It is interesting to me how much, as adults, we assume we know how to be in healthy committed relationships. We think it's a "no brainer" or "common sense" when, really, it is one of the most challenging things we will ever do. We are tested in all kinds of ways in our intimate relationship. We try over and over again to make things better using the same ol' skills and tricks we have been using for years and get frustrated when our partner isn't getting on our page.
Is any of this familiar?
If you weren't so ________ I wouldn't be _________!
Will you just "let it go?"
If you could just be more (or less) ________ we wouldn't BE in this situation!
Why is this coming up AGAIN?
Can you NOT be a jerk for once?
Why do you get so mad all the time?
What did I do now?
You say this EVERY single time!
You NEVER listen to me!
Why are you always on my case?
Don't you have anything to say?
I knew it... you don't really care about me.
Why is it always like this with you?
Every couple is challenged with escalated moments in their relationship from time to time and that is to be expected... we're human beings trying to love other human beings.
When it starts to feel like a problem
What becomes problematic is when these moments are happening more frequently than not and couples can't seem to find a way to get out. We get lost in those places when we are escalated and often find it hard to hear, see or understand our partner. Couples become stuck and, even when they know they love each other, still seem to not know where to go from there. When we are doing this over and over again, it can easily become exhausting for both partners... not because we stop caring but because we simply don't know what else to do.
Three key components
In Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples, there are three key things that help serve as the foundation for an emotionally safe, healthy and connected relationship. These three things include:
If it helps, just remember "A.R.E."
Accessibility means that we are open to our partner approaching us and that we feel comfortable to move toward our partner with something. They let us know they are available to us and vice versa.
Responsiveness refers to answering the call. If my person moves toward me with something I will acknowledge their presence and respond. Likewise, when I call to my person, I feel confident that they will hear me and respond to my call.
Engagement is knowing that our person is interested and present with us. If I bring something to my person, I feel confident that they will engage in conversation with me and there will be dialogue. In turn, when my partner brings something to me, I will engage with them and tune into what is happening.
Take a personal inventory
When couples find themselves in a pattern of distress, it might be that something in the foundation of A.R.E. is lacking or missing. Take a look at your interactions with your partner and reflect... Am I offering A.R.E to him/her? What might I be doing or saying that would suggest I'm not Accessible, Responsive and/or Engaged with them?
At times when we are hurting, it can be really challenging to want to look at the ways we are showing up in the relationship. We become laser focused on what the other person is doing, or not doing, and how they are the problem. It goes without saying that relationships are a two-way street and there is likely something we are contributing to this cycle or pattern as well.
The more we can personally take inventory like this the sooner we can make adjustments and practice influencing positive change. If you find it is too difficult, it might be worth talking about with a professional third party (insert my smiling face here) to see what is happening in the dynamic that is contributing to feeling stuck and leaving you both unable to connect.
It's not about being perfect
Remember, whether you are doing this with a counselor or on your own at home, it is more important that you are intentionally trying to learn something new than whether you are "performing perfectly" or "getting it right." Most people respond positively when they see and feel their partner trying to grow, learn and find new ways to become close to them. It lets them know that they matter and are worth making an effort to do something different.
Have a wonderful afternoon!
Many people want to experience a better marriage and try many different things to make that happen on their own. Unfortunately, these tactics don't often work long term or provide any real healing to the relationship. Even when couples feel closer for a period of time, it seems like the same topics resurface over and over again... the very things you both thought were behind you.
Our weekend workshop for couples is based on a curriculum of Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples (EFT) an highly effective model of counseling used for couples in distress.
My experience with Emotionally Focused Therapy
I was introduced to Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples by a dear friend, and colleague, Dana Vince, about 6 years ago. Learning about EFT was life changing for me, as a professional therapist and as a married woman. Although I was pretty good at reading and meeting the needs of others (I mean, I am a therapist after all), I realized I had a difficult time expressing my needs (or really recognize that I had any at all - I was the "strong one" who didn't need anything but always ready to help others). Over time, I found myself becoming angry, lonely and confused.
