Few things are as painful in a relationship as the betrayal and broken trust of infidelity. It deeply wounds both the offended, and the offender. But the good news is that an affair does not have to be a fatal wound, even though it leaves persons with intense emotions, confusion, and the desire to make immediate decisions. With knowledgeable guidance, this painful experience can not only be healed, but become a catalyst for a deeper relationship. David has helped literally of hundreds of couples through this difficult journey to a deeper, enduring, and more meaningful relationship. This specialty, using his own developed techniques, has made him a primary referral source for many in northern Colorado.
“We just can’t communicate!” is an oft heard complaint. Indeed, communication is the art of connecting with another person. And when miscommunication occurs, as it frequently does, trouble is ahead. As a trained communicator, David helps people learn the skills necessary to – relate to their partner and others develop actual listening with insight into both the verbal and the non-verbal avoid common communication pitfalls break repetitive cycles of dysfunction feel confidence that they are doing their part in good communication.
One of the growing traps in our society is sexual addiction. The internet with its multi-billion dollar porn industry offers easy access to feed this addiction. Individuals caught in this trap experience times of victory and relief followed by times of defeat and utter despair and self- loathing. It is an addiction. But unlike most addictions, it is often secretive, leaving the person feeling the heavy weight this black secret. Like most addictions, it is often progressive, increasing its bondage. Left unchecked, sexual addiction destroys relationships, sometimes careers, and eventually the mental/emotional well-being of the person as well.
But, …it need not be so. There is recovery possible. And the journey begins with admitting the need for help, and then seeking help. David does not deal in shame, but in hope. A variety of resources and tools are used on this journey, all with non-judgmental care, believing that addictions can be but a chapter in life, not a permanent stain.
Trauma, PTSD, and EMDR
Trauma occurs when we experience an event that leaves us mentally and emotionally broken in some way. The brokenness has ongoing ramifications in our lives. Such events are usually outside our control or even perpetrated against us. Sometimes the trauma occurs as we violate our own conscience and feel the seemingly unsolvable remorse. Great or small, trauma is real and unfortunate part of life. And many troubling issues of life can be traced to unresolved traumas.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, often follows trauma and can cause-
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleep disturbance or repetitive dreams
- Flashbacks and vivid memories including physical sensations
- Emotional instability and mood swings
- Trust issues and avoidance
- And a variety of other issues
Identifying and dealing with trauma requires an understanding of how it is manifesting itself in life and then releasing its power. When appropriate and with client understanding and consent, David uses his EMDR (Eye Movement, De-sensitization, and Reprocessing) training in a self-developed, unique style to break the hold of trauma. This no-contact, relaxing therapy can be a powerful tool in resolving deep-rooted issues.
Grief and Loss
Grief occurs when something we value is lost. We typically think of death as the time when we experience grief, and indeed it is. But grief occurs at many times in our lives. Deep disappointments, lost expectations, unfulfilled dreams- all constitute grief experiences in life. Grief-work is the process we go through to finally accept these losses and once again function fully in life. David is trained and has much experience in identifying and then walking with people through their grief journey. Grief is a matter of the soul. And to each individual it is a personal, sacred journey.
A few days of feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, fearful are common to use all. But if these feeling persist for two weeks or more you may well be suffering from clinical depression. If this so, it is important to get some help and do not make major decisions during this time. Symptoms include-
- Difficulty with focus and concentration; losing track and forgetfulness; mind loops and ruminates or ‘jumps around’ no matter how hard you try to stay focused
- Feeling overwhelmed; anything is just too much, “I can’t take another thing!”
- Low frustration tolerance, getting angrier at annoyances than is appropriate to the event
- Low motivation and energy; constant procrastination even if you desire to accomplish the task
- Sleep disturbance; “I just want to sleep all the time.” Or “I can’t get a good night’s sleep.”
- Appetite change, often with weight loss or gain
- Feeling like you’re just barely ‘holding it together'; like you could easily dissolve into tears or an angry tirade
- Desire to run-away or flee your life as you know it
- Suicidal thoughts or plans to harm yourself, including cutting or other self-injurious actions; intentional, risk- taking behaviors with a semi-death wish
- Constant worrying, fretting, feelings of dread and powerlessness
- Explosiveness, sometimes accompanied with feelings of guilt, then shame
- Hopelessness and despair; “There’s no way out and will never change”
- Negative thinking; a constant pessimism about life and/or other persons. Stinkin’ thinkin’.
