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  • Writer's pictureEdward Bowz, LMFT

An Introduction to the Blog:

My name is Edward Bowz. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, working in private practice for over a decade. I have taught psychology at the university level and was the Director of Behavioral Health for BioCorRx, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company that focuses on medication-assisted treatment for alcohol and opiate addiction. I currently hold the same position for MAT Tech Recovery Centers.

After doing the math, I have logged over 10,000 hours of psychotherapy, assisting with a multitude of client concerns. I have provided support for individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, substance abuse, sex addiction, sexual concerns, phase of life issues, and relationship struggles. I have also worked extensively with many couples and families, focusing on their relationship disconnects.

I continue to see clients daily, often seven days per week. The stories shared have changed me as a person and therapist. It would be impossible for this not to have happened. The impact of client transparency has stretched my understanding of what it means to be human in innumerable ways. Every time, and I do mean every time I think I have heard it all, a client brings a remarkable new story into one of my sessions. Each month, sometimes weekly, a revelation catches me off-guard and adds to my collection of human experience. Human beings are remarkable, and the things we think, do, and say never cease to amaze.

I have witnessed impressive client growth throughout the years. I would like to think I was responsible for these changes, but in truth, most of them have been triggered by the interaction between myself and the client in real-time. There are profound moments in therapy that are revolutionary and trigger deeper understanding and transformation.

These spontaneous happenings are magical. If you have ever attended therapy, you will understand what I mean. They are obvious. Therapy regulars recognize those moments. Whether you call them "aha" moments, "sparkling" moments, or breakthroughs, they are the Holy Grail of therapy. They are what you are paying for. For therapists, they are why we do what we do. Without them, we are just talking. What turns talk and therapy into talk therapy are those moments.

A therapist's job is to unlock a client's story and reveal an insight. This revelation's impact should alter the client's thoughts about life and provide new choices and behavior opportunities. These epiphanies are the catalysts for change in the client and are immensely rewarding for the therapist.

At times, in a session, inspiration hits, and words come out of a therapist's mouth, which surprises even the therapist. "Wow. I thought of that. That was a pretty good one." However, in my experience, the muse is almost always summoned by direct interaction with another human being while discussing their very human problems. When I am fortunate enough to conjure something evocative, the client typically says, "There's one for your book!" and we laugh it off.

At some point, I started writing down the gems the psychology gods threw my way. Over time, the collection of thoughts, ideas, and insights began to add up. Along the way, I realized many of my best concepts were connected to couple's therapy and individuals dealing with relationship issues. This did not surprise me because I had been developing a keen interest in that unit of treatment for some time and had already begun to dabble with the idea of specializing in it or, at the very least, having it become a significant focus of my practice.

I would consult my scribbles often and bring them into my work when appropriate. I was always thrilled when the offering resonated with a different client. Eventually, my collection grew quite large and the concepts appeared strong. The information felt wasted lying in secret, buried in my notepads. It was worth sharing, but I did not know how to go about it. A need was starting to grow. I wanted to broadcast these ideas in some other capacity beyond the confines of my therapeutic four walls. Eventually, an obvious but daunting choice beckoned.

I set out to write a self-help book about couple's therapy. There are hundreds of books on this subject matter, and there is nothing new under the sun. This gave me pause, but after synthesizing all the ideas I had written, I felt I had a different take on couple's therapy that might make my book fresh.

I started writing. And writing. It was challenging to put everything together cohesively. There were so many ideas—too many for one book. Should I write multiple books? Was that too ambitious? Or was there a better use for the extras? Could I share some of the additional content in some other way? Would it be helpful elsewhere?

After consulting with my colleagues and trusted friends, I decided to blog and vlog. I had shied away from this, saddled with the usual fears of rejection and failure that many of my clients struggle with. Blogging and vlogging felt different from a book. It felt more exposed. More vulnerable. As distinct from an actor's experience performing live on stage versus in front of a camera tucked away on a sound stage somewhere. The audience's reaction would be more quickly felt. Judgment from readers appeared only a few keyboard clicks away from landing in a response column. That was very intimidating.

Who was I to assume I had something worth providing, a book, blog, or otherwise? As a mentor of mine once said, "We are all just Bozzo's on the bus." I am certainly one myself, sitting right there next to you. Why would my thoughts matter? What could I offer? Many breathing exercises later, I was able to remind myself that I have extensive education in psychology and years of experience working in the field. I also bring my lifetime of relationship experience. More importantly, as I stared through my poor penmanship, I had some good material. I worked through my cowardice for some time, and eventually, the confidence came. I decided to take action.

I mentioned my personal relationship journeys. I want to expand upon that. They were filled with successes and failures, and, for better or worse, I find the failures inform me most in my private life and as a therapist. Let's face it: no one comes to therapy because they are happy. My failures often mirror the client's and this is useful. It generates a deeper insight and more authentic empathy than relying strictly on textbooks. A blend of academia and life experience has crafted the therapist I am today. Without one or the other, I would be missing something.

A book may never get published. It is a long slog to complete and an even longer wait to get published. This blog is intended to create a more immediate connection with people who might find my thoughts helpful or informative. I want to share the moments in therapy that have been the genesis of my work with relationship struggles. I hope to present some of the important principles I have uncovered while digging in the trenches with my clients. Again, they are the true inspiration for these concepts, and I thank them for the courage they showed in sharing their innermost confusions, doubts, and fears.

I endeavor to lend my experiences to the collective. If you find wisdom in them, that will make me happy. However, even if you disagree with my ideas but they generate contemplation or conversations, I will be just as pleased. Insight borne from contrary opinions is welcome. Insights are insights. However, you get there matters not. As long as you are thinking about relationship improvement, that is satisfaction enough. I believe in the content I will submit in future entries, but I do not have to be right. I simply want this blog to catalyze a better understanding and renewed direction for the happy relationship we are all chasing.

Many of us, without guidance, blindly forge ahead, making the same mistakes repeatedly.  I aim for this blog to serve as a menu of new ideas to change the way you approach interactions with your partner.  This blog should blossom into an instruction manual for relationship improvement.

Relationships are work. These ideas may challenge you to think and act in ways you are not comfortable. However, the discomfort comes from a lack of familiarity. Trying something new is often scary. In therapy, this is a necessary part of the landscape.  I encourage my clients push outside of their comfort zone every session.

Furthermore, I follow my own advice and apply the concepts I share in my intimate relationships daily. Yes, it takes effort, but the effort is worth it—one moment at a time.

Stay tuned for my additions to Unlocking Relationships...

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