POUTING, PUPPY AND PODCAST

Sounds like a strange way to kick off this month’s newsletter, but it seems to fit.  DB made the mistake of going to a fundraiser for Knine (https://kninerescue.com/), a local animal rescue that we love and support, and of course fell for a little fellow that they saved from a roadside in North Carolina. Under pressure from our grandchildren and with DB doing a bit of moping, Julie finally succumbed and Frank now has a brother, Archie, a lovable and sweet pup. Don’t worry –  the whole puppy negotiation will soon find its way into an upcoming podcast episode.

We continue to work hard at putting out interesting, provoking and engaging episodes of our new podcast, Conversations for Couples. In recent episodes, topics have included some of our own struggles, the main reasons people seek therapy and we also were joined by a great guest, sex therapist Deborah Fox, LICSW, discussing how to best navigate relationship conflict. 

This week’s episode drops on Thursday March 28 and features Joan Vassos, our friend and everyone’s favorite from the Golden Bachelor. Articulate, intelligent and unabashedly honest, Joan talks openly about life after the passing of her long term husband as well as her journey on The Golden Bachelor and beyond. Click here to subscribe and don’t miss this week’s episode:  

You can also watch the episodes on our You Tube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/@thebulitts3197

Thanks again for all the support and here’s hoping for some warm weather! If anyone has any great puppy training advice, please pass it on. So far Archie seems to like shoes and scurries off with a sneaker here and there when we turn our backs.

Thanks again for all the support!

-Julie and David

FAMILY THERAPIST AND DIVORCE LAWYER COUPLE ANNOUNCE EXPANSION OF “CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES” OUTREACH

FOR RELEASE: AUGUST 27, 2021

Julie and David Bulitt, authors of the award winning and highly praised book, “THE FIVE CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES”, have announced that they will be expanding the reach of their work assisting couples in enhancing their communication skills and cultivating the quality of their relationships.

A family therapist and divorce lawyer, Julie and David used their book not only to provide sensible and real-life advice to couples, but also laid bare their own personal lives in the process.

Since the book’s release, “we have received countless inquiries, comments about the book and requests to meet with couples privately,” Julie Bulitt reported. “We gave it a lot of thought and came up with a plan. It’s not therapy, it’s not legal advice. It’s consulting and coaching. Sharing and learning from our experiences and yours,” she said.

A year and a half later, they have announced what David called a three-pronged approach to their couples work, exclusive of their ongoing book projects. The first, a professionally produced “Conversations for Couples” You Tube Series was launched in August 2021. The series is an outgrowth of their ‘Couples Cocktails’ weekly spots on Facebook Live. Those breezy and informal live events began in the early days of the pandemic and by the summer of 2021 had grown to over 1000 views per week on their social media platforms.

In addition to the monthly video series, the Bulitts have commenced individual coaching and consulting with couples and in the next several months will kick off the first six-part “Conversations for Couples” Coaching and Consulting Series. “We are looking to share our experiences directly to folks who are interested in improving their personal and professional lives,” David said. “I am hopeful that everyone who decides to enroll will join us in sharing not only our failures, but successes as well.”

In addition to the group sessions, participants will be able to sign up for individual coaching sessions with the Bulitts.

To request an individual session with the Bulitts or learn more about the upcoming Coaching and Consulting series, email Julie and David at contact@thebulitts.com

TIME FOR THERAPY? SOME TIPS TO PICK THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL FOR YOU

TIME FOR THERAPY? SOME TIPS TO PICK THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL FOR YOU

We are in the middle of a pandemic that just wont go away. Job loss and economic instability is around every corner. Layer on top of that  the loss of structured activities, students trying to adjust to virtual learning and this new normal  has people of all ages and walks of life turning to professionals for support and help in navigating these difficult times. 

People are stressed, depressed and struggling. More often than I can count over the last several months I have gotten emails, calls and even been stopped on a walk with my dogs, being asked the same question:  How do I pick a therapist?  

I have a few suggestions.  

  • Interview a therapist as if you were interviewing them for a job.  How well do you connect? How do they do answering your questions? Can you envision that person doing the job?
  • Ask Doctors , friends and family for  referrals; word of mouth is a great starting point. Check your insurance company provider list and cross reference the names. if you are lucky enough to find someone in your network that is a bonus.
  • Know what kind of help you need and make sure you are a good match. Some mental health professionals  do more long-term psychotherapy while others do more short term goal oriented work.
  • Ask the therapist what experience and training  they have with  people  and situations similar to yours.
  • Ask about fees, availability of appointments, how they conduct their sessions- virtual and in person options.
  • The most important part of the process is the connection. Do you see yourself talking and trusting this person. Trust your gut.

Therapy can be incredibly helpful and empowering.  Take your time and find the professional that is right for you.

