Interview with Psychotherapist Rachel Buchan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was interested in people. This began as an interest in Theology and Anthropology, but whittled down to an interest in therapy — In the personal and subjective experiences an individual has rather than looking at those experiences on a larger scale or a group level. As I began to learn, I become very interested in the process of therapy, and the way in which a skilled form of listening and a therapeutic relationship can bring about change.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Watching an individual change. Without doubt. As a therapist, you are granted the permission to meet with someone often at their darkest times – at a point of crisis, chaos, pain, confusion. Over time you then become witness, in a very personal way, to the change that begins to come about for that person if the individual is putting the work into the counselling.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

For me it’s the focus on the individual. This sounds obvious, but the mode in which I work (integrative) means that my focus will be on that person, on their unique set of circumstances, experiences and personality, and what is the best way to work with them. This is very different to the concept of ‘this my mode of therapy and you either fit in with it or not’. Rather, integrative therapy encourages adapting your approach to the individual in front of you.

This also places the emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, which I think is best established by working this way.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

This links to the above question – I’m not a fan of tips / advice as my role as a counsellor is not to give out advice. Also, what will be a good ‘tip’ for one person will be completely different to another, as their circumstances will not be the same.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

My goodness, so many things! The good news is that at the moment, in the UK, this is being done for me. There is a big drive around raising public awareness of mental health, and caring for your mental health in the same way you would your physical health. This awareness also focuses on challenging the stigma that has traditionally surrounded mental health. So there’s lots of fantastic campaigns happening and many people are opening up about their own personal experiences of mental health, and the support they sought out.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The most important thing about mistakes in therapy is that they’re discussed. The onus for doing this I believe lies with the therapist who, if they think they made a mistake in some way, is first able to take it to supervision for discussion and second, if appropriate, has the ability to check in on what happened with the client; finding out how the client feels about it. The therapist is hopefully also able to be transparent with the client about what went wrong for them in that moment.
Equally, if the client has said or done something “triggering” for the therapist, the onus lies with the therapist to discuss this in supervision – exploring why they have reacted the way that they did, and whether this is to do with therapist and should be kept with the therapist, or whether it is potentially something useful to take back to the client and into the therapy.

“Mistakes” or what I would call “ruptures” in therapy are difficult, but if dealt with rather than shied away from, are often a very rich part of the therapeutic process.

Bio

You can learn more about Rachel Buchan at https://rachelbuchanpsychotherapy.co.uk.

Saving A Marriage After Separation

Often times, when things go south in a marriage, the next line of act is usually for the couples to separate. Separation isn’t a divorce, rather it is a period where the couple decides what they really want. The separation makes them understand whether the marriage is worth fighting for. If you intend to save your marriage after separating with your partner, here are some tips that can guide you. The

Take It Slowly

If you want to save your marriage after a separation, you need to take it slowly. Don’t push for anything, as your partner must want this as much as you want it. Take time out to think your decision through, and keep in mind that you cannot rush or force anything. Rather than patch up the issues you have, deal with them one after the other. Don’t threaten or give ultimatums to the other person, as this causes more harm than good. If the marriage is worth saving, the other person would see it, and you wouldn’t need to convince them to be with you.

Create Boundaries

While you both are separated, it is important to set healthy boundaries. Talk about what you expect from the separation and set rules that you both must follow. Refrain from any kind of intimacy or unnecessary emotional attachment, as it would only make things more complicated. If you have children, talk about visiting times so the children don’t have to feel distant from another parent. Health decisions and financial matters should also be discussed.

Don’t Be Too Needy

Being needy does more harm than good as it turns your partner off quicker than anything. The truth is simple; if they truly want to be with you or be around you, they would. Stop stalking, begging, calling, texting or asking them too many questions at the same time. The main focus here is to stay apart, not being together at every point in time. Also, start getting used to the fact that you can be by yourself and still be happy. Value yourself so you become the best version of you. Stay happy and fulfilled every time, so having a partner would just be a plus.

Seek Professional Help

One of the best ways to deal with this issue is to get help from therapists or marriage counselors. Apart from the fact that they are as objective as possible, they also help you communicate and relate differently with each other. They’ll help both of you understand each other by directly tackling whatever issues you are facing. It is important to note here that you should communicate your feelings and be as honest as possible with your partner and therapist. It might be an emotional roller coaster, but it would help the situation better.

Saving a marriage after separation takes a lot of work, and it can only be worth it if both of you are willing and able to scale through the situations you are facing.

How To Tell Your Husband You Want A Separation

Asking your husband for a separation is one of the toughest conversations a woman can have in her lifetime. You have a whole lot of emotions going through your mind ranging from anticipation to fear and sometimes, guilt. If you are willing and ready to go through this, here are some tips that would help you make the process easier.

Choose A Great Time/Place

Depending on the kind of person your partner is, this kind of discussion should be held in a private place. In cases where your partner has earlier exhibited abusive or violent traits, you might want to have this discussion in a public place, especially if you feel like he might hit you. Make time out to have the conversation and do not be in a hurry. If you both have children, ensure you do it have this discussion in their presence.

Expect A Reaction

If you have previously talked about your marital issues with your spouse, you should have a faint idea of how he’ll react to this. Prepare yourself to get different emotions from him. A good advice is to talk to a therapist or counselor before hand, so he or she would tell you the best way to go about it. You need to be careful if your words, reactions and behavior. It is never an easy thing to do, so just remain calm as no single action of yours can make him feel better.

Discuss Outcomes Of The Separation

After you must have told your spouse what you want, the next thing to do is to establish the exact thing you want for the separation. As hurtful as it might be, you and your spouse need to be in the same page. A separation doesn’t always have to end in divorce. It could be a stepping stone to a divorce, or I could be a period to take time alone and think of the hopes of reconciliation. Whichever the case may be, it is better to lay it out at an early stage. This gives clarity from the start.

Set A Limit

A good advice when asking your husband for a separation is to set a time limit. It could be weeks, months, half a year or a full year. Setting a limit would prevent both of you from dragging on for a longer period of time. Also, if you realize you keep asking for time to talk things over or stay apart, it may just be the time to end the marriage. It might get to a point where neither of you are willing to stay and fight for the marriage you had before. It is at that moment you will get to realize that both of you are better off apart.

Telling your husband you want a separation is difficult on its own, but how you say it can make the difference between a reconciliation and a divorce. Remember to remain as discreet as possible, as you should only tell close friends and family, rather than announce it on social media. Remember to remain calm all through the whole period.

Signs He will never Propose

At some point in every relationship, you’ll begin to assess the possibility of it lasting forever. In your mind’s eye, you’ve found the man you want to walk down the aisle with but any time you bring up the idea of long term commitment, he gets defensive and tries to shut you down. At this point, you’re beginning to worry and you’re thinking, “what if it was all a waste? What if he’s never going to take this relationship to the next level?” If you’re in a relationship that makes you feel this way, suppressing your fears should be the last thing. You need to get to the bottom of this and know for sure whether you’re going for him to pop the question forever. That’s why in this post, we’ve revealed some signs that he will never propose to you.

  • He avoids discussing marriage. If a man know that e’s never going to ask you to marry him, he’ll mostly try to avoid the discussion altogether. If you’ve observed that anytime you bring up marriage or anything that resembles long term commitment, he gets evasive or instantly tries to change the subject, then you might want to re-evaluate your relationship.
  • He has negative thoughts an opinions about marriage. So you’ve noticed that anytime marriage comes up, he has one negative comment or the other. Pay attention honey, he’s probably trying to tell you something. The chances that he will submit himself to an institution he doesn’t respect or think highly of are slim to none.
  • None of his long term plans include you. If someone believes that you are going to be a part of your life for a long time, their plans will reflect it. If none of his long term have anything to do with you, then that might be a sign that he has no intention of spending the rest of his life with you. For example, if he has no problem booking weekend gates but he goes cold when you bring up planning for an event in the not so near future, then that might be a red flag.
  • He hides you from his friends and family. A man who loves you wouldn’t hesitate to tell his friends and family about. But if you notice that he has to make an introduction every time you run into someone he knows, or he even tries to avoid making that introduction, there is a possibility that you’re wasting your best years with that man.
  • He’s all talk and action. Sometimes when a man is tired of getting asked about marriage and he just needs to get you off his back, he begins to make promises he has no intention of keeping. So you’ve noticed that a few months back when you brought up the topic, he seemed eager but till date no actions have been taken on those promises, you might be with a man who is just trying to stall.

If after reading this post, you feel like it’s addressing your relationship, relax and don’t do anything drastic. Have a conversation with your man and find out what exactly he wants. If he still seems unsure or dismissive, then you might want to cut your losses and move on.

Signs your ex is in a rebound relationship

One of the worst news a person can hear while nursing a heartbreak is that their ex, the one that just broke their heart, is in a new relationship within a short period of the breakup. You begin to wonder if they really loved you at all and why they were able to move on so fast.

Before wallowing in your misery, you should consider that they might be in a rebound relationship: that type of relationship which one gets into immediately after a breakup to ease the hurt.

Now you’re wondering how to tell if they are in a rebound relationship. We have put together some signs that will give away whether they are in a rebound relationship.

When did the relationship begin?

It has been proven that humans typically need time to grieve after a loss. One way of escaping this grieving period after a heartbreak is by going into another relationship without getting over the hurt of the breakup of the last one.

A month is about the average time a person needs to nurse a heartbreak, although some persons can get over heartbreaks in a shorter time. However, when your ex’s new relationship starts a few days or about two weeks to the breakup, chances are the relationship is a rebound relationship.

The timeline of the new relationship is one of the surest ways of telling if it is a rebound relationship because rebound relationships are known for kicking off a lot sooner than expected.

Who is the new relationship partner?

For rebound relationships, there is a high tendency that the new partner is someone who was already in your ex’s life when you were together, maybe as friend or colleague. It such happens that in the time after the breakup, they seek succor in that person who helps them nurse their wounds.

In the process of helping them heal, an unexpected relationship breaks forth. So, if the new partner is someone in their circle who they can readily develop fleeting affections for, then there is a higher tendency that it is a rebound relationship.

Does the new partner seem like an “upgrade” of you?

With a rebound relationship, your ex will most likely want to “step up” by getting involved with someone who is like you, and, to them, is an upgrade. Because losing you still hurts them, they tend to cloud the hurt by going into a relationship with someone with similar features to you, maybe their way of consoling themselves with another version of you.

Do you try to put the new relationship in your face?

Persons in rebound relationships tend to overly flaunt the relationship. That is their way of showing you and everyone else that they’ve moved on and got a “better” deal.

If your ex is in a rebound relationship, they will consciously make efforts to ensure that you’re aware of the new relationship and how “amazing” this new person is.

Rebound relationships are some of the most inconsistent relationships, and if your ex is in one, it clearly shows that they have not gotten over you.

How to Deal With the Silent Treatment from Your Spouse

One of the commonest ways couples fight is when one of them give the other person the silent treatment. Often times, the silent treatment happens when a partner pressures the other with complaints or requests but is met with total silence. It can be extremely frustrating for the other partner, as it causes more harm than good. The situation is a tricky one, so knowing how to deal with is key. Here are some practical ways to tackle this issue.

Understand the Reason

Sometimes, a lot of people have challenges in expressing how they feel about certain issues, so they bottle up their feelings and stay on their own. If your spouse falls into this category of people, then it’s very likely that they’ll give you the silent treatment, especially when they feel they can’t match your communication level. As the other person, you need to understand the reasons why your spouse gives you the silent treatment. That is the only way you can move forward in your relationship. It becomes both of you against the problem, rather than both of you against each other.

Talk About It

Communication is important in any relationship, so after you must have understood the reason for the silent treatment, talk to your partner about it. You must tread carefully here and try not to make “passive-aggressive” statements but clear and genuine ones. Start off by telling your partner how much you love and care about them, after which you go straight to the point. Talk about how you feel whenever they give you the silent treatment, and how it is taking a toll on your relationship. Ensure you say all this in a loving, friendly but firm tone.

Apologize When Necessary

Another way to deal with the silent treatment issue is to apologize if you have truly said something hurtful or hateful to your partner. Admit when you are wrong and sincerely take time out to apologize. However, you should never apologize for something you didn’t do. Rather, try to be supportive by being empathetic. Understand the situation so as to close the gap that has come between you two, if not, the gap would keep getting wider.

Set New Rules

After you and your partner must have talked about it, you should set new rules for communication. A good way to start this is to calm down after having a quarrel. Rather than have your emotions get flooded with intense feelings, take time out to calm down. After that, you can come back and talk through the conflict. This would resolve the issues you have as quickly as possible.

Finally, you and your partner would need to figure out healthier ways to confront all the situations you will be faced with. As much as you might not find a solution immediately, it will be a learning curve for both of you. If the situation is managed in a proper and healthy manner, then it would be a thing of the past.

When he pulls away early in the relationship

In relationships, mysterious things tend to happen. One of such mysterious things is him pulling away very early in the relationship. Everything is going great and then he unexpectedly pulls away from you and distants himself from the relationship. You’re sure that he likes you and that you had built a great connection but can’t tell why the relationship suddenly turned downhill.

This is not uncommon in relationships and can be quite frustrating when it occurs. Since your natural response is to find out why he is distant, we have put some of the likely reasons why he suddenly became distant together.

He has found someone else

This is a hard pill to swallow, and you’re probably thinking it should not be first on the list. However, it is important to have a reality check and consider the fact that maybe the relationship wasn’t as great as you thought. Maybe what you remember is an idea of him and not him. He may have found someone else and moved on to a new relationship and didn’t have the guts to tell you.

He is pressured

Even the best relationships come with a bit of pressure, especially relationships where one party overly adores and respects the other. The pressure comes from the fact that he isn’t comfortable with being idolized, and that’s the current situation of the relationship. He will feel the need to live up to a certain standard instead of being himself because of the way he is idolized by his partner

In such situations, he will take a break from the relationship, especially in its early phase, to get away from the pressures.

Things are moving too fast

Sometimes, the reason for his recent and unexpected ghosting behaviour is that things are moving too fast. Even though his likes his partner a lot, he wants to take things slower than they are currently going thus activating the escape mode.

When he feels like things are moving too fast, he begins to be concerned about how the pace of the relationship will affect other aspects of his life. To clear his head and put things in perspective, he then takes the break. The sudden nature of the break being because he felt an immediate need to leave or get choked.

He doesn’t love as much

Yes, there is also the probability that he doesn’t love his partner as much as they do. He will escape from the relationship if he finds out that his partner adores him and is very much in love with him when he is not sure he is even in love with them.

It’s possible to say and do the right things without really being in love with a person and that could be the case for him. He realizes that he really doesn’t love his partner that loves him to the moon and back and decides to leave without summoning the courage to talk to the partner. In this case, one can say he feels that his partner deserves better.

Men leave relationships for several reasons including the ones highlighted above early in the relationship. Sometimes they work out the issues and come back, other times they do not.

Why is my Husband so Selfish and Inconsiderate?

Why is my husband so selfish to me? This question is one that is not new to the ears of relationship experts and marriage counselors. When a spouse gets to the point where they have to ask this question, then you can tell how strained their relationship already is. Sometimes, these traits are obvious before marriage but we hope that can change them, other times there is absolutely no sign that the person you’re marrying will turn on you. Whatever the case may be, no one deserves to feel like they are in a marriage alone. If you’re caught in this position, then you need to understand why he is that way and how you want to deal with the answers you find. In this post, we’ll talk about some reasons why your husband is acting selfish towards you.

  • He’s gotten used to you. Sometimes with spend a lot of time together (like in a marriage), there is a tendency for one of them to get so used to the other that they don’t make any efforts anymore. To him, he’s now so familiar with you that he doesn’t need to impress you anymore so he does whatever he wants to do. If you don’t speak and tell him how his selfishness is affecting you and your marriage, he may just go on thinking that he is doing absolutely nothing wrong.
  • He expects you to understand. As relationships progress and people become older, they take on more responsibilities and their lives become harder to an extent. Given these circumstances, it is very easy for one partner to forget about the other’s needs with the hopes that they can see what they’re going through and understand. While this does not entirely make him a bad person, it assumes that your partner can read your minds and your feelings per time which is a ludicrous concept. So don’t chuck up your partner’s needs to, “Oh she can see that I’m trying to work on my life and my dreams, she should understand”. For husbands like this, speak to him and let him understand that he needs to let you in. Let him know how hurt you are and try to work it out with him. If he still cares about you, he will listen and make amends.
  • You’ve always been the one to make sacrifices. If you’ve always been the one to bend over in the relationship, or you’ve been the one who has always had to give up their life or comfort for the relationship to work, you will end up with a husband who believes he can do as he pleases and still have his relationship intact. In this case, your husband will always feel like no matter how selfish his actions are towards you, you will eventually adjust and the balance would be restored in your marriage. If this is your relationship, then you need to rise up and make new rules. Make it clear that going forward, you intend to choose yourself every now and then and as you do this, keep your word. With time and a husband who loves you and is willing to work on your relationship, you should begin to see positive changes in no time.

Characteristics of a Selfish Husband

Every woman’s hope when they go into a marriage is that they’re going into it with someone who will always have their back and support them. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky. Some women have ended up in marriages with inconsiderate and selfish men who have done nothing but make their lives harder. The worst part is that some of them think it’s normal. This belief is not only ignorant but also toxic because at the end of the day, there’s only so much selfishness a woman can handle. This is not to say that any marriage is perfect or any woman has it all, but when one partner’s lack of care and concern for the other outshines his love, that marriage is headed for the rocks. If you’re not so sure whether your husband is selfish, you could look out for the following characteristics.

  • He takes no interest in your life or your interests. If someone cares about you, they will take interest in the things that are important to you. That’s not the case with selfish husbands. A selfish husband does not care about your life or your aspirations, he pays no attention to your dreams and how he can help you achieve them. To a selfish husband, what you want does not matter because his wants will always be more important than yours.
  • He never apologizes. A selfish husband always believes that he is never wrong. It doesn’t matter how clearly you’ve been hurt by his actions or his words, a selfish husband will never acknowledge it. He would probably just chuck it up to you taking his actions out of context or you being overly sensitive. Either way, your feelings do not matter to him and he makes sure that you always know this.
  • His life and career will always be more important than yours. To a selfish husband, all that matters is that he sorts out his life and career first and yours will follow whatever path he has created. If you’re married to someone who constantly tries to undermine your work or insinuate that your career is not as important as his, we might have a selfish husband on our hands. Sometimes, it may even come cloaked as care. A selfish husband may say things like, I don’t want you to stress yourself working, just take care of the home”. To someone who is not observant, this may seem sweet but did he ever stop to ask you whether staying home is what YOU actually want? No? Then we have probably have a selfish husband on our hands.
  • He is lazy and doesn’t help out at home. If your husband can see how much of your time and energy goes into taking care of the home and he never offers to help, he’s most likely one of the selfish ones. Life is tough and everyone deserves all the help they can get especially from the one who made vows to always be there for you. Therefore, if he is always creating messes that he never attempts to clear up, he’s probably selfish.

The truth is marriage is not easy but it definitely requires that both parties put in the work. Anything other than that is not ideal and should be worked on.

Cell Phone Privacy in Marriage

For a long time coming, people have felt the need to check their partners’ phone. While this doesn’t just show disrespect and mistrust, snooping on your partners’ phone is an invasion of privacy. If you are curious avoid anything at all, brace up and talk to your partner about it. There is absolutely no reason why you should go behind his or her back to start checking their cellphone. If you are still thinking of doing so, here are some reasons why it is a terrible idea.

  • You Have Trust Issues. When you are in a relationship, your partner trusts you enough to leave their phone in your care. The least you could do is to that then back and offer them the same exact trust they gave you. Secretly searching their phone makes it easy to kill the trust and respect they once had for you. If you are in doubt about anything, take the decency to ask, rather than snoop. Besides, everyone is entitled to a certain level of privacy, including you. Don’t take that away from someone else, especially if it is someone you genuinely love.
  • You Wouldn’t Want It. If you are being honest with yourself, you wouldn’t want your partner going through your phone, even if you don’t have nothing to hide. It is simply an invasion of privacy. You wouldn’t want this to be done to you, so don’t do it to them either. If you are in doubt about anything at all, feel free to ask, as it is the only way you can get the truth. It gets worse if your partner catches you in the act, as you will look insecure, needy and desperate.
  • You Might Misinterpret Things. Often times, certain things speak for themselves. But there is a high probability that you will get the wrong idea about anything you see in the phone. Snooping often comes off from suspicion about what you feel might be happening, so you are all set and ready to “catch” then doing something. This can lead to you jumping into conclusions which is not good for the relationship or marriage.
  • It Can Ruin Your Relationship. Snooping on your partners phone can ruin your relationship. It takes you in a path of self destruction as you will constantly be insecure and anxious about what your partner is doing every time. This would make you nag and complain every single time, and this kind of bad energy can make your partner stay away from you. This negative energy that you have set can ruin your relationship in a very short period of time.

At the end of the day, if you are really in love with your partner, you will trust him or her and nurture the relationship. You will also know your boundaries and know when to draw the line. If the relationship is truly a happy one, there would be no point of snooping on their cellphones. As risky as love might be, show respect by not checking your partners phone.

Funny questions to ask a girl to make her laugh

As complicated as women seem, one fact remains constant: they love to laugh. This is an open knowledge that one can leverage on to win their crush. Although women love to laugh, they do not laugh at random jokes and questions, and it is important to be deliberate about making her laugh.

We present a pool of question that we are sure will make her laugh. These questions are generally lighthearted to both make her laugh and help you know more about her.

If you had to change one thing in the world, what will it be?

Now this question will bring out her naughty and wild side as she tries to explain in the midst of laughter that random thing that irks her. If she doesn’t begin to talk about some funny obsession, she will talk about her passion. Whichever path she choose, you win by making her laugh or getting to know the things she is really passionate about.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Seeing that you’re asking a question that will make her share a moment where she was very vulnerable, you can take the lead by sharing a moment you wished the earth will open under your earth. That way, she becomes more comfortable with telling you about that embarrassing moments in between bouts of laughter for the embarrassing moments.

What’s the dumbest pick-up line anyone has used on you?

You wouldn’t believe some of the really lame pick-up lines used on girls till date. She wouldn’t be able to stop herself from laughing as she shares the most ridiculous pick-up lines she’s heard.

This question could even lead into another conversation where you dispute some of the pick-up lines she finds ridiculous.

What’s that one thing you will never do again?

With this question, you’re asking about that thing she tried and forbade herself from ever doing it again. The experiences she may share may be similar to the ones you’ve had creating an opportunity for bonding better.

If you had to choose one superpower or become a superhero, what or who will it be?

Everyone has thought of having a certain superpower or being a certain superhero at a point in their life, and you may just find her answer interesting. As she tries to explain why she choose that superpower or superhero, you may just have a spinoff conversation filled with laughter. Your spinoff conversation may even be on who your favourite superhero is or was at a point.

Are you naughty or nice?

She may begin by saying she is a bit of both, naughty and nice, but she will eventually settle for one after you request she sticks to one. Be sure to get her explanation for being naughty or nice: that will definitely make her laugh.

When a girl laughs, she becomes more relaxed and the conversation can easily bloom. Whenever you need to make a girl laugh, be sure to consult this article for some guidance.

How long do rebound relationships last on average?

Heartbreaks can be terrible, and since humans have the universal need for love and affection, rebound relationships are some of ways that have been adapted for getting over a relationship. Rebound relationships are simply relationship that begin before one completely heals from a heartbreak whether from a breakup or divorce.

Rebound relationships are especially common amongst persons that were in a long-term relationship and can’t bear to be alone in the time after the breakup. So, they get into the next available relationship to help them get over the heartbreak.

How long do rebound relationships last?

As much as we will love to give a figure, matters of the heart unfold in different ways and such figures do not exist. Rebound relationships can last long if one stays committed to it and finds their new relationship worth the effort.

The short-term rebound relationships are so for obvious reasons. They were started without getting over the last relationship. In such relationships, the rebounder doesn’t gets to connect with their new partner properly because of the ghost of the past relationship.

Since we have established the fact that rebound relationships last for a variable length of time, we will be sharing characteristics of short and long-term rebound relationships.

Short-term rebound relationships

These relationships are intensely passionate and borne out of the need to fill the void created by the last relationship. The rebounder tends to find someone to take away the hurt caused by their ex, and they typically find the new partner very fast.

The relationship then proceeds in an emotionally draining and intense way to try to block out memories of the ex. As much as the rebounder will try to block out memories of their ex, they will unconsciously mention that ex every now and then in anger and compare their new partner to their ex.

When the rebounder gets over the last relationship, they leave the rebound relationship because all they needed the relationship for was to heal.

Long-term rebound relationships

These relationships just like the short-term ones start within a short period of the last breakup without proper healing. However, they differ from the short-term ones in that the rebounder then builds a genuine connection with the reboundee. What started as a rebound relationship then transitions into a proper loving relationship. The proper loving relationship occurring as a result of a commitment to the relationship.

Are rebound relationships bad?

We would say that rebound relationships are not entirely bad. The fact that the reboundee does not know that they are in a rebound relationship is a major con of rebound relationships.

The pros of rebound relationships are in the fact that the rebounder gets to heal faster from the heartbreak. The rebounder also gets a high level of confidence from rebound relationships.

Rebound relationship could be great and not so great. The outcome of a rebound relationship is dependent on the efforts put into the relationship of the rebounder.

How Stepchildren can ruin a Marriage

Nearly everyone who has had children from a previous marriage or relationship goes into a new marriage with the hopes of creating the perfect blended family. More often than not, these dreams are far from reality. With children who have been raised by a different parent and under different conditions than you’re offering, it might be hard to get them to see eye to eye with you. You have to understand them, their needs and not try to overstate your position with them else you risk losing your relationship entirely. So if you’re someone who is in this situation and it hasn’t been going well so far, or you’re just about to take the leap and want to make the best of it, here a few things you should know about step children and marriages.

  • There might be a little tussle for attention. Not every child understands the concept of loving different people equally. If you have children and you’re going into a new marriage, they might start to feel like their love was not enough for you or that our partner is trying to steal you from them. These unresolved sentiments will eventually grow into resentment and a whole lot of tension. Also, if you’re the one going into a marriage with someone who has kids, they might start to view as the imposter who is trying to disrupt their family dynamics. It’s worse if there the other parent was/is actively involved in their lives. To them, your presence might be interpreted as you trying to take their parent’s place. With situations like these, you have to show kindness without going overboard. Respect their space and understand that you cannot force a relationship with them. They have to come to you on their terms.
  • Your arguments about finances might increase. The thing about children is that they are expensive to care for. Now if you have a parent in the marriage who believes in going all the way for their children (even when it’s not exactly necessary) and another who is a bit more frugal with money, there will definitely be a lot of arguments about how the family’s finances should be spent. In this case, it necessary for both parents to come to a consensus on how they want to handle the issue and apply it across board to all children.
  • There might be disciplinary or boundary issues. Everyone does not define discipline in the same way. This might result in arguments very often. One person may be stricter and want to handle all children in that manner while others may assume that you’re going down too hard on the children. These arguments if not handled properly might result in conflicts that may lead to bigger issues in your relationship. As with every relationship, you will both have to compromise and come to a consensus on how to properly handle discipline with the children.

If you’re the one without kids in the relationship, remember that your partner’s kids are a huge part of their life and you should try to cut them some slack. On the other hand, if you’re the one with kids, try not to use your children as an excuse to not pay attention to your spouse. Blended families may be hard to maintain, but it is definitely not an impossible task.

How to act when he pulls away and comes back

Some of the things men in relationships do are downright unexpected and beyond one’s imagination. You’ve got a great thing going and may have even said goodnight in the cutest way there is a night before, and the next day he pulls away, distancing himself from you and the relationship.

When a man pulls away from a relationship, it is usually one of the most frustrating experiences as you keep wondering what changed. Psychology experts have noted that pulling away is part of the complex of reactions men give to romantic commitments, so his behaviour is somewhat normal.

It has also been proven that when men pull away from relationships, they do so to clear their heads and ensure that they’ve not lost their identity as individuals. Relationships come with personality changes and when men pull away, they are creating the needed space to ensure that their goals and identities have not been changed or obscured by the relationship. This reaction to commitment is typically because men cannot bear situations where they are subdued. The evaluation that occurs during the period they took that break can also make them better persons, according to relationship experts.

It is important to know how to act when he pulls away so that your reaction does not make matters worse.

Be supportive

Although you may not understand it, he is trying to be a better person for you. A lot of the times, he wouldn’t be able to exactly explain his distant nature, and you may have to show your support from a distance. In being supportive, you should also ensure that you give them the needed space.

Get involved in other things

Relationships tend to be time-consuming, and since you will getting some free time during his break, you should look forward to investing that time in some other ventures. If you’ve been trying to find time to embark on some self-development activities, the break is the time you are seeking. Also embark on a bit of self-evaluation to ensure that your heart is in the best place and that you’re loving yourself.

When he comes back

After deciding to go a break without letting you know, he comes back and begins to behave like all is well when you both know all isn’t well. You’re wondering how you should react to his disappearing and appearing act, and we’ve got some pointers to guide you

Talk to him about how the space made you feel

If you felt like the most unloved person in the world during that period, tell him. You should make him understand that no one wants to be ghosted after dealing with the challenge of daily activities in the 21st century.

At this point, you should agree on the future of the relationship. The space would have given you time to constructively consider the state of the relationship. If you no longer want tho continue with the relationship, you should tell him. If you decide to continue, be sure to establish the fact that such ghosting periods are prohibited in the relationship.

How to Deal with a Selfish Husband

Anyone who has had to deal with a selfish person can tell stories of how often they were hurt by their words or actions. Now imagine you had to share a life with this person, meaning they were always almost around. That’s what it’s like to be someone dealing with a selfish husband. Nothing erodes a marriage more quickly than a selfish spouse because marriage is a commitment to start treating yourself and your partner as two parts of a whole. If you’ve carefully assessed your marriage and you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re married to a selfish man, it may be time to start figuring out ways to handle him. In this post, I’ve highlighted a few things you could try out.

  • Talk to him. This may seem like a cliché but talking to your husband is one of the easiest ways to communicate to your husband that his actions are rubbing you the wrong way. The fact that you made it to marriage with person means that the both of you saw something in each other worth coming together. You should therefore be able to talk to your husband about anything that you’re not comfortable with. Be as genuine as possible and try not to make the conversation seem as if you’re coming at him. In as much as you want to make him feel comfortable during the conversation, make sure you’re always in control. A selfish person will most likely want to turn the conversation around and make themselves out to be the victim. Do not allow it. In all of this, make sure you don’t just pint out his selfishness but also how it is affecting you and your relationship.
  • Talk to someone close to him. Everyone has that one person whose advice they take very seriously. Figure out who that person is for your husband and speak to them. Make sure you explain clearly to them how his actions are affecting you directly so that they can speak to him on your behalf. Also, ask them questions about him. They just might know something about dealing with him than you don’t.
  • Suggest therapy. Now this is a very tricky one because a selfish person may be violently opposed to marriage counseling so you have to be very careful. Time the conversation so that it comes up even he is in a good mood. Try not to make it seem like you’re pointing fingers and blaming him for the failure of your relationship. Instead of saying things like, “we should see a therapist because your selfishness is ruining our marriage”, try saying, “our relationship could be even better than it is right now and counseling can help get us there”. And if you do convince him to try therapy, stay committed to it.

Remember, there’s only so much you can do to change how someone acts towards you. Focus on becoming a better person, do not try to pay them back in equal amounts of selfishness. If after all your efforts you realize that your husband is still not interested in becoming a better person for you and your relationship, it may be time to remove yourself from that environment. But before doing that, be absolutely sure that you’ve given it everything you’ve got.

How to get a guy to talk to you

Guys get to talk to you all the time. More often than not, they are the kind of guys you’re not interested and you keep wondering why the ones you are interested in do not summon the courage to come talk to you.

You’re not sure of what you’re doing to keep them away but would like things to change. Be rest assured that you are not asking for too much. What you need is actually quite simple: you need the kind of guys you like to initiate conversations with you. Since you cannot initiate these conversations because you feel that your move will be seen as too forward, there are certain things you can do to give him a go-ahead. We’ve put some of those things together.

Make eye contact

Your eyes meeting with that of a random person and staying there for more than a moment is a major way of sending signals across to the other person. So, make eye contact with him. If he noticed you and liked you, he will probably be stealing looks at you increasing the chances of making that eye contact. Making eye contact will boost his confidence level and inspire him to initiate that conversation.

Smile

Yes, send your best smile his way, especially when you make the eye contact. Guys hate to be told off and try to ensure that you’re approachable before they make any move, especially in public spaces. By smiling at him, you’re simply expressing your approachability.

Create meeting opportunities

Some guys will never talk to you except there is a need for the talk, even if they like you from afar. So, even if you wouldn’t be initiating the conversation, you can catalyze the conversation by creating meeting points. To do this, however, you need to know a bit more about him like where he grabs his coffee or works out.

Be involved in his interests

This doesn’t mean changing who you are to get that conversation though. This simply means being involved in any of his interests that seem fun to you. That way you are both creating an opportunity to meet up and content for the conversation.

Send him a drink

This is perfect for the cute guy you meet at a bar. Your chances of seeing him again and employing any of the other methods in this case are slim and sending him a drink is a sure way to get him to come over to your table and initiate a conversation.

Become friends with his friends

This is another method to employ if the situation permits. If he is something you will get to see often and don’t mind associating with the company he keeps, you can start by becoming friends with his friends. That way, you’re more in his orbit and the chances of him talking to you become greatly improved. However, this method should be applied with caution giving him the needed space. You don’t want to come across as desperate.

The act of getting a guy is quite straightforward: simply make yourself approachable. So, go ahead and make yourself approachable, he probably was already looking for an opportunity to talk to you.

How to propose a girl

You meet an amazing girl and are sure you want to be with her. You can’t shake off the feeling that what you share with her is completely genuine just like what she feels for you and want to take things one step further by proposing her. Now, you need all the information you can get on proposing a girl and the entire planning process. We have tailored this article to cater for your need. We will be sharing ideas that apply to a majority of women. As much as you just simply want her to say yes to the proposal, a proposal is a major life occurrence for women, and they cherish the moment forever. So you need to properly plan and execute the proposal.

Find out what she likes

She must have shared ideas with you about how she would love the proposal in the past, and if you can’t remember any, you can seek the help of other persons close to her. From what she likes, create a special moment and propose her. Incorporate as much of the things you remember to create a very special moment for the both of you.

Aim for intimacy

It is important to be able to include intimacy as you propose a girl. Create the ambience and give her a romantic proposal she wouldn’t forget in a hurry. No matter the type of proposal you decide to go with, you should ensure that the element of intimacy is not substituted for something else.

Be yourself

As much as you want her to have the best proposal, you also want to propose her in all sincerity: being true to yourself and her is a major element of a proposal. In spite of all the planning, when the sincerity of the purpose is lost, the proposal tends to lose its spark.

Thus, it is important to, in the time leading to the proposal, remind yourself of what an amazing girl she is which is why you got to the point of proposing. This is important to be yourself and propose her from the sincerity of your heart so that the planning and executing of the proposal isn’t just you going through the motions.

You should also prepare to pour your heart out in its depths to her. She probably wouldn’t hear everything you say because of the excitement but every part she hears and remembers should hit the mark.

Include memories from your relationship so far.

Include memories from your journey so far into the proposal. These memories could be in different forms: pictures, songs and, if possible, recreation of scenarios. Memories from moments you were both very happy to not so amazing memories blended together will make a great combination.

Get her a gift

A gift symbolizes love and is one more way you can show your affection for the girl you are proposing. There’s no specification for this gift in terms of cost and size. As long as it is something she can cherish for a while. You could also watch out for things she particularly needs in the time leading to the proposal and them for her.

When proposing a girl, you should aim for intimacy, serenity and honesty as they make any proposal beautiful.

I can’t talk to girls

As unbelievable as it may seem, there is a significant number of guys who find it difficult to talk to girls. They may thrive in other aspects of their lives, but talking to girls is that act they’ve found rather tasking.

In this article, we will be highlighting common reasons why guys that can’t talk to girls are that way and giving them pointers to how to initiate a great conversation with girls and simply get more attention from girls.

Why some guys can’t talk to a girl

There are a myriad of reasons why some guys can’t talk to girls, and we will be highlighting some of the commonest reasons.

They are shy

Shyness affects a lot of personal relationships, especially when it involves a girl. People can be so shy that they keep to themselves badly and never initiate any conversation with girls. For this set of persons, the remedy is quite straightforward: work on the shyness.

They’ve been rejected by a girl before

Rejection hurts, especially if it’s from a girl. Rejections can also damage one’s morale in terms of initiating a conversation with a girl. Everyone agrees that rejection hurts, but it is not enough reason to put off talking to girls completing.

Persons that can’t talk to girls because of a previous rejection may also not be able to tell that the rejection was what dampened their abilities to talk to girls.

They are inexperienced

Experience comes in handy when trying to talk to a girl. That person that can work the room and initiate conversations with any girl they like was not always like that. There was a time when their act wasn’t put together, and with experience they became better. Inexperience can be countered by experience, and persons that struggle with talking to women could begin to gather a bit of experience.

Now that we’be covered basic reasons why certain guys can’t talk to girls, we will be sharing tips about talking to girls.

Be yourself

Although you may feel that your quirks are unpresentable, you need to be yourself to initiate a conversation with a girl. If you try to be someone else, you will be too busy staying true to the character to have a meaningful conversation with her.

Develop self-confidence

Girls can easily tell a confident person from a person that has a low self-esteem. Thus in learning how to talk to girls, it is important to build a healthy level of self-confidence that will make you better at talking to girls.

Don’t be too serious

Overseriousness kills any conversation before it starts, especially if the conversation is with a girl. You should dial your seriousness down a bit to be able to talk to a lady. Also remember to smile as you approach her to initiate the conversation. Smiling puts you at ease. If possible, you can also try to make eye contact with her from across the room before initiating the conversation.

The act of talking to a girl is really simple, as you must have gotten from this article. Tidy up your end and begin having those conversations you have always wanted.

I went through my boyfriends phone and found something!

Everyone does something they regret once in a while. Going through your boyfriend’s phone could be that thing. Trust is an essential component of every relationship, and when you go through your boyfriend’s phone, trust tends to be broken both ways. By going through his phone, you break his trust, and if you find anything that suggests he hasn’t been completely faithful to you, you begin to stop trusting him.

You’ve gone through your boyfriend’s phone and found incriminating content and are now wondering what to do. This is a tricky situation, seeing that you broke his trust, and he broke yours, and the tables could turn both ways.

As much as you need to know what to do, it is also important for you to consider why you went through the phone. We will be addressing possible reasons why you went through the phone and then addressing ways to fix the issue at hand.

Why you went through his phone

Being in a relationship with a person means you trust that their intentions are sincere. When that level of trust is established, there is basically no need to snoop around their personal effects.

The fact that you went through your boyfriend’s phone is a red flag: it means that you don’t trust him enough. Acknowledging the fact that you have trust issues with your boyfriend is the first step in solving this problem. The fact that you went through his phone is an indication of insecurity, and it is also important to acknowledge your insecurities.

Now, what do you do?

Since we’ve established that it wasn’t in your place to go through his phone and that you have a bit of trust and insecurity issues, we will now share ways of getting yourself out of the mess.

Acknowledge your wrongdoing, to him of course

You’re going to have to talk to him about the fact that you went through his phone and found something, and it’s best to begin with acknowledging that you had no right to go through his phone.

Yes, you found something incriminating on his phone, but the best first step for you to make is to establish the fact that you breached his trust and privacy by going through the phone. You should know that he may get angry at you for going through his phone, and be prepared for his reaction.

Be entirely honest about how you feel

Although you will need to organize your thoughts so that you’re not overly emotional, you also need to be entirely honest about how you feel about what you found on his phone. Ask him as many questions as you need to get closure. You shouldn’t act like nothing happened and internalize your feeling. You will end up feeling worse.

Carefully consider the state of the relationship

You should also consider the state of your relationship and evaluate whether the love has been lost between you two. You went through his phone which is something persons that trust their boyfriends rarely do. He had something incriminating on his phone, another red flag. As much as you might hate to admit it, the relationship isn’t exactly great. Considering the state of the relationship will also help you to take the right steps whether in making things right or leaving the relationship.

It is important you remember that you will be tempted to jump to conclusions; please don’t do that.

My boyfriend is always on his phone!

No one wants their boyfriend’s attention stolen by another person much less a device, especially one as mobile as a phone. People take their phones everywhere, and that can be a major source of concern, especially if the phone gets in the way of making human interactions.

So, you were on a date the other day, and he was going through his phone the entire time, even worse than the last time. His behaviour got on every one of your nerves but you were calm throughout the date while asking him politely to put away his phone. He tried but kept going back to viewing his numerous feeds. Now you are wondering how to deal with the situation at hand: your boyfriend spends too much time on his phone, even in very private moments.

Your concerns are valid. No one deserves to have their boyfriend’s attention taken away by a phone, no matter the kind the kind of entertainment offered by the phone. We’ve put together a plan that will help you get your boyfriend’s attention back. You may have been feeling very powerless over the entire situation. We hope to empower you with this piece.

Evaluate that you do not have similar tendencies

It is easy to notice someone else’s misbehaviour without noticing yours. So we will starting with the man in the mirror. Evaluate and ensure that you don’t have similar tendencies. You shouldn’t do this evaluation within a very short time. Give the evaluation at least a week. If you have similar tendencies, even though not bad as his, you should work on yourself first before moving on to him.

Now, put your foot down!

After making sure that your phone doesn’t also steal his attention, it’s time you had a conversation about his phone habits. He may not even know that his habits get on your nerves as much as they do.

You wouldn’t be politely asking him to put away his phone anymore. Instead, you will be having a full conversation about his phone habits, telling him exactly how you feel about his habits. It will be great if you have your thoughts organized beforehand.

Set some rules

He usually agrees to putting away his phone when you ask but picks it up again, after a short time in most cases. This is because you haven’t agreed to a specific length of time he has to stay away from his phone.

Setting those rules will be very helpful. The rules will establish a standard and make him more aware of the fact that his behaviour is breaking the rules.

You could start with the standard “no phones at the dinner table” rule and improve on it. While trying to make these rules, you shouldn’t be out to “punish” him but to establish a situation where both parties make healthy compromises.

We are sure that this is a foolproof plan to get your boyfriend to spend less time on his phone when you’re together. You deserve as much as his attention as you can get back, and we hope that that’s what this plan brings you.

My boyfriend went through my phone!

You still can’t stop thinking about the fact that he went through your phone. “Why did he have to go through my phone”, you keep asking yourself. Whether he confessed to going through your phone or you found out some other way, it’s natural to keep wondering why he did it.

He shouldn’t have gone through your phone, but now he has done it, and you have to address the issue. Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that it is an issue worth addressing. You shouldn’t sweep it under the rug because things will most likely become worse.

Now, you’ve decided to address the fact that he went through your phone. Here are some pointers on how you should go about addressing this issue.

Try not to overreact

Finding out that someone you trust completely doesn’t trust you as much can be a big blow, and one may naturally freak out and overreact, especially if they didn’t confess the act to you. You should ensure that you don’t overreact because that will jeopardize your chances of handling the situation properly. Yes, they probably don’t trust you as much as they used to and that hurts, but you should be concerned about finding out why they did it.

Find out why they did it

As much as you may not be able to understand whatever reason they have for going through your phone, you should try hear them out.

If you found out that they went through your phone without them telling, present your findings to them in a rational way and ask them for their reasons. You already know that they do not trust you as much as you expect them; you should also know the reason for the loss of trust.

You may find out they went through your phone because they were concerned about what was between you and the new colleague you’ve become overly friendly with and are always charting it. This still comes down to them not trusting you enough but you can tell now that their concerns are a bit valid. Also, remember to be objective while they explain why they went snooping.

Address their concerns

Let’s continue with the scenario above where they were bothered about what was going on between you and the new colleague and wanted to find out things themselves from your phone. You should address their concern by explicitly explaining the relationship between you and the colleague.

You should make them understand that going through your phone was a complete breach of privacy and trust. They should be able to trust you enough to bring such concerns to you instead of going through your phone.

At this point, they should be repentant of their act and seek ways of making amends. You should also explain how finding out that they went through your phone made you feel.

Build a stronger relationship

The fact that he went thorough your phone is a clear indication that all is not well. At this point, both of you should address the issues in the relationship. The phone incident may just unearth issues they didn’t notice. Work through those issues and build a stronger relationship where no one will need to check the other person’s phone.

It is also important to carefully evaluate the state of your relationship. Sometimes, the incident may be the sign you need to make that permanent decision of leaving.

Why do guys stop texting for a few days?

You meet a guy, connect with him, go on a few dates, probably, and begin to text each other constantly. You tell each other about your days and even make jokes out of certain things that happen during the day. Then you text him and he doesn’t reply. In the time you’ve known him, you have established an average length of time it takes for him to answer your text. That length of time passes, and you still do not get your reply. Then you begin to wonder, “why hasn’t he replied my text?” Whether the relationship is a light or serious one, your worries are valid. Something bad may have happened to him, and your concern is naturally.

Then it is over 48 hours, and sincerely very bothered. “What happened to him?”, Was it something I did?” and similar thoughts begin to flood your head. You’re wondering why he hasn’t replied your text and are checking your past messages to examine the flow of your chats.

Although he may have genuine reasons for not replying your text, we bring you some of the top reasons why guys do not reply texts after a few days.

He is busy

He is probably busy, and you shouldn’t work yourself up. So, instead of playing scenarios continuously in your head, just concentrate on something else till he replies your text. It should be noted that, after 48 hours, there may be more to the situation than the fact that he is busy.

He isn’t the person you thought you knew

Chances are you met him a few weeks ago and everything has been magical since then, until he went AWOL on you. He probably isn’t the person you know and has gone to continue his other life. He may be in some other romantic relationship or even married. The fact remains that anyone who you met and bonded with to the extent of texting them regularly wouldn’t just stop answering your messages.

He is no longer interested in you

This is a hard pill to swallow and you should take it easy on yourself. There is the likelihood that he no longer likes you and decided that staying away and severing any form of contact with you will keep you away.

There are guys that resort to this means of severing ties with persons in their lives, and you have to consider the fact that he may be one of such guys.

The reasons for guys not replying texts are always not good, and it’s important to be committed to taking care of oneself during this period. The lack of closure can do a lot of damage to your health and mind if you let it. Here are some tips to stay in the best form throughout the initail period when it hurts

  • Don’t stalk him on social media
  • Don’t double or triple text him
  • Accept the fact that he is gone
  • Love yourself

There are good guys, and there bad guys. Only the bad ones do not reply texts without a genuine reason. The next person you will bind that much with will be a good one.

