5 Valentine’s Day Tips for Healthy Dating Relationships

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene Brown

Many of the college students I see in my practice are negotiating the nuances of the dating world, sometimes for the first time. Developing a sense of confidence in their ability to discern healthy dating partners is often the subject of counseling sessions. For those who have  been impacted by psychological abuse in a romantic relationship, often a survivor experiences cognitive dissonance as a result of gaslighting, silent treatment, projection, and other emotional abuse tactics (Schneider, 2018).  It takes some time for a survivor to reclaim their trust in themselves to select healthy dating partners because of the very nature of deception and manipulation that is a part of an abusive relationship (see my article on coercive control). These concepts are no different at any life cycle development stage.

5 Tips for Supporting College Age Students’ Mental Health

Did you know that the second leading cause of death in people ages 15-22 is suicide (ACHA, 2020)?   Those are some sobering statistics. After a recent move from S CA to N Ca, I am currently serving in a new role in which I am the Lead Counselor on a college campus for this age range. Unfortunately, those statistics don't lie. I am deeply involved in creating new programs, strategies, and direct clinical support for the students my campus serves as relates to suicide prevention and wellness strategies.  In my research, I have found the following to be true:

The World Mourns an NBA Icon: 5 Tips to Manage Grief

"To the well-organized mind, death is but the next greatest adventure."- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Those who are basketball and sports fans suffered a major blow upon hearing the news of basketball legend Kobe Bryant's death this weekend due to a tragic helicopter accident. Grief enshrouded Greater Los Angeles Sunday, as Laker's fans reflected upon the idol status of this competitive, complicated, and transcendent sports figure.  When diverse groups of people come together to mourn the loss of a beloved figure, it is moments like these that unify otherwise disparate, scattered and population-infused communities. It is healthy for people to come together to grieve, perhaps a reminder of our capacity as human beings to feel and share compassion, during such divisive splintered times in our nation's history.

Ghosting, Catfishing, Benchwarming and Breadcrumming: Terminology of the Dating World

"Someone disappearing on you doesn't reflect your worth: It reflects their fear of being 'seen'"- Baggage Reclaim, Natalie Lue

Many of my private practice clients are immersed in the dating world, searching for healthy love relationships and healing from toxic ones. I wanted to take an opportunity to define a few terms that are floating about in the cybersphere.

When an individual is dating someone, the connection either continues to evolve in a healthy direction, it ends, or it tapers off. I am going to talk about when dating relationships end, what's healthy and what isn't in terms of leave-taking.

With the advent of electronic technology, dating apps, and the internet, I have noticed a tendency for people to announce the ending of a relationship in indirect, confusing ways. Historically, if a person decided not to continue dating someone, they would actually say to the person "I don't think we are a match, but thank you." And no one in a million years would think of just disappearing with no closure. Back in the day, we had landlines, answering machines, and we certainly didn't have the built-in distance or seeming anonymity of dating apps. Unfortunately, technology has made it easier for people to be "ghosted."

Creativity and Goals: Designing a Vision Board

"You'll never get bored when you try something new. There's really no limit to what you can do." Dr. Seuss

What is a vision board? A vision board is a visualization tool which refers to a board of any sort used to build a collage of words and pictures that represent your goals and dreams (Canfield, J, 2020). As new year is upon us, many people enjoy of designing a vision board to help chart a path for new goals. Basically, a vision board is a visual image, typically a magazine photo collage, incorporating found objects with powerful words or phrases (for example, prosperity, abundance, balance, etc), depicting a visual image of goals to manifest.

holiday self care

10 Ways to Lower Holiday Stress

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” 

The holidays are notorious for adding stress to the already heavy load for adults struggling to host gatherings, juggle work and family obligations, dodging the flu, not to mention being a triggering time for those impacted by loss and/or trauma. So I conjured up a list of tips to help folks navigate this window of time, which will be over with in a few short weeks, mind you. So strap on your seat belt, hop in your vehicle, and carry on.  Sure and steady, here we go!

Beware of the Holiday Hoover

 Hoovering: (definition)- noun– The state in which a psychological abuser (typically an individual manifesting symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or perhaps a blend of other Personality Disorders) returns to attempt to abuse a former source of narcissistic supply (i.e. ego fuel) via text, email, phone or in person (Schneider, 2015). The term “Hoover” refers to the vacuum (by the Hoover brand), as an analogy to suctioning up and reconnecting with prior sources of ego gratification by the narcissistic abuser.

New Dads Need Support for Mental Health Too

" Dad is and always will be my living breathing superhero." - Bindi Irwin

Although an emphasis on maternal mental health has been more prevalent in recent years, medical communities  often overlook the psychological needs of fathers. It is reported that 1 in 4 new dads experience what is termed Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND). One study by the American Medical Association reported that 10 percent of new dads develop this condition (2007). And, if the new father's partner also has perinatal/postpartum depression, of those fathers, 50% will develop PPND.