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    Less Daylight, Positive Interactions Needed

    In the fall leaves start to change, Daylight Savings time ends and we stay inside more often. Now's the time to add More positive Interactions if you don't already do so in your relationship. Now in your household the stress, sickness and possible addition of school combine to increase interactions. (I like to start things off on a cheery note!).

    There is a need for negative reactions (you can't stuff it forever or it will "leak") along with five positive interaction between partners. (Hold up one hand with one finger and the other hand with five fingers up, this is how I demonstrate this prinicple.) Humor, affection, sympathy and connection in this amount influences the other to hear their partner. This hearing is soothing and then couples "behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways." (Gottman blog)

    This ratio is key to a happy marriage and if continued will lead to divorce. Use this tool to increase the ratio and change the course of your marriage. Medford is citied as a high divorce city, let's prove 'm wrong and work smart with this ratio.

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    App to Prevent Another "Robin Williams"

    Robin William's suicide was a shock to most people. A person with depression who considers suicide and talks about suicide as a possibility is hard to comprehend. Perhaps that's why my relatives weren't prepared when he gathered everyone and said goodbye. Many relatives were professionals but ASKing didn't happen.

    So now I am especially, strongly suggesting going to this app or one like it. Anything that helps you talk to someone who is extremely depressed. You can download the app beforehand and have it with you when needed.

    How to: go to the App store and search "suicide prevention ASK by Mental Health of Texas". This app has warning signs and very clear questions to ask. It takes some maneuvering to get to the Ask questions. (Using the section Ask:Here's How, keep swiping 3 times to get to specific questions, it does take some persistence). 

    As a therapist I know people do Want to be asked. They are not insulted. They want others to reach beyond their comfort zones as a sign of love for them. Couples need to ask each other, family members, in-laws and more. Being a professional is not necessary. As a starting point to help a depressed person, please ASK. 

    Barbara Massey

    Medford Oregon


    Relationship Gardens

    Every Spring I love to go out and work in my backyard garden. From my desk in my home office I see weeds, dried plants, moss and fallen leaves. No matter how hard I try or what garndening techniques I find on the internet and in my gardening books my yard is just not attractive all year long. Just like my garden, we have to work hard to keep our personal relationships healthy and close. For a healthy couple relationship, this work can be the most challenging of all.

    Back to my garden --- I still need to work on all aspects of my garden and yard to make it beautiful and keep it that way. Planting flowers, plants and even the correct type of lawn and knowing when and where to plant these items are skills I have had  to learn over the past years.

    Relationship skills like gardening can also be learned. Most people I see in my counseling office think somehow they are already supposed to know how to communicate well automatically without much training or effort.  They also often believe they can just solve conflicts without getting upset or not have any other part of their stressful life interfear with the relationship. It’s just not so. All of us need to learn and grow especially when we are under pressure to solve a painful situation. 

    To grow, your responses to the other person needs to change. You can’t wait till the other person changes. Waiting for the other person to make needed changes is a stand off. It’s not about who cares the most in the couple , its about you working toward a healthy relationship and taking the steps for growth and change yourself right now. The attitude of - I’ll start anyway making changes and growing is a good one. And your growth will make it more likely the other person will be influenced. 

    I have learned in my years of work as a therapist with most people it is the hardest to respond well as an individual in a couple. There are several reasons for this --- the risk is different, your buttons get pushed more easily and all the stuff from the relationship comes up. There are many things that can effect the relationship just as there are many types of plants and flowers in my garden that all require different types of care. 

    Today choose to start the change in your relationship and work in that garden you will be surprised and excited to see yourself as an individual and as a couple change!

    Photo by



    April Fools Day and Couples

    We've all heard "Laughter is the best medicine". It has been studied and it is especially good for a relationship. April Fools jokes helps us feel closer to others. The 5 to 1 rule of positives to negatives that strengthen a marriage is easy to use on this day.  Bob Hope, who was a comedian, and married 60 years. He said he and his wife had a strong marriage because of humor.  So here's some ideas to have more humor in your family:

    Be aware of the humor each day.

    Make it a habit for everyone in your family to share at dinner something funny that happened to them.

    My husband studies comedy---almost every night he watches Faulty Towers a British comedy.

    Laugh about funny times---when I went to see the daffodils this weekend. My daughter said they were dead. (They were in full bloom!)

    Finally, be a good sport when a blog entry and images don't work. Someone maybe playing a trick (hmmm).





    Fun In Relationships Brief Seminars 

    Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 10:48AM

    Summer Love & Fun can be had no matter what your situation in life. At each of these seminars the techniques to plan fun and communicate experimenting with new places and things will be addressed. So much stress can be reduced with communication skills and reducing conflicts for a much better time.


    Short 1 hour Seminars

    Couples Seminar (1 hour Seminar) Couples learn how to build closeness during your vacation with your partner/spouse even when the kids are along. Find ways to be light-hearted to break the stress even when things are not so good at home.

    Singles Seminar (1 hour Seminar) Singles, you can find new places to go and things to do with or without a significant other along. Build solid skills to have good relationships whereever you go.

    Each seminar is 1 hour starting at 6 pm. Call for dates @ 541.326.1696.