A rocky marriage filled with dramatic, emotional ups and downs, or one that is slowly and silently draining the vitality from your life and that of your relationship, or some combination of the two, an unhappy or turbulent marriage can definitely be cause for concern. Some patients describe it as one of the worst experiences of their life….
Marriage problems that end in divorce are associated with the highest levels of stress a person can ever experience, just behind that of the death of a spouse. The fact is that couples marrying today have a 50% chance of getting divorced. The demise of a marriage can do lasting damage to spouses, children, family, health, and finances.
Seemingly intractable problems like poor communication, infidelity, financial conflicts, substance abuse, anger issues, differences in child rearing styles, sexual difficulties all can lead to the undoing.
Solution? If you have even a partially willing spouse, try to work it out. The fact remains, we are attracted to each other based on conscious, but more importantly unconscious wishes, desires and expectations. This is why we tend to repeat the bad marriage or relationship cycle even though we initially believe the new prospect is “different”. The internal models that dictate unhealthy relationships (and healthy ones), once identified by an experienced therapist, can be changed. So too can dysfunctional conscious behavior and communication styles. Even though it is most ideal when both couples are committed to making changes in the marriage, significant change can be made individually as well.
One goals of effective marital counseling is to bring life to the embers of love that were once a roaring fire. This is achieved by the hands of an experienced therapist who can help with the pitfalls of marital conflict by interpreting their underlying meaning and purpose while offering more appropriate coping and communication styles thus setting the stage for an infinitely happier and more mutually satisfying relationship.
Individuals caught up in this pattern experience great suffering often punctuated by periods of sometimes-euphoric joy. They long for intimacy with another person but experience great anxiety when they get too close to others. High conflict relationships are often associated with great suffering relationships with little insight as to the cause of their relational difficulties.
They struggle with anxiety, depression and anger and have difficulty tolerating their own emotional experiences. Their emotions can be so intense that the person seeks to relieve themselves of the pressure by engaging in behavior that is often impulsive and self defeating. These behaviors include bouts of heavy drinking and drug use, indiscriminate, high risk sexual behavior, reckless behavior such as participation in dangerous sports or reckless driving, excessive spending, angry confrontations with employers or co-workers, binge eating, self-cutting or other forms of self harm, to name a few.
They tend to have an unclear view of their own identity and often experience a sense of inner emptiness and boredom. Such individuals tend to see themselves and others as either all good or all bad and react very strongly to abandonment. They are often intelligent and can be socially engaging, loving and generous, but when under stress become volatile and unreasonable. These individuals long for stability but have a limited capacity to modulate powerful emotions. Childhood, emotional, physical and sexual abuse are often a part of the picture but not always.
Good relationships involve people who are aware of their partner’s individual needs and when disagreements arise, seek to accommodate and compromise in the interest of relational harmony. Relationships can be challenged when partners are unable to empathize with each other’s needs and therefore have little incentive to compromise or accommodate. In such relationships the partner is not seen as a unique person in their own right but comes to represent family members. This unconscious equating one’s partner with family members or other significant others, creates an environment of animosity and conflict that wreaks emotional havoc producing the feeling that one is always misunderstood. The origin of his dynamic is usually associated with the family member that is most problematic which in turn is projected onto one’s partner.
While anger is a normal part of our repertoire of human emotions, wrath or rage, anger is one of the “seven deadly sins” for good reason. Excessive anger is responsible for untold misery and has been the downfall of many decent people. Usually rationalized as warranted by the particular circumstance, excessive anger is associated with explosive verbal or behavioral outbursts that are frequently experienced as irresistible. Other times a burning, seething ongoing experience of anger pervades one mood and is associated with irritability, biting comments and passive aggressive acts against others.
Angry outbursts are frequently experienced as automatic, thoughtless and are out of the person’s control. Physical corollaries to excessive anger include, increased arousal and energy, decreased energy, agitation, heart palpitations, headache and stomach problems.
