How Do Couples Gain Trust When Trust Has Been Broken? And what do therapists do with such a couple……….?

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There first needs to be goodwill, and a willingness to want to gain trust on both sides of the aisle. What is goodwill? Goodwill has been defined as friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitudes towards another. Can you tell if you have goodwill towards your spouse?

It can be defined by these three questions.

1. Do you still care about the welfare of your mate or partner?

2. Do you still care, even if you’re no longer in love with someone?

3. Do you want the best for your mate, even if this relationship is over?


The answers to those questions will help you decide if you have goodwill for your partner and if you can jointly start to repair your relationship. If goodwill is present, honesty and truth will be part of your discussion.

This type of communication between partners where both parties are honest and transparent is absolutely necessary. For example, acknowledging the story that brought them to this place, telling the truth and taking responsibility for your own part in this situation.

Why do some people cheat? Or hide their secret lives? Let’s us count the many ways: grief, excitement, boredom, change of life issues, validation you are still sexy or handsome. There is also often a tiny cracks in the relationship where the partners stop listening and responding to each other in positive and caring ways. That is not to say the person that had the person who had the affair is blameless. In fact, just the opposite, they shoulder that blame alone. But their partner also played some role in creating the rift between them.

Here is a typical scenario: “David (not a real person) wanted another life beyond what he had, so the waitress at the local diner was cute, perky, and always had a smile on her face. It started with a wink, leaving a big tip after his meal, chit-chat about the weather, politics, and, the next thing he knew they were at the local motel until the wee hours of the morning. The waitress’s mother took care of her kids, (a second job), and he told his wife he needed to work late on that big project that he had told her about several days ago. Things progressed for a few weeks, and then the 16-year-old son was taking his driving test, and he turned the corner and there was the waitress and his dad in a big hug outside the motel.

Now the son is perplexed, and he has questions, does he tell his mom? Does he honk their car to say hi? Does he text his girlfriend to ask for support? “So now, not only is the man, David and the woman involved, so is David’s teenage son. This type of family situation is often called Triangulation. Triangulation occurs when a 3rd party, in this case the son, is pulled into a conflict or stressful situation. This type of behavior can easily break up a family, cause mistrust, and having a family secret like this can cause depression and anxiety.

Can this family be saved?

Is their goodwill between the man and his wife? Both parties are able to openly and honesty talk about the why of the affair, the boredom in the relationship, the lack of feeling good about one’s self and the decision that lead to the straying. Then this couple has hope. Many couples can’t handle this frank discussion without becoming overly emotional or angry and they need to enlist the services of a trained therapists. Sometimes we can’t see our part in the conflict especially if that person is not the one who cheated. Therapy can help sort out truthful communication, acknowledge the hurt, shame and guilt.

If there is not the basic relationship of goodwill, lasting change in the therapy room will not happen. The breakdown in the relationship happened even further when the wife says, “that’s it, I’ve suspected your cheating for years! Pack up, get your bags, you’re out of here, NOW!”

LGBTQI population is not immune to cheating or having a secret life.

One partner, “Gale” (not a real person) was middle aged and felt she was no longer “cute, perky, and outgoing”. She was married to her wife for 20 years. She was young, looked up to her, flirty, and willing. They had a fling for a few months and ended it. Gale wanted to tell her wife, she felt guilty and ashamed. One night she told her wife Linda about the “fling.” Linda wanted to hear nothing of it and she had “nothing to understand.” Linda’s way to cope was to “Forget about all this and move on.” Gale on the other hand wanted to go to therapy to understand what had happened to her during their 20 years of marriage. She wanted to understand how this young woman was so easy to have a fling with. Linda wanted to forget, “what was done was done.”

Statistics say in general, more men are more likely to cheat than women. Of those reported cheating behaviors, 21% of men and 13% of women (in a General Social Survey, 2016) reported cheating on their spouse, wife, husband, or engaged friend.

Debbie had a secret life which started in teen years. No one knew, and she kept it well hidden, until her husband went into her closet and found the box of memorabilia. He confronted her, and the cat was out of the bag. Now he feels he can’t trust her.

How to regain trust and create good will between the partners?

First, feelings are natural. Stress reactions like shock, agitation, fear, pain, depression, and confusion are all normal. You might feel as if you’re on an emotional roller coaster.

Good self-care is a must, and Revenge is not the answer. There must be a prior history of goodwill and the parties must be willing to move past the behaviors and start to rebuild.

