I was recently interviewed by Aly Walansky for an article about kissing for Insider.com. Check out the article and my comments regarding communication here:
I was honored to be interviewed for this episode – “It’s Complicated.” You can watch the full episode here:
It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time. Perhaps you get a bit nervous speaking in front of people or going on a job interview. But for some people, anxiety becomes a frequent and forceful occurrence that completely takes over their lives.
Since anxiety comes in many forms, for instance panic attacks, phobias and social anxiety, it can often be difficult to tell if what you’re experiencing is “normal” or has crossed the line into a mood disorder.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to speak with a counselor who can help you cope with your anxiety.
General anxiety disorder (GAD), the broadest type of anxiety, is characterized by excessive worry. People with GAD worry too much about everyday things, both big and small. But what constitutes “too much worry?”
With GAD, people are plagued with persistent, anxious thoughts most days of the week. This anxiety can become so overwhelming it interferes with their daily life. If you are worrying to a degree that you have trouble doing daily tasks and are suffering with your emotions, it may be time to speak with a therapist.
Sleep issues such as falling asleep or staying asleep have been associated with a myriad of health conditions, both physical and psychological. It’s normal for people to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Perhaps you find yourself tossing and turning before a big job interview or giving a presentation.
However, if you find yourself night after night lying awake, anxious about specific problems (such as relationship problems or financial difficulties), or even about nothing in particular, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can often be accompanied by persistent muscle tension. Do you find yourself clenching your jaw or balling your fists throughout the day? You may have lived with this chronic muscular tension for so long you don’t even realize it anymore. While exercise can help relax muscles, therapy will get to the root cause of the anxiety.
While anxiety lives in the mind, it is often manifested in the body through chronic digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Our guts are very sensitive to emotional and psychological stress. Unfortunately, digestive upset can often make a person feel even more anxious.
Panic attacks can be a frightening experience. You are suddenly gripped with an overwhelming feeling of dread and fear. These are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, and profuse sweating. Though not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience panic attacks, but those that do live in constant fear.
Anxiety disorders keep people from living a joyful and fulfilling life. Luckily there is help. A therapist can assist in uncovering the root cause of the anxiety and offer tools to cope.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
One of the serious issues women face in life is sexism; sadly, we’re not taught how to see it, react to it, or correct it. For heterosexual women, sexism is a problem they will likely face throughout their relationships. Being raised in a patriarchal society, women are taught that they are inferior to men through countless direct and indirect cultural and societal cues.
Even if you were raised in a feminist household, you still grew up in a society where men are predominantly the ones in power; they are even largely in control of what you can and can’t do with your own body.
As a heterosexual woman, you may sometimes feel unease with your partner’s comments or behavior, and you may wonder how to address these issues without driving a wedge between the two of you.
First, it’s important to note that your partner also grew up in a patriarchal society. More than likely, your partner is not purposely trying to oppress, control, or offend you. For him, this is just “how things are,” it’s neither good nor bad. It’s up to you to identify the specific problems, and articulate how it affects you and your relationship with your partner.
There are several issues in relationships that must be navigated, such as sex, finances, housework, meals, and disagreements, among others. When problems surface that you believe are rooted in antiquated gender roles, for example you are always expected to prepare meals, challenge those expectations. Let them know that cooking and meal preparation needs to be equally divided.
When addressing sexist comments and discussing the issue of sexism, it’s important use a tone and language that your partner will respond best to. You know your partner well, so do your best to remain factual and sincere while being diplomatic. It will be awkward to discuss, but keep in mind that your relationship needs to be a strong and equal partnership. You should both feel comfortable talking to each other about problems in order for your relationship to succeed.
While these discussions are never easy, how your partner reacts to these difficult topics will tell you everything you need to know about their character. It’s vital to the success of your relationship, and to your mental health, that you’re able to negotiate mutual respect and understanding with your partner.
Are you in a relationship and having trouble communicating with your partner? Our specially trained staff can help you find ways to improve communication and better your relationship. Call our office today to set up a time to talk.
