Three Benefits to Saying


I hear this all the time in my practice. 'I don't want my child to only hear no.' And, I tell them their child doesn't always have to hear no. But, they do need your guidance and assurance. I also hear, 'I was always told no as a child and resented my parents for this.' And, I tell them your child won't grow up to resent you, in the long run they will respect you. I also hear, 'I just can't say no." And, as I have said in the past start to practice saying no, and it will become easier. As your child gets older here are the benefits they will learn from their parents saying no to them:

  1. This is how your child will learn to say no. As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I cannot tell you enough, how much I hear this in my practice, 'I just can't say no or set boundaries for myself.' I hear this from adults that I see all the time. I've also noticed that children that have been picked on at school, sometimes their parents have a hard time saying no or setting boundaries with them.
  2. This will help your child feel confident. I also hear this a lot, 'my child doesn't like to try new things they just aren't…

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Living Your Life in Balance: 6 Tips to Balance Your Life
"Don't confuse having a career with having a life." Hillary Clinton

I hear this all the time in my practice, 'I wish I had more balance in my life." It's so easy in our fast-paced society to lose track of time and forget some of the obvious things. Here are some tips to help get your life back in order.

  1. Plan - I always ask my clients if they have a planner and are they using it? Most of the time they have one but aren't always using it. Start your week by looking at your planner. Schedule work commitments, physical activity, personal and family time. Remember to leave time for yourself. Then, look at your planner daily and make any changes that need to be made.
  2. Prioritize - This means deciding what is most important, and then doing what is most important for achieving balance. What needs to be done first? With who or whom do I need to spend my time with? What are the consequences of not doing an activity?
  3. Organize - This means bringing more structure to your time and space. We can waste a lot of time looking for things. Create a system for storing things. It will take some time in the beginning, but will pay off in the long run. Use memory aids: put something in front of…

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Depression and Relationships: Living with a Depressed Person


Four Rules for Living with a Depressed Person:

The couple sitting opposite me in my San Mateo office looks like a very nice couple. They say they love each other. But, the marriage is ending. He wants out. He says, "I can't live with her depression anymore." "It's her negativity, her tunnel vision and her never ending pattern of self-defeat." He is tired of always making excuses for her.

If you are in a relationship with someone that is depressed, then you know it is not easy. Recent studies have shown that only 30% of people that take an antidepressant are helped by it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of shame that goes with depression and this can prevent people from getting the help they need. If you are in a relationship with someone that suffers from depression, it is important to maintain your boundaries. Here are four rules to live by:

  1. Understand the disorder. Take time to find out what depression really is. There are many myths about depression out there. There is also a lot of denial.
  2. Don not try to rescue. The person that suffers from depression may put pressure on you to fix whatever they perceive as the problem. You may feel guilty when the person places demands on you, remember to hold your ground and not take on…

Read more: Depression and Relationships: Living with a Depressed Person

How To Make Your


As most of you know I am a Marriage and Family Therapist and I have completed Levels 1, 2 & 3 in Gottman Couples Training. Gottman, of course, is the expert on relationships and is backed with 40 years of research. I absolutely love this method. After trying many different methods in working with couples, I have found this to be practical and effective. A lot of people ask me if I see other clients in my practice, and my response is yes. I also work with individuals, whether they are dealing with depression, anxiety or the loss of a relationship. I have found that people tend to repeat the same patterns in life and often don't understand why. Maybe, they have a low self-esteem, fear being alone or had a difficult childhood. Maybe, they feel they have always been the underdog and can never get a break in life.

Are the root of their problems that they fear rejection, have to be right or they just can't relax? The reality is, it could be all three of these reasons. People have many reasons for acting the way they do. I have found that it is best to go easy on yourself. Yes, it's alright to think of yourself and how to simplify your life. After counseling people for 13 years, I have found…

Read more: How To Make Your "No" Stick

Bids For Connection: The Building Blocks Of Emotional Connection

Take The Bids For Connection Quiz
In Dr. John Gottman's apartment lab at the University of Washington, he studies how people interact with one another under everyday circumstances. He has discovered that "bids for connection" happen at a very high rate between partners. For example, happy couples "bid" 100 times in ten minutes. What makes the bids so important? How those bids are made and responded to influences how well that relationship is going to fare over time.

What is a bid for connection? As Dr. Gottman explains in
his new book, The Relationship Cure, bids can be verbal or non-verbal. They can be highly physical or come totally from the intellect. They can be sexual or non-sexual. The key is that a bid for connection is an attempt to create connection between two people. Its function is to keep the relationship going forward and in a positive direction.
Bids are the fundamental element of emotional connection. The brief quiz below helps you to assess your style of bidding. More in depth tests are available in The Relationship Cure. To take this test, think of a person who is important to you. Complete each item by indicating how much you agree or disagree with the statement.
1. I sometimes get ignored when I need attention the most.
strongly disagree
strongly agree
2. This person usually doesn't have a clue as to what…

Read more: Bids For Connection: The Building Blocks Of Emotional Connection

Contact Information

Office Location 
Lianne Avila, MFT
1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
Suite 110
San Mateo, CA 94404

Phone Number
(650) 892-0357

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