Conversation about boundaries must occur and the 3rd person must be ejected from the couple. If that 3rd person makes, contact immediately that must be shared with the partner and together the couple decide how to respond.

The couple must also agree after a while to move on and to stop punishing each other years later. I know a couple once that talked about the affair like it was yesterday, but it was twenty-five years ago. Trust needs to be reestablished slowly and steadily.

The person that had the affair must also make a written apology that includes they understand the feelings, betrayal and trust that was lost when they choose to stray. Honesty and openness must be part of the apology.

Lastly, consider a good family therapist or Couples’ therapist to assist both partners in this fact finding, sharing, and loving adventure to wholeness. Therapists are trained and experienced in helping couples understand betrayal of trust and honesty. Therapists often uncover a past breach of trust that is still lingering in the marriage today. Therapists are also trained to look at other symptoms that can have a negative effect on the marriage.

If you have experienced an affair and need assistance to rebuild your relationship, we are here to help.


By Judy McGehee, LMFT

My passion is working with children, teens, adults and couples, who want to build meaning in their lives. Building trust, intimacy, and companionship are most important to me as a therapist.

My relationship in counseling began about 35 years ago in working with families in church settings,in schools, and addiction treatment centers.. I became licensed in 1995, and have found this is the profession I thrive in, and wish for my clients the richness and relationships they are seeking from therapy.

I have also worked in,psychiatric hospitals, and children's centers, and believe my career has been embellished through each and every client I have had the privilege of working with.

I also enjoy being a Clinical Supervisor, and have had the honor of mentoring over 495 Interns/Associates since 1997. I received my Master's Degree from Phillips Graduate Institute, I am a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and enjoy the membership of three local chapters of CAMFT.

I look forward to working with you in the future at CCS.

Parent Café: Self-Care

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Hi, I am back with more helpful tips and hints, this time for the care providers.  We, as parents, are constantly reminded that our children/child comes first.  That is partially correct as parents; we must remember that our children will need us at peak performance most of the time.  Depending on their age group as to how much direct supervision and energy will be needed.  Albeit it’s hard to find personal time to refuel our energy. We know that spending time with our children helps them to socialize and learn the values of the family as well as community standards. We will not be able to carry out parental duties in an effective manner without self-care.

What is self-care?

 Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.  Though the question seems relatively simple of just how does a parent juggle all the tasks to do self-care?  Self-care often gets overlooked or dismissed to a later date, often a date that never happens.  Self-care is important for reducing anxiety as well as improving one’s mood. It is necessary for all people but especially for parents.

What isn’t self-care

Self-care is not a forced act or something we don’t enjoy doing.  A scholar once explained self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.”  https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-self-care-is-and-what-it-isnt-2/

Below are a few helpful self-care tips:

  1. One of the main keys to not becoming overwhelmed by the steps in the process of developing a doable self-care plan. Keep it simple. 

  2. Developing a self-care plan that can help enhance one’s health, well-being and manage one’s stress. 

  3. Identify activities and practices that support your well-being as will assist you in sustaining a positive long-term self-care plan. Improving and increasing your life.

  4. Another crucial factor is that a self-care plan is personal to you.  Everyone’s approach will differ and should relate to the needs of you. 

  5. Self-care plans are useful for workplace/professional well-being, physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relationships.  Activities should be tailored to and meaningful to one’s self and intended goals. 

  6. Physical self-care should include a regular sleep routine, healthy diet, walk, and exercise. 

  7. Psychological self-care consists of reflective journaling, hobby, time away from emails and social media, relaxation, positive interaction with family and friends.

  8. Emotional self-care encompasses developing supportive frie­ndships, write three good things that you did each day, play your favorite sport, and talk with friends about how you are coping with life demands. 

  9. Spiritual self-care involves reflective meditation, walks, visit your church/mosque/temple, yoga, reflect with a close friend, download the 1 Giant Mind app, and learn mindfulness techniques and its benefits. 

  10. Once the plan has been drafted, keep it in a visible location, stick to your plan-practice regularly, and re-assess how you are doing and if it needs adjustments.

  11. Once you create your plan, do a cursory check for any barrier that might hinder you from moving forward.  Also, what can you do to remove these barriers?  If they cannot be removed, then one might adjust their self-care strategies. 

  12. Finally, relationship self-care involves making close relationships, e.g., partners, family, and children a priority attend dedicated events with family and friends, arrive to work, and leave on time every day.

Access the links below, to download and chart your self-care plan, it is really easy to do.