For many couples, the discovery of a spousal affair is the ultimate betrayal. And yet, the betrayal by one does not necessarily decrease the love of either party for the other. When you still love someone but the trust has been significantly damaged, is it possible to mend the relationship? Can marriages be rebuilt after an affair?
Dr. Janis Spring is a clinical psychologist and author of After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful and How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To. Through her work she has found that relationships can become even stronger after such a betrayal, provided the couples take some crucial steps.
Take Responsibility for the Pain Caused
Many unfaithful spouses are overcome with guilt and, because of it, urge their partners to put the deed behind them so they can move on and heal. This is a mistake, and one certainly not fair to the other spouse.
According to Dr. Spring, the offender must take responsibility and “bear witness” to the pain they have caused rather than defend or deflect their actions. This step is vital before the couple can begin the healing process.
Avoid Cheap Forgiveness
Sometimes, in an effort to save a marriage, the wronged partner quickly forgives the cheater before he or she has had a full chance to feel their anger and hurt. Spring calls this “cheap forgiveness” and warns that it can set up a marriage for future infidelities.
The behavior, she has noticed, is prevalent among individuals who are more afraid of being alone than staying in an unhealthy relationship with an unfaithful partner. But, cheap forgiveness essentially lets the cheater off scott-free and sends a message that the behavior is okay.
There are some situations where, even when only one person has strayed, both parties share guilt. While the unfaithful person has to take responsibility, own up to their guilt, and allow their partner to vent, the wronged party must also acknowledge their own role. What led to feelings of emotional distance and isolation? Did their own behavior cause their spouse to stray?
Shared responsibility is necessary for healing and true intimacy.
Once full responsibility is taken and grieving has happened, it is now time for both parties to “let it go” and begin coming back together. A couple has no chance of rebuilding trust if the wronged partner is going to hold onto the resentment and use it against their spouse in future situations.
Above all else, Spring advises that rebuilding trust after an affair takes time. Each couple is different. While some may feel closure after six months, others may need a year or year and a half to fully come together. Some couples may find they need the guidance of a therapist to move through their issues. But the important thing is that both parties remain committed and do the work.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
Relationships always start out on a high note. Your mutual attraction combined with your commonalities stirs up your feelings, while finding out about your differences and exploring the world together makes your relationship fresh and exciting. When your relationship starts to become more intimate, you may start to wonder when the right time is for you to open up to your partner about your past sexual abuse.
Being a survivor of sexual assault is, unfortunately, not uncommon. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in three women and one in six men in the United States experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. So when is the right time to open up to your partner about your past, and how do you tell them?
It’s important as a survivor that you are in control of when you share your story. Center yourself around your own needs and share only when you’re ready, and not before. You may need to discuss it first with a therapist, counselor, friend or support group.
Know What You Need
Know in advance what you’ll need to get through this discussion. You may need your partner to not ask questions, or to not touch you while you’re talking. Be honest and upfront, and ask for support when you need it.
Prepare for a Response
How people respond to your story will vary widely. Hearing sexual abuse disclosures affect both the person telling the story, as well as the person listening. Your partner may be silent for a while as they take the information and consider what to say. Give them time to process it. If it will make you more comfortable, you can ask them to give you some time before you discuss the matter again.
Opening up and discussing difficult, sensitive topics with your partner is never easy. But these challenging times are often the ones that create milestones in your relationship, and will ultimately bring the two of you closer than ever.
Are you a sexual assault survivor and in need of guidance and counseling? A licensed therapist can help. Call my office today and let’s set up a time to talk.
Online stalking and harassment is becoming more common. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2017 Online Harassment survey, 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online, and an even larger number (66%) has witnessed these behaviors directed at others.
The incredible popularity of social media sites and apps make it all too easy for people to stalk others online. If you’re being harassed by someone online, you might wonder: are they just a pest, or are you being stalked?
There is some less sincere online pestering that can be shrugged off or ignored. Sometimes name calling or attempts to embarrass you can be stopped by simply reporting the individual’s behavior, blocking them, or both. However, if you feel like it’s more than annoyance and is starting to cross the line, trust your gut. Here are some signs that your online bully is taking things way too far.
Follows Your Social Media
Stalkers will want to watch everything you’re saying and doing online. They might reply to comments, share your tweets, or like your posts. Pay close attention to see if there’s anyone in particular who spends too much time following your every move.
