Couples Therapy

Empathy Vs. Sympathy


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The topic of empathy comes up a lot in couples counseling. Sometimes when our partner is having a hard time, we want nothing more than to help him or her feel better. this is a natural, loving thing to want, but sometimes we go about it the wrong way. There is a difference between being supportive and available to your partner, and simply trying to cheer him/her up. I would say that in at least 70 percent of the couples I have worked with, one partner presented with the complaint that the other partner always tries to “fix things” rather than being present and supportive. When someone is having difficulty in life and you try to “fix things”, the person you’re trying to help may end up feeling unheard, misunderstood, and unsupported.

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Anxiety Counseling, Depression Counseling

Depression


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Do you have depression in your life? This video seems to be meant to talk about depression, but it could be seen as speaking to the suffering of a number of other mental health issues like anxiety, and trauma. Sometimes when a person suffers from anxiety or depression, it can be hard to separate the symptoms from the person and it can feel like you are the depression or anxiety.

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Teen Counseling

Delayed Gratification


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Studies have shown that one of the most predictive factors of success in life, is the ability to delay gratification. Children who are able to delay gratification tend to have better grades, do better in college, and grow up to have successful careers. The term “delayed gratification” refers to a person’s ability to put off immediate rewards for the benefit of greater rewards in the future. In our modern world, it seems to be the case that adults are needing to delay gratification more and more while children are doing it less and less.

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Couples Therapy

Childhood Attachment


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It is common knowledge that our childhood interactions with our parents/caregivers have a significant effect on our development. Until relatively recently (the mid 1900s), children were commonly seen as small adults and were not treated with the same care we give them nowadays. It was typically believed that infants needed little more than physical safety and nourishment to thrive in life. The baby’s attachment to its mother was seen as one of biological necessity: the baby needs the mother for nourishment, she supplies it, and so the baby loves her. We now know that babies have deep social needs and that the relationship between the mother and the child is about much more than food.

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Coping Corner

Pets are Good for Mental Health


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I have had so many times in therapy where it seemed like the person I was working with was drinking, using drugs, engaging in risky behavior, feeling depressed, sad, etc. due to a deep feeling that something was missing in life, like there was a hole in his/her heart that needed to be filled by something. This kind of feeling can come about for a variety of reasons, but in my experience often times it has to do with a need for deep, meaningful, close relationships. Sometimes having a pet can help people to fill that hole. Pets provide attachment, unconditional positive regard, company, and numerous other health benefits. Several studies have shown that petting a cat or a dog, or even just having a fish tank in your room can lower your blood pressure, which is a side effect of the relaxing effect pets have on people.

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Couples Therapy

Blaming: A Common Problem in Relationships


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When couples come in for counseling they generally present with a list of problems they have been having with each other. It is my job to wade through all the he said, she said and help people explore the underlying hurts and fears that are behind their actions. Most of the negative behaviors in a relationship and complaints couples have about each other are symptoms that are a result of deep underlying hurts and fears that are not being addressed or communicated.

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Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy and Communication


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One of the most common problems I see in couples therapy is the issue of effective communication. “working on communication” is kind of a cliche thing in therapy. Most couples who are new to therapy will identify communication problems as a reason for coming to therapy. But what do we mean when we say that? Communication problems can look different for every couple, but one of the central issues I focus on in couples counseling is the underlying primary emotions behind hurtful words and automatic reactions. In therapy I guide couples through exploring what are the underlying emotions that drive their behaviors and then help them to give words to those emotions.

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Codependency, Couples Therapy

Codependency and The Benjamin Franklin Effect


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Sometimes in relationships we feel the need to be everything for another person. To go above and beyond to take care of another person’s needs. We all want to be loved and  show those we love that we care for them, but having healthy boundaries means having a good balance between giving and taking. It is especially easy in new relationships, to go above and beyond to show your partner that you are someone he/she would like to be with.

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Coping Corner

This is Water


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There are many things in life that you cannot change, but you can change how you respond to those things. This is often times a central focus of therapy. One of the most beneficial things a person can get out of therapy is an awareness of the power of a shift in perspective. When you take a negative perspective on life everything you experience gets filtered through that lense of negativity and you end up giving yourself unnecessary suffering in the form of pessimism. By taking a more positive perspective in life, you open yourself up to more good and happiness.

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Coping Corner

Gratitude: a practice in mindfulness


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How often do you take time to “stop and smell the roses”? It is important to take time in your life to slow down, relax, and breathe. An area of therapy that works on this is called “mindfulness”. Mindfulness teaches us to relax, breathe, and do our best to exist in the moment.

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