COVID — A Catalyst for Counseling

GoslingsTHERAPY CAN’T SOLVEPANDEMIC. Right? So why seek coun­sel­ing when our lifestyles are in chaos? The dan­ger of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion and ill­ness is real. Some lead­ers focus on resus­ci­tat­ing the econ­o­my, some lead­ers are envi­sion­ing a uni­ver­sal health plan. Cer­tain­ly, hav­ing a rig­or­ous pub­lic health sys­tem that pro­vides oodles of test­ing, track­ing of those exposed to the virus, and inves­ti­gat­ing a vac­cine is para­mount. Psy­chother­a­py def­i­nite­ly adds strength to the tapes­try of health care. How?

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Can Couple Counseling Really Help?

Couples go through many stages of life. An unex­pect­ed change could be rea­son for ther­a­py. Imag­ine a young cou­ple, both about 23 and one had to pre­cip­i­tous­ly leave their apart­ment. Due to the dearth of decent hous­ing, Jere (not their actu­al name) moved into Jana’s apart­ment. Jana, a physics major, and Jere, a graph­ic artist, came togeth­er with love, pas­sion, and opti­mism. They had no idea how to squeeze a fun, easy-does-it rela­tion­ship into a stu­dio apart­ment. How did the merg­er go? The bicy­cle hel­mets got in the way of the laun­dry bas­kets. Shoes got kicked around, and worse. Mak­ing love wasn’t a romp when Jana’s perched cof­fee cup spilt over Jere’s computer.

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Self-love in a Time of Upheaval

More clients have had thoughts of sui­cide this year in my psy­chother­a­py office than in the last five years. I’m not scared for them, but as a fel­low trav­el­er, I grieve for those con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide. One woman comes in and clutch­es a pea­cock pil­low. In the ear­ly Spring a depressed client comes and sips chamomile/ginger tea. I want them to enter the door and curl up in com­fort on a sofa. We talk about their loss­es, grat­i­tude, and per­son­al strengths in a warm den of softness.

Climb Away from Danger

Sui­cide behav­ior is an act of desperation.

Fear of the future and hope­less­ness grip our young peo­ple. Many don’t expect to raise chil­dren, many can’t plan the next 10 years. “I would go off of birth con­trol tomor­row, but will my chil­dren end up liv­ing in some kind of dystopia?” Because of cli­mate change, the Earth is becom­ing more and more inhos­pitable and dis­as­ter looms more imminently.

I’m remem­ber­ing two grad­u­ate stu­dents who brave­ly came into ther­a­py. They resilient­ly crawled away from the sui­cide precipice. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Torching Love with Cybersex

Excus­es heard in the mar­riage therapist’s room–

Hid­den Love

I didn’t intend my flat­tery to be tak­en as an invi­ta­tion for sex.”

She was the one to start talk­ing dirty. I was just joking.”

He sent me a sexy pic­ture that blew my socks off.” Does this sound familiar?

The inter­net per­me­ates all the cor­ners of our lives. Many peo­ple assume that cyber­sex isn’t a threat to the mar­riage. When cou­ples com­mit to each oth­er, the con­tract doesn’t explic­it­ly say, ‘No sex­ting and no court­ing on email.’ Have you ever heard of a mar­riage vow that says, “I promise to be a lov­ing and faith­ful spouse in sor­row and in joy, in sick­ness and in health, with flir­ta­tious and with chaste texts. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Marriage Happiness & Weight Gain

Why do women put on weight after they get mar­ried? I have recent­ly had some clients moan about their extra pounds. This can be depress­ing but it’s common.

Marriage Appetite

Mar­riage Appetite

In the first 10 years of mar­riages women in the US hap­pi­ly mar­ried gain an aver­age of 37 lbs., while those unhap­pi­ly mar­ried gain 54 lbs. So choose your food and your mate wisely.

