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Living Tree Counseling Services



March 2011
In This Issue
Mission statement
Welcome to Living Tree
Maintaining a Healthy Marriage
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Services Available

dress up
Healing, Hope and Wholeness

"Combining the disciplines of spirituality and psychology in a ministry that promotes wholeness and healing."

Located in Vancouver, Washington at the Vancouver National Historical Reserve, Living Tree conveniently serve the Portland and Vancouver community.  

 Welcome to Living Tree
Living Tree Counseling Services focuses on a
denise twapproach to health and well being.  I provide services varying from individual therapy to retreats and spiritual direction.  My goal is to combine the best that the disciplines of psychology and spirituality have to offer in order to facilitate my clients' journeys towards wholeness.

I hope this newsletter will be of interest to you.  Feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you think might appreciate it. 
Maintaining a Healthy Marriage
  Chains do not hold a marriage together.  It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. 
~Simone Signoret


    Spring is the time of year when love is in the air.  Birds and animals of the field search for mates and make nests to bring forth the next generation.  Flowers push forth their fragile heads and eagerly burst forth in bloom.  Young and old alike think of romance.  Early in spring, we have a holiday that celebrates romance, Valentine's Day.  Everyone loves to be "in love" and we all admire couples who appear to feast upon one another with such deep emotion and intimacy.  Romantic movies are prolific at the theaters.  Advertisements increase for and the like.  Ah, love...

    But what do we do after the flowers have wilted and all the candy is consumed?  How do we continue to grow in our relationships after the honeymoon is over?  What is the secret to maintaining a healthy marriage or relationship?hands held

    The American Psychological Association states research shows that people in a healthy marriage or relationship have completed these psychological "tasks":*

  • Emotional separation from family of origin: not to the point of estrangement, but enough so that identity is separate from that of parents and siblings.
  • Togetherness based on a shared intimacy and identity, while at the same time setting boundaries to protect each partner's autonomy.
  • Establishment of a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship and protect it from the intrusion of the workplace and family obligations.
  • For couples with children, embrace the daunting roles of parenthood and absorb the impact of a baby's entrance into the marriage.  Learn to continue the work of protecting the privacy of you and your partner as a couple.
  • Confront and master the inevitable crises of life.
  • Maintain the strength of the relationship bond in the face of adversity.  The partnership should be a safe haven in which each person is able to express his/her difference, anger and conflict.
  • Use humor and laughter to keep things in perspective and to avoid boredom and isolation.
  • Nurture and comfort each other, satisfying each partner's need for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support. 
  • Keep alive the early romantic, idealized images of falling in love, while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time.  

     It is also important to learn how to forgive each other's mistakes and move forward in the relationship rather than constantly rehashing the past.  The old adage of not going to bed angry works because it encourages resolution of conflicts rather than letting them build up over time.  It might not always be possible to solve the problem before going to sleep, especially if the lack of energy is contributing to the problem.  However, avoiding it and hoping it will just go away will not solve anything either.  It might help to take a break and schedule a time to return to the discussion/resolution of the conflict.  During the time out, each partner should focus on what he or she brings to the conflict from his or her family of origin dynamics as well as from the history of the current relationship. Disclosure of these insights and the willingness to be vulnerable enough to share them can move a conflict towards a resolution if each partner respects and honors the other.

   Marriage and relationships are hard work but it is in this intimate relationship that we are truly able to move towards wholeness.  If you are willing to stick with it and work through the difficulties, you will find that in the end the myriad of fragile threads you have weaved together will hold you through the storms of life.  What better way is there to mirror love to the world which is in desperate need for such a reflection!


   *Taken fromAPA Help Center, with thanks to Judith S. Wallerstein, PhD, co-author of the book The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts.

night in Norway cabin

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

W.B Yeats*


Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 

* From Good Poems, selected and introduced  by Garrison Keillor. 

  • The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts, Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee 
  • Making Love Last Forever, Gary Smalley 
  • Getting the Love You Want, Harville Hendrix  
  • Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, Robert Enright, PhD 
Batman and  Zorro Counseling & Spiritual Direction Available
Services are available from Denise McGuiness, PhD, MDiv. She is a pastoral psychologist, licensed in both Oregon (#482) and Washington (#1184).  She has been in practice since 1981. In 2004, she completed her master of divinity degree and added a focus on spiritual issues to her practice. She is also a certified spiritual director. Please visit Living Tree's website at to learn more about her philosophy of treatment. To schedule an appointment, call Dr. McGuiness at (360) 750-6868.
Contact Living Tree Counseling Services at:
Office phone: 360.750.6868
Denise McGuiness, Ph.D. M.Div., Pastoral Psychologist
Contact us to arrange for your first Spiritual Direction session, which is FREE. Further sessions are based on a mutually arranged fee scale.
Offer Expires: June 30, 2011