Thursday, April 17, 2014

Staying Connected

Staying Connected
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your partner or what type of relationship you have, there is always room for improvement. However, it’s not always clear what steps you should take to enhance your connection, which is where we can help. At the Relationship Center of Albuquerque, Dr. Marji Prefontaine has more than 30 years of experience providing quality marriage therapy to couples in New Mexico, and she can help you and your partner stay connected as time goes by.
Couples therapy isn’t just for major problems, such as infidelity. Often, it is the smaller problems, including basic communication issues, that couples should focus on, and Dr. Prefontaine will act as a third set of eyes and ears to help you identify issues that you may not be paying attention to in your relationship. Therapy will also help you gain some basic tools for recovering from any problems in your relationship.
Whether you feel that your relationship is functional and happy or you notice that you and your partner are having some problems, couples therapy is a great way to resolve conflicts and help you and your partner stay connected through open and effective communication.
Schedule a session with Dr. Marji Prefontaine by calling 505-821-1948. For more information, visit

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Patterns of Conflict

Patterns of Conflict and Arguments
Patterns of conflict in relationships often emerge when couples repeatedly argue about certain topics. As a couple argues repeatedly, communication is broken down, preventing constructive conflict resolution. This leads to the development of poisonous patterns of hurtful or unproductive behavior. There are four main behaviors that couples engage in that can lead to conflict in their relationship. These behaviors are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.  
Criticism, in this case, is described as attacking your partner’s personality, rather than their behavior. While airing a complaint can be a healthy relationship activity, criticism is a personal attack that can lead to a breakdown in communication. Contempt is a behavior that often follows directly from criticism. Contempt is similar to criticism, except that contempt implies one partner’s intent to insult or psychologically abuse the other. It is usually expressed through snide or antagonistic remarks, a mocking attitude and hostile humor.
The third common relationship problem is defensiveness, which is what emerges when both partners feel victimized by the each other. It often becomes a reflex and prevents conflicts from being resolved. After defensiveness, there is stonewalling, which appears when relationships are in serious decline. This behavior occurs when one partner or both stop responding to each other, even to act defensively.
With the help of Dr. Marji Prefontaine, you can find how certain common behavioral problems are leading to a pattern of conflict in your relationship. At the Relationship Center of Albuquerque we offer couples counseling that can help you and your partner communicate more effectively and strengthen the bonds of your relationship. Call 505-821-1948 to schedule a therapy session. For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Learning to be Vulnerable

Learning to be Vulnerable
Vulnerability is necessary for developing and maintaining trusting and intimate relationships, but being vulnerable with one another is one of the biggest challenges that couples face. Although individuals often let fear and shame prevent vulnerability, it is the glue that holds a relationship together, helping couples navigate their day-to-day lives together. Vulnerability allows a couple to feel comfortable around one another and communicate honestly and openly. If you and your partner are struggling, emotional discord that accompanies a lack of vulnerability may be the cause.
Shame and fear are major factors in preventing vulnerability and are the main reasons that couples engage in power struggles and destructive relationship dynamics. If you are afraid of showing weakness or exposing yourself to your partner, you might not be aware that you are letting fear prevent you from completely engaging in your relationship. Don’t let fear ruin your opportunity for love.
You will find help at the Relationship Center of Albuquerque, where we can help you and your partner improve your relationship by learning to be more vulnerable. With couples or individual therapy, we can help you develop shame resilience and learn to be vulnerable. Enrich your relationship; call 505-821-1948 to schedule an appointment. For more information,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rebuilding Trust

