Relationship Tools That Work

Walter Martin, MA, LMFT

Walter P Martin, LMFT

Relationship Tools That Work

By Walter Patrick Martin, MA, LMFT

I have found Dr. Eric Berne really be a leader of his time in relationship guidance and understand how our self-worth, transactions and behavioral patterns between individuals can really assist in having healthier relationships. We should learn from this simple method to understand your wife or husband before you throw in the towel and get a divorce. Is it not worth the effort to learn more about how your communication is causing part of the problem. Watch the videos below and learn more about yourself and how you might be communicating.

  • The human brain acts in many ways like a camcorder, vividly recording events. While that event may not necessarily be able to be consciously retrieved by the owner, the event always exists in the brain.

  • Both the event and the feelings experienced during that event are stored in the brain. The event and the feelings are locked together, and neither one can be recalled without the other.

  • When an individual replays his or her experiences, he or she can replay them in such a vivid form that the individual experiences again the same emotions he or she felt during the actual experience. Or, as Berne’s student Thomas A. Harris said “I not only remember how I felt, I feel the same way now”2

  • Individuals are able to exist in two states simultaneously. Individuals replaying certain events are able to experience the emotions associated with those events, but they are also able to objectively talk about the events at the same time.

Check Out these Youtube Videos on How To Understand Your Partner.

Dr. Eric Berne is the author of Games People Play, the groundbreaking book in which he introduces Games and Transactional Analysis to the world.  According to Dr. Berne, games are ritualistic transactions or behavior patterns between individuals that can indicate hidden feelings or emotions.  A runaway success, Games People Play spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list in the mid 1960s – longer than any non-fiction book over the preceding decade. Games People Play and Transactional Analysis have gone on to influence and inspire millions of people, including Thomas A. Harris, author of I’m OK – You’re OKand Muriel James, author of Born to Win.

Five million copies later and nearly fifty years after it first debuted, Games People Play remains popular and continues to sell across the world.  It has been translated into almost 20 different languages, with millions of laypeople and trained psychotherapists employing Dr. Berne’s techniques.

So far, the two transactions described can be considered complementary transactions. In a complementary transaction, the response must go back from the receiving ego state to the sending ego state. For example, a person may initiate a transaction directed towards one ego state of the respondent. The respondent’s ego state detects the stimuli, and then that particular ego state (meaning the ego state to which the stimuli was directed) produces a response. According to Dr. Berne, these transactions are healthy and represent normal human interactions. As Berne says in Games People Play “communication will proceed as long as transactions are complementary.”9

Crossed Transaction as seen in Transactional Analysis using structural diagrams

Crossed Transaction

However, not all transactions between humans are healthy or normal. In those cases, the transaction is classified as a crossed transaction. In a crossed transaction, an ego state different than the ego state which received the stimuli is the one that responds. The diagram to the right shows a typical crossed transaction. An example is as follows:

Agent’s Adult: “Do you know where my cuff links are?” (note that this stimuli is directed at the Respondents Adult).

Respondent’s Child: “You always blame me for everything!”10

This is one the classic crossed transactions that occurs in marriage. Instead of the Respondent’s Adult responding with “I think they’re on the desk”, it is the Respondent’s Child that responds back.


Berne, Eric. Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. Grove Press, Inc., New York, 1961. Page 4.

2 Harris, Thomas A. I’m OK – You’re OK. HarperCollins Publishers Inc., New York, 1967. Page 12.

3 Berne, Eric. Games People Play. Grove Press, Inc., New York, 1964. Page 29

Berne, Eric. Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. Page 13.

Berne, Eric. Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. Page 4.

Berne, Eric. Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. Page 15.

7 Harris, Thomas A. I’m OK – You’re OK. Page 32.

8 Berne, Eric. Games People Play. Page 29.

9 Berne, Eric. Games People Play. Page 30.

10 Berne, Eric. Games People Play. Page 31.

11 Berne, Eric. Games People Play. Page 15.

12 Stewart, Ian and Joines, Vann. TA Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis. Lifespace Publishing, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 1987.

Why do you choose the sex of your therapist

Often, people’s fears about therapy revolve around the therapist or the development of a healthy, lasting relationship with a new therapist. It’s common to have some worry or confusion about choosing a male or female therapist, especially if the nature of the topics covered in therapy have anything to do with gender identity, sexuality, or sexual orientation.

Beginning therapy and developing a relationship with your therapist is all about your comfort. Take the time to think about what you might prefer to look for in a therapist, and let these therapists shed some light on the decision-making process:

topic expert lynn somersteintopic expert lynn somersteinLynn Somerstein, PhD, E-RYT: People have different comfort levels and may have preferences about working with certain kinds of therapists, such as male or female, straight or gay, older or not. Those preferences should be respected, if possible because they help ease the social part of beginning therapy, which promotes a calmer relationship that can help you overcome the scariness of beginning a therapeutic relationship. What matters most of all when choosing a therapist is your gut feeling that the two of you click.