Unwanted Repeated Contact
Someone who’s stalking you may send repeated emails, messages, calls, or texts that are notably more frequent or numerous than what would be normal. This could also include calls that disconnect when you answer or other ways of forcing you to act or respond, whether or not the person explicitly communicates with you during the event. Repeated contact from someone you don’t see or talk to on a regular basis, or who you don’t know very well, is a classic red flag.
If someone you don’t know well or are not interested in is sending you unwanted flowers or gifts despite the fact you’ve made it clear the gifts and attention are unwanted, this is a sure sign that they’ve developed an unhealthy interest in you.
Finds Your Private Information
Stalkers will be obsessed with finding out more about you, and can find personal information on you by paid searches on the internet or searching public records.
Shows Up in Public Places
If your online pest suspiciously keeps turning up at places you’re going to, this is a very possible sign that you’re being stalked. They could be scrutinizing you or your family or friend’s social media accounts in order to learn where you’re going and what you’re doing.
A stalker may threaten you, your loved ones, your property and/or your pets if you fail to give them the attention or affection they desire. However, even stalkers who do not make any threats or seem to be an obvious sort of danger are, in fact, incredibly dangerous. Because a stalking situation can turn ugly in the blink of an eye and when you least expect it, it’s important to take every stalking situation seriously.
If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you feel you’re being stalked, don’t communicate with your stalker. Keep all evidence and maintain a log showing the date, time and how you were harassed. Notify police and consider getting a court order to keep the stalker away from you if necessary. Remember, you should always take threats or stalking of any kind seriously; inform authorities as well as your family, loved ones, and anyone else that may be in the stalker’s line of sight so appropriate precautions can be taken.
Are you being stalked or harassed, and need the advice and support of a licensed mental health professional? Call my office today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 data, the average age of marriage in the country is at its highest: men’s average age at first marriage is 29.8, while women’s average age at first marriage is 27.8. As the gap between adolescence and marriage widens, uncommitted sexual encounters are on the rise.
Call it a one-night stand, a hookup, “friends with benefits,” or “Netflix and chill” – all these terms are synonymous with a casual sexual encounter, which according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Sex Research has had a modest increase in frequency since 1988. As casual sex grows in popularity, the question of its effects on an individual’s mental health are a subject of debate and conflicting data.
Several studies conducted over the last 10 years have shown inconsistent results. Some studies indicate that most individuals report an increase in self-confidence and a decrease in depressive symptoms after casual sex, while other reports indicate the exact opposite. The only consistent findings in these studies has been that, despite what might be commonly believed, women were not more likely to be negatively impacted by casual sex encounters than men.
While there are no clear indicators on whether casual sex is good or bad for your mental health, there are several factors that may play a part in how it could affect you individually.
Religious Beliefs & Upbringing
If you were raised with a strict upbringing or with strict religious beliefs that have resulted in your association of sex with shame or guilt, you may be negatively impacted by a casual sexual encounter.
If your motives for casual sex are, for instance, to get back at an ex or to please another person, this may result in a negative impact. On the other hand, if your motive is for the pleasure or fun of it, or to explore your sexuality (in other words, for your own sake), you may be less likely to have negative feelings afterwards.
Consumption of Drugs or Alcohol
Consumption of drugs or alcohol can lower your inhibitions and potentially cause you to make regrettable decisions such as participating in unsafe sex, or choosing a partner that you otherwise would not choose. It also can cause you to have gaps in your memory of the experience, or not remember it at all.
There is no definitive right or wrong answer on how a casual sexual encounter will affect your mental health. Every individual is unique and complex, and how your mental health may or may not be affected is exclusive to you. It’s up to you to decide what will or won’t work best for you.
Do you find yourself questioning your sexual behavior, and need someone you can talk to about your thoughts and feelings? A licensed mental health professional specializing in sexual issues can help. Call my office today, and let’s set up a time to talk.