I resent my husband for not setting boundaries

Before marriage, everyone has all these exciting expectations that usually involve sunshine and rainbows. Even those who boast of happy marriages never tell the full story so a lot of people are actually shocked when it’s finally their turn. You hear stories of how they found the love of their lives, and how their partners complete them. But nobody ever warns you that getting married to someone means they will ALWAYS be there. As in, even in times when you just want to be left alone, this person will still be there. For a former single person who is used to having their own space and doing things other way, this may be very unsettling especially if you have a partner that refuses to honor your boundaries. In cases like this, if it not addressed soon enough, then you begin to hear complaints like, I hate that my wife doesn’t get that I need space” or “I resent my husband for not setting boundaries”. Some people don’t even have boundaries and that alone is a recipe for disaster. With marriage, boundaries are very necessary because a life time is too long to spend with someone you resent.

While having boundaries is very important, that alone is not sufficient. You need to let your partner know that any violation would result in consequences that you should be more than ready to follow up with. If you’re not sure about how to establish consequences for boundary violations, here are a few things you should know.

  • Make sure they are deliberate and not impulsive. If your consequences are going to have any effect at all, then you need to be deliberate about them. Do not wait until you’ve been violated to make that decision. That way, when it happens, you are not caught unawares and you don’t react emotionally as tis could ruin the intended effect.
  • Make sure it is a related consequence. When establishing boundaries and consequences, make sure they are related. For example, if your husband goes through leaves his clothes lying around, get him to do the laundry for a week. That way, he sees that his actions affect you and you’re doing something about it.
  • It should be appropriate for the crime. When establishing consequences make sure that they are just as severe as the violation is. If the consequence is not as severe, your spouse begins to feel like he can do what he wants and just get a slap on the wrist. On the other hand, if it is too sever, it may begin to feel like you’re overreacting.
  • You should be able to enforce it. If you are going to establish a consequence, make sure it is something you know you can enforce. Don’t go creating consequences that you’ll never be able to follow through because that will only make you appear as more of a joke to them.

While you do all of this, make sure you are following up with your partner’s character. If you’ve noticed that all that you’ve tried is not working and you still do not get the respect that you desire, you may need to start seeking out more drastic solutions.

Is She Playing Hard to Get or Not Interested?

With the number of happy relationships being flaunted on social media, you would think that women have men completely figure out and vice versa. However, a lot of men are still trying (and failing) to decipher the actions of women. So now you’ve met this girl whose feeling you’re not sure about. Does she like you? Is she playing hard to get or is she simply not interested? The line between these two is really not as thin as people make it out to be. See if a girl is playing hard to get, chances are she likes you a whole lot but is probably too scared to give in so quickly. On the other hand, if she’s not interested, best believe there are no feelings brewing. If you’ve had these questions, you need to start paying more attention to how she responds to you and you may have your answer. Here are a couple signs that may help you figure out which side of the fence you’re standing on right now.

  • How she responds to your texts: If a girl is playing hard to get, she may want to hold off on being the first to text you. When you eventually text her, she might also play busy and not respond immediately but she will definitely respond. On the other hand, if she’s not interested in you, she might just gloss over your messages and not respond to them.
  • How she reacts when she knows you’ve been hanging with other girls: As we earlier said, a girl who is playing hard to get probably like you a whole lot. This means that if she sees or hears about you hanging with other girls, you might notice an expression of mild jealously. If she’s not interested, she would really not care what you’re out doing. She might even try to set you up with some of her friends.
  • What her friends know about you. If a girl likes someone, her friends would probably hear all about it. If you hang out with her and her friends and there are indications that she has been taking about you in an endearing manner, you are in luck my friend. If you however meet her friends and they either don’t know you or they refer to you as the creep who has been bugging their friend, you may want to cut your losses on this one.
  • What she tells you. When a girl out rightly tells you “No”, you should probably listen to her. A girl who likes you may put you on hold, flirt with you and then leave you hanging for a while but she would never tell you to leave her alone in plain words. So if this girl you’re trying to talk to has clearly made it known that she’s not interested and she doesn’t appreciate the advances, respect her space and take several steps back.

If you’ve noticed any of the signs that she’s not interested, then pull yourself out of that situation and give her some space. You deserve better in a relationship and so does she.

How to Make a Marriage Work with Stepchildren

In all honesty, being a step-parent is a Herculean task. It comes with a lot of ups and downs and if care is not taken, it can cause a huge strain on your marriage. Marriages on their own require a whole lot of hard work, not to talk of adding the stress of having step-children. Some might never accept you and would stop at almost nothing to make life hard for you. However, with these tips highlighted below, you can still make your marriage work when step-children are involved.

Set Boundaries

If you want to enjoy your marriage with step-children involved, you need to set boundaries as quickly as possible. You should let the children be aware of what is acceptable with you and what is not. It goes in both ways, as you should equally respect their own boundaries, especially if they are teenagers. No issue should be seen as too big or too little for boundaries to be set. It would breed respect and become an important aspect of your daily lives.

Grow Thick Skin

To have a successful blended family, you need to develop a thick skin while being sensitive to emotions as well. You need to take out time to put all your insecurities aside, because having step-children isn’t going to be an easy both ride. You will get compared a lot, you might get picked on, and the children might hate you or even say hurtful things about you. You need to take this unnecessary stress out without letting it put a strain on your marriage. In most cases, it all works out in the end.

Allow the Parent to Discipline

It is important to note that you should take a step back and let the parent do the disciplining. You can not decide to discipline them, especially in the early stages of your marriage. They need to know you to a certain extent and be comfortable enough to trust you. They definitely would not listen to you because you are their new parent. Start the process slowly by becoming actively involved in laying down rumors, however never punish them when the rules are broken. This would prevent the children from seeing you as the bad guy.

Never Let Your Spouse Choose Sides

When step-children are involved, never put your spouse in the position of choosing between you and the children. This is terrible for not just the kids, but for your marriage as a whole. In situations where you are having a discussion where a decision has to be made, you could use code languages that only you and your partner would understand. You could also discuss the issue later, but never give your spouse an ultimatum.

Finally, remember making your marriage work is just as important as raising children. They would not live with you forever, so make great memories with them while you can. It takes a lot of patience and maturity, but with your partner by your side, it can be a walk in the park.

How to deal with husband working night shift?

The dream of almost every married woman is to have her husband by her side every time, especially at night. Having him around makes her feel loved, secure and happy. However, there are sometimes when your husband would need a little extra money to meet the family’s needs. In cases like this, your husband might need to work the night shift. Most times, it becomes lonely for you and the kids, but you can still cope with the situation in the following ways.

Plan Dates To Maximize Intimacy

Since you know your husband works hard at night, you need to set out days where you’ll have dates on a weekly basis. These intimate moments are critical as you both have to take any opportunity to be affectionate and intimate towards each other. In addition to that, spend anytime you get cuddling on the couch or in bed. Leave sweet love notes in his lunch box, wallet or in the pockets of his shirt. Even if he is busy working, he would feel special and appreciated when he sees it while working. The time you spend with him should be kept sacred, so you have to make the most out of it.

Stay In Shape

While your husband is working at night, you could use that time to work out. You could go to a gym at night, or better still stay at home and engage in workout sessions. This is generally a great idea of your children are asleep. Try sit-ups, squats, lunges, planks and so on. Staying in the best shape would make you feel good about yourself and improve your confidence level with or without your husband being around.

Communicate Regularly

Thankfully, technology has made it easier for us to communicate as often as we want to. So, your husband working at night doesn’t mean you can’t talk to him. With Skype, FaceTime, and other social media platforms, you can talk to him anytime you want to. You can also text as often as you want to (if his job permits him to use his phone). Use that opportunity to send him your pictures and videos. This would make him anticipate and want to come home to you.

Respect His Sleeping Needs

As much as you want to maximize the time you spend with your partner, you need to respect his sleeping needs. As tempting as it might be to wake him up to spend time with you, it can be a bit exhausting for him because he needs as much sleep as he can get. Less sleep can make him resentful and cranky at work, and you definitely don’t want him to be that way at work. Let him sleep and wake up at his own time, then you both can decide what to do with the time when he is awake.

By prioritizing and rescheduling properly, your husband’s night shifts will not cause a strain in your marriage. As long as you both are on the same page, everything will work out just fine.

What Causes Resentment in a Marriage?

It is no news that one of the many slow poisons that is fast killing marriages is resentment. With resentment, it just doesn’t happen, it is built up overtime. Marriages where both partners are used to bottling up emotions or sweeping differences under the rug, in no time these marriages will be overcome by resentment. Marriage is a joint partnership, so it doesn’t just involve one person. If any of the partners have started to harbor feelings of resentment towards the other, it is necessary that they get to the root cause before it goes out of hand. These feelings of resentment could be caused any of several factors, but they all involve a form of injustice, wrongdoing or offense by the other partner. In this post, we have highlighted a few reasons why partners could begin to feel resentment in a marriage.

  • Unfulfilled Desires. Just like any relationship, resentment in marriage could be as a result of unmet desires. This happens especially when both parties had high expectations for the marriage. It could be in terms of finances, communication and even intimacy. You might start to feel like your partner is either not doing or giving enough for the marriage to be what you want it to be. This would make you cranky and end up having resentment in your marriage.
  • Selfishness. Another huge cause of resentment in marriage is selfishness. If you want to be married, you need to be as selfless as you can be. Always put your partner’s needs before your own. This not only makes your partner love and respect you more, but he or she would do the same. It nourishes the union as you both would always be on the same page without expecting anything or being too entitled to things.
  • Failing To Keep Promises. If you cannot keep your promises, then don’t make them. Broken and unfulfilled promises are detrimental to your marriage, especially because your partner would keep anticipating what you say you would do, then get disappointed. When this is done over and over again, your partner would totally loose trust and faith in you, and make them resent you for a long time.
  • Non-Appreciation of Efforts. A major cause of resentment in marriage is when a partner does not appreciate the effort of the other partner. This can be particularly frustrating, especially when the partner is doing his or her best to make the other person happy. Instead of constantly talking about what is wrong, take a moment each day to appreciate whatever your spouse is doing. It doesn’t have to be something huge, as it can be as little as taking the trash out of the bin. We’re all humans and we love to hear how appreciated we are.

Resentment is a horrible thing to happen in any marriage, as it even kills the intimacy involved. If your marriage is suffering from resentment, try and work things out with your spouse, before the wall of resentment becomes too high for you both to climb.

Wife Doesn’t Respect Me

One of the fundamental keys to a successful marriage is respect. Respect makes either partner feel loved and cared for. It particularly does wonders to the self esteem of the partner. But what do you do in cases where you feel you are being disrespected? If you have reached that frustrating point in your marriage where you think your wife does not respect you, you might want to find out the reason for this. Here are some top reasons why she doesn’t respect you.

  • You’re Irresponsible. One major reason why your wife doesn’t respect you is because you are irresponsible. If she has a busy 9-5 life and a career she is passionate about, but you do nothing other than hang on the couch, eat and play video games, the she wouldn’t respect you. This is because the bills will fall in her and you are in no way trying to help. Most women actually feel like they are taken advantage of, especially when their husband doesn’t support with things around the house. If you fall among these category of men, then there is no way your wife would respect you.
  • Nasty Behavior. If you have a nasty behavior, there are high chances that your wife wouldn’t respect you. Each day, we gave a lot of challenges and humans, and sometimes we need that special someone to help comfort and make us happy. If you have a bad behavior, and you are easily angry, irritated, cranky, your wife might not be happy to be around you. She’ll see you as a bad person that always gives off a bad vibe. Because of this, she might not respect you in any way.
  • Anger. If your wife is upset about an ongoing conflict, she would definitely not respect you. This is especially evident if she has tried to talk about it to you time and time again. If you dismiss her with an apology without tackling the root cause of the issue, then there is a high probability that she wouldn’t respect you. She’ll see you as a coward person who would rather not face issues as they come. Marriage is all about compromise and forgiveness, especially when differences arise. If you find yourself feeling disrespected, it might be as a result of not settling an issue the way it should be.
  • Absence of Dominance. Some men think by being by not been firm in their thoughts and decisions would make their marriage a happy one. This is wrong as men as supposed to take charge and remain firm in all they do. This doesn’t mean you should be domineering, but you should always put your feet down as the man of the house. Don’t just do whatever your wife pleases. If you lack dominance, she wouldn’t respect you, as she can even make major decisions without consulting you.

You can still talk to you wife about this issue if you feel disrespected. Remember, respect is reciprocal, so you should equally give and show her the respect she deserves. With that, you would be sure to have a happy marriage.

Signs My Separated Wife Wants to Reconcile?

Not everyone rides into the sunset with the man/woman of their dreams. Sometimes, relationships and marriages come to an end. This does not mean that your feelings for that person will suddenly fade. You may even toy with the idea of giving your love another chance. While this might seem like something you should try out, you have to be entirely sure that you’re ready to do things differently and that it’s something that you both want. If you’re suspecting that your separated wife may be trying to mend your relationship, here are a few signs you should start looking out for.

  • She always tries to keep in touch with you. If your ex-wife is always calling or texting you first and trying to set up meetings with you, it might be a sign that there are some unresolved feelings on her part. This is a clear sign that she misses you and she’s only trying to come up with chances for the two of you to remain in each other’s lives.
  • She’s always showing interest in your life. If you have an ex-wife who is constantly asking about your life and how your plans are going, chances are she’s trying to get back with you. The truth is people are rarely invested in people that they do not care about. The fact that she is always interested in knowing what you’ve been up to is a sign that she still cares about you and would probably not mind giving your relationship another try.
  • She brings up the past A LOT. If a woman is constantly bringing up your relationship and all the good memories it had, she’s most likely trying to rekindle the flame. All of a sudden, every random happening is somehow used a reference to something that happened in your relationship. Don’t be deceived, those are not random conversation topics. That woman is definitely trying to rekindle something with you. I mean, if it was all sunflowers and daisies while it lasted, why did it end in the first place?
  • You “randomly” bump into her a lot. Yeah right. You shared a life with this woman, I’m pretty sure she has a good idea of where to find you. She’s showing up in all the places you frequently visit because she’s trying to run into you. If you’ve noticed that you’re bumping into her a whole lot, then she’s probably placing herself in those places intentionally.
  • She has told you she still has feelings for you. Some women do not have the time to play mind games or drop subtle hints with you. If your ex-wife is one of those women who have no problems expressing themselves, she might just out rightly say so (even though some of them may try to pass it off as a joke).

While trying to work on a failed relationship is not exactly a bad idea, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not just because it feels familiar or because the other person wants. Take your time to figure out what you want and make sur you do what’s best for you.

Taking a break in a relationship: rules?

Breaks are necessary in relationships for several reasons: to find one’s self and evaluate the state of the relationship amongst others. Thus, breaks in relationships are strategic and purposeful. As such, some ground rules should be laid down when a couple decide to take a break from a relationship.

The rules are important to ensure that the break serves its purpose and that the best decisions are made after the break. Here are some ground rules which have been established for couples taking a break from their relationship.

Discuss the need for the break

Couples do not just randomly go on breaks. They carefully consider the option of taking a break and then act on it. The relationship may still be going great, but both parties know that they’ve lost a part of their initial connection and want to take some time off to find themselves and probably become better lovers. Thus, it is important to discuss the need of the break instead of just ghosting each other. It is also important to do this discussion in person as other virtual forms of communication may lead to lose of the essence of the discussion.

Discuss the situation of things explicitly

A lot of things tend to be left unsaid in moments such as when couples are deciding whether they should go on a break. The unsaid portions of the discussion typically include the bulk and most important parts of the discussion.

If things are going to be left unsaid when deciding whether to go on breaks and the terms and conditions of the break, more damage will be caused. Thus, both parties have to be committed to explicitly discussing how they currently feel and what they hope to achieve with the break.

Establish communication rules during the break

A break should be an actual break or it will lose its essence. Thus, it is important for both parties to agree to specific rules as per communication to achieve the goals of the break. As hard as it may be, it is essential to cut all forms of communication during the break except in emergency situations.

The essence of relationship breaks is to get one’s head out of the space of the relationship to be able to make decisions as regards the future of the relationship. This essence will be lost if ground rules such as severing communication are not maintained.

Establish a timeline

Establishing a timeline for the break is another essential ground rule. Any intervention or correction method typically has a timeline as should be the case for breaks in relationships. That way both parties know that they have a specific amount of time to stay away from the relationship and consider the next step in the relationship. The timeline should also be mutually agreed on by both parties.

Without rules such as the ones stated above, relationship breaks are not effective. If a couple is going on a break, it is important to make the break count, and that’s what these rules ensure.

Taking a break from dating

Everyone hopes to find that one person that sweeps them away and is everything and more to them, and with this intention, they go from one relationship to the other hoping to find the one. As much as it is important to date while finding the one, it is also important to know when to take a clean break from dating. We bring you some of the reasons why taking a break from dating is a great idea.

Allows you find yourself

Being with someone or going from one relationship to another can make you lose a bit of your personality. To connect back to yourself, taking a break might be necessary. You could concentrate so much on being a great partner and forget to concentrate on your goals taking a break could put you back in the right perspective.

Enables you meet new people

You may have been going from one relationship to another so fast that you have not had time to meet people outside your immediate circle. Being in exclusive relationships prevents a person from mingling as much as they want to, and during the break, they may be meet new persons. These new persons may even be more interesting than their current circle, and there’s no harm in expanding one’s circle.

Helps you redefine love

Sometimes, a break from dating is what a person needs to be sure that they were actually in love with the person they were dating. While on a break, a person will be able to consider the relationship objectively and decide whether they love the person they were with or just stayed in the relationship because of its convenience.

Offers clarity

The ability to constructively consider a relationship is strengthened by not being in a relationship. Firstly, taking a break means one’s mind wouldn’t be clouded by bias. Also, taking a break means being able to evaluate the pattern of the relationship whether it is proceeding like others that have ended in heartbreaks.

Provides opportunities for self-development

You may not realise how much you’ve slacked on your self-development plan until you’ve taken a break from a relationship. Relationships require investments of time, and sometimes, unknowingly, they may be all that you invest your energy into. When you take a break from a relationship, you get the space needed to see the little progress you have made on your self-development plan.

Teaches you to love

Yes, a break from dating can teach you to be a better lover. Persons who have found themselves are known to be better lovers, and that’s the basis of this particular point. When you take some time to breathe, and just enjoy the things you love, especially if you have be serially going from one relationship to another, you are bound to find other ways to love your partner better and be committed to them.

Taking a break from dating is not a completely bad idea. Any relationship that was meant to be will only blossom with such breaks. The benefits of breaks in relationships simply stems from the fact that both parties find time to concentrate on being better persons which is translated to being better lovers.

Stop texting him to get his attention!

You like a guy and can’t stop texting him and doing everything in your power to be around him. As cute as your actions may seem, you don’t want to be that person that is seen as clingy and annoying by their crush, and that’s exactly what you’re gunning for.
Having a crush on a guy can be a very great feeling. You get butterflies in your stomach when he is around and can’t wait for him to be around, even if you’re not sure he is aware of your crush on him. You also tend to do things you would typically not do when you’re crushing on someone. Texting him continuously shouldn’t be one of those things, and we have several reasons for this.
He will see you as clingy
Yes, your texting him every 15 minutes will make him see you as the clingy person that won’t let him be. You shouldn’t be that person. No guy wants to be with someone who can’t give them some space, at least the standard amount if space. By texting him nonstop, you’re showing that you are that kind of person.
So, simply put texting him to get his attention makes you seem clingy and will destroy your chances to being in a relationship with him, if that’s the goal or just being close to him.
Guys do not want to be chased
No matter how enlighted and modern a man is, he still feels the need to do the chasing instead of the other way which is what you’re doing. Guys generally love to go after who they are interested in and get them, as established by relationship experts.
When things are the the reverse, they lose their interest in the person. This is another evidence that, by chasing him, which you are doing with your texts, he will most likely lose interest in you.
At this point, you may be thinking that you like him so much and texting is that sure way of getting his attention. News flash, it isn’t. Here are some other ways you can go about things
Text him less often
We are sure that you expected this at the top of this list as it deserves. You should text him less often. Take your chances and be sure that he even likes you. When you give him more space, he will miss you and come looking for you, the way it is supposed to be.
Play hard to get
If he actually liked you and started to initiate conversations, then you should push it a bit harder by playing hard to get. Although, you initially sent him signals, begin to make yourself unavailable behaving like you were initially interested in him. You could also flirt with other busy whether in his presence or not.
Set boundaries
You’re still the person that has a massive crush on him, remember. So you have to set boundaries that do not make you seem desperate. It is because you want whatever happens between you two to be genuine and not rushed.
If he really likes you and got in touch with you, at this point you should have developed a natural bond that is mutual and not some clingy one-sided relationship. You’re welcome.

Long distance relationship: Valentines Day

Valentine’s day is something every couple gets a little excited about. It’s the time to give your partner something nice, or plan an amazing trip to some place romantic, or just simply spend time together. But what if you can’t do any of that because hundreds of miles separate the two of you?

Being in a long-distance relationship really is unfortunate. According to a long-distance relationship statistics website, 40% of these relationships end up breaking up. But why include your relationship to the percentage of failed long-distance relationships? Just keep firing up that love machine that is your heart and you’re sure to survive being apart.

If you’re the type of person who is willing to be a bit extra for your special someone, then here are some tips to ease your partner’s pain of not spending this sweet little holiday with you.

1. Plan a Breakfast Special

Have their favorite meal from their go-to fast food chain delivered right at their doorstep. After all, there’s nothing like waking up to your favorite comfort food. Knowing that you made a dear effort of giving them a breakfast surprise will surely get them smiling through the day.

For an additional love seasoning, ask for the fastfood crew to write your nickname for your beau on the paperbag. It’s cheesy all right, but you can’t deny that it’s terribly cute!

2. Start the Day Right

If #1 isn’t applicable, then better start their day with just a simple phone call. Hearing your voice might be the way to jump start their day. An even better option is to FaceTime them, so they can see that sweet smile of yours. It’s like waking up next to you!

If it really is impossible call them, leave a video message with a Happy Valentine’s greeting will just be as thoughtful. You can even spice up the video by singing their favorite song, or dancing if that’s what you prefer.

3. Have Little Gift Surprises Prepared

Isn’t it romantic if your partner gets tiny gifts at random points of the day? It may be a bundle of heart-shaped balloons tied to their mailbox that they will see once they step out of their front door. It may be a box of chocolates waiting on their desk once they get to their workplace. It might even be a giant teddy bear waiting at their bedroom once they get home. It doesn’t really matter what size the gift is, or in what manner the surprise is going to be. All that matters is that you make up for not being by their side on a supposed love-filled day.

4. Send Something You Hand-Crafted Yourself

It’s time to get artsy and channel your inner Picasso/Michelangelo. Think of something that your partner really likes and turn it into an artwork. For example, you can paint your own version of their favorite painting. Another example is to personalize a shirt by painting the movie poster of their favorite film into it. If you have a pet name for your partner, let’s say “Bunny”, then make a sculpture of a bunny rabbit! The possibilities are endless if you just think it through! If you aren’t that crafty, then just use your resources. The internet has tutorials for EVERYTHING now.

5. Dinner Date via Skype Followed by a Movie Date

Just because you are miles apart doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a meal together. All you need is to set up your table at home, then place your videochatting device on the other end of the table. Dress up if you want to make it even more realistic! Have your food prepared on your table and make it look as if you’re having an actual dinner date! After dinner, you both play a movie at the same time while talking to each other on the phone to make it seem like you’re watching side-by-side. Now isn’t that a fun, romantic night?

6. Send a Heart-Filled Letter

Nothing beats a love letter. Overrated you say? WELL, I THINK NOT. Love letters contain the purest of words that somebody can say to their lover. It is where you can put your heart and soul into writing. This expression of love can be preserved for a very long time. Even if you read the letter again after a few years, you will still feel the strong emotions flowing from the words of the writer. Remember to write your heart out for letters are timeless.

7. Reschedule Valentine’s Day

Who says you can’t schedule Valentine’s Day on some other date. There are no rules in love! Have something special planned like an out-of-town trip when you finally get to see your partner again. Now that you’re finally reunited, go ahead and celebrate!

How to tell if a girl is using you

Are you unsure about your woman’s feelings for you?

Is that woman really into you in the first place?

Do you have a tiny hunch that your gal is only using you?

Find out from these tips on HOW TO TELL IF A GIRL IS USING YOU:

She does not introduce you to friends and family. When she does, she refers to you as a friend.

If she does not bring up anything about her friends and family, then clearly, she does not want you near them. This plainly means that you’re not that important to her to even bother to introduce you to them. She might not want to let them know about you because she considers you as his temporary guy. When there are inevitable instances when the two of you cross paths with her relative or friend, she sadly introduces you as her guy friend. If this has been going on for a while, then chances are she’s just using you for some reason. Maybe she just wants love and affection, or a man’s attention. Why would she hide you from people she personally knows if she is really into you? This is something that you should not allow to keep going. Either confront her or leave her.

She openly demands pricey things and acts out when she does not get what she wants.

Most women would just drop hints to you about the things they want to receive as gifts. Usually, these hints are just subtle techniques to get you a clue about what they really like. However, when a woman is very vocal and upfront about her demands, especially when everything she fancies have hefty price tags, that’s a problem. Now, your woman could just be used to a lavish lifestyle. But if she pushes you away or gets upset every single time you do not give her the things she desires, then that raises a red flag about her intentions about your relationship. She could only be after your money. If you continuously give in to her material wishes, she’s going to rob you empty!

She always makes it about her and never about you.

Is it starting to hit you that all you two ever did is what she wanted? Attend an event that she likes, dine in a restaurant she suggested, visit a new boutique she’s long been waiting to open. When it’s time for you to suggest what to do or where to go, a sudden excuse comes up telling you she can’t go. This can mean that she’s using you to pay for her ridiculously impractical expenses!

Have you also noticed that she almost always talks about only herself and rants to you about all her problems? She does all the talking and bothers you with all her troubles and worries. You’re all ears and allow her to let it all out. When it’s your time to talk and let something out she acts all uninterested. This woman is just using you and your time. She just wants someone to pay attention to her while she whines about her petty life. This woman uses you to her advantage.

She wants a lot of space

If a woman asks for some time alone, it’s all right. Give her the space she needs. When she asks for it and totally ignores you for a long time, then that’s fair a warning for you to watch out for this girl. Especially if this happen all the time. One minute she’s all needy and wants you near then one minute she completely shuts you out. Something’s clearly up with her. Never let this thing slide and better check things with her about what’s going on. You wouldn’t want to waste your time wondering when she will be asking for you to be with her again, right? Besides, during those days that she shuts you out, she could very well be entertaining another guy.

She does not make it clear what your relationship status is

Many women like leading on men. She shows all the signs that she likes you. She even allows you to be intimate with her. However, that is the only clue that you have about her relationship with you – THE SIGNS AND THE INTIMACY. She does not make it known to you whether you are in the dating status or not. She leaves you guessing. Whenever you ask her what your relationship status is, she diverts the topic. She distracts you with her body to get you temporarily satisfied in order to avoid the question. Better have a firm answer from her where your relationship is going. For all you know, she’s just toying with you and using you just to satisfy her craving for love and affection. After she’s done manipulating you, you’re out of her life.

Dating someone who is separated

There are so many things that does not matter for some people when it comes to love like age, gender, physical appearance, and unfortunately, even marital status. They say they cannot choose the person they fall in love with, it just happens even if the person is still married. However, a lot of people believe that in love, you will always have a choice and you can always do something about it. Just like in dating someone who is separated, no one can force you not to love them but you have an option not to do so. The final decision is still yours and if you choose to love him or her it is just right to check a certain guidelines to have an assurance, which is very important in every relationship may your partner is single or separated.

Here are some of the things that you need to check before you date a separated man or woman:

  • Ask the actual status – This is very important in dating someone who is separated, know the real status of their marriage first. Ask if he or she is legally separated or just living separately. If they are not divorced yet, then you might want to check the legal cases that come in dating someone who is still committed to know your risks. This might actually affect your entire decision making process but if he or she is legally separated, then that is a different story.

  • Understand the process – Dating someone who came from separation is completely different from dating someone who is single. Especially, if they already have children from their married life. They have undergone an emotionally painful process that might carry on to your relationship that is why it is very essential that before you date a separated man or woman, you must understand the entire process of separation first. You need to know where they are coming from, or why it is difficult for them to trust and love again. Once you fully understand, that is the time you will learn how to make them feel happy and loved for the second time around.

  • Priority – If your partner is not yet legally separated or still in the process of divorce, then it is important not to expect too much yet because he or she have a different priority until the divorce is completed. Especially, if they have children. There are still plenty of things that they need to settle for their kids and you need to respect that. Understand that you do not have the right to be jealous if his or her partner spends time together during the process. After all they are still married. This is one of the risks in dating someone who is separated.

Love is complicated and dating someone who is separated makes it even more complicated. However, if it makes you happy and you know to yourself that this person is the one that you want to spend your entire life with and he or she is willing to do everything just to be with you, then these risks are absolutely worth taking.

Effects of Working Night Shift on Relationships

Relationships are not easy. It takes work, sacrifices, and compromise from time to time. However, when one or both of the persons in a relationship works the night shift, you need extra effort in making the relationship work. First, you need to understand the effects of working night shift on relationships and see if there is anything that you can do to prevent it from causing problems.

  • Less time with each other. When you have to work in the evening, it is most likely that you will not be able to spend much time with your partner because you will be working as he or she sleeps and when you get home, it is just about time that your partner leaves for work. Spending time with each other would require lots of effort and unimaginable sacrifices.
  • Sleep deprivation. Your body clock takes time to adjust and even though you may be able to sleep in the morning, it is highly unlikely that you will get the same quality like a good night’s sleep. It results to you being easily irritated and this damages relationships not just with your partner but also with your family and friends.
  • Guilt trip. If you are the one who works the night shift, you may feel guilty at times. You may feel that you are not being able to fulfil your part in the relationship as you cannot be there for your partner in special occasions as well as in times of need because you are at work. As a result, your insecurities start to grow as you think that there are others out there who can make your partner happier.
  • Solo. Since you are asleep while others are going on with their daily routine, you will usually feel left out. You do not have many people to interact with aside from your workmates. One of the things that suffer the most is your social life. What usually happens is that you may try to stay awake to spend time with your partner but your energy will most likely be low and you are not at your best. As a result, you will not be able to spend quality time with your partner and you will not be able to maximize your time together.
  • Two lonelier people in the world. When your partner works the night shift, you will most likely feel lonely often. You may feel like no one is around to be with you especially in times when you need somebody to be there. This is even harder when you have kids because you will feel like you have the sole responsibility to take care of them. This may cause stress and people who are both stressed out easily find reasons to fight over with their partners.

Working night shifts entails a lot of changes in your life especially if you are in a relationship. Understanding, care, and unconditional love – these are the things that will help you handle the effects of working night shift on relationships effectively.

How do alpha males treat their girlfriends?

Nature, life adventures and preferences separate people into groups. There are the dominating alphas and then the betas and the other less dominating personality types. In any wolf pack, there is an alpha, that wolf that leads all members of the pack, has to fight with other members of the pack to keep their position and ward off threats from other packs. Although humans do not move in packs, there are alpha males who are known to be naturally dominating in almost every area of their life.

Since alpha males are known to dominate every aspect of their lives naturally, one may wonder how they get to relate to their girlfriends. There is thus the million dollar question, “how do alpha males treat their girlfriends?” We hope to answer that question and give you a sneak peek into how alpha males treat their girlfriends.

The general way alpha males treat their girlfriends is different from what is common, as expected. When a typical non-alpha male falls in love, they tend to get overly used to all the perks of the relationship like the love and support girlfriends show their boyfriends. The alpha male system of dating involves a perfect mix of paying the right attention to their girlfriends and treating them well but not overly getting attached to the perks of the relationships. An alpha male is generally secure, and this high level of self-confidence, self-esteem and security is projected in all aspects of the relationship. Seems a bit complicated right, let’s get into more details on how alpha males treat their girlfriends

Alpha males give their girlfriends attention

An alpha male strategically goes into a relationship and thus shows commitment from the moment the relationship is a go. Alpha males do not lack advances and thus tend to choose who they want to be with rather than who is available. Alpha males also understand how relationships work; they understand that the importance of spending quality time with their girlfriends and strategically plan spending quality time with their girlfriends into their lives. However, alpha males tend to give this high level of attention when they notice that they completely have their attention and commitment.

Alpha males give their girlfriends space

Alpha males understand the importance of giving people the necessary space which is founded in the fact that they have no insecurity issues. The average alpha understands when his girlfriend has to be out of own because of work or other business for a while and may not be able to keep up normal everyday conversations for that period.

The reassurance is in the fact that alpha males, more often than not, trust their girlfriends and understand that other aspects of their lives may need their attention.

Alpha males shower their girlfriends with gifts and respect them

When an alpha male is committed to a relationship, they are usually completely committed. Thus, they are not afraid of showing how much they love her, and this involves showering her with gifts. An alpha male also respects his girlfriend. This is because, for most of their values, alpha males have placed a premium on mutual respect and strives towards it.

It should be noted that while an alpha male respects and loves his girlfriend wholeheartedly, this commitment comes from being sure of their girlfriend’s commitment. Alpha males know when they are not appreciated and wanted and stay away from those situations.

How to bring back the spark in a relationship

How to bring back the spark in a relationship

Break-up is one of the most traumatic emotional experiences that anyone can ever experience in life. This experience can lead to several effects like depression, lack of motivation, self-pity, anger, embarrassment, and more. This is actually one of the things that keep a person from getting into a relationship. It doesn’t matter how long the relationship have been, it could be months or years, still, the heartaches will be worst.

A broken relationship can be caused by several factors but the worst among them is “falling out of love” with each other. Nevertheless, this is preventable. Falling out of love with your partner is not something that could happen without your permission. You can’t just let it happen and blame destiny or fate when your relationship didn’t work out. When you feel like the spark between the two of you is starting to fade, there are ways to reignite the flame.

1. Go back to where it all started

When you started dating, everything seemed to be so vibrant, colourful, fun, and exciting. So, go back to where it all started – literally and figuratively. Go back to the place where you first met and to the places where you had the most memorable moments. It can bring back good memories that can help you go back to the things you used to love about your partner. Go back to the dreams that you have shared with each other.

2. Try new things

Monotony in a relationship is the main source of boredom. When the relationship gets boring, it would surely lead to break-ups. Try new things with your partner to bring back the excitement in each other’s company. Go out of your comfort zones, try new food, explore new places, do crazy things, try new hobbies, and the like. Maybe all you need is a little ice breaker.

3. Give presents

During the early stage of your relationship, you were both trying to surprise each other with little things that could make you feel good and happy. So, giving presents big or small can surely bring back the happy feeling of being in the relationship.

4. Spend time with each other

Spending time with your partner is an inevitable way of expressing your love and care. Thus, no matter how busy you are with other things, if you have a love worth saving, make it a priority.

5. Show your love and affection

A tight hug and little kisses after a tiring day can definitely make everything feel better. Hence, bring back the spark by being sweet and passionate. Hug often, hold hands more, and say “I love you” all the time.

 

Keeping the spark in the relationship is the key to conquer all the trials and live happily ever after. Remember, staying in love with your partner is not a chance but a choice so, when things get rough, find reasons to hold on rather than reasons to let go. Love is an endless adventure. Just keep going and enjoy the journey.

 

How to Confront Your Boyfriend after Snooping

Every now and then, we get suspicions about our partners that we may not be able to shake off or even discuss with them (if you’ve never had those, congratulations you’re one of the lucky ones). Some of us go on to handle it properly by having that discussion with them. Some others do not handle it so well and may have to resort to alternative measures like going through their stuff. While snooping is not exactly okay, it doesn’t make you a bad person either. In fact, every woman has probably done it at some point in their relationships. So if you’ve gone through your boyfriend’s phone (whether or not you found anything suspect), don’t beat yourself up, you’re not alone.

The first thing you need to realize about snooping is that you’ll eventually have to own up to it. Even if you found something to be angry about, you still need to admit to yourself that you invaded his personal space and broke his trust. So before you confront him about what you may or may not have found, you’ll need to explain the source of that information. And the truth is, even if you decide to hold on to that information, it will definitely come up some day, either as an unconscious statement or in the heat of an argument. Either way, in whatever scenario you conjure, keeping the fact that you snooped away from your boyfriend never ends in your favor.

Now while you’re revealing the fact that you snooped to him, make sure you have the conversation under control. If you indeed found something, there is the tendency that he will turn the argument around and have you looking like an insecure mess. Do not let that happen. Do not let your action be used as an excuse to treat you badly. Redirect the conversation to the issue and if apologies are necessary, make sure that you get them without coming off as aggressive or manipulative.

Also, if you have questions that need to be answered, make sure you get those answers. He already knows you snooped, he’s going to have negative feelings about that anyway so you might as well get some clarification while you’re at it. Ask him for the truth and then you can decide what to do with the information you get in that moment.

Finally, you have to reassure him that you had good intentions. At this point, there’s no need to lie about stumbling on his phone or coincidentally finding the note while doing the laundry. You have nothing to gain from playing mind games. Make him understand that you understand his anger or disappointment (whichever he may be feeling at the time) and that it won’t happen again. Whether he forgives you or not is up to him, (chances are that if you love each other, you can work it out) but at least you’ll not be investing your emotions and time on a relationship founded on lies and deceit. You may also need to ask yourself why you felt the need to go snooping through his stuff. If there are signs that you’re intentionally ignoring, it may be time to take a step back and evaluate what you really want from your relationship.

How to Say Sorry to a Girl

The worst thing about fighting with your girl is that it costs both of you minutes, hours, days, sometimes even weeks of happiness. These are times that you could have had with each other – building memories and deepening your relationship with each other. However, fights are things that you cannot avoid in any kind of relationship especially in romantic relationships. They say when you love someone you give that person the power not only to make you happy but also to hurt you. In case you committed a mistake, here are some ways on how to say sorry to a girl:

  • Words Work. While some say that talk is cheap, it is most valuable when you speak with utmost sincerity. First, if you really believe that you have done something wrong, you need to acknowledge the fact that you did. However, if you weren’t aware that you were hurting her that time, you can apologize for your insensitivity. After saying that you are sorry, you can ask her if there’s anything that you can do to make up for your mistake. Lastly, tell her that you will do your best to not commit the same mistake again and stick to it.
  • Star Quality. This is something special that you can do for different special occasions such as anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s Day, and more. However, it is also ideal when you want to say sorry to your girlfriend. You can name a star after her at the Online Star Registry which is something that she will remember for the rest of her life. You can play it up with other sweet gestures such as an outdoor dinner under the stars, star gazing, and more.
  • Sweet Sorry. You can never go wrong with chocolates. Even ladies who are on a diet just cannot resist chocolates. You can give her blocks of chocolates where you can spell out the word “sorry” using icing or syrups. You can also prepare any food that she likes and use chocolate syrup to write “sorry” on the plate instead.
  • Paper Power. With the advent of technology and digital communication like e-mail, text messages, and instant messages, still, nothing can beat the excitement and anticipation that an actual written letter gives to the receiver. It is something that you can physically hold, keep, and read over and over again. So, go get a fancy paper at any bookstore and pour your heart out. The letter can be short or long but what’s important is that you mean everything written on it.
  • Video Victory. You can tell her you’re sorry through creating a video with pictures of the two of you and your theme song, her favorite song, or a song saying sorry. You can either upload it on any social media platform or send it to her through instant messaging.

When you hurt her, make her feel loved multiple times more and choose any or all these ways on how to say sorry to a girl.

How to Say Sorry to Boyfriend in a Romantic Way

Getting hurt and hurting others seem to be a regular part of any relationship. There are disappointments from unmet expectations, lies, cheating, and even unintentional mistakes that lead to broken hearts. As it is a regular part of relationships, it is important to know how to turn such situations around and take these scenarios as opportunities of showing your boyfriend how much he means to you as you apologize for what you have done may it be deliberate or not. Real life is far from fairy tales but you can still have the power to create a happily ever after.

Here are some ways on how to say sorry to boyfriend in romantic ways:

  • Get him back with a background. If you have access to your boyfriend’s smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, then you can get created with pictures of you two, or things that are special in your relationship like where you had your first date, your first movie, first gifts, and so on. Take him to a trip down memory lane and use it as wallpaper on his gadget. However, if you cannot make time for that, you can simply hold a paper saying “I’m sorry”.
  • Healing Hug. Heal his pains with a sweet and sincere sorry sealed with a bear hug to make him feel your sincerity. A hug speaks volume more than words and no one can stay angry for a long time when they feel the warmth of their loved one’s body. Hugs have some serious healing powers and it can soothe tiredness, weariness, and even pains. However, what most people do not know is that you can get healed both when getting and giving a hug. It allows you to express emotions that you cannot accurately express in words.
  • Food Fight no more. Get your apology to your boyfriend’s heart through his stomach. Cook his favorite food or order it if you do not know how to cook. One of the most effective ways is to bake a cake or cupcakes for him as its frosting will give you the perfect canvas for your message of apology. It is, literally and figuratively a sweet way to tell him how sorry you are for hurting him. However, if you choose to cook him a meal, you can simply leave a short note (or a long one) asking for apology.
  • Sorry Sounds. You can tell your boyfriend you are sorry through songs. Create a mix tape, CD, or a collection of MP3s with songs saying sorry. Just make sure that these songs are within his favorite genre so it will be even more pleasurable for him to listen to. Let his favorite music artists get your message across to him.

It is important to capitalize on your boyfriend’s interests to make sure that he will appreciate your gestures. Get to know your boyfriend well to be able which among these ways on how to say sorry to boyfriend in romantic ways will work for him.

 

I don’t trust my girlfriend

If you ask ten people what contributed to their previous relationship breakups, at least 6 of them will mention lack of trust as one of the reasons. So, the question, “I don’t trust my girlfriend, what do I do?” comes along for most people.

Trust is a necessity for any relationship, from work relationships to personal relationships. Hence, romantic relationships involve two persons that put themselves out there and decide to trust each other. So even though one or both parties have been greatly hurt from trusting people in the past, they have to overcome the fear of being hurt when they trust to achieve a great relationship.

We will be going through some of the reasons why you probably don’t trust your girlfriend and giving pointers on how to go about trusting her. Although, trusting people comes with a lot of risks, trusting the right person especially when they are your girlfriend brings forth the most beautiful experience. Hopefully, we will be able to get to the root as per why you don’t trust your girlfriend.

Here are some of the reasons why you probably don’t trust your girlfriend and how to handle each of the cases.

Their past

Everyone has a past, some shadier than others. Your girlfriend’s shadier past may be the reason why you don’t trust her anymore. Maybe you even trusted her at the beginning of the relationship and stopped when you heard or got to know certain things about her.

You begin to doubt the sincerity of her personality, which was probably what made you fall in love with her and begin to stop trusting her.

In this case, the best bet is to talk to her about what you heard or what made you start doubting the sincerity of her personality. When you present your doubts to her and get more clarity, you will be at a better place with her.

The company they keep

Your girlfriend had other friends before both of you committed to your relationship and those friendships wouldn’t be broken when you start dating. Chances are you do not like all of her friends, maybe even the ones closest to her.

You probably have heard them laugh over something you found very awful and begin to lose the trust of your girlfriend. You begin to wonder what she is usually up to with her friends when you’re not around.

When you don’t trust your girlfriend and the situation is like this scenario described, you should try to understand the basic character and personalities of your girlfriend and her friends. As long as you’re sure of what the basics are, you wouldn’t find those occasional scenarios worrisome.

The lies they tell

There is also a high probability that you stopped trusting your girlfriend after you found out that she had lied about something, probably a white lie. Instead of trying to decipher what else she has told you that is a lie, it’s better to approach her with the situation and talk it through.

The situations described above are some of the commonest as regards persons that don’t trust their girlfriends. Overall, it is important to note that trust building is a process and may not be an easy one. The amazing thing about trust building is that, with the right person, the outcomes are breathtaking.

My Relationship is stressing me out!

Relationships supposedly give you inspiration, keeps you motivated, and most of all, happiness. After all, this is one of the reasons you get into it right? It is actually for majority of couples but not at all times. There will come a time or stage in your relationship where you would experience problems and stress, it is inevitable. If you experience this, it does not mean that you have to end it right then and there because if you really love your partner, you would do anything to make your relationship work and sometimes the solution to your problem is very easy, you just need to determine what is causing it to know the most appropriate solution.

How will you know that you are in a stressful relationship?

  • You prefer to share your problems and ask advice from other people rather than your partner because telling him or her will just make your feelings worst.

  • Your partner decides for you.

  • Lack of moral support.

  • You cannot tell your partner what you do not like about his or her attitude because you are afraid that it might upset him or her.

  • You feel like one simple mistake can end your relationship. In short, no sense of security.

  • You prefer going out with friends rather than spending time with your partner because they are more fun to be with.

Those are just some of the signs that show your relationship stresses you out, there are totally a lot more. These issues can easily be resolved by:

  • Communication – This is perhaps on of the most important thing to have a successful relationship. You need to have the courage to communicate with your partner whatever it is that you need to discuss. You need to make sure that you explain it properly and ensure your partner that you are saying it for his or her own good and you only want what is the best for your relationship.

  • Listen – You should not always be the one to talk, you should also learn to listen. If you are done with what you are saying, make sure to listen to your partner as well in order for the both of you to come up with the best solution to what is causing the stress in your relationship. Listen to your partner at all times and make sure that you are comprehending what he or she is saying and pay attention to it.

  • Bonding time – It is great to feel that you are happier with your partner rather than spending time with your friends. To achieve this, you need to make your bond stronger by doing things that you love together, try your partner’s hobby maybe you would like it too, and many more.

  • Be you – It is essential to be yourself, do not change yourself just to impress your partner, let him or her see the real you because then you are sure to see if your partner accepts the whole you to prevent attitude problems later on.

Whatever causing the stress in your relationship, it is important that you practice these tips in order to de-stress your relationship and make it work. Try to reflect on what is causing the problem, determine the things that you did that resolved the issue or just made it worst and try not to do it again. Convince your partner that it is okay to tell whatever he or she wants to tell and assure that whatever it is, both of you will work it out and love will always prevail.

Dating a divorced dad: red flags

Majority of women think that dating a divorced dad comes with lot of complications because they already have priorities, they have undergone painful experiences, or they might still be too emotional after the process. However, even if you are single, you have complications too right? So that does not mean that divorced dad do not deserve a second chance at love, some might even have an advantage since they already have a long term experience, they are mature enough to handle women, and they know how to keep them satisfied and happy. Do not stop yourself if you want to date a divorced dad, give him a chance. Just make sure that you fully understand his situation and get ready to take the risks just like any other usual relationships.

Here are some of the red flags when dating a divorced dad that you need watch out:

  1. Know his goal – Divorced dads are just like normal men, they either want to play around or they are looking for a long term relationship and it is very important that you know his type in order for you not be a rebound. You need to make sure that he is completely ready to fall in love again after a divorce before you invest time, effort, and feelings. Take your time and know him better.

  2. Too defensive – Even if you are just asking usual and simple questions, they tend to give you defensive answers. This might be because of their previous relationship or they are too experienced with these kinds of situations and they think they know what you wanted to hear from them. Sometimes, he even gets angry when asked.

