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Joe
Professional Counselor, PhD student, part-time writer, full-time Dad and Husband
Interests: Italian food, cooking, movies, writing, sports, books, baseball, umpires
Recent Activity
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This weekend my husband and I went to the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert. One of my favorite songs they sing is “It's your love”. It's your love, it just does something to me, it sends a shock right through me, I can’t get enough. If you wonder about the spell, I am under. It's your love. My entire family is under this spell from this man I call my husband and my children call dad. He loves us all fiercely. There is not a day that goes by that I am not overwhelmed with gratitude for him. He is determined and fights for good. As a therapist, I often see that being a good dad or husband is not modeled but one can always learn. My husband is a great one to learn from if you don’t know him then find someone you respect and model your life after them. Here are observations from watching my husband that will make anyone a good dad if they follow these tips. 1.Make sure your child knows your love in unconditional. My husband told me before my children were born that he would go out of his way to make sure they knew there was nothing they could do to cause him to love them more or less. He has drilled this in their heads! His love is unwavering and will not change, regardless of what they do. Work hard. When my husband and I met we barely had two nickels... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Erica Martino
I currently have a 30 days of mindful meditation group going that you can join by clicking on this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/286899935052609/. What is Guided Imagery? Guided Imagery is great for the visual learner. It invites participants to use their imagination to visit the most relaxing place they can imagine! It is just like daydreaming. Perhaps your “happy” place is on a sandy beach, feeling the sun beating down you, listening to the waves crash into the sand. Maybe it is sitting on a river bank listening to the trickling water hit the rocks. Wherever it is you find peace, relaxation, and comfort is where you should let your mind go while doing Guided Imagery. While you are immersed in your scene try to let your fives senses do the work, do you hear the waves crashing against the beach? Do you smell the fresh air and feel the sand on your skin? Do you taste the salty water? Stay here, in your happy place as long as you need to, when you're ready, leave your happy place and tell yourself you're going to enjoy the rest of your day. It's like returning from a mini vacation only, you never left the room. Guided Imagery helps reduce stress by calming your body so you can enjoy a few minutes of relaxation!! Did you also know it also helps create resiliency, reduces your chance of getting sick and aids in sleep? You should try it and tell me how it goes. (Don’t... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2017 at Erica Martino
Did you know that according to the National Institute of Mental Health (2015) that 350 million people across the globe struggle with depression? Depression is often viewed as a deliberating feeling that often leaves you in bed. Here are 10 ways to recognize if you or someone you love is depressed. 1. You are in chronic pain. Pain can be unbearable and hard to deal with especially if the cause has not been discovered or a cure, treatment option or pain management is not available. Untreated, prolonged pain can cause depression because the pain is sent through the spinal cord to the Cerebral Cortex. The Cerebral Cortex then assigns meaning to the pain based on current or previous social and personal experiences. 2. You have an eating disorder. Individuals who eat too little or too much could suffer from depression. Often times the feelings of guilt, shame and fear take over when a person eats, leading to a vicious cycle of over or under eating. When an individual feels they cannot win, they feel defeated and often fall into what seems like a hopeless battle. 3. You are having trouble in a relationship. Prolonged conflict in a relationship can lead to feeling helpless, stuck, overwhelmed and sad. Relationship issues can cause the brain to release unhealthy amounts of the stress hormone cortisol into the brain causing your situation to feel out of control. 4. You feel numb. Individuals often become depressed without even realizing it because they go through life... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2017 at Erica Martino
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Mother’s Day is a ponderous day for me. I love being a mom and feel so proud to be the mother to our four children. They bring joy to our lives daily, however, I often think about the people who cannot have children, the children who have lost their moms, the mom who has lost her child, the mom who lost her husband and the mom whose children no longer speak to her. My heart goes out to them. I imagine the day is filled with many emotions. To the women who cannot have children My heart goes out to you. The emptiness you feel is real and I know it sucks. It is hard when you want something so bad and for whatever reason, it will not happen. Please know it is not your fault. I know that is not always easy to accept. I hope you find joy in the day celebrating a mother in your life and never forget that a mom is not just a woman who gives birth but a woman who cares and nurtures for others, if you pour your life in a child, you’re a mother so Happy Mother’s Day to you. To the child who has lost their mother I am sorry. I imagine this day brings sadness. Losing a mom sucks. Moms fill our life with joy, love, and laughter and when they are gone, it hurts. I imagine that no matter how long it has been, the pain of not... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2017 at Erica Martino
