Category Archives: Marriage Counseling

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

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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

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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

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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.

Anger is a Gift!

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By Kevin Hales, LPC

Emotions are a normal part of being human

That isn’t a phrase you hear too often is it?  “How in the world is anger a gift??” you might find yourself asking…

When one stubs their toe, they aren’t likely to curse their nervous system for sending signals to their brain letting them know that their toe is hurting. On the contrary, we immediately adapt our behavior to avoid further pain. I might touch tenderly around the toe to find out where it hurts most, see if it’s serious or possibly broken. I might gingerly try standing on it, walking, possibly running to see just how badly it was hurt. All of this is a natural response to a part of our body that alerts us to something that needs our attention.

Likewise, our emotions are something that are not wrong or right, they just are.  They serve a purpose not unlike our nervous system, alerting us to something that needs our attention. Continue reading

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About Kevin Hales

Kevin Hales, MA, LPC offers marriage counseling as well as individual counseling for adults and teens at Colorado Counseling Center. Kevin’s clients find that he wholeheartedly devotes himself to helping them heal and move forward in life. To learn more about Kevin's counseling specialties, please visit coloradocounselingcenter.com/kevin-hales/

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

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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.

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

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About Shruti Poulsen

Shruti Poulsen, LMFT, PhD is a former therapist with Colorado Counseling Center. In the fall of 2016, Shruti went on sabbatical to teach and study in Istanbul, Turkey.

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

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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.

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

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About Lisa Rosen

Lisa Rosen, MA, LPC provides couples, individual, and family therapy for adults and teens at Colorado Counseling Center. Lisa cares deeply about helping her clients, and does so with compassion, patience, and understanding. To learn more about Lisa's counseling specialties, please visit coloradocounselingcenter.com/lisa-rosen/

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

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About Kevin Hales

Kevin Hales, MA, LPC offers marriage counseling as well as individual counseling for adults and teens at Colorado Counseling Center. Kevin’s clients find that he wholeheartedly devotes himself to helping them heal and move forward in life. To learn more about Kevin's counseling specialties, please visit coloradocounselingcenter.com/kevin-hales/

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

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About Shruti Poulsen

Shruti Poulsen, LMFT, PhD is a former therapist with Colorado Counseling Center. In the fall of 2016, Shruti went on sabbatical to teach and study in Istanbul, Turkey.

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

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About Lisa Rosen

Lisa Rosen, MA, LPC provides couples, individual, and family therapy for adults and teens at Colorado Counseling Center. Lisa cares deeply about helping her clients, and does so with compassion, patience, and understanding. To learn more about Lisa's counseling specialties, please visit coloradocounselingcenter.com/lisa-rosen/