Is your relationship in trouble?

CoupleJohn Gottman has studied couples for 30 years. By observing couples discussing an issue in his “Love Lab” at the U of Washington, he can tell whether or not the relationships will crumble. Read this article and see if you recognize any trouble signs in your relationship:



“I don’t know what else to do. What’s better than time-outs?”

Time.OutTime-outs leave your child stranded, angry, frustrated, flooded with emotions and stress. Time-outs leave YOU stranded, angry, frustrated, flooded with emotions and stress. Time-outs leave your partner stranded, angry, frustrated, flooded with emotions and stress. Nothing is resolved. Nothing is learned, by anyone. Instead, Dr. Dan Siegel teaches a mindful approach. The building blocks are Presence, Attunement, Resonance, and Trust. I encourage you to learn more about this. It’s not only for parents, teachers, and children, but is so helpful for couples who need to break out of destructive, dead end communication patterns.

Here’s the link to Dr. Dan’s article and book:


Are You Wasting Enough Time?

Royal.ArchThis morning I ran across an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review by game designer and MacArthur winner, Jane McGonigal. I feel I should be “doing something” productive all the time. But I look out my office windows into Boulder Canyon. Sometimes snow is falling, or the squirrel is jumping branch to branch from the nest, or a raven calls from the lodge pole pines. My mind drifts. I’m not wasting anything.

Here’s the link:


Andromeda, Parasitic Pinedrops, Family Systems and Multigenerational Transmission

AndromedaHow are Pinedrops, parasitic plants, pine trees, Andromeda, and multigenerational transmission of abuse, trauma, and family dysfunction related? This question began to form as I hiked with a Native Plant Society group.

Andromeda, according to Greek myth, was the daughter of Cassiopeia who boasted that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids. Hades was enraged. As punishment (for her mother’s boasting), Andromeda was stripped and chained naked to a rock, destined to be a sacrifice.  Hades ordered Poseidon to send a sea monster to destroy her. However, Andromeda was saved by the hero, Perseus.

A parasite is an organism that depends on a different organism for basically everything, while contributing nothing to the survival of its host. Pinedrops are parasitic, but not directly parasitic on pine trees. Pinedrops are directly parasitic on mycorrhizal fungi which, in turn, are directly parasitic on conifer roots. Without this indirect association with the roots, Pinedrops wouldn’t grow, access nourishment, and have shelter. However, Pinedrops have very little chlorophyll, are therefore not green, and do not photosynthesize.

Pterospora Andromedea

According to Family Systems counseling theory, unresolved family problems are passed down through the generations. There are emotional forces that operate over the years in interconnected patterns. The energies in the system work to preserve the status quo. Anyone who questions what’s going on, anyone who names the elephant in the room, anyone who tries to/does disengage, anyone who becomes aware and conscious and differentiated, anyone who heals, threatens the system and becomes the family target. Consciousness, truth, and strong healthy choices are enemies of projection, generations of abuse, shame, secrets, emotional triangles, and lies .

So, Pinedrops are directly parasitic to fungi and indirectly parasitic to conifers. Was Andromeda like the conifers, caught in the destructive forces of the Greek pantheon family system? Was innocent Andromeda in a parasitic family system, forced to almost pay with her life for her mother’s hubris, the Nereids’ jealousy, and her father’s rage, indirectly exercised through another family member, Poseidon? Who was and is “Perseus”?


Raspberry Corner

RaspberryOn the way to bring my grandchildren home, I always pass the corner lot where an old man lives and tends his raspberry canes. “They’re looking good,” I say to the kids. “Yeah, they TASTE good,” my grandson says. “I don’t usually like raspberries, but he always lets us have some when I walk the dogs (Gussie, Shaggy, and Merlin (Labradors)), and they’re really sweet.”

“Why do you think he’s out there every afternoon?” I ask. I wonder if he’s a widower, as I never see anyone else around. He is so gentle with the canes. I almost hear him whispering to them.

