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Family

It’s Not the Wedding — It’s the Marriage!

Mia found wedding planning stressful. Her mother’s was obsessing over the invitations, flowers, color scheme, favors, hors d’oeuvres, guest list, and other details -- so much that it seemed like she was the one getting married.

Exasperated as her mother droned on about ice sculptures and chocolate fountains, Mia wished she had decided to elope. She finally blurted out: “It’s not the wedding, Mom! It’s the marriage.
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Children and Teens

6 Expert Tactics for Talking with Kids in Multiple Situations

Parents talk to their kids a lot. In a single day, they can issue a multitude of instructions, orders and requests as they converse with their children. Rarely do they stop to wonder if their kids understand what they are saying.

What most parents fail to realize is that their kids are constantly looking to them for cues on how to act and behave. The way you speak to your children shows how you want them to speak back to you and it greatly determines whether they’ll listen and respond to what you say.
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Brain and Behavior

Do You Know the Signs of Stress?

“Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you’re attached to something that’s not true for you.” – Byron Katie

As a run up to the holidays, doesn’t it seem like everyone’s rushing around trying to cram too much into too little time? Crazed to find a parking space in an overcrowded lot, racing to get into the elevator before the door closes or hitting the door-close button so no one else can get in, exhibiting uncharitable, rude and potentially unhealthy behavior when trying to snatch the last sale item and so much more are all signs of stressed-out individuals.

Is it any wonder the commercials for antacids and headache pills proliferate this time of year? But what about really acknowledging you're stressed and doing something about it? Here are telltale signs to pay attention to:
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Agitation

Upgrading Your Communication Skills

You have a choice every time you say something to someone. By your choice of words, your tone of voice and your body language, you nurture or weaken a relationship.

Now I know a few people who will take this as bad news. “Are you suggesting that I have to watch what I say to people -- even at home? I can’t just say what I think? You’ve got to be kidding.”

No, I’m not kidding. And I’m not suggesting that you need to be obsessive about monitoring your conversations. But, I’m still sticking to my point: how you communicate matters -- a lot. Let’s look at an example.
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Aging

Finding New Friends After 40

A client, age 45, finds herself without close friendships in the wake of a difficult divorce. “Most of my friends are part of couples that my husband and I hung out with. It’s just plain awkward to try to be part of that group anymore.”

My 70-year-old client is lonely. “Most of the friends I thought I’d grow old with have died,” she explained. “I miss them terribly, of course. But I also miss just having people to do things with.”
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Happiness

Bringing Your Shadow to Light

In order to lead a rich, full life, you want to bring the fullness of all that you are into the light and out into the world. Our shadow selves are not just those traits that we define as "bad", they are also aspects of our personality that have simply receded into the darkness for a lack of awareness and understanding.

Shadows are the parts of us that we keep hidden because we had been given the message early on that they are dangerous, shameful, or unrealistic. The roots of our shadow begins early in childhood; traits and feelings such as anger, boldness, flamboyance, and sexuality were seen as "bad" or dangerous and therefore repressed.
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Children and Teens

Can Parents Love Each Child the Same and Treat Them Differently?

Readers of a certain age may recall the sibling comedy team called The Smothers Brothers and the classic line Tommy delivered to Dick, “Mom always liked you best.” There are some who would tend to agree that parental preference contributed to their sense of self; either to their benefit or detriment.

Although parents may not love one child more than another, they may not always treat them the same since each is a unique individual. This topic came up in conversation recently with a parent of three boys. Each of these youngsters ranging from elementary to high school age, has a distinct personality, accompanied by challenges, exacerbated in part because of being part of a blended family in which the adults themselves came from backgrounds with varying parenting styles.
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General

5 Surefire Ways to Find Peace of Mind

“When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.” – George Harrison
If you’re distracted by all that’s going on in your life and yearn for a little respite, some peace of mind that you can bathe in, there’s one thing you can do, that each person can do: get outside yourself. It's not as easy as it sounds. How do you get outside yourself, put some distance between you and your ever-present concerns? Here are five tips that may prove helpful:

1. Schedule some time for yourself that doesn’t involve work.
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Family

Boundaries: Learn How to Stand Your Ground

Boundaries Are Important

From a psychological perspective, boundaries are the mental, emotional, spiritual or relational limits on who and what kind of influences you accept into your life. How you expect to be treated depends on your personal history and self-evaluation. This is different for each person and circumstance. What is acceptable in one case and with one person, may not be tolerated in other instances.
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Anxiety and Panic

The Sandwich Effect: Starting and Ending Our Day to Be Our Best Selves

How we show up each day is largely determined by our attitude and outlook. Despite the challenges that we might be facing in the day ahead, what we choose to focus on plays a big role in how we get through our day.

I have had days filled with stressors and hurdles that I have moved through with grace, courage, and presence, while on other days, filled with far fewer stressors, I have plodded through with irritability, negativity or anxiety.

It didn’t have to do with what was unfolding during the day as much as what was happening in the space between my ears. When I wake up too early and can’t fall back to sleep, and focus on thoughts of how tired I am going to be and predictions of doom and gloom for my day ahead, I set myself up for irritability. On the other hand, on the mornings when I wake up too early but sit outside and take in the early morning solitude that I so often miss at this hour, I show up very differently in my day.
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Anger

How to Transition from Enemy to Friend

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Martin Luther King
It certainly sounds like an impossibility. If you have an enemy, how can that person ever become a friend? This isn’t the recommended religious practice of turning the other cheek that we’re familiar with from the Bible, but close. Still, something about the process involved in transitioning from enemy to friend seems rather difficult.

Maybe not. Here are some examples of effectively transitioning from enemy to friend. Hint: A lot of the transformation has to do with
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General

How to Be Honest with Yourself

“When compassion awakens in your heart, you’re able to be more honest with yourself.” – Mingyur Rinpoche
Do you lie to yourself? Maybe just a little? Maybe a lot? Whatever the answer, you’re not alone. Most people tell lies, rationalize at times, trying to reassure themselves with a self-talk that’s more wishful thinking or revisionist in nature than actual truth.

Sometimes, that’s not all bad. If you need to embroider what happened with a brighter colored thread to get past it, maybe that’s healthy.
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