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    Q&A with Dr. Warrick Stewart, Author of Don’t Give Up Before the Miracle Happens: A Relationship Guidebook for Same-Sex Couples

    michelleMichele Karlsberg: How long have you been doing couples counseling and relationship work?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: I have been a Psychotherapist for more than six years. The majority of my work has been centered around relationships, particularly gay and lesbian relationships.

    Michele Karlsberg: How did you decide that you actually wanted to write a relationship guidebook?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: After working with couples for so long, I wanted to create a roadmap that would assist couples in resolving core relationship issues found in both heterosexual and homosexual unions. In my practice, I found that many couples could not afford long-term counseling, and after a few sessions, they would often have to scale back their services at that pivotal moment when change was just beginning. I wanted the work to continue even after leaving my office.

    michMichele Karlsberg: When did you notice that you find pleasure helping others reach their goals?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: I always knew that I had a special ability to help people and to present sensitive information in such a way that was not offensive. I also knew that I was gay and had faced many challenges in my personal life; however, I was able to triumph through adversity. I wanted to share my experiences, strength, and hope with others, especially those that had been traditionally marginalized. Today, I get to do that. I get the opportunity to love people until they are able to love themselves.

    Michele Karlsberg: What are the most pressing relationship issues in the LGBT community?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: The most pressing relationship issue would be communication issues. There are also many other issues such as, poor conflict resolution skills, unrealistic expectations, skewed perceptions of reality, strained intimacy, and unequally yoked coupling.

    Michele Karlsberg: What are some suggestions you have for maintaining a relationship for some of the most common gay couple problems?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: Don’t give up before the miracle happens. Relation-ships are difficult and take work. My greatest accomplishments in life were a direct result of holding on, with a mind steadfast on actualizing my dreams into a reality.

    Michele Karlsberg: What ingredients constitute a healthy gay relationship that couples can aspire towards?

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    Dr. Warrick Stewart:

    1. 5 cups of healthy verbal and nonverbal communication
    2. 3 cups of intimacy
    3. 2 cups of self-acceptance
    4. A lifetime of willingness
    5. Two people that love each other, faults and all, and are willing not to give up before the miracle happens in their life

    Michele Karlsberg: Why do you think so many people need help with relationships? You would think it would be a natural thing, but most people seem to need expert advice.

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: Because people have been a witness to so many unhealthy relationships, they naturally emulate what they have always seen. Most of the time, we feel that we have the answers, and if our partners would just listen, the relationship would be much better. We also feel that our experiences have strategically positioned us to be subject matter experts on relationships. We enter our relationships completely convinced that our way of dong things is the absolute best way. We are unwilling to embrace new ideas for better living. We find it difficult to acquiesce to our partners because we want to be right all the time. These variables make for an unhealthy relationship. Although they may seem extreme, it is what I see in my practice on a daily basis.

    Michele Karlsberg: Do younger people, both straight and gay, really seem to pay more attention and examine their relationships? It seems to be they are having very successful relationships. What are some generational differences?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: The dynamics of relationships have changed drastically over the years. Younger people are coming into therapy because they want their relationships to work. I work with more couples that are under 30 than any other age group.

    mich3Michele Karlsberg: What inspired you want to devote so much of your career to helping people with their relationships?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: I want people to live better. I believe if we ‘do what we’ve always done, we will get what we always gotten.’ Although simplistic, it is incredibly true for both homosexual and heterosexual relationships.

    Michele Karlsberg: What are some differences between LGBT couples and heterosexual couples, aside from the gender role things?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: I think universally we are all the same. The difference lies in our sexual desires.

    Michele Karlsberg: What do you hope people take away from your writing?

    Dr. Warrick Stewart: I want people to feel compelled to practice these tips in their own relationships. I want people to know that they can have prosperous and healthy relationships, but they must be willing to do the work.

    Dr. Warrick Stewart is a relationship expert, psychotherapist, life coach, author and speaker. For more information about Dr. Stewart, his work and his new book, please visit http://drwarrickstewart.com/

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-six years of successful book campaigns.