Over 6,000 Aus­tralian women were stud­ied by Pro­fes­sor Annette Dob­son. The 10-year weight gain for a mar­ried woman was 15 lbs if she had a part­ner but not a child, and 20 lbs. if she was mar­ried with a baby. Mar­riage is linked to increased BMI (body mass index) for men and women of all eth­nic groups. In North Car­oli­na a study found that mar­ried men and women in their ear­ly 20s gained 6 – 9 more pounds than sin­gle peers. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Helpful Hints on Living in Difficult Times

Preventing Suicide

ignacioMaking a con­nec­tion with one per­son, even a ther­a­pist, can keep you alive,” says Gil Zals­man a psy­chi­atric researcher at Tel Aviv Uni­ver­si­ty. What can pre­vent sui­cide for those of us at risk? Stud­ies, found that clin­i­cians were able to reduce self-harm for patients with a his­to­ry of self-harm by mak­ing phone calls to them. Anoth­er study dis­cov­ered that when patients are released from the hos­pi­tal and are then sent a post­card remind­ing them of a hot­line num­ber to call, their sui­cide attempts are decreased sui­cide by 50%. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Working Through Problems, It Takes Work

Solving Problems Together

Solv­ing Prob­lems Together

How can cou­ples work through their problems?

To make a com­mit­ment to anoth­er per­son is more than a busi­ness con­tract. Whether you are legal­ly mar­ried or involved in a seri­ous rela­tion­ship, it takes atten­tion and work to make deci­sions. Where will you live? How much mon­ey do you need? How do you pay the bills and divide the tasks of liv­ing togeth­er? Will you raise chil­dren togeth­er? What hol­i­days will you cel­e­brate togeth­er? For a cou­ple who is form­ing into mar­riage or liv­ing togeth­er, who will be your fam­i­ly, or your ‘peeps.’ Con­tin­ue read­ing

Does Ray Rice Need Counseling?

As a ther­a­pist, I work with abusers and vic­tims, though not at the same time. Nor does any­one fall into an easy cat­e­go­ry. No one is blame­less. Often vio­lence like an addic­tion breeds on itself. fam siloquetteWe’ve been hear­ing about the NFL and Ray Rice’s blud­geon­ing assault on his wife, Janay (née Palmer). Not only is it shock­ing the Rice punched and kicked his wife uncon­scious, but Rice showed a com­plete lack of care or remorse for her as she’s lying bleed­ing by the ele­va­tor. He also beat her up sev­er­al years ago. They got mar­ried the next day. He did it once with­out seri­ous con­se­quences, are you sur­prised that the mar­i­tal vio­lence con­tin­ued? Con­tin­ue read­ing

Therapy Marathon Aftershock

As a ther­a­pist I some­times ana­lyze what pos­sessed Djhokhar Tsar­naev, now accused of set­ting off the bomb­ings on April 15. I did meet him a few times when he was 16 at the Cam­bridge high school. He came to the US at the age of 9 from Chech­nya; after a

Boston and gay pride

Boston and gay pride

divorce the moth­er left the Tsar­naev broth­ers to live in Rus­sia. His fate is wrapped up with hun­dreds of injured peo­ple. I can­not excuse what he did.

I work with fam­i­lies who come from war-torn coun­tries. Some in my prac­tice are Lati­nos, some are Ethiopi­ans. I have clients who fled from FARC mil­i­tants and fam­i­lies who have applied for asy­lum in the US. Many refugees are escap­ing hor­rif­ic vio­lence from Haiti and Sal­vador and Sudan. When my curi­ous sons entered high school, I real­ized that our cities can be a war zone for teenagers. Many teens are harassed by gangs after school: they are intim­i­dat­ed and par­a­lyzed. An armed police offi­cer was employed at the high school, where some boys were told to leave the school for car­ry­ing knives.

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My Child Always Complains

Have you ever felt teth­ered with a short Leash to a whin­ing child?

Richard Fos­ter informed despair­ing parents,Cuban sisters

A dear friend of mine, Lymon James is a radio disc jock­ey. On the radio he’s called “Rhymin’ Lymon.” Lymon has a son, Zachary. One after­noon when Zachary was three years old, Lymon decid­ed to take Zach on an out­ing. They went for some walks and vis­it­ed some shops.

But it was one of those days, when noth­ing seems to go right. Zachary was fuss­ing and fum­ing. Lymon tried every­thing. He tried to dis­ci­pline him, and that didn’t work. He tried to bribe him: he gave him can­dy, and that didn’t work. He did some­saults in the park, and that def­i­nite­ly did­n’t work. Lymon was a renowned radio genius, but the 3 year old was win­ning the bat­tle. Lymon felt deflat­ed. The boy wouldn’t be dis­tract­ed and kept whin­ing and snif­fling for no obvi­ous reason.

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