A Raleigh Therapist's Blog

Thoughts on counseling, healing, and creating the life you want

A Word About Loving Your Parents Well and a Freebie

luck dragon“If you stop to think about it, you’ll have to admit that all the stories in the world consist essentially of twenty-six letters. The letters are always the same, only the arrangement varies. From letters words are formed, from words sentences, from sentences chapters, and from chapters stories.” –Michael Ende

That’s a luck dragon over to the left, by the way. He’ll be helpful later in this post for getting you a free session. Read on, fearless reader!

All of my posts here on A Raleigh Therapist’s blog are directly related to topics I’m covering in sessions with clients. Sometimes, it seems like lots of folks come in with the exact same concern all at once. I’m not sure if that’s a phase of the moon thing, or perhaps this is simply the time of the year for it. But, lately the topic du jour has been this–how in the world do I get along with my parents as an adult child?

Despite all the colorful things I told my folks back when I was an angry Goth girl covered in black clothes and magenta hair, I think they did a pretty good job at shepherding me towards adulthood. And, to tell you the truth, my angry Goth days were sort of essential in shaping me into the person that I am now. That’s maybe a blog post for another day related to a comforting speech I often give parents of my teenage/young adult clients that goes something like, “I also wore black nail polish, had dark taste in music and nurtured a penchant for Sylvia Plath. Here I sit before you in boring, tasteful pumps with a Ph.D.–it’ll probably be fine.”

But, in all honesty, it’s not as simple as that sometimes, is it? Often your differences with your parents continue on long after the turbulence of those early years has settled.  The waters are not always smooth sailing when trying to negotiate an adult identity with the people who will almost always look at you (fondly even) as though you were three.

The relationship with our parents, for most of us, is the first  and most complex bond we’ll ever know until we have children ourselves. It’s rich in both love and conflict, and in so many ways is the template on which we base our adult relationships. So, what happens if the relationship with your parents is one in which you need to set loving boundaries?

1) You’re a Mean One, Mr./Ms. Grinch: You have a right, and even more importantly, a responsibility to behave in a fashion that is congruent with your own morals. When you allow people you love, your parents included, to push you to do things outside of those values (for instance, getting into screaming matches, sidestepping your spouse, or going into debt to offer financial assistance) you are not behaving in a loving way. The worst thing about capitulating to demands that aren’t in alignment with your sense of integrity is that it breeds a particularly vicious kind of resentment on your part. Then, it is impossible to behave in a manner that honors your parents, let alone allows you to enjoy that relationship. Let your parents know what your boundaries are and stick to them in a way that isn’t punitive.

2) Guilty as Charged: The main reason that most folks don’t want to have boundaries with their folks is because they don’t want to feel guilty. And, I think this is pretty freakin’ normal. Your parents may have sacrificed for you. Perhaps they had a difficult upbringing and have done their best to make sure you were raised differently. Denying some requests does not mean you don’t honor your parents’ contributions or that you stop making commentary on your gratitude for them. Rather, it means that the requests you extend yourself to offer you do with a joyful heart. Boundaries don’t mean you’re angry with anyone. If your family of origin translates boundaries as anger, you may need some help to sort out what to say.

3)Boundaries aren’t Walls: Sometimes it’s hard to imagine setting boundaries because we are concerned that the people with whom we set them will think we don’t love them any longer. It may be hard to believe this, but you can love more deeply and intensely when you know where you stand. Then, you don’t have to be angry at yourself and by extension, other people because you allowed yourself to be pushed into places you never wanted to go.

