5 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 clients I see in my practice are healing in the aftermath of toxic relationships and regaining a sense of restored confidence in their ability to discern healthy dating partners. When an individual has 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).

Understanding Coercive Control in Intimate Relationships

"Only a couple of decades ago, society named and recognized the problems of sexual harassment, dating violence, marital rape, and stalking. Coercive control needs to be similarly named and recognized, so we can begin to address it. We all need to learn more, so we can offer the right kinds of support and not allow victims to become isolated." Lisa Aronson Fontes, PhD, author of Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship             We've heard a lot about domestic violence, which can encompass physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and other forms of abuse. It is only recently that the term coercive control has entered the landscape of  intimate partner violence nomenclature. Sociologist and forensic expert, Evan Stark, PhD coined the term.  He described it as a fear-based compliance that is employed to dominate one's partner in an intimate relationship. Although many studies report men as being typically in the role of the abuser, the reality is that coercive control can cross over to either gender or sexual orientation. Dr. Lisa Aronson Fontes states that  " coercive control describes an ongoing and multipronged strategy, with tactics that include manipulation, humiliation, isolation, financial abuse, stalking, gaslighting and sometimes physical or sexual abuse" (Ellen, 2016).  

maternal mental health

5 Tips for Women in the Throes of Perimenopause

"The menopausal transition is actually a profound developmental stage in which unfinished business from the past comes up once again for resolution and healing, so that we can free ourselves from the outmoded beliefs and behaviors of our past. All the issues that weren’t resolved during puberty and early adulthood—such as body image, relationships, vocation, fear of aging, and self-esteem issues—now arise once more to be healed and completed." - Christiane Northrup, MD 

competition in motherhood

5 More Tips for BadAss Special Needs Parents

“Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have.  It’s about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be and that, if you’re lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be.” ~ Joan Ryan (This is Part 2 in a 2 Part Series) In my previous post, I began to describe some tips for parents who are in the trenches of navigating the world of special needs caregiving. The following is a continuation of the topic, in the hopes that it provides a bit of a life raft for you amazing caregivers out there. Here goes:

competition in motherhood

5 Tips for BadAss Special Needs Parents

"Until you have a child with special needs, you have no idea of the depth of your strength, tenacity and resourcefulness." - Anonymous I love that quote. And it's true. I speak from the standpoint primarily as a mother of a child with auditory/visual processing challenges (Sensory Processing Disorder) and also from my role of therapist, having counseled many special needs parents in my practice. That being said, the journey is long, hard, and uncertain. There are many twists and turns along the way. Some days feel like things are coming together, and you can finally surface for air. Other days are complete misery.

art intervention with children

In the Market for a Shrink?: What To Look For When Searching for a Good Therapist

"Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion." - Buddha   I know that I am not alone in the sentiment that the work I do as a psychotherapist is a calling, a deep purpose with tremendous meaning and the potential to help the world continue to spin on its axis. Like others in the profession, I know I feel there is a spiritual element in the healing journey that transcends religious affiliation, technique or training but truly is that which unites humanity in the common innate capability to heal. We, as therapists of integrity, are the "holders" of the space of healing, the witness-bearers of our clients' stories. The people we help have invited us to journey with them for a short time as they work through trauma, loss, grief, depression. I say in all seriousness that it truly is a deep honor and privilege to bear witness and assist clients to ascend to new chapters of health and wellness.   

reducing stress

Taking Good Care of You: Self-Care and Self-Compassion

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone that is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." - Buddha Self-Care Definition: Engaging in an activity (or non-activity) to preserve, protect, maintain or enhance one's mental/physical/spiritual/emotional health. Self-care can also include setting specific boundaries and declining various non-essential obligations. Self-care can be as simple as taking a nap or engaging in deep breathing exercises or as extravagant as a day at the spa. In order for self-care to manifest with regularity, one needs to plan it into their calendar with intention. Otherwise, it's easy to let that priority fall by the way side. Self-Compassion Definition: "Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering" (Wikipedia, 2019).  Self-compassion is composed of three main components – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness (Neff, 2015). The following self-care/self-compassion ideas are easy to implement. As well, I have provided a list of some great books and resources on embracing taking good care of oneself!  Enjoy! Here's to your health and wellness....