On July 12, 2010 I was listening to a gastroenterologist tell us that my 42-year-old husband (and father of my 2 sons, then ages 3 and 8) probably has advanced stomach cancer. That started our almost 5-year battle with what turned out to be a rare abdominal cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma. You may not face a cancer diagnosis, but all couples will face challenges when they need to be able to count on each other. When the cancer bomb was dropped on us, we were in the stage of marriage when most couples struggle, 2 demanding careers and 2 young, busy children.  

When there is so much to do and so little time, it’s easy to avoid the difficult conservations and build up resentments. I am grateful that my husband and I were able to find each other again as we coped with his illness. We grieved that we had allowed distance to grow in our relationship, resulting in the time we now knew to be limited to be spent feeling alone rather than connected. We had the opportunity to turn toward one another and rely on one another for comfort and support. He made me feel valued and important to him, an essential partner in his life and treatment.

As painful as it was watch someone I loved die slowly, it was important to me to bear witness to his struggle and be the best companion possible. This experience has inspired my commitment to helping couples make the most of their precious time together. I am especially inspired by helping couples make their relationships into a safe haven from which they can navigate any storm.

Throughout my career, I have studied how to make families more resilient in the face of stressors such as health problems. My doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Houston included a specialization in pediatric and general health psychology. For over 10 years, I was a professor of psychology who trained clinical psychology graduate students and conducted research on relationships. I moved back to Houston in 2015 and returned to full time private practice.  

I am a member of the Houston Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (HCEFT) as well as the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT). Here is a link to an article on what to look for when selecting a couples therapist. https://www.coloradoeft.com/finding-a-couples-therapists-let-the-buyer-beware-questions-to-ask/