Could you use some help in figuring out how to set loving boundaries? Do you need a better sense of space in your relationships? I’m here to help. I’ll even give you a gimmie. If you’d like to win a free session with me, answer this question about one of my own very first acts of parenting:

My youngest son is named after one of the two lead characters in my favorite book by writer Michael Ende. I loved the idea of an underdog who could save the world with his big imagination. The luck dragon above is a hint. If you’re the first person to email me the name of that character I’ll offer you a free, hour-long session.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for compassionate individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT

Pinterest:DrHollyCox

Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Lotus Therapy Center

 

 

No Comments »

The Weighty Issue of Telling Your Loved Ones You're Losing Weight

About a year ago, I gave birth to Bastian, one of the most wonderful, delicious human beings on the face of the earth. I had a glorious pregnancy with Bee (as we call him). My skin glowed, my hair had an unusual luster. I wasn’t as tired as I had been with Gabriel, and I happily worked right up until the day I gave birth to him. All was right with the world. And, let me tell y’all, all was right with Bojangles too. Because man, was I a hungry woman.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t have traded my appetite for that of my friends who spent every morning of their pregnancies shaking hands with Mr. Toilet. But, I probably would like to go back, tap myself on the shoulder and advise some moderation in the milkshake and 24-hour drive through Mexican nacho platter departments. Now, due to some particularly unfortunate combination of pregnancy munchies and thyroid disease I still have about 50 pounds left to lose of baby weight. Yep, I’m not even kidding. Me–the yoga buff and Zumba freak. Me, the girl who went dancing at least 3 out of every 7 nights in graduate school. I have gotten myself in a pickle, and now I get to see how it has felt for all the clients I have helped lose weight over the years. It feels…well, let’s just say that in my clinical opinion, it sucks.

However, as I have gotten back on the road to wellness, I have found that many of my loved ones find my dedication to my healthy habits pretty irritating. It’s not that they wish me ill. Everyone I can think of wants me to feel better and reach my goals. Rather, it’s that they would like me to take a mini vacation from eating “boring” stuff whenever I am with them. I hear a lot of  this kind of thing:

“It’s Friday, can’t you have just one martini? I’ll feel weird drinking alone.”

“We’re on vacation. Are you going to tell me that you’re not eating any dairy or gluten when you should just be relaxing? Where’s the fun in that?”

“Seriously, it’s one meal. Do you have to be so rigid at every meal?”

Now, a lot of this stuff sounds harsh in isolation from the rest of the conversation. Really, none of it was offered in the sense of anything but conspiratorial merry-making. But, if you’re making an effort to change in a direction that requires discipline and behaving a bit differently from everyone else, I bet you’ve heard this too. In the past, when working with clients on losing weight, I totally misunderstood the social aspects of being on a diet. I thought it was mostly having the willpower to get past the food triggers. Nope, it’s that plus something else–managing the guilt, awkwardness and general feelings of difference when sticking to your plan in public. It’s not only managing your own feelings about eating and food, but also negotiating everyone else’s feelings about eating and food as well. Complicated! So, what should you and I do about this particular issue?

1) Emphasize Health: I have found that my loved ones respond better to addition than subtraction. That is, rather than talking about it as a diet in which I am bemoaning things I can’t have, I talk about it as an adventure in taking care of myself. It has taken me awhile to figure out what that roadmap looks like. I tell my friends that I don’t feel deprived, but energized by making good choices. I know that sounds cheesy as all right now, but words have the power of creation. Honor yourself by speaking about your life in terms of fulfillment and health.

2) Get good backup: Your loved ones may argue with you. But, they are less likely to argue with your doctor. It’s worth it to have someone on your side to check in with and guide you. Ask your doctor to schedule regular appointments to track your progress and keep you motivated. There are clinicians from a variety of fields that can serve in this capacity. I use a holistic doc skilled in acupuncture and nutritional coaching to keep me on track. I often mention what we talk about to my friends and keep her in the loop about how I feel about my weight loss.

3) Own your Health: At the end of the day, losing weight is harder for folks who find having good boundaries to be a challenge. This is true for a number of reasons. Our families of origin or other life experiences can lead us to believe that we have to make others happy before ourselves. Eating is a sacred act–one that embodies nurturance and care. When you get too good at taking care of others and lose track of taking care of yourself in a meaningful way, food can be a great partner. In what ways has food become a stand in for other things like love, sex and hope?

