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

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Couples Therapy Primer–What NOT to Do

Every now and again I do a quick and dirty what to expect from Marriage counseling. Usually, it’s a what-to-expect kind of column to help newbies get more out of the experience. I like to keep things positive and focus on the best ways to access new skills. However, there  are a few things that can really derail your progress in my therapy room. So this time, I’m going to give you a what-not- to-do column.

1) She likes me, she really likes me:  It’s only human to want your therapist to like you best. Seriously, you’re in there pouring your souls out to a person you’ve hired to make your life better. Who wouldn’t want that person to be you cheerleader #1? But, couples hire therapists to be on the side of the relationship. So, if your therapist is challenging you about some aspect of the way you participate in coupledom it’s not because she hates you. It’s because she sees how you can make this strange beast–the relationship–even better, and she wants to help you hold up your end of the bargain. Give good feedback to your therapist and your partner about how the experience of processing your part of the couples conundrum is feeling for you. If the therapist starts to bring up feelings similar to the ones you feel with your partner, then take that opportunity to get to the bottom of how those emotions come up in you, and how you can work with your partner to address them successfully.

2) The truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but the truth: Sometimes couples therapy doesn’t happen soon enough, or the problems are grevious enough that the relationship falls apart anyway. But, as a therapist, what really roasts my chestnuts is when folks come in to drop their partners off with me. They make a drive-by pass at couples therapy so they can say they tried it, and ultimately really want to make sure their partner has someone to fall back on when they do what they were planning on doing anyway–leaving. If you know you’re undecided about continuing on in the partnership, let your therapist know so that she can talk with you and your partner honestly about how difficult and heartbreaking that limbo experience must be.

3) Keep it in your pants: Many therapists will keep secrets for clients who are carrying on affairs behind their partners’ backs. I have a strict policy against this. Therapy is a great vehicle for working out issues of infidelity and finding healing for both the person who stepped outside the union and the betrayed partner. However, this can only happen if everyone knows that the infidelity has occurred. If you come to therapy and haven’t yet told your spouse, I will be glad to work with you towards doing that in a sensitive way. However, I will not help you continue to lie to your partner.

4) A bushel and a peck: My couples clients know that I usually take a backwards in approach. Rather than working on the really big issues first (which will be there anyway, I promise) I usually start with figuring out how communication has broken down, and give assignments to work on this. I once heard this described as looking at the tree rather than focusing on the fruit.

5) Do your homework: I give clients homework between sessions to build a bridge between meetings and keep the fires of learning stoked. If you’re cooking, you don’t turn on the stove and then turn it off…and then turn it on…and then turn it off. I assume that if we have stirred up difficult emotions during session, that it is in your best interests to continue to work through these collaboratively outside of session as well. Just coming in once a week for an hour-long conversation is not enough. Believe me,  I am helping you have a shorter, more cost-effective course of therapy this way. I ask clients to email me their homework before session so that I can have a chance to read and reflect upon it before we meet again. This way, I will have a bridge between sessions too, and be ready to hit the ground running with the progress you have made when we’re not together.

So, there you have it–a cheat sheet for getting the most out of your couples counselor. Good luck!

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

If you would like to take advantage of a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how therapy can improve your life, just drop me a line at holly@lotustherapycenter.com or call (407)-913-4988.

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Happy Father's Day

I knew when I became a mother that the most difficult part of my job as a parent would be to let my husbanad help me. This isn’t because my husband isn’t as smart, funny, or gentle as I am. It’s because I (like many I suppose) partially bought into the myth that fathers are the stage hands and mothers the center-stage nurturers. Now that Gabe is here, I realize just how essential his Daddy time is.

Recent research on the nature of father-child bonds has come up with some really cool results about the importance of the old man in our children’s lives.  Let’s celebrate the awesomness of dad– here are just a few bits of the data that are emerging.

* Fathers help bolster children’s cognitive capacities, especially verbal skills. Researchers at the University of Chapel Hill have discovered that though fathers speak fewer words to their children, fathers (not mothers) largely determine their children’s language development by age three. Researchers attribute this to fathers’ tendency to ask more questions and ask for additional clarification from their children. The folks conducting the study thought this might be because mothers understood their toddler’s utterances better, and thus did not push children for longer explanations.