As a child, even though I had low-esteem and little belief in myself, it never stopped me from dreaming. I remember fantasizing about being preaching or working in a hospital one day. As I matured, and after many days and hours in the school library, I decided I wanted to be a counselor. You can check out my story here http://www.ericamartino.com/2016/12/i-had-to-prove-i-was-not-the-dumb-girl-from-high-school-.html. At a young age, I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and helping them move toward change. When I graduated high school I enrolled in a college and was planning to get my degree in counseling. Instead of getting my counseling degree at that time I chose to get married. After I got married, I begin working with my husband first at a church, then at couple different schools. We have always done well working together. One day an opportunity presented itself for me to open a fitness center for an investor in the town where we lived. After much contemplation, I decided to give it a try. The fitness center grew rapidly and soon I was running 7 different centers in 3 different states. My favorite part about my job was listening to all the members tell me their stories of pain, hope, and perseverance. After several years of running fitness centers, I decide to become a stay at home mom and take care of my sweet children but even while being at home, my passion for personal development never left me. During my years at home, my husband was... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2017 at Erica Martino
As a child, even though I had low-esteem and little belief in myself, it never stopped me from dreaming. I remember fantasizing about being preaching or working in a hospital one day. As I matured, and after many days and hours in the school library, I decided I wanted to be a counselor. You can check out my story here http://www.ericamartino.com/2016/12/i-had-to-prove-i-was-not-the-dumb-girl-from-high-school-.html. At a young age, I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and helping them move toward change. When I graduated high school I enrolled in a college and was planning to get my degree in counseling. Instead of getting my counseling degree at that time I chose to get married. After I got married, I begin working with my husband first at a church, then at couple different schools. We have always done well working together. One day an opportunity presented itself for me to open a fitness center for an investor in the town where we lived. After much contemplation, I decided to give it a try. The fitness center grew rapidly and soon I was running 7 different centers in 3 different states. My favorite part about my job was listening to all the members tell me their stories of pain, hope, and perseverance. After several years of running fitness centers, I decide to become a stay at home mom and take care of my sweet children but even while being at home, my passion for personal development never left me. During my years at home, my husband was... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2017 at Erica Martino
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Summer 2016, just 6 months ago, while I was weaning myself off my narcotic drugs due to a major surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, I battled with feelings of depression I had never felt before. I would wake up with thoughts and words swirling around in my head, simply with no origin, but they were there and I was listening. Almost every thought and sentence began with two words: Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at Creative Solutions Counseling
Phrases I often hear is: “He made me yell at him.” “We got into a fight because she made me mad." My children will often say “I only hit her because she gave me a dirty look, if she would have been straight face then I would not have gotten so mad.” “It's my teacher's fault I failed, if she would’ve told me about my missing assignments then I would not have failed.” “It's America’s fault I am so angry and burning cars if they would’ve elected Hillary instead of Trump this would not be happening.” “It's my employer's fault I am late to work; they should not expect me to be there so early.” “It's my child’s fault he got his mouth smacked, with language like that he deserves it.” Here is the truth, no one makes you do or say anything. I am going to say that again No one makes you say or doing anything. You are 100% responsible for yourself all the time. This is something I repeat to clients over and over again. Why do I pound this in people’s heads? Because change cannot happen as long as we believe someone is responsible for our happiness or actions. We are all created with Will Power. Will Power What is Will Power? Will Power is the ability to resist temptation and control oneself. This is important because when a person realizes they possess the ability to control themselves it changes everything. Will Power empower you to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2017 at Erica Martino
