Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT, discusses what couples have found helpful about coming to couples counseling.
If you would like to learn more about making an appointment for couples counseling Aaron can be reached at:
Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT, with Counseling Associates for Well-Being in Athens, GA talks about the importance of checking in with your stress level throughout the holiday season and why you might not want to skip self-care.
(706) 534 – 8558
I have posted a new video discussing my use of Gottman Method in session when working with couples. You can view it here.
I see clients on Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 am until 7 pm and on Saturday from 9 am until 1 pm. I gladly offer reduced fee services if financial circumstances are prohibitive for potential clients.
(706) 534 – 8558
Aaron D. Kirkwood, LAMFT
Please enjoy this informative video where I discuss ways you might improve your communication with relatives, and hopefully reduce some stress and anxiety during the holiday season.
If you are interested in working on family or other relationships contact me today about setting up an appointment.
(706) 534 – 8558
I thought I would conduct an interview with a Marriage and Family Therapist to get a small peek inside the mind of someone who spends all their time “inside” the minds of others. It just so happens that I know a Marriage and Family Therapist rather intimately, and that is who I decided to interview.
Have you ever seen the movie Interview with a Vampire? Well, I can almost promise you this interview will not be as interesting, sexy, or scary as that. Read on to see if you agree.
Me: So, what made you decide to become a therapist?
Also me: Well, I remember having friends in high school whose parents were divorced and seeing how that experience really affected them, mostly in negative ways. I decided, rather foolishly, that I would grow up and find a “cure” for divorce. I also recall reading a book somewhere around 10th grade on the history of psychology in the library and finding it incredibly fascinating. As I began to express interest in psychology my 10th grade biology professor, Mrs. Taylor, encouraged me to look into Marriage and Family Therapy. Plus, I’m really bad at math so I knew I couldn’t be an accountant or an engineer.
Me: What is your favorite thing about being a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Also me: At the risk of sounding cliché, I really love helping people. When the end of a work day rolls around and I have had at least one client who seemed to benefit from our session I feel an immense sense of satisfaction. I can honestly say that this is the most fulfilling thing I have done for work. It feels even more powerful somehow when I am working with a couple or a family and there is a shift in the relationship. Suddenly, where the clients had been experiencing only sadness, hopelessness, or remorse a renewed hope blossoms. There are few feelings as awesome as experiencing this first-hand!
Me: So, can therapists like, read your mind?
Also me: Nope! Not even a little bit. A good therapist is attuned to their client’s body language, however, and this helps us read a client’s emotions when he or she might not be consciously aware of them. For instance, a client may begin to tap or shake their foot rapidly as a stress-inducing conversation gets underway. I might ask that client “Are you feeling any anxiety just now?” The client may reply “No, I’m okay.” “Because I noticed you were shaking your foot quite a bit there.” “Oh, was I? Hmmm. Well, now that I think of it I might have been feeling some stress when we started talking about …” I don’t have any superpowers and supernatural abilities unfortunately, just what Sherlock Holmes might call a keen sense of observation and deduction.
Me: What inspires you?
Also me: Well, besides seeing a person feeling better because of some new insight or perspective, I would have to say music is a big inspiration to me. I get flashes of song lyrics in my head all the time, even during therapy sessions. When it is feels appropriate I sometimes share these with clients, particularly if they might offer a unique perspective or confirm a client’s newly discovered perspective. Music can be a beautiful metaphor for relationships. Individuals (notes) come together to form relationships (chords) in different configurations (chord changes) across time (a song).
Me: Who are your favorite clients to work with?
Also me: Gosh, that’s a hard question! I think if there is a common thread to my work when I’m feeling the most satisfaction, it comes from working with individuals who feel, for whatever reason, disempowered. Working together with them to develop a unique voice, and learn to resist the forces who might have made them feel unworthy or uncared for is uniquely rewarding. I focus often on relationships, especially couples, as a Marriage and Family Therapist, but I also really enjoy working with individuals. The work can be very different when I’m talking with a client one-on-one versus working with a couple or a family. I love being able to switch it up throughout the day because it keeps the work interesting and stimulating.
Me: What advice would you give someone seeking therapy for the first time?
Also me: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find a therapist who you feel comfortable with. Just don’t be afraid in general of seeing a therapist. I personally try to make it as painless as possible, even though sometimes painful things arise. We deal with those things in a comforting and safe environment. Try not to get hung up on buzzwords and psycho-jargon. Studies tell us that almost all therapies are roughly equally effective. If your friend had luck with cognitive-behavioral therapy but it doesn’t feel right for you then don’t do it. Find someone with an approach and a personality who feel like a good fit for you.
via e-mail at Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com
or call me at (706) 296-0455
and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
The Magic Five Hours is not a brand new concept from Dr. John Gottman. After reading about it, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about it sooner. Just like so much else that has been developed by the Gottman Institute over the years the idea behind the Magic Five Hours is quite simple. Yet it is immediately impactful to almost any relationship. This was not surprising as I have come to expect nothing less from the Gottman Institute and their research-informed strategies for improving relationships. At its core, the Magic Five Hours is about enhancing, or re-establishing, the emotional connection in our most intimate relationships.
How many of us have felt time slipping past while our best intentions for ourselves and our relationships seem to be neglected and put off until tomorrow? Guilty as charged. The Magic Five Hours is a way to illustrate that you don’t need to spend a lot of time to make a big impact on your relationship. Just five hours a week can help you feel more connected to your partner. The Magic Five Hours are actually broken up into blocks of minutes so that it becomes much easier for even the busiest couple to understand how they can incorporate these connection enhancing techniques.
|The five magic hours||Small investments in time, big relationship return|
|1.) Partings||2 mins/work day X 5 days/week = 10 mins- Find out one thing about your partner’s plans for the day|
|2.) Reunioins||20 mins/work day X 5 days/week = 1 hour 40 mins- Find out how your partner’s day went|
|3.) Admiration/appreciation||5 mins/day X 7 days/week = 35 mins-Find one thing to admire/appreciate about your partner|
|4.) Affection||5 mins/day X 7 days/week = 35 mins- Find time to kiss, hug, touch, laugh with your partner|
|5.) Date||2 hours/week = 2 hours- Find time to spend alone with your partner|
|Small daily investments||Add up to Five Magic Hours!|
Check out this video for a discussion of The Five Magic Hours.
If you follow this simple formula you should feel more connected with your spouse. You will each be more aware of what the other is experiencing on a daily basis. The Five Magic Hours can also be a great stress reducer because it makes time in your schedule to share with your partner what might have bothered you about work. The reunions act as a buffer between work stress and time at home with your partner allowing you each an equal opportunity to get things off your chest as you transition out of “work mode” and into “home mode”. The 2 hours of alone time can be particularly important for couples with children. It’s not always easy to make arrangements to have that alone time but it is a clear signal, a way of saying to your partner and yourself, that I value our relationship and I am willing to invest time into “us”.
I prefer to think of the Five Magic Hours as a general outline that can be tweaked to suit your relationship needs so long as the spirit of enhancing your connection is maintained. As an example, if you are a couple who does not have children it may be less necessary to find two hours a week to spend alone. If you feel that your “love life” is suffering, you might put more emphasis on the affection component. One of the suggestions from Gottman is to try a six second kiss. Six seconds does not sound like a lot of time but if you close your eyes and count out six seconds while imaging that you’re kissing your partner you will see that six seconds is pretty substantial for a kiss.
Do you feel your relationship could use a tune up? Please call me at (706) 534-8558 or e-mail me at Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com and let’s set up an appointment to help improve your connection using the Five Magic Hours.