I am looking at this journey from both sides now. I would be honored to walk with you as you move ahead too.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT

Pinterest:DrHollyCox

Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Holly Cox

No Comments »

Taking a Chance on Change

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better  by change.” –Jim Rohn

If I had any one mantra for living life in a satisfying manner, this would be it. Go ahead and read it again because it’s important stuff. When you’re ready to throw up your hands and let life happen to you, that’s probably the time you need this particular quote tattooed on the back of your eyelids. As a matter of fact, I needed to reread ol’ Jim myself this morning. I am in the middle of choosing a new office here in Raleigh, and it’s not going well. Seriously, I have been ready to just abandon the whole process and start the Triangle’s first mobile therapy service. I’m thinking I’ll just get an old ice cream truck and ride around offering 15-minute mini-sessions downtown. Maybe I’ll actually hand out cones too. In other words, sometimes, even I would rather just think silly, discouraged thoughts and pine away for something to magically materialize.

Sugar-coated counseling sessions aside, I love this saying by business coach and author, Jim Rohn, because it is a call to action. And action, my friends, is what gets us out of muddles we have now and into the future we want most. Any client that I see, from folks presenting with OCD to those coming to alleviate poor relationship patterns, are asked this important question: “What would be the first, smallest change that would let you know your goal is starting to happen?” And then we start about instituting that tiniest change right away. I love rooting around in the past and looking at patterns and memories that will, when understood, help shine the light of understanding on a murky problem. But, I believe that contemplation has to be paired with the empowering sensation of forward motion. Otherwise, the reflection can begin to seem like all there is. And no matter what you are facing, wherever you are now is never all there is.

Here are a few tips to get you on the road to change:

1) Identify that first smallest step and recognize that there is never a step that is too small: I once treated an woman who struggled with a fear of leaving her home. She was so paralyzed by her terror that she could not go grocery shopping, attend appointments in person, or visit friends and family. Though we talked quite a bit about how this fear crept up on her, we paired it with action. She decided that her first, smallest step would be to open the front door and then close it again. That was all, and that was enough. Eventually, through adding many other smallest steps onto that first one, she was able to drive herself around again and resume a life she recognized as joyful and fulfilling. No first step is ever too small.

2) Put me in coach, I’m ready to play: I happen to think that I’m a pretty great coach and therapist even when I don’t offer frozen treats. But, I’m no match for your interior motivator. Find a quote that matches your situation and counteracts the internal voice that tells you that nothing can be different. Now, write it down on a card and cut it out. Now, put it in your pants pocket. Read it to yourself every time you go to the bathroom. There you go–it’s scheduled for a time when you’re already fumbling around with your pants and have some quiet time alone. Voila!

3) Get a room you two: Schedule some time to meet with a therapist or coach who can help you articulate clear goals that are in alignment with the future that you want. When most people do this alone they choose initial goals that are too big out of a sense of shame that the goal hasn’t already been accomplished. With someone to help you break it down into intelligent parts, you can get some wins under your belt that will guide you to that larger goal.

Why don’t you come on in so that we can get you on the way to your goals?

Your Partner in Healing,

Dr. Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

2 Comments »

What's your Life's Work?

You know, I’m kinda liking this unfettered blogging. Since we moved to NC, I have been seeing only a handful of my Florida clients via Skype. These are folks with whom I have been working for a long time, and for whom it would have been sort of messy and discouraging to change therapists. The good thing about this yawning cavern of free time  in my life is that I have extra moments lying about in spades to write, read and make endless amount of cookies with Gabe. However, I can’t help but feel a little at loose ends without sessions to attend and people to help. I mean, it’s what I do.

 Today I was pondering how you know that the work that you do, whatever it is, is what you’re supposed to be doing. And, honestly, I don’t think that you have to be slogging away at something fancy or world-saving to find meaning in your job. I was quickly disabused of that notion by my sweet friend Marta, who cleaned my house for me while I was a studying for my doctoral degree. I asked Marta once (like the arrogant know-it-all most clinical graduate students are) if cleaning houses had always been what she wanted to do with her life. You can see where I’ m going with this–it hadn’t occurred to me that someone would want to commit herself to that. I assumed she must have been trapped into this by dire circumstance. But Marta told me that ever since she was a child, she had taken great pleasure in putting things in order. She said that she views what she does for her clients as a something therapuetic for them. Marta loved to go home and know that we were walking back into homes that were organized, clean and healthy. And, she got to own her own business and make her own hours. In other words, Marta is probably doing people as much good in her profession as I am in mine. Seriously, if anybody in Ft. Lauderdale needs a house tender, Marta is your gal.

