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


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.

5 Effective Communication Skills


Something that people often bring into my therapy room is that they want to communicate better. You may ask, “what does that even mean? Well, I am going to tell you exactly what that means in 5 effective communication skills. To start off, I think we need to start with the basics and discuss what communication even means.  “Communication: a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.” (Merriam Webster).  In really people terms it’s how we talk to our spouse, our kids and even our boss. This would also include the great amount of nonverbal communication that we do. Ever ask yourchild if they ate that cookie you left on the counter? They shake their head, but this little smile comes across their face and the cookie that you had been saving is gone; that is nonverbal communication. Other nonverbal communication is eye-contact, tone, body posture or gestures. Now that we know WHAT communication is, let's figure out how to do this effectively. 

5 Effective Communication Skills

  1. Active listening- this means to listen with your body giving full attention to the person that is speaking. It means to be alert while the other person is talking. It requires the person listening to be interested and to fully concentrate on what the person talking is saying. This also includes nonverbal communication (eye contact, facial expressions, nodding, etc.)

  2. Asking questions- when you are in conversation with someone, asking questions show that you are interested in what the other person is saying. This can include open-ended questions such as questions that start with how, what, where, who, when or “can you tell me more about that?” Or even closed ended questions like “Are you feeling better today?”  “Can I help you with that?” or “Have you completed your homework?”

  3. Clarifying and summarizing- this is to ensure what you are hearing is being heard correctly. It is also helpful in making sure the person talking is getting their point across clearly.  “So, what you’re saying is ________?”  “Do you mean you want to go out to dinner?” or “Did I understand you when you said…?”

  4. Being present- being in the moment with the person you are communicating will provide a better chance to understand and empathize with the person you are communicating with.  Your time and attention is focused on to the person that is speaking. (Put down that phone)

  5. Being clear- speaking clearly and concisely is effective because then there is little room to misunderstand or misinterpret what is being conveyed. Say what you want _____ “I would like it if we went to the movies” instead of “Sure would be nice if we might go to the movies”. This last sentence is not as direct, and communication is always better if the listener doesn’t have to guess at what you are thinking or feeling. Tell that person.  It’s only in the movies when people can read minds. In real life, being direct is the key.

By Courtney Whetstone, AMFT

Courtney Whetstone, AMFT is an associate Marriage and Family Therapists who works with children and adolescents, couples, and in crisis intervention. I have experience in many areas, including family reunification and parenting. Courtney works in both the Riverside and Murrieta office.

To contact Courtney or any of our therapists please call 951-778-0230.


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For many of us we are taught that parenting is as natural as putting proper clothing or grabbing an umbrella when it is raining. However, parenting is not an automatic in our lives but instead learned behavior. Our children were not born with a how-to-manual; darn it. Therefore, we must learn how to become loving, caring and effective parents.

According to Webster Unabridged Dictionary parent is termed as a protector or guardian; further it states that a parent as one who act as parent of; to parent children with both love and discipline, and/or a person who brings up and cares for another.

That interpretation of a parent fails to give one the method involved in caring for another or parenting. So just how are we to know how to raise our child/children? Most of us use what our parents taught us. But is that enough?

The three major goals of parenting include:

  1. Ensuring children’s health and safety

  2. Preparing children for life as productive adults

  3. Transmitting cultural values (Encyclopedia of Psychology)

Thank goodness we have some innate abilities or we would really be in trouble.

Are single parent households uncommon?

  • No-over the past 20 years single parent homes in US increased

  • Single parent households have become more common than nuclear families (both mother/father)

  • Nuclear families consist of father, mother and children; sometimes grandparents raising grandchildren

  • Modern family structure households headed by fathers only, mothers only or grandparent only; as well as aunts, uncles, and sometimes adult siblings

 Now to revisit the mechanisms of parenting:

  • Parents and caretakers make sure children are healthy and safeequip them with the skills and resources to succeed as adults, and transmit basic cultural values to them.

  • Parents and caretakers offer their children love, acceptance, appreciation, encouragement, and guidance.

  • Parents and caretakers provide the most intimate context for the nurturing and protection of children as they develop their personalities and identities and as they mature physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially.

  • Information courtesy of American Psychological Association
    Read more on Positive Parenting

 What are the benefits of positive parenting?

Positive parent-child relationships provide a foundation for children’s, learning for which they bring into their adulthood.  With parents’ sensitive, responsive, and predictable care, young children develop the skills they need to succeed in life.  Early parent-child relationships have powerful effects on children’s emotional well-being (Dawson & Ashman, 2000), their basic coping and problem-solving abilities, and future capacity for relationships (Lerner & Castellino, 2002). From Positive Parent-Child-Relationships. 

4-Key points to positive parenting success:

  • An Effective Parent
    your words and actions influence your child the way you want them too.

