Currently Browsing: Couples

Creating Connection in Couples

The material on the history of marriage that has been written by Stephanie Coontz makes it clear that expecting emotional closeness and affection in a marriage is a relatively new phenomenon and is related to western economies having accrued enough resources so that marriage is about other variables than having enough to eat or having children to work the land. Tying marriage to love in the twentieth century increased the divorce rate and the lack of stability of marriage. We are now far enough in the process of studying this new kind of marriage to have some data on what makes marriages work...

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Therapy in your 20’s and 30’s

One of the most important times in your life to seek therapy is in your 20’s and 30’s.This is the time that you are making those life decisions that will impact the course of your future. Here are just some of the questions that you are busy answering:
Should I get married and to whom?
Do I want children?
What should I do for work and an income?
Where should I live?
Why is my marriage such hard work? Is this the way it is supposed to be?
How close do I want to be to my parents?How much should I stand up to them?

As you can see, these are...

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The double taboo: Money and death

It is hard to have an open, contained conversation about money that includes emotions and does not end up in a difficult interaction. This is a learned skill for most of us. It is even harder to have an open and contained discussion about money and death. Whether you want to know what is in your parents’ estates and how they plan to distribute or you want to deal with your own estate issues with your grown children, people in general are reluctant to address these topics.

The adults who are hesitant to ask information of their parents are afraid of being seen as greedy,...

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American Psych Association Mental Health Blog Day: To the Caregivers

Mental Health Blog Party Badge

Today is mental health blog day for the American Psych Association and I am here today to extend compassion and understanding to all who are loving and caring for someone who has mental illness. There is still stigma involved in acknowledging that someone you are related to has symptoms of mental illness. Many adults who have family with mental problems feel as if...

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Mental Illness and Violence

Our country is the only developed country that has mass murders perpetrated by young adults, college students, high school students and even some elementary school students. After one of these incidents such as the one in Tucson, there comes an outcry about mental illness and how the mentally ill need to be noticed, contained and treated in order to prevent violence. I agree that the mentally ill need to be treated but also feel the need to point out that the rates of violence in mentally ill populations are no higher than the rates of violence in non-mentally ill populations and are sometimes...

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The Betrayal of Trust

One of the most painful experiences that we endure as humans is the experience of feeling as though our trust has been betrayed. The trust that is broken can be with another person, a relationship, a workplace or your an institution.
A break in trust first causes us to doubt our own abilities and perceptions. If we trusted and it did not work out, then what is wrong with our own ability to see reality and size up situations? How can we trust ourselves or another again? We go through a period of doubt and questioning that can be quite profound. Emotional responses can run the gamut of anger,...

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Difficult mothers

There is often denial in families about the emotional troubles of others in the family. This is particularly true when a mother is emotionally unstable and family members look the other way instead of stepping in and dealing with the issue. The problem with this kind of denial is that children are affected by a mother’s mood swings, alcohol use, rage, verbal put downs or neediness. The same woman that no one in the family can deal with is left in charge of the children.

Often fathers have no idea what to do and avoid the situation by withdrawing and resigning themselves...

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Helping young adults who are underfunctioning

Is there such a thing as a slacker young adult? Yes there is and they may be part of your own family or even living with you. I have recently been asked by 2 mothers who have children in their 20s living at home, how to help launch these grown children. First of all, not every child who lives in a multi-generational household is a slacker. Some are busy as students or full-time employees and it may be that these young adults are living at home to save money for something important or avoid student debt. In these cases, the children pay some of the living expenses of the house and do chores in...

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A Difficult Mother

What does it mean to have a difficult mother? All mothers go through difficult periods due to fatigue, stress and the demands of adult life and parenting. However a truly difficult mother is difficult all the time and presents a child with an unresolvable dilemma: you can either sacrifice yourself and have a relationship with me or be your true self and I will ridicule, disapprove of or reject you. The child’s dependency on the mother is then exploited and he/she will have difficulty trusting others and developing close relationships in adulthood. Some of the characterisitics of a difficult...

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Helping Teens Through The Downturn

This is a particularly difficult time for teens whose families have been hit hard with the economic changes. Why especially hard for teens? This is a time when teens want to break away from their families more and turn to the peer group. Yet if the family is in crisis, it becomes very hard to break away just when everyone needs to pull together. So the changes work against the developmental task of the teen years. It is also possible that being with the peer group would involve money that is no longer available .To go out to eat or on field trips or other youth activities requires money that...

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