If I am fortunate in anything in my life, it is that I know what my life’s work is supposed to be. I love being a therapist, and the idea of doing absolutely anything else is strange and terrifying. Do you know what you’re supposed to be doing? Here’s some questions to ask yourself as you’re on the path to discovery:

1) What would be different about your life if you loved your work?

2) If you journeyed into the forbidden territory of your best hopes for your life (the ones we don’t dare let ourselves entertain because they sound too far-fetched) what would you unearth?

3) What emotions do you need to clear about yourself before you can think critically about your future? (Regret, anxiety, self-loathing)

4) How can you reframe that best hope so that it or some part of it is possible? For instance, I considered going to school to be an OBGYN. Since I am interested in women’s issues I do postpartum counseling.

5) What skills do you need to develop to trust yourself to make new goals for the future?

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

holly@lotustherapycenter.com

No Comments »

Thoughts on Beck and the Apocalypse

Ths is an interesting time in my life. I am between practices so to speak, seeing a few clients from my Florida practice over Skype and waiting for the fine state of NC to pick over my credentials with its fine tooth comb. In order to get my NC license I have filled out a parade of forms that require I beset my closet colleagues with requests to also fill out a parade of forms on my behalf. I have had my licensure test scores resent, I have tracked down my old supervisor (in Georgia by the way–hi Steve) to fill out still more forms, and I have sent money. I suppose I thought that NC would take FL’s word for it that I was sufficiently educated and experienced to be a licensed clinician here, too. That, apparently, is not the case.

So while I’m waiting for my NC license to be delivered from the powers that be (and the powers that be are a board of people who don’t even meet again until mid-November!!!) I have been listening to music and thinking about death. No, I’m serious. I have seriously been compulsively playing  Beck songs, cleaning this goliath of a house, and wondering if the end is nigh.

When my clients come in with anxiety issues, I more than sort of get that because I have always been a little high-strung myself. But, despite that, I am a cup-half-full kind of gal. And, I have mostly figured that God likes me where I am for the moment and isn’t sending a divine lightening bolt anytime soon. I mean, why would he/she/it allow me to have two beautiful children, complete more college than anyone should endure, and move back to the home of my youth only to casually, and suddenly smite me? That was what I was thinking when I went to the ER a few months ago with pain in my gut that hurt more than labor did. As I sat there shaking and vomiting (classy, I know, but I want you to get the full picture) in the exam room, I assumed I had some kind of roided-out flu bug. But, the doctor comes back and tells me that I have a “mass” in my gallbladder and he thinks it’s probably cancer because of its unusual size. Yeah, he really said that. I remember blinking my eyes open and shut, open and shut like a cartoon character caught on the cusp of a big fall. I was hanging out there above the landscape below, gasping for air like terrified fish. Then, he sent me back for an abdominal scan where I attempted to lay very still in that horrible, loud tube. It was a week before I could get in to see a surgeon who examined my scans and told me that the ER doctor was an alarmist jerk and I only had gallstones that had fused together to form one mass.. I collapsed in his arms sobbing gooey, snotty tears into his crisp white coat. Yeah, he thought that was gross too, but I appreciated the take-one-for-the-medical-team pat on the back he gave me anyway.

So, to make a long story short, my surgeon snatched out my gallbladder, gave me some fun meds, and that was the end of the whole thing. Well, at least it was the end of it physically. Emotionally, and spiritually, that experience of believing I had a rare and deadly form of cancer has lingered on with me still. Never before have I better understood clients who whisper that they have a black cloud hanging over their heads…or feel similarly suspended–paralyzed as though something terrible is about to happen. I must admit, I have wondered (ok, ruminated about) what other silent secrets my body is harboring. My primary care doctor is a lovely man who not only went to Princeton, but also tells me to call him John instead of doctor something or other, and sympathetically hands you a tissue when you freak out about said hidden health boogie men in your routine yearly exam. And, he’s right– the best I can do is take good care of my health and stress levels and keep on keepin’ on.

