Posts by Mike Ferraro

Take This Marriage Assessment

Before you start marriage counseling with me, you will be asked to take this assessment. I’ve created it myself based on my experience with marriage’s challenges, opportunities, and needs. I keep the answers confidential to encourage honesty. It obviously can’t cover everything, but it gives me a good snapshot of the state of your marriage.…

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Are You Dependent on Drugs or Alcohol?

A great deal of time, energy and money have been devoted to drug and alcohol addiction. An addict is relatively easy to spot. They must have their fix, will do anything to get it and keep using despite major life problems. A more common problem is a category below addiction. Dependence is more widespread, yet…

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Your Family Is A System

What is a family system? The definition of family starts with your immediate or nuclear family, meaning parents and children. And it also includes anyone who has frequent, direct contact with the immediate family. This can be grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends. In blended families, the system includes former spouses, stepparents, half-siblings, and…

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What is intimacy?

Intimacy is a requirement in a healthy relationship. Without it, a couple cannot grow and is in danger of disconnecting. But what is it exactly? A number of words come to mind such as: Openness Acceptance Vulnerability Trust Connection There may be a temptation to think “it depends.” It depends on what kind of relationship…

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Know The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

There’s a fine line between stress and anxiety. Stress is a feeling of emotional strain and pressure. Generally, stress is a response to an external cause, such as a deadline for a work project or conflict with a partner. This type of stress goes away once the situation is resolved. If the external cause doesn’t go away,…

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Blended Families Are Tricky

Imagine a family with parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, siblings, step-siblings, ex-spouses, ex-partners, the spouses and partners of ex-spouses and ex-partners, and extended families all the way around. Is your head spinning yet? A blended family can have some or all of the above. And, as all of you living in blended families know, having a…

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Which Stage Of Change Are You In?

In the substance abuse field, there is something called motivational interviewing. I use it in my work with people having drug or alcohol problems. One of the first questions I ask someone is, “What are you motivated to do?” I don’t try to persuade you to follow some plan or program. Because you won’t do…

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Having A Safe Conversation

Most married couples I work with say they don’t communicate well. The word “communication” gets tossed around frequently and endlessly. Amazingly, we’re never taught how to have healthy communication in a relationship. So, we do what we’ve learned in our families, which often isn’t helpful, or we just wing it. Either way is a high-risk…

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The Courage of Bipolar People

Imagine that you were told you might need medication and psychotherapy for the rest of your life. And that the side effects of your medication may be difficult to handle. And if you didn’t do that, your life may get out of control. That, without any treatment, you will have problems with friends and family,…

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