If you answered “yes” to half or more of these symptoms you are experiencing clinical depression and need help. These symptoms can be treated and resolved. David personally understands this issue and his training and experience have helped countless persons through the process of reclaiming their life from the relentless grip of depression. Various treatment modalities are used as is appropriate and agreeable to the client.
Anxiety has many faces, and all of them are uncomfortable. Whether it is constant worrying, fretting, and thinking the worst, or feeling fearful, avoidant, and distrustful, anxiety extracts a heavy toll. Anxiety can be the other side of the coin to depression, sharing much of the same space in a person’s life. Anxiety may be-
- Phobic- the fear of a specific thing or event
- Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD) needing to repeat certain rituals in order to feel relaxed, confidant, or released to continue life
- Social- fear of public places or events with avoidance a common result
- Anxiety or Panic Attacks- physical manifestations from mild to severe, leaving the person shaken or even frozen
- Generalized Anxiety- a constant shifting of fears or paranoia such that the anxiety is everywhere
Anxiety is a debilitating condition with ramifications for not only the individual, but also for those around him or her. Treatment is unique to each anxiety issue. David talks through the process and works with the client to bring relief from both the symptoms as well as the underlying cause of the anxiety.
Anger is an appropriate response to an offense. How we ‘size up’ the offense and then manifest the anger is where the problem lies. There are many roots to anger issues and David has much experience in helping people untangle those roots and be released from their unseen stranglehold within the person. Many techniques are available to combat anger issues and are selected according to the specific dynamics of the client. This is different from the ‘one-size fits all’ approach, and David has found this method produces the desired result- emotional self-control.
Divorce and Divorce Recovery
When marriages fracture, both persons are left wounded. There are no winners in divorce. But in an imperfect world divorce is a fact of life. And if there are children involved, the divorce pain is greatly increased. Processing a divorce is critical to the emotional well-being of the individuals involved. And gaining self-insight from the experience is important for achieving satisfaction in any future relationships.
David works with couples, individuals, and children who are experiencing this life-changing event. Recovery is a journey which cannot be rushed. Each step of this journey leads to eventual healing and discovering that life can go on.
“That’s just the way I am. Accept it.” So goes an oft heard statement. But why are we the way we are? And who are we? And why do I repeat the same mistakes? And if those are my weaknesses, what are my strengths? And how can I learn to manage both my weaknesses, and manage my strengths? And why is my partner….? Etc.
For over 40 years David has made a study of the human personality and has taught many how to understand themselves. Discovering who we are is not the issue, or even how we got that way. It is putting into practice what we know about ourselves and exercising self-management that is the key to life. Guided development of this intentional skill has been a part of David’s work with people since the 70’s.
Occasionally personalities can become disordered and present repetitive problems for themselves and others. Depending upon the disorder, David has skill in helping people identify their troubling experiences and working to establish new and more satisfying ways of doing life and relationships.
Parents are the architects of the family, and sometimes it’s hard to get all the pieces into place. And if our own childhood and family of origin had deficits, it can be hard to construct the family you desire. Good parenting is as important as good nutrition. Insufficiency in either area has long term, negative consequences.
As a father of four, David has taught numerous parenting classes and given helpful guidance to many. Whether it’s early childhood issues, discipline, chores, consequences, or character development, there is help available. For difficult cases, David uses the James Lehman Total Transformation materials with proven results.
Each person is unique and their story becomes their legacy. Finding resolution to troubling or confusing chapters in our story is an important aspect of individual therapy. Decision-making, processing, overcoming- all have a place in a person’s journey to wholeness. Rather than a cookie-cutter approach to counseling, David uses a variety of approaches in this therapeutic process based upon the uniqueness of each person.
It is common for couples to experience times of conflict. It is also true that conflicts often go unresolved for years and become repetitive. A lack of understanding and the appropriate tools to process these conflicts is a slow poison to the relationship. In couples counseling David guides to an understanding of how to break these destructive patterns and develop positive relational oneness.
Families occasionally need guidance in dealing with recurrent issues, or a time of crisis. Each person plays a unique role in the family and is important to the overall structure. Understanding these roles and enabling each person to do their part, whatever the issue, builds families.
Children and Adolescents
David works with children age 6-12, and adolescent males. Depending upon the age and presenting issues, he uses a variety of therapies to engage with the child and enable them to express their hurts, needs, or struggles. David draws upon years of education and experience as a children and youth worker, high school teacher and a parent to four.
Couples looking to marry will find David’s experience in this area unique. The Prepare/Enrich online inventory is used to assess points of compatibility and areas for growth. Session numbers vary, but 6-8 is typical. As an ordained minister and pastor, David has had the privilege to counsel and marry dozens of couples.