So, you might be wondering why you’re reading a random personal blog amid the sea of professional advice usually found on this blog. I’m not really sure why, actually. Perhaps it’s because my usual blog posts are born out of an experience I’ve had in session that week with a client, and in the absence of regular practice-related experiences you get this instead. Or, perhaps, it’s because I am suddenly thinking over the clients and friends who have faced real, awful health issues and I am suddenly humbled with empathy. Either way, I hope that all of you out there are taking good, good care of yourselves.

You Partner in Healing,

Dr. Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

holly@lotustherapycenter.com

No Comments »

Couples Counseling and Your Relationship: Nuts and Bolts

Usually, the first question new couples therapy clients ask me is, “How is this going to work?” I have realized over the years that what clients expect relationship therapy to be like has been colored by TV and book gurus who are one part clinician and 3 parts side show act. This is unfortunate, because it gives folks the idea that a therapist may be all bluster and little substance. Or, worse still, may spend long sessions scolding, finger pointing, and offering grim criticisms that humiliate more than uplift.

In the spirit of informing folks that couples therapy can be a fun, enlightening process, here are a few basics about what you can expect in my counseling room. Every therapist is different, but anyone to whom you entrust your relationship should be able to articulate a clear philosophy of  couples counseling that is different from their individual work. Ask therapists what their training in couples work has been like, and why they are expanding their practice to include relationship and family work.

1) I think I can, I think I can: One of the first things I tell couples who are  contracting with me for couples work is that they can expect a pretty predictable pattern of with engagement during the process. First, there is some immediate relief simply by the act of triangulating another calm, positive person into the anxious escalations the couple has been experiencing. Then, after several sessions, there may be a brief backslide when couples panic about their ability to maintain new and different behaviors. Finally, couples relax into the process, make needed changes, and gradually phase out a need for a therapist to intervene in high-conflict situations.

2) Write it out: I will take notes during my meetings with you so that I can document specific information you have given me, themes we notice, and ideas we have for future sessions. I prefer for couples to bring their own journal to therapy as well, to take notes in their own words about what has been meaningful to them and to record homework assignments. Couples that do this have better success because they create a reminder of the conclusions they have reached in a calm, safe, environment.

3) Be Consistent: Remember that advice your doctor gave you about taking your whole course of antibiotics, even after you feel better? Therapy is much the same. We will work together to triage the most important problems first, and get you and your partner to a place where you can communicate better with one another. This alone will make you both feel better. But, to really take advantage of the counseling, it is important to work on the underlying issues that inform the symptoms that form the initial complaints.

If you have any questions about the process of relationship counseling, please let me know. I would be delighted to answer them.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if I might be a fit for your counseling needs, please contact me at 407.913.4988 or holly@nova.edu.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

No Comments »

Are you having an Online Affair?

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about a website that helps married people find other married people with whom to start affairs. Since the good people at wordpress are kind enough to provide me with stats about what folks are looking for when they stumble across my site, I have discovered that most of the people coming through this blog lately are reading that particular article and searching for the term ‘online affair.’

It makes sense that this is one of the most-searched terms on people’s finger tips these days. As the world at our door grows larger and larger via the connections we can make online, humans will continue to do what we’re good at–explore new things. However for some, exploring this new frontier has proved to be anything but harmless fun. Rather, it has allowed them to put themselves into positions that both they and their partners may view as the new gray area of relationship ethics. So how will you know if you’re starting to sail some dangerous waters? Here are a few warning signs:

1) Don’t ask don’t tell: Are parts or all of your online relationship a secret? The best litmus test for knowing if your interactions with an online “friend” are starting to stray into an emotional affair is to ask yourself if you would be afraid or ashamed for your partner to read anything you have exchanged between the two of you. Yes, I know, your online amiga or amigo may be a much better listener, or more sympathetic, or funnier than your real-life spouse. But, that person also doesn’t see you in your dirty underwear or listen to you snore at night. It’s easy to build up intimacy in cyber space. Even if you have known or know your pen pal in real life, that is very different than 24-hour contact. The very fact that you are starting to share personal details of your life is a warning sign. You are building intimacy with every click of your mouse. Emotional infidelity can pave the way towards physical infidelity by creating the illusion that you are meant to be together because you understand one another so well. This is particularly true if you are sharing derogatory information about your partner and recieving support in your frustration with him or her.