Julie Bulitt, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker, having worked for more than 25 years with individuals, couples and families.  Her private practice focuses on family, couples and individual therapy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Executive Functioning coaching.  She presently serves as the in-house therapist for The Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Her new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is co-authored with her husband, a Maryland divorce lawyer is now available from all booksellers in paperback and e-books.   

LIVING IN THE INSTAPOT

LIVING IN THE INSTAPOT

Ever heard of the Instapot? A fairly popular kitchen item, its  a high pressure cooker and can double as a slow cooker.

If you are like us, you and your significant other have been hunkered down under the same roof for more than three months now. Working together, sleeping together, eating all your meals together. If I go to the kitchen, he’s there.  Out on the deck, he’s there. In the bathroom?  Yep, there he is again.  I love my husband, I really do, but all this pandemic created togetherness is sometimes makes me feel like I am a chicken wing being pressure cooked in my kitchen Instapot.  

In my practice, I have observed this pressure cooker lock down lifestyle leading couples down divergent paths. On one side of the fence, some relationships have really thrived  and both individuals have appreciated the extra time together.  Those folks are enjoying each other, melded well and strengthened their connection. They spend time doing the traditional things they like to do together and in some cases exploring and learning about each other in different ways.  

I have been working with one couple that were together just a short time before the lock down began. In a move that their families unanimously thought was an enormous lapse in judgment,  the two decided to quarantine together.  To the surprise of the others, but not to themselves, the Instapot cooked things to perfection.  Getting to know each other quickly, in a small and contained environment, proved to be a fast path to love and a desire to make things permanent. With both of their apartment leases soon to expire, the two are house hunting for their first home together.  

For others, the Instapot has served up a fair share of discomfort and conflict.   Many couples have been forced to spend time together when they ordinarily do not. They have lost many of their other outlets and coping mechanisms and are pretty much going crazy from being in home all day with a partner that up to now they have found a way to co-exist or, in many cases, don’t like very much. Those are the folks who no doubt will be over done and ready to get out and separate as soon as the pandemic passes. 

From my vantage point as a mental health professional, this Instapot relationship experiment has been really interesting to observe.  For some, the heat has sped up or increased the positive while for others pressure cooker has burnt them to a crisp, speeding their relationship toward a breakup. 

I like to think that my relationship with David, solid before this mess began, will be even more so when it is over.  I still wish he would get out of my way now and again though.

Julie Bulitt, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist.  She and her husband, a divorce lawyer, have been married for more than 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is available online and in local bookstores. Follow David and Julie at www.thebulitts.com and on all social media platforms @thebulitts. 

COVID-19 AND SUMMER VISITATION

COVID-19 AND SUMMER VISITATION

With families of divorce, summer is often a time that kids spend significant amounts of time with non-primary custodial parents. Even in an ordinary summer, extended visits with that parent are often accompanied with anxiety and trepidation. Parents worry: Will her father make sure she does her summer school work?  His mother won’t give him his medications. He does not worry about Sarah’s allergies.  Where will they be staying?  I need to know!  The kids have their own concerns: Will I get to see my friends? I don’t like it there. Why do I have to go?   These are but a few of the many concerns those families lawyers like myself hear at the launch of summer vacation, year in and year out.

This year – 2020 – brings no ordinary summer.  All across the country, academic years were suspended, and then cut short.  Families from California to Florida were forced into some sort of “stay at home” order. Courts are closed throughout the nation.  The statistics regarding cases and deaths related to COVID-19 increase every day, even now, months into this pandemic. It is not surprising that divorced parents have disagreements and that many of those disagreements center around their children. As such, levels of anxiety have inherently increased as the summer of 2020 approaches.  

In many jurisdictions, courts have issued overall edicts that parties are to comply with existing orders regarding visitation, regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak. Like most “general orders”, those edicts are simply inappropriate and often just plain unfair for many children and their families.  Any number of potential situations comes to mind.  What happens where a child has been sick or even exposed to the virus?  Should she have to go to her mother’s house despite an existing order that provides mother with four weeks of summer visitation?   Dad lives in California and his son is supposed to be put on an airplane to fly there from his home in Maryland?  Should the child be put at risk by travelling through an airport and on the plane from one coast to the other just so Dad can exercise his visitation?  

I am reminded of a great quote that I heard some time ago from Jodi Picoult, a best selling fiction author: “The answer is that there is no good answer. So as parents, as doctors, as judges and as a society we fumble through and make decisions that allow us to sleep at night because morals are more important than ethics and love is more important than law.”     

That may or may not be helpful.  What I can say to parents is that the best thing you can do, when trying to balance health and safety with court orders and obligations is to find a family lawyer whose judgment you trust, give them a call and discuss your situation and get some advice. Do your best.  No one gave any of us lessons in how to handle the myriad of issues that have been presented to us when considering COVID-19 and its impact on summer visitation.

