Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: Communication

I’ve been watching some of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard court situation.  It’s interesting to listen to some of the recordings being provided, which they have both apparently provided.   As I listen to these recordings, my impression is Amber shifts her statements and fails to stay on topic. She adjusts what she is […]

communication Marriage Counseling

Why I Tell Couples to Start Arguments

Quite often in my counseling practice, I tell my clients to do something that sounds counterintuitive.  I tell couples to start arguments.  However, I tell them to start an argument over something fun, such as which ice cream flavor is best.  I have them do these practice arguments using strategies we discuss in marriage counseling.  […]


Panic Attacks

From my experience panic attacks seem to occur from two types of circumstances. One is when you face a major decision and both have consequences. For example, it could be trying to decide if you should keep your current job which is safe but unfulfilling, or take a new job in a new city that […]

building self-esteem Good habits Individual Counseling

Start a New Habit by Changing Your Environment

Many of us try to start a new habit for New’s Year’s resolutions. We resolve to exercise more, eat right, lose weight, and so on. Right about now is when most people abandon them. I’m probably one of the only successful people who have kept their resolution for years. About 25 years ago I made […]


Make a Hard Decision Using Evens and Odds

Quite often, people come into my counseling office struggling to make a hard decision. This could be whether to keep their current job or take a risk on another job. It is sometimes about whether to stay married or get divorced. These are really tough decisions to make and entail a great deal of struggle […]

Marriage Counseling Relationships

4 Things That Bug Women About Men

After providing marriage counseling in Grand Rapids for the past ten years, I’ve noticed a trend in things women find lacking in relationships.  Below are four of the things that bug women I encounter during counseling.  These are things their husbands or long term boyfriends tend to neglect.  If you can get back to doing […]

communication counseling for men Marriage Counseling Relationships

5 Things To Stop Doing to Your Husband:

I often provide counseling for men and women individually. I get to hear a lot of their concerns and complaints about what happens when their relationships go sour. Both sexes seem to have their own set of grievances. And in my counseling for men, there are some things that come up quite frequently. Here are […]

building self-esteem Good habits Individual Counseling social anxiety

Big Changes Start Small: The Scaling Question

Big changes start small. This is what I learned from behavioral theory. There is a lot of overlap between effective behavioral change and Solution Focused Brief Therapy.  Steve deShazer, co-creator of SFBT said he doesn’t know why SFBT works, he just knows it does.  After studying work about behaviorism and developing habits, I put together […]


Communication: Understanding vs. Agreement

I work with many couples in my Grand Rapids counseling practice.  One of the big issues that comes up is communication.  You’ve probably heard this before but we all have a tendency to talk over each other and not really listen.  Instead, we’re waiting for them to stop talking so we can say what we […]


ADHD, Depression, and Anxiety

I work with a lot of adults with ADHD. It’s surprising how often depression and anxiety go hand in hand with this diagnosis.  However, there are good reasons the three seem to go together.   If you have ADHD, you’re probably familiar with not getting things done when they should be getting done.  You’re well […]