“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Have you ever sat in a restaurant, staring at the menu, torn between two entrées?
You ask the server for a few more minutes, hoping you’ll be struck with clarity while he’s off fetching the bread. Of course you’re not, and so you take a deep breath and make a wild leap of faith when he comes back for the second or even third time, ordering the first thing that comes out of your mouth.
(You’ll likely chase him down moments later, telling him you changed your mind. No really, it’s lime leaf coconut curry that I want!)
I’ve heard sighs of relief from those who no longer eat meat or gluten, that it’s much easier now to go out for meals, especially if there’s only one diet-friendly option on the menu. Crisis averted: there’s no decision to be made.
For some of us the act of making a decision, even a small one, can evoke distress.
As therapists (and certainly not exempt from the agony of having to choose only one entrée), we’ve seen that decision-making can cause obsessiveness, immobility, anxiety, self-recrimination, doubt, and a sense of overwhelm and crying. It may be a major decision, like questioning whether or not to stay in a relationship, or whether to change jobs, or it may be about attending a family function, or deciding what type of bread to buy.
How then do we learn to make decisions without distress? When we feel stuck, our usual tactics – giving ourselves more time, assessing pros and cons, soliciting our friends for advice – don’t really help, and in fact, can escalate our anxiety.
Instead, learn how mindfulness can help here.
In our practice we don’t work directly with children. But all of our clients, and all of us, were once children and our sense of self was shaped during those formative years. As therapists we have a unique perspective on what children need to best engage in the world, especially as they grow up.
So how can we best help our children shape their sense of self?
Trust. Through trusting them, demonstrating trustworthiness, and instilling a sense of trust.
Often at the root of anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, or low self-esteem, is self-doubt and uncertainty. One of the key outcomes of therapy is to help us learn to trust ourselves. It’s about learning to listen to our own emotional experiences, connect with our needs, and to act on them.
As a parent or caregiver we are in the best position to start nurturing that self-trust in our children at an early and foundational stage. By showing we trust our children and modelling trustworthiness ourselves, we can help our children now, but also when they grow up, especially in their relationships with themselves and others. Click here to read the full article.
For Valentine’s Day we thought we’d turn to the experts for some words on love. At a conference last summer, world-renowned relationship experts Dr’s John and Julie Gottman, and Dr. Dan Siegel, sat down together and talked about love. What is love? They asked one another.
It was a privilege to hear these experts speak candidly and yet thoughtfully on the idea of love, which can feel like an elusive concept.
What we learned from their definitions is that while love is not limited to romantic love, it is about connecting with others. And as a starting point, it’s about loving ourselves. In other words, love for ourselves makes it possible to have empathy and compassion, to give and receive warmth, and to see the positives in our partner and others.
So what is love according to these experts? And what are 3 important ways we can love ourselves? Read the full article here.
You and your partner get into a spectacular fight. And let us guess… it’s his fault. Or hers. Definitely not yours.
As couples therapists we see this often. Each partner wants to believe the other is ultimately at fault. We blame our partner for our emotional reactions, which means we end up feeling distressed and then also alone because we’ve pushed our loved one away.
So what if we take blame out of it?
Neuroscience offers us a different way to look at couples conflict. It starts with the understanding that the human species has survived for millennia with the basic instinct to not be killed… and this instinct is wired in our brains. To learn more read the full article here.
Psst, I’ll let you in on a therapist secret. When you walk into our office and complain that you and your partner are fighting about something, we listen and nod and empathize. But we know you haven’t told us the real issue.
We know it’s not deliberate, or that you don’t want to tell us. It’s that you probably don’t even know yourself. But there are some questions you can ask to help figure it out on your own, or with your partner.
The first is, What’s really happening here? To find out read the full article here.
Your partner promises he won’t go out for drinks alone with that flirtatious colleague while he’s away on a conference. That night you text and call him, again and again, and no answer. Finally when he picks up, you can hear he’s out somewhere and he admits that yes, he’s out for drinks with her, “but really,” he says, “it’s no big deal.”
Whatever it is – your partner breaking a promise, or cheating, or abandoning you – it can be devastating. This is a relationship trauma. It knocks you down and you wonder if you can get back up.
Fortunately there is a way forward — find out how to heal relationship wounds here.
Did you know that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success in a child than IQ or academic intelligence?
Children who are high in emotional intelligence achieve better grades overall and higher scores in math, are better able to self-soothe, are socially well integrated, have higher self-esteem, and even have improved immunity from illness.
So how can we help our child become emotionally intelligent? To learn more, click here.
Yep, we see many concerns relating to relationships in our practice. But what are the two issues we address most frequently? Relationship doubts and relationship breakdown.
To best meet our client needs we now offer the option of a structured program to deal with these issues. Read more about them here.
Divorce is ranked above going to jail or losing a family member as the second most stressful life event you can face. In fact, the death of a spouse or child are the only events considered more stressful. And yet, this doesn’t even take into account what divorce is like for those who are separating from someone with a high-conflict personality.
So what is a high-conflict personality? And how can you best protect yourself?
For more information on how to survive a high conflict divorce, read the whole article here.
I’ll come clean. This article has nothing to do with sex, or at least not directly. But it does focus on the most important thing you and your partner can do (in bed) to strengthen your relationship.
Ask yourself this – when do you and your partner fight the most? Think about it, or track your fights when they happen. I bet it’s when you’re both really busy, or haven’t been intimate in a while, or when you’re in the car.
Why? Because most fights happen when couples aren’t connected. Find out how to really re-connect here.