Substance abuse and other forms of self-medication are often used to regulate angry emotions. The sense of relief commonly felt after an angry eruption, can be quickly followed by anxiety, and sometimes, deep regret and remorse. Excessive anger can be self-reinforcing in that the person may usually feel powerless, but after an angry outburst, will temporarily feel powerful often getting their way in a given situation. Sooner or later, however, anger issues lead to increasing self-destructive behavior seriously diminishing any short-lived mild positive benefits.
Anger issues are driven by unconscious hurts and deep pain and require open-minded, non-judgmental exploration and treatment of long standing feelings associated with loss of control and problems with regulating emotional states.
For some people what best describes their relationship with the world, themselves and others, is one of anxiety. Typically, such individuals have no idea that their daily life is enveloped in a state of global “free-floating” anxiety. This state is frequently described as the experience of being “nervous” all of the time. Individuals with generalized anxiety frequently may have unconscious fears that they will, in some way, do something to compromise their moral or ethical standards. Others fear the loss of someone important to them and still others have concerns about losing their sanity.
Such individuals have failed to develop sufficient coping mechanisms to deal with these anxieties and since most of the time they are only aware of the anxiety, they have no place to begin looking. This is especially the case for those currently without major life stressors. This sense of being in constant danger from unknown forces or the experience that their loved ones are similarly unsafe takes a serious toll on one’s sense of personal emotional one’s relation and physical health
Teletherapy is the online delivery of a counseling session is typically used to supplement traditional in person therapy when you are unable to come to the office. You still get the personalized care you deserve, but you can receive it in the comfort of your home.
This particular way of relating to one’s self and the world is associated with regular feelings of sadness, self-criticism and a need to be perfect. When faced with painful life problems such as being rejected or mistreated, these individuals feel that it must be their fault.
The underlying assumption is that when bad things happen, it is because they are bad or there must be something wrong with them. Their focus, then is, on trying to be what they think other people want them to be in the hopes that they will no longer feel that they are bad.
The self worth of such individuals is typically very low and they are highly affected by loss. Often, there is a vague sense of emptiness and a general feeling of inadequacy that shows little improvement irrespective of how much they do for others.
A similar form of depression involves strong reactions to losses or separation from important people. These individuals respond to separations with extreme anxiety and a deep sense of meaninglessness and incompleteness. They have great difficulty trusting that their relationship partner will be there for them and are also extremely self-critical.
People with these depressive styles are usually very nice people who often do a lot of good for their loved ones and those around them, but deep inside they believe they are fundamentally bad. This internal experience negatively affects relational intimacy because they fear that if someone really gets to know them that person will find the badness and ultimately reject them. Such individuals will often avoid potentially good relationships in order to avoid the terrible pain of abandonment resulting in a constant state of loneliness and depression.
Addictions and substance abuse are symptoms that can become causes. Genetics play a role in addictions and substance abuse but never outside the context of one’s environment and personal emotional orientation. An important aspect of addiction and substance abuse is the need to self sooth alone. Even though the substances or addictive behavior may be used or occur in a social context, their use represents a private mechanism to deal with emotional pain and dysregulation within oneself without the benefit of someone who can actually help. This isolation and behavior such as excessive shopping, eating, gambling, dangerous sports etc., is frequently born out of early experiences where the individual learned that no one was available, or was able, to provide the necessary emotional regulator that they needed at the time. They learned that they could alleviate their pain, at least temporarily, by themselves and therefore bypass the need for others and the massive disappointment associated with having needs. While this strategy can provide short term relief, its long term consequences, unfortunately, can be devastating.
One of the most frustrating life experiences are those related to the inability to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time, multiple waking up multiple times at three or four in the morning and being unable to fall back asleep, nightmares, or the need to sleep excessively.
The causes of sleep issues come in various forms ranging from medical or substance related sleep problems, to those that are associated with major life stressors, such as trauma, or those that are the result of long standing emotional factors that have not been properly processed.