My husband is an AMAZING man and, in my mind, I knew back then that he loved me, but it felt like we couldn't have been on more different pages. I couldn't quite put my finger on a specific cause to this distance but I definitely felt it was present. My heart was becoming hardened, I felt lonely and I found myself wondering if this was all there was to marriage. He was confused and frustrated, to say the least, and we seemed to just keep missing each other. This old cycle we had found ourselves in was ineffective and left us both frustrated, wondering what the heck was happening to us... we were acting in ways that didn't accurately represent who we are, our values or our love for each other.
Couples in our workshop
EFT is specifically designed to dig into these types of issues couples often experience. Our weekend workshops are offered for couples in committed relationships who desire to be closer. We have had couples join us who are dating, engaged, recently married and those married for years. Couples who have been through significant life experiences together yet look at each other and wonder what happened that led them to this place of feeling disconnected, lonely and frustrated.
It is your time to join us
Our next weekend workshop is taking place in just a few weeks, Aug. 25th and 26th. Over the course of two days, you and your partner will learn what is happening in your dynamic that leaves you feeling stuck, frustrated and lonely. You CAN experience better and enjoy your relationship in a way you might not think is possible right now. I can share this confidently through my own experiences and understanding of EFT, which is the model of counseling used as the foundation for our couples workshop.
Dana Vince and I co-facilitate the workshop together, with a genuine passion for helping couples find healing and rediscover each other in new, compassionate ways. The weekend is jam-packed with information, exercises and opportunities to receive help from experienced, trained EFT therapists. Although the environment and vibe of the weekend is casual, we get A LOT of work done. Dana and I have even said if every couple who starts marriage counseling could participate in a weekend workshop, they would have moved through about the first 5-6 sessions of marriage counseling. The workshop is THAT full of information... information that can begin transforming your marriage right now.
Register now for our next workshop
Registration is open now for the upcoming workshop August 25th and 26th in Knoxville. If you have any questions at all about the curriculum, what to expect, the fees or how to register, please contact me - I am happy to answer. Registration is done online through our workshop website www.holdmetightknoxville.com.
If you are on the fence at all, or wondering if this type of workshop would be helpful for your marriage, call me or use the contact page to reach out. We can talk through your situation briefly and see if this workshop might be able to help. We have had couples attend who were truly on the verge of leaving each other and making very significant decisions about their lives and family... couples who walked away from this workshop feeling hopeful, connected and positive about the changes to come.
You can read testimonials from past participants at the workshop website: www.holdmetightknoxville.com. There you can also read more about the workshop details and how to register. Call or reach me through the contact page if you have any questions. Register today to reserve your seats!
Have a wonderful day!
Don't spend another summer vacation going through the motions with your spouse or significant other. You spend money and time with hopes of having wonderful, connected moments with each other. However, sometimes it can feel like you're just going through the motions and you wonder it will ever be different. You don't necessarily want to leave but you want better than this... something that feels closer and more connected.
You can do this... learn what is happening that keeps you guys stuck and what you can do to move forward, move closer and start actually enjoying each other again. In fact, you can do this in as little as one weekend. I'm not saying that to get you to "buy in" to something... I'm saying it with sincere hope that you will give one of our workshops a chance. People who have participated walk away with a tremendous amount of information, insight and feelings of safety and connection that they have not feel with each other in a long time, if ever. Don't take it from me... read several testimonials from recent participants at www.holdmetightknoxville.com.
Our next workshop is coming up soon... August 25th and 26th. Registration is open now and we would love to have you join us!
You can read more about the workshop and registration process at:
Have a great Wednesday,
Join us! Our next group supervision sessions are scheduled for this coming Wednesday, June 13th. There is a midday session offered at 12pm and an evening session offered at 6pm. Group supervision is a time for clinicians who are in the process of becoming licensed (LPC/MHSP) to participate in case consultation, better understand licensure requirements, share resources, network with each other and discuss challenges and victories along the way!