*Researchers have found that kids who have stable, involved dads fare better on nearly every measurement that researchers have studied. Children whose fathers are very engaged in their lives are more confident, display more self-control, and are less likely to act out in school.

*Fathers have a different style of play than mothers and are more likely to encourage their kids to take on risks and challenges. Researchers report that men have less predictable play patterns, and that presenting kids with surprises rather than conventional games may boost children’s problem-solving skills.

There you have it–proof positive that when your dad asks you to explain yourself for the 10th time, or risk life and limb in some bizarre yard clearing event (maybe that’s just me) he’s actually building your brain. I hope all the fathers out there had a wonderful day, and will continue to invest in their kids all year ’round.

Your partner in healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

*If you would like to come in for a free consultation to see how therapy might be helpful for you, please call me at (407) 913-4988, or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com.

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How Family Therapists Read Minds

It is mostly true that professionals from all different types of clinical backgrounds including psychologists, mental health counselors, and social workers are qualified to do about the same sort of counseling work with you. For instance, as a group we are a pretty empathetic lot, prone to be the sort with a tissue in hand and a word of encouragement on our lips. Despite differences in our clinical orientation, each discipline is trained to work with a variety of presenting concerns, troubles, and mental health disorders.

But, I am almost always delighted that my actual background is in Family Therapy. The reason for this is that I within a few minutes of meeting someone I can usually do a brief mind-reading trick that is directly related to my background as a systemic therapist who is trained to place clients within the context of not just who they are now, but where they come from. I do this by knowing an awful lot about sibling order.

You see, despite our accomplishments or failings, the  individual quirks and tics that make up the tapestry of who we are every day, where we came about in the progression of our brothers and sisters often determines quite a bit about how we make sense of the world. I, for instance, am a classic oldest daughter. Strong, nurturing and a caretaker, I devoted myself to a career in which I could take care of the lives of people for a profession. And, true to form, I married a youngest child who would compliment my more assertive traits with his ability to accomodate a certain amount of bossiness and shall we say(charitably), confidence in the way things should go.

Clients often express the traits that come along with their sibling order in the way they manifest anxieties about their relationships. Do they help too much and get themselves hooked up with individuals they will be forever rescuing? How about those folks who are forever choosing partners who dominate them and never permit them to have a voice? These traits are expressed everywhere we interact with others including our jobs, friendships, and romantic partners. And, imagine how your emotional worldview is further impacted by the degree to which you were excluded from or triangulated into your parents’ relationship. My training as a family therapist has allowed me to see people not just as solo stars burning away in their own dark sky, but as vibrant parts of a constellation of people who have directly impacted their hopes, dreams, and beliefs about who they are.

Why not contact me today to see how you can use the strengths of your sibling order to improve your life?

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

Follow me on twitter! My twitter ID is HollycoxLMFT

If you would like a FREE 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION contact me at 407-913-4988 or holly@lotustherapycenter.com to see if I how I can meet your needs.

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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

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Anger Management For Adolescents

Is your child rude, difficult to talk to, or sad? We all recognize the most noticeable face of anger; those behavioral problems that manifest as blowups. But, anger can translate not only as an overtly aggressive child, but also as one who withdraws and refuses to communicate. If you feel like there is more going on with your kid than meets the eye, you may be right to be concerned.

Though kids may not appreciate parents’ interference in their affairs, it’s better to confront these cries for help before they escalate. As always, the litmus test for making any decision in your child’s welfare is evaluating if that child will appreciate you for it when he or she is an adult. No teenager will thank you for limiting his or her freedoms now, because that is counter to their developmental level. But no 25-year-old I have ever met inside my therapy room or out has been thankful to parents for allowing them to experience things (drugs, sex, autonomy) they later realize they were not ready to handle. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips for helping your angry teen.

1) Limit the number of violent things they watch/listen to/play: Experts estimate that the average teen has seen thousands of violent deaths depicted in tv, movies, and video games by the time he or she turns 18. We would be foolish to think that this does not desensitize our children to glamorized shows of anger. Think carefully not just about what you are allowing your teen to absorb through his or her media choices, but also about what they can be exposed to when they are at their friends’ houses as well. Keep tabs on who they hang out with, where, and talk to them about how to make good choices when they are not with you.

