the second doing more Y, etc.  Emotional energies work this way.  When we consciously pull in the ends of a polarizing pattern, we see that the change needed to meet each other in the middle is not so intractable. The other point is that we humans are changing all the time.  We don’t change from ourselves into something else, but rather we grow into a more highly evolved version of ourselves.  We do this sometimes purely by choice and sometimes as a result of life circumstances that offer us the opportunity to rise to the occasion.  Either way, we are more like flowers that grow from seeds, to seedlings, to bud, to flower than anything that would seem to obliterate the self.  This is the kind of change that marital therapy presents you the opportunity to consider. Most often, my couples are surprised at how small and doable the changes are that really solve...

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