You are welcome to join us if you are new to the licensure journey or well on your way to finishing. Group sessions are just $25 and each group session lasts one hour. You can come during your lunch break or right after work... light snacks, coffee and water are provided for groups.
If you are in the process of licensure as an LPC/MHSP, up to 50 hours of your total supervision can come from group. So, if you are needing to add supervision hours, or simply want to network and brainstorm with fellow clinicians, join us!
Do you have questions about the group... or about the licensure process in general? Feel free to contact me. I provide individual, dyadic and group supervision services for post-graduate clinicians pursuing the LPC/MHSP credential. Navigating this licensure journey can be confusing and overwhelming... but it doesn't have to be! Contact me to join a group or get started with individual supervision. I look forward to meeting you!
Enjoy your weekend,
Do you wonder what happened to the fun girl you used to be married to or the guy who used to give you all kinds of loving attention? You know, the one who now shuts you down when you try to talk or sleeps at the edges of the bed... yeah, that person.
There are conversations you could be having to help come closer but you're likely never going to have those at home. Not because either of you are incapable but simply because you don't know what they are and, even if you did, there's usually way too much tension and hurt present for anything to be heard or understood by either partner.
The Hold Me Tight© Workshop is a weekend workshop for couples who would like to learn why their dynamic feels off, no matter how much they try to fix it. Couples who want to learn how to be closer to each other and have more productive, meaningful conversations. The curriculum is based on the work of Dr. Sue Johnson, developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples.
Our next workshop is in just a couple of weeks on June 9th and 10th. We would love to have you join us!
For more details about the workshop, and to register, please visit
If you have any questions at all, please contact me (through the contact page HERE). My friend and colleague, Dana Vince, and I facilitate this workshop together in a casual environment that allows people to relax and focus on their relationship for two solid days. You will have our help, guidance and support through the entire weekend as you both learn new skills to help improve your marriage.
Both of you will walk away from the weekend with a LOT of powerful information and insight about your relationship. You will learn why all of your efforts to fix were not working before and, more importantly, you will both learn skills that will actually help you move closer to each other and become stronger as a couple.
Visit www.holdmetightknoxville.com for more information about the workshop, read testimonials of couples who have recently participated, and to find out about fees, location and more.
We look forward to meeting you!
Is it possible to improve the quality of your relationship in one weekend? YES... with the right information and guidance! Join us for our next Hold Me Tight couples weekend on April 7th and 8th. Early bird pricing for couples registered before March 24th!
Over the course of two days, you and your partner will discover what has been sabotaging your efforts of effective communication, how to move past seemingly impossible obstacles and learn how to turn toward each other in a healthy way. It is not a secret that relationships can feel hard. We get stuck in long-standing patterns with each other, have the same conversations over and over and start to feel hopeless that anything might change. We either keep fighting the good fight until we get too tired (and then what??) or just give up thinking, "I guess this is just marriage." You can have better!
The Hold Me Tight weekend is grounded in the work of Dr. Sue Johnson, the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Her groundbreaking work with couples has turned the tables on traditional relationship counseling, getting beyond the basics of conflict resolution to the heart of what is really happening with couples who feel disconnected or in distress. We will be covering these concepts and giving you new information, new tools, guidance and opportunities to practice over the course of just two days.
Click HERE to learn more about the Hold Me Tight weekend workshop for couples. Our next workshop is being held April 7th and 8th in West Knoxville. We would love to have you join us! The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, yet focused and productive. We want couples to feel welcome and experience a great weekend that can change the course of their marriage!
Early registration discount is $500 per couple for those who register before March 24th! Click HERE to learn more about our upcoming workshop and to register!
Have a great Friday,
Join us for the next group supervision session this coming Tuesday, February 13th. The daytime group is offered from 12-1pm and the evening group from 7-8pm. Both group supervision sessions are held in my office, so I ask that you register ahead of time due to limited space.