  3. He is too emotional – This is common especially if a man just got separated. He opens up about the process, how painful it was, and things like that. There is definitely nothing wrong with that because it just simply means that he trusts you and wants you to understand him. However, what is not normal is whenever you are together, you only talk about these things over and over and he makes it the topic of your every conversation, which can be very toxic and stressful.

  4. Runs away from responsibilities – Is he afraid of commitment? Does it make him uneasy whenever you open up about having your own family with him? Watch out for this red flag and make sure that your divorced man is not afraid of responsibilities before you start something with him.

  5. Ask your kids – If you are also divorced and you have children, make sure to ask your kid’s opinion towards him because if you two decided to be together, it is essential that your kids love him too and vice versa.

Those are the red flags when dating a divorced dad. You need to exert extra effort in order to identify their goals before you invest your precious feelings. Ask yourself, is he ready to start his new chapter of life with you or he just wants to play around after a divorce? Trust your instinct!

When a man treats you badly

Sometimes, relationships become more stressful than beautiful. You fall in love with someone, decide to start dating them and everything proceeds beautifully before you start noticing signs that make you uncomfortable. You’re not sure what the problem is but are not entirely comfortable with the relationship. You’re sure that it is not physical abuse but can still sense that the beauty of the relationship is being increasingly replaced by stress and other forms of negativity. He begins to treat you badly, which could be unintentional, and you keep putting your best into the relationship. It’s a gray area for you, as there’s still a bit of beauty in the relationship and you’re wondering what to do.

It’s important to understand why men that treat women badly do so. A lot of the time, it is their way of lashing out. It is also a way of reacting to past experience. There are also narcissistic men who tend to treat their partners badly as a way of life. They are too fixed on themselves that they do not know how to treat the people in their lives properly and respectfully. Narcissism can be subtle at the beginning, but it eventually unveils itself in its fullness. When it does and he doesn’t acknowledge the need to make amends, it is best to leave that relationship. It is not news that the quality of one’s relationship can determine the quality of their lives.

When a man treats you badly, it is important to be proactive as your passiveness means you accepting the abuse, losing your self-esteem and respect. You are probably going to find it harder to leave if you are not proactive enough. A lot of people who have remained abusive relationship planned to leave but never got around to leaving. You shouldn’t become one of such people, and here are some pointers on how to get react when a man treats you badly.

Communicate your worries with them

If you’re concerned about how their attitude has changed in a certain area, you should talk to them about it. Communicate your worries with them as regards the discomfort you feel on certain areas of the relationship. They should be willing to see things your way and understand your concerns even if not fully. That way, they recognize the problem and are willing to see its end.

Otherwise, you stand the risk of doubting yourselves and continually wondering if you’re the one with the problem when you’re not definitely. A narcissistic person will make you feel like you’re the problem.

Communicating your concerns with them will be easier if you set up boundaries before getting into the relationship.

Be sure of their commitment to a change

You should be sure that he is going to make amends instead of just showing false concern. It is easy to get emotional with getting his commitments to making amends. There may be a sad background story to why they can’t treat you right, and you may be tempted to let his commitment to making a change slide. The fact remains that if you remain passive, things will get worse.

Be prepared to leave if nothing changes

There will be the scary thought pattern that you may not find someone better when you leave him and that most people are that same way, but you should begin to prepare to leave him when things deteriorate. Make careful considerations, and always consider leaving him completely as an option.

Ultimately, you should be prepared to be selfish and make tough decisions when a man treats you badly.

When he takes you for granted

The most amazing thing about being in a relationship is having someone who would care for you so dearly no matter what happens. It is a very heart-warming feeling that you have someone who would tell you how amazing you are despite having a very bad day. On the contrary, this is not what happens all the time. Sometimes, he isn’t that thoughtful that you feel worthless. Being taken for granted gives you the most annoying feeling of being in a relationship.

What if you’re starting to feel that the care you expect from that someone is fading away? When he takes you for granted, what should you do?

1. Assess your relationship

When the spark between you starts to fade away, it is not advisable to jump into conclusion and make hasty decisions. It will be helpful to take your time and honestly assess the relationship. Ask yourself these questions: When did you start feeling that he’s taking you for granted? What have you done that could have led to these? Are you expecting too much from him? What exactly do you want him to do? Pondering on these questions and keeping an open mind can be very helpful in making appropriate decisions. This step, can save you from a heartache.

2. Talk about it

It is an important reminder that talking is different from nagging. A good and open communication is a strong foundation of a healthy relationship. Be open for whatever he has to say and be honest in your emotions. Avoid raising your voice. Tell him what you feel about his actions. Remember, you are not interrogating your partner. Hence, you should also answer to his question if there is any. Talk about what you would do about your relationship. Would you like a resolution or a closure?

3. Decide

After evaluating the relationship and talking about it, have the courage to decide. Is the relationship worth saving? If the answer is no, cry about it for a night or two and start to move on. It surely is easier said than done but you always deserve someone better.

4. Show him your worth

There’s this cliché that says the best form of revenge is to be beautiful. Indeed, nothing can make him feel his loss more than seeing how valuable is the person that he took for granted. Pamper yourself, do what you want to do, travel the world, enjoy your life for you deserve it. Show him that you are far better off without him. Go out with friends and families and show him that you have people who value you.

5. Date again

Failing in a relationship does not mark the end of the world. Hence, collect yourself and when you’re ready, never be afraid to date again! Surely, there is someone out there who will see your worth.

Remember, you are amazing. You are beautiful. You deserve only the best. Thus, don’t just let him take you for granted. If the relationship is worth saving, then do what you can to save it. Otherwise, let go and be happy!

 

Dating a Single Dad with Full Custody

With the divorce rate on the increase and the family courts busier than ever, the chances of dating a man with a kid (from a previous marriage or relationship) are higher than ever. Now if he is not just a single dad, but one with full custody of his kid(s), there are a lot of things you should know before deciding to get on that wagon.

  • His kids will affect your relationship. Whether you like to believe it or not, his kids will always play a major role in your relationship. A single dad who is committed to raising his kids would always put his kids before your relationship. If you cannot come to terms with this fact, then maybe that’s not the relationship for you.
  • He will always be busy. As a single dad, a lot of time would be spent taking of his children, attending school functions and doctors’ appointments attending recitals etc. All of this including earning a living for his children will limit the time he has to spend with you. So if you decide that this is what you are going to do, then you have to understand that he may not pay you as much attention as you’re used to. If this is something you think you can deal with, then good for you! You’ve found yourself a man.
  • Pay attention to his children. With children, you just never know. They may be cute little angels with no tendencies for mischief or they may excited little humans that go around wreaking havoc. Before you make the decision to go into a relationship with that “everything you need in a man” kind single dad, closely observe how his children behave. More often than not, a child’s behavior is a reflection of their parents. So if his children are badly behaved and disrespectful to their father or to you, then it’s possible that you’ve missed something about your prince charming.
  • Pay attention to his parenting style. For someone who already has a head start in the parenting gig, getting him to make a switch would definitely be an uphill task. You have to pay attention to how he’s raising his kids and determine whether it works for you. If it doesn’t, you just be sitting on a disaster waiting to happen.
  • His children may not like you. When making the decision to date a single dad, always remember that his children (especially younger kids) may not like you. They might feel like you’re trying to take the place of their mother or you’re in the way of their parents getting back together. This would definitely be an issue for you because like we discussed earlier, when it gets down to it, he will always choose his children over you. If this is the case in your relationship, you could try several approaches. Be kind to them while reminding them that you know that you’re not their mother and you have no intention of taking her place. However, if you notice that they are not warming up to you and their dad always takes their side in arguments, then is definitely time to reevaluate your stance in that relationship.

Irrespective of all that we’ve said, it is absolutely possible to build a loving relationship with a single dad who has full custody of his kids. You just need to understand what works for you and what sacrifices you may need to make. In extreme cases, you also need to recognize when it’s time to cut your losses and move on.

My boyfriend doesn’t trust me

The importance of trust in any relationship cannot be overemphasized. Relationships where both parties trust each other healthily grow and develop into long-lasting bonds. However, trust doesn’t come readily for some people, and one may be in a relationship where their boyfriend doesn’t trust them.

When your boyfriend doesn’t trust you, the relationship will most probably become strained. In situations when one’s boyfriend does not trust them, they are usually plagued with thoughts on how to earn their boyfriend’s trust and rekindle the spark in the relationship.

We bring you some pointers on how to earn your boyfriend’s trust also pointing out some things that may have made you lose his trust gradually.

Why you probably lost your boyfriend’s trust

You don’t tell them the truth all the time

In your defense, you may have thought that they do not need to know everything you’re involved in, and that’s why tell you tell a white lie every now and then. Those white lies have resulted in you eventually losing their trust.

You don’t involve them enough

This also stems from telling those white lies and keeping some part of your life away from them. When your boyfriend finds out that there’s a part of your life he knows very little about, you will begin to lose his trust.

Generally, losing the trust of one’s boyfriends is caused by several factors which begin with not being completely honest with them. So, the starting point is being honest with them. The way you should go with regaining your boyfriend’s trust is highlighted below.

Identify the problem

It is essential to find out what made your boyfriend stop trusting you as this differs amongst relationships. You could begin to trace events back to when you noticed he started asking more questions on your whereabouts or being more snoopy. If you can’t identify the problem, you could reach out to them and ask them why things have changed. When they see that you are genuinely trying to make up on things, they will open up to you.

Work on the problem

A general method for handling trust issues with one’s partner is to become more honest. Tell them about things even when they do not ask, and make them feel more involved in every aspect of your life genuinely.

You should also put in more effort into spending quality time with them. The goal shouldn’t be a short-term adjustment but adjustments that will be sustainable since the goal is to regain the spark in the relationship and not make them trust you for a short period and go back to not trusting you.

Start with simple things and take your time

You shouldn’t expect everything to change immediately. Remember that they stopped trusting you for a reason. As long as you are dedicated to regaining their trust, your genuine efforts will pay off. They may resist your efforts initially, and that shouldn’t stop your efforts.

It is also important to note that trust is very fragile. So, you should be completely genuine with your efforts at regaining their trust. Starting with a sincere apology, work towards regaining their trust steadily.

My Boyfriend Says he Needs Space but Keeps Texting me

He broke your heart when he told you that he needs space. You think if it is ever possible to want to be away from the person that you love. You think about everything that you sacrificed just to be with him especially in times when he needs you most. You cry yourself to sleep only to receive text messages from him the day after he asked for space as if nothing happened. You are not really sure how to feel about it. When your boyfriend says he needs space but keeps texting you, is that something good or not?

  • Dazed and Confused. “It’s not you, it’s me,” is perhaps the most popular cliché used in break-ups. Another one is “I just need to find myself,” which is perhaps the most overused explanation of those who are asking for some space and some time apart. However, these words may really mean that there is nothing wrong with you as a girlfriend and that he’s just not sure whether or not he wants to be in a relationship or not. He may also be confused whether he is still in love with you or not anymore.
  • Wish Granted. Give him what he asks for. When you love someone, respect is also important. Therefore, if he wants some space, then respect his wish and grant it. While you want to do just the opposite, it would not be right to make him stay just because you want him to and it is not right for him to stay just to avoid hurting your feelings. If he does, he will only hurt you more because you will feel that he wants to be anywhere else but not with you. It will do both of you good as your time away will help determine whether you still want to be with each other or not.
  • About You. Sometimes, when your boyfriend asks for space, you are so focused with what he might be thinking or how he might be feeling that you forget to focus on your own thoughts and emotions. Whenever he texts you, use it as an opportunity to assess how you feel for him. Does his text make you feel happy and excited? Does it confuse you even more? Does it make you sad? Or have you noticed that you do not really care anymore?
  • Reservation. There are also times when men take you for granted knowing that they can keep you as a reserve whenever they are bored without having to stick to any commitment. That is why they take that commitment off the equation and play the field while keeping you waiting for him. You need to be very careful about such situations because it will cause you a lot of pain. It is best to set a timeline of until when you are going to wait for him to come back or if you are even willing to wait.

These are the things that you need to remember when your boyfriend says he needs space but keeps texting you.

Stages of Falling in Love for a woman

People say that women fall in love faster than men and they actually believe in love at first sight. It might be true but it does not make it any easier and love for women does not happen in just a blink of an eye. Just like with men, they have stages too but the stages are less complicated. These stages are very confusing even for some women because they feel a lot of new and different emotions when they start to fall in love, majority of women take it very seriously because even in the early phase of a relationship they want to think that it is their last so they make sure that the one they choose is the one that they want to spend their life with.

Here are the stages on how women fall in love:

  1. Attraction – It always starts with the looks. Just like men, women fall for the physical appearance first too. Like when someone added them on any social media sites, they will check the picture first then they decide if they will entertain him or not. This stage might be judgmental but it is how the way things are.

  2. Friendship – Lot of women believe that a strong and good relationship starts with friendship that is why this stage is essential for them. If they do not know each other yet then this is the best time when they start to make a good foundation and that is, through friendship.

  3. Compatibility – Once they established a good friendship, women starts the process of determining if they are compatible or not, may it be over food, hobbies, sports, or any other things. This is essential for a woman because they believe that bonding moment is very important for a relationship to last.

  4. Dating stage – If you get to this stage that means that you were given a chance to introduce yourself more. This is when woman starts to feel the love so make sure to impress her during this stage, which is not that difficult. Just make her happy all throughout your date and everything should fall in place.

  5. Together – This is the stage where the woman wants to spend more time with him and do almost everything together. This is a woman’s way to make sure that she will not get bored when she is with you and would not ran out of things to do. This means that she is really starting to fall in love but still want to make sure that the relationship stays interesting and always exciting.

  6. I love you – Once she established a good friendship, get to know you better, and ensure that both of you are compatible. She is now ready to tell you that she loves you and pledge her unconditional love to start a new relationship.

Those are the stages of how women fall in love. It might be different for some but still has the same goal, to find the love of her life.

What Does “Taking It Slow” Mean To a Guy?

You may think everything is perfect and going according to plan until one day your man hits you with, “I think things are moving a little too fast right now. I think we should slow it down”. In this moment, your head is spinning and you’re wondering what it all means. This has been the reality of so many people and unfortunately most of them failed to handle the situation properly because they didn’t even understand what was going on. So when a guy tells you he want to slow it down, what exactly is he trying to tell you?

  • He’s trying to get you know you better. It’s very easy to meet and feel like we have an instant connection with them. While this sounds very dreamy, in the long run, real feelings are what hold a relationship down. He might just be taking his time to get to know you well so he doesn’t miss anything and he is fully aware of what he’s getting himself. So even though it might not be what you want you hear in that moment, if this is the case, you relationship will be the better for it.
  • He’s confused. Even though this may seem unlikely for most guys, as they appear to always have their feelings in check, sometimes they really have no clue what they’re doing. Relationships are hard work and commitment is a really big deal. Anyone who takes them seriously would need to be very clear about their feelings before deciding to be in one. You may be kind and an absolute delight to have around, but is he completely sure that he wants to be with you? If he is torn and asking all these internal questions, then he is very likely to ask that you slow things down.
  • You’re becoming too much too soon. It’s not uncommon to find a guy that you like and immediately want to do and be everything for him. It is a sweet gesture, but not everyone appreciates it nonetheless. Some people need to be able to recognize themselves in relationships and being with someone who is always there gets in the way of that. In that case, he just needs you take a step back and allow him recover his personal space.
  • He’s not ready yet. This may sound confusing but it’s very true. He may totally into you but is simply unable to commit in that moment. Maybe he has personal projects that need his immediate attention, or he’s in a bad place and needs to take care of himself first. It might seem like a hard pill to swallow at first, but it definitely beats being in a relationship with someone who just isn’t going to give it his best.
  • He’s simply not interested. This is a truth that no one wants to admit to themselves, but sometimes when a guy wants to take things slow, he’s just not interested in being with you. The sooner you figure this out and come to terms with it, the better and happier you feel.

Now I know it’s not exactly easy to figure out which of these reasons your man is telling you to slow things down, you’ll never know until you face it head on. Ask him questions and demand honest answers. Understanding the reason for his decision, is definitely a step in the right direction for your relationship and general wellbeing.

 

When a Woman is Silent

Everyone claims they don’t like to be around people who talk too much. Try being around someone who doesn’t talk at all. While being silent is not always a bad thing, if a woman suddenly goes unusually quiet, you may want to start asking a few questions. So if you’ve noticed that the sound of a woman’s has become a rarity, it may be due to some of these reasons.

  • She’s done something she’s not proud of. At one point in time, we have gone down a path or done something that in retrospect we’re not exactly proud of. Talking about such things may not exactly be easy. If you’re used to talking about everything with her then this silence might even be more obvious. If you suspect that this is the case, you can encourage her that there’s no judgement with you and that she can confide in you. Be careful however not to push too hard because that may cause her to with draw even further.
  • She’s confused: Sometimes a woman is silent when she’s trying to sort through her feelings or the chaotic events in her life. It’s either she’s trying to solve her problems on her own or she’s trying to figure out a way to tell you about it. Either way, give her enough room without making her feel like she’s doing something wrong by keeping you out of the loop.
  • She doesn’t think explaining herself is worth the effort: If you have recently gotten into an argument with her (especially about matters that keep recurring in your arguments), she may decide that taking it further is just not worth her time. She may be feeling like you’re adamant and set in your ways and therefore explaining her stance to you is an absolute waste of her time.
  • She’s happy: Happiness shows up in different forms. Not everyone runs around excited when they have something to be happy about. Some people just like to enjoy the moment and bask in the euphoria of it all. So next time you see a woman unusually quiet, try not to jump into the conclusion that something is wrong with her.
  • She’s trying to get your attention. If a woman starts to feel like she has run out of options, then she may start considering drastic solutions. Maybe she has been trying to get you to notice her or talk to her by starting conversations and always being around. If that proves ineffective, then she resorts to the big guns: silent treatment. By simply noticing her silence, her job is done.
  • She’s hungry: While this may sound funny and over the top, sometimes people are quiet just because they haven’t eaten. The truth is the feeling of hunger is not pleasant for anyone so she might just want to save whatever energy she has left and not interact at all,
  • She’s depressed. Your woman may be going through depression and can therefore not feel like involving you in her everyday life. If you know that this is the case, then you have to do your best to get her help. Make her feel as loved as possible, never try to shame her for “letting her feelings get the best of her”, encourage her to take her meds and see her doctor. In fact, just be there for her.

Not spending enough time together in relationship

It’s natural to want to spend a lot of time with someone you are in a relationship with. Even with this strong natural craving to want to spend time with one’s partner, research has quite a number of relationships suffer from both parties not spending enough time together.

There are only 24 hours in a day with a lot to fit into that time. In between work, hobbies, family, business and personal development activities, it is understandable that persons find little time to spend with their relationship partners.

Research has also shown that the damage caused by not spending enough time with one’s partner starts slowly and could eventually lead to breakups. In the pursuit of career, personal development and other endeavours, persons tend to lose the bond they initially had with their relationship partner. It is thus not uncommon for relationship partners and even spouses who live under the same roof to not spend enough time as a couple.

We will be noting some of the reasons why some relationships lack the spice that comes with spending a lot of time together as a couple.

Lack of an established schedule

Persons in relationships and even married couples tend to assume that spending alone time with each other doesn’t need planning. This is one thought pattern that has lead to relationships that spend very little time together.

Just like one would plan career moves and other important activities, they need to plan spending time with their romantic relationship partner. There are always activities to eat up one’s time and stop them from spending time with the person they love.

The creation of a schedule to hang out with one’s boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance and spouse may seem very unspontaneous and boring but has been proven to be effective. Activities from date nights to seeing a movie at home can be planned to ensure that there is enough time for bonding. A bit of spontaneity will also be a nice blend.

Communication gaps

A lot of persons in relationships today will love to spend more time with their relationship partners but they rarely bring up the topic. They only make do with the whatever proportion of time is left after other activities.

It is important to be able to talk about the fact that you will love to spend more time with your relationship partner. They may have been waiting to hear you say that. Even if they were oblivious of the fact that the relationship could use more time together, the conversation may just be stirred in the right direction.

Lack of expectations

Things such as spending time with that special person do not just happen. They happen as a result of expectations that are established based on the structure of the relationship. This is not a call to bother one’s partner and unnecessarily nag them about spending time together, it is a call to looking forward to those private moments. When they get too busy, a simple “can’t wait for you to get home” text could make that private moment more special.

The importance of spending time with one’s partner for the success of a relationship cannot be overemphasized. Begin to strive towards spending more time with your partner, and you will find out that there’s time after all.

How to gain trust back in a relationship after lying

Trust is the most crucial element of a relationship. It is to have complete faith in your partner in anything and everything. Building trust in a relationship is a difficult step that most couples hardly overcome but the couples who have built a strong foundation of trust endure the most difficult hurdles that come along their way. With trust, they make their partners free. No doubts, no suspicions, and no worries. However, once you have each other’s full trust, it does not mean that nothing can topple it down. One small mistake can send your relationship to the bottom, and you are back to square one with the trust thing. Earning trust is difficult enough, what more when you have to rebuild it after breaking it? It might seem impossible, but with enough effort, you can.

1. Confess the truth

You owe your partner the truth when you lie. Telling the truth will set you free from the heavy burden of keeping a secret from your partner. No matter how bad the thing you lied about is, it is important that your partner knows all about it. Never deny anything from them when they already know that you were lying. It will only make the situation worse for your relationship and earning back their trust will be close to impossible. Admit everything that your partner needs to know of, even the tiniest of details. Only in honesty will you have a chance at being forgiven.

2. Allow your partner to vent

When they have an emotional outburst upon learning the truth, do not be surprised. It is only natural for them to have that reaction after being lied to. Do not react negatively when they vent out their emotions. They deserve to let all their anger out at you. Allow them to express what they are feeling. Expect a lot of yelling or crying which are normal expressions of those who are hurt. However, when your partner starts lashing out at you physically, it is best for you to leave them first. Give them all the space they need to contemplate about the situation, but make sure to let them feel that you are still there for them.

3. Apologize with utmost sincerity

Let your partner know that you are deeply sorry for what you have done and that you regret ever doing it. Merely saying sorry is not enough and can be considered very insensitive. When asking for an apology, it is best to make them feel that you regret what you have done wholeheartedly, and it is never your intention to hurt them. Do not try to justify why you tried to lie, and never ever tell them that you did it for their own good. It was your choice to lie and it was never an option.

4. Let your partner take his time to heal

After apologizing, do not expect outright forgiveness from your partner. It takes time for them to heal depending on the gravity of your deceit. Allow them to move at their own pace and do not keep bothering them to forgive you. Just let them know that when they you are there patiently waiting for their forgiveness. Respect your partner’s boundaries.

5. Expect that your partner will be more skeptic from now on

After being lied to, your partner will be on to you like crazy. They would not like being deceived again so they are very careful now about all the things you do and say. They will no longer easily believe in you without being smothered by a lot of questions. They are evaluating whether you are back to being a trustworthy person or not. When dealing with this, just keep answering the questions you are being asked and be transparent all the time. Once they feel that you are being really honest with them, their skepticism will continually reduce until you are back to being the person who holds their full trust.

6. Let your partner know that it will never happen again

Constant reassurance that it is never going to happen again will ease your partner’s doubts in you. Keep telling them that you can never afford to do it again because you value your relationship. Promise your partner that you are never going to hurt their feelings again and that you learned your lesson.

7. Keep your word

Never, ever break your promises to a person you once lied to. It is not enough that you tell them that it is never going to happen again. Instead, show them that you are a person who keeps your promises and that you are a person worthy of earning back their trust. Let them see you work hard to regain what you have lost in your relationship. Your partner is sure to slowly trust you again. It may take a long time, but it is all worth the wait and effort once you finally rebuild that solid foundation of trust in your relationship. When you do, make sure that nothing can ever break it again.

Dating a woman with trust issues

UNDERSTAND HER PAIN

You can’t deal with something you don’t understand. That is why the first thing that you should be doing when dating a woman with trust issues is to UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE HAS BEEN THROUGH. Know that she has faced a great deal of pain from her previous experiences. That is why she acts with extreme precaution. She is always skeptical about your actions and doubts your intentions. You can’t blame her for acting that way because she must have had her trust broken multiple times already. It’s only natural for her to guard herself now to protect herself from anymore heartbreaks.

When you finally and truly understand her, you will know how to deal with her issues. You will know how to break her walls and make your way inside her carefully-guarded heart.

BE PATIENT WITH HER

When she acts as if she is brushing you off, don’t immediately start thinking that she does not like you. She simply acts like that at first because she is too cautious. She is just observing you from a distance and assessing your personality whether you deserve to be trusted or not. If you really like her, continue pursuing her by letting her know that you want to see her again but make sure to respect her boundaries.

It will take a long time before she really opens herself to you and completely show what she feels about you. She can be very secretive at first because she doesn’t want to let out a lot of information about herself. So, remember to be the first one to initiate a conversation during the get-to-know stage because she won’t be doing it for fear that she would be thought of as needy.

Know that she wants to take things slowly because she does not want to make the same mistakes she did in the past. You will not be seeing her true nature until she’s done carefully evaluating your worthiness of being given her trust. It actually is a good thing to move at a slow pace because she will notice that you are really taking the time to get to know her and she will be acknowledging your patience.

Continue being patient with her and you soon will see the fruits of your own hard work. Once she sees how patient and persistent you are to get her, she will know your true worth and show you her inner beauty.

LISTEN TO HER

Pay attention to what she says because women like to be heard. When she’s not yet too comfortable around you, she will still be on her guard. The words coming out of her mouth can be contrary to what she’s really trying to tell so make sure to notice her facial expressions and body language when she talks to you. You can tell by her actions whether she still wants to talk to you or she’s starting to feel uncomfortable.

When she finally begins to be confident around you, she might start talking about past experiences that continue to haunt her until now. When she does, listen to every word that she is saying. You might be able to identify the triggers that will remind her of past nightmares. When you know about her triggers, you will be able to handle her issues very well and not repeat the same mistakes that have cause her pain. This will help you with your relationship with her when you proceed to the next level because you are able to understand her deeper. You won’t be seeing her as a paranoid woman with sick issues for you will perfectly embrace what she is. Plus, this will save you the trouble of going through a lot of terrible fights.

BE COMPLETELY HONEST WITH HER

If you really want to be with a woman with trust issues, then this is the thing that you have to swear upon your life – COMPLETE HONESTY. From the very beginning, a woman with trust issues will never entirely believe what you say. She has heard enough lies in her lifetime that got her suffering to this very day. She trained herself to be skeptic with the things she hears because she does not want to be an easy target. She could not afford to get her heart broken once again.

When working through her heart, just tell the truth. Don’t make false promises to her for her ears are deaf to those empty promises. Instead, let your actions speak for you. Show her that you have honest intentions. Let her see your worth. Make her believe that you are not some douchebag who just knows his way with words. Just show her the real you. Once she gives you her full trust, never ever break it.

When a man is vulnerable with you

Vulnerability is a key ingredient of a lasting relationship. It is what develops intimacy and trust between partners. However, men and women are driven by their fear of being vulnerable with their partner. They fear that exposing their true personality might scare off them off. They believe that maintaining a safe distance from each other creates a safety net for them and enables them to able to rule over their own emotions. They fear that revealing their true nature is shameful.

There are a lot of misconceptions about vulnerability which makes people fear it. Associating it with being weak or submissive is one of many on the list. Maybe that is one reason some guys find it unmanly to be vulnerable, which is wrong in so many ways. First of all, it requires a huge amount of courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Second, revealing yourself to another person involves incredible strength. Third, being emotionally exposed is bravery in its purest form.

You will know how serious he is with you when you observe his actions. You will be able to tell his true intentions with your relationship. Evaluate whether your man shows signs of vulnerability.

When do you know that he is showing you his vulnerable side?

When he wants to learn more about you

When he is willing to listen to you it means he wants a deeper relationship. When he is trying to get to know you, he is not only after your backstory but wants to know about your feelings too. He wants to let you know he can be there for you emotionally as well. To be emotionally connected with you, he must first try to understand you. He is not interested in the superficial things about you, but your whole personality.

When he shares about his past

A man only opens himself to someone when he is very comfortable with that person. That means when he shares with you some personal things about him, he is welcoming you in his life. He wants you to know more about himself so you could understand him better. When two people are free to tell each other about their past, it makes their bond stronger. With knowing each other’s personalities, they grasp the other person’s whole being.

When shows you his true nature

Not being afraid to show you what he really is takes a lot of courage. It means he is willing to be seen without a mask on. He does not want to pretend to be someone else because he wants you to know his authentic personality. He is not afraid to show you who he really is for he allowed himself to be vulnerable with you. And being vulnerable is about taking risks. He is taking the risk of showing his true nature to you, even when he is uncertain whether you are going to accept what he truly is or not.

When he seeks for your help

Some men think that it is necessary to act and be strong in front of their woman. What they don’t know is that most women think that men who ask for help from their partners are the bravest. When he needs your help and let’s you know about it, he is dropping his ego. He does not think that he has to be the only one who should be strong in a relationship. He does not think of you as a weak woman. He treats you as his equal. Even though it’s just to seek for advice for a tiny problem, it shows that he cares so much about your opinion.

When he tells you what’s on his mind

It’s hard to tell what goes on in a man’s mind because they hardly tell anything. That’s why you are extremely lucky when your man starts to tell you what’s on his mind. No more guessing games about what he is thinking. He will tell you when something bothers him, when something upsets him, when something irritates him. When he is vocal about what he thinks it just means that he is being real. He is not holding back his thoughts because he wants a real and mature relationship with you.

When he lets you know how he feels

When your man starts to express his emotions, that means he is willing to be vulnerable with you. If he is being real with you about his emotions, it means that he values your relationship. He wants to establish a relationship where both of you are free to tell each other what you truly feel. With his vulnerability, intimacy surrounds the relationship. It keeps the spark in your love life alive. This is what is needed in a healthy, mature relationship.
Check whether your man shows you anything that is mentioned above. When he passes at least one of these signs, it means he is taking a step towards vulnerability. Keep hoping that he fully embraces his vulnerable side. You’ll know he is the one when he makes it through.

Dating a Widower over 50

Most of widowers over 50 have been married for more or less three decades. In such a span of time, many things have happened. He shared many ups and downs with his late wife. It is something that you can never compete with. It is all in the past so you can never win no matter how hard you fight. However, dating a widower over 50 can also be a pleasurable experience because of different perspectives and a lot of lesson learned from decades of relationship.

Here are the things that you need to understand when dating a widower over 50:

  • Honesty is the best policy. You need to establish a rule about honesty when it comes to dating a widower over 50. You can expect that he will be more than willing to be honest because at that age, he will most likely not have time for any lies. Also, he will appreciate honesty just like anybody else who is in a relationship. After all, a relationship based on lies is most likely to end up being one as well.
  • Totally relatable. Your dating journey is something that he probably understands because he has gone through the same things back when he was younger. Now, he is most likely over those things and would never want to go through those things ever again. That way, you go straight to the good stuff – a shot at a healthy relationship after everything that the two of you went through.
  • Live. Laugh. Love. A widower over 50 understands that life is not always rainbows and butterflies. He knows that relationship needs commitment, sacrifices, and compromises. Because of this, there will not be so many disappointments because of unmet expectations. With his experience, he knows that pride does nothing good and that it just becomes a communication barrier.
  • Worth waiting for. You need to make sure that he is ready for a serious relationship. New relationships can be very exciting. However, you need to be careful not to get carried away by your emotions. You need to wait for just about a year as it is the usual period of time when a widower’s wounds heal just enough to move on to a new relationship.
  • Matching type. You need to make sure that he walks the talk. This will save you from a lot of heartaches. All you need is a critical eye and a critical mind to make sure that he says what he means and that he means what he says. Widowers over 50 should value their words and they should have been past the days when they would say anything just to get what they want.

Dating a widower over 50 can be quite challenging but it also has numerous upsides. You just need to make sure that you are both on the same page. Just like in any other romantic relationships, never rush things. Love is sweeter when it develops and ages on its own.

Dating a Widower: Red Flags

It goes without saying that accepting and moving on from the death of a loved one is truly a struggle. It requires the bereaved to use every single ounce of strength within them just so they could continue waking up each morning and live their lives the way they are supposed to. Now imagine having to deal with the aftermath of a loss—let alone jump back into the dating pool.

So, what happens when a man loses his wife? Will he still be able to open is heart and love someone else? Won’t the memories of his late wife haunt him and any potential lover? Surely, things will not be just a walk in the park. When you date a widower, what are the most common red flags that you should watch out for?

We took the liberty of listing some of the common warning signs in dating a widower…

• You resemble the widower’s late wife and therefore reminds him of her.

You know how one runs back to what is familiar? That’s what usually happens to widowers. They are drawn to people who remind them of their late wife. Same hair color, body type, eye color, and quirks– these are some of the things that could spike his interest in you.

However, if you and the late wife are really like two peas in a pod, you should tread lightly. The widower could only be dating you because he sees his wife in you and sadly, not the real you. You will end up like a place holder—you’re only in his life to fill the emptiness the late wife left.

• The widower doesn’t introduce you to his friends and family members.

Each person goes through the grieving process differently. Some people need more time to accept the loss and some bounce back easily.

So when a widower is dating someone new, it might be difficult for him to introduce his new lady to the people around him because he’s scared of what they might think. That it is still too soon for him to entertain the idea of someone new. Some people who were close to the late wife might still be grieving over the loss and this could cause conflicts.

• The widower compares you and his late wife.

As creatures of habit, we sometimes get used to how things are done. May it be as simple as how we want our coffees in the morning or the much more complicated things like how we discipline our kids.

Therefore, in relationships, specially those that has lasted several years, they grow accustomed to how their partners do things a certain way. So when a widower dates you and keeps on comparing you to his late wife, you will have to remind him that she is not you. That you are your own person.

The danger in letting this constant comparison slide is that the widower might get the idea that you are fine with how things are. He might unconsciously try to change you into his late wife; and unless you’re on board with that, you better tell him how you really feel before it’s too late.

• He never opens up to you about his grief.

Men like to appear tough and therefore they don’t like feeling vulnerable. This leads to them, avoiding topics that would make them emotional. However, as you spend more time as a couple, there should already be some level of trust and openness between the two of you.

So when a widower refuses to talk about his sorrows, you should start wondering if he is really willing to move on—or if he has even moved on at all.

• Shrines to the late wife are seen everywhere.

When someone dies, the mistakes they’ve committed dies with them. The family will only focus on the good things they have done thus putting them on a pedestal. Usually, the deceased is immortalized through photos, online memorial sites and sometimes, actual literal shrines.

So when a widower is really ready to welcome you into his life, those shrines will disappear and all the other ways of commemorating the late wife will slowly stop. Paying their respects to their dead loved one is one thing but trying to keep the deceased alive to a point where it’s already making you feel like you have to compete with a ghost is totally a different thing. You should know when to continue fighting for your place in his life and when to stop.

• He never verbalizes the words, “I love you”.

The widower takes you out on romantic dates and he never fails to show you how much you matter to him through his caring gestures. You even often exchange sweet nothings which excites you but something is missing. Then, you realize, he has never said the words “I love you”. Not even once.

When all of his actions are pointing at the same direction but he has never confirmed your assumptions with a sincere “I love you”, be alarmed. Because if he is planning on keeping you around, those words should already have escaped his lips.

• The conflict avoider. People have different ways and rates of mourning a loss and moving on from a loss. Sometimes, finding new love can make the process faster but it seldom happens for the family even in cases of natural death. Some widowers avoid such conflict of moving on to a new relationship earlier than the family of the departed would expect him to. This is also a signal that perhaps he is not yet sure that the relationship is worthy of the risk of having such conflicts with his departed wife’s family.

• The forever fan. Love can never be erased instantly even in death. You may hear a lot of praises and compliments each time a widower speaks about his departed wife. You may notice that hint of admiration and adoration but you need to check how you feel about it. You need to be as understanding as you can. You need to prepare yourself for such instances without feeling threatened or insecure. You may also need to check your similarities with his late wife as there is such a thing as rebound from a wife’s death wherein the widower looks for someone who will make him feel that he’s still with his wife.

• Stuck Up. When the widower seems to be far from moving on and it seems like he just needs someone to listen to him or someone to share his grief with, you can weigh how you feel. You need to feel if the relationship is worth it. If you think it is, then be a good listener and a good friend until he’s moved on.

• Her Home. If the house still feels like the late wife still lives there because of the portraits and her other things in almost every corner of the house, then you need to observe closely. When the widower cares so much about you, he will consider your feelings and although not instantly, you will notice that the late wife’s things will disappear one by one at least on the spots where you are frequently in.

• Man of Action. While many people believe that action speaks better than words, it is still a red flag if he can’t seem to tell you that he loves you.

In any relationship, it should always be a give and take kind of thing. You can’t expect the other person to just keep on giving without them, receiving anything in return. Open communication is also vital to having a successful and happy relationship. Never assume that the other person knows how you feel and what you’re thinking. After all, they’re not psychics. So when you date a widower, just keep these red flags in mind and know when to let go if you sense that he is still clinging to his late wife’s memory.

Dating a woman with low self-esteem

A woman must know how to love herself first in order to give love to someone. That is one of the basic rules in successful relationship. However, not all women are confident enough either with their looks, their flaws, and many more, which results to low self-esteem. Sadly, these insecurities and low self-confidence directly affects a relationship, it makes them difficult to love but absolutely not impossible. They just require an extra understanding and assurance and they are sure to gain the confidence to make a relationship work.

Understanding is very essential in dating a woman with low self-esteem and these are some of the things that you need to know to help you appreciate them even more:

  1. They do not trust easily – Women with low self-esteem do not give away their trust easily because they do not trust themselves first. They are not confident enough with the way they look and they always feel that something lacks them and that missing piece is already enough for someone to break their trust or cheat on them.

  2. Fear of communication – Effective communication is definitely important to have a healthy and strong relationship. Unfortunately, women with low self-confidence cannot express themselves well. They are afraid that one mistake can ruin an entire relationship so they believe that it is better to stay quiet and just pretend that everything is okay with them even if it is not.

  3. Self-pity – They do not believe that they are beautiful, even if their partner already told them that she is. They do not see their worth and always downgrade them as if always requiring an assurance but even if you already assured them, still do not consider it. Sometimes, they even start an argument about it, which can be emotionally exhausting for their partner.

Here are the ways on how to date a woman with low self-esteem and make them feel that they are worth it.

  • Believe in her – Support and believe her in everything that she does, make her believe in herself too that she can do it. This is the first step of gaining self-confidence. Be her number 1 fan and always assure her that she can do everything and you will always be there to support her.

  • Accept her flaws – Know more about her and accept all her flaws, tell her that she is uniquely beautiful with those and she is worth it no matter what.

  • Listen to her – Give her time to open up her feelings by listening, this is perfect if you want her to gain confidence and express her feelings to you.

  • Compliment her – This is perhaps the most important thing that you can do to boost her confidence, always compliment her no matter how little the changes are.

Appreciation and acceptance are the keys in dating a woman with low self-esteem. It might be difficult at first but once you gained her confidence and trust, know that everything is sure to be worth it. If you truly love her, just be there for her and give her all the love that she deserves and she is sure to realize her worth in no time.

Girlfriend wants space but not a break up!

Is it a bad idea to take a break from someone? Do you owe your partner something when you take some time apart? What is the difference between a break and a breakup?

When my boyfriend broke up with me, he initially asked for space.

According to Berit “Brit” Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love, a break is not a breakup: it’s pause from the other person – a period to think without having to be around the person during the thinking period. According to him, the rules of the relationship do not change, and each person only gets the time to think about whether the relationship should continue – but they do not go out to test the waters to see whether there are better fish in the sea.

I did not entertain the idea that my then boyfriend only wants some time apart because he admitted that he was already seeing someone else. I disagreed giving him the break he was asking and right there I told him that he’s therefore not asking for a break, but a breakup instead.

For Brogaard, a break is only applicable when a couple still wants to save their relationship. A breakup, on the other hand, is the thing you, your partner, or both of you choose when there is a plan that the relationship has to end. Meaning, you, your partner, or both of you agree to discontinue the romantic relationship that you have. You could be friends, or just be strangers once more.

Don’t be just like people who resort to breakup right away. Here, I will give you 7 tips on HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND WHO WANTS SPACE BUT NOT BREAKUP:

  1. IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF CONFLICT

Ask her the reason why, because there has to be at least one instance that triggered her to ask you some time apart. Most girls, unfortunately, would not tell right away the real reason and will most of the time let you guess. If step one does not work, proceed to the next step.

  1. RECALL

Dig deep into your memory lane and think about the possible scenarios that possibly made her decide to ask for a break. Did you just make her feel she has to doubt? Did she tell you anything about someone she just met?

  1. TALK ABOUT SOLUTIONS

Once you have identified the root of the problem, it’s time to find alternative solutions before saying “yes” to the break she is asking for. Try to ask her if she is available for a meet-up, or ask her for a short drive and go somewhere where she could breathe some fresh air, so that she could at least release what’s bothering her. This is a win-win solution, because she gets to release her stress, and you could also personally verify the problems on your “guess list” when she didn’t tell you everything! If this will or won’t work, proceed to the next step.

  1. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

Ask her friends if she had opened up already about something unusual. This is very tricky, because most of the time, her real friends would not help you once she had talked to them already. Always be vigilant on who you’re asking help from, otherwise, they will spill the beans to your girlfriend because they, too, have no idea what you’re up to. The key here is to win her friends, too.

  1. DECIDE

If you have already done the four steps, this is now the time to decide.

  1. PRAY

Nothing beats the ever-classic advice of our elderly. Surrender everything to the Lord, and let Him do His work on her heart.

  1. GIVE HER ASSURANCE THAT YOU WOULD BE WAITING

If you gave her a “yes” to her request for a break, make it clear to her that you will have to meet again after the period of time you have agreed upon for her to have a break. Remember that you have to assure her that there is someone who’s still waiting for her.

I hope these tips have given you an idea on how to handle this kind of situation.

He wants space – should I text him?

When he is asking for space, should you jam with his music and play cool or should you still text him from time to time? You may feel the need to text him anyway just to check how he’s doing, what he is doing, what he thinks, how he feels, and more importantly, if there’s any chance that he will be coming back to you. It may vary from one situation to another but here are some things that you remember whenever you ask yourself, “He wants space should I text him?”

  • Third Party. There is a good reason why most people would think that there is somebody new whenever the boyfriend asks for space. That is because it is the top reason why the sense of longing to be with you ceases to be as intense as before. Most likely, your boyfriend wants some free time to be alone or most likely, to spend time on or with somebody else. This is rather harsh but in cases like this, like many others, the truth hurts but that pain will give you the strength to let go and move on. Should you text him or not? Well, check your feelings. Do you think it is worth fighting for or not?
  • Validation in Vain. If you want to send him a text message so he can reassure you that everything is fine and that soon, you will be back in each other’s arms, then, do not text him. He wants space so give him that as much as you can. If he wants to come back to you, let it be because he wants to but that does not mean that you will just wait for him. Be with other people who love you like your family and friends as they can give you even more validation that your boyfriend could give.
  • You’ve got the Power. While it makes you feel like there is something wrong with you or that you have done or said something wrong that’s why he is asking for space, that is not always the case. Sometimes, you feel that way because he asked for space. However, you can also use this space to evaluate your feelings for him. You should avoid texting him and focus on other things instead. He needs to understand that you are not just losing him but that you have a say in your relationship and that he is risking losing you too.
  • Maintenance Matters. There are also times when men ask for space because you are being too high maintenance. Sometimes you take up most of his time, his energy, his attention, that he does not have any time left for himself anymore. This is often reinforced by jealousy and insecurity so in such cases, you need to check if you are guilty of such issues or not.

It can be quite confusing when he says he wants space yet you have a lot of questions that you want to ask and things that you want to say. Just keep the things mentioned above in mind so you won’t do anything that you might regret.

How Men Fall in Love: Stages

Dating stage is definitely the most exciting part of a relationship. This is when you feel extreme emotions of nervousness, excitement, and happiness. It is the stage where you get to know each other better, find the things or hobbies that you are compatible with, and determine if he or she is the one that you want to be with. However, this stage is different from a women’s perspective to men. Majority of women believes in love at first sight but for men, love might take a little while but if they do, they truly fall in love.

Here are the stages of how men fall in love that helps you understand how men work it out:

  1. Physical Appearance – As we all know, men tend to get attracted first on a woman’s physical look. This does not mean that a woman needs to be conventionally beautiful to get their attention because every man’s definition of beautiful is different like some prefer those with curly hair, tall, chubby, and many more. Whatever they desire, they look for it first but in some situations, men do not know exactly what they are looking for and they just get attracted on what they see.

  2. Crush – As soon as they are physically attracted with the woman they see beautiful, he now have a crush on her. During this stage, men tend to do whatever it takes to get their crushes’ attention. This stage might determine if he would pursue his crush or not. Men do not fall in love yet in this stage. They just go with the flow and do whatever it is that makes them occupied and happy.

  3. Show off – This is perhaps the most exciting stage for men. They might not feel any love yet but this stage is where men do unique, romantic, and sometimes, extravagant things just to make a woman like him. Men feel good if they have impressed their crush and make her happy with their effort.

  4. Assurance – This stage is important for men before they allow themselves to fall in love. He needs to be sure that the woman is completely in love with him in this stage. Once he gets that assurance, he will now start to think about the pros and cons if he will enter a relationship with her. This might be selfish but men have this characteristic that they do not want to be rejected after they have confessed they love so they want to be sure first.

  5. Now he is ready – Once he is sure that she totally loves him and was able to determine that the pros weigh heavier than the cons of getting into a relationship. Now he is ready to give all the love that she deserves.

These stages are way different from how women fall in love and lot of people might find them more complicated but what can we do? This is how it works for them and it would be even better if you make men work hard to earn your love too.

How much time should couples spend together?

Relationships require both parties to invest resources which include time. Since there is no universal rule on how much time couples should spend together, one may wonder what the healthy amount of time they should spend with their partner is. We are not here to establish any form of rules. Instead, we will be dishing out ways to evaluate how much time you spend together. We will also be sharing ways you can spend more time together, if you feel the time you do not spend enough time together with your relationship partner. Lastly, we will be sharing pointers to how to get some space if you feel that spending time with your boyfriend or girlfriend is all you do.

Do you spend too much time together?

Relationship experts have noted that when people get into relationships, especially at the initial stage, they tend to spend a lot of time together planning their days and activities together. A lot of the times, the initial phase of spending a lot of time together phases out, and if a proper transition is not made, the couple may lose that initial bond.

So, it is important to evaluate the time one spends with their relationship partner. Here are some evaluation tips to tell if you’re spending too much with your relationship partner and are at the risk of losing the bond you have presently when you get to spend less time together

Do you still hang out with your friends and do your own things?

