Did you know that the adage the only person you can change is yourself is not true? The truth is any change in the system changes the system (family, groups, society, or environment) even if the system does not want to change. A more correct adage therefore is the only person you can willfully change is yourself.
Hi, my name is Mark M Miller. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) in the colorful state of Colorado. I hold certificates in Sand Play Therapy, , Sex/Intimacy/Counseling, treatment for Trauma and Abuse and Family Mediation, I am also trained in counseling the abusers and victims of domestic violence, treating depression, PTSD, anxiety and Insomnia But I also have experience most mental health issues and all forms of relationship issues.
In my 20+ years in the mental health field I have come to realize why changes made within the therapeutic process do not stick. Either the person is forced to change by changing the system (family, etc.) and not the individual (thoughts, feelings, will, and behavior) or the focus is changing the individual but not the system.
It is when a change to the system or when an individual change is when conflict, problems, and/or symptoms worsen as the system or the person does not buy into the change. Change is scary and causes anxiety and is uncomfortable. Real change takes a commitment and an acceptance to the change by both the system and the individual.
For this reason, I treat the individual and the system. In all relationship counseling I aid everyone in coping with the change in the system and in individual counseling I help you cope with the changes that occur in the system. I have been told by many clients that been in counseling before and never have gotten anything out it that my approach has helped them.
Regardless of if I am doing relationship counseling (family or couple), the steps of therapy stay the same. The first step is what I refer to as The Tourniquet Phase, the second phase is what I refer to as The Understanding Phase. The third phase is what I refer to as The Surgery Phase and the last phase is The Patch Up Phase. I refer to this approach as the D.A.M. D.U.D.E.S. V I R.T.U.E. approach.
• The Tourniquet Phase
D= Here I help you define the problem, conflict and or symptoms
Many times, especially in relationship counseling the problem or conflict is not the same for each person. For an example, I had a couple who appeared to be fighting about the same thing on the surface, but they were two different things. One person was arguing about finances, the other arguing about his relationship with his in-law.
Person 1-We need to have my mom watch our son because that is all we can afford.
Person 2–No, I cannot stand your mom.
Person 1-But that is all we can afford.
Person 2-But I hate your mom.
And the argument went in circles. Once I helped this couple define their argument (where to send their son to daycare). I was able to help them come to a solution to their problem. Although this solution brought temporary peace there was no change in the system or individuals. Therefore, I call this phase the tourniquet. The intervention stopped and solved the conflict or problem, but another one soon to its place. Defining the problem, conflict, or symptoms are also important in individual counseling as well, which is dealt with in The Understanding Phase.
A=Assess - Here I assess the severity of the problem, conflict, and/or symptoms and what is reinforcing the problem and find out if this reinforcement is sustaining or making the symptoms worsened.
=Measure- Here we determine how progress is going to be measured. Here I also help you make your symptoms, problem, or conflict measurable and behavioral.
D= Here I Diagnosis (DSM-5, diagnosis if needed) Here I also help you de-escalate your symptoms problem and conflict. I also assess if this de-escalation should include referring you to a psychiatrist or medical doctor because the symptoms are physiologically based. Here we also decide on a hierarchy of goals.
• The Understanding Phase
U= Here I help you understand the metaphor and purpose of the symptoms, problems, or conflict useful to individual and/or system. We also explore underlining core emotion, belief defenses and your underlining needs that are not being met and that are reinforcing and sustaining your current symptoms problem and conflict. It is these underlining issues that need to be dealt with to avoid substituting your current symptoms problem and conflict for another.
• The Surgery Phase
D= Here I help you creating Differentiation of Self (DOS) The benefits of DOS include making better decision, discover more options in your life by becoming more open and flexible. You will also not have to depend others for your identity, dictate your behavior. or try to use your relationships to complete yourself.
E= Here I teach you how to find exceptions to the problems, conflict, and/or symptoms. I will also teach you to emotion regulation. increase your emotional intelligence and help you balance empathy and selfishness.
S= Here I teach you how to concentrate on your strength, and other peoples strength, use them and build on them to become a better you and strengthen your relationships.
• Patch Up Phase
The Patch Up Phase is the V.I.R.T.U.E. part acronym and the goal of therapy. Virtue, according to the APA dictionary (2007, P, 982) is something that is beneficial to one’s psychological health. Philosophers refer to virtue as a state of doing good habit. Thus, virtue in this sense is the conditioning (developing) good habit that is beneficial to one’s psychological health. V.I.R.T.U.E. is also what you can expect from me during the therapeutic process
V= Here I listen to you and validate your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I also will help you create virtue (The habit of healthy and helpful behaviors).
I=- Here I will Inspire you and aid you in inspiring yourself and others. I will Instill hope in you and teach you to create hope in yourself and others. I will also help you increase yourself-acceptance and others.
R=- Here I will help you create healthy rules, roles, and rituals in the system and/or individual. I will teach you how tor reinforce sustain your new and helpful thoughts and behavior. I will also help you recreate and make narratives more that are helpful and realistic.
T= Here I will teach you to transcend the issues helping you externalize the problems, conflict and/or symptoms (separate you and your relationships from the issue, so you do not take things personally) s I will help you transform yourself and the system .Teach you the difference between content and process. I will also teach you to listen for and recognize the process and not be as focused on content.
U= Here I will help you create unconditional respect and acceptance of yourself and for others.
E= Here I will re- evaluate your progress and adjust our goals and interventions accordingly.
Contact me to see how I can help you with
Relational Problems (Problems Related to Family Upbringing, Parent-Child Relational Problem,, Sibling Relational Problem, Upbringing Away from Parents, Child Affected by Parental Relationship Distress, Relationship Distress with Spouse or Intimate Partner, Disruption of Family by Separation or Divorce, High Expressed Emotion Level Within Family, Uncomplicated Bereavement)
Abuse and Neglect of adult (Spouse or Partner Violence, Physical, Spouse or Partner Violence, Sexual,, Spouse or Partner Psychological Abuse,, Adult Abuse by Non-spouse or Non-partner, Adult Sexual Abuse by Non-spouse or Non-partner,, Adult Psychological Abuse by Non-spouse or Non-partner
- Relationship issues
- Family conflicts
- Trauma and abuse
I also have experience in Stress, Anxiety, Grief, Intimacy-related issues, Sleeping disorders, Parenting issues, Anger management, Self esteem, Bipolar disorder, Depression
LPC #LPC.0014527 (Expires: 2021-08-31)
Mark is truly the best therapist my husband and I have ever worked with. He has a way of focusing on the underlying conflict rather than getting lost in the surface level content. He’s the first therapist that has succeeded in making us both feel heard and supported. He’s also the only therapist that has helped us feel like we have accomplished something in each session together and as individuals. Finding a therapist is often harder than running a marathon on your hands - it can be an absolute nightmare. I’m so thankful to have finally found “my” therapist and look forward to our continued growth with him. We highly recommend Mark!
Have only been talking with Mark for a short while, but we have really been gaining some insight on how we can better work together. Hoping to see a lot of improvement as time goes on, but so far we are very pleased! Makes sure each person feels heard without being overbearing. Thanks Mark!
Mark is truly responsive and open-minded and having been through years of intensive in-person therapy before, I can't tell you how thankful I am for him and the many avenues for which he is able and willing to address my concerns and help. Truly a life saver. Thank you Mark!