This month we'll be talking more about how to log your hours for licnesure as a LPC/MHSP. It can be a pain the rear, but staying consistent with tracking your hours will help you feel more peaceful and confident during the licensure process. We'll be talking about target numbers to shoot for in order to complete your licensure in a certain period of time and what this means for supervision hours, etc. We'll also use the group time to process cases and spend time answering questions about the process of earning your LPC/MHSP.
I'd love to have you join us this Tuesday at either the daytime group (12-1pm) or the evening group (7-8pm)! Use the contact form HERE to let me know if you plan to attend. The fee for group is $25/person and I accept payment at each group. You do not have to pay in advance - I just need to know how many people to plan for because it's held in my office and space is limited.
I have coffee, water and light snacks at each group. You are more than welcome to bring food if you'll be eating lunch or dinner during this time. The atmosphere is VERY casual but productive and purposeful! I'd love to have you join us - feel free to use the contact for HERE to let me know you're coming and which section (daytime or evening) you want to attend. Thanks!
Have a great morning!
Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP, NCC
Marriage & Individual Counseling
Do you want to become a licensed therapist in Tennessee but don't know where to start? Are you already working in the field and need help getting a solid game plan together?
I'll be hosting a small group supervision meeting at my office on Tuesday, 1/23, from 12-1pm. We will be going over the details of licensure so you can start planning and feeling confident about earning your LPC/MHSP credentials. This will be a casual, but informative, group that offers a place to ask questions and get the support you need to navigate the licensure process.
The cost of group supervision is $25 and will count toward your required supervision hours for licensure. I'd love for you to join us! Since seating is limited (we'll be in my office) I do ask that people contact me in advance to let me know they plan to attend. If you are coming during a break from work - feel free to bring your lunch!
I'm happy to answer any questions and hope you'll join us!
Marriage Counseling / Individual Counseling / Clinical Supervision
Congratulations on your recent graduation! Earning your Masters degree is no easy task. You have worked hard to get where you are and I bet you have goals of working with certain populations or within certain clinical settings. Earning your credential as a Licensed Professional Counselor / Mental Health Service Provider (LPC/MHSP) is key to opening these doors of opportunity for you as a clinician.
Earning the LPC/MHSP credential means that you will be licensed for a full scope of practice: assessment, diagnosis and treatment of clients. This full scope of practice will be necessary if you have a desire to become a clinical supervisor or clinical director within an organization or work independently in a private practice setting.
I know at this point you likely just want to take a break and work for a little while and then, if you feel like it, maybe start working on earning your license. If there was one piece of advice I could share with you at this moment it would be: START NOW. Here's the thing... if you are already working in a clinical setting that would qualify for hours toward your license... why not just get started in this process and allow those hours to count?!
The full process of licensure for LPC/MHSP has to take a minimum of two years and no more than four years to complete. The licensure process begins when you are in active individual supervision with an approved supervisor. As new people start with me, I have them sign a supervision contract that serves to verify the "start date" and we go from there. From that day on, you can start counting hours.
I typically see supervisees once per week, depending on how many face-to-face hours they are getting at work. If someone is working part-time in a clinical setting or otherwise not getting many face-to-face counseling hours with clients, I will meet with them every other week until their hours increase. My supervisees know they have access to me anytime and we develop great working relationships with each other.
The main thing I want you to take away from all of this: The moment you start active individual supervision is the moment you can start your licensure process. Putting this off can make a difference for you professionally. The sooner you earn your license as a LCP/MHSP, the sooner you can have more doors opened to you as a clinician and work toward meeting your career goals.
The licensure process can feel a bit overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. If you are ready to learn more about the details of the process, I encourage you to join our first group supervision session of 2018 on Tuesday, January 23rd. Even if you are in individual supervision with someone else, you can still attend group supervision and it will count toward your licensure supervision hours.
