Manic Monday

Seven Signs That You May Need Couples Counseling:

Do you feel like your relationship is chaotic? I hear this all the time, 'the house is a mess, I can't get anything done, you are always complaining, why didn't you tell me this before we got married, our friends don't come around anymore,  I never thought we would end up this way, or it's just never enough.' As many of you know I have been trained to use The Gottman Method for couples. This is a research based method that is used for treating high-conflict couples. It is also a practical approach which helps couples communicate more effectively and lovingly. If you are in a relationship and you have said any of these things about your partner, then you are in a high conflict relationship. Here are seven questions to ask yourself about your relationship:

  1. Is your life with your partner chaotic?
  2. Do you enjoy spending time with your partner, even if you are just spending time together running errands?
  3. Do you dream of what life would be like without your partner?
  4. Are you jealous of your single friends?
  5. Are you excited to see your partner at the end of the day?
  6. Do you go out on at least one date a week? A date is an evening out without the children. 
  7. Do you know one important thing about your partner's day, before they leave the house in the morning?
Your answers to questions 1, 3, & 4 should be no, and your answers to question 2, 5, 6, & 7 should be yes. If they aren't, then it's time to call a Marriage & Family Therapist. 

Lianne Avila has worked with many couples and has found that many relationships go through highs and lows. Is this true of your relationship, or do you find it's low most of the time? For more help, please visit

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Three Things To Stop Fighting About
Before and After

Money, sex and the children. I have seen many couples in therapy over the 14 years I have worked as a Marriage & Family Therapist. I have found that many couples have problems on the surface and they need to address the problems underneath the surface. After being in a relationship it's easy to pick on your partner's faults and blame one another if the relationship is going south. 

Over the past four years I have been trained in and using The Gottman Method for Couples. This is a well researched method. The Gottman's have done over four decades of research in working with couples. They have developed a lot of great tools for couples to help with communication and building the friendship in the relationship. Which, by the way, the research has found that a good friendship is crucial in a relationship. This is reported by, both men and women.

One of my favorite tools that they have that helps with communication is Dreams within Conflict. This helps the couple have a guided conversation that helps build understanding in the relationship. One person is the speaker and one is the listener. The speaker is the dream speaker and the listener is the dream catcher. It's easy to want to fix or solve the problem. The purpose of this exercise is not…

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How To Develop A Realistic View Of Love

Six tips to help those in pursuit of a relationship.

1) Act How You Feel (Within Reason):
We've all been around couples that bicker in public or make nasty passive aggressive jabs all the time. When we air out our dirty laundry too readily, we make others feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, pretending your relationship is flawless can come across as fake. We've all done it at times, we act like everything is fine and it's not. We fight in the car and hold hands throughout dinner, until we get back in the car and pick up right where we left off. If this sounds like your relationship, then it's time to be real. Tell other's how you are feeling, honestly, and expect them to understand. It will be a relief to know that your relationship has flaws and that others will understand.

2) Demand Realistic Portrayals of Relationships:
When you see a couple acting unrealistic, say so. Ask why they need to act like they are madly in love after being married for ten years, we all know that is not likely. Talk about a romantic comedy that you would like to see and comment on how much the film reflects the ups and downs of relationships. Laugh about how amazing it is that people in movies orgasm easily and at the exact same time.…

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Why Research About Relationships?

As many of you know, I have been trained to use the Gottman Method when I counsel couples. This is a well researched method. Dr. Gottman's have done 40 years of research in using this method. Sometimes, people wonder, 'why research relationships?' Believe, it or not, there is a science to relationships. After 40 years of research, Dr. Gottman's have discovered the 5 to 1 ratio, also known as the magic ratio in a relationship. This is where it will take five positive interactions to erase one negative interaction in a relationship. Dr. Gottman's have discovered that negative interactions have a greater impact on a relationship than positive interactions. What this means, is that your relationship doesn't have to be a war about negativity, that you can learn from the negative interactions in your relationship by having a dialogue about them. Dr. Gottman's research suggests, what really separates the happy couples from the miserable couples is a healthy balance between their positive and negative interactions. All couples have different styles of approaching conflict - some yell, while others retreat to separate corners of their home. Neither style is doomed when couples have what is called, the Positive Sentiment Override. Here are five tips to help improve the Positive Sentiment Override in your relationship:

  1. Smile. When greeting your partner for the first time of the day, meet them…

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Four Ways To Ruin A Perfectly Good Relationship

"A pure and lasting relationship, has fights, has trust, has faith, has tears, has hurt, has laughter and has weird stupid and unnecessary arguments." Kemmy Nola

You are so stubborn!
Whenever there is a problem you always blame me!
I've never been able to pursue my career it's always your career first!
I just can't stand to look at you!

Have you ever said any of these things to your partner or has your partner ever said any of these things to you? If your answer is yes, then, you are not alone.

After practicing as a Marriage and Family Therapist for fourteen years and spending the last four years focusing on couples. I find these are the four ways to ruin a perfectly good relationship.

  1. Criticize (Attack)
  2. Defensive
  3. Contempt
  4. Stonewalling

These are also known as The Four Horsemen. Remember, we are adults here and it may be time to change the way you communicate with your partner. Stop criticizing your partner. Use a softer tone when talking to your partner, and tell them how you are feeling. For example, that hurt my feelings, I'm feeling unappreciated or I'm getting worried.

Stop being defensive, learn to take responsibility for your behavior. For example, I really blew that one; I can see my part in this or let's try that one over again. Stop holding contempt for your partner and…

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Lianne Avila, MFT
1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
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San Mateo, CA 94404

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