David Bulitt is a shareholder in the law firm of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA, in suburban Maryland. A father of four, he focuses on all areas of family law. A published author, Bulitt’s most recent book, THE FIVE CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES was published in February, 2020 and is co-authored with his wife, a family therapist.

AVOID THE MORNING DREAD

AVOID THE MORNING DREAD

I have had clients complain about mornings for as long as I can remember.  They don’t want to get up, don’t want to face the day. For younger adults, school is boring, maybe too difficult.  For older people already in the workplace, I hear the same complaints about their jobs. Folks would rather stay home, often isolated, and sometimes not even move out from under their blankets.

This is what I call “The Morning Dread.” It’s nothing new, no, but the phenomenon is becoming more prevalent as the quarantine and stay at home orders stretch from weeks to months.   So many of my clients  – kids, teens and adults alike – are describing similar feelings of just not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

Why the malaise? The Morning Dread is a symptom of a lot of factors, including: 

  1. It’s the same thing day after day with little to no change and no new excitement.  Remember the movie Groundhog Day?  
  2. Our brains are not adequately stimulated.
  3. We struggle with how to make things happen, create activities; manage our kids, school and work. 
  4. The anxiety over not knowing when it will end.  When can we go out again and feel safe?  

Here are a few ideas for combating Morning Dread: 

  1. Create a morning routine. Routine is comforting to our bodies and minds.
  2. Put something nice in your morning- a good breakfast, a cup of your favorite coffee.
  3. Get up and exercise, meditate, take an early morning walk.  
  4. Limit your time on social media, bad news and negative energy.  
  5. Take a moment and affirmatively set a positive mindset for the day

Julie Bulitt, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker, having worked for more than 25 years with individuals, couples and families.  Her private practice focuses on family, couples and individual therapy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Executive Functioning coaching.  She presently serves as the in-house therapist for The Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Her new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES is co-authored with her husband, a Maryland divorce lawyer is now available from all booksellers in paperback and e-books.  

Do Your Best

Do Your Best

“At the end of the day, remind yourself that you did the best you could today, and that is good enough.”

– Lori Deschene

David found that quote and decided to save it. It is worth remembering, particularly now with all the stress that is spread across our town, our country, our world.  Just the other day, two of our daughters yelled at Julie, not because she did anything wrong, but was more the result of some pent up frustrations the girls were feeling.    To her credit, Julie did not engage with either one; she was quiet and let both situations pass. 

   If we believe the news reports and the likelihood of a lengthy home confinement, the stress is unlikely to pass any time soon.  How is each of us going to get through these weeks, or even months, without driving each other – and ourselves – crazy?  In her practice, Julie has observed a wide variety of coping mechanisms.  Some people worry, others drift into depression and inaction. There are folks who become obsessive, by over eating, drinking to excess or spending too much money on line.  We have friends who take stress on like an opponent in a boxing ring – head on.  They are the ones who who spring up, make projects for themselves, and do all hey can to keep busy and occupied.

Julie has been a grocery store repeat offender.  She has taken multiple trips for various foodstuffs that we don’t need – from Spaghetti O’s to frozen pizzas to cake icings.  Her thinking is that if the family has enough groceries, all will get better and be fine.  At this point, David won’t let her go to the grocery store without advance permission, a specific list of items to be purchased and an adult chaperone.  

Julie has also used the time to help others.  Just the other day, our grandsons were wrapping individual packages for seniors with crayoned drawings and rolls of toilet paper.   

David is back to writing more; Julie for her part is spending extra time in the kitchen.   Happy hours are both more frequent and extend a bit longer. We are both doing our best to eat healthy, walk and work out daily.  While Julie has spent a good bit of time video chatting with friends, David is instead talking to the dogs.  We are both trying to keep to normal “work-like” schedules and routines.  

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your own sanity: 

–  Get regular and sufficient sleep  

–  Take vitamins

–  Binge watch some shows

–  Clean the garage, which for us has become a home gym of sorts

–  Help a neighbor with food or supplies 

–  Stay connected with family and friends via phone, face time or Skype.  Julie loves the House Party app that allows her to talk to several friends at once.

– Donate to those in need through online charities

– Support local businesses.  Order carryout from neighborhood restaurants, books from local bookstores

– Be aware of current developments, but don’t obsess with the news 

– Spend uninterrupted and quality time with your pets, your kids, and your partner

In other words, just do your best.

Julie and David Bulitt, a licensed clinical social worker and divorce lawyer, have been married for more than 33 years. Their new book, THE 5 CORE CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES, is available in paperback and e-book on line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major booksellers and can also be purchased from your local independent bookstore.  Read more about Julie and David https://thebulitts.com/