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Building stronger relationships

October 25, 2010
By Deb Gau

Relationships with other people can have a profound effect on our lives. But it's not always easy to build a healthy relationship, even with loved ones. That's one of the areas where Christina Finlo says she hopes to help people as a counselor and therapist.

Finlo has opened her own business, the Adlerian Counseling Center, in Marshall. The counseling center is located inside the Christ United Presbyterian Church building at the intersection of 4th Street and Lyon Street, but Finlo stresses that the center isn't affiliated with the church.

Counseling services at the ACC will be available for individuals, couples, and children, with a special focus on helping couples and parents build healthy families.

In a way, Finlo said, choosing a location for the ACC was a matter of coming home.

"It felt like the right place," she said of Marshall. Finlo grew up in the Marshall area, and earned her master's degree in counseling and psychotherapy with a little bit of commuting to the Adler Graduate School in Richfield.

Finlo explained that the "Adler" in the counseling center's name refers to Alfred Adler, one of the first psychologists who closely studied family relationships, and who focused on serving more average, working-class patients.

"He was a contemporary of (Sigmund) Freud," Finlo said, but struck out on his own when his ideas clashed with Freud's. "He really is the grandfather of psychology, not Freud."

Finlo said Adler's ideas about interpersonal relationships and preventing psychological problems formed one influence on her as a therapist.

Finlo said couples and family therapy has a lot of interest for her. "I like the whole age range," she said, working with kids all the way up to parents. It's both an important and challenging area of counseling, partly because it's so complex, she said.

For example, helping a young child in therapy often means working with or educating their parents as well. There's a preventive side to family counseling as well, with marriage or parenting education.

"I believe that couple and parenting training should be routine," Finlo said. It can often help small issues in couples' lives from growing out of control later on, almost like regular check-ups at the doctor or dentist's office.

Finlo said the ACC is in "the beginning phase" right now. "I'm working on getting my name out there," she said. She has been distributing informational brochures, and talking to local referral agencies to help connect with prospective clients.

Finlo is also currently pursuing full licensure as a family and marriage therapist, a process that involves hundreds of hours of work with clients, written and oral exams, and more.

Finlo said her goal for now is to continue building her counseling practice, although she said she might also like to someday work with area schools. "That's one of my interests."

More information on the ACC, including contact information to set up an appointment, can be found online at



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