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Is Marriage Education Right For You?

This guest article from YourTango was written by SaraKay Smullens. 

It comes as to no surprise to me that a recent major study confirms that education of couples about marital relationships and family life improves the chances of a happy and fulfilling marriage.

After grad school, I was the director of family life education for a large Philadelphia counseling agency. Through working there, I learned how much couples enjoy learning about relationship challenges both together and as individuals.

I learned that young couples who grow up in homes where they see, feel and experience their parents' fulfilling lives together have a much better chance of creating their own happy marriages. Life is just easier for them from minute one of marital life.

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The Challenge of Finding the Right Therapist

Finding the right therapist is difficult. In the last 12 years, I’ve been through half a dozen of them. I have no doubt that most of these therapists would blame me for these high turnover rates. They would say I have some sort of inability to communicate my needs or that I’m not ready to move forward.

I say that it’s simply really, really hard to find the correct fit and that the wrong fit can bring me frustration I don’t need. I would rather have no therapist than one who continually frustrates me.

A few weeks ago, I told a therapist I had gone to a handful of times that I did not want to continue seeing her. We’ll call her “Lynn.” Lynn was perfectly nice and was a good listener, but that was sort of the problem.

All she did was listen and say things like, “well, what did that feel like?” and “what would that look like to you?” Lynn was also one of those therapists who immediately wanted to delve into my family and my childhood. This approach was not at all what I was looking for. I wanted someone who would address my current situations and make suggestions.

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5 Ways to Prevent Job Burnout

Everyone feels frustrated and frazzled with their jobs from time to time. But burnout goes beyond the occasional bad day -- or bad week.

“Burnout is a ‘silent condition’ induced by chronic stress that is characterized by emotional [or] physical exhaustion, cynicism and a lack of professional efficacy,” according to Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.

Psychoanalyst Herbert J. Freudenberger coined the term “burnout” in 1974. ((He also coauthored, with Geraldine Richelson, the first book on burnout, called Burn-Out: The High Cost of High Achievement.)) He defined burnout as ''the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one's devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results.''

In his book, Freudenberger compared job burnout to a burned-out building.

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Children and Teens

Finding Healing When You’re Broken

The other week, my 5-year-old daughter broke her arm at the elbow. It was a serious break which required a call to 911, an ambulance ride, surgery, and an overnight stay at the hospital.

As her mom, I felt helpless. I couldn’t make her pain go away. I couldn’t fix her broken arm. So I simply put my head next to hers, and told her that I was here, and I wouldn’t leave her. That was the mantra I repeated over and over. And it was enough.

We humans break easily.

And I’m not talking simply about bones. Our feelings get hurt. Our self-esteem is fragile. We hurt each other with words and actions. We bully each other, steal from one another, gossip, verbally abuse, and assault those around us. We hurt ourselves by what we do. We cut or burn ourselves, neglect our health, abuse food and drugs, and engage in reckless behavior.

Others abuse us and neglect us. People who should love us hurt us. Sometimes simply getting through one day to the next takes an incredible amount of courage and strength.

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Wrong Place, Right Time

This past Easter Sunday I was heading back from the grocery store, enjoying a song on the radio and looking forward to the day. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a dog and a cat bolted into the street in front of me, the dog chasing the cat. I ended up hitting and killing the cat.

At first I wasn’t sure if I had hit both animals... I stopped the car in the middle of the street, got out and realized the cat was not going to survive.

It was devastating. I am fortunate because the dog’s owner came running out after the dog and acknowledged this was all his fault, although it sounds like it was all just an accident and no negligence on his or my behalf.

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Have You Been Burned By a Broken Heart?

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Margaret Paul.

"Science has finally confirmed what anyone who's ever been in love already knows: Heartbreak really does hurt."   CNN Health 

In a new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers have found that the same brain networks that are activated when you're burned by hot coffee also light up when you think about a lover who has spurned you.

More from YourTango: Help! My Last Breakup Scarred Me for Life

In other words, the brain doesn't appear to firmly distinguish between physical pain and intense emotional pain. Heartache and painful breakups are "more than just metaphors," says Ethan Kross, Ph.D., the lead researcher and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.

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Video: What is Couples Therapy?

Have you ever wondered what couples therapy was really about? It's like psychotherapy for relationships, plain and simple.

Psych's Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. talk about couples therapy -- psychotherapy designed to help two people in a romantic relationship work through their problems in a supportive and safe environment.
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Making Healthy Decisions When You Have Bipolar Disorder

“When you have bipolar disorder, it can often feel like you’re at the mercy of your emotional states -- like you’re the passenger in the car, just along for the ride,” writes Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, in The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder. But “this doesn’t have to be the case.”

In the book, Van Dijk shares how individuals with bipolar disorder can learn to act -- rather than react and make smart decisions. (I personally think these insights and advice are valuable for all readers, regardless of whether you struggle with bipolar disorder.)

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Video: 7 Facts About Adolescent Suicide

When I read Richard Zwolinski's most recent Therapy Soup blog post, this quote caught me off guard:
"While I know of suicidal youth as young as 5 or 6 years of age, the youngest suicidal patient that I worked with was 11 years old. She felt as though no one understood her pain and no one loved her and she felt hopeless about her life."
That was part of Richard's interview with Dr. Alec Miller, a professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences and co-author...
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Introducing the Attachment Matters Blog

Attachment styles form the basis for a psychology theory about how people interact with others in their life, and the world around them. While it can be traced back all the way to some of Freud’s writings, it was John Bowlby who devoted significant effort and research into expanding upon and demonstrating attachment theory.

“Attachment” refers to the emotional relationships we share with others in exchange for the things we most need out of life — comfort, care, and pleasure. Our attachment style is primarily formed in early childhood, according to this theory.

Bowlby identified four characteristics of attachment...

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Best of Our Blogs: April 27, 2012

Growing up I didn't have fancy clothes, cool gadgets, or expensive toys. But I hardly felt I was lacking for it. Instead, my childhood was filled with homemade mud pies "baked" on old water heaters and DIY glass dome homes for pet beetles. I think what my family lacked in finances they more than made up for with time, love and lots of creativity.

When I grew up and eventually got the things I wanted as a kid, I still looked back fondly on those days. I think about the magic of make believe and cars made out of cardboard boxes and tiny paper boats that sailed atop rain puddle rivers. This is why I'm always surprised when people attempt to procure happiness from financial wealth, professional success and a perfect life. Maybe they bought into reality TV, dreams sold by commercials and that temporary, false facade of what happiness really is.

If you've lost sight of true happiness, don't despair. This week our bloggers will steer you on the right path with helpful tips, informative strategies and a bit of laughter so you can invite a little more happy moments into your day and ultimately your life.
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Does Living Together Before Marriage Predict Divorce?

This guest article from YourTango was written by Susan Dutton Freund.

The Centers for Disease Control recently released a study (PDF) that examines data from first marriages for men and women ages 15 to 44. The data was collected from 2006 to 2010 by the National Survey of Family Growth with 22,682 respondents. The Associated Press promptly released a story with the headline, "Move In Before Marriage No Longer Predicts Divorce."

But, that's not exactly what the study shows.

Instead, the study underlined what previous studies have also shown -- that moving in together before marriage might or might not predict divorce. The differentiating factor is whether or not you moved in with an expectation of a long-term commitment similar to marriage.

People who are either formally or informally engaged and those who plan to spend the rest of their lives together do not have an increased risk of divorce.

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