When I began seeing a therapist, I knew that I had to see a woman because I felt I would feel safer and better understood by a woman than a man. At least, that is what I thought at the time. I never regretted making this decision but did feel that I needed to work with a male therapist too. Later in my training, I studied with a supervisor—a male therapist—who became my mentor.

People who have experienced sexual abuse often prefer to work with someone who is not the same gender as the predator; this is a wise choice to defuse the terror and mistrust that will probably come up in treatment. When therapy progresses and lasts, however, it can become clear that the sex, gender, sexual orientation, or age have less to do with successful therapy than we might think. A good therapist will reach out to the person in treatment and develop a mutual understanding and ability to be helpful. The skillfulness, training, and experience of the therapist are important. So, I would say that ultimately sex or gender are not so important, but it can take a while to reach that understanding, and if you have a preference for a certain kind of person, go with that inclination. And always listen to your gut feelings. Is this therapist the right person for you? How do you feel talking together?

Military Family Resources

Military Family Resources

Insurance Provider Links

There are additional ways that you as a provider can reach out to military clients and their family members in addition to joining Star Behavioral Health Providers. Opting into an insurance network that provides coverage for military members is one way of doing this. Below you will find links that can assist you in doing so if you are interested. Your decision to join one of these insurance provider networks is unrelated to your status with Star Behavioral Health Providers but surveys will ask if you have considered joining, or have joined any of these networks.

Give an Hour
Visit the Give an Hour website to learn more about registering to donate one hour per week to the treatment of military members and their families.

Military OneSource
Military OneSource offers counseling services to service members. If you are interested in being a provider contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.

Visit the TRICARE website to learn more about becoming a TRICARE provider. There are multiple types of TRICARE providers with each offering a different level of flexibility to you as the provider.

The Soldiers Project
The Soldiers Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, confidential psychological services to US military veterans and their loved ones who have served at any time after September 11, 2001. Visit their website to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

Veterans Choice Program
The Veterans Access, Choice, Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014 is a law that expands the number of options Veterans have for receiving care to ensure that Veterans have timely access to high-quality care. The VACAA allows eligible Veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or are unable to get a VA appointment within 30 days of their preferred date, or within 30 days of the date determined medically necessary by their physician, to obtain approved care in their community instead.

Eligible Veterans must contact Health Net Federal Services, LLC (Health Net) to obtain authorization for all care under the Veteran Choice Program (VCP). Veterans are encouraged to access health care through Health Net’s comprehensive network of community-based, non-VA medical professionals who meet VA quality standards. These highly qualified providers are contracted as part of Health Net’s URAC accredited Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC) network and proudly serve our Veterans today in PCCC. More information can be found at :



Information Referenced During Training

Video of kids’ experiences about parents who deploy

Acronym List

Military Acronyms and Terminology

Clinical Resources

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

Deployment Health Clinical Center

Center for Deployment Psychology

National Center for PTSD

Research Publications

VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines

VA Community Provider Toolkit

Military Organizations

American Legion

American Veterans (AMVETS)

Blue Star Mothers of America

Disabled American Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

Military Supports

American Red Cross

Armed Forces Crossroads

Army OneSource

Military Homefront

Military OneSource

National Military Family Association

National Resource Directory

Real Warriors Campaign

United States Organizations (USO)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

USA Cares

VA Caregiver Support

Veterans Resource Locator

Wounded Warrior Project

Wellness Resources

After Deployment

Defense Centers of Excellence

US Army Public Health Command

Military News

Army Times

Military Times

Air Force Times

Bipolar Disorder

How does Bipolar Disorder affect someone over time?

At Family Counseling San Diego through the use of LENS Neurofeedback or EMDR our therapists reduce symptoms quickly. Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but some people may have lingering symptoms.

Doctors usually diagnose mental disorders using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. According to the DSM, there are four basic types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder is mainly defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, the person also has depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person’s normal behavior.
  • Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
  • Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of the illness that do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few symptoms, to be diagnosed with bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia, is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People who have cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania that shift back and forth with mild depression for at least two years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.

Some people may be diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. This is when a person has four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed symptoms within a year. Some people experience more than one episode in a week, or even within one day. Rapid cycling seems to be more common in people who have severe bipolar disorder and may be more common in people who have their first episode at a younger age. One study found that people with rapid cycling had their first episode about four years earlier, during mid to late teen years, than people without rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Rapid cycling affects more women than men.