2) Take a look at me now: Are you sharing pictures of yourself with your online friend or getting pictures of him or her? It doesn’t matter if these photos are sexual in nature, or a shot of you in front of great grandma’s house. This indicates that it has become important to you or to your friend to “know” one another in an increasingly personal way. Trading pictures is often the first step to initiating other forms of offline contact.

3) Thinking it over: Are you spending increasing amounts of time thinking about when you can next get online to write to, chat with, or web cam your friend? As the thoughts become more intrusive, they not only interfere with your ‘real’ life, but they further enforce the distance that is growing between you and your current partner. As you allow that distance to grow, and focus all your emotional energy into your online relationship, you are creating more of the problems in your primary relationship you may be seeking to escape by engaging with someone else.

There are many reasons why both men and women seek emotional or physical intimacy outside of their primary relationships. If you believe that your actions are starting to put your relationship at risk, or if you think your spouse might be seeking connection outside of your relationship, there is help. Individual and/or couples therapy can help you sort out what to do next, and how to move forward, whatever that means to you, in a healthy way. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here, and I’ll do my best to briefly respond so that the folks who are stumbling across this blog can get some additional, tailored help.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION please feel free to contact me at 407.913.4988 or holly@lotustherapycenter.com

www.lotustherapycenter.com

2 Comments »

Infidelity Wired: A Counselor's Perspective on Online Affairs

onlinepicThis morning a reporter from Channel 6 called to ask me my opinion about a website that has gotten quite a bit of press lately, www.ashleymadison.com. I almost hesitate to even put the link here because I would be loathe to think that I actually helped anyone find this site and consider using it. However, after a busy morning, I might have been too late  in returning that reporter’s message to make it on the air.  Just in case they run the story without me, here are my thoughts on the topic.

For the uninitiated, this website is the newest form of online matchmaker. Think eHarmony or match.com fueled by a liberal dose of predatory immorality. The sole purpose of this  site to help married people hook up with others (married or not) for  affairs. Think I’m exaggerating? The catchphrase is “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Now, I’m no prude. I’ve worked with clients who have a variety of sexual lifestyles, and it’s not ordinarily my place to judge them. But this is not about lifestyle choices between consenting adults. It’s designed to keep one partner in the dark about the sexual activities of the other, and apparently helps thousands of people abandon all notion of working out differences in an explicit way. Furthermore, the maker of the site, Noel Biderman, uses the negative press generated by the discussion of his website to exemplify the old adage about any publicity being good publicity. I’ve seen interviews with this guy and I think he’s absolutely ghoulish–dancing on the graves of destroyed families for personal profit. Biderman seems blissfully unclear why  broken homes and children who must suffer through the divorces of their parents should be any deterrent to making some quick cash. If there is such a thing as karma, we all better stand back. This guy is in for a real whammy!

The internet has changed the face of marriage because it allows for emotional affairs via email, chat, and webcam that can quickly become real-life encounters with people that you might never meet in your everyday experiences. The Ashely Madison site is a sterling example of how someone recognized this new frontier and decided to make money off of it. Going online brings up issues that didn’t exist in the past when there was simply one family phone in the house and written mail came to the door. How do we negotiate the amount of privacy we want for our email inboxes, the sites we visit, or the content we view? To what degree do our spouses have “right” to know what we’re up to when that mouse is in our hands?