It has been 16 years since I experienced some of the worst physical and emotional pain I have ever experienced. My husband Joe and I were newly married and lived 10 hours from family. Joe had accepted a job at a Christian school. During our time there I became pregnant which was not planned nor expected. None the less, Joe and I were very excited! We were new to this whole pregnancy stuff and was not sure what to expect. We found a doctor and arrived at our first sonogram, only to hear the most dreaded words “We cannot find a heartbeat.” They told me not to worry; I could be early, and the heartbeat could still come. Week after week I went back to the doctor hoping to hear a heartbeat. Soon I had to come to terms with the fact the baby was gone. I refused a DNC and lost the baby at home. That night was horrible; I lost so much blood I passed out, I was fatigued and suffering from a broken heart. The physical pain was bad but nothing in comparison to the emotional pain. I felt alone and broken. Over the next several months, I did everything I could to distract myself from the pain. I was tired of feeling those disturbing emotions that kept me a prisoner to my bed. A couple of years went by, and I moved to a new town and new doctor and life continued. I felt so much... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2017 at Erica Martino
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One of the most common things I see in life is people enslaved by their mistakes. Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2017 at Joe Martino
During my time in school, my mother would worry that I did not spend enough time with my children. She would note that I worked 56 hours a week at the office, attended school 8 to 12 hours a week and did homework 20 hours a weekend. How in the world did I get time with my children? Parenting is not about quantity but about quality One researcher suggests that small children only need 15 minutes of one on one time per day and another author suggests the more time a teen spends engaged with their mother, the fewer instances of delinquent behavior. And the more time teens spend with both their parents together in family time, such as during meals, the less likely they are to abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in other risky or illegal behavior. They also achieve higher math scores. If you are like me and wonder if your children are getting enough of time and attention from you, don’t worry anymore. Here are 5 things you can do to spend quality time with them. Engage in an activity with them they enjoy This maybe reading a book, playing with Legos, kicking a soccer ball around, wrestling, painting your fingernails, playing barbie dolls, shooting guns, I think you get the hint, whatever your child enjoys, find 15 minutes out of your day and engage in the activity with them. Sit down and converse I am lucky, all my children love conversation so this is the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2017 at Erica Martino
I spent 2016 learning how to be a therapist. I sat with many people who were hurting. Most of them had something in common, they have been hurt by family. Someone somewhere caused pain that left them feeling hopeless, depressed, scared or alone. The holidays are over and a New Year is here. Here are some tips to dealing with the family members that are causing conflict or pain in your life. Be a good listener. Find out what the person you are in conflict with wants and how they expect you to meet those expectations. Repeat back what you hear them saying to make sure the message you hear is accurate. It is so easy to have a rebuttal in our heads going the whole time someone is talking instead of listening Decide if you can meet the expectations. Sometimes you can and sometimes you cannot. Only you can decide. Express the feelings you experience as a result of the way you are being treated. This is not easy and takes vulnerability. Vulnerability is difficult because it means you can get hurt. Call them on the phone and ask them to listen, write an email, letter, however, if you can get your feelings across, do it! Try to compromise. Compromising is a part of life. There is always a happy medium if two people are willing to find it. Draw boundaries when necessary. Until I became a therapist I use to believe that no matter what it took family... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2017 at Erica Martino