“Because he likes raspberries,” the other young one in the back seat says. Why do I feel the sting of tears? Life can be so simple.

Last weekend, I was out cycling with women friends. The sky was blue, clouds piling up over the near mountain range. In the paceline, I turned my head. A midnight raven drafted the echelon. “Oh, Trickster,” I thought. “I’ve seen you before. You and your sister guarded the sacred cove on the remote northern British Columbia island when I surfed the waves up onto the midden beach in my kayak. I was wet, tired, and hungry. You didn’t fly away. I called the wolves from where I drank at the mossy stream in the shadow of the shaggy cedar totem poles. Suddenly, I was afraid as the pack streaked from the point towards me. I remember crashing through the brush, running wildly to the beach, jumping in my kayak, paddling offshore, my heart pounding. The wolves never came.

You tricksters laughed. I couldn’t paddle any further that day. I was cold, shakey-hungry, miles to go next day with the tides. I wondered, were you there, later, when the pack circled my tent in the moonlight, panting and sniffing. Did you shape-shift like coyote, watching?”

I watch an old man tend raspberries, a boy walk his dog, and the wheel of the rider in front of me.

Are you a Classic, or do you skate through?

Eight women brave 30 mph wind gusts and huddle in a tight circle around Siga, our coach. She is demonstrating 100% weight shift, left-right, left-right, and the compression of the fishscales under our kick zone. “Think of this as stepping on lily pads across a big lake. Too big steps, too fast, and you’ll fall in the water.” OK, I wonder, is this what Monet meant? 

            “Now, is it more likely that I’ll fall down if I’m standing fully upright, knees locked, weight back, or is it more likely that I’ll fall down if my knees are bent, elbows loose, pelvis tucked, weight forward?” Siga asks. In the swirling snow, I see what she means. Still, when we practice in the tracks at the area called the “Stadium”, it isn’t so easy to progress in a forward direction with one ski on, then the other, finally both. No poles. She watches each of us intently, and I sort of dread the thought that she’s watching me. “Slow down, shift your weight, commit!” she shouts. “Now, what did you learn from that?” she asks each of us. This is not easy.

            Where else have I ever aspired to do what Siga demos—a side-to-side waddle while moving forward? Then we jog, both skis in the tracks, “1, 2, 3, 4…glide,” she calls from across the clearing. Gliding, trusting the skis and myself on them, feels risky until I do it, a lot. As we plow our way down “Petersen’s Way”, Siga commands: “Remember what you have under you!” Yes, I’m remembering, since I just met what was under me in a headfirst dive into a snowbank, but that’s not exactly what she meant.

            I’ve never, since I was two years old–skating, running, biking, hiking, swimming, or skiing–been so focused and so toasted after practicing for a pitiful 3 miles and two hours before lunch. And then there’s the two hours after lunch. I’m going to be a classic skier, I tell myself, not a skater.

            What does this have to do with the therapy I offer? Here, in bullet points, are my thoughts:

·      Gather with others. Share the wind.

·      Assess your situation.

·      Stay within your boundaries.

·      Commit.

·      Shift your weight; share the load.

·      Balance.

·      Choose what is meaningful. 

·      Be flexible; stay loose. Watch out for rigidity.

·      Slow down and take small steps.

·      Look ahead.

·      Be present.

·      Be mindful of your mind, body, and spirit.

·      Take in the feedback that matters.

·      Remember your foundation.

·      Find your grip.

·      Treat yourself.

