Category: In the Loop

How To Properly Deal With A Partner Who Has A Sex Addiction

Before we can deal with a partner with a sex addiction, we first have to get clear on what a sex addiction is.  Although many people think so, people who look at porn, fantasize about varied sexual experiences,  have high sexual libidos,  masturbate a lot,  have been unfaithful, or have had many sexual partners are not necessarily sex addicts. An addiction is when someone uses an activity (e.g. drinking, gambling, sex) inappropriately in the place of an otherwise appropriate coping skill.  So for example you hate your job and you hate your boss so you get drunk every night to forget about it.  Or, you feel powerless in your life so you go to massage parlors where the people there cater to your every whim making you feel powerful. Sex addiction is not different from any other addiction, so to determine if someone has an addiction there are some questions that need answering:  Does the person engage in this activity to the detriment of other life responsibilities?  Is the person able to stop the activity without experiencing excessive anxiety or withdrawal?  Has the person experienced negative consequences due to engaging in the activity, legal or otherwise? In the case of… Read more »

What to Expect In Your First Grief Counseling Session

sad man

The decision to seek out counseling is always a wise one but when it comes to grief counseling, it is almost essential. Most of our friends and family members want us to be okay and while our support system can be there for us, they are often unprepared for the depth of emotion that we may express while stricken with grief. Let’s face it, grief can be a very messy process. In the first session, the therapist may explain the five stages of grief which are denial anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. While you are probably aware of these stages have you ever given any thought to what these stages are about? Generally speaking, the stages of grief are really about our reactions to having to accept a loss. Grief is about the realization that we need to let go. The therapist will more than likely ask you about the loss and about how your life is now. As you get into this conversation, you will begin to tap into the emotions connected to the loss. This means you will be in touch with your own anger and sadness as well as other feelings that will be more specific… Read more »

What is an EMDR Session Like?

Before we talk about what an EMDR session is, let’s talk about what it isn’t.  EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is unlike traditional talk therapy where you and your therapist discuss the issues or problems you may be having.  As a matter of fact, your therapist will remain silent for a good part of the session. EMDR therapists use a specific structure that will guide you to focus on bringing attention to your emotions, your body, your thoughts, your beliefs, and your memories using visualization, mindfulness, free association, and most importantly, bilateral stimulation which is a unique element of EMDR.  This is a process by which you follow a hand or light movement with your eyes, listen to alternating sounds through headphones, hold objects that will create a sensation in your hands, or receive gentle physical taps.  This type of movement stimulates the brain’s information processing system allowing you to draw on a combination of new insights and understanding. OK, so enough of the scientific talk.  Here is what you will experience…. Most memories come in the form of snapshot images that usually represent the worst parts of an event.  You and your therapist will identify some of… Read more »

Coping With Loss: What’s Normal and How to Cope With Grief

old people with babies

That old adage “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” is much easier for the person saying it than it is for the person hearing it.  As humans, the need to attach ourselves to something – be it another person, a pet, a career or even a home is essential.  But, what happens if for whatever reason that attachment or connection is no longer available to us?  The natural response to that loss is grief. So, when it comes to grieving, what is normal and how do we cope with it?  Well, let’s first make sure we understand what grief actually is.  The most important thing is not to allow yourself or anyone else to put a judgement on your grief.  Yes, you can grieve the loss of a relationship that only lasted a short time.  Yes, it is normal to grieve the loss of a pet, and yes you can grieve the loss of somebody you knew and didn’t get along with.  I had a client that grieved the death of a rock star even though they never met.  The degree of loss is equal to the degree of attachment whether we… Read more »

6 Couple Therapy Techniques You Can Try at Home

What happens when your relationship is a bit stale?  Do you feel like you don’t need couples therapy but you could definitely use a little boost?  The following is a small list of exercises that a couples therapist may give to a couple to bridge the gap and enhance their connection. 1. Couples Interview: No matter how long you’ve known your partner, you don’t know everything there is to know. Finding out new things about your partner enhances the sense of autonomy which can create a newer more fresh connections. Both you and your partner will create a list of 10 questions to ask each other. Then, set aside some time where you won’t be bothered and take turns answering the questions. Examples: What was your first record album, CD or music you ever downloaded? What was one of your best days? What was your favorite childhood toy? If you could invite 3 famous people to have to dinner who would they be and why? 2. Super Secret Surprise Dates: This one is done once a month and you can take turns with it. Simply design the perfect date that you know your partner will enjoy. Remember, this isn’t something… Read more »