If the answer to this question is no especially since you got into your present relationship, you are probably spending too much time with your boyfriend or girlfriend. The ability to still spend a healthy amount of time together, depending on your schedule, with your friends shows that you aren’t spending much more time being a couple than being a person.

One’s ability to enjoy their hobbies and still keep their ideologies without being overly influenced by their relationship partner is another sign that they are spending too much time as a couple.

Do you spend little to no time together?

No matter how in love two people are, they must still spend time together as a couple to strengthen their bond. You will be able to tell if you’re spending little to no private time with them if you can’t remember a handful personal or intimate moments you have had as a couple. These moments mustn’t be glamorous, as long as they are intimate and private.

Spending a healthy amount of time together as a couple

If you feel like you’re spending too much time as a couple than as a person, you should begin to strategically incorporate doing things outside your relationship like enjoying your hobby and hanging out with friends. You should, however, talk to your relationship partner so that these changes do not sabotage your relationship.

If you realized that you do not spend enough time with your relationship partner, it is high time you made amends. Start by finding out ways you can spend more time together. You could start with just spending more time listening to them talk about their days.

The trick to spending enough time with one’s relationship partner is easy: establish a system, based on your schedule, that gives you a healthy amount of time to be a couple and also a person.

How to Get a Shy Guy to Make a Move

If a guy is shy, getting him to break out of his shell and take your relationship to the next level may be a really tall order. The mere fact that you like him a lot or that he feels the same way won’t exactly change a thing. Unless he gets a push from you or someone else, you’ll probably be left wondering for a very long time whether he’s even interested in being with you. If you don’t want to scare him away by being too forward or you’re just as shy as he is, you could try a more subtle approach and try to slowly nude him towards the light. So if you’re ready to get this ball rolling between you and Mr. Shy Guy, here are a couple of things you could try.

  • Run into him by chance. If you’re a woman living in today’s world, chances are you know what strategic positioning is all about. If you don’t, it simply means putting yourself in the position to randomly “run into him” without making it obvious and creepy. Find out what he likes and where he likes to hang out and plan a trip to those places. Pick up an interest in the things that he’s interested in so that he feels like you have a lot of things in common.
  • Keep talking to him. Shy people listen way more than they talk. So if you’re dealing with a shy guy, chances are you’ll have to do most of the talking. Start conversations with him, call him regularly and find out he is doing. By making him feel like you’re genuinely interested in him and how he’s doing, he may be encouraged to take the bold step and make a move.
  • Control the conversation. The chances of a conversation with a shy guy going awry or ending quickly and awkwardly are definitely high. You need to ask him questions that would require him to open up more. While you listen, smile and nod and make it obvious that you’re following exactly what he’s saying. In between conversations, find instances to tell him something nice or to pay him compliments. All that you’re doing will make him feel comfortable enough around you to take a chance on you.
  • Ask for his advice often. No matter how shy he is, he is still a guy. And one thing we know about guys is that they love they damsel in distress. If you’re trying to draw him out, you could try asking for his help or his advice on matters often. This way, you build the impression that you value his help and opinions and that’s why you keep asking for them.
  • Don’t force things. I understand that you’re eager to get the ball rolling on this relationship. However, you should always have it at the back of your mind that there’s only so far that you go before you begin to come across as pushy. Don’t try to get too know him too quickly, don’t ask him too many questions at once, don’t bombard his phone with texts. Whatever it is that you’re doing to get his attention, don’t do it too much else you risk the chance of pushing him away.

If you try all of this and he’s still not forthcoming, then maybe he needs more time. Or worse, maybe he’s just not into you and that’s absolutely okay.

How to tell if a Girl is Single

So you just met a new girl and you both hit it off right away. You’re staying up together and having these conversations and now you’ve started to feel like maybe, just maybe, you want to take it a step further with her. But there’s just one problem: you don’t know if she’s single or not. At this point, you’re wondering how to ask the potentially awkward question – “are you seeing someone right now?” well, if you’re not entirely sure that this is something you can pull off, there are a few other ways to know if your potential new girlfriend is already spoken for.

  • Talk to the people closest to her. If you’ve met her friends or relatives, you could use that to your advantage. Ask a couple of probing questions but make sure to find a balance in how you do it. If you’re too direct, they may let her know that you came snooping and that might not end in your favor. On the other hand, if you’re being too sneaky and they pick up on it, you may come off as deceptive or manipulative. Believe or not, that opinion would definitely get to your girl.
  • Pay attention to the signs. If you look closely enough, chances are you’ll pick up on a few things that will answer your question. First, have you looked at her fingers? Is there a ring? No? Then you’re off to a good start. Next you may want to start paying attention to the less obvious stuff: how often does she check her phone for messages, is she always alone with her friends? Has she mentioned anything that might suggest that there’s a significant other? Where does she hang out often? If you’re able to observe and isolate these patterns, then you just might have the answer to your questions.
  • Check her social media. Thanks to various social media platforms, you can find almost anything about anyone in a matter of minutes. If you’ve been talking to her like you say you have, then I’m pretty sure you already have some information about her. With that, you could stylishly could through her accounts and see if that provides you with any clues. With social media however, you have to know when to rein it in because there’s a very thin line between “getting information” and cyberstalking (that’s a crime).
  • Bring up your own status in conversation. People are very likely to respond to conversations that they can relate to. If you can find a way to slip the fact that you’re single into the conversation, you may likely get a response that will provide you with all the information that you need.
  • Simply ask her. If you’ve done all of the above and you still haven’t made any headway, or you simply do not have the time for mind games, then get straight to it and ask her the dreaded question. Except she’s a cheater, or she has ulterior motives, she’ll most likely answer your question and save you so much time and stress.

While it can be disappointing to find out that the person you thought you had that magical connection with doesn’t feel the same way, it beats being kept in the dark.

How to Know If a Shy Guy Likes You

With outgoing people, it’s always easy to tell when they like because of how open they are about their feelings. Shy people, on the other hand, are wired different. They are usually very conscious of their feelings and would therefore be unwilling to share them. Hanging out with someone like this makes it really hard to tell if there are feelings or you’re just wasting your time. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. All you need to do is sharpen your persuasion and observation skills, and start paying attention to the signs. And if at this point, you’re not exactly sure what signs to be looking out for, here are a few hints about where to start.

  • He keeps trying to talk to you. It is a known fact that shy people do not like to speak much. So if in a rare case, you find a shy guy who constantly tries to initiate conversation with you, then that’s a sign he’s trying to get your attention. What this means is that he likes you enough to break out of his comfort zone. If you notice this, you might want to give him a slight nudge by asking him to hang out with or by simply initiating a conversation with him.
  • He steals glances at you. For someone who is shy, he’ll probably have a problem keeping eye contact with you. However, if he really likes you, best believe he’s staring at you when you’re not looking. If you’ve noticed this severally, that might be a sign that he’s into you.
  • He gets defensive about you. This particular one I’ve noticed too many times. Even though he may not be able to tell you out rightly that he likes you, he’ll always be in the background waiting to show up and defend your honor. If you have noticed that anytime you’re in trouble, Mr. Shy Guy shows up to help or defend you, then that’s a pretty good sign that he likes you.
  • He talks to you a lot on social media. A lot of people who are shy find it easier to communicate online than in person. Talking through a medium just seems less in your face than regular conversations. In that case, it would be a lot easier for them to be more expressive and open on social media than they would normally be in person. Pay attention to that guy who keeps replying your tweets and commenting on your Instagram posts, he may just be trying to let you know how he feels about you.
  • He’s nervous and clumsy around you. If you notice that a guy gets immediately nervous when you get in the room, it could be one of two things. Either he’s deathly scared of you or he likes you and he’s too shy to do something about it. I think you can easily tell the difference between fear and affection though.

More often than not, you can tell from a guy’s body language whether he’s into you or not. With shy guys, you may need to strike a balance between giving them a nudge in the right direction and not being too forward so you don’t push them away.

How to make a man respect you

Are you wondering why men do not respect you? Do you want to be respected by the man you love or even by a stranger you just met? It sounds easy but it seems you are having a hard time achieving it, no matter what you wear, no matter where you are, and no matter who you are with. Respect is also one of the most important factors to have a strong and long lasting relationship. Both parties should respect each other to make things work. However, there are times when your man becomes too complacent around you that he forgets his limitations and loses his respect. It might be because of something that you did in the past or he just simply feels relaxed when you are together, too relaxed that sometimes it already hurts and he do not even noticed. These are the struggles of some women in gaining a man’s trust but that does not mean that women should settle for any of it.

Women deserve to be respected and here are the ways to make a man respect you:

  • Respect yourself first – In order to gain respect, you should know how to respect yourself first. It shows if you have good posture, the way you carry yourself in front of people, the way you sit, the way you dress, and the way you take care of yourself. You do not even have talk to be respected. By simply doing these non-verbal things accurately, you are sure to gain a man’s respect easily.

  • Respect others – If you want to be respected, make sure that you respect others too. Why would they give you respect if you do not even bother to respect them right? It might be a little tricky, especially when it comes to beliefs or opinion but you should learn how to listen and respect their beliefs so they also respect yours.

  • Communicate effectively – Do not be afraid of expressing yourself in any matter. Listen and do not disagree with the opinion of the man you are talking to but make sure to point out your opinion too. This is one smart way of letting your man know that your principles should be respected for him to receive the same.

  • Be honest – Make sure to be honest with your man no matter what. Even if you think that he would not like what you are going to say or if it goes against his principle, make sure to say the truth all the time. By doing this, you are sure to gain his respect.

  • You tell him how you want to be treated – Do not settle for anything less than what you deserve. If you do not like the way you are treated, then tell him directly how you want him to treat you. If you do not like something he said or did to you, tell him. It is important that you point these small things out right away to correct it.

Those are just some of the ways to make a man respect you but you can always start in taking good care of yourself because if you do, that means you value and respect yourself and others should too.

How to Make the First Move on a Shy Guy

With the way society is set up, guys are generally known to make the first move. However, some guys are so shy that they would never intentionally reveal their feelings first. If a guy like this has caught your attention and you’re tired of dropping hints that he’s not picking up on, then you might have to be more drastic about it. You need to pick things up yourself and get the ball rolling yourself and doing this is definitely not easy. If you’re not exactly sure of how to make the first move on a shy guy, the following tips might help you out.

  • Smile. This may seem very simple but trust me, it works. Not only does a smile make you look good instantly, it also makes you appear more approachable. Shy people are generally more self-conscious around other people. By simply smiling, you make him feel at ease whenever he is around you.
  • Initiate conversations with him. A shy guy would most likely never initiate conversation with you. It’s up to you to see that it happens. You could do a little digging beforehand and find out what he likes or something you both are interested in and bring it up in conversation. Or you could simply bring up something as obvious like the weather and see how it goes from there.
  • Give him compliments. Shy or outgoing, everyone loves to be complimented. You can talk about how good you think he looks or how lovable his personality is (especially if you’ve known him for a while). Hearing this stuff would definitely bring a smile to his face. With compliments however, make sure they’re genuine. No one want a relationship built on lies and faux compliments.
  • Ask him questions about you. You might be wondering what he thinks about you and his shyness would probably not allow him say those things to you. You might as well out rightly ask him what he thinks. You could ask him what he thinks about your new haircut, what your voice sounds like on phone. Or you could go all out and ask him direct questions like, “do you think I’ll make a good girlfriend?”, “do you like girls with long hair?” By doing all of this, you’re letting him know that you’re beginning to him in a romantic light and you want the relationship to follow suit.
  • Take it easy on him. While we agree that being with a shy guy is hard and you may be the one to move things alone, be careful not to go too hard on him. Being too forward or too direct might come off as aggressive and off-putting. Try not to talk about love and long term commitments too soon so you don’t care him away.
  • Be obvious about your intentions. Sometimes you may pull out all the tricks in the books and he’ll still miss it. At this point, the only card you can play is being very obvious about your intentions. You could initiate physical contact, act for his help with things he knows you can do on your own, or you could even ask him out for dinner.

Remember that as you plan to make your move on that shy guy that you’ve had your eyes on, you should have a backup plan. In case, you misread the situation and things go south, at least you have an exit plan.

How to Slow Down a Relationship

Being in a relationship could be the best or worst thing depending on who, when, and how you decide to work thing out. Sometimes, you may think you know exactly what you’re doing until you realize some months down the line that there are a lot of things that you’ve missed. Now your partner is talking about moving in together or even walking down the aisle and you’re thinking to yourself, “Is this really what I want right now? What if we moved too fast with all of this?” If this is where you’re at and you really feel like you need to slow down your relationship, then you need to ask yourself a few questions. Once you do this, you’ll find that the answers to these questions will decide the next step that you take in the relationship.

First, you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I really understand what I’m doing in this relationship?” It is very easy to fall into patterns and get consumed by the infatuation that you’ve probably mistaken for love. You need to take the relationship apart and identify the problem areas. Do you think you spend too much time with your partner? Have your feelings gone further than they should have at this point? Do your goals align with those of your partner? Are you already sacrificing your goals for this relationship? Are you more excited about the idea of the relationship than the relationship itself? All these questions will help you properly assess where your relationship is at in the moment.

Now that you think you may know what the problem is, you need to speak to your partner about it. It would be impossible to slow things down, if you’re the only who thinks/knows that it’s moving too fast. Let them know how you’re feeling and try to resolve it with them. Remind them that you’re still interested in the relationship but you just want to cut back on a couple of things. Through all of this, understand that they may not feel the same way you do so it’s your duty to make them understand. Once you can achieve this, it would be much easier to define the pace and direction you both want the relationship to go.

Also, do not force anything. If your partner insists that there isn’t a problem, maybe it’s time to move on from. It is never okay to force people to do something they are not comfortable and it would never be okay for you to lose yourself in pursuit of a relationship. Sometimes it’s okay to accept that the relationship has run its course, and you can totally let go.

Finally, once you and your partner have agreed to take things slow, stick to the plan. Nothing will change until you do, so be intentional about addressing those problem areas you initially identified. Work on those things that set you off in the relationship and pull back on those that make you feel like you’re hurrying. If you need to put a hold on some of your long term plans, then by all means do. However, remember that taking it slow doesn’t mean avoiding your partner; it simply means trying to build a life together while acknowledging your individualities.

How to text a girl for the first time

The act of texting a girl for the first time is one which no guy is perfect at. Even those that assume that they’ve got the act of texting a girl for the first time figured out still manage to slip up every now and then. There’s no universal rule on texting a girl for the first time, but there are pointers that can be very helpful in initiating a lively conversation with a lady after texting her for the first time.

We have put some pointers that will apply to a majority of women. You want to be the one whose text is the beginning of a beautiful friendship or relationship not the one whose text gets deleted, remember.

Be sure of why you’re texting her

Texting a girl for the first time can seem like rocket science if the basics are not figured out. The reason for texting her is one of those basics. She’s most definitely going to ask why you’re texting her, and it is better to have a believable and not akward reason prepared.

Keep things simple

The first time you text a girl is not when you’re meant to go all detective on her and begin to ask weird questions. It is the first time you’re texting her, and she will definitely have some reservations. Thus, you should strive to keep it simple and good enough to be the beginning of several conversations.

Be prepared to lead the conversation, especially at the very beginning

A polite salutation that includes “hi” and “how was your day” is as much effort a lot of guys put into the first text they send to a girl, and they expect some special magical force to take charge of the conversation and get them to be friends with the girl. Seeing that there’s no such magical force, conversations that are begun that way die before they even begin.

You should be able to develop content for the conversation you’re hoping to initiate with the first text message before it starts. Add some personality, and ask light personal questions if you already have some personal details about her.

Make her laugh

If there’s a way to find out what she will laugh at before initiating the conversation, you should do that and deploy whatever information you gather. It has been overly proven that girls love guys that can make them laugh, and being that guy will guarantee winning with the first text. If she’s a colleague or someone you have been in their presence in the past, you could talk about a funny scenario which you both witnessed.

Be open to telling her about yourself

Don’t be that guy that asks all the questions and gets short replies from her without inspiring her to want to know more about you. Ensure that you get the conversation to the point where she wants to know about you. Remember not to bombard her with every tiny detail of your life when she begins to ask the questions.

The trick with texting a girl for the first time is to keep to simple and sleek enough for her to want more.

How to text an ex-girlfriend after no contact

Texting an ex-girlfriend is uncharted waters for most people; they maintain radio silence even when they feel the urge to get in touch with her, especially if it was a bad breakup. If you’ve decided to get in touch with your girlfriend after following the no contact rule for as long as you could, it is important to get it right. The goal is to get them to at least consider having back in their lives, even if as a platonic friend.

We have put together some winning ways of getting in touch with your girlfriend, crafting that text that she wouldn’t be able to stop herself from getting in touch with you.

Remind her of a memorable moment you shared

The goal here is to make her remember how fond you were of each other. Therefore, it is important to pick a moment that wasn’t overly intimate. Let’s say you went to the movies one time and had some guy who couldn’t stop making annoying comments throughout the movie sitting behind you and she told him to shut up in a way he couldn’t believe. You could draft a text around that moment. Something like, “about to see a movie now and hoping I don’t have any form of crazy sitting behind me because I’m not sure I can handle them”.

This text will remind her of the fun moment the both of you had as friends and most likely get her to start talking to you.

Tell them how much you miss them

You do not want to send an overly long text message telling them about how you feel. You want to keep it simple yet conveying the fact that you miss them. You could go “I was about to get ice cream, and I’m thinking of how you always added so many toppings. I miss you”. You could also go all “I have been holding myself from getting in touch, but I can’t do that anymore. Hope you’re doing well. I miss you”.

With this type of text message, you’re able to tell her that you miss her in a simple yet honest way. You will need to lose a bit of your pride to pull this through. This is important to be able to convey the fact that you have been thinking of them in the text in a way that gets them to reply you and keep in touch.

You could also simply ask for one more chance to be their friend. You could draft a text thus, “I was wondering if enough water has gone under the bridge for us to be friends”.

Tell a joke

Seeing that you guys were in a relationship that was so good that you miss them, you should be able to tell what will make them laugh easily. Whatever it is, find a way to work it into your text message. It is important to ensure that the joke is appropriate so that you’re not in a worse situation than you initially were.

While getting in touch with your ex-girlfriend, it is important to keep the expectations realistic and be ready to accept the fact that they might not get back to you at all. Just give it your best shot!

Is He Shy or Not Interested?

Some men are naturally shy. However, some of them try their best to overcome their shyness when they meet a woman that they really like. There are also some guys who are not able to overcome their shyness at all. This is why it is quite hard to tell whether a guy is just shy or if he’s really just not into you. They say that women are complicated but most likely, those who believe that have never met a shy guy.

Here are some things that will help you recognize a shy guy and a one who is just not interested.

  • Get to know him. This is perhaps not the easiest way to know whether he is not interested or just shy but it will lead you to a more accurate conclusion. If he has an established reputation among his friends and family as a naturally shy person, then it will be easy to tell if he is interested with you or not.
  • Body Language. You need to observe him closely whenever he is talking to you. A shy guy would be fidgeting or he may not be able to look you in the eye but a guy who is just not interested will generally look disinterested or will try to deflect your attempts at conversation.
  • Awkward Appeal. If the guy exerts effort to talk to you, it usually means something. This is even moreso when the guy is actually shy. Often, his attempts to a conversation will come out awkward. So, when a shy guy says something weird, it just means that he is exerting effort to talk to you.
  • The First Move. If a guy is simply shy, then he may just not find the courage to initiate an interaction with you. In such cases, you can try to make a subtle first move, just enough to make him feel that he can easily approach you and if he is interested, he will most likely bite the bait. He may not start conversations but he may look happy and enthusiastic once you make the first move. However, if you already made the first move and he did not pay much attention, then it is most likely that he is not interested at all.
  • Text in line. Some shy people are not too shy when it comes to writing letters and in this day and age, text messaging. A shy guy may not talk to you a lot in person but he may text you more often than other people.
  • Telling friends. High school never stops. Friends just cannot help themselves but make the first move for their friend especially if that friend is a shy one. If he likes you, you may have heard it once or twice from his friends.

If a guy is just shy, then you need to prepare yourself because it is more likely that you will be making the first move often. However, if he’s not into you, then maybe it’s time to move on.

I thought he was the one

It’s quite rare to meet someone who you connect with on the soulmate level. They become a major part of who you are, you make plans around their schedules and basically share experiences with them. You get so comfortable and in love with them that you totally forget the idea that what you have could end. Then it ends, and you’re completely clueless. “I thought he was the one” you begin to think and say to yourself. You’re blindsided and do not even know how to summon the strength to pick yourself up.

When you breakup with the one who you thought was your soulmate, it is one of the worst feelings there is, and it is important to know the next steps to take as hard as that will be for you. We are sending pointers your way to help guide you through this period. As much as no one wants to lose their “soulmate”, these things happen, and it is important to be able to find find yourself and love again.

Fight those negative thoughts

It’s a given. Those thoughts will come, no matter how hard you try to fight them. The thoughts will be filled of all sorts of negativity. The thoughts will remind you of how a portion of your life has been invested into a completely fruitless journey. If it was a nasty breakup, you will begin to wonder why you weren’t good enough.

When these thoughts come, find a way to counter them with as much positivity as you can gather. Focus on all the adventures you had with the person and how much of a better person you became in that period. You should also focus on the fact that you loved them sincerely.

Tell trusted friends and family about it

There’s the temptation to want to wallow in the sadness alone and drown yourself in those negative thoughts. Overcoming this temptation is an important part of dealing with the breakup with the one you thought was the one.

Your friends and family will try to cheer you up and keep those thoughts away. If you can’t be living on your own during this period, you can move in with friends and family for the immediate period after the breakup.

Channel the energy into self-develooment

During the time immediately after the breakup, you will most probably be going through a lot of emotions and will be tempted to invest your energy wrongly. One way to get yourself from dwelling on the rollercoaster of emotions is to invest your energy and emotion on self-development in the different aspects of your life. Been procrastinating starting that course at work? This is a great time to go on with the course. The extra activity will keep your mind occupied.

Consciously remove reminders of him

Seeing that you thought he was the one, there is the probability that reminders of him will be everywhere. It is important to consciously remove those reminders from your life. If he still had personal items over at your house, you can throw them out or send them to him. Wherever you feel will make you forget about him fast enough, do that as quickly as possible to hasten your healing process.

This is definitely going to be a very tough period for you, and you have to be overly strategic with your actions.

I thought she was the one

Another relationship just ended and you’re wondering how come she wasn’t the one. You were so sure she was the one, but the turn of events has proven otherwise. Now, you’re wondering how you will be able to tell the one. You may even be wondering if there’s actually someone out there can is meant to be “the one”, at least in your case.

Finding that person that connects with you on a level you can’t achieve with anyone else is amazing, one of the most amazing feelings in the world actually. It is thus important to know how to tell that she’s the one. You definitely do not want to miss out on finding the one. We have put together five ultimate signs of telling that she’s the one.

You can’t get enough of her

You’ve probably been in relationships where, although you love her, sometimes you just want some time away from her. That doesn’t happen with “the one”. You can’t get enough of her and cannot point out a specific reason for that. You talk to her about everything; she’s involved in every part of your life, and you still can’t get enough of her. When you find such a person, chances are that she’s the one. There are very few people you will ever connect with on such a level in the world, and when you happen to date such a person, she’s most likely the one.

You trust her completely

Before her, you probably thought trust needed to be earned and didn’t trust people enough. Now she’s in your life, and you tell her everything. You’re crossing the boundaries you created without even knowing it, and you’re loving the process. That level of bond with anyone is rare, especially as it is becoming increasingly difficult to trust people. If you’re crossing those trust boundaries without even realizing it with her, then she’s the one.

You can’t wait to introduce her to your family

Introducing anyone, even platonic friends, to family can be quite nerve racking. Family is such an important part of one’s life that it is hard to introduce just anyone to family. If you’re at a point where introducing her to family doesn’t seem that much of an issue, then you are most likely into her in a way that is deep. So, if you’ve introduced her to your family, especially if your family means the world to you, or are planning to do so soon, she’s probably the one.

You are planning a future with her

While you’re loving every moment of the present, you’re planning, whether mentally or otherwise, the future with her. You love her now, and you can see yourself loving her for much more time. If you’re in such in a situation, she’s most likely the one.

You’re completely comfortable around her

Everyone has a bit of quirkiness that they keep locked in the deepest chambers. Thus, they do not open up completely to a lot of people, even when they are dating. When you’re in a relationship where you’re completely yourself, then she’s most likely the one, and you wouldn’t want to lose such a relationship.

It’s important to seek out a relationship with someone you can’t get enough of, the one. When a lot or all of the signs highlighted above check out, she’s most likely the one.

Married Man likes me at Work

Love at the workplace is not something rare. You spend hours with each other on a daily basis. There are times when you have to work together closely and that you may have to work overtime with your colleagues. That is why it is no wonder that attractions start and romance brews in the workplace. However, one of the most common problems with such situations is that often, it happens between someone who is married and someone who is not. At times, it even happens to those who are both married. Now, how can you tell if a married man likes you at work?

  • Up stares. You may catch him staring at you often. Whenever you catch him staring, there are only two things that he does – it’s either he holds your gaze and you find yourself on a stare off or he blushes and looks embarrass that you caught him staring at you. It sounds like something that high school students would do but it is a common sign that a married man likes you at work as well. Also, whenever he talks to you, you may notice that he maintains eye contact with you more than he does with others.
  • Accidentally in sight. If you feel like you are bumping into each other more often than usual, especially when he has no business hanging around within your sight, then it is possible that he is looking for or creating reasons to get close to you. Men can be quite creative when it comes to such tasks. You may also notice that he seems to be the one who initiates conversation with you whenever you’re around.
  • This Appearance. Compliments are great especially when they are sincere. However, these compliments can also be a sign that a married man at work likes you. When it is purely work-related, you may get compliments about being hard-working, about being diligent, or for a recent accomplishment. However, when a married co-worker compliments you on how you look or just about anything about your appearance, it is a tell-tale sign that he is into you.
  • Alone unnaturally. You may notice that he always finds excuses to be alone with you or to work alone with you. In times when he gets the chance to be alone with you, it’s either he does everything to impress you or he just can’t stop fidgeting because of nervousness.
  • Blurred boundaries. While small talk is OK for acquaintances, a married man who likes you may have special interest on your personal life as well. He may ask questions that you may be uncomfortable answering. This just shows that he is interested with what you do beyond work. He may have even more interest about your romantic relationships that he may directly or indirectly ask if you are dating somebody or if you are single.

You need to understand that you need to respect relationships and even moreso, you need to respect yourself. If a married man likes you at work, then it is best to keep distance and let him know that you do not settle for sharing when you can have a man all for yourself.

Men with low self-esteem in relationships

Men are known to be strong and dominant that is why most women believe that it is unlikely that they find a man who has low self-esteem. They think that loving a man with such low confidence is impossible because they play a major role in keeping a relationship strong and secured. However, just like women who lacks self-confidence, men with low self-esteem exists too. This might complicate the relationship even more because men like them can be very toxic to be with and they can even be harmful at times. However, if you really love him, you can always do something to turn things around and make your man feel confident and proud to make your relationship work.

Here are some signs that tell you that your man has a low self-esteem:

  1. He thinks less is okay – He lets other people decide for him. He thinks that whatever is okay for his partner is okay for him too even if it is less than what he can do or deserve. He agrees to certain things even if he knows he can do better.

  2. He always wants to feel superior – Even if this means downgrading his partner, he always point out how much more he earns, what he did that she cannot do, and many other things to prove that he is superior. A true confident man does not need to point these things out.

  3. Beats his partner – This is definitely the worst case that a man with low self-esteem can do to his partner just to prove that he is strong and powerful. Again, a truly powerful man does not need to beat his wife just to prove that he is tough. Only men with low self-esteem do this.

Those are just some of the common signs that you need to watch out to know if your man has low self-esteem. However, this does not mean that you need to walk away from him right away. Sometimes, they just need understanding so they appreciate themselves too and gain a higher self-esteem and you can absolutely help not by leaving them but by:

  • Appreciation – Point out his good deeds and not his mistakes. Acknowledge all of it and assure him that all his efforts are well-appreciated.

  • Acceptance – Make him understand that you accept all of him including his flaws. That none of those can change your love for him and he is exceptional in his own way.

  • Do the things he is good at – This is one way of boosting your partner’s self-confidence. Do things that he is good at together. It is like hitting two birds in one stone, you get your man’s self-esteem up while spending quality time together.

  • Be his cheerleader – Support him in whatever he does and be his cheerleader. Assure him that he can achieve whatever he want and be successful in whatever he does and you will always be there to show love and support.

Loving a man with low self-esteem might sound impossible, but with extra understanding and unconditional love, you can absolutely work things out and make your relationship the happiest and strongest.

How to be vulnerable with a man

Most people seem to find it very hard to be vulnerable in a relationship. Probably because they think vulnerability is weakness. That’s what makes them so frightened of it. Being vulnerable is in no way related to being weak nor submissive. It does not mean giving up the power to control to the other person.

Vulnerability, if you ask me, is about strength. It is about mustering a great deal of courage to allow yourself to be exposed emotionally. It is to let someone else see who you really are. It is to uncover all your emotions, reveal everything inside you. By being vulnerable with a man, you take yourself to another level with him, and that is INTIMACY. When you become intimate with a man, you let him inside your heart.

But how do you make yourself vulnerable with a man?

You must learn to EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS. Miscommunication is a big relationship problem couples face. Some women have the tendency to keep their feelings inside of them. They think men have superpowers and can read women’s minds.

Admit that you’re guilty of this, too. You assume that your man can assess the situation and easily tell what you’re feeling. When he asks, you usually say the opposite of what you really want to say. For example, when your guy asks if you’re okay, you automatically reply “I’m fine” even when the truth is you’re not. Your man assumes you ARE okay while you remain feeling unwell. You get annoyed at him for being so insensitive, thus, initiating a fight. You think your man has the ability to tell whatever’s going on your mind? Well, fact check, HE DOESN’T.

It is up to you to convey what you really feel to your man. If he did something that upset you, let him know. If he said something that offended you, tell him straight to his face. Do not be afraid of telling him what you are really feeling. This allows him to know more about you. It replaces the guessing-game with understanding.

Now let’s go back to the previous example. He asks you if you’re okay. You reply with, “I am not. You hurt my feelings with what you said.” He apologizes to you and you both discuss about the thing that got you upset. You make up. Problem solved.

When you learn to properly express your feelings to him, you make it easier to communicate with him. As you understand more about each other, your bond becomes tighter.

Another thing you should work on is how to OPEN YOURSELF UP TO HIM. Let him know about previous heartbreaks and pains. By telling him more about your past, he develops a deeper understanding of your personality. Through openness you connect with your man in a more meaningful and satisfying way.

Let him know about the controlling ex-boyfriend you had. Tell him about the previous toxic relationship you had with an abuser. Tell him about that one time you got cheated on.

Let him see through all your cracks and imperfections. To be vulnerable is to allow yourself to be emotionally naked. He will learn to embrace who you truly are when he learns every part of you – even the bad ones – and will appreciate you even more.

Understand that it is okay to LEAN ON HIM EMOTIONALLY when you start opening up to him. Do not think of it as coming off as needy or desperate. It’s only natural to lean on to your man every once in a while.

As you learn to become vulnerable with him, you let him see the tender and fragile parts of you for him to truly see you. You feel safer to be with your man. Your man will serve as your provider and protector when he sees that delicate side of yours. He will make you feel protected and taken care of. This will make your relationship stronger for your man will realize how to meet your emotional needs. Vulnerability will foster a more emotionally and spiritually fulfilling relationship.

Vulnerability, as I have said, is about strength. Dealing with expression, openness, and leaning of emotions involves a great deal of sheer willpower. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with a man is to take a huge risk. You know what they say, the higher the risk is, the higher the reward. The reward that you get here is the love that is formed through the emotional connection you make while letting yourself be truly seen. It might take you an awful lot of time before you can be vulnerable with a man, just know that when you are finally ready to take a baby step towards vulnerability, you’re going to get the purest form of love that there is in this world.

Signs she is a high-value woman

How do we measure a woman’s value? Is it by her looks? Clothes? Job? Success? It varies from person to person who assesses the worth of a woman. However, there are general indicators that tell her value. Here are some of those indicators that say whether a woman is of high value which are backed up by powerful sayings of remarkable women.

She thinks before she speaks

Words are very powerful. Many hearts have already been broken because of hurtful words. A woman who knows how to control her tongue is a rare find in this world full of nagging women. A woman with value knows her way around words. She contemplates first rather than blabber on and on. She watches what she says and carefully words her thoughts for she knows the consequences of speaking while being overwhelmed with emotions.

“Life isn’t about just talking, it’s about thinking too.” – Marie Symeou

She knows when to surrender

Winning isn’t everything if it costs you your relationship. Women who cannot let go of something are tough to deal with. When a woman insists on turning a petty fight into a big deal, it means she is not humble enough to swallow her pride even just for a tad. The idea of surrendering brings up fear in her because she associates it with loss. If a woman surrenders, it means she also surrenders her power and need to control. She is willing to cease taking charge. She embraces humility.

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” -Julia  Cameron

She listens

According to a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, men found it more attractive when they feel like women are listening to them. They consider women to be more feminine when they listen and make them feel as if their needs are tended to. A person can find it therapeutic just speaking to a someone who is willing to lend a listening ear. It is not always that one must reply to be responsive. To listen is to understand. Listening intently is also a way of being responsive, and that is one thing that high value women always possess.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ? Brené Brown

She knows how to respect

Men are not the only people demanded of respect when it comes to treating women. It goes the other way around, too. In fact, it is part of human nature that all men and women respect one another. Women of high value are not needed to be reminded of this for it is in her nature to be respectful of others. She is respected in turn, by the people around her.

“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” – Maya Angelou

She takes care of herself

Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than knowing that she can take care of herself. Making herself the prettiest of all is not the self-care we are talking about here. It’s about protecting her whole wellbeing. She takes charge of her physical wellness and chooses to live healthily. She carefully picks what she eats and takes time to break a little sweat and exercise. She makes sure that her activities do not take a toll on her mental wellness. Whatever goodness she brings inside of her reflects on her outside appearance. She glows from within.

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen

She is grateful.

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, they said. If you think that only expensive things can make a woman happy, then better reevaluate the way you generally think about women. Not all women are blinded by shiny things. A woman’s happiness is not defined by material things but in contentment. A truly content woman is someone who’s appreciative of the tiniest things in life – a beautiful sunset, a quiet night, or a partner with a great sense of humor. If a woman shows acknowledgment over her man’s littlest efforts, then that’s how you know she’s a keeper.

“Appreciation can make a day — even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” – Margaret Cousins

She knows when to be vulnerable

A strong woman does not easily open herself. She guards her walls and stays in power. She is not helpless. However, a woman of strength also knows when to be vulnerable. When she is ready, she unclothes her inner beauty. She surrenders her power and it leaves her defenseless. She opens herself up and removes all layers that shelter her emotionally. Being in that position does not show weakness but incredible strength for she has mustered enough courage to permit herself into being in that state.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” – Brené Brown

Why Men Give the Silent Treatment after a Breakup

When you were together, you thought that he would very likely be the person you’d spend the rest of your life with. Unfortunately, some good things do come to an end and your relationship was one of them. Now your ex-boyfriend who used to call at least three times a day doesn’t even respond to your texts anymore. Receiving the silent treatment is hard on almost everyone and if you’re in those shoes, you may start thinking that something is wrong with you. Slow down, there’s probably more to it than meets the eye. If you’ve recently parted ways with your man and he has been giving you the cold shoulder since then, it could be due to any of the following reasons.

  • He’s trying to deal with the pain. Being on the receiving end of the silent treatment can drive you crazy. After all, you both decided to stay friends and keep in touch, why is he suddenly avoiding you? First of all, it’s not about you. Do not let this affect you too deeply. Right now, he probably just needs to separate himself from everything that reminds him of the hurt and disappointment of the breakup. It may be easy for you to continue to keep in touch with your ex after a breakup, but not everyone handles pain the same way. For now, just give him the space and the time he needs to get over whatever hurt he is feeling.
  • He misses you and he can’t admit it. This might be the case with your man especially if you’re the one who initiated the breakup. He knows that he misses you terribly and might not be able to handle remaining in the same space with you so he chose to keep a distance. Breakups are hurtful and some people might need more time to get over it than others.
  • He’s trying to hurt you. The truth is that not all relationships end amicably. Some end really badly and people leave feeling resentful. If that was your case, or if he tried to get you to reconsider the breakup and you refused, best believe he’s trying to spite you. You might want to accept the status quo and keep your distance from that man if you know for sure that that’s what he is doing.
  • He’s trying to cut off all strings. It’s no news that a lot of people keep falling in and out of bad relationships because they simply refuse to set boundaries after a breakup. He may be giving you the silent treatment because he doesn’t want to fall back into old habits. He know that the feelings are still there and it’s only the distance that will stop the both of you from messing around and ending up together again.
  • He needs a fresh start. Relationships are a huge part of one’s life and when they finally end, there’s a whole lot of readjusting to be done. If you continue to blur the lines with your ex, it may take you much longer to find yourself as a single person again. He know this and this is why he has decided to stop communicating with you.

If you’ve spent a lot of time wondering about why he isn’t picking your calls or showing up to events that you used to go on with your group of friends, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s most likely not about you.

How to Flirt with a Guy at Work

• Things might be a bit too obvious and noticeable to others if there’s no reason for you to be interacting with him, so create excuses and situations where you need to see him for work-related reasons (like working overtime together – just the two of you). It doesn’t even have to involve actual work, e.g. a coworkers’ lunch or night out – this also has the advantage of being able to see what he’s like in casual environments. And of course if you want to it’s now easier to progress to a date (but avoid your work clothes when you do!).

• Ask him lots of questions and listen – then find opportunities to compliment him (“You did what? You’re such a warm person!”). Lots of humor and laughter are also important, but remember that it’s both about being funny yourself AND laughing at his jokes.

• While dress codes can be strict depending on the workplace, you should take advantage of anything and everything that you do have the freedom to style to the fullest (e.g. not allowed to wear heels? You can still wear stylish flats – or choose to focus on your earrings instead) as long as it isn’t inappropriate.

• Remember that there are legal, professional and personal risks associated with flirting at your workplace (anything physical is an especially big nono), e.g. you might get sued for harassment, you might be passed over for a promotion or even get fired or you it might negatively affect your relationship with other coworkers.

• Don’t use company email to flirt – they are usually monitored by higher-ups. Handwritten notes and letters is a more discreet alternative – not to mention much more fun.

• Only flirt with one guy at a time to reduce the risk of problems.

• Forget about it if it’s a coworker who’s above you in the organizational hierarchy – they would be in a position to cause a lot of trouble for you if they don’t like your advances compared to an equal-level coworker or under.

• Remember that playing hard-to-get and being unpredictable are part of flirting.

• Be subtle – the workplace isn’t a club. It’s easy to get the message across with even slight deviations from standard professional behavior – something as simple as standing a bit too close for a bit too long, unnecessarily brushing hands when handing something over and even doing work-related favors for him (this also earns points by demonstrating competency, but it works in reverse too: asking him for help stimulates his “damsel in distress” instincts – who said flirting at the workplace can’t be productive?). In fact if you’re careless it’s too easy to do this to someone you’re not interested in and send the wrong message – if anything most guys read too much into small things, so take advantage of that.

Is He Flirting or Just Being Nice at Work?

Context is everything. Common flirty behaviors in casual settings only count in the workplace if: a) it’s not a normal part of the job, or b) he doesn’t do it to anyone else that he’s not interested in. Remember that this isn’t an exact science so try to see patterns of several different signs (and many guys are very good at hiding their true feelings).

• Body proximity: Leaning over a desk towards you because he needs to point out something important on a document or computer screen? It’s called working. Standing a little too close during small talk? It could be something more.

• Nervousness and excitement: Another possible sign of interest, unless: a) you’re his superior, b) he just got promoted or c) he has anxiety around everyone else.

• Blushing: Is it summer and is the air conditioning broken? Did something embarrassing just happen? Did he eat something a bit too spicy for lunch? If you’ve try your best but can’t find any real reason why his face consistently turns red whenever he sees y or talks to you, there’s reason for you to start blushing yourself.

• Body contact: Holding hands or embracing as part of a choreographed public performance, photoshoot or video obviously doesn’t mean anything on its own. Of course this doesn’t mean these can’t be a catalyst for creating feelings that weren’t there before – humans aren’t machines after all.

• More attentiveness compared to when interacting with other coworkers, showing irritation when anyone cuts in and putting off work to talk to you are signs he’s into you.

• Remembering things you said or did, especially if it’s detailed, is a positive sign. Make that a negative if it was something embarrassing like throwing up in front of your boss.

• Personal questions: These are usually off-limits in a professional setting especially during the hiring process, so it’s a big sign of interest.

• Flaunting his abilities, accomplishments or possessions could be to get your attention – unless he’s an egomaniac who does that to everyone.

• Complimenting: It could be flirting if he tells you your hair looks nice today – unless he goes on to compliment everyone else at work.

• Emphasizing commonalities with each other is flirting.

• Creating excuses to see you: Is there a possibility he’s a corporate spy wanting to glean important company secrets from you? No? Then there’s a possibility that he’s into you.

• Smiling: A quick, polite “mouth smile” while thanking you for a workplace favor is just being nice. Smiling a lot (especially if his teeth show) whenever you meet eyes or interact could be flirting.

• Eye contact: Looking at you while discussing something important related to work, observing you when training you for new skills or anything that makes it necessary to look at you probably just means he’s doing his job. On the other hand if he stare or tries to catch glimpses of you from across the room for no apparent reason, something else could be going on.

My Insecure Boyfriend Is Controlling!

Think your boyfriend might be a bit too insecure and controlling? Look out for these red flags:

• Criticising, belittling and shaming. Says lots of things that lower your self-esteem and confidence (everything from the trivial to life-changing) and talks down your accomplishments. In general, he will try to make it known that he’s the better “catch” in the relationship.

• Does not like you having “your own life” whether it be friends (especially male), family or any activity where he isn’t involved, and will either make you only meet people or do things he approves of or work to remove them from your life altogether (especially anything that involves improving yourself – but self-destructive habits may be encouraged). Usually this is insidious and happens slowly.

• Doesn’t like it when you”think for yourself” or have your own opinions or preferences – he would rather you adopt his worldview and tastes in everything (e.g. if he likes a particular brand of coffee he won’t accept that you prefer a different brand).

• Doesn’t tolerate personal boundaries (so he might hack into your email because he doesn’t trust you), privacy (always needs to know where you are and what you’re doing) or secrets (“I deserve to know your bank account PIN”), personal boundaries which are necessary for a healthy relationship.

• Double-standards regarding what is and isn’t acceptable in the relationship or how you should treat each other – does he freely do things that he doesn’t let you do (like having friends of the opposite gender or being late)?

• Everything has to be to his schedule – you may be expected to drop whatever you’re doing if he wants to see you (in his free time of course).

• Gives the impression that he’s with you for what you can give or do for him rather than for who you are inside (e.g. is quick to “borrow” money from you but is never interested in your needs or thoughts).

• Guilt-tripping and blaming. Does he make you feel like you did something wrong for no good reason, or accuse you of things without proof? Even worse, does he do all this even when he’s the one who has wronged you (in which case you’d find it hard to ever complain about anything to him)?

• If you’re lucky enough for people around you to notice and tell you that your boyfriend seems insecure and controlling, perhaps it’s worth listening to them.

• There are no signs of “unconditional love” – for every favor he expects something (often more) in return (e.g. he uncharacteristically takes you out to someplace nice, then asks to borrow some money).

• Tries to make everything about him. You mention you had a bad day, and instead of comforting you he goes on about how he’s had it worse.

• Tries to structure your life so that you rely on him more and more for different aspects of your life, so that eventually it becomes difficult to function without him (like discouraging you from getting a driver’s license and insisting that he can pick you up and drop you off for everything).

• Unreasonable and uncalled for jealousy. A little jealousy in a relationship is a good thing, but when it shows itself too frequently and in benign situations it’s not.

How to Make an Insecure Woman Feel Secure

• Always try to be forgiving of mistakes and wrongs (whether big or small, accidental or intentional), and be accepting of her flaws (whether physical, mental or situational).

• In general women are physically smaller and have less muscular strength than men. Make her feel safe physically, not necessarily by being big and strong (though that helps – time to renew that gym membership!) but by showing that you can protect her with wits and wisdom (for example by demonstrating an ability to defuse confrontational situations with words).

This isn’t limited to interactions with people – something as simple as catching her if she stumbles or trips can also help. Speaking of the physical, she must feel that you find only her beautiful – at the very least, don’t let her catch you blatantly eyeballing anyone else (this includes celebrities).

• Be honest, reliable and predictable. Always stay true to your word, no matter how trivial the matter. A forgotten promise to you is a lie to her. On a related note, always be open and transparent about everything in your life – a good start is to involve her with your family and friends. Imagine you’ve been with someone for years and you only just find out about a longtime friend or family of hers – it happens and really it’s not a big deal as long as no deception was involved, but it doesn’t change the fact you might feel at least a little hurt.

• Money matters, but it’s not about being a billionaire. Demonstrating that you can handle financial matters with good judgement and decisions (doesn’t mean you need to be a cheapskate) and showing that you can plan for the future are more important that any dollar amount (e.g. finding good deals on hotels and flights for a trip).

• Never put her down or demean her, whether it’s directly at her or indirectly through a third party (e.g. telling her or friends that you’re too good for her). That’s just the start though – constant positive comments that increase her self esteem will complete the magic (be specific and genuine).

• Life is unpredictable. Be a solid rock for her when she goes through emotionally unstable times (exams, family issues, work problems, etc.), and ensure that she feels it’s safe to express her feelings when with you without feeling shame (letting your own vulnerabilities be visible to her too helps, especially if it’s related to what she’s currently going through).

Patience is often necessary as low points usually take time to pass – refrain from the temptation to make her “snap out of it” using logic (e.g. if she talks about a conflict with a coworker, be supportive and listen rather than direct her to a website about conflict resolution skills). In a situation involving a disagreement with a third party, make sure you firmly take her side.

• Be in touch with how and what she thinks, and make sure she knows this and that you are “on the same wavelength” with her so that she knows there’s always someone who understands and “connects with” her in any situation. There are times in life when your actions have to be in sync without exchanging a single word.

• Let her know that you love her – not just with words, but with sweet behaviors (and gifts) too. Little things add up to paint a big picture of just how important she is to you, and she will see it. Even better, show that she’s more important to you than anything else in your life.

• Make sure you have your own life together – saying you’ll support her weight-loss efforts when you’re a fat slob yourself isn’t going to instill much confidence.

Insecure Boyfriend Signs

• Too much commitment too fast. Telling you you’re the love of his life when you haven’t even gotten to know each other may seem cute on the outside, but screams insecurity on the inside.

• Constantly asks you if you love him, because he needs to be SURE (for the 10th time today). He also needs your praise and approval about everything and anything or he will break down in despair (and often even if you do provide them).

