Mari B​oyd, MA, LMFT

Licensed Marriage & 

Family Therapist

EMDRIA Approved 

EMDR Trained Therapist

Offering In-Clinic & 

Telehealth Therapy

8669 Eagle Point Blvd

Lake Elmo, MN 55402

(651) 379-0444



These are my thoughts about the process of therapy from a variety of perspectives about a number of topics relative to therapy for adults and adolescents. I hope they cause you to take a moment and think about different aspects of your life. Perhaps they will lead to a moment of recognition of what is happening in your life and where a change may help. You may read the posts as they appear below, or select a category to see all posts relating to that topic.

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What is Love?

Posted on 24 February, 2017 at 13:05

In my practice, this is the one thing that surprises me most. Oh, the question rarely actually gets asked, but the belief and definition are pretty clear based on the nature of the discussion. There is so much confusion about what love between two people should look like.


Infatuation seems to be the word that best describes what I hear. Magic is a close second. People often complain that they don't have the same feelings of Infatuation and magic that they did at the beginning of their relationship. Or they hop from relationship to relationship in search of that magical feeling of Infatuation. Unfortunately, these people never find true love because their expectations is too shallow.


Certainly these things are part of love, but they fall far short of any serious, comprehensive definition of love. Butterflies in the stomach and physical attraction are only a part of love. Face the facts, we all live, grow, mature, change, and get old. What turned you on about another person as a teen, or in their twenties, will surely be gone in their 40s, 50s and beyond. If you want your relationship to last, you had better look for things of more substance in the other person.


In my experience, many great relationships either start with friendship or include friendship as a major element. Friendships, and therefore love, include deeper elements. Supporting the other person in good times and bad. It includes sharing those things that matter with each other. Good lovers, like good friends have many interests in common. And to add some variety, they learn to like things that the other person likes. Trust keep friendships together, and two people in love trust each other. Real love is long lasting between people who are in it for the long haul.The partners in a relationship are there to help and support each other when needed. Finally, people who are friends, and people in love are unselfish -- always regarding the needs and desires of the other person before their own.


Love is worth working for. Two people in a loving relationship don't give up on each other. They care enough to put in the hard work of looking out for the other person, for thinking of them first, of putting the other person first, and of getting to know everything there is to know about what the other person cares about. The irony is that, although I call it work, when the love is deep and mature it doesn't seem like work at all.


Playing for Trust

Posted on 22 February, 2017 at 11:45

In my role as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT) I work with a large number of teenagers to help them with the struggles of growing up and becoming their own person. If you are a parent of a teenager, you know first-hand the difficulties of that time from your life. You want to help your teenager meet those life challenges without the distress they can bring with them. But do you understand the current challenges they face each and every day? Social media and constant availability of mobile communications have created an atmosphere of pressure that we did not have in our time.


The common denominator of most teenagers I see is that they don't want to be in therapy. That says it mildly. In most cases they fight the idea of therapy and talking with a "stranger" with all their might. Let's face it, teenagers are not the best communicators whether with their peers, their parents, or with adults in general. They aren't typically in a therapists' office because they want to be there. They are often brought (dragged) to a therapist by a parent against their will -- not to say that your intentions are not good. They absolutely are good and well meaning and your instincts are right.


My first job as a therapist is to get a teenager to open up. This requires developing a sense of trust between myself and your teenager. I won't pretend this is an easy task. It takes time. And it takes techniques that will break through their thick vaneer of self-protection. My approach is not rocket science. I usually start with the basics. I let them know they are safe. I let them know that anything they say is between the two of us. This may be hard for parents who want to know all the details of our sessions, but it's an absolutely necessary foundation to build upon.


Next, and this is the key, I get them to feel at ease by playing games. Since they have to spend the time with me, we may as well do something non-threatening. I have a lot of games for all ages. We may play Yatzee. Or, my favorite, Rummie 500. We play games they want, and I have a lot in my arsenal. It usually only takes a few sessions like this before they are the ones that ask me why I am not asking questions about their problems. Bingo! It is like a damm of thought, concerns and emotions break through. So, don't worry that we're not making faster progress. It's a work in progress. We're simply playing for trust.