Another method of self-care that I want to reintroduce are the benefits associated with mindfulness techniques/exercises.  Let’s start with what mindfulness is:  The term mindfulness refers to a psychological state of awareness, the practices that promote this awareness, a mode of processing information, and a character trait. To be in step with up-to-date research, mindfulness means also “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment”  This definition can be found by clicking here.

Mindfulness-based skills can help both adults and children to cultivate emotion regulation, decreased reactivity, and increased response flexibility, and intrapersonal benefits.

 The 5 most common benefits of mindfulness are:

✔ Decreased Stress

✔ Decreased Depressive Symptoms

✔ Increases Self-Compassion

✔ Improved General Health

✔ Increases Positivity in Mental Health Outcomes

  • Deep Breathing (Mindfulness Exercise) promotes:

  • Breathing for Enlightenment-develops deep insight

  • Breathing for Relaxation-helps quieten and clear the mind

  • Breathing to Let Go of Negativity

  • Breathing for Inner Peace

  • Breathing to Learn about Your Body

  • Breathing to Connect Mind and Body

 Source: https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/meditation-and-breathing-benefits-of-mindful-breathing/

Incorporating mindfulness exercises into one’s self-care plan is an added benefit, a benefit that brings positive returns.  As this will, i.e., practicing mindfulness will engender a whole-body healing, relaxation, and a peaceful mind and spirit.  Therefore, one will likely return to the task at hand with an increase in their self-care toolbox, an arsenal of ways to bringing calm, peace, relaxation, and clearer thinking.


By Valerie Fluker, MA, APCC

All people come to counseling to relieve pain and suffering. They feel they have little to no hope left. What they have been doing isn’t working anymore or maybe never did. They feel out of control, scared, and do not know where to turn. Or they may need education in the form of Parenting or Co-parenting classes. Or some just need to work on relationship issues or manage anxiety. Regardless of what brought you to this website I can help. I am caring, understanding and I want you to feel better. I see great things happening for most people within a few sessions. These clients start to feel happy, gain more confident and report they are satisfied with their life. While I cannot guarantee you the same results, I have seen positive results with most clients.

I became a counselor because I wanted to harness great hope and positive energy and to help install healing for my clients. I consider working with people in therapy an honor and privilege to work with each client. In therapy, each person develops their positive mental wellness plan and great growth often takes place.  

I discovered my passion for counseling teens while volunteering for Riverside Youth Probation. I enjoyed seeing these teens learn and grow as they figure out who they will become. I also work with caregivers of dementia clients and I see the struggle to care for their loved one. I frequently work with people that suffer from depression, anxiety and trauma. I have specialized training in trauma, working with children and elder adults.

I am a member of the following professional organizations:

  • Purple City Alliance helps make The City of Riverside a Dementia Friendly City.

  • American Counseling Association (ACA).

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Active Parenting

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This blog will focus our attention on active parenting tips for our children to increase their confidence and responsibility.  What is active parenting?  First and foremost, active parenting help impart to our children values that help create high functioning children and great adults. Active parenting involves instilling:

1.      Courage

2.      Self-esteem

3.      Responsibility

4.      Cooperation

These are just a few of the skills necessary for children to learn survival and life skills.   When thinking about active parenting, a proactive approach works best.  In other words, do not wait until the child does something wrong.  Instead, instill values and morals that will serve as your child’s foundation-a building block for growth.  Many parents believe instilling values, morals, and socialization is the purpose of active parenting.  Find your child doing good and encourage your child by telling them how grateful you are that they did this (___________________) Something like I appriacate it when you help me put the dishes away or when you make you bed or when you are nice to your little sister. Find a way to let your child know that you care and are watching. Ask your child what do they like best about their drawing or their art project. These are just some of the ways to actively parent.

Let us take a quick look at the four basic blocks. 

  • Courage-when instilled as a foundation; children have the strength they will need to try and try again. This build resilience a great tool for life.

  • Self-esteem-that is to possess a positive image of self.

  • Responsibility-a child is more than capable of making decisions as well as accept responsibility for that decision.

  • Cooperation-parents encourage children to work together as well as with others for a positive end.  Cooperation is also an essential element needed to facilitate teamwork efforts.

The four basic blocks are important for every child to learn. As a parent; we will not be able to be there for everything our child does. Having our children to use decision-making, along with the courage to stick with his/her decision, is crucial.  Another important part of active parenting that revolves around protecting and preparing children to be equipped to survive and thrive in society.  Important to that end is for children to feel good about themselves and their decisions and act them out with confidence in everyday life.