I often hear from people “Erica I do not know how you did it, how did you run a business, go to grad school and take care of four children? The answer is simple. I was out to prove something. I grew up in Ohio and attended a Christian school my whole life. I struggled, really struggled. If you asked my teachers, no one would accuse me of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Academics and learning did not come easy for me. In 5th grade, I had to attend tutoring the entire summer to move on to the 6th grade. My sophomore year of high school I failed Geometry. My teacher worked with me every study hall and he came to a conclusion “You are never going to get it, so I am going to pass you along.” You are never going to get it were words that I heard from that point on every time I tried to do something. I was super excited to graduate from high school and had no intention of EVER attending college, yet I did. I struggled through my first two years of college and was excited to meet my husband and get married. He saved me from what I perceived to be more failure. The next nine years, I worked hard but Joe and I continued to struggle financially. I watched my husband work 3-4 jobs while I took care of our children at home. While I cared for the girls,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2016 at Erica Martino
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Wayne has been a therapist for the Joe Martino Counseling Network for five years. He is well-known in the greater Grand Rapids area for his work with adolescents and parents. While getting in with him can sometimes be difficult, he is well worth the wait! Call the office to schedule... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2016 at Creative Solutions Counseling
At the beginning of the year I started Practicum class. Practicum is when, as a student, you begin seeing clients. During the first class Professor Bell handed us are syllabi and I glanced to the required reading and noticed a lot of books on self-care. To be honest I was not overly excited to read them but I did. I was not sure how a mom of 4, a student, counselor and business owner was going to engage in self-care but I figured I would at least toy with the idea. As soon as my eyes open in the morning my mind is going? I am thinking about all I need to accomplish in a day. Who do I need to call? What crisis do I need to manage? How will I continue to grow our business? How can I help my clients? I am also checking my email, voicemail message, text messages and social media messages several times a day and usually respond immediately. My mind is constantly going. My husband swooped me away this summer to an island in the middle of Lake Erie. We rented a golf cart, set up camp and was looking forward to several days of relaxation. We were there about an hour and I begun to feel restless. I was constantly checking my messages, responding to my staff and just wondering what was going on at work, with my kids and with my clients. My husband says something to me along the lines... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2016 at Erica Martino
The other day I was reading a pretty good article. It was about parents being better parents. Good stuff. This is a topic that interests me. Partly, because I’m a parent and partly because I need to know about it to be good at my job. He talked about parents doing parenting things. It was really pretty good for about 2/3’s of the way. Then it all fell apart. And the comments underneath it! What went wrong? He blamed technology for the parenting problems we’re seeing today. It was too much screen time. Blame the iPad! Blame the gadget! Blame the fact that we have milk in the fridge and water in faucet! Wait? What? Well, I mean if we’re going to blame things externally of us, why not the milk in the fridge or the water in the faucet? Technology makes a nice new target...because it's new. I had someone tell me that there problem with it was the fact that people "don't talk to each other anymore." I asked him to find some pictures from the earlier generations of people gathering. Turns out they were reading newspapers. They weren't all that more engaged. Technology isn't the reason our kids are disrespectful or disobedient today. They are whatever they are because we have allowed them to be that way. We have abdicated our responsibility as parents to schools, TV and devices. And we blame technology. Let's end the war on technology. Let's take control of our own lives and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2016 at Joe Martino
I want to answer one of the most common questions about my marriage conference. Vlog #1 from Joe Martino on Vimeo. Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2016 at Joe Martino
Faith is problematic because it requires us to embrace the mess. In the rawness of faith, we must embrace the idea that there things we cannot see and hope means we may have to wait. Waiting is often hard and sometimes, painful. But faith and hope are worth it. Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2016 at Joe Martino
To a greater or lesser degree, all people suffer from inadequacies of their flexible response systems. Much of the work of psychotherapy consists of attempting to help our patients allow or make their response systems become more flexible. Peck, M. Scott Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2016 at Joe Martino
