Ebola: Coping with Fear and Uncertainty

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

Something very different happens to us when we face an epidemic as opposed to a natural disaster.cemetery

When a natural disaster hits, there is anxiety, and traumatic loss but such events have a clear beginning and end. Natural disasters are devastating but there are few unknowns. With the collective loss, there is often collective care and support. In the aftermath of a hurricane that destroys and our neighbor’s home, we run to help him rebuild.

In the face of epidemics we lock our doors. Threatened by contagion, terrified by unknown risks, we move into fear-based survival mode. We isolate. We ruminate. We become saturated with media warnings and shaken by shards of frightening information and even conspiracy theories.



Facing The Factors That Fuel Domestic Violence

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

The recent media attention to domestic Violence in the NFL epitomized by the September 8th video of Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée in an elevator and Commissioner Goddell’s delayed reaction, bring to the forefront the reality of domestic violence and the factors that fuel it.

Football players are not the only men who succumb to domestic violence and they are not the only ones whose behavior is covered and condoned by silence.



Video Gaming: Unexpected Benefits for All Ages

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

Well beyond the financial benefits accrued by video games producers, manufactures and event planners which have outstripped the music industry and are closing in behind the movie industry, video games and applications of game thinking offer unexpected benefits for people of every age.



Could My Partner Be A Cybersex Addict?

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

It is distressing for most partners to find evidence of their partner’s cybersex use.

Cybersex can include viewing sexual images or content online, talking about the material with others online, or engaging in two-way conversations about sex acts. It can also include the use of Web cameras to engage in sexual acts with another partner online.

  • It is common for partners to feel a mix of fear, disbelief, outrage, shame, anger, rejection, and betrayal.
  • Many don’t know what to say or do.
  • They hesitate bringing it up with their partner and they are too embarrassed to speak to someone else.
  • Some are haunted by the question – Could my partner be a Cybersex Addict?sleeping eyes


How To Improve Relationship Closeness–”Stop Talking”

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

While almost everyone working with couples and every self-help book underscores communication as central to any good relationship, there are times when the last thing that brings a couple together is “ talking.”cell phone couples

If you have ever said or heard someone say “ We Need to Talk,” you know that those words rarely invite closeness, valuable communication or good memories!

The reality is that communication between couples is complex and involves much more than talking–particularly when talking is on demand, without attention to the cues of the other and without the on-going life experiences that tell partners about each other in spoken and unspoken ways.

There is often more mutual understanding that comes from spontaneous sharing in the midst of living—than rehashing issues in the well caricatured “ Woody Allen Style.”

Here are some suggestions for those times when alternatives to talking may be worth considering:

After a Cease-Fire–Re-set the Relationship

The period of time in which there is a cease-fire after an argument is not the best time to talk.

Yes, there may be more to say…

Yes, You may feel you have the ability to just clarify…

But, the most effective thing you can do is to re-set the relationship with an experience of your positive connection as a platform for going forward.

“Do you want to get something to eat?”

“Do you want to see the next episode of that series?”

  • Making overtures to go forward allows time and connection which often soften the tension and the “ need to win.”
  • When someone isn’t …


Tragic Loss By Suicide and the Question “Why?”

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

shutterstock_148518026For every suicide there is an estimated six or more “suicide survivors,” people who are left behind trying to cope with this traumatic loss. They include spouses, parents, siblings, friends and relatives.

When the person lost is Robin Williams, a famous comedian and actor whose creativity and art brought laughs to millions, it illuminates the pain, confusion, shock, and even guilt suffered by others who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The Question WHY?

One of the haunting thoughts that survivors carry in the aftermath of suicide is “ WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?”

As Bev Feigelman, one of the authors of Devastating Losses, and the mother of a young filmmaker who died by suicide describes, “ The question mark stays in the forefront of your mind haunting you and only with time starts to slowly move toward the back.”

Depression, often unrecognized and untreated is considered the major cause of suicide. What complicates this finding is that those suffering often struggle with the fear that they will not find the proper treatment.

In her important book, Depression and Your Child, one of the contributions of author Deborah Serani, is a listing of over 300 names of famous people from athletes, actors to writers who have suffered with depression.

Suicide as “ Psychache”

In work with suicide survivors – be they family members, siblings or cops, the consideration of suicide as “ psychache” has been considered helpful.

Essentially it comes from the work of suicide expert, Edwin …



In a Relationship-Love Means Being Able to Say “NO”

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

Can you say NO to your partner?

Can you tolerate hearing NO?

In a relationship, the freedom to say NO may be one of the most important dynamics your share. If there is no space for NO, there really is no space for an authentic relationship. Partners believe in the “ I do” because it is a choice of Yes over NO.couple on the bench



Non-Medication Strategies for Reducing Chronic Pain: Use and Effectiveness

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Lasting longer than six months, such pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, inconvenient or totally incapacitating.

For too many, chronic pain is an invisible and debilitating condition. Often employers and even spouses can’t quite appreciate the impact of a migraine or the limitations imposed by back pain. As such, those who suffer often report feeling isolated in addition to feeling depressed, worried about levels of medication and anxious about a future of no relief from pain.file0001875581713

Scientifically Proven Non-Medication Strategies

The good news is that in addition to ever expanding medication options, there are an increasing number of scientifically proven non-medication approaches to reduce chronic pain, increase the effectiveness of medication, address flare-ups, and in some cases reduce need for medication.



Understanding and Using the Thoughts and Feelings After Divorce

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

Divorce statistics tend to obscure the emotional impact of divorce. Whether a divorce is chosen, imposed, contested, litigated or mediated, divorce is difficult.

What often adds to the difficulty even after a divorce is finalized are lingering thoughts and feelings that bewilder, disturb, preoccupy and interfere with moving forward in a self-productive way.



Dissatisfied With Your Appearance? Re-set The Criteria of Beauty

By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

How satisfied are you with your appearance?

Across the ages, norms of beauty have been set by cultures and passed down in the context of family, close community and friends. With time and technology, however, the setting of norms has changed and so has their impact.looking in the mirror gown



 
Healing Together

Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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