Your Two Best Tools for Better Communication with Your Partner

best tools for better communication“We need tools to communicate better.” This is one of the most common things I hear couples say when I first start counseling with them. And of course, it makes sense. After all, anyone going to marriage counseling or couples therapy would expect to learn ways of communicating better with his or her partner.

 

There’s more to the story here, though. In order for couples to communicate better and grow closer together, they need more than tools. They need to become skilled at using those tools, and that means that they themselves need to grow and change. 

Minding Your Emotions: How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 3)

minding our emotionsGetting to know and understanding ourselves, our stories, and our feelings is such an important part of personal growth. Learning to live with difficult feelings instead of self-medicating, numbing ourselves, or in some other way avoiding vulnerability is the stuff of life. Doing this hard work of being aware of and owning our “stuff” is key to living with meaning and fulfillment.

 

In part 1 of this series, I shared a personal experience to illustrate how important learning to deal with our most painful feelings is important. In part 2, I talked about why some people have trouble identifying and describing what they feel. In this post, I’d like to share with you some strategies for how you can learn to get to know yourself and your feelings a little better.

Why We Have Trouble Knowing Our Feelings: How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 2)

why you have trouble knowing your feelingsRemember the last time you felt something so strongly that your emotions got the better of you? Maybe you did something you regret. Maybe you spoke words that you wish you could take back. Or maybe you just gritted your teeth, trying your best to hang in there while it felt like the world was falling apart. Because in moments when strong emotions have ensnared us, it really does feel like the sky is falling.

 

Most of us, in moments like this, have at least some idea that we’re caught up in powerful feelings. What we don’t always know is what we’re feeling and why. As we’ll see, being aware of what you’re feeling is the first step to taking the reins back from your strong emotions.

How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 1)

how to recognize and deal with your feelingsWe’ve all been there. We have an experience that causes intense feelings to rise up in us, drowning out all others. We become momentarily awash in that painful experience, whether it’s anger, shame, anxiety, fear, or all of the above all at once. We feel so much so quickly, often without fully understanding what’s going on with us.

 

I had an experience like that recently. Without getting into the gritty details, I stepped in it with a family member, someone I love and care for deeply. I didn’t communicate clearly about some of my plans, and she was hurt. Of course, I didn’t mean to hurt her, but that’s beside the point. That’s what I was telling myself in between my flashes of anger, which is always a sure sign that I feel shame.

How to Change Beliefs to Form Better Habits (Part 2)

change beliefs

I believe I don’t like pineapple. That belief isn’t going to change.

Changing our habits can be challenging, and in part 1, we saw why. Whether it’s starting a new habit or ditching an old one, any changes we try make will quickly send us to a meet-n’-greet with the beliefs that are tied up with that habit.

 

Maybe you have trouble regularly checking your finances because we believe you’re not with money and there’s a lot of fear there for you. Maybe you’re afraid to start something new because you believe that you’ll fail. Maybe it’s been really tough to kick your pornography habit because you feel like you’re not good enough no matter what you do, and at least pornography makes you forget that for a while.

How to Choose a Sex Addiction Therapist

If you think you might be struggling with sex or pornography addiction, seeking out a therapist is a wonderful way to care for yourself. Partnering with a therapist means enlisting the help of an experienced guide to help you get to where you want to go. However, the sheer number of therapists in your area often makes the choice more than a little overwhelming. So how can you determine which therapist is the right one for you?

 

I often meet with individuals in during free consultations who are looking for the right fit. Choosing a therapist is a highly personal decision that should be made with a great deal of thought and consideration.

 

So how might you determine who is a good fit for you?

7 Signs You May Have a Problem with Porn Addiction

That we are sexual beings a basic fact of our humanity. Our survival depends on gratifying our sexual desires to perpetuate the species. So just as we need to satisfy our drives to eat and drink, we also experience sexual desires that long to be fulfilled. With the explosion of technology over the last twenty years and the birth of the Internet, it’s no surprise that we’ve found many ways of satisfying our sex drive online with pornography.

 

Many people use online pornography casually: they use porn infrequently and their interest isn’t sustained over time; they don’t feel guilt or shame as a result of their viewing porn; they seek out porn and cybersex activities occasionally for fun or curiosity; they find real intimacy and relationships more fulfilling than porn.

 

For many others, however, the story is quite different. So common is compulsive consumption of porn that “porn addiction” is now recognized as one form of sex addiction. To understand at-risk porn use, then, we need to take a quick glimpse at sex addiction.

A Few Words on Living Fully in 2015

The novelty of the New Year has not yet worn off, has it? Indeed, today I returned to work and, with awkward, halting penmanship and deliberate thought, wrote “2015” in the date I recorded on some paperwork. It’s this time of year that we are still eagerly embracing our hopes for the year ahead, wanting to make fresh efforts to realize what we long to be in our lives.

Why the Holidays Can Drive You Crazy (& What to Do about It): Part 2

This time of year, as Paul McCartney sings in his classic tune, the mood is right, the spirits are up, but that doesn’t always mean that you’re having a wonderful Christmas time. Indeed, in case you missed it, in Part 1 of this series, I considered what visiting family for the holidays can bring up—anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, shame, and other “crazy” feelings, other painful feelings that you may even feel guilty about or that cause you to second-guess your emotional experiences. As we saw, one way to make sense of these feelings is to understand them as the result of relational trauma, which happens when someone we really care about hurts you, blames you for being hurt, and rebuffs your efforts to reconnect. These “crazy” feelings become more intense around family as members interact with and hurt each other in familiar ways.