In the past, affairs were largely opportunistic, started with someone a person knew from work, circle of friends, or religious institution. But that also came with a certain amount of risk.  People might start to notice, and word might eventually get out to one’s partner. Now, sites like Ashley Madison inject another layer of privacy into the endeavor of infidelity and play to the consumerism  that Americans fall prey to so easily. It’s like a fast food affair: place your order, browse the menu on the site, and indulge in whatever flavors you think aren’t available at home.

The Ashely Madison commercials suggest that we have a  ‘right to be happy’ in a way that is individually determined,  and that happens in a vacuum from the people that we love. However, unless you grew up alone in the wilderness, you know this is not possible. We have to make choices in our lives between the types of happiness that we want. Some are mutually exclusive despite what marketers would have you believe.

My clients know that I believe in absolute transparency with online activities. I think that partners in established, commited relationships do have a right to know what the other person is looking at, with whom they are talking, and about what. That inevitably makes me unpopular with some people in my therapy room. No, I do not believe you have a sovereign right to have your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend on your Facebook friends list if your husband or wife doesn’t like it. Nope, I don’t think that chatting online (or texting) with that cute guy from work after hours is OK. I think that at the bottom of it all, human beings are incredibly complex and gorgeously emotional. If we want to stay married (or committed) we have to respect that temptations exist not because we’re bad, but because we’re curious, sexual, vibrant beings. If we don’t create boundaries for ourselves and our families, problems will crop up quickly, and vultures  like Noel Biderman will be waiting to seduce us with the promise of a quick thrill.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if I might be a good fit for your concerns and goals please contact me at 407.913.4988 or holly@lotustherapycenter.com.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

No Comments »

Happy New Year!

I’ve been in the holiday mood lately. Nothing puts one in the spirit like a nice trip back home to NC where it’s frosty and cold, and where one can get decent country ham biscuits. Maybe ham biscuits don’t spell seasonal cheer to you, but Bojangles (go look it up if you’re uninitiated) sure does put a jingle in my step.

 

Now that I’ve returned from all that pork goodness, I need to get back on track with my goals for spiritual, mental, and physical health and wellness. I’m really excited to finish a writing project I’m working on, and to tackle some of those late-night-pregnancy-cheeseburger pounds I’m carting around with me. Guess I’ll be having carrots while I’m burning the midnight oil, but after so many months of gastronomic debauchery, I’m actually looking forward to it!

 

If you too have put down the biscuits and are heading fresh into the New Year, here are a few tips to get you on the right track:

 

1)      Be just a face in the crowd—One of the most overlooked and terrible factors in both clinical depression and the more garden variety blues, is a sense of social isolation. I spend a lot of my time in the therapy room attempting to get my wonderful clients to take their show on the road and form meaningful connections. One of my favorite websites is www.meetup.com. On this site, you can find local groups for whatever you’re into. Really, I’m not kidding. There are groups for everything from people who like to play Scrabble to pug dog enthusiasts. Most of the meetups happen in public places. So, if you get there and think the rest of the folks look like total dorks, you can pretend you were just there for coffee and slink away unnoticed. But meetup.com isn’t the only place to look for new chums. You can try local religious organizations, your gym, or even volunteering.

2)      Tell it to me straight Doc—I am always advising clients to get a routine physical. This is especially important for women, because our physical well being and mental health are so closely linked. Depression and anxiety may be due to life circumstances or an organic mental illness. But, sometimes they can be linked to your method of birth control, thyroid problems, abrupt weaning of your infant, postpartum mood changes, or menopause. Don’t suffer in silence—let your health care professionals help you chart a course to feeling better.

3)       Rev the engine—You deserve a partnership that is firing on all cylinders. Schedule a session of couples therapy that is designed to reinvigorate your union rather than get mired down in problems. Let your therapist know that you would like to examine what works and get some tips on how to make it even better. I am amazed that couples wait until their relationship is sounding its death knell before coming in to see me. If you will do preventative maintenance on your car, why not on your love life?

 

 

Happy New Year friends! Let’s make it one filled with satisfaction, contentment, and an improved sense of self-worth.

 

Your Partner in Healing,

 

Holly

 

ham-biscuit

No Comments »

%d bloggers like this: