I’m a very relational person. I think I was a relational kid and a precocious one—understanding pretty early on that this is it: we only get one life. So where was I going to direct my energy? I believe that, essentially, life is only as satisfying, only as worthwhile as the quality of our relationships. Something that is often said about the therapist/client relationship is: “it’s the relationship that heals.” It’s not about the therapist's philosophical framework, or even about their training, really. It’s about the therapist’s ability to create an atmosphere of trust, one where the client feels nurtured and accepted. It’s the relationship that heals, and it’s the same outside of the therapy office, of course! We are social animals and our self-definition, our ability to be happy and successful, depends upon our ability to connect deeply and meaningfully with others. A natural starting place is in the marital relationship. I see couples across the spectrum—I do a great deal of premarital counseling and also see couples of all ages who have been together longer. It’s a privilege to be involved in work where I help clients feel closer to their partner, and parents feel closer to their children, where I can teach people to resolve conflicts in a healthy ways. I truly believe that the marriage (and thus the family) is the foundation for the whole community. If families are functioning in a healthy, respectful way with each other, the society as a whole is strengthened.
- Avoid cynicism at all costs: in your relationship, with friends, in your work, in the world.
- Avoid ambivalence at all costs: live, love, get hurt. Experience joy, make mistakes . . . just don’t sit on the fence all your life.
- Cultivate patience and kindness and compassion with your partner. All in good time, a nurturing attitude will reward you.