  • A Consistent Parent
    you follow similar principles or practices in your words and actions.

  • An Active Parent
    you participate in your child’s life.

  • An Attentive Parent
    You pay attention to your child’s life and observe what goes on.

What is community and how important is it?

  • Instructing child(ren) in social skills

  • Teaching child(ren) how to share

  • Instructing child(ren) about fairness (age appropriate)

    • Important when engaging play dates

  • Model, Model your best selves

    • Child (ren) do-as-one-do and not what one say!

Hey parents, let us remember that parenting skills are not automatic nor does a how-to-manual magically appear at the birth of the child. Parenting is largely learned behaviors as well as information passed from one generation to another.  It is okay to ask questions, read a book or two, or enroll in a parenting class, as this is ok for moms, dads, grandparents, or any designated care provider.  It’s important to strived to become an effective parent, practice consistency, be active in your child/children’s life, and do more listening than talking. If you need more help on parenting or building a great relationship with your child, call me and I can help. I work in both locations, Murrieta and Riverside.

by Valerie Fluker, Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor

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.

School Blues

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Summer is known for many happy moments. We celebrate the 4th of July, being off of work or school, National Watermelon Day (August 3rd), and having those lazy days by the pool that help us to unwind after a long week of work.

One thing that is so important about summer is all the smiles we see. Living in Southern California is not always “chill” but we do have beautiful weather that allows us to visit the beaches and swim in the pool. Growing up in socal can be wonderful and, every summer, we see kids and parents with smiles because summer time is the best time to stay connected with family.

Many children start school at a young age and, when summertime comes, they may lose interest or focus when they eventually start school again in August or September. Others may not like being without the school atmosphere for so long and may have behavioral issues. Both school and summertime are needed but, can a child have school in summer?

Parents may still work in summer and are forced to bring their children with them to work or send them to a family member or baby sitter which could lead to boredom, irritation, annoyance, and even depression. To keep your child occupied and interested during summer by trying some of these easy-designed summertime tips:

  • Make structure: children tend to like to have a plan of what is going on for the day/work- this provides a sense of relief or safety because they know what to expect. Start by making calendars, create a daily routine, and have special nights every once or every other week that involves them making decisions.

  • Help the child to find extra-curricular activities: find camps and day programs that help the child to both physically and mentally stretch. Learning new skills and meeting new people can help the child to have a sense of belonging. Meeting current friends and setting up play dates can also help the children to feel a sense of belonging. Also, family vacations or days away from home help too.

  • Listen: Many times, children just want you to listen. If they are sad are having a hard time adjusting to the changes, sit down and talk with them.

  • Give them purpose: As much as older children despise chores, they are still needed. This gives kids a sense of purpose and that they are contributing to the home or “team” as you might say. Also, let your children come up with creative ideas. You do not need to entertain them 24/7. They have minds, let them wonder. Volunteering is also a good way to show purpose especially if you do it with them.

  • Have fun: Remember to make time for your child and you to just have fun and to be with one another. Life gets busy, but children grow up faster than you know.

Make some summertime memories with these fun tips and your child will forever remember how fun and awesome it was to be with mom or dad while also staying both mentally and physically active. They will be prepared and ready for school after having an amazing summer!



Janna is currently a paraprofessional at a charter school based out of Chino and is also a volleyball coach in Corona. She just graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently on her way to earning her Master’s degree in Education and hopes to keep pursuing her dream of working with children and families and eventually becoming a mother herself one day in the future.

What does it mean for me to be “diagnosed?”

What does it mean for me to be “diagnosed?”

Think of a diagnosis as a snapshot of who you are not a life sentence. 

During the course of our lives, it is safe to say that any of us can be identified as having a mental health diagnosis at one point in our lives.  The death of a loved one, job loss, relationship issues are all potential catalysts for concern and they technically may lead to a diagnosis.  This doesn’t mean that we are meant to carry a diagnosis forever or that we cannot recover or live fully functional lives.  A mental health diagnosis is identifiable and agreed upon a cluster of symptoms meant to describe a person’s experience at that moment in their life. 

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Marriages Like Fine Wines Take Time

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Choosing to move to Southern California 15 years ago still, stirs up a variety of emotions during the Holidays for me.  Even though it was very exciting to move from a cold, wet, dark country to sunny California, it was so strange and foreign (pun intended) to hear Christmas songs and seeing decorated trees in 80-degree weather.  My first Christmas in Southern California was celebrated with friends at an outside barbecue gathering, which was total opposite from an inside dinner with close relatives around a fire in the fireplace.

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The holidays are a great way to reconnect with family, to have a Friendsgiving with those who aren’t family but probably should have been, to share old traditions, welcome new folks, watch a game (and argue about the game), 

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