The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language

The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language
Blog on 24 Apr , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Okay, so, we’ve talked a lot about the different Love Languages. But how do you know which is yours? Below we’ll discuss a couple of ways you can try to determine which language fits you best. You and your partner can both try to figure out for yourselves, and for each other, what your love languages are and share your answers with each other. 1. It’s obvious Sometimes, one of the Languages just...
More

Depression vs. Sadness and What You Can Do About It

Depression vs. Sadness and What You Can Do About It
Blog on 10 Apr , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
We're taking a break from our regularly scheduled posts on the Five Love Languages to bring you this exclusive special in which I was invited to a local TV station to do a short bit on depression.  Here's the clip with a brief discussion, with some further elaboration to follow: Depression vs. Sadness One of the questions the producers asked me about was the difference between depression and...
More

The Five Love Languages: Physical Touch

The Five Love Languages: Physical Touch
Blog on 20 Mar , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
The last of the Five Love Languages is Physical Touch.  This one is in some ways very easy and in some ways very hard. It’s very easy because it’s pretty clear what we’re referring to when we say “physical touch.”  But it can also be very hard because for many people, it’s simply not natural. Let’s explore further. What it Looks Like As with all the other Love Languages, Physical Touch is for so...
More

The Five Love Languages: Acts of Service

The Five Love Languages: Acts of Service
Blog on 6 Mar , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
The fourth of the Five Love Languages® is called Acts of Service.  For some people, actions indeed speak louder than words. Of course, just as with Words of Affirmation you can’t speak nicely while neglecting the other aspects of your relationship and expect to come out on top, so too it should be noted that if you constantly say nasty things to your partner while you do nice things for them you p...
More

The Five Love Languages: Receiving Gifts

The Five Love Languages: Receiving Gifts
Blog on 21 Feb , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
The third Love Language is Receiving Gifts.  This one is easy to grasp, but it sometimes gets a bad rap because to some people it smacks of materialism.  In fact, a person whose Love Language is Receiving Gifts may or may not be materialistic, just the same as anyone else. There is a big difference between giving a gift to someone for whom it is the primary way of receiving love and giving a gift ...
More

The Five Love Languages: Quality Time

The Five Love Languages: Quality Time
Blog on 9 Feb , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
In the last post I described the love language of Words of Affirmation.  The second language is called Quality Time, and you probably have a fair idea what that’s about without needing much a definition.  As you would expect, it means that some people primarily feel loved by spending time with you.  There are various ways this can be accomplished, as well as some pitfalls to avoid. Let’s explore. ...
More

The Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

The Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation
Blog on 24 Jan , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Words of Affirmation is the first of the love languages described in Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages system. For people whose primary love language is Words of Affirmation, it’s what you say that counts.  This of course does not mean that you can act like a slob, forget your wife’s birthday gift or cheat on your spouse as long as you say nice things while you do it. It just means that in order ...
More

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages
Blog on 9 Jan , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
The Five Love Languages® is a great tool for improving relationships, whether you’re at the beginning of a new relationship or you’ve been married for decades.  It is a very simple and understandable method of connecting with your significant other – as well as your children, parents, siblings, friends, and anyone else you are in a relationship with.  There is an extensive array of books, quizzes,...
More

Four Ways to Identify a Bad Therapist

Four Ways to Identify a Bad Therapist
Blog on 7 Dec , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Following up on our last post, let’s talk a bit about what possible red flags to look out for when searching for a therapist in Baltimore or anywhere else.  Unfortunately, as we mentioned last time, it’s not that hard for a nasty person to get a master’s degree and a counseling license, provided that s/he can pass tests and write papers.  And a nasty person is not what you want for a therapist.  B...
More

How Do I Find a Therapist?

How Do I Find a Therapist?
Blog on 15 Nov , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
So you’re looking for a therapist in Baltimore.  Maybe you typed “Baltimore therapist” into Google and it sent you here.  But how do you find the right “Baltimore therapist” for you?  What goes in to choosing a good therapist – and not just a good therapist, but a good therapist for you? That’s an important distinction to take note of.  Research shows that virtually all modes of therapy depend...
More

How Long Does Couples Counseling Take?

How Long Does Couples Counseling Take?
Blog on 3 Nov , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
This is a question I get asked all the time. How long will it take?  How many sessions do people usually need?  People rightly want to know how much time and money they will be investing into this process.  Unfortunately, there is really no way to give any useful answer to this question.  Let me explain. Imagine you call up a doctor and you tell him, “I’ve got a headache.  What will it take to ...
More

Couples Counseling – What’s It All About?

