Merry Lambert                (818) 754.1450   
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist   MFC 47505       












    Psychotherapy for Adults, Adolescents, Children, Couples & Families 

It’s my privilege and passion to help clients explore their unique stories.  In the therapeutic process, I strive to facilitate increased feelings of self-understanding, self-acceptance, spiritual well-being and personal growth for each and every client. 

What’s missing from your life and your relationships?  What do you need from intimates/friends?  How will you get your needs met?  Your life is too precious to ignore or allow these questions to go unanswered.  Denied relational needs often breed disappointment, hurt, anger, depression, and troubled relationships.  No matter our age or gender – we desire to be heard, understood, accepted, valued and loved.  

Click here to view Merry's profile on Psychology Today
                                         Merry Lambert, LMFT
                                                (818) 754.1450
                        Contact Merry for an initial no-fee 30 minute consultation. 
Because you matter, making contact with the right therapist can be the best gift to yourself and your relationships.  It's your time to feel heard, understood, accepted, valued and loved.  Relinquish negative, intrusive thoughts/beliefs; learn new, more effective and positive ways of relating and behaving; let go of fears and anxieties to get what you want, need and deserve by learning to set healthier boundaries, and live your life with relationships that are rich in appreciation, affection, committment and positive communication.

It's your time to experience how a genuine, caring therapeutic connection with me, and your commitment to self-understanding and self-acceptance can foster fulfilling and loving relationships.

Merry's recent article:

Are You Too Broke to Break-up? Assessing the Costly Divorce Dilemma

by Merry Lambert, MA, LMFT   

  This article is NOT intended for those individuals dealing with any form of abuse, domestic violence, or the complexities of ongoing infidelity in their relationship.  Under such circumstances, I do not condone or support staying together.  The issues and discussion of relational abuse, domestic violence and infidelity exceed the scope of this article.  However, I strongly advise anyone experiencing domestic abuse or violence to develop a safety plan, locate local shelters and seek out a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for support and guidance.


If you have contemplated divorce or separation due to an afflictive, intimacy-starved marriage or couple-hood, or are looking to finalize your dissolution but can’t afford the legal fees, you’re not alone – and it’s no wonder. Divorce is expensive and has always been so.     


On average, $300 to $350 per hour is the going rate for family law attorneys in Southern California.  The average cost of a contested divorce can easily reach $50,000 and can run up to $70,000 or more for each side if custody is disputed.  In this Great Recession which appears to be unrelenting, divorce may be the worst financial – or relational mistake you and your spouse can make.  


There was a time that it was commonplace to hear, “We’re staying together for the kids.” – The primary philosophy or rationale among loveless couples for many years.  Other excuses such as, “I don’t have the time to meet with attorneys or go to court.”  Or, “I don’t have the energy to make any drastic changes” were often uttered.    


Although this remains true for some, nowadays the basis for sticking it out has taken on a new slant due to the state of the economy.  Yes, the economy.  I suspect that the crippling side effects felt by most will cause couples to take pause and reevaluate their decision to opt for separation or divorce.  Splitting up in general can be a bankrupting enterprise for married or even unmarried cohabitating couples.           


Breaking up may be harder to do because many couples are facing other significant tangible losses.  Many solid marriages and relationships have been damaged or destroyed because of the ailing economy.  In households already fraught with emotionally troubled marriages additional stressors including unemployment, the threat of job loss or pay cuts, diminishing or non-existent savings, mounting debt, exorbitant health care costs, and looming foreclosure are wreaking havoc.  When relational distress is compounded by such situational stressors, one’s ability to concentrate, reason and make routine decisions becomes impaired. 


Couples with kids contemplating divorce are consumed with additional worries and burdens.  The child-rearing related expenses involved in establishing and maintaining two separate households are often insurmountable for an average family.  Other expenses include but are not limited to, court imposed child support, incessant costly court appearances pertaining to custodial arrangements or changes, visitation expenses, child-care, medical and dental expenses – not to mention the emotional toll taken on all.    


So – what if you are too broke to break-up?  This quagmire will undoubtedly negatively affect your quality of life and mental health.  Practicing the silence is golden approach or avoiding any communication with your spouse/partner will often lead to increased resentment, blame, anger, depression and hopelessness.  Because more individuals who were otherwise feeling trapped and thwarted in a discontented marriage are now confronted with unprecedented financial stressors, this dilemma of whether or not to split is amplified in intensity and volatility. 


A willingness and commitment by you and your partner to agree to a misery truce – is just the beginning.  Discovering how you each can continue to survive under the same roof without feeling like you’re capitulating or going crazy is the short-term objective. 


While I don’t promise to have the silver bullet solution, I surmise that ignoring each other and the issues, passive-aggressive communication, blaming, or destructive emotional game playing will only make worse your relationship distress and foster contempt for each other. 


Therapy – A Wise Investment

If indeed you are too broke to break up – the ultimate goal is to maximize this decision to stay together – make it work to your advantage by investing in your relationship.  Exploring your thoughts and feelings in a safe, non-judgmental space with the expertise and guidance of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) can prove quite beneficial.


LMFT’s are relationship experts, trained to assess couples’ unique challenges, dissect issues, uncover core relational threats, and seek to discover each individual’s locus of pain.  They’re skilled in guiding one through an exploration of values, beliefs, needs and wants – and work to help clients resolve conflicted feelings and adapt to life’s circumstances – at much less the expense than an average family law attorney.  Individual therapy can be a beneficial option if you or your spouse/partner is not quite ready for couple’s work. 


Therapy affords couples the time to sort out emotions, ideas and options – to learn how to effectively communicate and be heard.  

Marital Counseling can be a source of comfort and relief from emotional and relational distress and proposes an opportunity for growth and change.  Fully invested couples often gain an understanding, meaning and fresh perspective of the dynamics of their particular relationship. 


Confronting the unfinished business of your relationship can spur insight, relief and resolution – resulting in a less acrimonious, less costly breakup – or quite possibly a breakthrough leading to a contented, loving and fulfilling marriage. 


What you can do now – Relationship Tourniquets

·         Stop, breathe, and get your bearings.  Reorient your circumstances and worldviews to recognize and acknowledge the advantages of your current situation.


·         When children are involved – prohibit any arguing or discussion of your relational conflict or distress in the presence of the children (regardless of age). 


·         Avoid the blame game and begin to take responsibility for your own actions and discontent.


·         If feelings of frustration, intolerance or anger toward your spouse/partner escalate or seem unmanageable, seek solace by rearranging your living space and make an agreement whereby you each have alone or private time to reduce or limit hostile or upsetting exchanges.                 


·         Schedule truce periods for positive sharing and discussion at a minimum of 15 minutes for yourselves when thoughts, feelings and concerns are expressed and heard without criticism or judgment. 


·         Identify and express your current wants and needs to your spouse or partner.  Consider what you are each willing to do for your relationship, how you want your lives to look and what can be done now to reinvent and rejuvenate your partnership – and pinpoint what will motivate each of you to persist. 


·         Discuss and develop unexplored alternative interests and goals with your partner and positive and creative ways to cut back financially.  Take time for ignored hobbies, shop and cook together, take walks together – an overall healthy activity and effective catalyst for communication.

If these suggestions resonate with you and you recognize the advantages and benefits of couple’s or individual therapy, contact a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.      







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