Margaret Lambert, MSW, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, teacher and author. She specializes in all levels of couple relationships. Margaret entered the field in mid-life, receiving her Masters in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and has been practicing in Madison since 1996. During that time, Margaret has presented bi-monthly pre-marriage workshops, conducted Healing A Broken Heart divorce recovery seminars, facilitated Outgrowing a Painful Childhood groups, and was a volunteer facilitator for Bethel Lutheran Church in their Separated and Divorced Support Group since 2000. She formed Puffins Presentations, in 2002. And in 2004, Margaret developed the Dating Dementia Course and has since completed the workbook by the same title. In 2010 Margaret was instrumental in the development of the Rebuilding At Bethel program which offers a three level approach to divorce and separation recovery and is currently active as the coordination director of that program. In 2006, Margaret joined with her colleague, Dee Vetter, Ph.D. to open Sonas Behavioral Health, LLC on the west side of Madison, Wisconsin. In her private practice she works with couples struggling with relationship issues as well as adults who are suffering with depression related issues.
Her approach is eclectic in nature but has a strong foundation in Family Systems Theory; with a Cognitive-Behavioral and educational approach. Margaret has training and experience in a variety of areas including grief and loss, marital and couples therapy, divorce recovery, anxiety, depression, adult survivors of abuse, as well as childhood trauma re-scripting.
“Through the therapeutic experience I have the privilege of being invited into people’s lives as they share the struggles they have been experiencing,” Margaret says. “People suffer in many different ways; most often as a result of some type and degree of loss. For some that loss is related to a person, a goal or dream, a job, a relationship or even faith. And, people respond differently to those events in their lives based on the personal, social or financial resources they have at their disposal. For some, this can lead to feeling depressed or anxious. They may feel hopeless or even helpless in their ability to turn things around in their lives. To be allowed to be part of their process of change and rebuilding is a gift and one that I do not take lightly. I enjoy seeing people make their own changes through their own efforts.” Through her practice, her volunteer work, and her own personal experience, Margaret truly realizes the complexity of human relationships.
A large portion of Margaret’s practice is relationship related. She works with couples who are preparing for marriage, struggling in their marriages, thinking about divorce or separation, or recovering from a broken relationship. “All of us are aware that the divorce rate is high. In fact, it is now the norm. Because of how complex developing and maintaining a relationship can be, I am surprised that it isn’t higher. We have yet to develop a thorough manual that spells out exactly how to build, maintain or even repair relationships,” Margaret says. “Often we’re left with what was modeled to us by our families. And we all know that quote – if you don’t understand your history, you’re doomed to repeat it. Many people have to use the ‘learn as you go’ approach often finding this frustrating or the learning comes too late.” This was the motivation behind developing her Dating Dementia class.
Margaret states, “Our current culture does not support slowing down the relationship building process enough. Many jump into a relationship quickly and bonds are formed while still in the idealization stage. Then, as time passes and this illusion begins to fade, a sense of disillusionment can set in and the couple discovers that there is little left to hold the relationship together.” Her motto is, “Love is not a feeling, but rather a behavior, an action, and a choice that a person engages in every day even when they aren’t always happy with the other person.” She identified 52 concepts that couples should explore in order to build a healthy, enduring relationship foundation. In 2004 she began teaching these ideas to students through her Dating Dementia course. Today, Margaret enjoys seeing individuals and couples develop new insights, set healthier boundaries, and build more satisfying relationships as a result of the work they do in her therapeutic and classroom environment.
Puffins are a delightful and unique bird. I admire their struggle to come back from near extinction as well as their continued fight for survival due to the warming waters in their habitat that is affecting their ability to find food for their young. But, not only have they proved to be quite resilient they are special in many other ways. These colorful “clowns of the sea” not only have a curious mating ritual but when it comes to pairing up, the couples are in it for the long haul; mating for life.
When a male Puffin wants to court that special “someone” he will gather a bouquet of fish, twigs or flowers to present to her . If she accepts they will spend the rest of their lives as a couple. The pair will breed and raise offspring together for up to ten years. Yet even when that part of their relationship stops they will remain faithful companions for as long as twenty to thirty years.
Trust, empathy, respect, authenticity, unconditional caring, humor, generosity, acceptance, understanding, and the willingness to listen; to just name a few, are some of the gifts that we can bring to a potential partner. These types of gifts will provide fertile soil in which a relationship can take root and thrive.
If you would like to learn more about Puffins, please visit one of these sites.
Puffins at Risk