• He excessively plays push-pull with the relationship, and constantly questions your dedication to him.

• He spends unreasonably large amounts of money on you (based on how much he has/makes) and it’s not based on a healthy mindset as he’s scared that you might abandon him otherwise.

Similarly, he might spend WAY too much time or money on vain self-improvement like bodybuilding or expensive cars. He might also embellish (or even outright make up) details about his life or his past to impress you.

• You are his primary (or even only) focus in his life. Perhaps he had a well-rounded life before, but he may have thrown it all away to devote himself to you (friends, jobs, hobbies).

His mental and emotional well-being depends on you – if you happen to be in a rough period of life or even just having a bad day and it shows (or worse, you make a passing remark that could be misconstrued as criticism), he will be WAY too sensitive to it and will likely think that it’s about him.

Now if it IS about him and you (nicely) point things out that could be improved, don’t expect it to get through to him – he’ll just make you look mean and cold-hearted.

• Jealous and suspicious. Any person you meet that’s not him makes him feel neglected – even if the subject of your attention is an inanimate object or even something abstract (like being TOO into a TV show).

He will contact you frequently and ask you who/what/when/where/why (don’t even think about replying late or -gasp- ignoring him!) – and if that person happens to be a (attractive!?) male friend or acquaintance, expect the questions to increase exponentially.

Suspicions can also lead him to invade your privacy – things like secretly checking your messages. And no matter how much you tell him you love him, he just can’t get rid of the suspicion that you may still be thinking about your ex(s).

• He is very conscious about and sensitive to people (especially other men) being “better” than him – whether that be financially, physically or otherwise.

• Negative stories about his past lovers – he may rant on about how he was mistreated by his past girlfriends, which quite frankly isn’t any of your business nor your fault.

What to Do When You Feel Insecure in a Relationship

• Don’t let feelings of insecurity or past life experiences negatively affect your perceptions, thoughts or behavior towards your partner, especially those that can damage his/her trust in you. Learn to recognize when your resentments, jealousy or suspicions are unfounded (distancing yourself from drama queens/kings would be a good start) – don’t worry about things that probably won’t happen, try to give the benefit of the doubt and always be patient, understanding and positive.

However, don’t hesitate to bring up genuine problems or issues you think needs to be discussed (and in a non-confrontational manner) – this includes things involving the future ranging from the trivial (such as whether how much, if any, contact with exes is acceptable) to important life decisions that you may need to make together. Clear communication in both directions is essential.

• Think of yourself as a worthy partner who brings your fair share to the table in what makes the relationship work – you’re not “dating up” or “less valuable”.

• Remind yourself (and more indirectly and subtly to your partner) that there are others who would like to be in his/her place. On a related note, don’t be envious of other relationships as more often than not it’s only the positive sides that are visible – all relationships has its low points, including yours, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

• Don’t be too reliant on your partner for too many aspects of your life – the less the better. Imagine that he/she could disappear from your life at any moment and structure your life accordingly (and that includes sufficient “alone” time). It’s nice to know that you can 100% rely on yourself (emotionally, physically, financially and more) if you ever have to face a struggle on your own.

Similarly, you can’t depend on the words or actions of your partner (or anyone else) to help with your feelings of insecurity; you need to become strong and confident from the inside. One important part of this is simply accepting and being at peace with that fact that not everything is in your control (including other people’s feelings).

• Increase your confidence in other areas of your life by not being too hard on yourself and acknowledging (and further developing) your strengths.

• Do your best to look your best (exercise, dress up, do your hair, etc.) – it will help with your self-esteem and your partner will appreciate it. DON’T use it as a crutch though, nor as a mask to hide your true self behind. Neither should you force him/her to dress or behave to your liking.

Is He Insecure or Not Interested?

Even insecure guys will unintentionally give away their feelings through their behavior – the following are some signs to watch for:

• He goes out of his way to accommodate your preferences (and to learn about them in the first place), and starts adopting them himself.

• He enjoys having interesting and deep discourse with you, and invests time and energy into debating and discussing disagreements with you rather than simply not giving a damn (apathy is worse than hate – not that he necessarily hates you). He will however, avoid talking about his past lovers.

• He won’t bail at the first sign of you playing hard-to-get – play games with him (to a reasonable extent) and he will play along and keep pursuing you in the face of (to him) temporary setbacks and trivial obstacles.

• He responds positively to any sincere signs of interest you send his way, and doesn’t explicitly “friendzone” or “rule you out” as a potential romantic partner.

• Random gifts and favors!

• You might see signs of small-stakes commitment, like signing up to the same yoga class together.

• He is always eager to make plans to see you and puts a lot of effort into arranging interesting dates (often a long time in advance) to make sure you have fun when you’re with him – its unlikely you’ll hear him asking you to come up with ideas for what to do or eat.

And he will rarely, if ever, flake – if he does, there will be a very good reason behind it and you can count on him to be apologetic and/or make it up to you in a big way.

• He’s quiet around you but loud and chatty around other people (note though that he shouldn’t be depressed or unhappy).

• He makes positive comments about seemingly mundane (to you) things about you, especially things noone else notices.

You know your hair looks good today because you got a record amount of Instagram likes on a hair selfie after you spent an unholy amount of money at the hair salon, but he happens to notice and compliment you on the dimple on your left cheek when you laugh. He also doesn’t mind your (own perceived) “flaws” – be they physical, behavioral or circumstantial.

• He dresses up when meeting you.

• He might be a little touchy-feely and up-close-and-personal, and in general his body from head-to-toe will be “facing towards you”. Emotional openness will also be evident, though tread carefully as some guys can get a little sensitive.

• He frequently contacts you first, out of the blue – just for the sake of talking to you. When you contact him, he will usually be available or at least get back in touch with you later – you definitely won’t be ignored. And it will usually be voice or video calls – too much text-based communication is a bad sign.

• He sometimes makes fun of you in a playful way.

• There’s a good chance he’s told at least one friend that he’s interested in you. Even better if he’s introduced you to them in person, and bonus points for meeting his family. On the other hand if nobody around him so much as knows your name or your existence (or worse, you hear about one or more other women), don’t get your hopes up too much.

• He seems curious (almost nosy) about various aspects of your life past present and future, and seems to have an amazing ability to recall random details from past conversations with you. Start going on a long rant about your life’s problems? He should be all ears. At the same time, he’ll tell you all the details about his own life without you even asking.

• He shows signs of jealousy about other guys in your life.

• Overall you find him attentive, predictable, available and comfortable (in a good way).

7-year itch relationship advice

Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in the film “The Seven Year Itch”

• Create a fresh new start together, both mentally and practically. Make new and exciting long-term plans for the future and begin a journey towards it rather than thinking that the current state is your destination.

Do you have separate hobbies that you’ve never tried together before? You should try out each others’ pastimes (or even something you’ve both never tried, as long as you do it together), for example join your wife’s next yoga class or your husband’s next fishing trip – you never know just how much you’ll end up liking it and you’ll spend more time doing things together. Activities involving other couples are especially great because there are more things you’ll be able to relate with.

And while this may seem contradictory, making sure you each also have sufficient “alone time” is also important.

• It is critical to understand and accept that every relationship has flaws, including your own. Of course any major problems should be worked on (it’s a horrible idea to ignore such things and hope it will go away or resolve itself over time), but all is not lost just because of a few small ones.

On a related note, don’t think of seeing a therapist as a bad thing – it actually confirms that you care about the relationship and are willing to work on it.

• For every disagreement or negative interaction, consciously try to make up for it with several more positive interactions – they add up over time and will be worth it in the long run.

• Make a list of things that you are thankful for about your spouse, e.g. always willing to listen to your problems even when tired. Each time you notice something on the list, make it known that you appreciate it and that you don’t take it for granted. If you literally cannot find a single thing you’re thankful for, then something is not right and you need to talk about it.

• Just because things aren’t exactly the same or as passionate as from the beginning of the relationship doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad thing – it’s only natural that it progresses from dizzy-headed excitement to a more mellow sense of companionship, and it’s possible to misconstrue this as fading of love when it is anything but – think of the years’ worth of precious memories and time spent together that can never be replaced with anything else.

On the other hand maybe some things have changed that shouldn’t have, for example no longer kissing each other goodbye when leaving for work or beginning to argue about petty things. Thinking about and changing little things like that can make a huge difference.

Also having been together for a long time doesn’t mean a zero-effort relationship – in fact that kind of thinking is a fatal mistake that leads to an insidious breakdown. Most important is transparency and constant communication, whether it’s mundane chitchat or serious talk about deep issues.

• The cause of your “itch” could be external – maybe it’s other things in your life that you’re tired of that you’re projecting onto or blaming on your marriage – for example your job – or perhaps even undiscovered health issues.

Interview with Samantha Dareff, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I majored in womens studies in college and began to do a lot of public advocacy work around gender equality but soon realized I wanted to help people on a more direct and interpersonal level. I traveled to India to volunteer at a womens short stay home, among various projects, and there realized that clinical social work was the path I wanted to take. I came home, applied to graduate school at NYU and have been practicing ever since!

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I think being a part of another persons growing process is a really special thing. I love seeing my patients discover new parts of themselves and become stronger in their self-identities and relationships.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

One of my favorite relationship tips is to remember to stay true to who you are. It is so common to get wrapped up in other people’s perceptions of us and lose site of who we are at times. Believing in your personal value is integral to any relationship. And of course open communication and trust!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I think its important to look at therapy not just as a space to “fix” something or deal with a problem. Therapy can be a powerful vehicle of reflection in order to gain increased self-awareness. Giving yourself time amidst your busy life to work on the relationship with yourself is invaluable!

Bio

Please visit www.Dareffpsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Mari Grande, LCSW-R, LCAT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My background is in the Arts. My initial professional intention was healing through the use of art, teaching and leading groups. I still love that, but find a lot of richness and reward working with individuals and families in a more intimate setting. Before becoming a therapist, I was lucky to have some wonderful therapy experiences by kind, smart, and generous people. Those role models affect me to this day (past and current).

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I like to use the body a lot. Whether it is by making art, tracking somatic experiences, or noticing something in the body. It becomes a powerful tool to understanding (from the inside out) which leads to a ‘felt’ sense, and that can deepen and connect experience to understanding. (There is no knowledge without understanding.)

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Incorporate fun and play. Fun motivates, and without fun learning is dull and boring. Especially when there is tough stuff to learn about each other. For instance, role play is fun and gives a fresh and often unexpected result. Art games can also serve a similar purpose.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

If you are in therapy it does not mean something is wrong with you. It usually means you want more. It takes a lot of courage and self-love (NOT self-obsession) to make time for your mind, body, and spirit to grow.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Timing. Going too fast is usually the problem. We are not “fixers” or need to be “fixed.” There are ways to have greater awareness, insight, and understanding; tools and techniques can help you get there more effectively, but the most important tool that needs to develop is something inside each and every one of us.

Bio

Mari Grande is a licensed Creative Arts Therapist and licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in New York City where she sees individuals and families. Her specialty is helping people work through overwhelming circumstances and reaching deeper understandings of themselves and their relationships. She is also an EMDR therapist and EMDR consultant in training, Hypnotherapist, and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in training. Mari is on the faculty of the Institute for Expressive Analysis (IEA), former Director of Admissions at IEA, and currently on the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP) Executive Committee of the Integrative Trauma Program.

For more information or to schedule a session please contact Mari directly:

Mari Grande, LCSW-R, LCAT, EMDR therapy
Creative Arts Psychotherapist
122 East 42nd Street, 1724
New York, NY 10168
212-871-6856
mari@marigrande.com

www.marigrande.com

Interview with Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

During my work as a spiritual counselor and transformational life coach, I would often receive referrals from other coaches whose clients were not sustaining their gains. Most times, there were unresolved childhood issues wreaking havoc in their relationships. The problems in their relationships would then impact every other area of life, resulting in a backslide so to speak. I realized that formal training as a psychotherapist was necessary to be able to fully serve my clientele.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love helping my clients to release what no longer serves them, resolve and heal the past and create the future they desire; but it is so much more than that. I am deeply honored to facilitate this healing work. I get to be a witness to their return to authenticity and true self love. Once they have shed their unconscious programs, self-sabotage mechanisms, and blocks to self-love they recreate themselves and meet themselves anew. It is a sacred and holy experience and I am profoundly grateful every day.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I combine an east meets west approach by combining scientific evidence-based techniques with holistic, spiritual and shamanic techniques. I am trained in accessing the subconscious and unconscious mind, including pre-verbal trauma, birth trauma and conception trauma. This helps me to be able to get to the root of any issue and takes much less time than traditional talk therapy.

I facilitate women’s circles in person and online and am the founder of The Awakened Feminine Retreat, an international transformational experience. My next retreat is in Scotland on August 9th, 2018.

www.lisaangelini.com/awakened-feminine-retreat

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

(1) Your relationship with yourself will determine the quality of your relationships with others. (2) People can only meet you as far as they have met themselves and vice versa. (3) When you have a big reaction or trigger to something happening in the present, there is usually a thread to the past; an unhealed part of self or unresolved issue.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

(1) There is no shame in seeking therapy. Everyone can benefit from healing and taking there lives to the next level. (2) PTSD is not a life sentence. Find someone trained and with experience in EMDR to resolve this issue.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

As, I work with a holistic, wellness model and not one of illness, I prefer to use the term “client” instead of patient. It is important that therapists do their own therapy and healing work. If we are going to help people and lead people, people we must continue to work on ourselves. It is equally important that clients are as honest as they can be in their therapy sessions. If they are not, then the therapist is just directing their fantasy.

Bio

For over 15 years, Lisa Angelini has made it her life’s passion to assist individuals and groups in unifying body, heart, and spirit to achieve their highest potential – reclaiming their inherent self-worth, gifts, talents, and joy. Using a unique combination of Western techniques as a licensed Psychotherapist, and the universal spiritual wisdom and teachings of the Shamans, she tailors an approach to reveal behavioral patterns that no longer serve and replace them with effective strategies to bring meaning and healing, allowing for a fuller and purpose-driven life.

With compassion, love, humor, and positive insights Lisa pulls on her extensive training and her own life experience to help others along their healing journey. In addition to releasing the everyday blocks that keep us from becoming the best versions of ourselves, she is noted for treating addictions and addictive relationships, body image and eating disorders, trauma resolution including complex PTSD and divorce recovery.

Lisa offers on-site intensives, individual or group counseling and coaching sessions at her Scottsdale, Arizona office, and web-based or phone consultation. She hosts women’s retreats both nationally and internationally and is available for speaking engagements.

For more information or to schedule a session, training, or workshop, please contact her office.
www.lisaangelini.com
lisaangeliniLPC@gmail.com

​For information about The Awakened Feminine Retreat-Coming Home to Self
www.lisaangelini.com/awakened-feminine-retreat

Interview with Simone Ayers MBACP

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was working in an office in Central London when I first began training. It had often been suggested to me that I would make a good counsellor and I wanted to learn some new skills so I enrolled on an introductory course to see what it was all about. I quickly discovered that I had a huge passion for personal development and working with others to overcome their mental and emotional challenges. I continued studying out of pure enjoyment and satisfaction for learning about counselling for another year before deciding that I wanted to turn that passion into a career and make the commitment to go on to become fully trained and qualified.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Watching people learn to trust themselves and their own instincts, being part of the process of someone overcoming obstacles they never felt possible and seeing the changes that clients experience in their lives and relationships. No day is ever the same as a therapist and I have long learned to “expect the unexpected”. It’s a huge privilege when people share their most private and difficult feelings with me and I take that honour and responsibility very seriously.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As much as it’s important to spend time focusing on our relationships and improving communication I think it’s essential to remember to nurture ourselves as individuals as well. We need time to ourselves to replenish and refresh so that we have enough energy to put into a relationship and accommodate the needs of the other person. Remember when you first met your partner you were attracted to THEM, who they were, what they did and what they stood for not just how they could serve you in a relationship (hopefully!).

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

1.Talk! 2.Listen! It sounds obvious but it works. And I don’t necessarily mean talking for hours every day about your relationship, I mean keeping the line of communication open so that when there are important things to talk about everyone feels they will be given the time, space and respect to do so. And if you really don’t want to talk, saying something like “I don’t want to talk right now because its too hard/I’m really exhausted/if I start talking I think I’ll break down so this isn’t the best time” is better than an aggressive rebuff if you can manage it! It helps the other person to feel respected and give them an idea of how you are feeling which means there may be some non-verbal way that they may be able to support you or initiate closeness whether that’s a hug or giving you some space.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That it’s a positive way to take care of yourself rather than a sign of weakness. Most often people struggle on carrying intense burdens as they feel they ought to be able to deal with everything on their own. By the time we go to see a counsellor we have often reached crisis point and are completely burnt out but you don’t have to wait until you get to that point.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For a therapist I think it would be making too many assumptions that you know what the clients experience is. Every individual processes and experiences things differently. For clients I’d say coming to therapy because you feel pressured to by someone else. It’s your journey and you have to be ready and willing to participate if there is going to be any real benefit.

Bio

I am based in the UK and work with adults and teenagers in Tring Hertfordshire and Aylesbury Buckinghamshire. I also provide online counselling by video, Messaging or email. I will also be offering Couples counselling sessions from Aug/Sept 2018. You can visit my website http://www.simoneayerscounselling.com for more information or email me at info@simoneayerscounselling.com.

An Illness By Any Other Name

What does it mean to be ill? And who gets to decide which illnesses are worthy of being researched, treated, discussed, and valid? Physical illness and mental illness are not treated equally. As a society, we are slowly making it ok to talk about mental illness, but the stigma is still there. Our culture has done an excellent job of empowering people to seek treatment for various physical illnesses. When we become physically ill, as in our bodies are not functioning the way they usually do, we are encouraged to seek medical treatment. Indeed, it has taken time for us to be able to say the word “cancer” without whispering it, and now, notice how much compassion we have for those struggling with and how empowered we feel to treat cancer. Notice we cannot say the same about mental illness.

We consider annual physical check-ups and teeth cleaning twice a year (those of us who don’t fear the dentist!) the norm and even recommended. Why do we not recommend “mental health check-ups”? Take a moment and ask yourself, why, if we value healthcare in our culture, why does it matter whether it is physical or mental health? When we struggle with our thoughts, feelings, and reactions to life experiences, it makes sense to get mental health treatment.

A mental health check-up and/or therapy is just as necessary if not more so when working toward wellness and healthcare. Why? Because, if, as a society we are unable to cultivate compassion for one another, driven by irrational belief systems, and unable to manage our emotional reactivity, our relationships will suffer. Family functioning will suffer, teamwork will suffer, and our interdependence upon one another for survival will suffer. Our very survival is at risk if we cannot manage our relationships in healthy ways. No one is expected to know how to have healthy relationships. It is learned behavior, and a skill set to be taught. How can parents be expected to teach their children about healthy relationships if they never learned it either? So dysfunctional relationships, poor communication skills, and inadequate coping skills are getting passed down from generation to generation.

We live in a time where mental health awareness and wellness is peeking out from under the rug. There are tons of books and teaching aids available now so no one has an excuse to say they didn’t know how to resolve conflict better, teach mutual respect in the home, encourage positive self-esteem, and engage in a healthy intimate relationship. Anyone who has had a positive counseling or psychotherapy experience is encouraged to share it with the world, as it is a gift to share wellness, not hide from it in shame.

I dream of a world where an annual mental health check-up is the norm beginning at the age of 3.This is the age that children with educational and medical limitations are screened at the school level for accommodations and programming for special needs. We are all special and we all have needs. We can begin to take better care of ourselves by focusing not just on the medical health care, but also mental health care.

Bio

Laurie L. Rosen, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Red Maple Court
10617 Jones Street #201A
Fairfax Virginia 22030
703-239-2600
laurielrosenlcsw@gmail.com
www.laurielrosenlcsw.com

Serving individuals, couples, and families in the public and private sector for 30 years, Laurie earned both a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology, and Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Maryland. Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in Virginia, Laurie is certified as an LCSW supervisor. In her private practice in Fairfax, Virginia, Laurie provides treatment for: depression, anxiety, couple issues, parenting, physical and emotional trauma, stress management, eating disorders, life transitions, chronic illness, and grief and loss. She provides mental health consultation to private school programs, as well as presents custom workshops and staff development about various mental health topics. As a participating provider with “Give An Hour”, she offers pro bono mental health services to military personnel and their families.

Interview with Psychotherapist Emily Rooney

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My reason for becoming a Therapist was due to having a confusing childhood. I really wanted and needed to understand myself and other people, the way we think, feel and behave. My own personal issues led me to seek counselling in my teens, and Counselling training followed in my 20’s. I want to be the therapist I would have wanted when I was really struggling to understand and shift my own mental health. I have always believed that people have the potential to grow, develop, change or accept who they are and I want to be able to help facilitate that in my clients.
I started a Counselling Listening skills course, up to Level 6, at Hull University. I then completed my Counselling and Psychotherapy training at SCPTI (Scarborough). I have since completed a Therapy with Adolescents certificate with The Relational Academy in Cambridge.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I have many rewarding moments but a lovely one in particular was receiving a card from the Mother of a young woman, who came to me experiencing anxiety and low self-esteem, to tell me that her daughter was a ‘different girl to the one I brought to you a year ago…her transition to Uni went better than she expected and she seems to be loving it’.
When clients have a ‘breakthrough’, having become aware of something of themselves they hadn’t realised before, or coming back the following session to reflect how they’d tried something different in their lives which had a positive emotional impact, is always rewarding.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I feel that I have a very honest approach to my work and my own background and experiences help inform my intuitions, hunches and approach to how I might gently challenge my client in order to bring about their own awareness.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is for anyone. It is not a sign of weakness to seek emotional support, rather, a sign of bravery. Therapy is not a quick fix, nor should it pretend to be. Therapy becomes part of your journey of understanding, awareness, self-acceptance, perhaps even change and one of the most important and rewarding parts is the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client. When a client says they feel listened to, understood, heard, not judged and supported, to name but a few, then they potentially go away feeling more wise about themselves than before they came.

Bio

Emily Rooney is A Relational Counsellor and Integrative Psychotherapist for 7 years, supporting adults and young people in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey. You can learn more about her at https://psychotherapywithemily.com/.

Interview with Psychotherapist Paul Jozsef

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My decision to become a therapist was largely informed by having had my own therapy at various points in my life; I felt that I wanted to give back/pay it forward in some form. Further, if I am to be honest, my decision to become a therapist also involved internalising and accepting the Jungian concept of the wounded healer.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I find witnessing my client’s ‘penny drop’ moments the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist. That is, seeing a client have a breakthrough realisation. I feel very privileged being able to share such an intimate and illuminating experience with another person.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As alluded to above, I have experienced, and worked through, a significant amount of early childhood trauma. I feel that this facilitates/allows a natural empathy and vulnerability. These emotional qualities allow me to sit with another person who may be in pain without having to explicitly say, “I understand how you feel”.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My favourite interpersonal relationship tip is a therapeutic technique that I ‘borrowed’ from colleague who ‘appropriated’ it from a rehab clinic: the three-sentence technique. It is a method of deescalating arguments through reality checking and emotional vulnerability. In essence, the technique goes a little like this: “when I notice…”, “I make up…”, and I feel…”

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I feel that in Australia, there is an inherent culture of ‘machoness’. That is, a strong Aussie bloke isn’t free to share their struggles with mental illness. I like to talk and share about the prevalence of anxiety (and depression) in Australian society. I feel it is essential to talk about, and make clear, that there is no shame or weakness in males experiencing anxiety.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistake a therapist or a client can make is being inauthentic. That is, pretending like you have all the answers. We all struggle to some extent with ‘stuff’. To be open, share and be vulnerable is, to my mind, a true strength.

Bio

Paul Jozsef Counselling & Psychotherapy provides psychology services for adults, adolescents and couples seeking therapy in Surry Hills, Sydney.

For further information, please visit: http://pauljozsef.com.au/.

Interview with Psychotherapist Naelah Khan

Naelah has been practicing as an Integrative Psychotherapist and Counsellor for individuals and couples for over eighteen years.

She has worked in private practice for over nine years alongside working as a specialist individual therapist and group facilitator to survivors of trauma for the past fourteen years. She previously worked in the NHS as a Primary Care Counsellor for eight years and in several domestic violence organisations as a counsellor for six years.

She has extensive experience of working with a wide range of issues including depression, relationships, workplace concerns, trauma, PTSD and cross cultural problems.
She is widening her practice with clinical supervision of individuals and groups and running reflective groups for organisations.

Naelah is a Registered and Accredited member of BACP & is UKCP Registered.

Further details can be found at:
www.wellness-therapy.com
E: info@wellness-therapy.com

How or Why Did you Become A Therapist?

I always wanted to work in the psychological field and to help people and recently found comments in my school books from friends wishing me luck in my ambitions to be a psychologist. I was fascinated by people, their behaviours, actions, choices and was always questioning the part played by nature vs nurture, free will, luck and all the other variables present in our lives.

I went on to study Psychology at University, then counselling and a more rigorous psychotherapy training a few years later.

What Are The Most Rewarding Aspects of Being A Therapist?

Meeting and forming unique relationships with amazing, inspiring people whom in ordinary circumstances are lives may have never crossed paths. It’s exciting and gratifying being alongside them in their journey of recovery. My work in the trauma field has been especially humbling. I’ve been able to work long term with women who would never be able to access specialised therapy.

What’s unique or special or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

When I form a therapeutic relationship, I take into consideration the individual and all the wider systems they may belong to. This can include their ethnicity, religious culture they may have grown up in, gender, educational background, culture, workplace organisations and all the other groupings they may be a part of.

We all belong to various sub-cultures that may influence our perception of ourselves, our place in it and of the wider world.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Listen to your gut, the innate voice inside you that guides you. When you trust your instinct, there is a level of belief in the self, a confidence in your ability to know what is right for you.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The choice to have therapy doesn’t have to be driven by a crisis. Just as we have a yearly tune up for our car and boiler so we should for our emotional and mental well-being. I would like to encourage people to create a space to check in with themselves from time to time and reassess their emotional and psychological health.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Mistakes can often be a source of learning in therapy, for both client and therapist. It requires trust, willingness and a commitment to work through ruptures and learn from them. Oftentimes it can strengthen the therapeutic relationship and reveal patterns of relating and managing conflict which may not have emerged ordinarily.

Interview with Montreal Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Nicolina Ratto, MA, PhD, CCC

“I help heal the relationships people have with themselves, with close others, and with the world.”

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My earliest memories are about helping people who suffered, were misunderstood or mistreated. As a shy and sensitive child, I had an innate ability to understand people’s emotions leading me to develop a helping role early in elementary school. For example, I remember giving some of my clothes to a young girl that I barely knew who was bullied because of what she wore. I wanted to protect her from future bullying.

As far as I can remember, I have had an enduring fascination with human relationships and behavior. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives but I wanted to do it with the right qualifications. I studied attachment relationships as part of my graduate research. My clinical training and experience furthered my specialization in relational and emotional well-being.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Being chosen to work with a client is both an honor and a reward. I experience awe when I see the incredible resilience and growth that can arise from people’s pain and suffering. I am deeply moved when I see my clients positively transform their relationship with themselves and/or with others. There are no greater emotional rewards than to see my clients heal, grow and thrive!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a strong background in attachment theory and research which guides my clinical practice. Given that attachment relationships influence people’s experience and regulation of emotions, it has helped me better understand differences in the way people connect and relate to each other, manage relational conflicts and breakups.

I also do not use a one-size-fits-all psychology approach.I am fundamentally person-centered and integrative in practice. Scientifically-supported therapies are approached holistically (mind-body-brain), and customized to the needs of each individual person.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • Create more positive couple interactions. Research found couples with a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions have happier more satisfying relationships. ​
  • Show appreciation. Hug, cuddle or touch your partner daily. Oxytocin (the love hormone) is triggered by touch and intimacy and found to reduce stress and promote couple bonding and trust.
  • Share jokes and laugh together every day. Shared laughter (not mocking or sarcasm) has been found to boost interpersonal positivity, intimacy and relationship quality.
  • If you disagree, do it respectfully and constructively. Take responsibility. Don’t attack, justify, withdraw or stonewall. Manage conflict with more compromise and negotiation.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy can be helpful in increasing self-understanding, providing solutions/skills to specific problems, resolving life and relationship issues, and improving mental health. There are many therapeutic approaches to consider. Not all approaches are scientifically proven. Therapy is likely to be ineffective when the therapist and/or their approach are not a good fit with the client and/or their problem. Take time to research which approach is best suited for your issue. Find a therapist you like and feel comfortable with. Each therapist has their unique style, personality and experience. Studies have found a strong therapeutic relationship predicted successful therapy outcomes.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Nicolina Ratto at www.montrealpsyservices.com

Thank you for connecting/following Dr. Ratto:

GOOGLE PLUS: http://google.com/+NicolinaRatto
TWITTER (dr_nicolina): https://twitter.com/dr_nicolina
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/montrealpsyservices/

Interview with Psychotherapist Nigel Moyse

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I paid a lot of money to a careers advisory firm in London in the 1990s. When they suggested “counsellor” I was surprised and didn’t accept this as a possible career for several years, but after ten years experience I’m completely sold on the idea!

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Obvious to me: seeing clients overcome their difficulties / deal with their pain / find a job / make a success of a relationship / etc, etc.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I would say helping the individual to stand back and observe their own contribution and how it affects the other party; also encouraging compassion both with ourselves and others over mistakes committed.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Send love to the other person when you are in conflict or feel bullied / intimidated by another. Sounds very New Age etc, but I think it works because when you really mean it, your whole demeanour changes and non-verbal communication – under the control of your sub-conscious mind (sometimes known as the infinite intelligence) will be picked up at the sub-conscious level by your antagonist’s mind who may therefore become more affable as a result. Remarkable things have happened through the sending of positive vibes.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That more and more people – including some you would never have suspected – are getting the benefit from therapy and realising that, if you can find a good fit with a therapist, it really can transform your life.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Not turning up for a session! I try very hard to avoid this one, but even with the best laid plans things can go wrong (traffic jams, calendar failure) but after about 4000 sessions I think I have only got it wrong 2-3 times and almost always managed to alert the client. Another is giving free advice. If I make suggestions to a client, I aim to always make it clear that it is just that – a suggestion. However I would never tell a client to leave a partner, for example. But I may reflect back to them that this is what they are telling me they want to do and open it up for discussion.

Bio

I am a BACP accredited counsellor/psychotherapist trained in psychodynamic studies at Oxford University and have taken a brief course in CBT with the world-renowned Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. Previously I had obtained a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised degree in psychology and in 2001 completed a Masters in Cognitive Science. I have also received training in Couple Counselling with the Berkshire Counselling Centre.

You can learn more about me at http://www.oxford-counselling-solutions.co.uk.

Interview with Dr. Melissa Schacter

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was always interested in people and subsequently their behavior. Being a therapist, therefore, seemed like a natural fit for me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
It’s most rewarding when a client, couple, or family feels as though they have acquired the tools or gained the insight they need from therapy in order to handle an issue on their own.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As a licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Marriage and Family Therapist, I get to use both backgrounds in my work with people. Furthermore, I approach therapy in a very different manner than traditional psychotherapist in that I practice in a very efficient, effective, and time-sensitive manner; for example I practice a form a psychotherapy called Single Session Therapy. You can learn more at www.drmelissatherapy.com/sst I feel that it is my job and ethical responsibility to get people to a place where they essentially no longer need to come see me.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

People typically come to therapy for significant issue; after marriage, after kids, etc…. Rather than having an issue escalate, I always encourage people to use preventative measures. For example, I often hear couples saying, “we’re only dating, we shouldn’t be going to therapy at this point”. I strongly disagree because I stress a preventative approach. Learning the tools needed to be successful in your relationship is invaluable and best learnt before unhealthy patterns and behaviors develop. Gaining insight, tools, and, using proper communication early on promotes longevity and health in any relationship.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Every therapist is different, and I believe that success in therapy is very much intertwined you and your therapist’s compatibility. If you feel that you not benefiting from therapy, try identifying what you are looking for and search for that in another therapist rather than giving up on the process all together.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Melissa Schacter at https://www.drmelissatherapy.com.

Interview with Anthony Costello LMFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a psychotherapist was not a career I originally saw myself pursuing. It took life experiences, a desire for a fulfilling occupation, and an earnest determination to help others for me to end up where I am today. I spent 7 years in a corporate role and held a plethora of wide ranging jobs throughout my schooling. While I enjoyed aspects of every path I have taken there was always a void until I started on my current path. I truly love the work that I do.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

For me it’s having the privilege to form the unique therapeutic relationships with my clients and being able to hear their stories. I love seeing people grow, live lives that are more meaningful, rewarding, and peaceful and if I can be even a diminutive part of that process than that is the most rewarding career I can imagine.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, my training was ingrained with a systemic lens that focuses on seeing the larger picture and how all the components of that system play a role in dysfunction or harmony. I valued my time in grad school as I took part in a very small, intensive program where we actively practiced therapy with couples, families and individuals with our supervisors looking on behind one way mirrors with the client’s consent. I have been told by clients and supervisors that I have a unique way of conversing and being with people of all walks of life and being able to create a space for exploration and safety. I also think my wide range of work and life experiences help me relate to my clients. In particular, having lived with a chronic illness for 20 years has allowed me to empathize and understand some of the afflictions that my clients face.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I especially like the work of John Gottman and Sue Johnson and agree that Identifying adult attachment styles and how they interweave into the patterns of dysfunction is essential to change. I also adhere to the notion that conflict is inevitable and healthy to a certain extent. Couples must learn the skills to prevent physiological escalation as neuroscience has proven that when we are triggered we become flooded with hormones and chemicals within our bodies that prevent us from thinking or acting rationally and regress to a more primal and defensive state. Couples in distress need to learn to slow that escalation process down and so they can be productive in managing conflict and repair the emotional injuries when necessary.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I think as the stigma around therapy continued to dissipate within our culture more couples are seeking proactive help rather than waiting to they are on the brink of divorce. Some couples can make it back from the depths of hurt, pervasive stress, and conflict but it is always so much easier to nip the tensions and negative patterns in the bud when they address their issues prior to years of resentment and distance.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I am referred a lot of clients who have seen other therapists in the past. I often find that in our field there are practitioners that lose their sense of the ethical necessity for autonomy. I often have couples coming in to therapy with a false expectation that I will magically solve their problems. Couples therapy is work and going back to the “teach a man to fish…” proverb, I view therapy as a process where you help people figure out their problems on their own rather than trying to implement your own interpretation of what a healthy relationship looks like. I think you need to take an active stance but also be aware of your own implicit biases and make sure clients are moving in the direction they desire, not you. This approach creates lasting change that can help the couple function more harmoniously outside the confines of the therapy room.

Bio

Anthony Costello is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing out of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Website: https://www.costellopsychotherapy.com/

Interview with Psychotherapist Natalie Moore

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I’ve known that I wanted to serve in a helping professions role as far back as I can remember. When I took an AP psychology class in high school that was it for me! I knew I would become a psychotherapist. In my studies and work with families, I was a voracious learner and enjoyed my work immensely. I honestly can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I think the most obvious answer is that you get to have a front-row seat to meaningful, positive change in people’s lives. A more unexpected answer is that it is really fun! I do body-based therapy with adults and play therapy with kids, and you never know what clients are going to say or do. And you get to build relationships with people you otherwise would’ve never met. There is also a peaceful quality to sitting in a room with people and being entirely present to their experience. Lastly, the job pushes you to grow in your personal life (never a dull moment!) and there is always SO much to learn in your professional life.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My training from the start has been in holistic approaches to psychotherapy. This means that I see people as a whole being which includes mind, body and spirit. My job is to help people become intimately acquainted with their moment-to-moment body experience and their internal wisdom. Techniques I use include body awareness, mindfulness meditation, grounding techniques, somatic release of trauma and many more.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Number 1 is presence. But down the phone, close the laptop and attend to your partner fully. That means looking them directly in the eyes and deeply listening to what they’re saying. Number 2 is be aware of your own emotional responses. If you’re getting emotionally triggered in a conversation you won’t be listening anymore, rather planning your response. You’ll likely become defensive and say something hurtful that you don’t mean. Quietly note your emotions and body experience, take a deep breath and share what you’re feeling with your partner in a calm, connected way.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want people to be less afraid of the process of starting therapy. Yes, it’s natural to experience some fear of something unknown and unfamiliar and I get that. But most therapists are caring, nurturing, empathic and loving humans. They want what is best for you and are going to do their best to create an warm, comfortable and safe environment for your self-exploration. There really is nothing to be afraid of.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

There are many legal and ethical mistakes that therapists can make, which is beyond the scope of this interview, but long story short — a therapist should never do or say anything that makes you feel very uncomfortable (and I’m not talking about in a therapeutic way where they’re challenging you to confront an uncomfortable emotion, I’m talking about a situation where they step over a boundary that feels weird and wrong.) If this happens speak up and seek a second opinion.

The only mistake a client can really make is giving up on therapy too soon because they haven’t see progress yet. Therapy takes time and if you feel that your therapist knows what they’re doing and is attuned to you, give the process a chance to work. It could take months, it could take years. But you’ll never know if you don’t commit to the process.

Bio

Natalie Moore is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Pasadena, CA. She utilizes a holistic approach to helping young adults relieve anxiety naturally through mindfulness and somatic practices. Natalie also works in an agency setting with children on the autism spectrum and their families using a socio-emotional modality to help kids with special needs live meaningful lives. When she’s not working you can find Natalie on a mountain top with some awesome homemade goodies. You can learn more about her at awakentheself.com.

Interview with Morgan Barber, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist by getting the necessary education required in order to be hirable as a therapist. Then I worked as one for awhile, while working on becoming licensed. Became licensed and started to work exclusively as a psychotherapist and as a couples counselor. Why? Well..15 years ago when I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up I had a job in the wilderness therapy field and found myself admiring the quality of person that I perceived in the therapists I worked beside. I thought I want to be like them and I thought if one is to be a therapist (which I assumed to be a person who was going to help other’s live a good life and make sound decisions) then I thought I would learn a thing or two about how to live a good life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It’s awesome to offer a service that is effective and have people appreciate it and pay you money for it.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I’m not sure what is unique because I don’t know how others are practicing. It is confidential and thus we never actually get to see how other people work. As for special, I think the understanding I have of how to assess a couple and help them become aware of the ineffective ways that each one of them is relating, positioning, communicating to the other and inform them of a more effective way to express themselves is special.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Don’t argue! When your partner has an idea they want you to understand, provide understanding. Understanding and agreeing are different concepts. I can provide evil people whom I may hate understanding. It in no way indicates I agree with their actions or statements. Understanding is something you give or provide. Avoid the critical stance first. No need to assume the moral authority or fall into the objectivity trap. Focus on the gist of the idea your partner is trying to express and give them some room to imperfectly express themselves. Relate to people as if they make sense first. Be curious and nonjudgemental about the ideas your partner would like to discuss with you.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

It’s work for the client(s). It’s successful when the individuals are interested in expanding their perspective. It’s not successful if the clients remain focused on external change (i.e. their partners changing)

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

A mistake a therapist can make is having limited flexibility and uniqueness in their treatment or collaboration with individuals and ironically a mistake a therapist can also make is being too flexible in their treatment approach with couples. Breaking confidentiality is a big mistake.

Bio

You can learn more about Morgan Barber at www.counselingportlandme.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Gaea Woods

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It’s therapy’s dirty little secret that doing this work is extremely rewarding for therapists and clients alike. I identify with the concept of the wounded healer archetype coined by Carl Jung. To paraphrase, maintaining awareness of your own personal wounds while acting in service of your clients is an incredibly rewarding, and mutually beneficial experience. Jung asserts that being wounded does not make you less capable of taking care of the client, rather it makes you a companion to your client, no longer acting as your client’s superior.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I love working with clients who are examining aspects of how they feel empowered or disempowered in their relationships. This type of insight oriented work might involve assisting a client in clarifying their boundaries, or pointing out their defense mechanisms.

Lately I have found that many of my clients are interested in exploring non-normative types of relationships such as ethical non-monogamy. I love assisting clients along their path towards finding relationships where they feel fulfilled, free, and happy. Often this involves unpacking cultural and family of origin messages around relationships and gender.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think a mistake I made was trying not to be vulnerable with my clients. As a therapist, you can model for your clients how to address conflict within your relationship in a healthy way. Not that this is easy! One of my biggest breakthroughs with a client occurred when I noticed a misstep I had made, and brought it up during our session. Instead of creating distance in our relationship, our connection was deepened.

For a client, it can be a mistake to rely too heavily on a therapist as the vehicle for change, when in fact it’s a collaborative effort. This reaction may be a defense against acknowledging their own ambivalence towards committing to their inner work, or simply because they are new to therapy. To address this, I often work to empower my clients by enlisting them as the experts of their own experience.

Bio

Gaea Woods, M.A. Clinical Psychology

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #103679

I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. I see clients in private practice, and at The Krevoy Institute for Eating Disorders in Los Angeles, California. In my private practice, I specialize in working with adults and adolescents experiencing symptoms of distress due to: anxiety, depression, disordered eating, life transitions, creative blocks, relationship problems, self-esteem, family issues, trauma, and career issues. I work with couples to improve communication, build empathy and trust, and gain insight into dysfunctional relationship patterns.

My style is loving, non-judgmental, and creative. My role is to help empower you to change. I do this by uncovering unconscious mechanisms that drive your current issues. As your therapist I will assist you by promoting honesty, self-compassion, and self-acceptance in order for you to connect with your authentic self to come into your natural state of well-being.

Please visit my website to learn more: www.gaeawoodstherapy.com.

Interview with Yaji Tramontini, MA, MFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I knew I wanted to be a therapist at a very young age. I was born into quite a bit of turmoil and thanks to my school therapists I was given a chance to overcome the obstacles that life gave me. I wanted to give back the gift that had been given to me. My life has been dedicated to learning how to grow and overcome & I have a passion of sharing what I have discovered is helpful to me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding moments are when I see clients shift. Limiting beliefs can be held in the unconscious for many years and create havoc in life as it impairs perception and the resulting emotional behavioral response. The moment a person sees that is such a gift.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a few things that are unique. First, using EMDR, Bio-feedback and other “trauma” based modalities to help clients release “baggage” that creates problems in their relationships, is a big part of what we do at LTC (Love Therapy Center). 2nd we are much more involved than traditional talk therapy, we also have a Communication Guide that informs much of the therapy. It is a framework that we work from. It is a free download on the website – http://lovetherapycenter.org if you would like to check it out. I always recommend clients download this before getting started as it can give them a good head start. 3rd – our approach and philosophy is based on self-love first. Learn to love, know and accept yourself first and all relationships become much easier. Lastly, we have an interesting blend of Eastern and Western Philosophy Spiritual practices and Quantum empirical studies that are interwoven into the therapeutic approach.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

You can find many good tips in the Communication Guide, my favorite is switching from communicating what you DON’T like and instead saying what you WOULD like. It is an innocent mistake that we all make – speaking in the negative – but it has the potential to be devastating in relationships. Even more, making this one change can also have a powerful positive impact on an individual level. When you start thinking of what you would like instead of what you don’t have, you already start to feel better, it gives you hope and is empowering. Then you can approach your partner, friend, colleague more from a place of inner peace and being grounded. This gives you a MUCH better chance of being successful.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The interconnection of mind, body and spirit is profound and is slowly gaining traction as a valid part of Western Medicine. More and more studies about stress and the effects of stress on the body and physiology are being done and proving the connection. Society is still overcoming a bit of shame around therapy and having a therapist, but little by little we are overcoming that. Seeing a therapist is not just for treating mental illness, yes there is a place for that as well, but therapy is also an amazing place to start if you want to do ANYTHING better in life. Relationships, Work, Career, Money, Health, Spiritual Growth, anything can be vastly improved by getting yourself in the right mindset. In fact I might go so far as to say that is a key ingredient. It starts with mindset and that’s what therapy can help with.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The single biggest mistake a patient / client can make is giving up when it seems to be taking too long or if they have a setback in their therapeutic journey. The saying, “it’s darkest before the dawn” is very true. I often see big shifts in those who persist through the times that it seems nothing is changing.

The biggest mistake therapists make, in my view, is to think they shouldn’t be working harder than their clients. This is a mutual relationship that should take as much effort on my part, if not more at times. If a person is not ready to put in the work but they are coming in, then it is our jobs to figure out what is preventing them from putting in the work to get them to the place they want to be.

Bio

Our goal is to offer you the most comprehensive, supportive and effective Psychotherapy that can be found.

Yaji Tramontini founded Love Therapy Center in 2008 but it was a seed planted long before. Yaji is an expert practitioner of many different forms of Psychotherapy and takes a very personal and passionate interest in finding techniques and methods that truly work to release trauma, so you will be sure to get the most current, effective help available. Love Therapy is unlike your typical counseling and talk Therapy in that you will find more guidance and involvement from your therapist, using guided techniques that are inclusive of mind, body and soul.

Originally from the East Coast, Yaji graduated from Boston University with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy. Beginning her career at BU as an engineering major, she realized her true calling was to give back what she had been given in learning to heal and overcome the past. Thus she brings with her a unique, personal perspective on what works in addition to a strong emphasis on math and science. She additionally participated in several cognitive behavioral (CBT) empirical, evidence based studies, given lectures on the intersection of Cognitive Behavioral Science with Spirituality at JFK University, presented at the Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis, and has has over 10,000 hours of experience working with couples and individuals to release trauma wounds, create great relationships and most importantly, become congruent, with higher levels of self-esteem, and self-love.

Some other fun facts about Yaji: She is the mother of a beautiful, young boy born in 2010. She is a musician, a self-admitted closet geek with a penchant for fantasy adventure and MMORPG’s, and has a fascination with the latest technology gadgets.

License, certifications, and degrees:

State Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MFC45878 – 2006
Master of Arts (M.A.) – Institute of Transpersonal Psychology – 2003
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) – Boston University – 1994
Certified Psychosynthesis Instructor – 2005
Shamanic Studies 2006 – 2012
Certified EMDR practitioner – 2010
Positive Discipline Certified Instructor – 2012
Master NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner – 2014
Hypnotherapist – 2014
MER® (Mental Emotional Release) Practitioner – 2014
Certified Supervisor for Psychotherapy Interns – 2009
Yoga Teaching Credentials (CorePower) – 2017
Bio-Feedback – Heart Math Institute – 2018

Interview with Nancy Harris, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist was a natural progression for me in terms of a life-long curiosity about people and what makes us tick. Even as a young child, I was always trying to figure out what was really going on with people beneath the surface. I was a sensitive kid and probably born to do this kind of work.

I was an Anthropology and Sociology major in college and became fascinated with other cultures in terms of the vast differences and similarities.

I spent my junior year of college in Vienna, Austria and traveled all over Europe. Immediately following college, I found Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and became deeply involved in mediation, yoga and Eastern spirituality.

I was on a quest to learn all I could about life and to help other people with what I learned. It’s my passion and I will probably be doing this until the day I die.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I basically love people and find us endlessly complex and fascinating. People are really struggling these days and want more quality of life. Anxiety is rampant. Loneliness and isolation are increasing problems.