Contact Me

Get in Touch

I look forward to hearing from you at


Jennifer L. Favell, M.A., Ph.D., L.P.C.
Address: 4125 Nassau Place, Boulder, CO 80301

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When I found out that my wife was having an affair, I was devastated, sick, angry times 100, scared, revengeful, couldn’t think, couldn’t work, didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to do what I wanted to do. I got your name, and over the next months, you helped us communicate and find our way. It wasn’t easy. We learned skills. We read a few books you suggested. We did homework. Our kids saw us work things out in healthy ways. We have family meetings now. We’re not perfect, but we’re real and we saved our marriage. Thanks is not enough. –L and J

I was a cutter for 9 years. Many times I did other things to hurt myself and just about anybody around me. You helped me. You helped me find good parts of myself, and I faced the other ones. My family was so (screwed up). I almost lost my daughter. I was a terrible mother. I didn’t know how….–Ahna

Your patient listening without judgment, hearing myself complain, helped me to see what I needed to do to move out of that space into something more conducive to a greater level of functioning in my daily life.  –Paul

When I thought about the final act, what I’d do, words wouldn’t come out. It was so dark, where I was, had been since I could remember. You helped me connect the nightmares in my head to what I was feeling.  Then I could tell you and people about it.  I started to live again.  –Laurie

She’s my princess, has been for 59 years.  To see her disappearing day by day, she didn’t get dressed any more,  just broke my heart.  I didn’t know what to do.  You helped me see how I was avoiding those big decisions.  I didn’t want to tell my daughter.  She has her own family now.  But when I did, she begged me to let them help.  You met with us over at the house and everybody did a part.  Now she (his wife) has the care she needs.  I see our friends from time to time.  My grandson taught me email. I re-connected with my old best friend’s widow.  –Louis

You coached me to take control of my practice.  Now, I’m hiring my clients.  I keep office hours.  I take most weekends off.  My wife and I went on a weekend together, just the two of us, first time since we had the kids.  I hired a part-time bookkeeper and might hire an associate.  I stopped drinking. I go to AA. I’m going to a workout class at the rec center, lost 15 pounds so far.  It’s scary to look back at where I was headed.  Thank you for helping me see,  for being there when I was losing it and for your respect when I had none.  –Dave

Talking about such a difficult time in my life was a helpful catharsis for me. I think the EMDR we did was the turning point. –J

Thank you for your compassionate and empathic listening.  I’d never told anyone before. You always said, “Trust is built,” and I came to feel like I could trust myself. I learned about toxic people, who not to trust, what is OK and what is not. I got that job we talked about.–Jo


JENNIFER L. FAVELL, M.A., PH.D., LPC, Trauma and Grief Therapist

Holistic trauma treatment. My expertise is in supporting families and friends who have lost loved ones in violent ways–suicide, crash, natural disaster, homicide, overdose, or medical complications. I see sexual assault victims and abuse survivors, people who want to heal. I teach mindfulness practices. I am trained in and use EMDR.

Young adults-seniors. I see people who are deeply grieving. I see professionals whose careers are at risk or in need of a tune-up; people going through divorce or the painful breakup of a relationship; adjusting to co-parenting; parents who need guidance with younger generations; people in other major life transitions; and individuals who seek better understanding, communication, and the tools to grow their relationships and reestablish trust and intimacy. Through depth psychology inviting dreams, symbols, images, journaling, active imagination, myths and Internal Family Systems (IFS), we’ll recognize and learn about parts of your Self and develop integration.

Let’s look at who you are today, where you might want to go, what holds you back and what might help. Let’s restore and develop self-esteem based on understanding who you are. We’ll start with today and then look deeper at what has happened in the past and how it affects your future. We will focus on what is and is not working and will build on your strengths with compassion and respect for your unique journey. We will build active listening skills, stress management skills, and skills for reconnecting with parts of yourself that are carrying heavy burdens. We will find authentic balance and self-respect, step-by-step building resiliency so you can nurture deep intimacy with those you choose to be in your life.

With 30 years of experience in the mental health field, I’ve taught and counseled preschool teachers, parents, gang-affiliated teens, medical school students, public prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, victims assistance staff members, mental health therapists, judges and many, many clients.  I continue to learn from all. That’s what grounds my passion for this work.