Release Your Past

July 1st, 2013


This Thursday, June 6th, my friend Donald Gerard, MA, CHT will be offering a free workshop on what gets in the way of dating.

Release Your Past

Are you single and stuck in a dating rut?
Do you keep choosing the wrong people?
Do the wrong people keep approaching you?

Are you finally ready to release all of your relationship baggage and
attract the type of relationship you want and deserve?

If so, then you are ready for Release Your Past. In this free
workshop, you will:

– Learn the four main obstacles to being open to love
– Learn the five phases of dating
– Learn about parental imprints and attachments
– Learn how inner conflicts sabotage your dating experiences
– Learn about limiting beliefs and disempowering negative thoughts
– Learn how old behavior patterns can attract the wrong people
– Learn why it’s important to connect with your “inner soulmate”
– Learn strategies for developing unconditional self-love

Ultimately, you emerge from the workshop with the understanding
that empowers you choose and attract the right people.

Space is limited, so YOU MUST REGISTER in order to attend.

To register contact:

For more information, contact Donald Gerard at (510) 470-1798

Thursday, June 6, 2013
6:30PM – 8:00PM
Oakland CA

Donald Gerard has been helping people for most of his life. Donald
holds an Master’s degree in Holistic Health Education and is a
certified NLP Coach and hypnotherapist. Through one-on-one
coaching, groups, classes, workshops, teleseminars,
presentations, and his book Collective Wisdom: Powerful Stories
and Practical Advice for Achieving Success, he has helped
thousands of individuals reach their relationship, career, and life

Premarital Counseling Tip #4, The Up’s and the Down’s

July 1st, 2013


It seems something went wrong with this never being published. SO here is number 4.



One important piece of information I want all couples entering premarital counseling to embrace is the understanding how to “operate” your partner. I often joke about how toasters come with owner’s manuals, but our partners certainly don’t. Instead we have to learn through sink or swim.

Part of building an owner’s manual, is really understanding and appreciating the often significant difference between how individuals are wired to behave. One common area that can often cause problems in relationships has to do with arousal regulation. There is a continuum in which we all fall around how energetic or calm we feel. Our level of energy can be determined by our diet and exercise. It can also fluctuate depending on what time of day it is. However, it is important to understand that it is also determined through our neurological wiring, genetic structure and absorption of immediate family experiences.


What goes wrong:

When a couple interacts while they are in different arousal states, it can be annoying, grating or disappointing. Additionally, how one person regulates their own arousal level may or may not be affective in influencing their partner’s.

How do you get your partner to come play? How do you get them to relax? How do you manage differences in agendas on a day-to-day basis?

I find that in both my experience gained through premarital counseling and in conversations with couples who have been successfully married for years, people often struggle mightily with this very issue. This is especially true after being apart for work or other reasons. If one person wants to unwind alone and the other wants to play or debrief his or her day, being annoyed with each other is distinct possibility.

Start paying attention to this idea of individual peak personal arousal. Where do you tend to gravitate? What about your partner? When are your arousal levels different? How do you treat each other? How does that affect your relationship?


Helpful Hints:

  • Learn to take things slowly. Don’t push each other in either direction. Learn to shift your partner’s arousal level in small steps and adjust your own actions in response to your partner’s needs and expectations.
  • Pay attention to how easy it is for you or your partner to transition between activities and energy levels. Some people shift quickly. Others find transitions jarring and intrusive. Figure out if your partner needs more time to change activities.
  • Learn to negotiate. Remember from the last Premarital Counseling blog that negotiation is a key element to a relationship based on fairness and mutuality.
  • Develop mutually agreed upon rituals around “reunions”. Often when couples reunite their arousal is at different levels. But remember from the Premarital Counseling Gift #1, hearts and brains attune to each other. Meaning, so will arousal. For a great video on how to attune to each other during reunions watch the “welcome Home Exercise” in the favorites section of my You Tube Channel.
  • Finally, be kind to each other. Remember the concept of Differentiation from Premarital Counseling Gift #3? You and your partner will never be in synch with each other 24/7. You can deal with that through contempt or kindness. The choice is yours.


“Many a war has been avoided with a friendly smile, a well-placed touch, and a reassuring voice.”

– Stan Tatkin


Premarital Counseling Tip #5

May 20th, 2013


Premarital Counseling Tip #5, Novelty and the Mundane

In this edition of the Premarital Counseling blog, I would like to share some ideas about how to create and appreciate positive interactions between you and your partner.

First the bad news:

A lot of life involves “everyday moments.” We get up, eat breakfast, go to work, eat dinner, and go to bed. Our brain is designed to do most of this without much thought. Moreover, everyday moments don’t often catch our attention. For example, when was the last time you noticed how pretty the sky looked on the way to work?

On top of that, the mind is designed to “notice” novelty and threat. This is a fast acting process in our neurologic system and it is “dumb,” meaning it doesn’t utilize higher-level neurocortical functioning. While this tends to be great for survival of the species, it can prove problematic in relationships. Especially with how quickly we feel threatened when our partner’s do something that trigger us. Obviously, these things can be more problematic in long-term relationships.

But wait! There’s good news:

As humans, we are not confined to living our lives on autopilot. Our consciousness allows us to engage the world more volitionally, as well as train our autopilots to habitually direct us towards life enriching experiences.

Now one way to work with this is to focus on novelty. In Brain Power; Improve Your Mind As You Age, Michael Gelb and Kelly Howell point out that being a life long learner is one of the best ways you can take care of your brain. “Use it or lose it.” Couples can utilize this same purposeful mental commitment in their relationship.

I define intimacy to couples as the sharing and receiving of the self. I explain that there are six categories of intimacy: cognitive, emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual, and generative.

Generative intimacy is the intimacy of creating something together. This could be as simple as tonight’s dinner. It could be much more involved such as decorating a new house together. Or, it could be meaningful such as making a “home” together. Premarital couples in particular need to be discussing these things as they commit to creating a life together. However, creating a life together is not a one-time event. It occurs on an on-going basis throughout the relationship.

What do you and your partner do to create your future together? How are you using your new relationship as “canvas” for the work of art that is your life?


Helpful Hint:

Do you have the infamous “Ya’ know what we should do one day…” list? How many practical ideas and dreams fall by the way side never to be pursued? Why!?!    If it’s fun and attainable… JUST DO IT!!!


Do you know what makes you feel “alive” in relationship?

Do you hold the intention together to pursue your Aliveness?

Do you act on this intention? In other words, why aren’t you participating in the enjoyment of your own life?


“When things are not going in a satisfying way, then it is ALWAYS an aberration in either your Aliveness, your Intention, your Participation, or some combination of them”

– Jon Eisman


Now for the twist!

While creating novelty is exciting, John Gottman from the University of Washington found that it is the level of friendship that creates the strongest foundation for a relationship. It is not the fancy vacations to exotic locations that hold relationships together, it is how they appreciate and share their enthusiasm and fondness for each other on the day-to-day level that counts most. In his book The Seven Principles that Make a Marriage Work, Gottman shares his findings as well as offers practical exercises for couples to strengthen this aspect of their lives. I highly recommend this book for all premarital couples to help them build a solid relationship together.

For more information on Gottman’s book, please read my book review blog, February 2012.



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