Rebuilding Trust                                                                   
Emotional safety is a vital aspect of any healthy relationship, but it can only be accomplished with trust. If your trust and emotional safety have been compromised, it can be difficult to rebuild, but it is not impossible. Here at the Relationship Center of Albuquerque, we can help you and your partner heal after betrayal and restore the trust to your relationship.
When rebuilding trust in a relationship, it is important for partners to acknowledge the impact of the hurt that has occurred. If partners don’t understand how they’ve hurt each other, they cannot regain trust in one another. Partners must also understand why betrayal occurred in order to move on and not repeat the hurt.
During the trust-rebuilding process, it is also important not to do more damage to the relationship. This means not punishing your partner, which may make you feel better in the moment but does not help you heal or rebuild trust.
Rebuilding trust begins with open, honest and respectful communication on a regular basis. Couples must remember to keep promises and to follow through with commitments with each other. If you or your partner is experiencing emotional pain, it should be expressed without blaming.
These are only a few of the tools used to restore trust to a relationship. It takes time and patience, but with counseling you can rebuild your relationship. We can help at the Relationship Center of Albuquerque. Dr. Marji Prefontaine has practiced marriage and family therapy for more than three decades and is committed to helping couples like you develop a more positive relationship. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are often associated with anxiety disorders, which are the most common mental health disorder to have. More than 25 million people in the United States alone suffer from anxiety, many of whom also get panic attacks.
A panic attack may be brought on by a trigger, such as an extremely stressful situation, though others are completely random with no warning. The general characteristics for panic attacks are shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, shaking and trembling, nausea, sweating, chest pain, and dizziness.
Many people believe they are experiencing a heart attack, since many of the symptoms are similar.
Here at the Relationship Center of Albuquerque, we treat panic attacks to help our patients experience less of them, as well as treat their anxiety disorder. Panic can affect their lives in many ways, often keeping them from going through normal daily activities like leaving the house, going to work, or attending social functions.
Some of the common treatments provided by our therapist Dr. Marji Prefontaine for panic attacks include cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling to help reduce general anxiety from the patient’s life, find the cause of the anxiety, and offer methods of reducing the severity of panic attacks.
Call us at 505-821-1948 to learn more about your treatment options.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Dr. Marji Prefontaine provides therapy and counseling for many different reasons here at the Relationship Center of Albuquerque including addictions. Someone can become addicted to nearly anything, though alcohol, drugs, smoking, shopping, sex, and gambling are the most common. An addiction is identified as having a compulsive need to have a certain thing or substance at all times, often affecting the person’s life as a result of the need for it.
The following criteria is used to determine whether or not a patient is struggling with an addiction:
1. Building a tolerance where the substance increases gradually over time.
2. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms without the addiction, including physical, emotional and psychological changes.
3. Feeling lack of control over the substance or situation.
4. Dealing with negative consequences as a result of the addiction, and continuing to use the substance.
5. Putting off social or other activities for the addiction.
6. Spending a good deal of time or energy on the addiction.
7. Having a desire to cut back but being unable to on their own.
If you are showing any of these signs of having an addiction, the sooner you get help, the better off you will be. Visit the Relationship Center of Albuquerque in Albuquerque, NM to learn more about addiction treatment options.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Anger Management

Anger Management
Here at the Relationship Center of Albuquerque, we treat patients who are struggling with anger management. Dealing with anger is often a very difficult thing because any number of situations can trigger intense feelings of anger, making it almost impossible to control on your own.
Everyone deals with anger on some level, but some of our patients have a much harder time with it, often feeling it at random moments and to a much more severe degree than what the situation calls for.
This type of anger is often the result of an inability to express emotions, which then leads to violence, rage, or hostility. It could mean harming themselves or others, which puts everyone at danger. It is very important that anyone feeling like they don’t have control over their anger see us for anger management.
We provide patients with individualized treatment options for anger management, but beginning with one-on-one counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy. At these sessions, patients learn why they feel these angry and aggressive emotions, learn how to deal with their feelings, and find ways to avoid bottling up emotions until they explode. Not only does this help our patients live a normal, healthy life, but it prevents substance abuse and self-harm, which is common among patients with anger management issues.
Call Dr. Marji Prefontaine at 505-821-1948 in Albuquerque, NM to learn more about anger management treatments.