Thursday, September 28, 2017

10 Things That Turn Women Off

WomenIn most healthy marriages, both the husband and wife enjoy physical intimacy. There was a time when women were taught to “endure” their husbands’ advances, but thankfully we have grown past that archaic mindset and into the realization that God designed sex in marriage to be pleasing to both spouses.

And yet, a lot of men still complain about their wives’ lack of interest in physical affection and sexual intimacy. What’s the problem? I have found that many men simply do not understand how they might influence this indifference or lack of desire.

As a psychologist, I have spoken a great deal with men and women on the subject of marital intimacy, so I hear both sides of the story. It is rare that someone’s marriage is affected by all ten of these turn-offs, but they are common enough that you might recognize yours in one or two of them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Meet Conflict Head-On

ConflictWe recently escaped the brutal Arizona desert heat with a road trip to San Diego. Paradise, right? Fog in the morning, beach temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, beautiful scenery and stunning colors, and an enormous number of vehicles displaying Arizona plates vying for parking spots! I expected peace and quiet, yet what I experienced nestled in this supposed utopia was… conflict. Conflict all around me.

A young family in the restaurant battling the cries of their kids. At the beach, young people were arguing what bathing suit was the sexiest (someone tell me when thongs became the norm on beaches!!!), and at the hotel swimming pool where a couple held hands coming in but stormed out 30 minutes later. As you know by now, in relationships, in families, at work, conflict is ever present. The goal is not to avoid conflict, but rather to embrace and grow through it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What Crying Babies and Strong Relationships Have in Common

Strong RelationshipsWhen a perfectly contented newborn baby hears another baby crying, it’s common for her to begin wailing as well. Now, most of us would just say, “Well, sure, I’d cry too if my ears were hurting and the noise nearby was TOO LOUD.” But studies indicate more is going on than “what just meets the ear” and that we can all learn something about EMPATHY that infants, it appears, learn very young.

When two babies begin crying in the same room, it’s not just the loud noise that causes the second baby to wail along with the first. Researchers have found it’s the sound of a fellow human in distress that triggers the baby’s crying. One New York University psychologist believes that this “reflexive” crying, as he calls it, may be a precursor to human empathy – the ability to observe the anguish or joy of another person and take it on as your own.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Do You Listen With Your Eyes?

It was a normal night in the Towne home. I came home from work tired, hungry, and needing a safe haven to sit and be quiet. Four rugrats had learned to give Dad a break those first minutes upon entering their world of play, adventure, questions, and innocent zeal of life.

ListeningAs I sat down, I put my legs up and began reading the newspaper to unwind. Checking out the headlines and moving to the sports page, I began to enter a zone, tuning everything out as I immersed myself in the world described in the printed page, hiding myself behind the opened newspaper print.

Kids were talking but I was in a comatose cubby. I would occasionally grunt a response, say a polite “Uh-Huh”, “Yep”, “Mmm”. It was then that my daughter did something that has stayed with me for the past 15 years. She pulled the paper down and said, “Daddy, I need to you to listen to me with your eyes when I am talking.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

If You Care, You Can Help!

People who are facing difficulties sometimes choose to talk with a “professional” about it – a psychologist, physician or pastor. But more often, people go to their friends first. If a friend in need calls you, don’t panic. I understand that having someone share difficult issues, painful experiences or intense emotions can be intimidating because you don’t think you know enough to help. But the good news is, when a friend comes to you and pours out their heart about a problem in their life, you don’t have to have all the answers. The most important thing is that you care.

A Caring FriendThe listening and caring professions are thriving because people have a deep need to be heard and understood. Sometimes factual information and intervention are needed in order to solve a problem, but many of the issues people face in their relationships just need to be talked out with someone who cares. Parents of toddlers or teens need to be able to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to deal with kids who are at those stages of life. People going through difficult times at work need an understanding colleague who will encourage them to stay strong when things get rough. At times, the most comfort comes from learning that you’re not alone – others have gone, or are going through, the same struggles, frustration and doubts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting

In a recent coaching session, a client asked if I could help him break the habit of interrupting.  He told me that several team members had confronted him about frequently talking over them – interrupting.  They were honest enough to tell him just how much it had become a consistent source of frustration for them.  In collaboration with my client, we came up with several strategies that ultimately helped him to virtually eliminate his “communication destroyer” habit.

One of the quickest ways to shut down communication is to interrupt.  When someone repeatedly interrupts others it not only derails communication, but it also diminishes the trust and respect people have for them.

I won't tell you

If your relationships are compromised due to a habit of interrupting I encourage you to read and practice the 10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting below.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Power of Listening


Let’s begin with a little quiz.

Q: What do you think is one of the most common complaints expressed in the workplace today?

A: The habit of NOT LISTENING. (Perhaps the title was a good clue!) Poor listening is considered one of the most rude of all office behaviors. After all, the messages you send, whether intended or not, come across loud and clear when you don’t listen or pay attention:

• I don’t care about you.
• I don’t understand you.
• You’re wrong.
• What you have to say isn’t important.
• You’re wasting my time.

Most people don’t realize just how powerful listening can be, and they often miss out on its valuable benefits.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guaranteed to Improve Communication

By far, the number one problem identified by married couples is that they can’t communicate effectively. It’s actually somewhat hard to believe that this problem is so pervasive in homes today when you consider that these same couples often claim to not have difficulty communicating with friends and co-workers. What’s up with this?

One of the main reasons couples have such a difficult time communicating at home is because their conversations involve “high stake” relationships along with “high stake” issues that are often highly emotionally charged.

I have found that one of the best ways to guarantee better communication when engaged in these difficult conversations is to learn how to be a skilled listener. I’m confident that if you consistently practice the tips below for the next thirty days you will see the quality of your communication improve significantly. Give it a try.

1. Listen twice as much as you talk

“It is far better to keep quiet and let people think you are foolish than it is to speak and have their suspicions confirmed.”

“The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”
Alfred Bandel

2. Commit to not interrupting

“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” King Solomon

3. Listen for accurate understanding

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Stephen Covey

“Hearing is merely picking up sound vibrations. Listening involves understanding what you hear.”

4. Avoid mind reading and drawing premature conclusions

Acting as a mind reader or jumping to premature conclusions because you have “heard it all before” will likely take you down the road of misunderstanding.

5. Ask questions to gain more information and to seek clarification

The more fully and clearly you understand the thoughts, feelings and

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keys to Effective Office Communication

Building and maintaining strong relationships on the job can be a challenge. These tips are intended to help you make wise decisions when communicating with your co-workers.

1. Avoid written communication when your emotions are involved. Talk to the person face-to-face.

2. Use written communication (e.g., e-mail) for conveying factual information or for asking questions.

3. When you receive a communication that triggers an emotional response give yourself plenty of time before you respond to the person.

4. Writing down your immediate thoughts and feelings can help you diffuse your emotions and help you to respond in a more rational, caring and constructive fashion.

5. Fight the temptation to immediately involve others in situations that make you hurt, angry or upset. When you do have a need to talk with someone, go to your supervisor first. If he or she is unavailable, call a friend or family member outside of work for a listening ear.

6. Communicate important details in writing and avoid hallway communication.

7. When involved in meetings, state your purpose at the beginning and stay on track. Always follow your meetings up with minutes or at least a brief summary of what was discussed and/or agreed upon.

8. Avoid blurting – the tendency to share thoughts and ideas “off the top of your head” or during a time that was not previously scheduled.

9. Always clarify for others what you have heard them say.

10. When you sense someone is bothered or upset with you don’t ignore it, check-it-out.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd