Archive for January, 2011

Could My Teen Commit Suicide?

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

teen suicideOnce again the recent holidays were pierced by the tragedy of a local high school senior who died by suicide. Having taken pills, she went to sleep. Her parents were sleeping in the next room. She never woke.

The reality of this type of event is horrifying.  Pain and grief reverberate on every level of the community. There are always unanswered questions that haunt family, friends, school and community connections. The unthinkable has happened.  Any parent, if only for a moment, dares to ask, “Could My Teen Commit Suicide?”

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS) would say that if that question motivates parents to learn more about the warning signs of suicide, find to a way to speak to their teens, and reach for help– it might be one of the most important questions they consider.

Understanding and Building a ‘Me’ Marriage

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

the me marriageDo you really want a ‘Me’ Marriage? Your first inclination may be to say, “I don’t think so.”

Intuitively this makes sense as most partners have been encouraged to focus on the “We” in their marriage.  It’s even likely that at some point you have heard or have said to your partner – “You know, it’s not all about you!”

That being said, it is very interesting that Tara Parker-Pope in a recent Week in Review section of the New York Times tells us that “The Happy Marriage is the ‘Me’ Marriage.”

How Can This Be?

Reporting on the research of psychologists Arthur Aron and Gary Lewandowski, Parker-Pope clarifies that while communication skills, mental health, social support and stress are factors that determine whether a marriage will last or not – they are not sufficient for making it enjoyable or sustaining to the individuals.

Why Do People Have More Than One Pet?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Most pets are home to stay.  Rarely do you hear of pets being replaced. Rather, once a person has a dog, cat or bird that they love, they tend to get another… and another. Why?

Is this about pets or people? Is there an emotional reason that an individual or a couple starts with one pet and ends up with many more?

When I have raised these questions with pet owners and pet professionals, the reasons given are as complex as the people and pets involved.  Overall, however, they reflect the reciprocal mix of needs, emotions and love inherent in the unique exchange that people and pets share.

It Starts With the Pets

Many people start adding an additional pet as a companion to the first. As one owner said “It broke our hearts to leave Callie alone all day so we got a second dog to keep her company.”

While many will own that they may be projecting their human fear of loneliness  – the reality is that most pets do enjoy the company of other pets and owners are delighted to see dogs play together, cats scheme together, everyone fight over food and then curl up and sleep together!

One owner who lived with dogs his whole life described that he always had two dogs. He always had a puppy with an older dog both to enliven the older dog (which it inevitably did) as well as to reduce his own dread of loss.

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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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