Sleep issues are associated with emotions such as helplessness, frustration, anxiety, anger and depression. Concentration is often compromised and mental confusion is common. Agitation, irritability and fatigue are also constant companions of the sleep deprived. Relationships also suffer, as others struggle to cope with their sleep deprived loved one.
Fortunately, most sleep difficulties are not tied to serious medical disorders and can be effectively treated by addressing life stressors and emotional factors that fuel sleeplessness. While uncomfortable and disconcerting, sleep issues should be viewed as important barometers of the state of one’s emotional health and, like any symptom, should be taken seriously. Proper diagnosis and therapeutic intervention focusing on emotional triggers can result in significant improvement if not the complete elimination of chronic sleep problems.
When one talks about the self, we are actually referring to multiple aspects or dimensions of what appears to be one self – the self you recognize in the mirror each morning. In actuality, we all have multiple selves. These selves generally work as a unit to address certain needs we have. For instance, we have an adult self that requires that we wake up in the morning to go to work even when we are tired and ensures that we maintain our cool when our employer unfairly criticizes us or when an inconsiderate driver cuts us off. Usually our more mature adult aspects do their job with great efficiency and go unnoticed. Problems arise, however, when our adult side is hijacked by parts of us that are much younger.
These younger, or more childish parts of ourselves generally use the language of emotions or certain behaviors to make their presence known. These emotions are often expressed in inappropriate situations and times and result in behavior that is counter-productive such as inappropriately challenging one’s boss, acting out through road rage or calling in sick for work when one’s presence in needed because you are too “tired” (depressed) to go to work. These misunderstood and usually unrecognized infantile parts are at the core of self-destructive behavior and often go unseen until the damage is done. They may manifest themselves in clear self-sabotage such as risky or addictive behavior or may find more subtle expression in a pattern of relationship failures or job stagnation.
Very few choices in life will have a greater impact on your future and your life style than your career choices. Often, an employee ’s performance on the job is a reflection of their personal life. Work related problems such as absenteeism, lack of motivation, and negativity can be eliminated by offering employees a place to work out personal issues before they escalate into serious work-related. Whether you are experiencing career dissatisfaction, looking for work, thinking of changing jobs, or feeling you are in the wrong industry entirely, career counseling can help give you insight into your particular circumstance and how to create a successful outcome.
Our family influences the way we interact and communicate with others. Family Therapy is focused on each family member, both individually and as a group. Your specific treatment plan will depend on your family’s circumstance. The therapist reinforces the constructive aspects of a relationship, while at the same time, identifies the destructive elements of that relationship. Families can benefit from therapy when they experience stressful events that put a strain on other members such as job loss, divorce, substance abuse, depression, domestic violence, or even death of a loved one. With family therapy, there are many factors that have to be identified, interpreted and discussed in a safe and non-judgmental setting. Understanding each family member’s unique role, culture, beliefs, rituals, motivations and actions, as well as the actions of others is part of the family therapeutic process.
As we learn to build on ways to cope and make useful changes in our relationships and our lives, family therapy is an effective and useful way of addressing and understanding the concerns that impact the family as a whole and help you make the best choices for you and your family.
- Parenting struggles
- Marital/relationship difficulties
- Financial hardship
- Anger management
- Substance abuse
- Communication issues
- Academic performance problems
- Stress / Temper management
- Substance abuse issues
- Work life problems
- Life transition issues
- Grief, loss, bereavement
- Extended family circumstances and difficult decisions
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment that helps change potentially self-destructive behaviors including anxiety, depression, grief, eating disorders, sleep disturbance, life transitions and work related difficulties by focusing on more adaptive ways of thinking, behaving, and communicating rather than on past experiences.
CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, emotions, and actions are all interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can be destructive. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you become aware of your negative thinking, so you can address challenging life circumstances more clearly and respond to them more effectively period.