Fairy-tale stories of soul mates, love at first sight and finding happily ever after can make it tough for us to live in real-life relationships. The sooner we can accept that sharing our lives with someone can be complex and challenging, the sooner we can find connections that feel deep and meaningful. Authentic intimacy, as opposed to fantasies of unending passion, sometimes means having a bit more independence from our partner, and more self-sufficiency. Once you feel secure that you can give yourself love, support and protection, then you can ask for something realistic from someone else.
Some people need to lean in a bit more and attach; others need to heal codependency and become more separate. Read more about this concept in my blog post Why Your Spouse Can’t Make You Happy. Whether you need a sex and romance tune-up, premarital counseling, couples therapy or help through a divorce, I can teach you and your partner better communication and new ways of connecting.
I work with teens, with parents and then with the whole family to help each family member feel heard and understood. We try to balance keeping the peace in the house, with keeping healthy boundaries between kids and parents. So parents get to set the rules, and kids get to have a voice too, when and where it makes sense.
When families get out of whack, they stop seeing the good intentions behind each other’s behavior. For instance, mom might yell at her teen daughter about what time she came home last night. The daughter hears only the anger and mistrust, while mom actually means to say that she’s worried and wants what’s best for her. I help each family member find the words to say what they’re really feeling in a way that can be heard and appreciated.
Anxiety is a fear of the unknown, along with an assumption that the future will be a bad one. It is often not rooted in any kind of reality, even if the anxiety fear feels true. Instead, it’s a belief system so quickly enflamed and so endlessly repeated, that we end up believing in something that started out with only a grain of truth to it.
The first step on the road to relieving anxiety is to combine techniques that soothe both your mind and your body. My approach is multi-dimensional, helping you learn to examine and label your thoughts, relax and calm your body’s reactions, and find support from others (friends, family, support groups, therapists and clergy are a good starting place) to control worry. Together, we can tame anxiety and see it as it really is: a tormenting bully that needs to be erased.
While sadness and loss are a realistic and important part of life, when feeling low gets in the way of your work and relationships, it’s time to look into it further and learn where and when it can be controlled. My approach looks at your past (earned sadness and anger about what you’ve lost, what’s been taken, or what you regret); your present (living in the moment and accepting both the good and the bad) and your future (channeling hope and faith in order to plan for better days ahead).
I’ve written more about this in my blog post The Three Layers of Healing Depression and Grief. Talking to a therapist is a great way of getting an unbiased but understanding point of view when you’re feeling overwhelmed by feelings that aren’t working to your advantage. I can help you understand your unhappiness and accept its occasional presence, while also finding new tools to combat the pain and exhaustion it causes. You deserve better, and relief is within your reach.