Most people are looking for deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. I can’t think of anything more valuable than to spend my time helping others live more meaningful and purposeful lives.

I love seeing my clients make break-throughs, heal from past pains, take risks and create something new. I get to see people heal and change. My clients tell me things they’ve never told anyone before. It is an honor and privilege to do this work.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Because of my early connection with yoga, mediation and Eastern spirituality, I was practicing many of the tools and principles 30 years ago that are finally becoming mainstream now. I use these tools myself and practice what I preach. I’m a daily meditator and have been for years.

I am a big believer in mindfulness, living in the present moment, connecting with one’s own inner guidance and inspiration as daily tools. I utilize spiritual principles in my work with clients if they are open to that. In terms of interpersonal relationships, I believe it is important to work on one’s own healing on a consistent basis in order to be fully present and functional in relationships with others.

I work with my clients a lot on becoming self-empowered and developing their own self-mastery in terms of being skillful with their thoughts, feelings and actions. It is only then that one is able to be in a healthy relationship with another without losing their own sense of self.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Work on yourself first. Don’t expect to get all your needs met from another person, especially your partner. Create a full, well-rounded life that includes good friends, hobbies and interests of your own and meaningful work if possible. Spend some time daily in silence to connect with your own inner self.

I have seen people make amazing changes. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Take care of your health. Most mood disorders such as anxiety and depression can be healed with food, exercise and some form of meditation practice. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself if given the right circumstances.

Release limiting beliefs, heal the traumas and negative emotions that are holding you back with the help of a therapist. This creates space for your highest potential to unfold.

In most cases, medications can be a last resort.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The world is a very stressful place. Most people are struggling with at least one issue in their life that is very difficult. No one gets a free ride, yet some people do seem to have easier lives than others…

Don’t white knuckle it and think you have to do it all alone. Statistics for loneliness are epidemic and on the rise. Social media is not a replacement for real relationships and face-to-face contact. In fact, too much social media makes people feel worse.

Don’t be ashamed to reach out to a therapist or life coach if you are having a hard time. You’d be surprised at how many people are going to a therapist or hiring coaches to help them navigate the stress in their lives. We are social creatures and need each other.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Quitting the process too soon is one of the biggest mistakes I see.

As a client, once you have found the right person to work with, stick with it. I sometimes see clients stop the process as soon as they get out of the acute pain that brought them into therapy in the first place. I understand that money may be an issue, however getting out of pain is not living a great life.

Since I am both a licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, I am trained to help people heal pain from their past and also create more fulfilling, meaningful futures. Life is meant to be an adventure in which we reach our full potential. This is a life-long process.

Not that you have to work with your coach or therapist forever, but stay with it until you are well on your way to creating the happy, fulfilling life that your heart and soul desires. You know deep inside that you were born to do this. You can feel it.

Honor yourself and know that the Universe has your back. It will rise up to meet you in terms of providing the resources to get the help you need once you make that commitment to yourself.

We live in a self-correcting Universe in which you are pre-programmed to reach your highest potential. Help is available if you need it. Don’t cut yourself short. Life goes by fast.

Bio

For the past 20 years, Nancy Harris, LCSW, has been helping women and men transform their lives, experience more joy, create better relationships, develop meaningful work and live more authentically.

As a certified Transformational Life Coach and Holistic Psychotherapist, she works with individuals and couples who are feeling stuck, confused and searching for answers to get back on track, reconnect with their dreams, and create a bigger vision for their lives.

She was chosen as one of Denver, CO’s “Top 19 Life Coaches” in both 2017 and 2018 by expertise.com. In 2015, while living in Providence, RI, she was chosen as one of the “Top 3 Marriage Counselors” by threebestrated.com.

Her website is: www.nancyharriscoaching.com.

Interview with Lisa Bahar, MA, CCJP, LMFT, LPCC

Lisa Bahar is a licensed marriage and family therapist, professional clinical counselor and certified drug and alcohol counselor. She works with individuals, couples and families and specializes in personality disorders, mood disorders and substance abuse treatment. Lisa specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) an intervention skill set that helps client regulate emotions, learn how to assert or say no, manage stressors and crisis, and maintain a quiet mind with core mindfulness skills. Lisa also uses a creative technique called Cinema Therapy, which implements movies and the cinema into the therapeutic process. Lisa Bahar is located in Newport Beach, California. You can learn more about her at www.lisabahar.com.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist was a second career choice for me. My first career was in cinema and I received my Bachelors in Cinema Television from USC. I was involved in making films for many years, however, a turn of events had me return home to my family and at that time I decided to reconsider my career path and through that therapeutic process became interested in my mental health. As a result of that personal process, I then wanted to help others once I gained insight and a new plan for my life. My inspiration was to return to school, get my Masters in Psychology and pursue a career as a licensed psychotherapist. Ironically, I use my first career of the Cinema in my Therapeutic practice and implement a therapy technique called Cinema Therapy.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Having someone return after therapy or even during therapy and sharing how their life has become what they prefer through a process that we collaborated on in therapy. It’s quite an honor for someone to come in and be willing to be vulnerable and share their story and the challenges they are facing and trusting in the process that I can help.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I use a lot of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in my work with clients when working on relationship goals. DBT has a concrete approach on how to express yourself, ask for what you want and learn how to attend to relationships. It is a helpful skill set that client’s feel they can master and apply to their relationship, whether it is a marriage, work, family or otherwise.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Be willing to remove blame or fault from the situation. Focus on the issue, versus the person being the problem. Learn how to validate one another, which does not mean you agree or approve, but that you understand the other person’s point of view. I think validation is the key to healthy communication and relationships, people want to be heard and understood before they are open to change.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Remove the stigma of mental illness and be willing to ask for help. It’s not easy for some to ask for help, I give a lot of credit to people that are willing to ask for professional help.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I have made quite a few and I will continue to make them and do my best to learn from them.

Patients can make no mistakes in my opinion, it’s up to the therapist to help guide the process.

Interview with Deborah B. Knoll, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My parents say that I have always been listening to people – from my friends when i was young to the elderly in a nursing home when i was in high school to parents when i was teaching parenting classes in my 20’s. So, they were not surprised to learn that I wanted to pursue a psychology degree in undergrad and a master’s in social work afterwards. I love to solve all kinds of problems and I am a very outgoing person, so I think the field of therapy was a natural one for me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Being able to create your own schedule, helping people make breakthroughs in their lives, listening to the stories and understanding what’s necessary to untangle the knots, always being busy and never being bored!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t think i have anything different to offer than anyone else, other than an intact family of origin that is very loving and close. Many people go into this field to resolve conflict from their families and childhoods and I feel blessed that that is not the case with me. I draw on a lot of positive communication from my 5 siblings, incredible parenting skills from my parents and my Christian faith that ties it all together.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

There is a lot more trauma in this world than we know and people who live with it don’t even realize the things they have endured or the things that they say to themselves to manage it on a daily basis. If we can remember that each one of us has a past and a story and probably something rough that they are dealing with, maybe it will make us more compassionate and understanding w/each other.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Coming to therapy when you are not ready or because someone else thinks you should be there is usually a recipe for an unhappy and unsuccessful experience. As a therapist, taking on issues and clients that you are not prepared to treat is also not recommended unless you are being carefully supervised and are steadily working on improving your skills and knowledge. Also, tasking clients with certain things like limit setting and standing up for yourself and then not modeling that isn’t helpful. The last thing a therapist should avoid doing is talking too much about themselves. Only if the information is relevant and useful to the client should you say it. Otherwise, remember that it’s not about you and they probably don’t need to hear about your personal situation.

Bio

You can learn more about Deborah B. Knoll at https://www.debbiebknoll.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Francesca Glenn

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I felt most alive and connected when I could help others make sense of their fears and longings. In my growing up years, the well of my own unmet needs drove me to try and make things more bearable for everyone.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

To be with someone courageously making sense of their own experience is awesome and deeply moving. Helping another gain understanding for how they have survived difficulties such as trauma, rejection or loss evokes respect in me at the deepest level. I feel excited and heartened to see someone blossom as they strengthen their internal and external resources through therapy. Witnessing another’s growth is a privilege especially as they begin to live more comfortably in their own skin, throw off outmoded defences and form authentic relationships that are nourishing and supportive.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a unique integration of models from decades of observing and transforming the implicit communication between parents and infants. This gave me sensitivity to relational needs and how they are missed again and again and how from very tiny we begin to defend ourselves from how painful and confusing that is.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • We have two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio!!
  • The Delphi maxim “KnowThyself” is still the most important message about relationships in the 21st century as it was for Ancient Greeks.
  • Modern neuroscientist Daniel Siegal, says that self awareness has the biggest and most positive impact on all our interpersonal relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The myth that therapy is indulgent! Bizarrely, self defeating behaviours such as excessive TV, drinking or shopping are not judged in this way. I’d like more awareness that therapy is about growing up and taking more responsibility for our needs and feelings. It helps us to become bigger, stronger, kinder and wise in all our relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Having provided decades of supervision and training to other therapists, I think not owning our own process is ‘a mistake’. Equally, if we take things personally it is unhelpful, and it’s better to understand with the client the unexpressed need within their hostility, withdrawal or angry demands. As for a patient, I wouldn’t really call anything a mistake but might say they would get more out of therapy if they could trust the therapist enough to share what is not working for them.

Bio

I am a full time qualified BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist and IIPA Internationally Certified Psychotherapist. I am also trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (level 1). I have worked in mental health for the past 21 years and as a clinical supervisor in Halifax, West Yorkshire for 20 years. I bring a diverse experience and sincere commitment to meeting the needs of my clients at emotional depth. I also run professional groups and trainings for therapists. Learn more at http://www.counsellingandsupervision.net.

Interview with Counsellor & Art Therapist Michelle April

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I had resigned from the Canadian federal public service. At a loss about what to do next, I was soaking in the tub and “art therapy” as a vocation dawned on me. Since I was a teenager, art and expression had been my own catalyst to healing. Beginning in my 20s, I was creating collaborative art events with older adults and young people. After completing art therapy studies, I studied counselling and spirituality. The rest is history.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is connecting with people and modeling healthy relationship within the therapist/client relationship. On par with these direct connections is the reward of witnessing people in their personal transformations.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I feel like a case in point. My childhood was dark, cold, and often violent. I was subject to poverty, neglect, and poor attachment. I have healed many relationships that were formed in these conditions. I feel like my personal experience has brought me to a place of patience and has made me empathetic and unhurried about the process of others. I was differentiated early in life and I have a strong sense of both separateness and interconnectedness in equal measure. My own capacity to heal drives ‘hope’ in my practice.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

It is a good idea to ask for what we need and what we want. This does not mean we will get the outcome we want. It is only after we ask that we can make a determination about whether our needs are being met sufficiently…only after all the cards are on the table. Attachment to outcomes often gets people into trouble. This is a model of interdependence over ownership over others.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is a means to add intention to the direction in your relationship or life in general. The efficacy of therapy is more notable than working through personal growth roadblocks alone. As well, we are able to bring some new ways of thinking and the workable tools with us down our personal path.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or person in therapy can make?

Again, a strong attachment to outcomes is the biggest mistake we make in my view. Life is a process!

Bio

Michelle April is an individual, couple and family Counsellor & Art Therapist with a private practice in Ottawa, Ontario. She also offers workshops to counsellors and other health professionals in creative expression, expanding creative vocabulary and self-care & expression through art-based practices. She places a strong emphasis on intimacy with nature including our own inner natures. You can learn more about her at https://www.michelleapril.com.

Interview with Marcello Real, MFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist after I had lived abroad, mostly in Asia, for 7 years. My pre-travel days undergraduate degree was a BA in psychology, from which I had learned a lot about myself and the human condition, but after living in various Asian countries and diving deep into their ancient culture, I realized there was a lot of wisdom there that could help the mental health field evolve.

By the time I entered graduate school (Marriage & Family Therapy) I already had a few years worth of deep practice in meditation and Hatha yoga. I had some huge epiphanies from this. It was revolutionary, because the model for mental health in these ancient practices is quite simple and direct – only 1 thing is the cause of each person’s problems – each person’s EGO. Plain and simple, especially when compared to the almost limitless multitudes of complicated therapeutic models and strategems existing in all of western psychology, psychiatry, and mental health therapy. So in graduate school and in practice with clients this is the basis of what I shared with colleagues and professors and how I work with clients.

This was one of the driving factors in becoming a therapist, to introduce an alternative to the heavily based materialistic science approach to modern day mental health therapy of all types, for which the “hard question” is “What is consciousness?” When for the ancients in Asia, especially in India, it was ALL ABOUT EXPLORING CONSCIOUSNESS.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

When a client suddenly has a “Light Bulb” moment in their explorations of their lives and difficulties, where they suddenly see their role in the conflicts they have been involved with. This paradigm shift is exemplified by their taking responsibility for their part in their situations, and deciding to stop their repetitive patterns. This is a moment of self-empowerment that is wonderful to witness, like the special blossoming of cherry blossoms.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Now after 18 years and 10,000+ hours of practicing meditation and yoga, I have understood that what matters most is for each person to become more conscious. I am not a religious person, but I noticed that the center of all religions is the mystical experience of no-thought (simultaneously an expansion occurs) where a superconscious awareness becomes more rooted into one’s moment by moment existence. This leads to living life with more confidence, no doubt, and a deeper sense of gratitude for the unbelievable mystery of our lives on a planet that is moving through space at 60,000 mph….

So in the therapeutic context I intuitively remember that each person, whether they know it or not, are on a spiritual journey, and ironically perhaps more so when a person is a devout atheist. So I find ways to help people realize this in their own cultural background, in their own context, and then encourage them to start a daily and simple practice of whatever method they want to apply to become more grounded and centered in their lives, because a consistent practice is the key factor in this pursuit.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My advice for any mental health practitioner is simple, understand that you cannot solve your client’s problems. Any advice you give them is your manner of trying to resolve their difficulties if you were them. Each client has to find their own method, their own path, since each person has their own life trials to experience and grow from, and shockingly their own personalized task master is their own ego. Their trial is to realize that their ego is “a wonderful servant, but a terrible master” in order to move into a more balanced, aware, and grounded life.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want the public to become aware that the training of psychologists, psychiatrists and all other mental health practitioners in the mainstream academic field is unfortunately limited and hindered by an obsession on basing their systems on the materialistic scientific paradigm which shockingly cannot say anything about consciousness. Wouldn’t this seem to be a pre-requisite for being able to listen to others and their difficulties and deep pain? Wouldn’t a personal exploration of consciousness, beyond concepts, seem like a major requirement of becoming a mental health practitioner? Having already been a meditator while in graduate school opened my eyes to this deficiency, but the solution is quite simple: each student should be required to complete 5 silent 10 day meditation retreats before being allowed to graduate. A non-meditating therapist would be aghast with this suggestion, but any therapist with deep experience with meditation of any type would say “Of course!!!!”

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Some of the biggest mistakes can involve being too sympathetic with the client and their life-trials. Sympathy does not help and it ends up weighing heavier and heavier on the shoulders of a therapist, especially when they unconsciously match their client’s “energetic” profiles and don’t know how to “clean out.” Empathy is much healthier, and it helps the client when a therapist can stay steady and not get involved in their “dramas” and act like a mirror for them.

Another mistake for therapist is to not remember the powerful effects of what is known as “The Rosenthal Effect” which is basically a variation of the famous physics experiments of the particle/wave duality of light, but applied to living beings. I was stunned when I heard about this in graduate school, and have been even more stunned when I meet psychologists, psychiatrists, etc who don’t remember it.

Bio

You can learn more about Marcello Real at marcelloreal.com.

Interview with Dr. Roberta Gottardo

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I decided to become a therapist when I was I was fourteen. I was an adolescent and I was going through all the difficulties of this developmental stage. My favourite subject at school was philosophy. I think that I used to love that subject because at least it was able to give me some answers to very introspective questions that I used to ask myself, such as, who am I and what do I like. I think that at that time I had already started looking at the hidden elements of my personality.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

This could appear as an obvious answer but helping others is for me certainly the most rewarding aspect. If you are able to help others, you don’t feel useless and I love seeing a real smile on my client’s face. Another exciting aspect is having a good understanding of human nature. As a therapist you can better understand the underlying reasons for a behaviour. You can find an explanation even for the behaviours that seem odd or irrational.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I mainly work with families and couples. I specialise in systemic therapy. I always see individuals as part of a system, either a family or a couple. My background is Italian and family is certainly a very important value for Italian people, and maybe for this reason we have very good family therapists in Italy. I am proud of having had the best teachers in Europe during my training.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Before looking at the other member of a couple, look at yourself and how you behave. Saying :” It is his/her fault” is very easy, but admitting that it takes two to make a relationship work, is much more difficult.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is a changing process and coming to therapy is the first step to start this change.
A client’s motivation is crucial to making a therapy a success because therapists don’t have a magic wand to change things. I always say that my clients are the best therapists of their own life.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For a client, it is only seeing himself as a person with a mental illness. However, therapists can make the same mistake too, when they only see a client as a person with depression or anxiety. I really believe that seeing a client, first of all, as an individual with his own strengths and weaknesses, is fundamental for the success of the therapy.

Bio

Roberta Gottardo
Psychologist and family and couple psychotherapist
You can learn more about me at: robertagottardo.com

Interview with Lisa Cloyd, Ph.D.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I think, like many people in the mental health field, from a young age I wanted to better understand people, including myself. As I grew, I also knew that I wanted to help others. My goal was to leave the world a better place than when I entered it, even in a small way. As I took classes, it made perfect sense to me to combine my wish to help others with my curiosity about people. I then worked in a mental health hospital to experience working with many people experiencing a variety of issues, to ensure this was my path. I quickly learned it was, and entered graduate school.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It is such an honor to be invited into my clients’ lives. The amount of trust they place in me is incredible. Therapy can be so scary, and despite that I am invited on their life journey, even if only for a brief time. Even when doing evaluations, which are typically not therapeutic, many of my clients have found that simply having had me nonjudgmentally listen to them, they begin to feel better. That is often an opportunity for them to realize how helpful therapy can be, and can be the start of their work with another therapist. I also greatly enjoy working with my therapy clients and walking on their journey with them. Seeing them unfold, develop their skills, find their answers, and change their lives is amazing. I still sometimes think back to my clients from over 20 years ago, wonder how they are now, and feel satisfaction with the work we did together.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Honestly, I’m not sure how my background or approach is particularly unique. I imagine, more than anything, what is unique is simply who I am, as with all therapists. I don’t know that it’s my approach as much as simply me. One of the first things I learned in my training was “the therapist is the tool.” We receive training in different techniques, different ways to think of people, and different ways to interact. However. ultimately, it all comes down to the person. I believe it all comes down to the persons in the room – therapist and client/s. How we interact. How we work together.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Listening. This is one of the most important pieces of having a positive relationship. We all come into relationships with different experiences, ways of thinking, and ways of reacting. Even if we have similar experiences, it’s important to listen to what the other person is saying, as they may think or feel about the situation quite differently than we do. Additionally, when there is disagreement, we tend to listen less and when we do listen, we listen for how we can prove our point or how the other person is incorrect. Instead of listening with that filter, it’s critical that we simply listen to what the other person is saying so we can better understand. Even when we disagree with others, which is inevitable, it feels so much better to both parties to actually be heard.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I understand that therapy is scary – one has to acknowledge a need for help and then also entrust a stranger with very personal things. Some view needing help as an admission of weakness. Personally, I view it as courageous. There is so much stigma in our society regarding mental health, I believe it is very brave to acknowledge a need for help and then to trust a stranger to help us. I wish mental health issues were less stigmatized – we don’t stigmatize physical health issues. I’d also like people to be more aware of how important the relationship between therapist and client is – if the therapist is not someone the client can connect with, find another therapist who is. Make sure you are comfortable with your therapist. Finally, I’d like people to know that therapy is not a magic wand and it’s not only about the therapist. Therapy does take work, and it can be quite uncomfortable. It’s not only the therapist working – it’s also the client. It takes time and is also very rewarding.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes is not ensuring there is a good match between the therapist and the client. Without there being a good match, little therapeutic work can be done. The match is critical, which is why I offer a free 15-minute interview, in which the client can interview me to see how he or she might feel working with me. If the match is not optimal, I’ve also helped clients find a therapist who is a good match. After all, I got into this field to help people – I want to do all I can to help them find the right therapist.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Lisa Cloyd at lisacloydphd.com.

Interview with Karen Peabody, LICSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist for the same reason everyone becomes a therapist, I wanted to change the world. And I was terrible in math. There is almost no math in any of the undergraduate or graduate programs! Kidding aside, I have always been interested in people and their behavior. I earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice thinking that I would love to have a career in criminal profiling. This was before the days of the ID network and internet, the days of books. I would read everything I could about crime. I remember one Christmas when I was 18 years old, I received all true crime books. Even though I thought it was fascinating, I also began to feel it was too dark for me, just way too depressing. I would ride the train to Boston everyday just looking at all the people wondering if anyone had every done anything bad. That’s when I decided I should work with people that are alive. So, addiction here I come. I got a job on a street outreach team in Cambridge MA and we walk the streets of Cambridge connecting with all the homeless people along the way. It was great. The pay was terrible, and the working conditions were even worse but meeting people, hearing their stories and building relationships was exactly what I wanted. After about a year of that job I went into my boss’s office and told her I wanted to quit. She was genuinely surprised and inquired why. “I have been here a year, and I have not been able to convince one person to get sober.” She laughed, “You are not here to get them sober, you’re here to check to see if they are still alive.” Good lesson, know your job responsibilities. At that point I knew I wanted to work in the field, working with people to find solutions to the problems.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Watching people heal.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I am a very direct person, so it makes sense my therapeutic practice is pretty direct. I am an addiction and trauma therapist. I have my own version of addiction work that I created using CBT, Narrative Therapy and Meditation skill building. I also provide a lot of psychoeducation of foundation skills, which is essential self-care. For my trauma work I use a lot of reprocessing and Brainspotting. My program is pretty intensive, and it is hard work. I am very focused on healing the emotions and treating the behavior.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

”You never know”. People are interesting! I have treated some people where I think, “Oh, this is going to be a rough road” and they do amazingly well after four sessions and they are gone. Or the people that I think will breeze right through treatment and then they just don’t mesh well with the therapy. And of course, there are clients that give you a run for your money, they make you want to pull your hair out because their addiction is strong and then two years later they are clean, sober and engaged in treatment working hard on their traumas. It is amazing.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I wish people knew more about trauma. Most people think it is events that create a bad memory, but it is actually events that change how your brain and body functions. And these changes do not readjust after the trauma is over, creating the body to become just a little more hypervalent. This hypervigilance distracts from your ability to make decisions in the present life, therefore people are more susceptible to making a bad choice. This cycle keeps repeating, increasing strength. We have come such a long way in understanding trauma and what it does to the body, especially how it links to many physical and emotional problems. It is fascinating.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make?

I think the biggest mistake a therapist can make is not taking good care of yourself. This work can be consuming. When we are seeing clients everyday it is easy to neglect our basic needs. It is essential to take breaks to eat, use the restroom, go outside, take days off, schedule paperwork days, participate in peer supervision and go to trainings. Your clients will thank you for it.

Bio

I started my career in a Street Outreach team for the homeless population in Cambridge and Somerville, MA. This experience brought me face to face with what addiction, mental health, poverty and social structure can do to a person. This job provided me with the education to begin my journey to trying to understand substance abuse. It also introduced me to some of the most wonderful, creative and inspiring people. I was hooked. For the next several years I worked in many areas of social services all focusing around the needs of substance abusing clients. In 2002 I made the decision to return to school to complete a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College. Upon graduation in 2005 I began my career as a social worker specializing in substance abuse. I have lead several group practices to support people in Suboxone Treatment and Women with Dual Diagnosis Issues. I have also maintained a private practice since 2009 to treat people struggling with addiction issues. I am the owner of Forgewell Solutions, a collaborative therapy office housing eight other therapist to utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to treat the needs of the community. We offer individual, couple, family and group therapy for adults and children. You can learn more about Karen Peabody at www.youronesolution.org.

Karen Peabody, LICSW
36 North Bedford Street Suite C22
East Bridgewater MA 02333
(774)222-3196
(774)221-9196

Interview with Jaye Kelly-Johnston, MA., LPC-S, CMS-CHT, FIBH

I’ve been a licensed psychotherapist for 25 years now. I spent the past 10 years working in partnership with law-enforcement. I have had many opportunities to serve a wide variety of people, from all backgrounds, and with a variety of belief systems.

One thing that each person I worked with had in common, was a desire to heal, and to heal fast. It was then that I discovered the amazing power of hypnotherapy; also referred to as hypnoanalysis. I spent 3 months in Albuquerque, NM training at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America and am current a fellow of the International Board of Hypnotherapy with over 500 hours of training.

It all comes back to healing. Regardless of a person’s current circumstance, people want to heal. They want to be happy. Couples want to be happy with their chosen mate (well at least for the most part but that’s for a different time).

Marriage is challenging. You take two imperfect people, then put them together in a fast paced imperfect world. Then people question why their marriage is not ideal or perfect. Some people would prefer to toss in the towel at the first sight of trouble, only to realize later that most people have a tendency to fall in love with the same type of person.

In this busy imperfect world, it is easy to focus on the negatives of life. For example: It was his turn to take out the garbage and it did not get done. Or once again she forgot to pick up his shirts from the cleaners and now he’s trying to determine what to wear for an important meeting the next day. Or the battle of whose family to spend the holidays with or who to name the children after.

Life judges people, whether in a good way or a bad way. I do not feel it is my need to make judgments about other people, especially my clients. I prefer to help someone look at his or her own issues, identify and process the feelings behind such and to make judgements about their actions for themselves.

A seasoned therapist will understand the complexity of dynamics of relationships, offer a safe environment for feelings to be processed as well as provided guidance, structure, reflection and questioning where necessary, all without judgment or taking sides.

If when a couple presents for relationship counseling, if the therapist does not honestly believe that the couple will be able to make progress and resolve their issues, then the couple is less likely to be successful, at least with that therapist.

Marriage is hard work; whether you have been married 3 years of 30 years. It’s hard work; it takes effort. But please note that the hard work and efforts can pay off in having a deep, meaningful, loving relationship; making a soul connection with the another living soul.

Communication is a foundation and necessary for the marriage to grow. Learning how to communicate using “I statements”, avoiding name calling and respecting the other person’s right to disagree with you are all means to establish that strong foundation.

Sometimes couples need ground rules in their relationship. For example; I once had a couple who had been married for about 10years when one morning over breakfast, the husband was looking through magazines. He had a big huge smile on his face and eagerly noted and circled the boats that he was interested in. He asked the wife if she wanted to go with him “boat shopping”.

This stunned the wife and she questioned as to why he would even think of making such a large purchase without first consulting her. She had never actually told him he could not have any of the “toys” he desired, but she expected to be included in the process.

He informed her that they did talk about it, the night prior, and she had given him “her blessing”. This started a huge firestorm that resulted in them sitting in my office both feeling hurt and offended.

It was later discovered that the wife had taken medication for a cold prior to going to bed. The medication made her very drowsy and she had difficulty waking up as well as difficulty remembering things the next day.

By the end of the session, they had established a ground rule that no conversations of “significance” would occur if one or both of them were under any type of mind altering substance (including alcohol). This was a good ground rule for them.

By the way, the husband did get his new boat. They both report loving the time they spend together boating and waterskiing.

Helping a couple develop good communication skills as well as establish any necessary ground rules, is a good start in helping couples successfully address any issues they currently are dealing with as well as preparing them for future issues that are sure to develop.

Helping clients learn to reconnect to each other is such a joy and honor to get to a part of.

There is so much more to working with couples in counseling. This should provide insight as to the beginning process of couples counseling.

Life is meant to be exceptional; enjoy your journey.

Bio

Jaye Kelly-Johnston, MA. LPC-S, CM-CHT, FIBH

For more information please check out my website at www.KJCTexas.com. Follow us on Twitter, Linked in and like us on Facebook. Thanks!

KELLY-JOHNSTON COUNSELING, PLLC
We want to create a comfortable, safe environment, where we will work to achieve your goals together. We offer counseling and hypnotherapy clinical services to anyone who struggles through their life and are not sure of what is the solution. For 25 years I have been writing and working with various cases of social disorder, self-esteem programs and family/relationship issues. Being a psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist, I provide private sessions to help my clients to get the most out of therapy.

ABOUT ME
Jaye graduated with a masters’ degree in Counselor Education in 1993 from Sam Houston State University. She is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor with over 25 years psychotherapy experience.

She works with children, individuals, couples and families addressing a variety of issues.

Jaye is a Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist. She brings a unique blend of analytical and creative skills to her practice.

Jaye believes in the power of the mind, actively uses self-hypnosis, hypnotic techniques, and positive suggestions and mindfulness to further refine and consciously deepen her mental awareness.

Jaye is a graduate of the Hypnotherapy Academy of America where she successfully completed 500 hours of Clinical Hypnotherapy Training receiving her Certification as a Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist.

She is a Fellow of the International Board of Hypnotherapy which has the highest certification standards in the Hypnotherapy industry requiring on-going learning for certification.

I am a true believer in the Law of Attraction; the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on.

Jaye has a fondness for doing Couple’s Past Life Regression Therapy.

MY PHILOSOPHY
I believe that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality.

If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them.

I believe that each person possesses within his or her being, all the answers needed in order to answer their deepest most personal life questions. Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy are modalities that can help a person in getting to such answers. My Philosophy creates a comfortable, safe environment, where we’ll work to achieve your goals together.

Life is a spiritual journey, full of beauty and excitement. May your life journey bring you peace, joy and fulfilment.

Interview with Psychotherapist Damian George

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I decided to retrain as a Gestalt Psychotherapist following a very serious car accident eight years ago. My right leg was very badly injured and needed reconstruction. At the time, I was working in the TV industry, which involves spending a lot of time on one’s feet. I soon realised that this was no longer a possibility and therefore decided to pursue the only other occupation I had shown an interest in.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing people change, seeing their quality of life improve, over time and through our work. I hadn’t fully realised what an honour and a privilege being a therapist would be. I think that privilege comes with huge responsibility but seeing people flourish, grow and become increasingly self sufficient is a think of pure joy.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Interestingly, a lot of my television production work has played a key role in developing my skills as a therapist. For instance, when working in drama and creating a character, the questions you must ask, in terms of “what’s happened to you in order to get you to who and where you are today” are uncannily similar to the exploratory work in the therapeutic setting.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Listen. Not in order to reply but to understand. Learn to hear what’s not being said. Learn the power in simply reporting what you see and feel. Be fully present and available for contact. Treat each individual client as the unique person they are and tailor their therapy accordingly. And be yourself, whatever that means, rather than “trying” to be a “therapist”.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In the UK, we seem to have a huge stigma in terms of “going to therapy means that you’re weak”. In my experience, from both sides of the room, this could not be further from the truth. I think it takes huge courage, strength and sheer guts to choose to face yourself. Sometimes, therapy hurts but in the pain, lies the road to healing.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Thinking that we know everything because we are the “expert”. Not holding clear, firm and ethical boundaries. Getting the clients “stuff” mixed up with our own. Not being real.

Bio

I work with adults on a short or long term basis. It is my aim to provide you with a meaningful and effective opportunity to explore your personal & relational issues, where I will aim to facilitate, support and guide you without judgement or prejudice, in a safe and confidential environment in order to help you explore a range of personal and life issues.

My approach is primarily but not exclusively Gestalt, which focuses mainly on self-awareness and the ‘here & now’ – what is happening from one moment to the next, and guided by the relational theory principle that every individual is a whole – a mind, a body and a soul. The aim is to become more aware of who we are in the world, by seeing ourselves in relation to others. This increased self knowledge can enable us to understand our processes and so to make positive changes in our lives.

The therapeutic relationship, between you and I, is the most important feature of the therapy I provide.

You can learn more about Damian George at www.damiangeorge.co.uk.

Interview with Kristina Dragnea M.C., R.P

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

When couples come in to see me I start off by stressing the imperative nature that each party work their darnedest (against all odds set out by the ego) to focus on themselves, developing a keen eye for personal virtues and also faults in the self. Although that may seem counter intuitive for “couples therapy”, the dynamics in a plummeting romantic relationship tend to be intricately convoluted—blaimy if you will (is too a word), that it becomes second nature to identify the other as being at fault while not recognizing ones own contributions to the increasing dysfunction. The only purpose this serves is to build existing mental law suits against the other which subsequently increases both resentment and distance. Alternatively, (and only if the above is no longer serving the couple) I encourage each partner to actively participate in the painfully challenging yet adventurous journey of self discovery in relation to each other. Dare to bring one’s highest and most authentic self to light while cultivating the compassion and empathy in the self to further see each other as equally deserving of love, understanding and acceptance.

“Everything about other people that doesn’t satisfy us helps us to better understand ourselves” – Carl Jung

No one will or can serve you a platter of happiness, but you can help yourself to the playful curiosity needed to transcend to the optimal version of yourself. Here are a few mindfulness tips I help clients cultivate necessary to impact change.

– Disarm and observe the self with playful curiosity while accepting the other with the same openness and intrigue.
– Trade the pitchfork in for a magnifying glass to transform the ‘blame game’ into the ‘explore your shadow’ game.
– Accept and acknowledge things and people for what and who they are while continuing to cultivate the mindfulness imperative to introspective exploration.
– Align closely to your authentic self and live alongside your like willed partner with integrity and strengthened resilience to respond more and react less.
– Rinse and repeat.

For a more in-depth look at and experience of what this looks like in practice come visit us at our Queen West boutique clinic and talk to any one of our psychotherapists at www.mindfulmaelstrom.com.

Bio

Simply put, my passion lies in helping people along their paths to re-discovering their true, authentic selves.

In my career as a psychotherapist and through my own introspective explorations, time and time again I have witnessed the life-changing clarity brought on by the integration of a mindfulness component as part of therapy.

​I work with the belief that we all have unconscious, unacknowledged parts of ourselves that influence our thoughts, feelings, and subsequent behaviours, for better or for worse. The more we work at bringing these parts of ourselves to the forefront of our awareness, the more confident we will feel in allowing ourselves to be guided by our own experience and intuition, rather than by external influences. The less we look to the world around us for answers and instead look inward, the more aligned we will feel with our purpose and the more we will be living it fully and authentically.

Research into mindfulness studies and psychotherapy suggest that the partnership of the two modalities can accelerate a person’s ability to function more in the present moment and live more from a place of acceptance while maintaining a less reactive response in both their intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Treatments offered can be tailored to address issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatic (sleep) disorders, and adjustment disorders to name some of the more reported difficulties.

Let me guide you on a Journey to Mindfully Align to the Beat of your Own Drum.

You can learn more about Kristina Dragnea at www.mindfulmaelstrom.com/kristina-dragnea.

Interview with Mary Marano, RP, MSc

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because at one time I was a foster parent for the children’s aid Society and due to wait lists and a flawed system children had to wait extensive time for service which I found to be painful and unfair. As a therapist I felt it was important that everyone had access to services no matter what the circumstances.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is when I get to witness transformation and change as that individual travels on their journey.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

What is unique about my intra-personal approach to therapy is that people feel like they come into a therapy session like they’re having a cup of coffee. I demystify therapy for people where they feel safe and comfortable to hear some truths that they may otherwise resist. For me, this is real life therapy and I don’t mess around with peoples lives.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Two of my most favourite tips are change is not a skill, change is a choice. And you feel what you think. The moment you go into negative thinking patterns, you will feel crummy, and potentially use negative behaviours to cope.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I would like to make people aware that usually people come into a therapy session because of a crisis moment, however therapy is for everyone and we must begin to remove the stigma from the old messaging that society has put out there, change the belief is that there is something wrong with you if you need therapy. In fact, taking care of our emotional and mental health is The best gift anyone can give them self.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake of therapist or patient can make is not being clear in communicating the expectations and goals of the therapeutic relationship. It is very important at the initial stages to be clear and have a guideline and treatment plan so the lines in the therapeutic relationship do not get blurred.

Bio

You can learn more about Mary Marano at www.lifeandfamilycounselling.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Philippa Smethurst

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because at the core of me is a deep and abiding interest in people. I was a music teacher and overseas development worker/recruiter, bur all the time it was what people are about that interested me most.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspects of being a therapist are the contact with individuals who entrust themselves and their difficulties to me and engage with me. To this day, and many thousands of hours on, this feels like an amazing and moving privilege.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t know what is unique or special about my background or approach really. I have done a lot of training and my most recent training incorporates an understanding of the body into psychological processes. This additional training feels to me to ‘complete the jigsaw’ as I have always felt that the body was largely missed out of the picture in terms of other psychological theories and understandings of counselling and psychotherapy. I have found this additional training has enlivened my work and made it more effective more of the time.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I don’t give advice. I think people think they want advice but don’t really need it. What they need is to learn to listen to themselves and all that is going on inside. That can be an overwhelming task and feel like a ball of string, but with time and attention, I notice that we find what is going on inside becomes clearer and more illuminated. When more is understood and given voice to, we can feel calmer and more in charge of what is going on. The results of such an encounter with within can be amazing and can feel like the best job in the world.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy can be fun! And ideally is a creative process. That does not mean that it can sometimes be a struggle and very hard going, when things can get harder before they get easier, but it can be fun and celebratory and exciting too. I love engaging in the process of therapy and being open to where it takes me and the other person.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Biggest mistakes? I’m sure I’ve made loads. Trying to give advice. Thinking that we have a responsibility to solve another’s problems. Trying too hard. Not being thoughtful or self reflective enough. Not having enough personal space to think and work out what is going on with myself and therefore becoming too pressurised.

Bio

You can learn more about Philippa Smethurst at www.philippa-psychotherapy.com.

Interview with James McCracken, LCSW, PLLC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was a Political Science major during undergraduate studies, but realized after graduation that I had a knack for listening to people, being able to take multiple perspectives, feeling and dealing with a full range of emotions, and feeling ok being an active part of people’s lives who were experiencing trouble. I worked for a psychologist briefly as a testing assistant, and didn’t find that rewarding, but when I started working with families with complicated circumstances as a counselor everything made sense. I continued that work for a couple of years, went on to earn a Masters of Social Work with a focus on Clinical Social Work, worked many other public agency positions, and eventually found myself much more focused on people’s relationships and how they coordinate their emotions and intentions. I am now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist who sees mostly couples and families in my private practice in Durham, NC.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Connecting with people and helping them undo their aloneness and despair. Helping people make sense of their emotional lives and their closest relationships, and helping them build and rebuild rewarding, secure relationships is the most rewarding work I could ever do.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I am one of a limited number of Certified Emotionally Focused Therapists (as well as a Supervisor Candidate) in the world, which means that I privilege people’s felt emotional experiences and the associated attachment needs and help clients make sense of those in an organic here-and-now way. I do not teach communication skills, problem-solving skills, or how to “fight fair,” but rather bring people safely into their authentic emotional experience, and help them find the courage to assertively share and hear emotions in relationships. I hold the space in my office so that it is safe for all persons to understand each other. I have also been trained in many other approaches to psychotherapy and couple/family therapy, all of which revolve around privileging what it is that my client’s need and want first.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Turning towards your partner with vulnerable emotions, while at times scary/risky, is the path towards intimacy. If an emotion feels like a shield, you’re not in your core, vulnerable emotions yet. Look to the signals your body sends you first… a tightness in your chest can mean fear, a lump in the throat can mean sadness, a pit in the stomach can mean dread. What does that feeling want to say about your need in-the-moment in the relationship? Can you take a risk to share this with your partner, and if not, can you tell your partner about what feels too risky? If you hear this from your partner, can you just listen to the feeling without fixing, and simply be with them so they aren’t alone? I recommend everyone read the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy should be a safe and validating experience that isn’t about fault finding or fixing flaws. Therapy is about growth, healing, and compassion. Therapy is about having the right relationship conditions so that what is natural (healing and growth) can occur. Emotions aren’t the problem… they are actually part of the solution. The best learning is done from the inside-out.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For a therapist, thinking you know better than your client or that you’ve somehow got it all figured out. There’s always more to learn, and no one knows the experience of another as well as that other person. Get feedback from your clients.
For a client/patient, I don’t know that you can make a mistake by taking a risk in coming to therapy… when you’re ready to do the work and the environment is right, you’re likely to do it. Remember that relationships (including therapy) include you but it’s more than you… it’s about the dance or dynamic created between you and someone else rather that just what one person is doing. But watch out for pitfalls… blame, defensiveness… those are usually signs that you need to be understood more.

Bio

James McCracken, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and ICEEFT Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist and Supervisor Candidate who operates a private practice in Durham, NC focused on treating relationship distress. His professional background includes serving a variety of community-based populations experiencing a variety of problems including relationship distress, psychiatric and serious emotional disorders, addiction disorders, chronic and terminal medical conditions, and extreme psychosocial distress. James believes that by focusing on strengthening clients’ naturally occurring relationships, independent of what other problems they may experience, we can facilitate lasting and empowering change for adults and their children. His practice website is located at http://www.jamesmccrackenlcsw.com/. In addition to his clinical practice, James also co-owns a relationship education and enhancement business, Shelter Each Other, LLC, and a clinical software company, both located in North Carolina.

Interview with Hilary Brown PhD

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Why did I become a therapist? There is a feeling dimension to the question and thinking strand.

When I was younger there were times when I was left to deal with things that were too difficult for a young person to manage. It was the emotional equivalent of lifting too much for your back to bear and hurting yourself in the process so that you often have a “pull” or a “twinge” when you go to carry things as an adult. That motivates me to work with people who struggle with what happened to them and who continue to be hampered by the structural damage caused by their own particular ways of coping. I like seeing blame and guilt fall away so that people can get on with their lives freer from emotional pain and comfortable with asking for the help they need.

The thinking part of the equation is that people are endlessly interesting and creative and I learn from my patients while we are working to understand their particular situation. Freud said being a psychoanalyst was like being an archaeologist, digging around to find what was there and what was missing, but I think it is like being a mix between being a curious aunt,- close but not too close, and a cartographer,- mapping where we are in time and place and opening up a dialogue about how to get through difficult terrain.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

When you find yourself saying “How could she do this to me?” or “Why on earth is he behaving like that?” or “Why can’t she be like other people?” or “What would make a mother do that?”or “How could he?” or “Why can’t she get school bag ready like other children?”

If you turn the dial down on the indignation with a good friend or a supportive therapist these are often really helpful questions to answer. The process of cooling off and stepping back is often a gateway into acknowledging things you have already “clocked” but are not taking fully into account. Often we find we know the answers but are acting as if we didn’t. It isn’t that we are explaining away bad behaviour or making excuses but opening ourselves up to others and trying to make sense of the world from their point of view. This helps us to move on and to make good decisions for ourselves.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Hilary Brown at www.tunbridgewellspsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Jayni Bloch M.A. C.Psych.Assoc.

I always, even as a little child, wanted to understand how relationships work best, and knew that there are more to it than what seemed on the surface. Wondering why people experience so much conflict, became a puzzle that fueled my passion to solve. After years of studies, personal experiences, and sharp observations of my clients, I have come to insightful and meaningful ways of grasping relationships and helping those who need guidance. I am thankful for the many shoulders I can stand on of researchers and theorists that went before me and influenced my search, understanding, and personal and professional relationship practice. I do believe that I can only preach what I practice myself in life.

The different perspective that I bring to couples, family, and all relationship challenges (even groups and cross-cultural relationships), is the extreme divides between people I experienced during my childhood during the Apartheid-era in South Africa. The pain of conflict inspired my passion and compassion for all who are at loggerheads. Whether the feuding is interpersonal, or family and group related, there are certain principles that are important to apply in the healing of conflict. These principles are healing to both individuals and groups.

The first of these principles is that one can learn to accept and understand oneself better, and heal one’s own unconscious wounds, by truly listening to what another person, or group, annoy or inflames within you. That thing that annoys you is possibly something you suppress in yourself. That very annoyance you feel, indicates a personal wound, fear or hurt that occurred somewhere in your personal or cultural history, which creates defense mechanisms. One easily tends to project or point the finger outside of oneself, when the wounds are triggered by anyone stirring those unconscious wounds. Only when this suppressed quality is acknowledged, can you negotiate the conflicting relationship with compassion. It is not a matter of being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but rather a matter of understanding with compassion where your hurt lies in oneself and how you defend yourself from it, as well as how the other party protects themselves from their pain in their behavior towards you and others.

We understand ourselves and others better when we have a comprehension of the parts of ourselves that partake in the union that composes our personality. I give workshops in teaching these parts and how they work inside us under the subject of Archetypes, but I do have a different opinion about what archetypes are and how to use them, especially where relationships are concerned. For more information on this subject, please visit my website.

Love is not enough, when it comes to what makes a personal relationship work. It is paramount to discern who you merge with in an intimate partnership, assuring that the person you want to spend your life with have the same values and adhere to the personality qualities that equals your own. This last fact assures a foundation on which the relationship flourishes. Of course, you do not have to be the same, but both people in an intimate relationship have to compliment and support each other’s qualities. The meaning of partnership is exactly that, that the parties involved are equal in their ability to support, grow, and contribute to whatever the union stands for. Too few people think of that and fall in love with beauty or money or fame, which is not sustainable in the long run. Values that you hold, which the other do not adhere to, can destroy a relationship, unless you know and accept this and are prepared to live like this in advance. People do not change unless they have the quality and the desire to do so. One can only expect growth through change, together, when the foundation of your partnership is based on the qualities and virtues of personality in the first place, which matches your deepest soul needs, and not on external circumstances alone.

There is not enough understanding or information on relationship building and choices in general. This lack of understanding allows people, especially young people to get involved in destructive relationships too soon in their lives. It takes time to learn who one is, and the best time to commit to an intimate longstanding relationship is in the third decade of one’s life, after one has lived and accumulated adventures and experiences that informs more of one’s true needs. Societal pressure on young people to get married and have children is harmful. Learn as much as you can about yourself first and heal your history while you encounter relationships without long-term commitments while you are young. When you are truly ready to enter a long-term commitment, you will be able to discern clearly who to be with in constructive healing and growing ways.

This short article is only touching the tip of the iceberg about the complex field of relationships. There is much to heal about our ancestral, personal family influences that affects our ability to relate well. And there are specific ways to communicate in concise and clear protocols that promote understanding which is not readily available to people. Please read more and connect with professionals who can support your own understanding and healing.

