“What’s in Your Tool Belt?”

(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: When Secrets Surface by Dr Ken McGill)

At any given time you will want to have your tool belt on in order to quickly and successfully work on and eventually resolve any problem that pops up that may threaten your progress. What follows below are some suggested tools that you will want to have handy because more than likely you will need to access these “tools” rapidly and often as you continue your work in protecting the garden. What’s in Your Tool Belt? Make sure you have good quality tools that help you to facilitate relationship repair and to feel good about your work and the outcomes you wish to achieve.

The “tools” are:

T: You’ll Need a way to Hydrate yourself: Embrace Your Spiritual Disciplines

Everyone needs water when working in the garden or else it will be a very short workday! Hydrating yourself with prayer or any other spiritual discipline that grounds, cools or empowers you is necessary. The first and vital step is between you and your God!

O: Identify and Speak about Your Thoughts, Needs, Feelings and Solutions

Identifying then communicating what you are thinking, feeling, need and what will repair the impasse in 3 minutes or less, then letting go of the outcome helps you to creatively focus on solutions versus cyclical complaining. This may be the tool you use the most!

O: What other Tools do I need to do this job effectively?

You have a lot of tools at your disposal. When you are emotionally flooded you may not even remember you have a tool belt and at times, you may wish to unbuckle it and discard it. Being grounded, calm and humble helps you to focus, remember and respond, which is a very good tool.

L: Pray for Courage to See and then to do the next right thing

It takes a lot of insight and guts to identify and own up to your part in what went wrong then muster up the courage when you have cooled down to practice reconciliation (laying aside wrathful behavior, then imparting peaceful behavior). What’s the next right step for you to practice in your effort to resolve conflict with your partner?

B: You Know this Already, but LOVE is the Answer — Apply it Liberally!

Practical applications of Agape or Love (Esteeming, Cherishing, Respecting, Favor, Honor, Acceptance, Prizing, Relishing and Devotion) will more than likely repair and renew any problem that arises. Perhaps this is the tool that you will use the most. Remember, all (s)he needs is love!

E: Engage in “Course Correction” and Make Amends Rapidly

The quickest way to repair a breach in any relationship is to do your job to course correct as soon as possible. It does not matter if the other person gets it or not, if you know what repair is needed, then you are encouraged to do your part versus fomenting disharmony.

L: Make Sure You appreciate when someone gives you a Helping Hand

If your partner makes progress (no one will achieve perfection), then make sure you acknowledge and appreciate his or her contribution. Gratitude flows from appreciating what you currently have. Find some way to acknowledge any gift that is given to you, no matter how large or small the contribution.

T: Have the Number of a Good Repair Person Handy

Sometimes it is practical to seek a consult and ask for help when you hit a roadblock. Women do this far more effectively than men, so men, remember “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17. Seek assistance that will be helpful to you and could provide the necessary guidance you may need.

I wish you the best as you use your tools to create a very beautiful relationship garden full of character virtues that edify and empower both of you!

TeleHealth/Video counseling sessions are available for those who prefer to meet online – Dr. McGill

Businesswoman presses button psychological counseling online on virtual screens. technology, internet and networking concept.

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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.


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