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There is only one Hopes and Dreams marriage conference this year. People often ask me what they will learn at a conference. I am excited to tell them and you that we always cover some basic topics such as: What is an emotionally connected couple? What is the most important thing for a marriage to make it and thrive? How do you improve communication? How to have fights that actually improve your connectedness How to have red hot sex. We also cover a host of other topics. I'm also excited to announce that we are covering new material never before covered at one of our conferences. Three Things that Every Healthy Couple Does: 1. De-escalate stress points. In every fight there comes a "jump off" point where the fight begins in earnest. Usually, there are stress factors that precede the fight and each person escalates. These escalation points usually come from both the other person (inside the relationship) and other forces (outside the relationship). Successful couples know how to de-escalate this process so that they can tolerate the stress of the situation. 2. Tolerate the stress. The good news is that you can't de-escalate for the other person. The bad news is that you can't de-escalate for the other person. You can only de-escalate yourself. The trick is to do this to the point that you can talk to the other person. You want to be able to calm yourself in order that you can hear and help the other... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2016 at Joe Martino
Being hurt by someone is not an excuse to hurt someone else. We have very little control over the hurt that is inflicted upon us but we have 100% control over what we do with that hurt. Do we turn it into motivation for something good and redemptive or do we revel in it, making it our identity? The choice is ours. We don't get to not choose. Not choosing is choosing. We can and must find a way to overcome. Related articles It's not what happens, it's how we attach meaning that matters Points to Ponder (Life Lessons Style) Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2016 at Joe Martino
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If you've not read the book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, by Judith Wallerstein, I would highly encourage you to do so. Not every marriage can be saved. I get that. But there are many that can. People stop because it seems easier to get divorced. Those consequences seem more palatable--severe and difficult for sure--but still more palatable. Change is hard. Saving a marriage is hard. Getting a divorce is hard. But we tell ourselves lies. We tell ourselves that staying together for the kids does as much damage as getting divorced. There is very little reliable to data to suggest this is true. This doesn't mean you should stay with someone who is abusing you or your children. This doesn't mean that every marriage could be saved. I know that some people are put into a position by their spouse that they have to seek a divorce. I'm not blaming you. But we need to accept the truth marriage is not disposable. Marriage is not something we can just toss away. Divorce has a negative impact on our children. That doesn't mean I'm saying it's your fault. And feeling guilt doesn't mean you're being put on a guilt trip. Until we accurately diagnose a situation, we cannot treat whatever the negative consequences are from that situation. If you have had to get a divorce, seek some time with a therapist. Find someone for your children. Join a support group. Like an injury to your body, many emotional injuries can... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2016 at Joe Martino
We all have battles to fight. Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2016 at Joe Martino
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My husband and I decided about 10 years ago that celebrating Valentines Day would no longer be feasible. You see, we now have three birthdays in the same week of February and our anniversary the week after. Since we have not found the money tree, something had to go. When we first met, Valentines Day was one of our favorite holidays. The holiday represents love and I was and still am, madly in love with this man. Since we cannot do anything wild and crazy on Valentines Day I thought I would tell you 100 reasons why I love my husband so much! He pursues my heart He loves me and the children with all his heart He gets such a kick out of himself and most days I find him pretty funny too He is passionate about life He dreams big He enjoys a variety of food He is witty He is sarcastic He is strong He is king He loves people He is a hard worker He enjoys conversation He loves a good book He is a great conversationalist He knows me inside and out He gives the best hugs He challenges me to be a better person He dates my children He tells me all the time how much he loves me I can trust him with the deepest longings of my soul He is the cutest deer hunter I have ever seen He has this intimidating look to him that makes it hard for others to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2016 at Erica Martino
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The truth is your marriage, my friend's marriage and my marriage is mortal. They can all die, which is why we must be vigilant in protecting our marriages. We must cultivate them. When things are going ravishingly well, we must work at it. When dry and difficult times come we must work at it. Admitting that our bodies are mortal does not mean that we want to die prematurely. The same is true for marriages. When I was married I made a promise to stay that way until death separated us and I meant it. Denying that my marriage is mortal doesn't make that promise any stronger. It does not make my marriage stronger, in fact I think it makes it more vulnerable. Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2016 at Joe Martino