Many of us are all too familiar with this uncomfortable scenario: someone initially catches your eye, but for one reason or another you lose interest. After letting them know you’ve changed your mind and are no longer interested, they keep messaging you. Or perhaps you’ve never been interested in someone, but they seem to think you’re wrong about your own feelings and keep trying to persuade you otherwise. Dealing with unwanted romantic attention online can be annoying, anxiety-inducing, and harrowing in many ways. Here are some precautions you can take to do the best you can to avoid these kinds of interactions.
Look for Friends
If you’re just looking for friendships to start off, then make it clear from the beginning that you’re not looking for a relationship. Any woman can tell you that this doesn’t always work to dissuade a persistent harasser, but it’s a great place to start covering your bases.
Start Out Incognito
Don’t give out your cell phone number to anyone you haven’t met in person. Use a Google Voice number or use another messaging app that doesn’t show your phone number and has a blocking feature just in case. You can also get a special email address just for dating.
Don’t tell people where you live or where you work. You can tell them what you do and what city you live in but keep the details to yourself.
Go Somewhere New
When you meet, don’t take them to your favorite spots. Take them somewhere you’re unlikely to return so you don’t run the risk of bumping into them if you have to break things off.
If You’re Just Not Interested
If things aren’t going well and you need to break it off, it’s important that you’re very clear with the person that you’re not interested in pursuing anything romantic with them and don’t want to talk to them anymore. Don’t try to “drop hints” or sugar coat your message. All this does is create wiggle room for the perpetrator to start thinking that “maybe there’s a chance.”
Instead, be direct, and be honest with how you feel. As you’re letting the person know you’re not interested, make sure your message ends with a “final goodbye” at the end. “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested at all,” or “I don’t see this going anywhere romantic. Good luck.” Attempts to take the sting out of your message with emojis or compliments will only muddy the waters and your suitor might take this as a cue to amp up his pursuits.
Stop Responding and/or Block
If they keep responding to you, ignore them as best you can despite how tempting it is to respond negatively. Don’t agree to be friends. If they continue to pester, block their number. Do not answer calls, respond to texts or agree to meet for closure, to return items, or any other reason.
It might seem cold or cruel, but it’s not. It would be cruel to both of you to continue any sort of relationship out of guilt or a sense of duty. It’s better for both of you to move forward and find the right match.
Are you searching for a relationship and need help navigating the single life? A qualified mental health professional can help. Call me today and let’s set up a time to talk.
When we’re school aged, it’s easy to make friends. But as adults, women can sometimes feel on-guard around other women, especially in the workplace, and friendships can be harder to foster. Not only does this lack of friendship make going to work each day feel more challenging, but studies have found friendships, or a lack of friendships, has a big impact on our overall health and well-being.
Here are some ways you can foster real friendships with other women at work.
Make it a Priority
It’s easy to tell yourself you’d like to make friends with the women you work with but following up on that impulse takes real effort. The journey of friendship is one you must commit to and nurture. Ask a coworker to lunch, compliment someone on the fine job she did, and invite others into the discussions you are leading. Each day make it a priority to build a closer relationship with the women you work with.
Focus on Quality Not Quantity
Depending on how many female coworkers you have, you most likely won’t be able to make real and lasting friendships with all of them, and that’s okay. This is not a popularity contest where you try to get everyone to like you. This is about seeking out women with whom you have a connection and putting in the effort to form a lasting bond.
Expect Some Rejection
The truth is, there’s not a whole lot of difference between romantic dating and platonic “dating.” You may feel a connection with another woman at work and ask her out to lunch. She may say no and say it again and again.
Don’t let any form of rejection stop your efforts. Just as no one at work really knows your inner life and feelings, you don’t know anyone else’s. Some women may simply be in a bad space in their life and don’t have the energy to connect with a new person. That’s okay. Move on and keep trying. Eventually you will make a true and lasting connection.
Keep the Momentum Going
Once you’ve had that initial lunch or get-together, keep the momentum going. Building a relationship is like building a fire. It takes a bit of work to get that kindling to catch, but once it does, the bigger flames come.
Like anything else in life, friendships require our time and attention, but when you consider the value and meaning they bring to our life, they are worth the extra effort.
If you’re looking for some expert guidance on navigating the unique stressors of your work or personal life, please don’t hesitate to reach out.