Meet Dr. Michael Pounds
I'm glad you're here! I am passionate about working with people like you who are looking to improve their relationships with their loved ones. My approach is rooted in honesty, acceptance, and compassion. I find true purpose in the work that I do with couples and love walking couples through how to have a healthy relationship grounded in connection. When I am not in therapy mode, you can find me spending time with my amazing wife, Joanna; walking our Australian shepherds, Miss Daisy Mae and Miss Lena Rue; engaging in home improvement projects; or catching up with friends over Xbox live.
*I couldn’t leave out our Aussie fur-babies, Daisy Mae and Lena Rue.
You deserve to love and be loved. My goal is to help you move toward connecting with those you love and with yourself. I believe that the relationships we have with our close friends and our families are what we each value most and that is why I do this work. I want to help you find meaningful connection with others because I believe that it is the most important thing in your life. More specifically, I want to help you, your partner, and your relationship heal and grow.
My role as a couples therapist and affair recovery specialist is to provide hope and direction to couples in the midst of the chaos and confusion that results from an affair. Part of that work involves teaching you and your partner how to interrupt the conflict patterns happening in your interactions and how to work together again as a team so that you stop hurting each other and the relationship. Another part of this work is in helping you discover why the affair happened so that you do not have to go through this again and so that you do not have to worry about affairs in the future. The final part of affair recovery will involve helping you and your partner decide what to do next once you have a complete picture of what contributed to the affair.
Why do you work with couples?
I used to be intimidated by couples, now I LOVE working with couples. Working with couples energizes me and challenges me. I love to be challenged. I work with couples, in part, because of my relationship with my wife. I know how important it is to love and to be loved, to be vulnerable and then to be accepted. And I want couples, I want you and your partner, to be best friends again. My wife is my best friend and I want that for others.
I also work with couples because it is very needed. Growing up, most of us depend on trial and error to teach us how to be a good partner. If our parents or other couples we see growing up are good models then we benefit from that too. But for a lot of people, we do not have the best examples. So, I do couples therapy because being a partner is so fulfilling and yet so few of us know how to be healthy as couples. I want to change that.
Who are the couples that move you?
The couples that move me most are the ones that are willing to try new things but have not yet begun to see positive outcomes. When couples come in and are willing to put in the effort between sessions, I am moved. I am moved because they are taking a step of faith for their relationship (just as they likely did early in their relationship). This faith requires vulnerability, openness, and effort. Faith takes guts and I am moved by the courage couples show me every day by showing up to therapy, putting their heart out there for their partners, and sticking to the healing process, even when it is challenging.
What do you believe about relationships?
I have said it many times before but I believe that there is nothing more important than the relationships that we have, especially those with loved ones. I also believe that relationships can motivate and influence us to become more than we could be by ourselves. I also believe that we are all drawn to relationships but that at times we also struggle to navigate relationships. Relationships can change us and they can move us. But not all relationships are healthy and my main goal as a couples therapist is to help couples have healthier relationships.
What do you believe about saving a marriage?
A wise person once said that some things are simple but not easy. Saving a marriage, in general, is just that. Simple but not easy. To save a marriage requires getting a couple to be less emotionally reactive with one another and to work together toward supporting one another again as caring partners. To this end, saving a marriage requires each partner’s willingness and effort to make changes.
But what about betrayals, affairs, destroyed trust? If these exist, you rebuild trust again through being less emotionally reactive, through being more validating with one another, and by being honest with one another. Like I said, simple, but not easy. Now obviously, the actual process of reaching those simple outcomes is very complex and DEFINITELY varies from couple to couple. Some couples come in needing work on just how to address the effects an affair has had on their relationship, whereas other couples also need help with how to address conflict. Still others need help with how to better communicate and connect with one another.
Saving a marriage is a very complex process but as I understand it, it requires growing to be less emotionally reactive and more emotionally connected.
Sometimes people wonder what couples therapy will feel like. The truth is that it feels different depending on who you go to and what issues you bring to the table. I lay out my core values for you here so that you can have some insight into what couples therapy may feel like if you choose to reach out and begin your process of recovery with me.
