Category Archives: counseling

New Mothers and Counseling in Franklin Lakes and Bergen County, NJ

Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine” answers a question about being a new parent.

Q – I am new to the area and don’t know anyone. I have a six month-old little girl and I feel like I am going crazy. Any suggestions? L.R. in Oakland

A – Get out of the house – even with your child! Find a parent group in your community. Many churches, temples, libraries, or have “Mommy and Me” or similar programs where you can go to socialize. Many are geared towards new moms.

New moms need to feel comfortable and motivated to take control of their new roles in life. Becoming a mother is a growth process. It takes time to add this role to your identity and all women struggle with it in a variety of ways. Isolation does not help the adjustment. People need support and comfort from others experiencing the same life cycles.


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Pre-Marital Counseling in Ramsey NJ

Ramsey Pre-Marital Counselor

So you’re getting married. Well, congratulations. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all you need is love to ensure a happy marriage. Love is, of course, vital, but just as you need fuel in your car for it to run but you wouldn’t drive it blindfolded, so too is it important to have a road map for where the two of you are headed and the expert advice and guidance that lays a strong foundation for a long and fulfilling marriage. At Mars & Venus, we’re committed to helping couples just like you to gain the advantages that it takes to meet the relationship challenges that are a part of married life. Our pre-marital counseling in Ramsey NJ is based on the bestseller, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” That means you’re getting the benefit of the wisdom espoused by Dr. John Gray,, who authored the hugely influential book.

Marriage changes a relationship. For one thing, you’ll be living under the same roof and that requires some adjustments. But even if you’re already living together, there are obligations, responsibilities, and interactions among family that can put a strain on the most loving partnerships. Our pre-marital counseling in Ramsey NJ is focused on giving you the crucial edge to understand each other’s wants, need, motivations, and challenges.

We understand that you’re busy planning your wedding and that time is at a premium. But isn’t the long term happiness of your marriage at least as essential as your wedding day itself? Of course it is. And that’s why learning the relationship skills that can keep minor dust-ups from exploding into major fights is worth carving out the time to participate in our pre-marital counseling in Ramsey NJ. Just call us and schedule a session. A more fulfilling marriage may just hang in the balance.

Ramsey Pre-Marital Therapy
161 N. Franklin Turnpike, Suite 105
Ramsey, New Jersey 07446
(201) 467-4173

Fighting and Conflict in Front of the Kids – Bergen County

Fighting and Conflict in Front of the Kids

Kids model themselves after the important adults in their lives, their parents. They learn to imitate adult behavior, model what it means to be a man or a woman, and learn about relationships between men and women. When parents respect and value each other, their children learn about equality in relationships.

There is no such thing as a conflict-free marriage. Parents will argue and disagree, but when parents often argue heatedly and are disrespectful to each other, they teach their children undesirable lessons. Angry voices, negative facial expressions, constant yelling, and hurtfulness toward one another teach kids how to be hostile.

Sometimes unavoidable arguments will be displayed in front of the kids. It is useful for kids to observe adults engage in respectful disagreements. They can then see how individuals resolve their arguments and that all is not lost. It reassures them that even if there is distance, relationships can remain whole.

Knowing how to fight effectively is very important. Here are some guidelines on how to have a “good fight”:

Agree on How to Disagree: Decide when, how, etc. Some couples may decide never to go to bed angry. Others may not allow problems to fester. Other couples may agree that if a problem is not discussed within 48 hours, then it’s history.

Don’t Go Overboard: Express your feelings without threatening or belittling your partner. No name calling, blaming, or dragging the kids into the argument. Everybody loses with these destructive tactics.

Focus on the Fight at Hand: Do not bring up past disagreements. Talk about the immediate issue. Do not use phrases like, “You always…” or “You never…”

Take a Time Out: If you are too heated to discuss things, don’t! Take a break and cool down. Move hot topics behind closed doors.

It’s ok for kids to see fights, as long as they see the resolution. Let the kids know you have reached a compromise, have said you’re sorry, reached a solution or peacefully agreed to disagree.

Remember that nothing benefits kids more than seeing their parents as humans with faults but with the ability to make corrections.

The Mars & Venus Counseling Center is here when you need us.  We are located in Teaneck, Oradell, and Ramsey, NJ.

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Couples Therapy in Ramsey

Ramsey Couples Counseling

Does your marriage or partnership seem to be fraying at the edges? Is your relationship suddenly plagued with fighting and arguments, or simply a sense of dread and anxiety on a near constant basis? Relationship problems can happen to anyone, regardless of the length of time you have spent together or the previous challenges you have successfully faced together. However, this does not mean that your time together has to come to an end. Couples in need can always find the personal and professional help they need to succeed as a team with couples therapy in Ramsey at the welcoming offices of Mars & Venus.

