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Pregnancy Loss & Infertility’s Impact on Your Marriage

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Pregnancy Loss & Infertility's Impact on Your MarriageInfertility and pregnancy loss are dreaded experiences for any adult hoping to start or expand a family. The emotional consequences can be brutal. The pain seems like it will last forever.

But what often goes unrecognized is the toll that these experiences can take on one’s marriage.

In many instances, spouses grieve the loss differently, creating a sense of distance from one another. One spouse might want to talk openly about the loss, whereas the other spouse wants to avoid all reminders of it. One spouse might want to do something to commemorate the unborn child, while their partner just wants to move on.

The Harmful Effects of Toxic Stress on You & Your Children

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The Harmful Effects of Toxic Stress on You & Your ChildrenAre you staying in an unhealthy marriage for the children?

I did. I was confused. I was ashamed. But mostly, I was afraid of hurting my kids.

Now we know that childhood exposure to “toxic stress” can have a cumulative toll on a person’s well-being and happiness for a lifetime.

My Weight Loss Journey: I’m Happier & Heavier

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

rachael_estapaIt’s not insane to believe that once you lose weight, life gets better.

For years, I’ve heard stories from those who have shed pounds, recharged their lives, never felt better, and speak so confidently that once the weight was gone, they became the person they were meant to be: a thin and happy one. I do not doubt their happiness when they share their story but I also don’t believe that by losing weight, they have some superior knowledge about happiness that us heavier folk don’t.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been fat and I’ve been thinner. And I’ve been at my happiest, heavier.

PMDD is Not Just Normal Moodiness

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

PMDD is Not Just Normal MoodinessSitcoms, as well as movies, poke fun at PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and female moodiness, but PMDD is not a laughing matter.

PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a major depressive disorder gaining more attention since its official inclusion in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (it had previously been listed as a disorder needing further research).

PMDD is a mental illness that involves mood changes occurring exclusively during the two weeks prior to menses.

Are You Under the Influence of Oxytocin?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Are You Under the Influence of Oxytocin?Have you ever had this feeling…? You’ve started dating a guy who’s really good looking, sexy — and you two have a lot of fun together.

However, there are many things you don’t agree on. In fact, sometimes he has a really bad attitude. You wonder whether your relationship is right or not. You want it to work out, but you’re not sure if you can stand his behavior.

But every time you look at him, you get turned on. He’s one of the most beautiful people you’ve ever seen in your life. Before you know it, you’re having amazing sex. Now you’re thinking to yourself, “I love him. I could love this man forever. I want to be with him till the day I die.”

Stats Can Lie: Don’t Let Divorce Statistics Dictate Your Fate

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Stats Can Lie: Don't Let Divorce Statistics Dictate Your FateI’ll bet you’ve heard at least one of these statistics about divorce, such as 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce and that more than 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.

Every time I read stats like these divorce statistics, I’m reminded of a grad school buddy of mine, Cheng Ling. When I joined the research group, Cheng was one of the senior grad students. He’d been in the group for a couple of years and had a reputation for being a comedian.

One day after I’d been a part of the group for about a year, he walked into my office and asked what I was doing. I told him I was working on my statistics homework. He started laughing and told me that statistics were all lies. I assumed he was joking with me again, but he assured me he wasn’t and kept on laughing.

I was shocked! How could statistics be lies?

Do 12 Step Meetings Work for Sex Addicts?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Do 12 Step Meetings Work For Sex Addicts?As a sex addiction therapist I’m asked all the time, “How can I stop my sexual acting out behavior?” While the acting out behaviors are different for everyone, the root causes are very similar.

Treating the root causes of the addiction is how people gain sanity in their lives. Sanity is gained by attending 12 step meetings, attending individual counseling, attending sex addiction group counseling, and living a life that includes recovery from addiction.

Participating in all that recovery work may seem overwhelming for people early in their recovery process, but that is what it takes to become free from sexual addiction. Those who have had the best recoveries are the people who make recovery their number one priority.

Balancing Your Feminine & Masculine Sides

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Balancing Your Feminine & Masculine SidesLately I’ve been hit with a lot of messages about women, masculinity, and femininity that I’ve begun to realize just how out of balance I’ve been.

Working longer hours, dealing with both of my dogs being diagnosed with cancerous tumors just months apart, and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer have all contributed to a just-barrel-through-it attitude.

This attitude is totally masculine. Someone has to take charge and make decisions — feeling too much might lead to a breakdown. Besides, who has time to not just do it? Perhaps, that’s why I’m noticing all of the messages.

Helping Kids with Trauma Succeed At School

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Helping Kids with Trauma Succeed At SchoolThose early school years, when children ages 6 to 12 are transitioning from a caregiving environment to an educational environment, are challenging from a child development standpoint.

Children are learning academic skills, socialization (how to get along with others), and structure and boundaries (how to follow rules). Perhaps for the first time, they are also being influenced by adults other than their own parents.

Primary or elementary school is a time to find out how people are different in so many ways: race, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, culture, upbringing, values, etc.

How To Handle Mental Illness With Your Child & In Your Family

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

How To Handle Mental Illness With Your Child & In Your FamilyI remember myself as a pretty normal child. I was always singing, dancing, cracking jokes for my classmates, forgetting stuff, trashing my room, losing my homework and getting into trouble. 

I sucked at school — not because I wasn’t smart — but because I was forced to focus on boring stuff. And it didn’t help that I didn’t get graded on having a social life.

My parents were two very different people (which is why they divorced when I was 2). My dad was a passive, laid back, non-confrontational guy who believed in the silent treatment as a main form of discipline. My mom was a waitress, a yeller and a hard ass who believed any bad behavior could be smacked out of a child and that talking was a waste of time.

I grew up learning two completely different ways of discipline and because of that, I made the decision at a very young age that I would never, ever hit my own children.

6 Steps to Help Keep Stress from Beating You

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

6 Steps to Help Keep Stress from Beating YouStress by itself is not a bad thing. It’s a part of life and healthy stress alerts us of danger and motivates us to get things done.

However, mismanaged stress can cause us a whole host of problems in our health, in our jobs, and unfortunately, in our relationships. Are you tired of hearing people say, “I’m so stressed out right now”? Or worse, are you tired of saying it and do you feel like your stress level is turning people off?

What can you do to keep your stress in balance and, likewise, improve your interactions with others?

Performance Anxiety & Sexual Dysfunction

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Performance Anxiety & Sexual DysfunctionWhen clients complain about sexual anxiety — whether it’s the inability to achieve erection or too-rapid ejaculation — they often find themselves dwelling on everything that could possibly go wrong in a future sexual encounter. 

That kind of anxiety starts building up much earlier than the actual event itself and can feel crippling and paralyzing in other aspects of daily life. We call this anxiety “performance anxiety” because it reflects the fears of being unable to perform adequately in front of other people.

In this case, “other people” refers to a sexual partner, but performance anxiety rears its ugly head in other areas, ranging from public speaking to interviews.

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