Migraine Therapy — More Effective Than Medication?

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 6 min read

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While this isn’t a direct relationship issue, being in a relationship with someone who struggles with migraines can have a significant impact on the relationship. This impact will be discussed more at length in a future post, but I hope this can be helpful to someone in your life who endures the migraine struggle.

Can a specialized form of psychotherapy, geared towards relief in chronic migraine headaches, possibly be just as effective, if not more effective, than medication?

It’s long been assumed that when a person has a history of migraines, they have a purely medical (physiological) issue. This isn’t necessarily incorrect, by any means. It certainly seems purely medical when a person has a debilitating headache, nausea, and visual and/or aural disturbances (along with many other types of migraine auras that exist). When there is a medical issue, usually medical treatments are utilized to resolve the issue (conventional and/or alternative treatments).

But what happens when you exhaust the various medical approaches, and you still find yourself struggling with chronic migraines?

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“How Does That Make You Feel?” — The Therapy Cliche

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 2 min read

images-1People love to make fun of the stereotyped therapy party line: “How does that make you feel?” Yes, it’s one of the biggest cliches in the therapy field, however what this question stands for still remains an important piece of psychotherapy.

When people come in for therapy, it’s generally because they aren’t happy with the way they are feeling, in one way or another. Whether it’s about relationships, depression, anxiety, stress, jobs, career, or any other areas of life, the reasons people start therapy is both to help the concrete, external situations, but overall it’s how these situations makes someone feel that matters most. Basically, if you’re feeling good about something, then you probably wouldn’t seek emotional help with it.

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The Value of Therapy: Opening the Past…to Create Change and Happiness in the Present

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 2 min read

imagesIt can be difficult to appreciate who we are. There’s so much each of us has to offer to each other, and so much to offer the world. It would be nice if everyone could look at themselves and realize the power they possess within themselves.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy. We feel the pain, hurt, and rejection  more than we feel the happiness, satisfaction, achievements, general positives, and so on. As a result, we end up with depression, anxiety, addiction, repeated unhealthy relationships, and more.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just let the negatives roll off of our backs, rather than holding onto them to the point of emotional injury? Obviously, it’s not a conscious decision. We don’t desire to hold onto the negatives, but when the hits are painful and repeated, eventually we’re going to get hurt. I imagine it more along the lines of rug burn. At first, it’s not such a big deal, but if you experience it repeatedly, it becomes raw and painful.

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Relationship Breakups: The Commitment to Separation

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 3 min read

UnknownHow many times have you ended a relationship and continued to be at least somewhat involved with your ex? At first, there is the pain, or the relief, the anger, sadness, etc. But as time goes by, people often end up drifting back together — they start talking, having sex, spending time together, and soon they’re a couple again, even if unofficially.

This is a highly common thread in relationship breakups. People want to believe that when they break up from a relationship that they’ve ended the relationship. But this is generally not so simple. What people refer to as the breakup is really more of an announcement to their partner that they’re going to attempt a commitment to separation from the relationship. An actual breakup that lasts takes much more of an active commitment than people tend to realize.

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8 Tricks to Sustaining Sex in Your Relationship

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 4 min read

UnknownSex can be difficult to sustain in relationships. While there are some who are able to do it, there are generally factors that can counter sexual excitement in relationships. For example, part of what makes sex exciting is risk and unknown. Think of the difference between the first time you had sex with someone and the 50th. Repetition and familiarity with a long-term partner removes the element of risk and unknown, which can also remove some of the excitement of sex.

Also, shame becomes an issue in relationships, which can inhibit sex. The more partners become known to each other as people with vulnerabilities, flaws, etc., the more shame increases. The fear of rejection, judgment, and ego annihilation increases, and can therefore shut down uninhibited sex.

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8 Ways to Be a Better Partner in 2014

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 3 min read

images-1As the new year approaches, people often take the opportunity to re-evaluate who they are and consider the changes they’d like to make in their lives. This is something people would benefit from doing the whole year round — reflecting on the choices we make, the way we treat others and ourselves, our commitment to self-care, etc.

One of the mistakes people often make in their relationships is attempting to change their partner. Eventually, they end up realizing that the more they push their partner to change, the more resistant their partner becomes to changing in the direction they were hoping to see. One of the secrets of a successful relationship is for each partner to continue to improve themselves, both as a person and as a partner. If each person does their due diligence to be a good partner, the relationship takes care of itself. You each focus on taking care of each other in the relationship, rather than worrying about how the other should take care of you.

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Strengthen Your Relationships This Holiday…

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • Less than a min read

12-11-Happy-Holidays

This year on Christmas day and New Year’s day, try turning off your phones, tablets, and computers for the day. Be in the present with those closest to you and try to disconnect from mental escape routes, such as texts, emails, social media, etc. It may be a challenge at first, but it will help open connection with your loved ones. People tend to feel quite liberated when spending a day apart from technology. See how it feels for you.

Happy holidays!

Nathan Feiles, LCSW
Relationships in Balance



How to Change a Struggling Relationship Into a Healthy Relationship

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 5 min read

UnknownThis is the “part 2″ to the article “10 Signs You May Be in an Unhealthy Relationship“.

It was brought to my attention that in the first article I made points of the things to keep an eye on, however I made few suggestions of how to handle those ten points. So this article is to address how to handle the ten signs of an unhealthy relationship that were listed in the previous article.

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10 Signs You May Be in an Unhealthy Relationship

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 4 min read

images-1Technically, a relationship needs to only be defined by the people who are in the relationship. What is a “good (or healthy) relationship” for two people may be completely different than a “good (or healthy) relationship” for two other people.

However, there is a difference between a relationship having its own shape and character, and a relationship that is either harmful or generally unhealthy for one or both partners. These relationships can be difficult to spot from the inside because one or both partners grow accustomed to the life of the relationship. Denial can also be a factor due to fears of change, failure, or otherwise. So while it may seem like it should be obvious when you’re in an unhealthy relationship, it isn’t always so simple.

Here are some signs of concern within relationships. Note, the presence of one or more of the following signs doesn’t necessarily mean you should end your relationship. These are things to keep an eye on, and if they persist, may need further attention in order to improve the state of your relationship.

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Surviving The Great Holiday Depression

By Nathan Feiles, LCSW • 3 min read

imagesAs we well know, while the holidays can be a source of joy for many people, the holidays are also a source of sadness for many others. If you’re someone who finds it generally depressing to check your Facebook wall and see all of the images of happiness, then imagine all the television shows and commercials, the decorations in stores and on people’s homes, the grocery stores, and shopping malls all reflecting the enthusiasm of your Facebook wall, with a joint holiday theme. It may sound nice if we’re living in your favorite holiday movies, but not if you’re someone who struggles just to get through the holidays each year without breaking down.

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Recent Comments
  • Observer: Most of this article seemed informative to me. I did take exception to the statement, “…that an...
  • Adhi: Thanks. Worth Reading. All couples should read this.
  • ohmusicalone: Maybe a good list for mild sadness but not true depression. Not helpful to me at all.
  • ohmusicalone: Agreed, is pretty much a list of things that make it worse for me. It all has to wait til the cloud...
  • Lisa Keith, Psy.D.: This is good, basic information. But, actually, I’ve done most all of the items listed. I...
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