Couples therapy can be the answer you and your partner are looking for. Therapy designed for the specific needs of couples works to help you find the truth and intimacy you and your partner once enjoyed. By approaching each case with clinical precision, Dr. John Gray is able to apply his complete approach through the use of the popular book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus in order to accurately and effectively address the key underlying issue which can turn small disagreements into an emotional breakdown – communication. This approach is not only highly effectively, but it is also a fully licensed and well-taught method of reconciling difference which can at times seem impossible to overcome. Your marriage and relationship councilor can work efficiently and discreetly with couples of all ages with assistance through a variety of problems, from the psychological challenges which arise out of difficulty conceiving children, to problems with sexual drives and desires, and even outbursts of anger and fury that seem to erupt at any time without any discernible causes. Couples can also find assistance to tackle problems such as infidelity, whether this issue is simply an illusion born of suspicion or paranoia or a very real obstacle that is affecting your relationship and your lives. Couples therapy in Ramsey allows couples to enjoy a monogamous and healthy relationship by fostering communication habits which build trust and understanding, as well as both physical and emotional intimacy. With professional and personal care from a licensed and experience marriage counselor, couples of all ages and backgrounds can find the help they need to build a happy life together for many years to come.

For the very best in couples therapy in Ramsey, be sure to visit the experts at Mars & Venus. Our fully licensed and professionally trained team have been proudly serving your local community for over 30 years with effective counseling for patients of all ages and levels of need, from couples and families to single adults and children. With marriage counseling from Mars & Venus, you can regain the happy and fulfilling relationship you and your partner deserve.

Ramsey Couples Therapy 
161 N. Franklin Turnpike, Suite 105
Ramsey, New Jersey 07446
(201) 467-4173


Explaining Death to Children – Bergen County

Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine” answers questions about children and grief and bereavement.

Preschool children cannot understand that death is permanent and non-reversible; therefore, they do not see death the way teens and adults do. When someone they know dies, young children do not always express grief through tears, so we can miss the signs that they are grieving. The way we handle the death of a loved one teaches our children a lot about life.

Morrisa asks her readers how they have explained death to their children.

Don’t say the deceased is “sleeping” – this makes the children afraid to go to sleep at night. Don’t say that sickness caused death. Children may remember this and associate all sickness with death. Allow the children to, at least, attend the funeral home. If they don’t get to say goodbye, they may always feel that the deceased person left them. Above all, be simple but honest in answering the questions. Allow them to grieve, and let them know that you have feelings of sadness and loneliness, too.
– Sara Clutter, Washington PA

My three-year-old daughter attended the funeral and pre-funeral functions when her great-grandmother died. We answered all her questions in terms she could understand and without fear. I feel her participation was the key.
– Linda Von Fumetti, Des Moines, IA

Flowers were sent to me after the death of my sister. Each day I had my 2 ½ year old daughter help me pick the wilted flowers from the arrangement. I explained to her how all living things eventually die. The wilted flowers were dead, so they were taken away. We could still look at and enjoy the living flowers. I waited until she asked me about her aunt then reminded her about the flowers. We couldn’t see or smell the flowers anymore, nor could we hug or play with Auntie, but we could always remember how much we loved her.
– Laurel Merrifield, Franklin, NH

I explained to my four-year old daughter that life was similar to a book: It must have a beginning and an ending even when we wish it could continue.
– Vickie Trent-Wilson, Cedar Falls, IA

The staff at the Mars & Venus Counseling Center is here to help when you need us.  Please call.



grief and kids

Ramsey Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

by Morrisa Drobnick, LCSW, staff writer and advice columnist of “KIDS Magazine”

So long, Summertime. Good-bye swim clubs, beaches, lakes, and camps! Farewell to fun.

Parents and kids alike have a tough time re-adjusting to the real-life demands of school and work. The problems of re-entry take on many forms, depending on the length of the vacation, the ages of the kids, and whether or not both parents work outside the home.

Some people resist the change of pace. People have to deal with having their time tightly structured once more. When vacation ends, kids have to be more disciplined and that creates certain tensions in the family. Making a post-vacation transition is particularly hard for those people who normally find it difficult to change from one mental state to another. They are the kind of people for whom disorganization is quite distressing.

The first part to adjustments is recognizing that there is a problem. You need to anticipate that you and your children might experience these feelings and be on your guard. Accept the fact that this is going to be a somewhat chaotic period of your life. Things will not be under control. The kids are going to be crabby. There will be much complaining. It is easier if it is predictable because it feels less out of control.

If you are the kind of person who does have trouble with transitions, do not come back from vacation on Sunday and go to work Monday. Give yourself time to adjust gradually instead of whizzing through all of your lists at top speed. Children need extra time, not to mention extra attention.

Daily rituals can help us feel calm. The nighttime bath, story-time, a little TV can develop the sense of order and security. Start order in your children’s lives a week or so before school begins. Remember that gradual change may be less stressful for kids.

Attitudes are contagious. I believe in the power of positive thinking. If you think it’s terrific to be going back to work, the kids will like going back to school. (Well, maybe not!) The point is to accentuate the positive. Put more play in your daily life. Do things you really enjoy. Let your kids do things they really enjoy. Do not save all your fun for vacation is the end of having fun. Plan a fun family event for during the first few weeks of September to help prolong the relaxed Summertime spirit.