All posts by Joshua Downs

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

Effective Apologies

Saying sorry is not that hard. Not when you’re pulling out your carry-on from the overhead compartment and you bump that unsuspecting passenger. Or when your colleague has been waiting for that email from you since yesterday morning. Not even when you’ve just cut off someone because you were in a hurry and they make sure to let their horn tell you how they feel.

But when it comes to those who live and interact with us more intimately, apologizing is one of the hardest things to do, much less do effectively. There is a price to letting others into the limited confines of our heart space—we will bump into each other. Given the inevitably of these collisions, I’d like to speak to a few principles outlined by Harriet Lerner, PhD, that can help in making effective apologies. The following principles are taken from her interview with Brene Brown. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

How Couples Go Blind to Goodness

By Joshua Downs

How Can Couples be So Wrong about Each Other?

As a couples therapist I have lost count of how often it becomes obvious that I am sitting across from two people who are genuinely good, sincerely love each other, and who have good intentions. Yet these same two people struggle to see each other in that positive light when they are experiencing emotional distance. If I can see their hearts even when I’m witnessing them at their worst, why can’t they? Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

Don’t Be a Stranger: Checking-In with Your Partner

dont-be-a-stranger-2

By Joshua Downs, LCSW

I have had a number of first sessions with couples where one of them ends up saying some variation of “I didn’t know.” Whether that is “I didn’t know you were so unhappy,” or “I didn’t know we were in such a bad place” or even “I didn’t know I was so miserable.” Sometimes this realization comes after a life-changing circumstance comes to light such as infidelity, addiction, financial betrayal, etc. Sometimes the realization comes too late and the relationship ends. While there are multiple issues and patterns that can leave a partner or partners in the dark, I would like to recommend one tool that can help to increase emotional connection and a couple’s ability to truly know each other: frequent check-ins. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

Healing in a World of Hurt

Healing in a World of Hurt

By Joshua Downs, LCSW

Our Basic Human Needs

As a therapist I often find that my children teach me a lot about my clients. I don’t mean to say that my clients are childish, only that they have the same basic emotional needs as my children. To me that says that human needs do not change drastically over our lifespan. And this is encouraging because it tells me that instead of complicating our ideas about what we want and need out of our relationships, we can keep things simple by focusing on children.

One of the lessons I have learned from my children is that humans need their hurt to be acknowledged by people that matter the most. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

For men, sex isn’t always about sex.

For Men,Sex isn't always about Sex

By Joshua Downs, LCSW

In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she speaks of when she was conducting research with a group of students about vulnerability and the room became lively as they discussed how uncomfortable sex can be when you’re worried about how you look. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

What if I Can’t Forgive?

What if I Can't Forgive-

By Joshua Downs, LCSW

Hurt, Betrayal, & Forgiveness

Forgiveness is frequently the goal in the work I do with couples dealing with betrayal—as well as in individual counseling with clients who have been hurt by others. And thankfully I can say I have been able to witness the relief and healing that comes from forgiveness. Forgiveness, however, is usually a hard-fought battle that is most likely to be won when the victim and the offender are both involved in the healing process.

But what about when the offender is unavailable, unrepentant, or seemingly incapable of understanding the depth of hurt he or she has caused? Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

Beginning to Heal from an Emotional Affair

Beginning to Heal from an Emotional AffairBy Joshua Downs, LCSW

Despite the varying details that I hear when working with couples dealing with some degree of infidelity, there is a simple fact that I always try to remember: at the end of the day what a hurt partner usually needs the most to heal is to feel that the offender understands the pain and hurt he or she has caused and that it won’t happen again. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

Do I want to be right or do I want to be understood?

misunderstood in marriageBy Joshua Downs, LCSW

I was recently watching a clip from a therapy session and the wife explained to the therapist,  “I don’t need to be right. I just need to be heard”: a simple statement that likely rings true for many of us, but one that we rarely connect with in the moments when we need that insight the most. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

Why You Say Things You Don’t Mean

Why You Say Things You Don't Mean | Colorado Counseling CenterBy Joshua Downs, LCSW

Since well before my career as a marriage counselor, I have heard some variation of the belief that we must mean the things we say if we are saying them. In working with couples and individuals through the lens of Emotionally Focused Therapy, I have come to understand that what we say and even think is not always an accurate reflection of how we really feel. It doesn’t reflect the whole picture. And only if we take into account our whole emotional experience can we ultimately be kinder and more understanding of ourselves and those who matter to us. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.

“You’re mean to me because I mean so much to you?”

Stopping the Arguing in Marriage

By Joshua Downs, LCSW

When I first started studying Emotionally Focused Therapy, I was attracted to how it puts even the most troubled couples in a kinder light. This positivity seems rare in the world. For example, talk shows that are supposed to be “helping” couples, seem to hyper-focus on which partner is to blame for the failing relationship. The expert makes a point of highlighting bad behaviors, and seems to put a judgment on one partner without trying to understand the reasons behind their behaviors.

Before I go too much further, it is important to note that EFT does not condone any hurt that we have caused toward those around us, or the hurt that we have experienced. We are responsible for how we treat others, even if how much we hurt them is unintentional.

The Hopeful Assumptions in Emotionally Focused Therapy

But what EFT does assume is that we care about and love our partners, and it is for that very reason that we are often so hurtful towards them.

“I love you, so I hurt you?” At first glance, the idea may seem odd. Continue reading

About Joshua Downs

Joshua Downs was a valued member of the Colorado Counseling Center team through the summer of 2018, when he moved to Grand Junction to be closer to family.