Up to 50 hours of your total supervision hours can be in the form of a group. I am an approved supervisor and will be tracking attendance in groups, as well as providing you with a receipt to keep for your records. The daytime meeting will be held from 12-1pm or you can choose the evening option from 6:30-7:30pm. We will be going over all of the details that will help you feel confident in starting this process. You will also be leaving with a handout to reference as needed that highlights what you need to know to make sure you are meeting requirements successfully.
Don't wait to get started. You have come too far to postpone earning your license. I have been where you are and know the energy it takes to get this process started. I also know what it feels like to look back on that time in my life and feel thankful for those who encouraged me to keep going. Without their guidance and encouragement I don't know that I would be in the position I'm in today. You can do this! I will help you sort through the confusing bits and pieces and you will feel confident as you move toward accomplishing this professional milestone.
If you would like to join us on Tuesday the 23rd, at either the daytime or evening group session, please contact me to reserve your seat! If you are ready to go ahead and get started with individual supervision we can do that, too! Contact me anytime for upcoming availability and we will get you started. I look forward to helping guide you through this process!
Happy New Year!
When your spouse says something to you like, "We need counseling," it can be hard to hear. You may get upset, deny that your marriage needs any help, suggest that your partner is the only one with a problem or even completely ignore what is happening because you just do not want to go there. The reality is, whether it's painful to hear or not, there is something very real happening in your marriage if your partner says they want to go to counseling with you.
I know there are people who hear counseling (especially marriage counseling) and think "NOPE, not happening." I completely understand. It can be really uncomfortable to think about talking with a third party about the intimate details of your relationship. You may think, "I'll just fix it myself," or "We'll be fine" and plug along doing the same things you've always done. You hope that your spouse will get over it and this will pass. Unfortunately, this approach is not effective. In fact, many times the hurt grows deeper and partners become more and more disconnected.
Simply put, doing the same things you've always done isn't going to work. If it could, it would've been working already. There is a reason you and your spouse keep having the same conversations over and over (and over). Find out why this is happening and learn REAL methods that will help you and your spouse feel closer and more connected with each other.
Our weekend workshop for couples is a great way to help you build a better marriage. It is a wonderful option for those who are reluctant to go counseling... this is small group workshop format that delivers key information for you and your spouse to start doing something different. Honestly, if there was one thing I would want to share with couples in distress it would be: Stop making this harder than it already feels. We can help you!
Benefits of attending a Weekend Workshop:
1) Time limited: In one weekend (2 days) you will learn a wealth of information about why what you've been doing isn't working and what to do differently to improve your marriage. Who doesn't have one weekend available to invest in their marriage? Oh stop it, yes you do... :)
2) Cost effective: For two full days, you and your spouse will be learning from two advanced EFT trained therapists who specialize in marriage counseling. One marriage counseling session (50 mins) costs roughly $130-150. So, let's split that down the middle for simplicity at $140 per therapy session... $140 x 13 hours = more than a weekend workshop fee!
3) No pressure to share: These workshops are not therapy. It is a small group learning format where a small number of couples will be getting the same information at the same time. You and your spouse will be given opportunities after each section to privately practice some of the skills you're learning. Dana Vince (who is certified in EFT and an EFT supervisor) and I will be right there for you if you get stuck or need help during that private practice time.
The weekend workshops are a great way to renew hope and get something positive going again in your marriage. We would love to have you join us for our upcoming workshop on February 3rd and 4th! Make your marriage better in 2018. If you've been in counseling before and have found it unhelpful, we strongly encourage you to attend. If you are thinking about starting marriage counseling, or want to go but have a spouse who doesn't, this is a wonderful option for all the reasons listed above.
Click HERE to register for the next weekend workshop on Feb 3rd & 4th.
Have questions? Contact me anytime. I'm happy to answer questions about counseling services or the upcoming workshop.
Join us for our next weekend workshop in February
and make this a better year for your marriage!
Licensed Professional Counselor
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