Archives for Relationships

Addictions

Does Your Client Have a Problem With Love Addiction?

It’s March. Valentine’s Day is a distant memory and wedding season looms. Essentially, this is the time when psychotherapy clients often want to review and discuss their romantic relationships. For clients who struggle with problematic behavioral choices related to love, attachment and intimacy, in particular love addiction (also known as romance addiction and relationship addiction), this can be a very difficult undertaking. These individuals see friends and loved ones finding relationship success, while they take one manic spin after another on the relationship merry-go-round – desperately hoping to find that one special person who can make them feel complete and worthwhile and loved for longer than a few days or weeks at a time.

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Relationships

When is a Relationship (Romance, Friendship, Whatever) Worth Saving?

A few weeks ago I was given a spreadsheet showing which of my online blogs and articles (on numerous websites) have gotten the most views. And no matter the website, the postings that topped the charts almost always dealt on some level with relationships and intimate emotional connections. And why not? After all, relationships help us to feel understood, loved, and part of – all of which are deeply important human needs. It’s only natural that people would be interested in this topic.

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Relationships

Some Clients Need a Dating Plan…

Not Everyone Knows How to Date

For many psychotherapy clients, issues with relationships and intimacy are paramount. Typically, individuals seeking help with these issues display insecure attachment styles, usually the result of inconsistent, neglectful and/or abusive parenting – though many other forms of early-life (and even adult-life) trauma may also be in play. Sometimes these clients have turned to an addiction, either substance or behavioral, as a way to cope with the discomfort caused by adult-life relationships. In my practice I have dealt with many such people, primarily
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Relationships

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Especially in the Digital Age

Relationship Drama: Digitally Enhanced

Relationship breakups and the angst surrounding them have always been solid psychotherapeutic fodder. As we’re all aware, these issues are challenging in and of themselves, and they also tend to evoke deeper emotional and psychological issues that can be worked through over time in therapy. On the one hand, this can be quite productive, as a well-managed clinical crisis often leads to useful therapeutic insights and breakthroughs. On the other hand, the emotional pain of a disintegrating relationship is nearly always incredibly distressing for the client, particularly if that client is emotionally fragile to begin with.

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Relationships

Gaslighting: How Addicts Drive Loved Ones Over the Edge

What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where false information is presented to the victim by a spouse or another primary attachment figure, causing the victim to doubt his or her perceptions, judgments, memories, and even sanity. The term derives from the 1938 stage play, Gaslight, and a pair of film adaptions, one in 1940 and a more famous one in 1944 starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. In the 1944 film, Boyer’s character convinces his wife (Bergman) that she’s imagining things, such as the occasional dimming of the house’s gas lights, as part of his ongoing effort to steal her deceased Aunt’s money and jewels. (The gas lights dim whenever he is in the attic, searching for the treasure.) Over time, his insistent and persistent lies cause her and others to question her sanity.
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Relationships

The Small Gifts of Connection

The Season Everyone Can Be Jolly…

Could the holidays possibly present us with a more of a confusing mish-mash of messages, expectations, and emotions? Sadly, that seems to be the nature of the beast. We turn on the TV and there’s George Bailey saving his depression-era town from financial ruin while simultaneously making new angels every time a bell rings. Change the channel and there’s little Virginia learning that there really is a Santa Clause. Switch the station again and we’ve got Charlie Brown’s friends deciding the woeful tree he chose for the Christmas play isn’t such a bad little tree after all. And while viewing these shows we can’t help but think: “Yes, this really is a wonderful time of the year.” But thinking this is not the same as experiencing it, and, given all the cooking, shopping, work, emails, bills, lists, gifts, etc., that we have to deal with throughout the holidays, what most adults seem to actually feel is, in no particular order: tired, overwhelmed, restless, stressed-out, impatient, and pressured. Did I mention tired? As adults, instead of focusing on the twinkling lights and pretty figure skaters like we should, we tend to mull over things like mortgages, taxes, and credit card bills, not to mention our snarling in-laws, while the whole world shrieks: “Give and now receive. Receive and now give. Now repeat.” By mid-December, even the most optimistic among us can find ourselves thinking, while waiting in yet another line in yet another store, “Gee, this kind of sucks,” or, employing the language of a bygone era, “Bah, Humbug!”
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Relationships

Why Can’t We Be Three?

Technology and the Changing Face of Relationships

Modern technology affects virtually every aspect of human existence. For starters, the world is rapidly becoming a much smaller place. This is not to say that our planet is physically shrinking, it’s just that we can now travel from place to place more easily and affordably than ever before. And even if we’re not willing to hop into a car or onto an airplane we can still communicate almost instantly, IRL (in real time), with practically anyone, anywhere, at any time thanks to ever-evolving digital tools like computers, laptops, pads, smartphones, e-readers, and the like. Not surprisingly, this relatively recent and ever quickening onslaught of new technology has drastically changed the ways in which we view and value intimacy with our significant other, and even our ideas about what a “significant other” actually is.
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Relationships

A ;-) and a Sext…

Faux Intimacy?

In today's tech-driven world, young people (digital natives) are as likely to communicate in the digital universe as they are to communicate face-to-face. In fact, more likely. A Pew Internet & American Life study conducted in 2012 found that texting is now the primary mode of daily communication between teens and their friends and family, far surpassing phone calls, face-to-face interactions, and emailing.i So in some ways it's only natural that teens and young adults do much of their flirting online, too. A recent University of Michigan survey of 3500 young adults (ages 18 to 24) confirms this idea, finding that for this age bracket texting and sexting are simply another way of getting to know potential romantic partners and possibly advancing a relationship.ii
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