For more information about my own approach, be welcome to connect with me through my website or join a workshop: https://genian.net/

Jayni Bloch M.A. C.Psych.Assoc.
Kanata Psychotherapy Centre
https://genian.net/
613-599-0937

Interview with James Matthew Green, M.Div., LPC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

As a young man I became impressed with how psychotherapy helped me become more emotionally healthy and happy. The personal growth that I gained in therapy resulted in me having much better relationships. So I got interested in the field of psychotherapy and eventually became a therapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The therapist is privileged to get to know clients on a deep level. I consider it an honor to walk with my clients for a while on their journey in life. When I see I have made a difference, it makes me feel fulfilled. The more I get to know people by sharing with them about their inner lives, the more insight I have about what it means to be human.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I earned a Master of Divinity in my younger years because I am interested in how we are connected to something greater than ourselves. In my practice, I notice people call that God, the Universe, Higher Power, the Unified Field and many other terms. This dimension in life is, I believe, very important in terms of having a sense of meaning and purpose. It is also important to reduce anxiety, because if you are a part of something greater, you can draw strength from it. My clients choose me as their therapist because they want to bring the spiritual dimension into their personal growth.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Often clients ask me, “Can I get my loved one to change?” I respond, “Possibly. People can learn and grow. And then they do change. However, I think your main focus should be on your own personal growth. The best way you can find greater happiness in your relationship and in all other part of your life is to be dedicated to your journey to becoming a wiser, more loving person. In doing that, you will already begin to change your relationship. You will draw forth a more loving response from your partner. And you may realize that with or without your partner, you really like the person that you have blossomed into.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Every human being is learning and growing. And we all benefit from insight offered by others, especially experienced professionals, because sometimes it is hard to be objective about one’s self. Relationships are a school for personal growth. If someone asks me, “Why do I find myself in this difficult relationship?” I respond, “You are in this relationship because there is something important you are supposed to learn. So let’s explore what your relationship is teaching you.”

If someone says, “I am seeing my therapist today,” the healthy response from a friend is, “You go! I admire you because you are proactive about making your relationship and your life better.” Sometimes clients tell me, “I was reluctant to begin therapy because I thought it wouldn’t do any good. But now I see how I have changed and how my relationship has changed. Everyone tells me I am happier and obviously enjoy life and my relationship more. I find talking about my life in therapy extremely interesting. It is the one place in my life where it is OK to focus on how I feel and what I want out of life.”

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to be too highly directive; telling the client what life decisions to make. If a therapist starts doing that, run! The biggest mistake a client can make is to make therapy a once a week experience. Therapy must be woven into daily life. The insights and new activities that are discussed during the therapy hour must be practiced in everyday life, or you will not see change.

Bio

Jim Green, M.Div., LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC.
2434 Commonwealth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205. 980-307-1131. jimgreenmdiv@gmail.com jamesmatthewgreen.com
Member, American Counseling Association
Jim brings 30 years of experience to his work as a psychotherapist.

Clients often bring to psychotherapy concerns that are at the heart of being human. These concerns may be expressed as, “How do I find meaning in life?” or “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or “Why is there suffering?” Ultimately, these are spiritual questions, and Jim’s theological background prepares him to enter into these discussions with great ability and empathy. Jim’s graduate education emphasized offering emotional and spiritual support to clients of all faith traditions. Jim also has considerable experience working with people who claim no faith tradition, utilizing basic human values such as love, patience, and nurturing, which are common to all humanity.

Interview with Psychotherapist Edward Traversa

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

A very abbreviated version is that someone told me that I would never make something of myself and I wanted to prove them wrong.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing a client go from struggling with life to thriving. Its also a profession where there is a continual learning of how people function and how to best help them.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I tend to focus more on unconscious factors which may be affecting interpersonal relationships, particularly ingrained patterns. I am not overly focused on insight though it has its place, I tend to focus more on leveraging the unconscious towards helping a person reach their aims in life.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Find a way to relax, most things go better when people are relaxed.

Another thing I find is that often people are using protective mechanisms that once served a good purpose, but which no longer serves them well. When people are hurt they tend to strike out with an old protective mechanism. Their tasks in relationships is to learn to let go of those ways of dealing with conflict and learn new more adaptive and beneficial ones.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

There are lots, but I think one of the biggest is the idea that there is something seriously wrong with them. The research demonstrates that as many as seven out of ten people are afflicted by some form of mental health issue in their lives. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but for many people it can be an excellent way to learn to thrive in life.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the misconceptions people often have is that the therapy session itself is the work. But, it is more like coming into a session and then implementing what came out of the session into daily life. The client is ultimately responsible for change.

From a therapist’s perspective, one of the more common mistakes is to overly rely on techniques and procedures. Techniques and such can help, but as research consistently shows it is often the relationship between the therapist and the client which often is healing.

Bio

You can learn more about Edward Traversa at https://edwardtraversa.com/.

Interview with Counsellor Nadja Zivkovic Nikitin

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was always very curious about people and interpersonal relationships and people recognized this so they often came to me with their problems as I was a good listener and natural in empathy. I genuinely care about people and the more I work with them, the more I believe that that is exactly what makes the difference.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Definitely the most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is actually seeing the change in people, seeing that you did not give them the solution or a prescribed recipe but instead you gave them tools that helped them make the change unique to themselves. Sometimes people just need support and if you can, instead of following your own agenda as a therapist, be attentive to your clients’ needs and mirror or respond to those needs, you hit the jackpot!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I believe that being open and curious about people, different cultures and languages really helps me. I recognize the importance of therapy in the patient’s mother language and the small nuances that can often be missed when the patient is consulted in a foreign language can turn out to be very important.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Probably being open to genuinely care about others and do that long-term in any relationship. Intimate relationship, friendship and in fact any other interpersonal relationship always grows and changes just like we do, it is different in various phases in life, so each of these relationships need constant care and investment on both sides.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In my opinion, there is still too much stigma about psychotherapy and people initially do not believe that it can help them. It is also often unnecessarily connected to pharmacotherapy which is off-putting to many.

I would like people to be able to recognize that when they have an issue, there is help available and they can turn to therapy. Most people suffer in silence and later find themselves so entangled with their issues that it becomes too difficult to even get to the real problem, let alone deal with it.
Also, I believe that every person could benefit from psychotherapy, even if it is only for getting to know themselves, their qualities and limitations.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistakes a patient can make is to censor things they say to their therapist because they are afraid of being judged or they want to keep up the appearance they have in other relationships. A therapist, on the other hand, can make a big mistake if they do not let themselves be close to their patents emotionally and to have sincere feelings for each patient. I believe that the relationship between the patient and the therapist can be a significant reparative tool for the patient and if it is not genuine on both sides, it fails in being as beneficial as it can be.

Bio

I am a qualified psychologist and counsellor trained in France and United Kingdom. My approach is integrative and combines humanistic, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural elements depending on your needs and circumstances.

My aim is to provide you with a safe, confidential and judgment-free space to explore your issues and make your daily life and functioning easier. I want to build a trusting relationship with you where we can reflect on your self-awareness and ways of relating to yourself and others. I work in the English and Serbian languages, either in person, in my Belgrade office, or via Skype, wherever you are.

More information can be found on http://nadjacounselling.com/

Interview with Krystal Boothe, LCSW

Krystal Boothe is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owner of Wings of the Future. Boothe grew up in Detroit, MI from an underprivileged family in an abusive home; her father had two wives. The abusive environment made a major impact in her schooling as she had special educational classes. As an adult, she found herself repeating the cycle of abuse; she became a victim. “[I] was in an abusive relationship for nine long years, but [no] one could tell. [I covered] my pain…and suffered in silence.” After leaving her abuser, she married her current husband in 1999, but after 14 years of marriage they divorced only to reunite after 3 years to found Wings of the Future shortly after. Krystal Boothe was featured as a survivor for Mary Kay’s “Inspiring Stories: Give Hope” documentary (www.marykayinspiringstories.com) where she shares her story of Hope, resilience and recovery.

Who We Are

Wings of the Future is a Private Practice located in LA, Pasadena and Quartz Hill Antelope Valley. It provides treatment in psychotherapy/counseling, psychological assessment and group therapy/classes. Wings of the Future addresses trauma with the use of various treatment modalities including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness (Inner Child Healing) to assist client’s in discovering and healing complex trauma. Our clientele is typically adults, adolescents, children and their families in Los Angeles County who have DCFS and court-ordered counseling and Psychotherapy group/classes. We strive to provide the highest quality of rehabilitative services by psycho-educating each client about trauma, codependency, domestic abuse, mental health, addiction and various other issues which contribute to the separation of families. To learn more about what we do check out our website @ wingsofthefuture4us.com.

Our Mission

Our mission at Wings of the Future is to facilitate the healing process of marginalized underserved families from trauma so that they can emerge into functional family systems. We aim to assist our clients with developing the skills necessary to create healthy and rewarding relationships. We believe this is the key to an individual’s growth and can benefit the families we serve.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My desire to learn psychotherapy came out of my own pain from complex trauma. As a young girl growing up in Detroit Michigan I experienced almost every form of trauma known to man. From attachment, domestic violence to physical and emotional abuse. But it was not until my teen years following a very traumatic incident that I said to myself “I’m going to become a psychologist because people need help” at the time I barely knew the word psychologist, but somehow, I arrived at this decision to help others. I guess I thought to myself. “I wish someone would help me.” That simple statement was like a cry for God’s help. It was not until years later that I was working as a case manager for an agency in California when I was spotted by an intern from University of Southern California. This young lady would not leave me alone and encouraged me every time she saw me to apply for the master’s program. I wasn’t long before I took her advice and applied. The rest is history.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I sometimes believe therapy was made just for me. I know that sounds silly how can a whole profession be made for one person. Its just that it fulfills me in so many ways, it’s hard to completely describe. I feel so honored to be trusted with people lives. To be allowed into the most secret places of a person life to help them discover, uncover and expose their true selves. It brings so much joy to my heart when through listening. I help others heal themselves again and again. This is so rewarding. Not to mention using my emotional intelligence, analytical skills, compassion, empathy, and so many more skills. I feel like when I leave a session, I grow more knowledgeable each time I interact with my clients. Never boring day in this profession.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I approach interpersonal relationship with the understanding that you can never have a better relationship with anyone then you have with self. If you can’t love yourself or have compassion for yourself in an area, you will find it hard to transfer this to another. All relationships stem from the relationship we have with ourselves. However, judgmental or conditional that may be. This can be challenging for people because we often model our disposition towards self from our primary caregivers. This can be unlearned, but one must be consistent and ready to break old negative patterns of behavior.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My advice when having a relationship is to simply be open and willing to connect. Honest communication is key. Allow others to see who you are so they can learn to trust you.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

My main public service announcement in therapy would be to learn as much as you can about the complex trauma and how it impacts a person’s ability to function in their daily life and develop and maintain healthy relationships. Trauma influences so many areas of a person’s life that to completely understand it is a life journey. This is something I feel needs to continue to be brought to the front-line of this profession.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Boundaries crossing is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with a client particularly when they have trauma. Its something that should be reviewed on a regular basis when working in the helping profession.

Interview with Psychotherapist Tressa Porter

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

“Because I failed miserably as client!” I’m joking, though I felt like that for a long time! In therapy, fortunately you cannot fail. It’s a process of growth and understanding. I struggled deeply for many years to find relief from my own mind, to make sense of my feelings and navigate my life. Therapy helped me profoundly. This propelled me to learn and continue learning about what’s going on inside our minds and what really helps us feel better over the long term. I never wanted anyone to feel the way I did.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love supporting people to understand their own mind and really understand and love themselves. I watch people learn to experience agency in their own mind and find joy in their relationships and their life. There’s nothing better! I think of therapy like the fishing analogy. You can catch a fish for someone and feed them for a day or teach them to fish and they are fed for life. Therapy offers this because when we truly understand our own mind we are equipped to navigate our inner and outer world for a lifetime.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I work from a psychoanalytically-informed perspective which is based in attachment. This simply means I come from the understanding that much of what causes problems for us is in our unconscious mind which we learned in our developmental years. Repetitive patterns we get caught in are often the result of unconscious information we learned about ourselves and others when we were little. I believe we all need a safe relationship to explore how the past is present, to become clear how our unconscious ideas about ourselves are still alive and see how what we don’t know about ourselves that may be running our lives. I am very skilled and highly trained in doing just that! I help people learn about these unconscious patterns and change them.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

1. Learn empathy and understanding for yourself. It will become much easier to have it with others.
2. If someone else is to blame for how you feel you’ve lost your agency and your connection to your choice.
3. Conflict in our relationships is not always a bad sign. Conflict is always at the doorway to growth if we decide to take it. Our closest relationships are the most powerful place where our unconscious patterns will play out!
4. We highly overestimate how easy and satisfying our intimate relationships should be. We highly underestimate how much work, focus and support we need to have healthy successful relationships.
5. Somebody once told me not only does it take a community to raise a child, it takes a community to grow our relationships. We all need help.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Psychotherapy is not a quick fix. There are many quick fixes out there that can be very helpful in the short term. Psychotherapy is about a process, a tool if you will, you can use to grow your awareness of you so you can understand and navigate your mind, your relationships and your life consiously. Its not about being fixed. Its about deepening your understanding of yourself and your relationships so you can grow your life in a way that feels good.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Its tempting to get focused solely on short term feel better ideas and miss the long term vision of sustainable well-being. It’s like a lawn mover. It will rid your yard of dandelions very quickly, which seems attractive and logical, but very soon they will grow back unless you take the time and make the investment to dig them out at the root. I believe taking the time to dig up the roots is really where its at, although I happen to love dandelions!

Bio

Please join “The Inner Compass” email. The purpose is to explore tools to hone our emotional navigational skills and increase our confidence exploring our inner world and nurturing our relationships:

https://forms.aweber.com/form/89/763760489.htm

Or you can also sign up at tressaporter.com

Interview with Jennifer Jones, LMFT

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Blending lots of different experiences, see below.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Being authentic and understanding your real feelings is a much better basis for long lasting trust and satisfying relationships than “behaving” correctly. I think truth, even if its hard outweighs performance.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Clear and positive exploration of male experiences through the male psyche, not translated into female psychology. Clear translation of interpersonal conflict to increase bonding and intimacy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Not having a good connection from the beginning. The feeling of fit is an important element. I advocate that prospective clients make sure they like and feel comfortable with the therapist style. Also, vice versa.

Tell us about your background of your business and yourself

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the power of the “invisible world.” I was adopted and grew up surrounded by engineers who focused on the concrete; I evolved in opposition. I focused on the internal world of feelings and thoughts, curious to explore our human relationship to the more energetic and subconscious worlds, e.g., language, brain, intimacy, emotions, motivation.

Graduate degrees in Communication & Cultural Studies, Counseling Education and post-graduate training in Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy, allowed me to deepen these interests. I trained in career counseling, systems theory, psycho-dynamic psychology, child and adolescent personality development, grief counseling, couples therapy, psycho-oncology, mindfulness meditation, infertility counseling, adoption, and other mind-body modalities. I study evolutionary psychology and apply this perspective as well with clients.

I’ve owned a counseling practice since 2002 and worked with countless individuals and couples. I also have been studying male psychology for quite some time and advocate for a more positive understanding of male’s experiences in relationships.

I feel happy intimacy and close relationships are core to one’s happiness in life. We may get caught up in the world of money and tasks, but when things get quiet, people really just want more love. A smooth relationship to Love-Intimacy-Trust doesn’t always come easy, however, particularly if you have sustained some emotional bruising in your lifetime.

My work helps men and women decrease barriers that are diluting Love-Intimacy-Trust. My goal is help make the invisible more concrete and increase men and women’s feeling of competence in their love life, so they can enjoy as much love as they want!

What inspired you to pursue your profession?

I like complicated puzzles created by invisible dynamics. I was good at detecting the subliminal level of things, body language, emotions. I’m intuitive and highly observant, so I gravitated towards a field that rewards that.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I appreciate connecting with people as they tell their stories and working with real, intimate material. I don’t really get excited about spending lots of time concentrating on the superficial level of existence. I like meaning and listening to other’s who are interested in making meaning for their selves.

Practice info

Located in beautiful San Marcos, Texas, this destination couples therapy is an action oriented, male supportive, non-judgemental approach.

Couples get away from their daily life, and in one block of time, resolve intimacy and emotional issues, finding a way forward together or apart.

12 Hours Total Private Couples Counseling.

Strategy Report, Resources and Snacks Provided.

In addition to offering the Private Couples Retreats, I’m also developing a video based project, set to launch in 2019-2010.

More information, see jenjonestherapy.com.

Interview with Michael Raskind, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Originally I was interested in police work and was accepted to college for Criminal Science. My mother put the bug in my ear about how people seemed naturally attracted to me as someone who people seem to like to talk to. I have a cousin who was a social worker in Boston and I called him. After speaking with him I decided that social work was more my thing. I was accepted to a few schools of Social Work and went to Dayton for my BSW and later Columbia for my MSW.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding thing about being a therapist is to see the growth in people. Most people need someone to sell them on themselves and to notice the strengths they have. The excitement I see from them as they begin to acknowledge this is the most rewarding aspect. I see people in person and on teletherapy.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My background is a combination of Social Work and Sales. The two go hand in hand. A successful salesman listens intently and empathetically as well as a therapist. My background is very eclectic with clients of all ages, genders, religions… And I have worked in both mental health and chemical dependency. I have been a therapist in these settings as well as a Director.I am mow a private practitioner and consultant.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My big tip is that a therapeutic relationship is a partnership. We develop a bond to work on common goals to help the individual/couple/family

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is a mode for helping yourself. It is a tool, at one’s disposal, to implement for one’s growth.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake that therapists and patient’s make is stopping therapy too early or waiting too long to stop. Though there are those who benefit from always having a therapist, the majority of people can fly on their own after awhile. That timing is a mutual conversation between the therapist and the client.

Bio

You can learn more about Michael Raskind at www.mraskindlcsw.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Jeannine K. Vegh, M.A., I.M.F.T.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I began working with other people as a Girl Scout and later through charity work. After a decade of working in the fashion industry, which I found very shallow, I looked up schools with a psychology degree and was hooked. I am not as creative as I would like to be either. I am more a thinker so this field works great for me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

When people listen and follow your guidance and you begin to see their lives improving. They smile more when they talk about how they see their lives changing and you feel happy inside. Especially when they came in, in a dark place and over time, you see the light coming on.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I studied in the department of holistic studies and minored in somatic counseling. I am very intuitive as well so I trust what I see. I am treating the whole person and start with where it began. This helps them to get a sense of the connections between past and present. It helps to find the direction for them. I am now working on getting trained in the Gottman method and have completed the third level and now need to begin working with a supervisor. I think this is the best way to help support couples because it is teaching communication skills. This is the basic key to success in any relationship.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

This would be working with a Gottman trained therapist of course. They have a new app “Gottman Card Deck” which is actually free and a nice segue into their couple’s therapy. I also like using the 5 Love Languages as an adjunct to my work with couples. But my best advice is “Before You Say I Do, it is important to consider pre-marital therapy.” It is too easy to look through rose colored glasses when you are in love and egotistical to think you won’t be one of the 40-50% getting a divorce. Especially if either of you has come from abusive backgrounds, veteran, drinking or drug addictions, or mental illness. Even if there was divorce between your parents or a father who abandoned you. I always look at issues of concern growing up because they will continue to play a role in your marriage. It is important to be conscious of these things, understand how it will play a role and process it with a counselor.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Take time to research your therapist, ask them lots of questions and your chances are, you will find the right fit for you. If they aren’t, don’t be afraid to try again. Those people who research my background are much happier with therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapist – Countertransference and so refusing to do work on themselves. I decided not to be a supervisor because I was tired of hearing newbies not wanting to consider therapy as an adjunct to an internship. It is vital to your growth as a professional. NO ONE came from a perfect childhood who considers being a psychotherapist. If you did, you wouldn’t have anything of value to contribute as you would be lacking in real life experience. I would never work with a therapist who didn’t have some type of personal growth through real life lessons.

Client – Not researching the background of the therapist and asking questions.

Bio

You can learn more about Jeannine K. Vegh at www.jkvegh.com.

Interview with Stephanie Konter-O’Hara, LPC, 200-RYT


I became a therapist after a difficult time in my life where I went to therapy in college to a few different therapists. One of the therapists was not so helpful which made me feel worse, but then I went to one that was so helpful and I felt a weight being lifted off my chest, to the point where I felt motivated again and eager to help other people have a similar experience as I did. I also learned something from that therapist that I went to that wasn’t so helpful, that each therapist has a different base in which they are coming from that can either be effective or not effective, so my goal is to provide the most effective therapy I can, and understand when it doesn’t work for everyone and I’m okay with that.

Being a therapist is very rewarding as I am able to speak to people during times of struggle and provide validation, support, and skills that they may not otherwise be receiving without meeting with me. Knowing that I am of service, and impacting other peoples lives help fuels me to continue being a therapist and is truly gratifying.

I think one of my most solid skills is helping people communicate more effectively with others by first learning how to communicate with themselves. Often times if the communication is ineffectively outwardly in a person, that is really a sign of the person unhappiness, anxiety, or apathy they have towards themselves.

Working on affirmations, validation, and providing insight to an individual can increase their empathy towards others and effective communication will follow. So, my tip would be to work on forgiving and validating yourself if you truly want to have a healthy communication style with others. This is something that I feel like gets ignored about therapy, that its not something you do only for others, to make relationships better, to complete some task, or something that must be forced upon someone. Therapy is taking care of your self, just as much as eating right, and exercising is.

Finally, I think the biggest mistakes a therapist mistake is only looking through their lense when they view something the client is experiencing. For example, something that a therapist might see as horrible might be a clients norm, so hopefully, if the therapist can practicing zooming out their lense they can see it a little more objectively, and meet the client where they are at with the situation.

Bio

I have a Master of Arts in Counselor Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, from the University of South Florida. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado that works with teens, young adults, and their families. I have training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, EMDR and am a Registered Yoga Teacher. The name of my practice is Stephanie Konter Counseling, LLC and the focus of the practice is to help young adults and teens resolve their problems with body image concerns, self-acceptance, forming healthy relationships and build a life worth living. You can learn more about Stephanie Konter-O’Hara at www.stephaniekontercounseling.com.

Interview with Dr. William Cloke

How or why did you become a therapist?

I grew up in a family that believed in being of service and doing something that mattered. I became a teacher in 1970 after graduating from a program at USC called Teacher Corps which was a fellowship program with the goal of bringing new teaching methods into inner city schools. I began teaching in Santa Monica and during my tenure my principal and other parents began to encourage me to become a therapist because they felt that I had the ability to get through to students that no one could. I decided to try it out when my aide became a therapist and essentially gave me free office space and referrals. Once I started seeing patients I realized that it was my calling and something that I had always been passionate about.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most valuable part of being a therapist is both being a part of relieving emotional pain and the value of the relationships with people. Also, helping to keep families together is another great reward.

What’s unique and special in your background or approach in interpersonal relationships?

My approach stems from my mother who was a child development expert, studying anthropology which helps me to understand culture and my teaching background that gave me experience in working with children and families. My approach is to build a method of working that is based on the unique characters of my patients. I believe that I have a natural understanding of how to apply theory to individuals to make the work very specific to each person. I have also developed ways of working with shame issues that are very much my own and they work.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I use a acronym called WAVE that applies to conflict which is the most difficult part of relationships. If couples can learn how to work through conflicts well they can stay together.The acronym is Wait until you cool down, Acknowledge what your partner is saying, Validate their rite to have their own point of view and feelings and Empathize allowing your partner to feel that you see their point of view from their perspective. Then, brain storm possible solutions and get feedback as to how it’s going. Relationships are built on connection and that involves both listening and taking action. Also, read my book “Happy Together” by Bill Cloke,

What are the things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

There is a great need for mental health in our country. The mass shootings, homelessness and many health issues are cause by mental health problems. We need to create more mental health facilities for people who have no one and nowhere to go to get help.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make?

The biggest mistake therapists can make is to not get enough of their own therapy. Therapists often don’t do their own work and then they make mistakes because they are not self aware. Often they come into the field wanting to help. The desire to help can get in the way of helping. The focus must be on the patient, it’s about them. Also, therapists frequently become fixated on a particular method of working instead of using a broad based approach to meet the needs of their patients. The biggest mistake is to not get enough education. To do this work requires that we know everything we can and be able to work in every modality. If not we are missing the boat.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. William Cloke at www.billcloke.com.

Interview with Dr. Debra Mandel

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I knew I wanted to become a psychologist by the time I turned 12 years old. I distinctly remember stating my goal out loud while serving appetizers to my parents’ friends during a social gathering at our house. One of the guests asked me the ever-so-common, and often quite annoying question for a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up? Without hesitation, I answered quite confidently, “I’m going to be a psychologist!” The response I received was, “Why don’t you want to be a medical doctor?” I replied, “I don’t want to prescribe medicine. I want to help people heal their emotional pain!” I chose the field of psychology, and specifically becoming a therapist, for several reasons but mainly I seemed to be the one to whom people we’re drawn to share their emotional suffering. I suppose because of being a highly sensitive and empathetic soul. Plus, being a child of non-English-speaking immigrants (and my father a Holocaust survivor) definitely created several challenging dynamics in our family system. Being in the field would allow me to better understand the complexities of humanity—something I so deeply desired. Surprisingly, I never once deviated from my decision and have never had regrets about my chosen profession.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love being able to facilitate clients’ growth and change, and especially help them overcome adversity. My goal is to help people move from victim to survivor to THRIVER!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My rather traumatic childhood history created many emotional wounds. I wanted desperately to find peace and happiness and hence I was drawn to the field. I believe my depth of personal experience overcoming trauma allowed me to bring greater compassion, empathy, and creative tools to helping people heal.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Most people are doing the best they can at any given moment. Try to assume positive or neutral intentions on the part of people’s actions, unless otherwise noted. Practice the Platinum rule rather than the Golden rule. In other words, do unto others the way they ask you to do unto them (barring abuse, of course) rather than do unto others the way you would have them to do unto you. Why? Because we all have unique desires, needs and feeling and what I want may not be what you want.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Many people still believe that therapy is only for “sick” people. We all have mental and emotional health issues and could benefit from having a trusted confidant, separate from our family members or friends, with whom to share our internal woes and life questions. Therapy is not a replacement for spiritual counselling or practice, but it can certainly enhance our understanding of ourselves—hence allowing us to have more gratifying interpersonal relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to believe that she “knows better” than her client and imposing her judgement. Therapists need to provide a compassionate, listening ear and gear feedback according to the personal needs of her client. Therapy is not one-size-fits-all!

Bio

Dr. Debra has authored 4 published books, including Dump That Chump! Tune in to The Dr. Debra and Therapist Kelli Show live Tuesdays from 1-2 pm PT or download to listen anytime. www.latalkradio.com (channel 1). You can learn more about Dr. Debra Mandel at www.drdebraonline.com.

Interview with Teresa Solomita, LCSW-R, NCPsyA

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

As the youngest of 7 children in a chaotic household, I learned early on that I’d better learn to manage the relationships with my siblings in order to survive! I spent a lot of time watching, learning and listening – I seemed like the best one for them to turn to when they were struggling with a problem since I was usually around. Somehow, I found myself in the corporate IT world for many years, but I quickly discovered that the power dynamics and relationships in the workplace were far more interesting than programming systems. Soon, through my own experience with therapy, I was able to imagine a much better career. I studied psychoanalysis while I worked in business and eventually made the switch. I’ve never looked back for even an instant!

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The first thing that comes to mind is watching my client’s grow and change and take risks so they can have a better life. And being a partner to that process. Of course, I also enjoy constantly learning and being challenged.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I think my experience growing up in such a large family taught me the importance of community and what it means to be seen and understood by others. And how desolate life feels when you cannot find that or your relationships feel empty or you find yourself to be isolated. The circuitous and difficult path I took to become a therapist helps me appreciate and value my work.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • The most important thing you can do in a relationship is to take risks and be vulnerable. Taking risks comes in the form of defining your needs, wishes, and desires to others. Do it in a way that isn’t blaming. Speak from your heart.
  • Listen like you mean it – that means being able to hear others’ needs, wishes and desires even if they differ from your own.
  • Practice empathy – imagine yourself in their shoes. Become curious about why something is important to your friend, lover, or family member.
  • Learn something new and share your story. If you feel interested in the world, you will be able to be more engaged in your relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is not just for people who have a mental illness or are not able to function well in a career. Therapy can help you break down your own barriers to achieving the goals that are important to you in your life. With the right therapist, therapy can lighten your life and actually be a fascinating and fun learning experience. Therapist’s don’t give advice, but they can help you find your own answers within.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake a therapist can make is misunderstanding what a particular patient needs to grow. The biggest mistake a patient can make is cutting and running before they tell that therapist directly that they made a mistake.

Bio

In addition to earning a Master’s of Social Work (with a focus on group therapy) from Hunter College School of Social Work, Teresa has studied and graduated from the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, The Couples Institute and The Center for Group Studies. Her passion for learning about and being a part of relationships continues—she provides workshops and trainings for colleagues and attends lectures, experiential conferences and readings. Teresa has worked for years with individuals including single women, as well as couples who experience discord or dissatisfaction in their relationships from a psychodynamic, attachment-based and experiential perspective. You can learn more about Theresa Solomita at www.therapy2change.com.

Interview with Faith Dulin, MA, LMFTA

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I kid, I kid.. No, I wanted my very own super powers. OK, for real this time, human behavior is fascinating. What if you could understand why people do what they do and even anticipate certain behaviors?

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

A couple comes in, they’re MAD. They’re hurt, they don’t feel heard. Inside of 50 minutes, things change. One couple left my office playfully flirting with each other. One couple giggled like kids and snuck down the hallway looking for places to leave “googley eyes” as their homework assignment to get back in touch with fun.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I like to have fun at work. When I walk a client out at the end of session, people in the waiting room say, “I heard laughing back there!” Yes – it’s therapy, it doesn’t have to be a dentist visit! The type of clients who enjoy working with me are ready to revolutionize their life and relationships. They’ve described me as “less clinical” and more “down to earth.”

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Start your conversations with “I”: I feel, I would like.. Tell your partner what a hottie they are. Go to bed angry – you’ll feel differently in the morning and fighting all night rarely helps. Realize it’s often not even about you, they’ve got their own history, lens and filter they’re working with. Intimacy is important and encompasses affection, fun, kindness, vulnerability, sharing, support, physical contact, emotional connection, romance, excitement, etc. Last but certainly not least, love yourself!!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is NOT just for people who are “broken, damaged or crazy.” Taking care of your mental health is just as important as the daily routine of physical care. Your mind drives everything.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapists should know who they’re a good fit for and Clients shouldn’t feel bad about searching for someone who is going to be the right fit for them! The first step in self-reflection is knowing who you are and what you need.

Bio

Psychotherapist Faith Dulin, MA, LMFTA owns Harmony Psychotherapy in Charlotte NC. As a Marriage & Family Therapist, she specializes in relationship dynamics and interaction patterns, helping couples communicate effectively and engage in constructive disagreements. She speaks fluent man and woman-ese and is able to bridge conversations between partners where both feel heard and understood. You can learn more about Faith Dulin at www.harmonypsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Counsellor Lynsey Lowe

Lynsey Lowe is a BACP Accredited Therapist with over 10 years’ experience of working with individuals, couples and groups. Her initial practice and main area of interest was working with survivors of trauma. Lynsey worked for a specialist trauma service for over 5 years as a counsellor, trainer and manager. She enjoys working with couples and is expanding that side of her practice. Prior to training as a psychotherapist she worked as a careers adviser in the NHS. She now works for the NHS as a therapist delivering IAPT counselling and in private practice as a therapist, clinical supervisor and trainer. You can learn more about Lynsey Lowe at www.lynseylowecounselling.co.uk.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because for the reason I suspect most people do – because I’d experienced difficult times in my life and wanted to explore that and gain a greater understanding of myself and what had happened. Unusually I hadn’t had therapy myself before commencing my training but I had done a great deal of personal development work as part of being a careers adviser so I guess that was where my understanding of how support can help you understand yourself better and then make changes in your life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is seeing people change, seeing them gain a clearer perspective about problems and difficulties and gain the courage to make different or difficult choices which ultimately give them a happier life.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I think what I bring to my work with couples is empathy and understanding – as I do with individual clients. I also bring challenge as that’s necessary if there is to be learning and transformation.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Communicate! It’s so simple and yet so complex. We all can get into patterns of avoidance but if we aren’t communicating with our partner/friend then difficulties will only increase. Of course it’s scary for lots of reasons and that’s where therapy can help because you can learn to communicate more safely and more productively.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think the biggest mistake clients make is to walk away when it gets difficult, rather than sharing that with the therapist. It’s those ‘difficult bits’ where the most transformation can happen but if they leave or walk away then they’re missing out on something potentially life changing. Therapists do, of course, make mistakes and the best thing we can do is ‘own them’ and let the client know – from this comes great learning for both parties.

Interview with Dr. Chris Westinghouse

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I returned to the mental health sphere after a hiatus of almost 30 years in which I “did other things,” serving as a reform politician in South Africa, a global marketing supremo for a banking group and a few private business enterprises, including international board roles in the pharmaceuticals research industry. In the back of my mind I have always been curious about the way people think, including the defective ways in which they think, and this probably prompted me to dedicate the autumn years of my life to helping those in need to rediscover the fulfillment and self-directedness that makes lives worth living.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Getting paid is nice. On a more serious note, there is a huge amount of satisfaction in observing my troubled clients moving, sometimes quite rapidly, toward the resolution of the issues that have handicapped them. Sometimes they have lived for years with issues that have plagued them, but they’ve never taken the bull by the horns and sought professional help. So, I find it highly rewarding and a source of validation of my own values when I realise that I have contributed to making somebody’s life better than it once was.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have been around the corporate and political bloc a few times and lived and worked on three continents; I’ve been a bit of a VIP, a dog’s body/donkey, a mover-and-shaker and sometimes, an ineffectual mandarin at others: My unique experiences and my thoughtfulness about them add a depth to my understanding of the issues that ordinary people face. Often because I have faced them myself. There is no substitute for life experience if one wants to be a therapist.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Shakespeare provides a far more succinct summary of all the relationships advice that everybody else, from Freud to Carl Rogers have provided in the text books: “To thine own self be true and it follows as day follows night, though canst be false to no man.”

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I really want people to grasp the truth, that there is no shame and no reason to be shy to ask for or seek professional advice. Far too many die lonely deaths or damage themselves and those around them because (for one reason or another) they didn’t get help. I want people to understand that getting help is an act of courage, and I want them to know that help is accessible and affordable – and effective.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think the biggest mistake a therapist can make is to assume that the client is on the same page as the therapist…. It’s our job to engage with our clients “where they are at,” and not “where we are at.” There are other, more obvious mistakes and errors of judgment or even of ethics that therapists frequently fall into – ranging from bending the rules to outright and intentional misconduct. I have lost colleagues who have stepped over the ethical and moral line and suffered the ultimate consequences.

Bio

Dr Chris Westinghouse is a Registered Counsellor on the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, a Registered Member of the Australian peak governing body, the Australian Counselling Association, and he is a Clinical Neuropsychotherapist and Certified Member of the International Association of Clinical Neuropsychotherapy, among many others.

He sees private clients and describes himself as a generalist with a handful of special interests.

His practice is located in Sydney, Australia and his website is at www.chriswestinghouse.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/unpackthat.

Interview with Couples Counsellor Jonathan Swan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I studied a Masters of Gestalt Therapy and then embarked on studies in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. I became a therapist because I wanted to put into practice core beliefs and values that were important to me, to ‘walk the talk’. I developed a passion for working with relationship as it’s a fascinating and challenging field and I wanted to help people navigate the complex emotional world of relating successfully.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing the shift in people from hopelessness and despair to feeling happier and more fulfilled in their relationships. I find couples and relationship particularly rewarding. When people in a relationship move out of dysfunctional ways of relating, based on ingrained patterns, towards a healthier, happier and more fulfilled relationship.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Being able to alter negative patterns of relating into more positive rewarding ones. I always say, ‘it’s not the people it’s the pattern’. Helping people to understand and accept themselves. To have compassion for oneself is not only a reward in itself but a contribution to others happiness. I am able to understand both sides of an argument/point of view and to be compassionate to all feelings involved in the conflict. I am able to hold to what lies beneath the surface of reactive emotional states and to validate and acknowledge those deeper feelings.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

A problematic relationship is the fault of the relationship, not the people doing the relating! To be mindful of what and how you say what you say especially when you are emotionally charged. To be aware that you can’t make the other person behave or think and feel like you do. But to celebrate the differences in a way that feels safe and not confronting.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That it can be hugely successful if you find a qualified and competent therapist and you commit to the process. That therapy can help to destigmatize mental illness and that all problems no matter how difficult are temporary.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

To give and take advice! Patients have the answers to their own personal problems, the therapist just supports them to uncover them. By giving advice we take the power away from our patients to help themselves.

Bio

You can learn more about Jonathan Swan at goldcoastcouplescounselling.com.au.

Interview with Javanne Golob, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Holocaust. I still remember the first time I heard the word uttered accompanied by an intense tone that was used to insinuate its severity. I turned towards my grandmother, “what does holocaust mean?” Her face was full of love, but also pain and sorrow. She eschewed my query with hopes me forgetting. I was eight years old and the expression on her face that day is still emblazoned on my mind; I would never forget. I yearned to hear her story of pain and eventual survival, but was silenced by my grandfather, who mandated me to never question her about the details of her imprisonment. Rummaging through the history of my family served to be a difficult task, but one I approached with the tenacity of Olympic sprinter vying for the finish line. As I slowly came to discover all of the atrocities my grandmother had endured during those years in Auschwitz I was forced into a new phase of consciousness in my burgeoning adolescence. Simply put, some beings are forced to suffer by no consequence of their own action, but merely because of some attribute of circumstance. The thought of her and thousands of others suffering solely because of their belief system shook me to my core. Even more befuddling was the juxtaposition of my grandfather to my grandmother. While my grandfather had let his experience in war harden his heart and severely affect his ability to trust another human being, my grandmother was the most kind, compassionate, generous person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Her resilient, magnanimous nature inspired me from a very young age to be eternally grateful for the life I was given and to commit myself to helping those who endure suffering because of a lottery of birth.

As I stood by her hospital bed spending my last moments with her at the age of sixteen, as thought flashed through my mind: I was the same age she was when she was seized from her home in Budapest by the Nazis and never allowed to see her mother, father, or baby sister alive again. Her passing moved me to actively pursue aiding those in need, starting with creating a board at my high school that collected student and family donations to create a department store-like atmosphere where homeless people could “shop” with dignity and be treated with respect. Many other endeavors followed suit as I figured out what professional path would allow me to make the biggest impact while honoring my own values. My commitment to honoring her life set me on the path to becoming a therapist long before I knew I would end up there.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

There are so many. I am a true introvert who thrives in intimate relationships, but become exhausted in big groups and by small talk. The authenticity and presence required to work in my field is truly unique in the professional world and for that I am grateful. I am honored to hold each of my clients’ stories and pain. In being a therapist I get a special opportunity to walk with my clients as they explore unknown territory and push themselves to live more meaningful lives- even if it is uncomfortable.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

This is an interesting question to answer because while I do practice a methodology based in the relational work, I wouldn’t say that it is what is special about my approach. Since I was a child I have always been completely fascinated by interpersonal relationships. While other children wanted toys or to become an astronaut, I fantasized about great friendships and tried to understand what my classmates around me were thinking. Understanding relationships has been the work of my life. While I may not have consciously known I would have become a therapist in my adolescence, my journals tell a different story. They are filled with theories about why people acted a certain way and my own struggles to understand my personal motivations for my behavior. All of this to say, interpersonal relationships have always been the catalyst for my actions – I have prioritized them over money, status, and personal gain. I see how uniquely important they are to the health and survival of an individual and how they impact the environment we live in. My passion for and commitment to understanding and exploring relationships (as a clinician and an imperfect human) is what feels unique for me.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • To know that when strong feelings of judgement arise about another that those feelings are an opportunity to explore what we have condemned inside of our ourselves.
  • When in conflict, the feelings we experience towards the other are a mix of our own trauma, pain, and history as well as the hopes, projections, and expectations we have towards the other person.
  • In order to truly love and care for another, we must truly love and care for ourselves first.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

  • We (clinicians) don’t give advice and we don’t have all the answers. Our role is to guide our clients’ towards having greater access to their own power and wisdom.
  • Therapy takes time. ​
  • Understanding something intellectually does not mean it will translate into behavior overnight. In therapy we plant seeds and those seeds require nurturance to grow and sustain the test of time.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

  • Therapist: Not doing their own reflective work to process their issues. When a therapist is not actively working on healing themselves, their issues will show up in the room with clients.
  • Patient: To try to be a “good” client instead of an honest one. Therapy is for the client! Trying to please your therapist or pretend that things are going well when they are not can derail treatment.


Bio

Javanne is a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist and yoga instructor. As much of her family was lost in the Holocaust, she was exposed to the impact of trauma from an early age. Knowing her family’s experience, suffering, and healing impacted her greatly throughout her childhood. From a young age she felt called to a path of social justice and helping others restore after painful events.

Throughout her life she has occupied many roles as a healer such as being an elementary school teacher, a meditation instructor, a volunteer organization director, a bodyworker, and a homeless shelter coordinator. She found her way to psychotherapy and yoga through a yearning for intimacy and deep connection. She spent many years of her career in university counseling which gave her the opportunity to work with clients from extremely diverse backgrounds and circumstances. Through this work she has cultivated an expertise in being able to support people through life-changing transitions, crises, and identity shifts. Being a psychotherapist is a deeply fulfilling career that allows her to journey with others down their path to wholeness.

Throughout her own life she found it difficult to make sense of feelings she was experiencing and she struggled with her identity. Javanne found, and continues to find, strength and purpose through her relationships with mentors, therapists, and friends who support her along her pilgrimage within. She has learned to embrace the parts of herself she once deemed undesirable. She hopes to offer her clients the same opportunity. Read more about her specializations here.

Interview with David Flowers, LPC-S, NCC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because I wanted to work in an area where I had some natural giftedness, an area I would find rewarding. I was always that kid in middle school and high school all my friends came to to talk about their problems. I tend to think in ways that are pretty different from most other people and they seem to greatly appreciate my perspectives and questions. Therapy is an area where I can, and do, make a difference with my one and only life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Helping people grow closer to one another, and get to know themselves better. Helping people overcome fear and take the risks that are most likely to get them what they want in life. Helping people figure out what is holding them back from being who they want to be, and how to move forward. Helping couples and families and individuals heal.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My wife and I met in 5th grade, got married at 19 — just after high school — and have been together for 30 years. Most relationships between people that young don’t last. Ours has, but it has been incredibly difficult work. We have struggled in so many ways, but we are closer now than we’ve ever been. So I know the struggle. I know what it takes to make progress, and what it demands of both partners. I understand how hard it is, how it sometimes feels so hopeless. And I have experienced first-hand the benefits that come from sticking it out. I am passionate about helping couples find one another again, and become friends again, and develop deep and lasting passion. When couple relationships get better, especially when children are involved, it can change a family tree for the positive — forever.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

a. Healthy relationships are the product of two healthy individuals. The more each partner understands and deals with their own issues, the better the relationship will get.
b. “When you do what you did before, you will feel like you felt before.” Couples often come into therapy demoralized and isolated, having each retreated into their own separate corners. They have lost friendship, connection, and intimacy. When I ask them to describe what they were doing at the beginning of the relationship, when things were good, they say they were having awesome, deep conversations, doing a lot of fun things together, and spending a lot of time together. When I ask what they are doing now, they say they are doing very little of those things anymore. “When you do what you did before, you will feel like you felt before.”

c. Relationships may be complicated, but they are not mysterious. We have known for quite some time what differentiates relationships that thrive from relationships that fail. We really can show couples how to be happier and live more peacefully together.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

a. The longer a couple waits to get help, the more likely it is that one or both of them will just be too angry, or too exhausted, to do the hard work restoring relationships often requires. The average couple has been in distress about six years before they seek help. This often means a lot of deeply hurtful things have been said and done, and there are a lot of resentments and water under the bridge. Get help as soon as either partner notices a problem.

b. When one partner thinks the relationship is in trouble, the relationship is in trouble. If the other partner attempts to deny or minimize that concern, things are only going to get worse. It’s simply not the case that most couples can work out whatever their issues are on their own. A counselor, mentor, pastor, or close friend is often required to help them move forward.

c. Therapy is not for weak people. Only the strongest people come to therapy because it takes a lot of strength to admit you need help and to seek it out.

d. The vast majority of people who come to therapy fear they might be going crazy. This is literally almost never true.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

a. Taking too much responsibility for their client’s issues. A saying in our field is, “Never work harder than your clients.” A therapist can help, but the work is done by the couples and individuals needing help.
b. Therapists take too much blame when counseling doesn’t work, and too much credit when it does. We are helpers, nothing more.
c. Therapists too often don’t take care of themselves personally, and their own relationships suffer because of it. Self-care is critical.
d. No matter how bad a client’s issue seems, therapists must always believe the client has what it takes to overcome it and move forward.
e. Clients need to let their therapist do what they are trained to do. If they don’t trust their therapist, they need to find one they trust, and then listen closely to them.
f. Finding a good therapist can often take a while. If you don’t click with your first therapist, find another one. Keep searching until you feel comfortable with your therapist’s approach and confident in their skills.

Bio

David Flowers is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in the Flint/Grand Blanc community in Michigan. He has focused his work on couples for the past twenty years, but also works with clients who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other issues.

David teaches in the Master of Arts program in Counseling at Spring Arbor University and supervises post-graduate counselors during their required 3,000 hours of work under supervision. He is wrapping up the editing on his first book, The Search for Truth: Why You’re Often Dishonest With Yourself and How to Live Truthfully.

Contact: dave@davidflowerstherapy.com
Websites: davidkflowers.com and davidflowerstherapy.com
Facebook: facebook.com/davidflowerstherapy

Interview with Lavanya Shankar, Ph.D

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Although my childhood desire was to be a dancer, I was also intrigued by the dynamics and subtle communication between people early on. My father was only too happy that I was interested in something “practical” when I chose to study psychology.

I think my interest in working with other people really stems from my own commitment to my personal development. I once heard a fellow therapist refer to herself as her “favorite patient” and I would agree with that sentiment! As I become acquainted with my own internal world, I have more and more of a felt sense and road map of other people. As I develop more of a capacity to be with myself, I develop more of a capacity to be with other people. A major part of my growth of course has come through my own participation in therapy.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I feel that I am myself when I am doing my work. It is an expression of me, and that is incredibly fulfilling. There’s always room for creativity, learning about myself and others, expansion, and challenge. I get to impact others in a way that feels genuine to who I am.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As a therapist, my favorite way to work with interpersonal relationships is in a group therapy setting. Group therapy is not always on people’s radars for treatment options, but let me tell you that it is a powerful approach to working on relationships. A therapy group is a small group of people who meet together regularly with the shared goal of therapeutic change in their relationships. This includes the relationship to self as well as other people.

What’s so fascinating about this type of group is that it inevitably replicates real life struggles that occur outside of the therapy room. For example, struggles with boundary setting, feeling isolated, feeling unheard or unsure about using one’s voice, reluctance to address conflict, suppressing or exploding in anger, and social anxiety all appear in the room. Although this may be challenging and bring up all kinds of feelings, it is exactly what we hope will happen. We want this to happen because it gives us the opportunity to intervene in a therapeutic way. The result can be resolution of some repetitive and impeding patterns in people’s relational lives.

