Counseling

“Adult romantic love is an attachment bond, just like the one between mother and child.” Sue Johnson
Society has told us that in order to be independent, healthy adults, we need to separate ourselves from our parents, and learn to not depend on them for nurturing and comfort. However, the need to depend on one person, to know that when we call, that person will be there for us, never disappears. As psychiatrist John Bowlby said, “from the cradle to the grave,” we need to have someone to be there for us from the moment we are born until the moment we die. For this reason, romantic love is not illogical; it is, in fact, the continuation of an ordered plan for our survival.

However, there is a difference: our partner doesn’t not have to be there physically. As children, we needed our caregivers in order to safe and protected. As adults, we can use mental images of our partner to call up a sense of connection. Whenever I have to do a presentation, I get anxious and nervous. What I do to calm down, is to picture my husband in mind and his encouraging words.

The Laws of Love – 1

The Science of Love -1

“The eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.” Margaret Atwood
 You know that feeling; that feeling of longing. It’s the ache that something vital is missing from your life. You want more; more meaning, more connection, more energy – more something. Longing is that feeling that course through your body just before you decide that you’re restless, lonely, or unhappy.

Longing is not a state of mind, it’s physical. Your whole body craves some essential nutrient that it’s not getting, that is quite difficult to define. Sometimes you can numb this ache with a deep dive into work and television. More often than not, though, these and other attempts to fill the aching void are just temporary distractions.

What you are longing for is love. Love is the essential nutrient that your cells crave: true positive connection with other living beings. Love nourishes your body the way the right balance of sunlight, nutrient soil, and water nourishes plants and allow them to flourish. The more you experience it, the more you open up and grow, becoming wiser and more attuned, more resilient and effective, happier and healthier. You grow spiritually as well, better able to see, feel, and appreciate the deep interconnections that tie you to others.

Just as your body was designed to extract oxygen from the earth’s atmosphere, and nutrients from the foods you ingest, your body was designed to love. New science of love for the first time is able to prove this to be true. We know today, that the love you do or do not experience may quite literally change key aspects of cellular architecture that affect your physical health, […]

It is difficult to talk to my partner. How do I get my partner to open up?

Every couple has a dance, a cycle. There are moments that the couple is fully in sync with each other, but there are moments of missteps. In the dance of tango there is no script, is the connection with the partner that determines the next step. If we are not in sync, we will step on each other toes.

Every couple has those moments, but we need to repair the disconnection.

Complaints and criticism towards our partner are not the best ways to repair the disconnection. These actions may lead our partner to shut down and be distant emotionally.

It’s important to do some self-evaluation.

Are you emotionally and physically available to your partner?
Is it easy for your partner to access you?
Is your partner able to share his or her feelings with you?
Whenever someone is struggling, the person will send out some signals. Can you pick up the signals your partner is sending you?

A good start is to begin a conversation about the sense of disconnection you have noticed and difficulty both of you are having in communicating with one another.  Ask your partner about the things you might be doing that are causing him or her to shut down. This is a difficult step, but it can be helping in restoring connection.   When listening, keep your mind and heart open to hear your partner’s views of the problem. Make sure to set aside any kind of judgment about the things your partner is sharing with you. Be humble to see that there are new things to be learned. Let the words come and have an impact in your life. Listening to your partner’s perspective, shows that you respect his or her thoughts and feelings.

 

The Laws of Love – 1

“The primary and main human instinct is neither sex nor aggression. It is to seek contact and comforting connection from another being.”  Sue Johnson
 

English psychiatrist, John Bowlby, was the first to give us an understanding of love. Bowlby suggested that all of us are designed to love a few others to keep us feeling safe and protected from birth until the time we die. Sue Johnson, in her book “Love Sense,” says that “although sex may push us to mate, it is love that guarantees our existence.” When we come into the world, our attachment system has been hard-wired to seek connection with another human being. If you watch a baby being born, you will notice the way the baby will reach out to connect to the person who has been carrying him or her for nine months. The brain attachment system moves us to pursue physical closeness and build interactions with a few of our closest people, beginning with our mother.