Couples Counseling – What’s It All About?
Blog on 10 Oct , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
What is couples counseling? Couples counseling goes by various names: couples therapy, marriage counseling, marital therapy, relationship counseling, and more. These are all ways of framing the same process, namely, trying to help a couple (whether married or not) achieve a better level of functioning. What this means is that when one or both parties in a couple are not happy with the relationshi...
More

Stop a Fight Before it Starts

Stop a Fight Before it Starts
Blog on 5 Oct , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Ever find yourself in a situation where a fight is brewing and you know it's coming but don't know how to avoid it?  Check out this link for a post explaining just that. http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-stop-fight-with-your-partner-before-it-starts-1004164
More

Family Therapy: Parental Transitions

Family Therapy: Parental Transitions
Blog on 26 Sep , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
In the previous post we cited a number of examples of role changes that can lead to conflict in the home and the importance of family therapy for managing these transitions.  There we focused primarily on the changes experienced by the daughter in a relationship (see here for why I am using female protagonists in this discussion). However, I wanted to note that transition is really a lifelong comp...
More

Mothers & Daughters: Changing Roles

Mothers & Daughters: Changing Roles
Blog on 8 Sep , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Why do relationships between mothers and daughters that are warm, loving, and peaceable turn into battlegrounds of conflict and frustration?  What happens that causes such a drastic change, often in so short a time? The usual culprit is transition.  Life transitions are generally a period of personal instability and therefore instability in relationships. This can be felt powerfully in pare...
More

Family Therapy: Parents & Children

Family Therapy: Parents & Children
Blog on 24 Aug , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
We frequently get calls for family therapy, specifically regarding troubled mother/daughter relationships.  These include young parents with school- or preschool-aged children, middle-aged women with their teenage/young adult daughters, and even up to elderly women who still struggle with having a proper relationship with their adult daughters. Why does this particular relationship so often r...
More

Is Your Relationship Worth It?

Is Your Relationship Worth It?
Blog on 15 Aug , 2016 by Caitlin Chana Hill
Ever wonder whether the relationship you're in is worth the trouble?  Worth the fights, the arguments, the crying?  On one hand, you love your significant other. On the other hand, when things get rough, they get really rough.  What do you do?  How do you know? Check out this latest article at http://www.blogher.com/your-relationship-worth-it to read more about it. And, as always, contact us to...
More

How to Catch a Cheating Husband

How to Catch a Cheating Husband
Blog on 8 Aug , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
If you are looking to catch your husband (or wife, boyfriend, etc.) cheating on you, you actually have two problems at hand, not one.  The first, of course, is that your husband might be cheating on you.  The other, however, is that you have a relationship with your husband which is adversarial – meaning you feel like enemies, not friends. In a healthy relationship, you and your significant oth...
More

“I Caught My Husband Watching Porn”

“I Caught My Husband Watching Porn”
Blog on 27 Jul , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
If you’ve just discovered your boyfriend or husband watching porn online – perhaps extensively – you may be feeling shock, anger, disappointment, betrayal, and more.  You also may be confused about what this means for your marriage. Or, you might be very clear about whether you want to fix it or end it.  Many women feel if their husband has turned to pornography it means he is no longer interested...
More

Call for a Free Counseling Consultation!

Call for a Free Counseling Consultation!
Blog on 19 Jul , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Getting started on the process of therapy isn’t easy.  Especially if you’ve never done it before, you might be a little bit confused or nervous about what to expect (but see here for some information on that).  If you’re thinking about coming for counseling on your own or with your partner or family member, but aren’t ready to commit to it, give us a call for a free 20-minute consultation to learn...
More

Millennial Love

Millennial Love
Blog on 12 Jul , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Check out this recent article for which I was interviewed by ABC staff: http://www.abc2news.com/bachelor/millennial-love-one-right-swipe-at-a-time It discusses modern dating and how technology has made a significant change in the dating landscape.  There's no question that Tinder, OKcupid and the like have altered the way people meet and date.  If you've ever read an Archie comic, you'll kno...
More

The Kids Were Difficult Tonight

The Kids Were Difficult Tonight
Blog on 6 Jul , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
An amazing thing happened in my house last night. I was out for the evening, and I came home to find a tired but relatively cheerful wife and three sleeping children. This is what I would call an excellent outcome for a nighttime routine executed with only one parent. But that wasn’t the amazing part. That was excellent, but not necessarily amazing. What was amazing was my wife’s take on it. Sh...
More

Save My Marriage!

Save My Marriage!
Blog on 27 Jun , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
I’ve noticed that a lot of requests for help that come through e-mail, text, or sites like Thumbtack.com list “save my marriage” as the reason for seeking help. So I thought I’d let you know in advance – I can’t do that. A lifeguard can save someone’s life often even in the face of their resistance. They’re trained to swim to shore with a struggling, uncooperative victim. But I probably won’t b...
More

Bariatric Surgery and Self-Esteem

Bariatric Surgery and Self-Esteem
Blog on 16 Jun , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Bariatric surgery and self-esteem are obviously intricately intertwined with each other. Most people who suffer from obesity naturally struggle with their self-esteem, especially in a culture such as ours where beauty and thinness have been entirely conflated and where photoshopped models grace every other advertisement we see. It is certainly difficult in America to be overweight and still have a...
More

A Letter to Mom

A Letter to Mom
Blog on 2 Jun , 2016 by Raffi Bilek
Yes, this is an actual picture of me at something like 15 and my real-life mom. I believe we're on a biking trip in one of the Carolinas.  The exceptionally poor quality is due to this having been taken at twilight with one of those yellow plastic disposable cameras.  (Remember those?) So this post is about raising teens and, appropriately, links to my latest article at the Raising Teens blog ("a...
More