Commitment: I am committing to helping you and your partner to the best of my ability. My expectation is that, in turn, you commit to trying new ways of interacting in your relationship with your partner. I have found that when couples commit to the process of engaging in therapy and applying what is discussed in therapy during the time between sessions, they tend to have the best outcomes. After what you have likely been through up to this point, the idea of commitment may seem like a big thing to ask for or it may even come off as offensive, but it is a vital part to your success in therapy. I encourage you to commit.
Excellence: Excellence is a vital component in helping couples recover from affairs. Affair recovery can be one of the most challenging experiences in a couple’s life. When you participate in therapy, part of the work that we do together will be stretching and teaching you to be the best versions of yourself at the times when it is most difficult to do so. Because I challenge clients toward excellence in couples therapy, I carry that burden of excellence with them. I push myself each day so that I never have to ask you to do something that I have not done in my own life. I make sure that I am excelling so that I can nudge my client’s toward excellence as well.
Safety: Trust cannot grow without safety, be that physical or emotional safety. As a result, a significant focus early in therapy is on promoting safety between you and your partner. If this goes ignored, any progress made can be abruptly lost. If there are safety issues in your relationship with your significant other, my goal will be to help you navigate those issues and help you both toward experiencing greater feelings of physical and emotional safety. This is essential in affair recovery.
Foster hope: If you are here, your hope tank may be running on fumes. Or you may have burned through the fumes and are looking to check this off of your to-do list before calling an attorney to discuss divorce options. Because many couples feel lost when recovering from an affair amidst the chaos and confusion, one of my roles is to foster hope for you. Many underestimate the power of hope but for those that have lost it, doubt, apathy, and angst flood their being. My goal is to be that hope for you until it begins to grow within you again.
Non-judgmental: I am human and I am flawed just like everyone else. I know what it can feel like to be judged or criticized and I do not want you to experience these feelings, especially when you are reaching out for help. It does not help you for me to judge you. Judgment will get us nowhere in therapy, so it will not be a part of it. In couples therapy, I focus less on "right and wrong" and instead focus on what is healthy and helpful. This focus ultimately gives you more options toward improving your relationship while at the same time allowing you to be more open to useful and practical feedback.
Value and acceptance: Merely by existing, you are valuable. You are not a number, you are a valuable piece in the lives of those around you. Like most people, you are likely driven to be accepted by others and part of my work is in helping you to accept and value yourself. I also want to help you work toward accepting your situation for what it is. Not acceptance as in being passive and submissive to your situation. But rather accepting that you are bound by the parameters of your situation and must work within those parameters. When that type of accepting happens, you will be able to effectively begin the work of recovering from the affair.
Growth and relationships: By participating in couples therapy, you, your partner, and your relationship will be encouraged to grow. You have probably had it in the back of your mind that you need to grow but either don’t know where to start or are too intimidated with just starting. My work is in promoting growth in those that I work with. This could be growing in skills that promote conflict resolution or emotional communication. Or the growth could be of a more experiential nature where through experiencing meaningful connection with your partner, you find hope again. Or perhaps your growth is in learning to manage and cope with any baggage you bring into the relationship from the past. Because each individual is unique, your specific growth area will likely vary from that of your partner’s. And that’s okay! My work is to help you grow and experience fulfillment. To that end, I also make sure that in all areas of my life, I too am growing. That way when I ask you or encourage you toward a specific direction or form of coping, I can speak to and understand what I am asking you to do, because I will have already done it.
Congruence and compassion: For your relationship to grow and for you to grow, you need congruence and compassion. Congruence means “equal” or “same.” As it applies to couples therapy, congruence means that what you feel, think, and believe internally, you are conveying outwardly to your partner. Compassion means that you care about your partner’s feelings, thoughts, and beliefs and are conveying that care in the way you communicate. As these apply to life, congruence and compassion can guide what you make your life’s purpose and passion be about and they can help you determine who you choose to include in your life. In therapy and in life, BOTH congruence and compassion are important for you to have. For healthy emotional communication and for purposeful living, you need congruence AND compassion. If one is missing, you can become bitter and lonely. With both, the path is paved for you to experience fulfillment, connection, and acceptance.
Education & Licensure
Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy | Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX | May 2016
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy | Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX | May 2011
B.S. in Psychology | Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond, OK | May 2009
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family
Therapists, #201821 | May 2016