Reference: Johnson, S. M. (2013). Love sense: The revolutionary new science of romantic relationships.

How Can I Benefit From Counseling?

In the United States, there has been an unfortunate stigma attached to individuals that seek counseling. Whether it is couples counseling to improve a marriage, or individual therapy to help you cope with depression or anger management, admitting that you are in counseling is taboo to most Americans. So if you are dealing with a situation in your personal life, your marriage, or your family, what are the benefits of seeking counseling?

 

Improved Communication – All of our relationships whether at work or in our personal lives rely on communication. Yet, far too often when we communicate, our messages either aren’t getting through or are misinterpreted by the person receiving the message. A trained counselor can show you how your current method of communication is lacking and provide you tools for getting your message heard.
Improved Self-Esteem – Between societal norms, opinions from our family and friends and our own opinions, our self-esteem takes a beating. When we begin to have feelings of low self-esteem, it can be hard to even talk to our friends and family about how we are feeling. A certified counselor can help you work through these feelings and get you back on track.
Happier Family – When we are working through issues, we often take out our feelings and frustrations on those that are closest to us. By seeking support from a counselor, you can work through these feelings and issues and create a happier environment for yourself and your family.

April has been designated as counseling awareness month. In an effort to support and promote counseling, I will be putting together several articles throughout the month. If you are struggling with feelings and emotions, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It […]

5 Reasons Why Your Ex Should Stay Your Ex

There are many major life moments that each person may go through. Some are easier than others, and then you have the truly hard ones. The hardest thing for most people to go through is breaking up with someone that they care intimately about for multiple reasons. When you share a connection with someone that you think may be the one and it comes to a point where your paths no longer are shared, breaking up is sometimes the answer. Often times, when someone leaves a significant other, they have regrets and consider reconciling and getting back together with them.

In a recent study, 44% of emerging adults in the last two years have had a reunion with their ex. With emotions being incredibly intense after a break-up, it is no wonder people may have the regret of breaking up and want to reconcile. However, it is important to look at the situation and evaluate why you left that person in the first place. There is the old saying that many people say of “Your ex is an ex for a reason”.

So should you reconcile with your significant other? Take a look at why they are your ex and what made you incompatible with them in the end. These are some reasons why you should not reconcile with an ex:

1. You changed who you were for them – Many times in relationships, one, or both parties, will change who they are for the other person. Yes, there is such thing as changing for the better, but you cannot sacrifice all of who you are for someone else. If you did this, get back to who you are, not who you “were” for that person.

2. You […]

5 Hot Date Night Ideas He’ll Love

Everyone knows that guys take girls out all the time on dates. However, in this modern society, it’s becoming socially acceptable for women to take their men out too. What is it that you do though with the man that you are spending time with getting to know? There are so many suggestions and ideas out there that sometimes it can get all too overwhelming. Here are some places to start that we hope will help!

1. Your man enjoys the craftier things in life… Craft beer that is.

If your man is like most and enjoys beer, you might want to see if he is into craft beers and IPA’s. You might even recommended going to a few of the local breweries around town and watch him light up. The other nice thing is there are generally a few bars or restaurants you can go to that have some really nice wine or appetizers that you could get to enjoy so you’re not left out!

2. Does your man scream and yell… as his team scores the winning point?

The one thing men can’t seem to get enough of is their sports. While this may seem the norm for some people, you would be surprised how many women floor their man by purchasing great floor seats to a basketball game, seats above the dugout, or right by the penalty box. Men like to see that you have the same interests as them so if you happen to like a sport he does, surprise him with tickets one day. Even better, ask if you can wear one of his jersey’s when you go to the game together, cheer extra loud for his team, and enjoy asking questions if […]

3 Needs Of Your Workaholic Partner

Do you ever feel that your partner never has time for you?  Is your husband spending long hours at work and very short hours at home?  Is your wife always exhausted when she sees you?

