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

Life Lessons from our Denver Broncos


By Lisa Rosen

Epic Failure & Ultimate Glory

Do you remember Superbowl XLVIII?  The one where the Seattle Seahawks crushed our beloved Broncos, 43-8?  With only one score for Denver-from start to finish, Colorado fans all suffered through the pain of a distressing and unrelenting game.  If you are like me, you can still remember that sinking feeling; the game we all want to forget.

How about Superbowl 50?  A different story- riding the league’s best defense, our hometown team stared down the favored Carolina Panthers and their MVP quarterback, Cam Newton.  Never trailing, the Denver Broncos beat the Panther’s in a stunning defeat 24-10.  Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset and all was well in the Mile High City.

One game, epic failure.  Embarrassment.  A day we would like to erase from the record books.  The other, ultimate glory.  Victory.  A day that will live in Broncos lore.

Not so fast. Continue reading

Getting Past “Just Tolerating” Your Partner

Getting Past -Just Tolerating- Your Partner

It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.  —John Updike

Getting past “just tolerating” your partner

John Updike must have understood a thing or two about intimate partner, long-term relationships, and about the notion of “familiarity breeds contempt.” All of us probably know someone who spoke negatively and poorly about their spouse while that person was still alive, but once that person and relationship ended through death, the living partner is known to suddenly and vocally be extolling the beautiful virtues of their spouse.

If we could only keep those virtues and feelings about our partner at the forefront when “they are there in front of you,” as Updike so beautifully expressed. It shouldn’t take something like the death of a loved one to remind us that we need to be doing more than “just tolerating” our partner. So how do we survive and thrive in long-term, committed relationships, and still maintain that interest, presence and engagement with our loved one while they are still there in front of us? Continue reading

Living a Meaningful Life

Living a meaningful life

By Lisa Rosen

The Secret to Happiness

Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and Harvard Medical school professor conducted a fascinating study on the secret to happiness. Here’s what he learned:

“The quality of people’s relationships are way more important than what we thought they were—not just for emotional well-being but also for physical health. Close relationships and social connections keep you happy and healthy. That is the bottom line. People who were concerned with achievement or less concerned with connection were less happy. Basically, humans are wired for personal connection.”  

We need each other. This is both obvious and easy to forget. We can become obsessed with chasing “success” or being “efficient” or thinking too much about ourselves and lose sight of the fact that engaging in deep and meaningful relationships is what makes life worth living. Continue reading

Pornography’s Impact on Society

Pornography's EffectsOn Society

By Kevin Hales, MA, LPCC

My previous two posts covered pornography and it’s effect on the individual and on a relationship. Studies are finding more and more that pornography is not simply a harmless endeavor that doesn’t affect anyone else. It actually changes the brain makeup of the individual looking at it. Pornography has a numbing effect on the individual, causing him or her to see others in a less empathetic manner. In fact, the individual comes to see others as merely objects, something to please him. Engaging in viewing pornography, either willingly or unwillingly, eventually leads one to inferior relationships with others, which is damaging to the well-being of that person and to others who know him. Continue reading

The Risks & Rewards of Emotion in Couples Therapy

Risks & Rewards of Emotion in Couples Therapy

By Lisa Rosen, MA, NCC

I recently binge-watched a marathon of Bravo’s Project Runway.  The show features a group of fashion designers on a quest to get their designs into New York Fashion week.  At the end of each show, the contestants’ fashions are judged, and we learn who moves forward. Season 14 features a “plus sized” designer and advocate named Ashley Nell Tipton. During the judging, Ashley often became emotional—tearful, sad, and frequently verbalizing disappointment in herself. She openly acknowledged her own insecurities, not just as a designer but as a person. The judges had little patience with this and kept telling her to be “stronger.” Ashley’s emotional roller coaster ride gave viewers a window into her heart. She quickly became a fan favorite and marched forward in the competition.

Having Emotions is Healthy

The fact is, there is a little of Ashley in all of us. We all experience fear of rejection and failure. Sharing these feelings with someone close to us is a way to gain valuable perspective, own them, and even let them go. Like the judges, too often, society identifies emotions as “weakness.” But having emotions is healthy, normal, and an essential part of being human. Continue reading

Virtual Infidelity: The Dangers of Pornography

Virtual Infidelity

By Kevin Hales, MA, LPCC

Many of the couples I meet with in couples therapy have experienced infidelity in their relationship. “Virtual Affairs” are becoming more and more common. Virtual affairs betray the trust of one’s partner and violate agreements of sexual exclusivity; they happen when one partner looks at pornography or has an online affair with someone that he’s probably never met and probably never will. Because pornography is so addictive and damaging to the viewer and those involved in it, it behooves us to examine the dangers and harm that come to a relationship from a seemingly “harmless” endeavor.

Pornography Isn’t Harmless

Many believe that the viewing of pornography is harmless, that it somehow only involves the person viewing it. They ask themselves, “how can this be harmful to anyone else?”   Continue reading

Too Busy for Love During the Holidays

Too Busy for Love

Holiday Stress & Your Relationships

The holidays are just around the corner! Are you too stressed for love and connection?

Halloween is behind us and just as the kids are winding down from their sugar high, you’re anticipating and maybe even dreading the start of the holiday season. Most of us tend to view the holidays (Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s, Kwanza, Diwali) as THE time of year for connection, bonding, love, and making cozy memories with loved ones, family and friends. Ironically however, holiday stress and busyness often lead to feelings of discontent, disconnect (especially from one’s partner), distress, and maybe even anxiety. Continue reading

Understanding Your Partner

Understanding Your Parnter

By Lisa Rosen, MA, NCC

The Death Glare

You know the look…the death glare. The expression that causes an instantaneous emotional and physical response. Your heart rate may quicken or that recurring headache might start flaring up. You may be thinking, “Is it something I did?” or you might know exactly why the laser sight is pointed at you. As your body goes into alert mode, you survey your options: Play dumb and act like you don’t notice? Ignore him/her? Confrontation? Or try to be understanding?

You don’t want to escalate the situation. You want to provide reassurance and comfort. But sometimes our automatic emotional response hijacks the opportunity. Continue reading