For more information on Active Parenting click here

Most parents can agree that is parenting is a full-time job, with no instruction manual. Most parents are unaware of the pivotal role they play in shaping the people their children will eventually become.  Parents become teachers, role models, protector and confidante, and many hats, all to get their child/children to a safe place in life. 

Unfortunately, parents are  tasked with the job of telling your child a hundred or so times the same set of directives. This is needed to help your child’s brain fully understand and be retained in their memory.  Essential to effect communicative is a relationship with your child is a vital component in developing a healthy relationship between the parent(s) and children. 

Learning how to develop effective communication with your child engenders a stable and loving home life (which helps keeps parents sane).  Noting day-to-day activities, e.g., homework, meals, and bedtimes flow more smoothly. Effective communication may also improve your child’ long-term health and development.   Studies indicate that children who don’t feel or believe they have a good relationship with their parents are more likely to have low self-esteem, difficulties in school and emotional problems, and are a greater risk for using drugs and experimenting with risky sexual behavior [source:  Mental Health America].

Building a strong relationship with your child/children

1.      Be consistent with children.

a. Hour to hour, day to day, and week to week, in short, every waking moment remain consistent with rules and discipline

b. Parents must practice the following rules as well, or our children will not either

c. Focus on one key behavior (or misbehavior) that needs addressing

d. The behavior should reflect a reward or disciplinary action [source:  Family Education]

2.       Stay positive-remain calm, do not yell.  Always reward your child for their good behavior. 

a.  The only way to reverse negative behaviors is to make rules that you can keep and enforce.

3.      Be Patient-Even though one may desire quick results; people don’t change overnight.

a.  It took time for your children to master their misbehavior; it will take equal time to change them.

4.      Expect resistance-Never fear your children are going to test you, especially if you tried enforcing the rule with them before, but failed to follow through.

a.  Change can be challenging, and your children are not likely to embrace your new rules.   Nevertheless, do not give in or up parents you are likely to win.

5.      Stick with it-In order for change to stay long term; consistency is the key

a. Consistency will show your children the behaviors and values that are important to you and in turn, teach them self-discipline [source:  Family Education].

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A barrier to active parenting: when both parents must work and some parents must work two jobs for family upkeep.  Important to families wherein both parents must work is to choose quality over quantity.  That means, it is not how much time is spent, but the purposeful meaning embodied in that brief time. 

To this end, I am posting a summary of children’s rights as set forth by The UN Convention on the rights of the Child/ UNICEF for every child they list about 42; however, I will only list a few https://www.unicef.org.nz/child-rights

1.      Be Recognized

2.      Adequate care

3.      Parental guidance

4.      Life

5.      Live with their parents

6.      Freedom of expression

7.      Freedom of thought

8.      Freedom from abuse

9.      An education

10. Personal development, survival, and protection


By Valerie Fluker, MA, APCC

All people come to counseling to relieve pain and suffering. They feel they have little to no hope left. What they have been doing isn’t working anymore or maybe never did. They feel out of control, scared, and do not know where to turn. Or they may need education in the form of Parenting or Co-parenting classes. Or some just need to work on relationship issues or manage anxiety. Regardless of what brought you to this website I can help. I am caring, understanding and I want you to feel better. I see great things happening for most people within a few sessions. These clients start to feel happy, gain more confident and report they are satisfied with their life. While I cannot guarantee you the same results, I have seen positive results with most clients.

I became a counselor because I wanted to harness great hope and positive energy and to help install healing for my clients. I consider working with people in therapy an honor and privilege to work with each client. In therapy, each person develops their positive mental wellness plan and great growth often takes place.  

I discovered my passion for counseling teens while volunteering for Riverside Youth Probation. I enjoyed seeing these teens learn and grow as they figure out who they will become. I also work with caregivers of dementia clients and I see the struggle to care for their loved one. I frequently work with people that suffer from depression, anxiety and trauma. I have specialized training in trauma, working with children and elder adults.

I am a member of the following professional organizations:

  • Purple City Alliance helps make The City of Riverside a Dementia Friendly City.

  • American Counseling Association (ACA).

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Marriages Like Fine Wines Take Time

Marriages Like Fine Wines Take Time

Relationships are like fine wines; the taste and consistency will not happen overnight.  However, the steadiness, texture, and palatable is borne out of care, understanding, patience, and desire.  In my couples, therapy work…I find the “crystal ball” effect being quite prevalent, in fact, it’s so prevalent that when mentioned individuals appear bewildered. 

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