If you are answering yes to these questions, you might be in a relationship with a workaholic.  The vocation is the life of the workaholic.  This person is married, usually with children, but is obsessed with the career.  He can’t understand why his wife is not happy with his accomplishments and the things he is providing.  But for the workaholic, it’s not about the money – it’s a search for meaning.  His life is completely out of balance.

 

 

In order to understand your partner, it’s important to understand the inner drive motivating his behaviors. These are the 3 inner needs of individuals we call workaholics:

1. Need for significance.  Many workaholics suffer from a deep feeling of inferiority.  This feeling is probably rooted in childhood when parents relayed the message, “You are not as smart as your brother.  You are not as good as your sister.” The work is an attempt to overcome the feelings of inferiority.

2.  Need to be loved.   Many workaholics also feel unloved.  The messages they received from their parents were, “We love you if get straight A’s.  We love you if you make your bed and do the dishes.”  The conditional love prepares the child to be become a workaholic adult.

3. Need for achievement.  The workaholic believes that the best way to accomplish something of value is to seek the career with passion, to gather a successful financial portfolio, a big house and a nice car.  The workaholic is constantly searching for significance in the wrong places.

If your […]

3 Steps You Must Take To Insure Your Marriage Is Alive And Healthy

I have learned that when couples get engaged, they spend most of their time and energy planning the wedding.  Frequently, forgetting to nurture their relationship now.   The focus tends to be in the future since it is exciting to look forward to marriage and dream of how wonderful life will be, but it is also important to be realistic and talk about some of your expectations.

Many married couples do not understand why the marriage did not turn out the way they expected.  Taking the time to look at your present relationship and your expectations for the future will insure that your marriage is based on solid principles.

Here are 3 steps you must take to keep your marriage alive and healthy:

1. Put your relationship first.  Right now you can say that you are putting your relationship first, however, life will hit you – children, career, sports, hobbies, friends, church activities will take your time and attention.  Couples need to consistently refocus and come back to each other and make time for the relationship.

2.  Commit to grow together.  To build a strong relationship it’s important that couples are committed to grow and change together.  When a couple is not truly committed, it is easier to give up when problems arise.  A commitment to growth goes beyond of “sticking together,” it’s a commitment to adapt to each other’s changing needs.

3. Work at staying close.  The key to a successful marriage is entering the marriage with the attitude that it takes work to stay close.  Many different activities will pull you away and it is important that when you find yourself overcommitted to pace yourself and say no when you need to.  When trying to make a decision, […]

Love Recipe – Create Chemistry in Your Relationship

Are you in search for the Love Potion Number 9 to restore the romance back in your relationship?  Once the honeymoon phase is over and the newness is gone, we need to find new ways to keep the fire going.   It takes commitment to the relationship to make small changes in our thinking and how we relate to one another to bring back the passion.   Research has found that the right kinds of hormones, oxytocin and testosterone not only can help us reduce stress; they also have a lot to do with romantic love.   Oxytocin is the hormone of love and testosterone is the hormone of desire.  When women are feeling happy and they are in love, their oxytocin levels are high.  Whatever makes a man feel successful, gives him a sense of achievement, thus will raise his testosterone levels and give him energy.

Every time we hug or kiss someone we love, oxytocin levels go up.  Also, oxytocin plays an important role in making couples feel connected with one another.  This hormone is stimulated during sexual intimacy, touching during a massage or holding hands. Both oxytocin and testosterone are involved in everlasting passion.  Also they are signs of good health.

When our bodies are under high levels of stress for long periods of time, oxytocin and testosterone levels go down.  We can say that our lifestyles do not help our relationships stimulate the production of the right hormones.  We have friends and family we love, but we don’t have the time to spend with them.  Unresolved emotional conflicts, such as financial stress, divorce, loneliness, keep us from connecting effectively with our partners. We arrive home from work too tired and exhausted to create good connection […]