I Tried Direct Neurofeedback and the Results Surprised Me

I Tried Direct Neurofeedback and the Results Surprised Me –

Interview with Direct Neurofeedback Specialist Grant Rudolph

Posted Mar 13, 2018


Grant Rudolph explaining Direct Neurofeedback

Source: Zoltan Istvan

Transhumanism—the movement of using science and technology to improve the human being—covers many different fields of research. There are exoskeleton suits to help the disabled; there are stem cell treatments to cure disease; there are robots and AI to perform human chores. The field is wide open and booming as humanity uses more and more tech in its world.

It’s not that often I get to participate directly in these radical technologies, but I did so recently when Grant Rudolph, Clinical Director at Echo Rock Neurotherapy in Mill Valley, California invited me to try his Direct Neurofeedback techniques. Via his computer and EEG wire hookups, Mr. Rudolph echoed my brainwave information back into my head at an imperceptible level. I did two sessions of Direct Neurofeedback.

At first, I was skeptical that I’d even feel anything since the EEG information can’t be detected by the skin as a sensation, but within five minutes of having the wires stuck onto my forehead, I began feeling different. I can compare it to a light dose of a recreational drug: I felt happy, content, and worry-free. I also felt more introspective than normal. The feedback only took a few seconds, and after about 15 minutes, I seemed to notice the world’s colors were sharper and my hearing was more acute. The heightened awareness and calming effect lasted about 24 hours and then most of it gradually wore off. Some of the clarity must still be working, because getting things done sometimes still seems easier. I’m told that continued sessions would make this state of clarity my new norm.

Q. What do most people notice from Direct Neurofeedback?

A. Direct Neurofeedback (LENS) shows the brain how to stop worrying and be fully present in this moment. Victoria Vogel and I have given about 20,000 sessions at Echo Rock Neurotherapy, and the first words we hear clients say are usually “relaxed, calm or clear.” The immediate experience for almost everyone is an unusual deep relaxation and simultaneous bright clarity of mind. When this state keeps going for days, they eventually talk about their new traits of steady happiness, increased energy, confidence, clear boundaries, better sleep, work efficiency and ongoing contentment.

Q. How does it work?

A. Direct Neurofeedback allows people to let go of stress by showing the survival brain how it is wasting energy worrying about the past. Because our brains are very interested in energy-efficiency, they quickly abandon unskillful defensive thought-patterns once they “see” them. Direct neurofeedback supplies the missing information. Unlike biofeedback and traditional neurofeedback where the “seeing” happens with the cognitive mind, direct neurofeedback information returns transcranially through the EEG sensor wires, bypassing the cognitive process altogether. Change is easy because the wise brain simply knows what to do and makes the adjustments without effort.

Q. What conditions does it treat?

A. Direct Neurofeedback clears the underlying causes of stress rather than chasing after symptoms. Therefore it is safe and effective in addressing all sorts of conditions. It has shown itself clinically successful in treating depression and fatigue, anxiety, ADHD, memory loss, PTSD, learning disabilities & autism, procrastination, head trauma, migraines, addiction, pain and much more. It can be highly effective with treatment-resistant seizure disorders and compulsive behavior. For people without a diagnosis, it enhances performance, efficiency and meditation progress. We are offering a neurofeedback enhanced meditation retreat November 24-26 this year.

Q. Who does it work for?

A. Individuals of ALL ages can benefit from Direct Neurofeedback. At Echo Rock Neruotherapy we help super-achievers—CEOs, Olympic athletes, musicians and the like—to find their flow state and achieve peak performance. Because it is so fast and easy to administer, Direct Neurofeedback has been extremely effective at treating children who are on the ADHD/Autism spectrum, or have behavioral, learning or attachment problems, even if they are not actively participating in the treatment. For those struggling with relationship issues, Direct Neurofeedback can break old patterns, allowing the love between two people to bloom.

Q. What about medications and addictions?

A. As the brain becomes more spacious, organized, and better able to effectively utilize input, clients may find themselves less in need of medication. It is important, of course, to work with a medical professional like our in-house psychiatrist to taper down medications and determine the new ideal dosage.

Clients who struggle with addiction often feel so much better after a few sessions that it becomes easy to let go of their substance of choice. Withdrawal from opiates and even benzodiazepines can be considerably smoother with Direct Neurofeedback. When the brain is clear, clients typically find themselves naturally making wiser choices about how to best take care of themselves.

Q. How did you get started doing Direct Neurofeedback?

A. I was doing a practice of noticing situations where it was appropriate for me to say the words “I’m happy for you”. At the same time, I wanted to help my son who had been failing at school because he fell and hit his head. He was irritable, and couldn’t focus or sit still. We tried everything, until we finally gave him Direct Neurofeedback. For the first time in his life, he could read a book, and pass a test on what it said. Direct Neurofeedback worked so dramatically, that we offered it to all our psychotherapy clients. They were able to resolve their issues easily and immediately, without talking about their past. Now we have the pleasure of helping people having a hard time with their headspace every day. After Direct Neurofeedback, they are relieved and grateful, and I get to say the words “I’m happy for you!”