2) Be a good role model: Kids will do as you do, not as you say. If you routinely lose your temper, become angry and aggressive in traffic, yell at or hit your partner/spouse (or allow him or her to do this to you), and are rude and dismissive towards service people, your child will always model that behavior. They learn how to manage conflict and mediate stressful emotions from you. Consider yourself the architect of the blueprint for how your kids will treat their future employees, spouses, and children. If you need to get help to manage your own levels of stress and acting out, tell your kids that you are doing so, and then really do it. Parents are not to blame for all of their children’s problems. Certainly, some kids come into the world with tendencies that will be expressed in their behaviors. But, parents often have more influence over their children then they realize. Use it wisely.

3) Help your kids feel empowered: Resolving anger isn’t just about decreasing negative behaviors. It’s about increasing self-esteem so that kids feel positive about themselves and have more options in lieu of the bad behaviors. If your child is being bullied at school, be proactive about making it stop. If your child is the bully at school, help him or her get into counseling immediately. Some kids have a more difficult time fitting in at school than others. If your child is one of those kids, help him or her find another outlet like art, dance, sports, or youth groups at your place of worship.

4) Help your kids unplug and be part of the family: In the old days, when kids left school, all further communication with their friends had to go through the family phone. Now, teens are connecting around the clock via private cell phones with texting and social networking sites. The high drama of being a teen with any sort of social life needs to be mediated by the unconditional love and positive regard of being part of a family. Though they don’t know it, kids benefit from time to decompress from constant social interaction with their peers. If you’re not the one talking to your kid about his or her day, putting it all into perspective, and giving advice, someone else (much younger and less wise) will be doing it.

If you have any questions about how you can help your kid get off to a good start this school year and keep the momentum going, please feel free to drop me an email or give me a ring.

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 counseling needs, please call me at 407.913.4988 or email holly@nova.edu.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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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

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Success in Family Counseling

teenIf there are two groups of people that don’t want to be in the same room at the same time when the same argument is happening for the 5,009th time, it’s parents and teens. Young adults manage to conjure up rather remarkable dark, withering stares that leave me chilly from across the room. And, they often continue that voodoo side eye the entire first session. However,  I can hardly blame them–I wouldn’t trust me at first either. Why would it make sense to make yourself vulnerable to someone you can only assume is aligned with your parents?

The job of a good family counselor is to find a way to communicate with everyone in the family, surly teens included. So how can parents help family therapy meet with success?

1) Do your research–Participating in family counseling requires you to trust the therapist enough to allow that person to speak with your kids alone, and to keep some things confidential about those conversations. Of course, if I hear anything that leads me to believe your child is in danger or may be hurting him or herself, you will be advised of the situation. Otherwise, sessions between counselors and kids are somewhat private. Knowing this, you should interview several therapists and choose one you believe shares your goals and values.

2) Do your homework–Therapy is like a rest stop on the road of family life. It’s a place to get a cool drink, gather your thoughts, and stretch for a moment. But, the real stuff is happening outside of my therapy room. If I assign homework, it’s because I want to bridge the learning between sessions and encourage consistent change throughout the week. When you participate outside of therapy as well as inside the meetings, you will teach your children that family is important and that growth is everyone’s responsibility.

3) Ask Questions–Now is the time to ask your kids how they’re feeling and what they make out of challenges facing the family. Families who succed in therapy do so because they have learned to break out of old ruts and speak to one another in a process-oriented way. When you enlist your kids to help solve problems (including the ones they create) they will feel valued and give you a taste of their love and creativity.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how I can help you achieve your goals, please call me at (407) 913.4988 or email holly@lotustherapycenter.com

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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Follow Me on Twitter!

twitter logoThose of you who know me in any regard will remember that I have been fervently against capitulating to twitter juggernaut. Oh sure, everybody and their mamas are letting the world have a blow-by-blow of each and every waking moment. But I haven’t been sure that I want to participate in something like this simply because of the fact that I think producing a “tweet” sounds undignified. For some reason, it strikes me as a noise I would have been forbidden to make at the dinner table growing up.

But, after much pressure from friends and clients alike I am finally making the leap. If you would like to follow me, my twitter ID is HollyCoxLMFT. I’ll do my best to create some original content that will lead legions of followers to know more about good mental health, life balance, and healthy relationships. That, or you’ll know what I had for breakfast.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to discuss how I can be helpful to you, please call me at (407) 913-4988 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com

www.lotustherapycenter.com

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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

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