How A Gender Specialist Can Help You Through Your Transition

happy

Imagine if you went to a restaurant and ordered a burger from the menu and the chef came out from the kitchen and asked you to teach him how to make that burger.  He goes on to say that he knows there is beef involved but that’s about it.  Chances are you would find some other place to eat – or in the very least, something else to eat! A therapist may be a great clinician but if he or she doesn’t specialize in gender related issues, chances are some things may be missed.  And, let’s face it, the last thing you want to be doing during therapy is spending time educating your therapist! So, here are the top 6 reasons to seek out a gender specialist to help you through your transition: 1. To begin with, a gender specialist spends a lot of time working with the transgender community.  Because of this, they understand the many different types of gender expression.  You will never be forced into a binary box and you can rest assured that you will be affirmed and supported wherever you are and wherever you want to go with your transition.  Gender variance will never be… Read more »

How to Break the News When Your Child Needs Psychotherapy

little girl on swing

So, you’ve realized your child is in need of outside help and you’ve decided to incorporate the help of a therapist.  Before we talk about how to break the news, let’s make sure that you have chosen the right therapist for the situation. The therapist should have an expertise in working with children as well as the issue your child is experiencing. The therapist should be licensed in the State where they are practicing and their license should be in good standing. To get this information, ask the therapist for the type of license he or she holds, go to that web site and enter the therapist’s name. Let’s face it, only a select few of us graduate at the top of our class but we all get the same license to practice!  Lastly, although it is ultimately up to your child, make sure you are comfortable with the therapist you choose. Assuming your child has never seen a therapist, how you share the news will set the tone and is essential to the overall positive experience. So, let’s begin: WAIT FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT: As with any important conversation, timing is everything.  Don’t share the news after an argument… Read more »

8 Signs It’s Time to Seek Help For Depression

sad person

All of us feel depressed from time to time but how can we tell the difference between the blues, a mild depression and a depressive episode that requires outside help? To answer this question, we first need to come to a basic understanding of what depression is.    Depression can either consist of a collection of certain symptoms or a concentration of a few symptoms.  Some of the more common symptoms of depression include: Frequent crying or an overwhelming feeling of sadness, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, self-loathing, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, loss of pleasure in things that used to give you pleasure, anxiety, anger, difficulty concentrating, a lack of interest in things that used to interest you and even thoughts of suicide. The symptoms of the blues usually only lasts a few days.  With a mild depression there are usually breaks in the depressive feelings and oftentimes, the depression can be linked to a specific incident.  In a depressive episode, the duration is much longer with rarely any respite from the symptoms.  Chances are that if you need to seek outside help, you are either experiencing a severe mild depression or a full… Read more »

Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Right for You?

therapy

Have you ever paid attention to the chatter or thoughts that go on daily in your mind? If your thoughts  include taking things personally, lots of “should’s” and “ought to’s”, getting stuck on the worst possible case scenario, very black and white thinking, putting yourself at fault if things not in your control turn out wrong or mistaking your feelings for reality than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, just may be the thing for you. These types of thought patterns, or “cognitive distortions” can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress, low self-esteem as well as a host of other problems that can really have a negative impact on the quality of your life.   Utilizing a cognitive behavioral approach, both you and your therapist will identify the problem areas in your life, look at your thought patterns and emotional beliefs stemming from those thought patterns and develop a plan to reshape negative or inaccurate thinking. How does this help you?  It’s fairly simple but very powerful.  When we can identify and change our inaccurate thinking, our actions and how we deal with the world around us changes in dramatically positive ways.  Thoughts truly are the things that govern our behavior. Cognitive… Read more »

Self Love, A Help For Depression? Easier Said Than Done!

By Susan Menahem, LCSW Clinical Executive Director Did you just roll your eyes when you saw “Self Love” in that title? I’m sure you did. The truth is, we’ve all been told that if we just learn to love ourselves everything will just get better. That’s great information, and not only is it true and a vital aspect in depression treatment, but has anyone ever mentioned to you just how to go about doing it? Randomly deciding one day that you are going to love yourself is nothing short of ridiculous. This isn’t a Nike commercial, you can’t “Just Do It”. Besides, if it were that easy we’d all be engaging in the world’s largest self-lovefest and there would be no need for depression treatment anywhere. Here’s the key to real self-love. It has 3 basic stages and the good news is, after you get good at the first stage, the other two stages happen all on their own. They are actually by-products of the first stage!! The first stage is to understand self-acceptance. Notice I did not say self-approval, I said self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is realizing that you are who you are and you are where you are at this… Read more »