private communication Articles

Cell Phones: A Near and Possible Danger for Young Children

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn an earlier blog I considered the dangers of teens sleeping with cell phones. Specifically that the “ on call status” was in most cases not choice but obligation, anxious need, and even addiction.

A recent article by Deborah Fallows in The Atlantic, entitled, “ Papa, Don’t Text,” invites us to consider the impact of cell phones on those too young to use them.

Fallows asks us to consider the impact on babies and small children when the parent or caregiver is present but talking with someone else on a cell phone or present but silently texting.


Improve Your Marriage by Having an Affair…With Your Spouse

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Do you have any idea how much work goes into an affair?

When you take into account the effort, the planning, the stolen moments, the affection, the creative communications and the anticipation of connection – you have to wonder what having an affair with your spouse could do for a marriage.

The likelihood is that it will do great things.

Having an affair with your spouse is something I have recommended to couples for years. It is an antidote to what Esther Perel describes as “Mating in Captivity,” the neutralizing of connection, the tendency to take each other for granted, the need to prioritize the kids, the jobs, the house, the money…. over the romance.

Does having an affair sound irrational, unlikely, possibly erotic and without guarantees? Yes. That’s the nature of affairs…only this one has a real chance of a happy ending.

What Do You Need to Have an Affair?

Here are the ingredients for having an affair – Do you have anything to lose?


Do You Thank Your Partner? Recognizing Resistance-Understanding Benefits

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

thank your partner“ Why Can’ t You Just Say, Thanks?”

If this sounds familiar it is because most of us have said it or heard it.

  • Most people want to feel appreciated, particularly by the person closest to them but too often the expression of gratitude gets lost in the fabric of couple’s lives.
  • Recent research in the field of positive psychology informs us that feeling gratitude, the awareness and appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself, has many benefits including positive mood, enhanced physical health and optimistic outlook. Actually expressing gratitude has proven to have even greater benefits in terms of personal happiness and relationship enhancement.

Then… Why is it difficult to express gratitude to a partner?

People are complicated. Add in couple dynamics, prior history, unconscious factors, cultural context and you multiply those complications.

  • Most partners don’t consider how often they thank their partner or if not-why not?
  • Few are aware of the proven benefits of expressing gratitude on their personal feelings, their view of the partner, the patterns and value of the relationship.

Consider Recognizing Your Resistance and Understanding the Possible Benefits of  “Just Saying Thanks.”


The Brave New World of Smartphone Manners

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

smartphone mannersDespite the warnings, our basic human courtesies are not likely to be eroded by smartphones, nor will they be salvaged by quickly decided Emily Post-type rules.

Like other social norms, smartphone manners will likely evolve from the complex social group process underscored by the intellectual, physical,and psychological needs that drive us.

There was a time when it was in good taste for a gentleman to reach across the dinner table to light a lady’s cigarette. Have you seen etiquette of that kind lately?

A recent New York Times article reported on the behavior of attendees at the South by Southwest Interactive. In this arena, tech pros and professionals were reportedly on phones everywhere from the elevator to the dais. What is striking is that the appeal by one of the keynote speakers to put down the devices when interacting and give back the respect owed to each other was met with thunderous applause.

More striking is the fact that within minutes — everyone was back interacting with one eye on their phone and one thumb busy working!


Should We Correct Our Partners in Public?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
  • “No Honey, the joke is not three ministers on a golf course – it’s a  minister, a priest and a rabbi.”
  • “Come on, you never want to visit my family.”
  • “We weren’t stranded in the airport for days– it was more like ten hours.”

The definition of correction is the act of offering an improvement to replace a mistake, to set something right. If you ask people about the advisability of correcting a partner publicly, many will advise against it – some may even suggest it could be dangerous. Most will admit to correcting and being corrected by their partner in public social situations.  How do we explain this?


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Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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