Category: In the Loop

What is a Session with a Gender Specialist Like?

Transgender? Gender non-conforming? Gender fluid? Non-binary?  What’s the difference?  Is there a difference?  Well, to a traditional therapist, these terms may seem foreign or interchangeable but to a gender specialist these terms are not only familiar but are important aspects of your identity. What is a Gender Specialist? A gender specialist is a psychotherapist with specific training in gender identity.  With a gender specialist, you will be completely supported in where you are in your life now and in where you want to go regarding your gender identity.  In addition, a gender specialist utilizes a gender affirmative treatment model, meaning you will be validated and supported in finding your authentic gender identity and gender expression. For clients where transition is an option to explore, a gender identity specialist will work within the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) ethical guidelines, providing the support you need in order to move forward in your journey.  And, although not all clients choose or need medical intervention, all clients will be helped in figuring out their own unique path. What is a Session like? So what’s a session like?  Well it begins like any other session where the client and the therapist get to know… Read more »

Keeping Secrets from Your Therapist

So, you’ve decided to go to therapy, you’ve chosen a therapist and as the sessions are moving on you discover that you are keeping some secrets from your therapist – which is never a good idea. Let’s say you took a big fall and now your arm is hurting.  You know it hurts when you move it and wiggle your fingers.  Your arm is not starting to turn different shades of blue and it is beginning to swell.  So, you go to the emergency room and you explain what happened.  The physician is probably going to ask some questions, ask you to wiggle your fingers and then order an x-ray to find out exactly what’s going on in there. Stay Truthful to Your Therapist Your therapist does not have the benefit of an x-ray machine.  In other words, if you withhold important information you are not going to get the correct or appropriate treatment.  If you tell your therapist you are depressed, your therapist will use specific types of therapy to help you.  But, if you are depressed because you’ve begun drinking again but withhold that piece of information, the therapy you get will not address the problem and you… Read more »

The Different Sex Addiction Therapy Options and How They Work

Once you have determined that you or someone you love has a sex addiction, or out of control sexual behavior, leaving it untreated is as harmful as leaving any other addiction or out of control behavior untreated. In treating any addiction, or out of control behavior, there are many different therapies commonly used and it is important to review them to choose the best option. Oftentimes a combination of two or more options is the most helpful since the goal is not abstinence but rather it is developing healthy sexual practices. Individual Therapy Many people seek out Individual Therapy to deal with sexual addiction or out of control sexual behavior. The benefits of individual therapy is that the underlying issues causing the unwanted behavior can be identified and addressed. Once the contributing factors are addressed, managing the triggers becomes easier. However, the downside is that it may take time to address the issues and there is no daily assistance in managing triggers or peer input on behaviors. In-Patient Treatment Some people opt for In-Patient Treatment allowing for a more concentrated treatment in a controlled environment, eliminating opportunities to engage in addictive or out of control behavior. In-patient treatment usually utilizes… Read more »


By Susan Menahem Stockings are not the only things that will be filled this holiday season — so will most therapist’s waiting rooms. The truth is that many people have difficulties during the holidays. To beat the holiday blues, keep these seven things in mind: TRADITIONS are wonderful, but they usually change as our lives do. Be open to creating new traditions, either for yourself or with other people. What makes traditions special is the meaning that we attribute to them. Even a new tradition can be special and meaningful if we decide that it is. EXPECTATIONS around the holidays will only lead to trouble and hurt feelings. Rarely is an expectation grounded in reality, and having expectations does not leave room for circumstances to change. Lastly, expectations block us from being able to appreciate whatever does occur. Rather than having expectations, we need to allow our mind to become a blank mental canvas, open to whatever unfolds. SELF PITY only creates more sadness. So your life may have taken a twist and a turn and it is not how you want it to be right now. Accept that you are in a transition and things won’t always be this way…. Read more »

5 Tips on Celebrating Fantastic Holidays with Yourself

So, let’s get clear on one thing:  If you are alone for the holidays, it isn’t because you are worthless, unlovable, forgettable or a loser.  For some of us, our lives and circumstances twist and turn and we may find ourselves alone on the holidays and for others we may just prefer it that way. Either way, you’re not “alone” on the holidays, rather, you are with yourself. Additionally, the holidays aren’t something you should strive to “get through”, the holidays are worth celebrating.   Let’s face it, when was the last time you had a few days with absolutely no other obligations but to cater to and pamper yourself?  So get out of the mindset of getting through the holidays because you are alone and open up to celebrating the holidays with yourself. 1 – Make plans. Time is not standing still and before you know it the holidays will be here so make some plans! Think about the things that warm your soul, that make you feel light inside, that make you feel pampered and taken care of and make arrangements for yourself.  As a little girl, I used to love to watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day on… Read more »

How to Choose the Right Couples Therapy

Statistics suggest that couples generally get to marriage counseling seven years later than they should have so that by the time a couple finds themselves sitting across from a therapist, everything that could possibly have hit the fan has already hit it.  Because of this, finding the right therapist is key.  There are many things to consider when choosing the right couples therapist.   Of course, you want to make sure that the therapist is properly licensed and credentialed.  Keep in mind, that those therapists that graduated at the bottom of their class share the same licenses and certifications as those therapists that graduated at the top of their class, so you may need to do some research. Upon interviewing a prospective therapist, don’t be afraid to ask where he or she went to school and what types of continuing training he or she pursues.  Remember, you’re looking to see if the therapist has specific training in various types of couples therapy’s. Some of these therapies include: Emotionally Focused Therapy Imago Relationship Therapy The Gottman Method Narrative Therapy A good couples therapist will be well-versed in more than one therapeutic method since not every method is for every situation and… Read more »

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 »