Part of how this works is that there is so much interpersonal learning that occurs in the group. Group members learn about parts of themselves by observing those parts in other people. Another wonderful aspect of the group experience is that people grow by learning how they are able to give something of value to other people. They get better acquainted with their gifts and capability to influence other people.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Relationships are the arena in which we learn about ourselves and the world. As complicated and frustrating as it can be to work through our relationships, it is so crucial to keep plodding ahead. Even the most painful relationships can have something of value to teach us about ourselves and about life. We learn to define ourselves and clarify what we want in our lives from our experience with other people. When we’re complete with certain lessons, I find we move onto new types of relationships in our lives. As imperfect as relationships are, they are so necessary for our growth.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want to emphasize that therapy is relational in nature, whether in an individual, couples or group format. People heal in relationships that are therapeutic. These relationships need not be perfect; in fact, they shouldn’t be perfect. There should be room for wobbles and foibles so there can be just enough friction that results in growth. If you find a therapist who is a good fit for you and you can engage in the relationship, the gains over time can be invaluable.

Bio

Lavanya Shankar, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Austin, Texas. She specializes in relationships, grief and loss, and trauma. She sees individuals, couples, and groups, and supervises therapists in training. As a seasoned therapist with advanced group psychotherapy training, she particularly enjoys working with patients in group psychotherapy. You can learn more about Dr. Lavanya Shankar at www.lbsinghamphd.com.

Interview with Angela Skurtu M.Ed. LMFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I have always wanted to help people live in happier, healthier marriages. Ever since I was young, people have come to me for advice on what to do in relationships. Now as a couples counseling, I have excellent opportunities to help couples live happy healthy lives.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

People are my favorite puzzles to solve. Human emotions and connections can be very complex. I love seeing a couple transition from the beginning tense stages of therapy to a place of real happiness and joy. I have made it my mission to break down the process of being a good human in the most simple ways possible. I love when couples find hope and find love again. I offer people a space to be their authentic selves and find a deep and meaningful romance again. What could be better than that?

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a weird sense of humor and I am shamelessly honest to people. My clients tell me my honesty is refreshing and my humor makes people feel safe. I also am a very visual person so I try to describe relationship processes in very unique ways to really drive home a point. For example, many couples struggle to look at their relationship from a distance. As soon as they start talking about their conflict areas, you can see them getting pulled into the fight. One way I help them get above the situation is by asking them to imagine their marriage is a dead body they are dissecting together in session. We are not trying to have fights, but we are trying to dissect the different aspects in the relationship that causes the fights or keeps them from getting close. The graphic nature of the visual really helps people to rethink how they approach therapy.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

When I am teaching a time out, I tell couples the rational for a time out is to avoid hurting each other. Whenever any person is saying things they cannot take back, it is important to end the conversation right away and take a break. One way to really help people follow through is to give them the mantra, “I love you more than I love this argument.” If they both truly believe this mantra, then it helps them take the time out even when it is tough. The important thing as well is to remind them to come back again to talk through their conflict when they are calm.
I also suggest that people try to do AT LEAST one loving thing for each other a day. I emphasize “at least” playfully because really you should be doing loving things a lot more than that! However, bad days happen, and on those days, it is still important to try and do one kind thing even when it’s hard.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I wish people would treat therapy as a check in along the way in marriage, rather than a last resort. Therapy is most effective when people love each other and want to make the situation better. I love it when couples come in simply because they have lost the spark and want to revamp their love life. These are the easiest and most fun cases. Essentially, find ways to use therapy as preventive rather than reactive. Sadly, most couples come in after an affair or when one or both of them are out the door. Marriage is hard work and we all could use some practice!

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapists need to ask permission before asking or suggesting things. For example, we have lots of interventions that are designed to help guide people to change. But, we need to explain what we are doing and why so clients understand these interventions and get the most benefit from the treatment. We also need to offer hope by letting people know that change is hard. Most humans are creatures of habit. This means that most of you will fail many times before succeeding. If clients are aware that they need to fail toward success, then when they hit the initial road blocks, it doesn’t make them feel like therapy isn’t working. It just feels like one step in the process (which it is, by the way). As for patients, a big mistake is assuming everything will get fixed magically and quickly. Like I said before, humans are creature of habit. That means that it may take time to see long lasting progress when it comes to behavior change. Another big mistake would be to never come in at all. I know people personally who would rather see their marriage end than to ever see a therapist. There are many of us and we all want to help. Rather than avoiding therapy, do some research and find someone who works for you!

Bio

Angela Skurtu, M.Ed., LMFT is a speaker, author, Licensed Marriage Therapist and AASECT Certified. She runs her own private practice called St. Louis Marriage Therapy, LLC where she offer couples therapy. She has two professionally published books, “Helping Couples Overcome Infidelity: A Therapist’s Manual” and “Pre-Marital Counseling: A Guide for Clinicians.” In addition, she speaks at various conferences, businesses, and organizations both locally and nationally. You can find her at www.therapistinstlouis.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Patricia Murphy

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I had been working in the government sector and wanted to move to voluntary clients. I was about 35 when I decided to do this and had a career in the Department of Justice in Ireland but I had always run therapeutic group during that time.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It is very rewarding to be invited into people’s stories and to travel the road to recovery or simply to be there with them for part of their journey.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I am systemically trained so working with people in their relationships is part of what I do. I particularly like working with couples around their intimacy lives as this focuses the attention on whatever is difficult in the relationship very quickly.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

We often do not tackle issues in the hope that time will change things but the opposite happens: we create habits of relating that become copper fastened and instead of dissolving they become entrenched and create misery.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In Ireland we still have stigma about attending therapy and so it often takes many years of suffering before someone goes for help. My aim, through my media work, is to make talking to a therapist easy and accessible.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

We all make mistakes in our lives and this is often our best opportunity for learning. The only mistake is not to own it and learn from it.

Bio

You can learn more about Patricia Murphy and her book #LOVE at trishmurphy-psychotherapy.com.

Interview with Dr. Trish Quinlivan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I grew up witnessing people close to me really struggling with mental illness. From a very early age I had a desire to help people suffering in this way. I studied medicine and worked for many years as a general practitioner. I knew I was passionate about mental health but somehow never allowed myself to follow that passion. Eventually my body made me. After 20 years of general practice I suddenly developed very severe insomnia, to the point where I would stay awake all night before work and then have to cancel my session. This forced to realize I had to follow my heart. I have focused on mental health and mindfulness now for 6 years and I absolutely love what I do and my body is at peace.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I have often been reduced to tears watching clients move through fear towards love. It’s like watching a butterfly come out of its chrysalis. We are so privileged to be in this position to bear witness to the opening of another human and their discovery of love. Of course often the journey is very challenging and not everyone is ready to shift. However even seeing the tiny steps is beautiful. Sometimes there is no shifting at all but there is still an opportunity to offer love. I am learning this more all the time.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I see everything as an opportunity. Relationships offer the greatest gift of seeing ourselves truly. Inevitably whatever buried emotions or unhelpful patterns of behavior we have will be shown to us once we get into a relationship. This goes for all relationships parents, children, intimate partners, our pets.

If we have the courage to look at ourselves honestly and take responsibility rather than blame externally we will grow. If we discover real empathy and have absolute understanding of what the other is feeling inside we will be able to approach them with compassion. Sometimes love does have to be firm, or relationships do need to end. However there is always room for empathy and compassion. When we understand that everything that is happening in our lives is our choice, life becomes much more enjoyable.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/or advice?

I often ask questions like “if this is happening so that your deepest self can learn something, what would that be?”

If someone is discussing an issue with their partner, along with acknowledging their challenge there is always value in asking “what does your partner feel deep inside?”
My mother is a student of A Course in Miracles. She once gave me the quote “We are never upset for the reason we think.” So often when we have tension or emotional energy occurring we are tempted to project it on to those around us. Sometimes our partners may need to address certain issues. However if we are upset with another person that emotional charge is always reflecting something in us (often our own fear).
Another valuable tool is to really treat other people as yourself.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Many people have fear of coming to therapy, mainly because they don’t want to see their own challenging emotion or their own darkness. However we will never discover the light until we embrace with compassion our darkness. If we do not make our fears or behavior patterns conscious they will stay unconscious and will therefore totally control our lives. The only chance we have of finding our way home to the love that is inside, is to embrace every aspect of ourselves.
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make?

I once heard Eckhart Tolle say something like (not an exact quote) “a therapist will do a better job when they forget about their book learning and sink out of their head into consciousness.”

If we are caught in our heads or worrying about doing a good job we will struggle. These days I aim to be as present with the client as possible and connected to presence within myself. There is a love and acceptance that goes with that. The greatest gift I can offer is acceptance and love. Of course we can guide people in a direction that is healing, teach them presence, help them see buried emotions or unhelpful patterns, however the real source of healing is always going to be love. This has been an ongoing learning for me. I have certainly made many mistakes along the way. However mistakes are really just a perfect learning opportunity.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Trish Quinlivan at www.livingmindfully.com.au and www.facebook.com/livingmindfullyperth.

Interview with Andrew Erdman, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I came to social work and psychotherapy in my mid-40s after working various jobs in the private and educational sectors for most of my adult life. It was the culmination of a long process of self-discovery, growth, and working-through of very compelling issues of my own that led me to realize this was the work I wanted to do. In some sense, I have always wanted to be a therapist. It just took me a long time to realize it.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I have a creative background: music, theatre, writing, and so forth. To me, psychotherapy is among the most creative undertakings I can think of because it involves partnering with another person (or perhaps several) to help them construct better mechanisms for seeing and understanding their own thoughts and feelings. It is helping human beings with strengthening the infrastructure that will help them to be creative in whatever endeavor is important to them—from writing plays to parenting children.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My family has been affected by mental illness and I have become deeply aware, both through personal experience and professional training, of the ways in which fundamental connections between people play the most crucial role in growth, healing, and development. Even at the neuronal level this is turning out to be the case. I find it essential to “tune in” to people, and vice-versa, to help them find out about who they really are–perhaps to become reconnected to the parts of themselves that have gone into hiding or have been neglect by disuse.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Particularly in close, highly emotional relationships—I am thinking of romantic partnerships, though it could apply to other situations—expressions of need that come from a place of vulnerability and honesty are most likely to move things in a productive direction, as opposed to a heightened focus on what the other party is or is not doing, or is doing poorly. I usually encourage people to focus on how to talk about conflict rather than overly focusing on the manifest subject matter of the conflict. In other words, it’s not so much what we say, it’s how we say it.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Freud said (or is credited with having said, anyway) that psychotherapy was more like sculpting than painting, because it is really about uncovering what is already there but presently inaccessible, rather than “adding-on” or covering-over. If the broad public conceived of therapy as such—a reintroduction to the essential self that has always been there and that knows how to be happy—there might be less undeserved anxiety about being “changed” into something that a person does not want.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I am struck over and over by the deep, inner wisdom that people possess about what they need and when they need it. Even if they are engaged in “problematic” behaviors or are struggling in areas of their lives, something within them is using their current apparatus-of-self as constructively as possible to solve the problem. This doesn’t mean a therapist or a patient automatically endorses all behaviors or patterns. But in a sense, it is about moving away from a place of endorsement or judgment to one of compassionate curiosity: How has doing or thinking X or Y helped you? What has it done for you? What costs are associated with it? Fitting a client to a preconceived diagnostic or treatment model simply because it is what the clinician knows is not attending properly to either the client’s genuine need or the truth of the moment, which go hand in hand.

Bio

You can learn more about Andrew Erdman at www.AndrewErdman.com.

Interview with Maureen Houtz, MA, LMFT

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Despite the 3000 hour process and years of education, many therapists make the mistake of assuming the work is solving the client’s problem.
Thinking we are responsible for a person’s marriage or their children is a mistake. A therapist that has just met a client thinking they are the answer to the client’s problem is presumptuous and arrogant. Some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make include ethic violations as well as financial ones. It seems it should not have to be said and yet regularly therapists get themselves in trouble when they isolate and forget their role.

One of my passions is teaching associates the proper process of providing therapy. It is for this reason that I help them understand the value of the client’s experience, their choices, their coping patterns all in an effort to seek to understand rather than judge.

Having done some teaching at the masters level, I have often remarked that the school programs teach all the theories and book knowledge. As a result the university’s graduate students are eager to apply what they have learned, so eager to help. Yet the 3000 hour process is designed to teach the art of therapy, the ethics of therapy, the boundaries of therapy; the art of being with the client.

The notion of being a guide with the primary purpose being to understand and meet the client where they are is of utmost importance. The relationship is key. It is the only way change is possible.

When therapists are not clear about the financial aspect of their services, confusion and missteps can occur. Knowing the relationship is one that is unequal- the client is paying for a service, a service you provide makes for a clear and clean understanding. I have known many therapists, often female, who are so uncomfortable about this aspect that they don’t earn what they are worth.

As for the clients or patients, one of their errors is in their expectations. I believe clients should shop for the therapist that suits them best. And yet I realize it is difficult to share their personal story with more than one stranger. Although the work we do is not car repair, I often encourage clients who are reticent about therapy due to a prior negative experience to liken this to needing a good mechanic after having a lousy one. You can’t let the car languish- it needs help and so do we. Find the therapist that suits you, I am sure s/he is out there.

Bio

Maureen has been licensed since 1986. Her experience is in the areas of couple therapy and working with teens and adults who are struggling with anxiety and depression. She works best with clients who desire to change destructive patterns and who want to learn to see their part in the “dance.”

Maureen is married and has two grown daughters, two sons in law and two granddaughters. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to share the joys and sorrows of my clients, and gain a greater understanding of God’s grace each day.

Maureen’s Philosophy of Therapy

My initial goal always with any client I see is to seek to understand. I don’t believe I can be helpful until I understand their situation. I believe most of us do what we do because we believe it works, it is habitual or we have no idea how to change it.

I always want to provide an honest reality check for my clients. They need to know that what they are saying or thinking is clear or not; is sane or not; is true or not. I desire to assist the client in making the change they seek. Change doesn’t happen with insight alone. True change occurs when people act differently. Unless insight results in behavior change I believe I have wasted the client’s time and money.

Because of my training in systems theory, I believe effecting change in one person can result in greater changes for their family system. Whether the client comes in alone, with their mother or their spouse, my approach is one that encompasses their entire world. In the area of couples therapy my hope is to reduce the polarization that occurs with couples in conflict. I use the Gottman method of couple therapy primarily (I am a Gottman Seven Principles educator) since I find it to be skill building, practical and successful. Why does therapy work? Because an individual dares to trust a mere stranger with their story. That mere stranger comes to care for this individual. Out of this mutual respect, the client boldly tries on new behaviors. Therapy works because a relationship built on respect, honesty and integrity is established.

As a committed Christian I pray for all of my clients. Since many of my clients profess to be Christian, I am able to challenge or dissuade them on the basis of our shared belief system. It is a privilege to be trusted and empowered to effect change in people.

You can learn more about Maureen Houtz at MaureenHoutz.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist and Poet Gene Barry

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Whilst living a traumatic childhood from a very young age, I began to people-watch as it enabled me to ‘categorise’ people for my own safety and wellbeing. In doing so, I discovered the difference between the ‘factual’ and the ‘actual’. Although fascinated by people’s habits, attitudes and behaviours, I originally studied electronics, computer technology, ergonomics and mathematics and worked in the computer industry.

I divorced in 1997 and sought assistance with my grief via psychotherapy. Eight months later, fascinated by the little known emotional and psychological engine that drives us, I began my five-year studies in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling. It was compulsory to attend a psychotherapist for the 5-year duration of the course.

As an internationally renowned poet with three published books, I additionally work as an Art Therapist with both children and adults using poetry as my medium. I have worked in schools, libraries, hospitals, with active retirement groups and asylum seekers. I recently graduated as a Hypnotherapist and am certified by the NGH.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Being at one with a 12-year-old student or a retired 72-year-old I work for and witnessing the disposal of their torments, trauma and stress and the alleviation of their emotional and psychological pain. Coupled with this, their unique enlightening cathartic conveyor of calmness, confidence, empowerment, excitement, happiness, inner peace, personal growth, self-esteem, success and trust delivers joy deep into my bones. This enlightening work increases my knowledge and enhances my ability to work with new clients.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Firstly, I believe it to be of Paramount importance that each person/couple feels that I care for and want them to succeed. Because all clients and relationships are unique, I tailor a specific holistic and integrative approach best suited to empower the person/couple to achieve their own success. Because their words should be a match for their actions, I assist them in comprehending their underlying nature. My objective is to enlighten the person/couple to the effects their and other people’s actions, assertiveness, behaviours, beliefs, expectations, feelings, inactions, opinions, pressures, thoughts and words have. This knowledge, integrated with good listening and processing skills in turn enables them to have healthy happy relationships.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Be aware of the emotion driving your and other people’s words. Place assumptions and premature conclusions in the trash. Knowing yourself will enable you to know the other person. We have both a conscious and an unconscious shopping list influencing our choice of partner. It is imperative for you to understand the influences of your unconscious shopping list. A happy, peaceful accepting relationship will be more easily achieved when you are accepting, happy and at peace with yourself.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

What you are aware of you are in control of and what you are unaware of controls you. Psychotherapy is the road to self-examination, self-reflection and in turn psychological and emotional awareness. How we understand ourselves will determine how we relate to the world around us. You can educate/reprogram your subconscious to work for you in a positive empowering way via therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapist
Assuming. Being judgmental. Not having had sufficient therapy. Dealing with the ‘factual’ instead of the ‘actual’ and in turn misleading the patient. Accepting that at times the patient may be the expert. Asking the patient too frequently how the issue/topic makes them feel and as a result losing the true meaning of that question. Not keeping up to date by studying. Mislabelling the patient’s feelings. Not taking sufficient time out between patients. Failing to correctly note the level of their patient’s anxiety, anger, depression, trauma etc.

Patient
Remaining with a therapist they feel they cannot work with in a way that is best for them. Fear of self-discovery. Withholding crucial essential information that would enable the therapist. Not carrying out what was agreed in therapy. Assuming that the therapist is always correct. Not planning what they bring to therapy. Agreeing to an appointment time that will be tiring and difficult for them. Not realising that their therapist is actually working for them.

Bio

Gene Barry is an Irish Poet, Art Therapist Counsellor, Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist. He has been published widely both at home and internationally and his poems have been translated into Arabic, Irish, Hindi, Albanian and Italian.

Barry is founder of the Blackwater Poetry group and administers the world-famous Blackwater Poetry Group on Facebook. He is a publisher and editor with the publishing house Rebel Poetry. Barry is also founder and chairman of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival.

As an art therapist using the medium of poetry, Gene has worked in libraries, hospitals, primary and secondary schools, with Narcotics Anonymous, Youthreach, retired people’s groups, Alcoholic Anonymous, asylum seekers and with numerous poetry groups.

Gene has read in Australia, Holland, Kosovo, England, St Lucia, Scotland, France, Belgium and Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Miami, NY, Massachusetts. He has been the guest poet at numerous Irish poetry venues. In 2015 he was chosen to represent Ireland at the inaugural Rahovec International Poetry Festival in Kosovo. That same year Barry was the guest poet at the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Austin and Dallas Texas, Enid Oklahoma and Little Rock Arizona.

Barry’s chapbook Stones in their Shoes was published in 2008. In 2010 Gene was editor of the anthology Silent Voices, a collection of poems written by asylum seekers living in Ireland. He additionally edited the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of The Blue Max Review and Inclusion as part of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival. In 2013 his collection Unfinished Business was published by Doghouse Books, a collection that has been critically acclaimed. In 2014 he edited Irish poet Michael Corrigan’s debut collection Deep Fried Unicorn, and the anthology fathers and what must be said. In 2015 Barry edited The Day the Mirror Called and MH Clay’s book son of fred. His third collection Working Days was published by Authors Press in 2016.

Gene has had a number of short stories published and is presently editing his first novel.

You can learn more about Gene Barry at www.genebarrypsychotherapist.com and www.genebarrypoet.com.

What is the #1 Tip to Keep your Marriage Strong? It’s all about the Small Stuff!

An interview…

I have been working with couples since 2000 and have seen Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and Millennials. I work with couples as they struggle with affairs and divorce as well as with premarital clients as they prepare for marriage. When I look back over my years of work I don’t see any one big tool, trick, action or event that helps couples to succeed. There has not been any one intervention that I provided that dramatically increased a couple’s chance of success.

Instead, what I see that really makes a difference for couples is when they take the time to focus on the small moments in their relationship. It is the seemingly insignificant inside jokes that are truly the glue in many marriages. I don’t mean to say that kindness, curiosity, generosity and humor don’t play a major role in our happiness in a relationship – these are what I think of as the hallmarks of great marriages.

While these are important there seems to be something else that helps couples through the many years of day-in day-out family life. It is during these years of raising kids, building careers and mowing yards that many couples find they drift apart. I think that it is very normal to have years where you feel connected to the family but disconnected from your spouse. The phrase I usually hear is “I love you, but I am not IN love with you.

It is during these times that it is imperative that you focus on the small stuff. You intentionally invite the inside jokes. You purchase the pasta with the funny name so you can both roll your eyes and have a giggle. You put on the music that makes him do the funny walk. I have seen in my own marriage how important these small hand holds can be when life gets slippery.

So, the best advice I can give you if you feel yourself in surrounded by apathy, boredom or if you are just having a tough time connecting: bring out the small stuff. You might be amazed by how it leads to more humor, curiosity and generosity. Please contact me if you want to learn more about the hallmarks of a great couple.

Bio

Ashley Seeger, LCSW specializes in individual and relationship counseling. She has been providing therapy for both couples and individuals at her sunny Boulder office and has over 17 years of experience. She is an expert on communication skills and empathy. Ashley studied extensively with the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, focusing on Self Psychology and its application with couples.

In addition to therapy, Ashley also provides Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD’s) for companies or agencies who have experienced a trauma. She gives seminars on “Communication Skills,” “Balancing Careers and Marriages” as well as “Stress Management” and “Dealing with Difficult People.” Ashley is currently writing a book on empathy and communication skills that walks couples through the empowering exercises she utilizes in her therapy.

For more information on Ashley and her practice or to read her blog, please visit her at www.CouplesCounselingBoulder.com.

Interview with Wendy Padley MBACP (Reg), MA, MSc

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

This was a series of things really – I had been doing some voluntary work in a social reading group and I’d previously done an introduction to counselling, so the interest was there. This social reading group re-ignited my interest because I was reminded about how much good talking to each other can help, and talking about the things we are finding difficult. The problems can be big or small, but impact on us can be huge. I decided at that point to train to Masters degree level, but this is not for the faint hearted! I wanted to go into this in much more detail because I was convinced that I could help people; being able to acknowledge how we feel is one of the most healing things we can do. Being heard and understood cannot be underestimated. Also, it’s constantly interesting and fascinating.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I think being able to see a change in people. Some people come to therapy wanting everyone else around them to change, which doesn’t really work! But people who come with an open mind, being willing to think about themselves and be honest with themselves can change more than they ever think they are capable of. It’s really nice to see a client leave with a smile when they have come to therapy in great distress.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I’ve worked with people all my life, in various professional roles. I was always interested is supporting people to be their best, even when it wasn’t in my job description. I think being able to bring a lot of life experience is crucial. Troubles in relationships happen when people feel misunderstood, ignored, or they’ve built up a map of the other person’s reactions. If someone says that they know what another person will do, this isn’t always helpful, as they’ve built up the ‘future’ in their head already. We then experience our own emotions according to that imagined future, and we find ourselves playing our scenarios in our head that haven’t even happened – but our emotions and our brain don’t know the difference. The future can always be changed.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Try and really listen to the other person. Also, don’t assume they can read your mind!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

It’s an investment, like anything else. People will happily pay for two or three yoga classes every week, but therapy is still thought as something that is too expensive, or not really necessary. It’s an investment in your mental and emotional health. As a nation, this is getting worse by the year. We are more connected online than ever but more emotionally alone. It’s not all about Freud!

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Not listening properly – on both sides.

Bio

Wendypadleycounselling.com

I am experienced in working with these things as a fully qualified psychotherapist and counsellor. I can offer you counselling as a short term service (up to 6 weeks), or psychotherapy as a longer term commitment, up to 2 years or longer, depending upon your needs. Both of these give you a regular weekly space to explore your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental and supportive way. Psychotherapy especially encourages you to talk in depth about your difficulties and to think about how these relate to past experiences. Being listened to and understood can go a long way to help you deal with your issues.

Counselling and psychotherapy can give you the tools for acceptance and change.

I have worked for a number of years in a respected voluntary sector agency, with the NHS in a specialist psychotherapy service, and also in a Higher Education setting. I also work in private practice.

Interview with Mirel Goldstein, MS, MA, LPC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I confess that it’s because I absolutely thrive on emotional intensity 🙂

And that I live for those moments of connection that are just so real, authentic, and deep 🙂

And that I want my clients to have that too 🙂

A place where they can really say WHATEVER they want, need, or desire to say. Where they can say the things that no one is really talking about because they’re afraid of being hurt or hurting someone else, of disapproval or rejection. Or because they’re just too busy pretending to “have it all together”, or covering up insecurities, or perhaps just being socially “appropriate” or politically correct.

I want to give people a place to be real. Really real. (I mean it).

And that’s why from the moment people step into my office, I cut right to the chase.

I don’t sit and make small talk with you because people don’t need me for THAT.

I’m don’t lead the conversation because the real stuff comes out when people don’t know what they’re “supposed” to say.

And I’m not one of those therapists who rescues people from an awkward silences because that is often the moment just before people share the most important things.

I sit with people as they find their way, yet I promise I am NOT one of those therapists who just listens and does not speak.

I may challenge but I will never shame and I will not judge.

The clients who work well with me are those who know there has to be something MORE and who are willing to fight for it 100%.

The couples who succeed with me are the ones who are ready to take down their walls and give love a chance…again. Despite being hurt. Despite being afraid. Despite being angry. They’re willing to rediscover the person they think they know so well (oh, but the other is never who we think they are!)

I encourage couples to be honest, vulnerable, soft, firm, bounded, and connected.

My best tip is for people to listen to understand…to really understand. Get out of defensive mode because it covers up more than it reveals.

I want the world to know the power of connection. And I want people to know that it’s not weak to seek help.

Bio

You can learn more about Mirel Goldstein at goldsteintherapy.com

Interview with Psychotherapist Ann Hogan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a Counsellor/Psychotherapist because a close member of my family nearly died and was treated at a hospital many miles away from where I lived. I received a lot of invaluable support from various people at that time and realised how important it is in times of crises to have someone who will listen.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspects of counselling are when a client comes for assessment and feels very anxious and/or depressed and can’t see a way out of that. The rewards for me are supporting them through difficult times and helping them find coping strategies.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I feel that one of my special qualities is that I’m able to understand that people deal with stress in very different ways – there’s not usually s right way or wrong way. Bereavement and divorce are losses experienced by many of my clients but they will all feel differently about their loss. In the same way, anxiety and stress have a different impact on many clients and strategies need to be tailored to each individual. There’s no ‘one size fits all’.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My relationship tip is that people have very different expectations of relationships nowadays and that it’s hard for our partners to fulfil every single aspect of modern life – most of us still need friends and outside interests to bring back to the relationship to keep it fresh.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I’d like to increase public awareness about the fact that relationship counselling can help couples to look at things differently and hopefully more positively.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make is to make assumptions about a client without conducting an in-depth assessment. A mistake that clients sometimes make is that a client/therapist will ‘judge’ them – hopefully, this is never the case as the counsellor will want to support them in difficulties they’re trying to overcome at a particular point in their lives.

Bio

About me – if you’re wondering about having one-to-one counselling, I offer sessions to help deal with many of the issues that you may be trying to cope with. If you’re suffering from anxiety, have relationship difficulties or feel sad a lot of the time, it’s bound to be having a big effect on your day-to-day life. If that’s the case it’s definitely worth doing something about it, even if you haven’t tried counselling before.

You can learn more about Ann Hogan at www.annhogancounselling.co.uk.

Interview with Psychotherapist Fatima Salya

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I come from a strong Muslim Asian Community from Preston, England. During my teenage years listening to teenagers at mosque suffering from abuse. I realised this community needed therapy and a feminist. During my A Levels I had to choose whether to become a Lawyer or a Psychotherapist. I chose Psychotherapy as my life lead that way. During that time a close person to me suffered from Mental Health issues but the local Imam’s kept pushing towards Nazaar (evil eye) and Jinn (ghost). Now as a Psychotherapist I know all that meant Schizophrenia. Asians and Muslims don’t have a modern approach towards therapy. It’s more like an American or wealthy person that decides they want therapy. I really want to break that norm and encourage therapy as clearing thoughts is very important to put things into perspective and move on with life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspects of being a psychotherapist are being able to guide the person. My recent client said, “You fixed me in a session.” : )

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

When two individuals feel comfortable in each other’s company and decide to be with each other, they enter into an interpersonal relationship. Whether that is friendship, love, platonic relationship, family relationships and professional relationships.

Interpersonal relationships you should be able to have a reasonable compatibility and communication.

– Honesty is very important do not hide things from your partner. Transparency is important in a relationship to be able to trust one another.

– Staying calm and being a little more adjusting is a very important quality as staying calm doesn’t instigate an argument.

– Forgiving from within do not drag issues unnecessarily.

– Smiling and taking care of your facial expressions whilst interacting. A real smile or a fake smile. “Smile is a curve that makes everything straight.”

– Time is an important role in relationships. To spend quality time to know each other and strengthen the bond.

What is your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I deal with clients who have had arrange marriages. Partners must feel attraction. I’m focusing on passion, intimacy and as they call it chemistry this refers to the physical attraction between two individuals. Individuals must feel physically attracted to each other for the charm to stay in a relationship for a much longer period of time. This isn’t focused on as arrange marriages focus on family, career, goals, interests or same morals and values.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Make therapy a norm nothing to be ashamed of going to have a therapy session or suffering from Mental Health. We are to bothered what people will think and say. I’m a British Indian and when I visited India I realised countries that suffer from poverty have the highest risk of mental health issues. I watched people walking around talking to themselves. Where Imam’s try to cure mental health patients with witchcraft and the Quran. Therefore, I started a charity to help prevent Mental Illness in Poverty. “Stop people walking around talking to themselves they are experiencing living HELL!” If people don’t receive medication or therapy then how can anything progress in their life? Whether it is relationships with one another or career or life in general.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapist and patient should be able to work together during therapy. If the client and therapist are not following the session together then no one has gained benefit of therapy. As a therapist to be open –minded and empathise is extremely important. Therapist and patient should try not to be ignorant and welcome anything that progresses between the therapist and patient.

Bio

You can learn more about Fatima Salya at www.psychotherapistfs.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Amanda Robins

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Basically I wanted to help young people. I retrained in social work after a successful career in the visual arts and progressed to working in public mental health, where I learnt a lot about families and and serious mental illness. My overall aim was to be a psychotherapist and to work specifically with young people.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love the possibility for connection and empathy within the therapeutic relationship. There is always the potential for transforming lives – that is the most rewarding part of the job.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My background in supporting and nurturing young artists through my career as a visual artist and academic has taught me a lot about how precious finding one’s own voice is and how we can learn to value everyone’s individuality. My own art practice has given me the opportunity to grow and learn about myself through the creative process. I am interested in expanding this and in giving back to others through the therapeutic space and connection.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

The most important relationship advice I can give is to listen to your partner – to try to work out what are they really saying and what they really want? What are the emotions at the heart of what their demands? In any relationship it is vital to allow yourself to be open and vulnerable and to tell your partner how you really feel. Don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions about what they might mean.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy isn’t a quick fix. Nor is it about the therapist being all-wise and all-knowing. A therapist just needs to be good enough to hold the patient’s emotional self for the moment of therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Patients don’t make mistakes – its all grist for the mill! If therapy is going to work then there needs to be a commitment from both parties and the patient does need to learn to trust and to be open and honest.
I have sometimes made the mistake of overvaluing my own statements/thoughts and theories when the client is trying to tell me their truth. I have learnt that the best therapy happens when I can sit with, think through and feel with them in their struggles. I don’t have all the answers and any therapist who says that they do is fooling themselves – and misleading their clients.

Bio

I am an artist/writer and psychotherapist based in Melbourne, Australia. After a successful career as an artist and academic, I decided to retrain in order to work therapeutically with young people and studied Social Work at the University of Melbourne. I now specialise in working with young people and families and am particularly interested in early intervention for Borderline Personality Disorder. I love writing about mental health, from my own experiences and from my work with young people. I currently have a blog where I write about mental health issues of interest to young people and parents. My articles have been published on The Mighty, Therapy Route, PsychCentral and This Woman Can.

I hope my stories will resonate with those who are struggling with mental health issues and maybe help others understand more about the journey.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
https://www.amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/articles
https://twitter.com/amandarobins7
https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandartherapy/pins/
https://www.facebook.com/amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/
https://www.instagram.com/amandarobinstherapy/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-robins-a861a782/

Interview with Psychotherapist Jennelle Liljestrand

Jennelle is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Supervisor, and Coach, working in a “Soteria” psychiatric clinic and in private practice in Munich, Germany. www.jennellepraxis.com.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I had always been aware of my privilege growing up in a wealthy white suburb. This discomfort, combined with my psychology interest during college, led me naturally to a Masters program at Smith School for Social Work. What I loved about Social Work, is the idea that a person does not need a PhD to learn how to sit empathetically and be present for another person who is struggling. The program believes in the opposite: instead of filling our minds with research in order to have a preconceived notion of our clients, and put them in a box, our studies emphasised unpacking our baggage, our personal histories, in order be non-judgmental in the way we show up with our clients. And just showing up and being present for our clients helps! As a Clinical Social Worker, we are therapists who also see the world through a social justice lens. I saw, and still see, this profession as essential to human dignity for everyone.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The continual learning and exploration process of therapy is what I find most rewarding. It is a extremely creative process to think about therapeutic interventions, using various language or tools until something clicks with the client, or doesn’t. Not only that, but I hear so many other life experiences and perspectives. I enjoy my role of being curious, and gradually witnessing clients come to a better understanding of themselves, and come to feel a bit more okay with who they are. Through learning to understand my clients, I’ve built a lot of understanding towards other people I might see or meet, that most people would be upset by, or afraid of. The other continual learning that keeps me energized, are the training programs and lectures I attend to keep updating my knowledge and I continue to specialise my knowledge and skill as well, in my work with whatever current population I am with. My masters program emphasised learning how to build therapeutic relationships with clients, but did not give me all the tools I need to work with all populations. This means I actively choose new trainings every year to acquire the appropriate knowledge. For example, I started out working in Hospice, then with Veterans, and now with people with psychosis. I like that it is part of our profession to work with different populations and methods before settling down in a private practice or with one clientele.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I believe that interpersonal relationships and interactions can teach us everything about ourselves and our past, if we allow ourselves to be aware and open to it. Thus, I am a big advocate for group psychotherapy. In groups, therapy groups and groups of colleagues or friends alike, we find ourselves repeating certain roles, “the funny one” or “the quite one”, for example. This is often the role we developed in our family of origin. If we step back and observe this, it can help us either accept it, or to practice a new way of showing up in groups if that role no longer serves you. In these groups, I encourage my clients to notice all their emotional and physiological reactions (emotions are physiological) to their co-group members. All groups are social microcosms, a mini- world, and a therapy group is a social laboratory where we have a unique opportunity. The opportunity, is a space where you can consciously work on your problem, instead of just having your problem. These are two quite distinct things.

When you pay attention to how you show up in any relationship or interaction in the here-and-now you can learn a lot about yourself. You can learn what your behavior is like through feedback and self-observation. You can understand how your behavior makes others feel, if you listen to how it impacts them. You can understand how this behavior creates the opinions others have of you and how they may avoid you, respect you, or like you because of it. Lastly, you can understand how your behavior influences your opinion of yourself and feelings of self-worth . Due to this focus of mine, I check in with clients in the here-and-now of our communication and relationship building. In order to learn on an interpersonal level, we must be present in the moment to attend to what feelings and reactions arise in us during an interaction.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I love teaching about anger. Every emotion has an evolutionary function, a reason why it exists in humans. Anger serves us, in that it increases our psychological size, like animals that bear their teeth or spread their feathers when there is a threat. We obviously don’t spread our feathers, but we stand in a posture that takes up more space, speak louder and more aggressively, etc. I call anger a secondary emotion because it arrives in response to another feeling: usually an opposite feeling. Before the anger came, without noticing it, and maybe for a micro-second, we were feeling small and vulnerable somehow. This could be feeling disrespected, not valued, or unseen. Once you can identify that underlying feeling, and the situation in which it arose, it can transform the way you react towards other people. We see it as a reaction to other’s behavior, but it is actually the meaning we give that person in our mind. Remember, we are the only ones who can make us feel a feeling. For example, a car on the highway may cut us off, and as a result we feel violated, small, and helpless. But maybe it’s really about us. The fact that we are running late to a meeting we feel anxious about. We want to make a good impression to win the respect of the team. However if we arrive late and flustered, we fear they will see the truth: that we are useless. Our reaction has a lot more to do with ourselves and our history than to with the other person!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In my view, it takes too much knowledge to find and make use of good therapy. Thus, I want to take this opportunity to increase awareness about how therapy works. It is important to know that you need to feel a positive connection with a potential therapist. Your first meeting is a two-way interview. It is important that you can talk about everything within a therapeutic space, and if that does not happen, one should try another therapist. I stick by the rule of three. Try up to three therapists. If you’re still unsatisfied with all three, chances are, that might be an issue you’re going to therapy to work on, so stick with one of the three. Unfortunately, many people get stuck in mis-attuned and therapy and that is the last thing one deserves, especially in a phase where one needs the most support possible!

I also want people who are currently in therapy, to know how to use it effectively. If you feel misunderstood by your therapist, it is essential to tell him or her that. If you feel frustrated by the process and feel it’s unhelpful, say so. All these feelings are very important material to work with and it helps the therapeutic process even more. I encourage you to see any challenges or negative feelings in therapy as an opportunity to learn about yourself, and how you might avoid these areas in other relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the things I very much appreciate about the therapeutic relationship, is the concept that all therapists will make mistakes in getting to understand someones experience of the world. Just like in all relationship building. Without making any mistakes, as therapists, we won’t ever get to understand and process what it’s like for that client when they feel misunderstood or judged. This is important. The repair after the mis-attunement is what matters most. It builds the therapeutic relationship, builds the client’s self-understanding, and models healthy relationships. Whereas, a truly terrible therapeutic mistake would be the failure to provide a safe-space for an important issue to be spoken. This may reinforce the taboo and the shame. It sends the client a message that you cannot accept all of who they are because something about them is “bad.”

Interview with Dr. Lennie Soo

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My doctorate is in Counselling Psychology. Most therapists become therapists because of the challenges in their own lives and I am no different. I became a therapist because of the challenges that I had faced in life and I wanted to understand how to manage and handle these challenges better. I think I became a good therapist after I had a freak accident which almost cost me my life in 2006. That was when I broke my neck and as with life’s serendipity my training in what appears to be a diverse unrelated fields came together to help me overcome the disabilities that I experience after the accident. Family Matters when you are in a crisis and I feel that helping couples, is akin to helping their families.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I feel that the most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is the privilege of being allowed by my clients to walk part of their life’s journey with them and to accept my presence and interventions during their times of crisis. I am humbled by their courage to open themselves up to a stranger and to seek help when needed to save their relationship. Isn’t that the wonderful manifestation of love?

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a background in clinical hypnotherapy and in personality profiling and I think my background in these 2 fundamental areas of human psyche help me develop the Solution Method of building and strengthening relationships.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I advise couples in the midst of divorce to be kind to each other. It is a simple advise but if we can be as kind to our partners as we are to others, even if the relationship ends, the closure will be less traumatic.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Talking to your friends about your problem is not therapy although it can be therapeutic. If you have spend more than 6 months trying to fix something and things continue to deteriorate, it is obvious that your strategy is not working and you need to seek professional help. I also like to say that research findings had found that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. Those who are weak are the least likely to seek help, so be strong and reach out for help. Also studies have reported that the success rate of those who undergo relationship counselling is around 50-80% so statistically it is a good idea to seek help.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake that a therapist can make is to think that they know everything and to make assumptions about their clients or is focus on area such as fame, money or reputation and not on the client. A therapist who allows their ego to control the session, is a therapist who has lost the plot.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Soo at http://asiahypnosis.com/about.

Interview with Counselor Diane Chrestman

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because I love helping people become the highest version of themselves possible. Relationships are certainly complicated and have enormous potential to add to our suffering. All individuals have a unique presentation of personality quirks such as wrong beliefs, perceptions, traumatic experiences and less-than effective communication styles. I love helping people recognize the thoughts, behaviors and emotional reactions that are preventing them from reaching their highest level of functioning and identify better ways of coping. I can’t imagine work that would be more meaningful.

I have been a practicing Buddhist for the past 6 years and have studied meditation and mindfulness with Zen master’s during this time. I draw a great deal from Buddhist Psychology. There are wonderful insights in Buddhism which are very beneficial for improving interpersonal relationships. One of the main concepts of Buddhist Psychology is mindfulness. If one is attempting to resolve a conflict but they feel angry it is of great benefit to know that you are angry. You should not try to resolve conflict when you are angry. Mindfulness is a very deep practice. For example, if you are ware of your thoughts, emotions, body, and expectations when engaged with another person, you will know if you are cultivating aspects of the relationship that you seek, or if you are destroying those aspects. Another technique is using right action, right effort and right communications. These practices are part of the Eight-Fold Path, which was the Buddha’s instructions for alleviating suffering. I never try to convert a person from their religion, but I find most people are open and very receptive to these strategies although they are cornerstones of Buddhism. Most people can see that they are congruent with the faith they practice.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My favorite relationship tip is to understand your own true nature, and the true nature of other people. You have the capacity to be judgmental, selfish, fearful, and ignorant. When you engage in these patterns try to encourage self-compassion as opposed to self-blasting. Do your best. Learn from your mistake and try to do better next time. Be gentle and loving. Your beloved, boss or neighbor also has the capacity to be judgmental, selfish, ignorant and fearful. Understand why and how these conditions arise. Do you understand the nature of your partner, and do you act with loving-kindness and compassion when they are not engaging at their highest potential?

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want to raise public awareness about the benefits of meditation and the different techniques available to begin a meditation practice or to go deeper in an existing practice. I teach all clients to meditate. Many people try to meditate but feel like they cannot because their mind is to racy. There are many levels of meditation. If you try but are having difficulty, perhaps you are trying a level that is to difficult. One should also be willing to tolerate a certain amount of discomfort when learning to meditate. It will feel frustrating at first. You try to quiet your mind and stay in the present moment, but instead find yourself living in the past or future. This is what the mind will do if you have not practiced calming and concentrating the mind. Stick with a practice and you will find a peacefulness, acceptance and wisdom cultivated. These ingredients are crucial to fulfilling and loving relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistakes or misunderstandings is a client’s expectations that a therapist will be able to fix relationship problems through talking. Talking in a caring, safe and supportive environment is indeed very therapeutic. It releases some of the energy of the angst and hurt we feel. However, long lasting changes come from changing elements of emotional reactions, cognitions or behaviors. The work is not easy. Anyone who has ever tried to change a habit know this. Another misunderstanding wrong right effort. Don’t expect that entrenched relationships patterns will have a positive impact the first or second time a different response is generated. The same energy that was used to cultivate the entrenched pattern is necessary to change the pattern.

Bio

You can learn more about Diane Chrestman at www.authentic-life.net.

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Marriage Counseling – Dr. Tina B. Tessina

Background: I’m a licensed psychotherapist in S. California, with 30 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples. I’m also the author of 13 books in 16 languages, including How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences and The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs

Ten things you don’t know about marriage counseling

As a marriage counselor/psychotherapist in private practice, I encounter a lot of people who waited far too long to come in for counseling because they didn’t understand what it was or how it could help them. These ten things will clear up confusion and help you understand when counseling would be a good idea for your marriage.

1. It’s not about airing your dirty linen in public. No good therapist will chastise you for your behavior or attitudes. Counseling is about helping you get what you both want, and helping you to communicate.

2. It’s not about changing your partner. The best way to change your partner is to change how you relate. A counselor has the perspective to see what both of you are doing and saying that is interfering with your communication. He or she will show both of you what needs to change to make your relationship better.

3. It really can vastly improve your marriage, and make you happier. If you’re not getting what you want in your relationship, or not able to figure out what your partner wants, counseling is a place to learn those things, and find out the emotional blocks that are stopping you from being happy.

4. You can learn skills you didn’t know you needed, that will get you what you want. A good relationship requires skill in communicating, knowing what you want and knowing how to articulate how you feel in a non-confrontational way. Couples have to learn how to work together, negotiate and cooperate. Counseling is an opportunity to learn those skills.

5. It’s not scary, it’s enlightening. You won’t be harmed or belittled — instead, you’ll be delighted at what you find out. Imagine the confusion and upset fading away, and being replaced by clarity and renewed affection.

6. It doesn’t cost a lot. The earlier you go in, the quicker you can get the problem solved, and the less it will cost. Don’t wait until the resentment and hurt feelings have built and festered for years. If you go in as soon as you feel something isn’t working, the counselor can help you figure out what is wrong, and quickly correct it. If you let bad habits become ingrained, it takes longer to fix them.

7. No topic is off limits. Whatever you haven’t been able to talk about, the therapist will create a safe place for you to hear and be heard. One couple I worked with called counseling “adult supervision” because it helped them to be able to hear each other talk about things they hadn’t been able to discuss without fighting. The counselor will make sure you are hearing each other, and thinking rather than reacting.

8. Fighting is not a necessary part of marriage, but communication is, and therapy will help you change your fighting to communication. All couples have disagreements. When you learn how to listen to each other, and how to communicate without confronting, arguments become sessions for understanding and working things out.

9. Even if you are getting divorced, you can benefit from marriage counseling. If you have children, you’ll have a relationship forever, so learn how to work together, even if it’s just for their sake. Whatever problems you’re having in this relationship are likely to come up in the next one, unless you sort them out and figure out how to do it different. Whatever you learn here will be helpful in all future relationships, with partners, family, friends and colleagues.

10. It’s about partnership, sweetheart. Every marriage needs to be a partnership, emotionally, financially, socially and domestically. Therapy can teach you how to do this, even if you already get along. You can learn how to work together to solve every problem that comes up in a relationship, from intimacy to extended family issues to financial struggles. Learning how to cooperate rather than struggle and compete will make walking together through life a pleasure.

Author Bio: Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (www.tinatessina.com) is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 40 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 14 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty; Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, The Real 13th Step , How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together and How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog (drromance.typepad.com), and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, TV, video and podcasts. She tweets @tinatessina

Interview with Psychotherapist Joelle Anderson

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I actually started out in education, and then marketing and hadn’t really considered psychotherapy as a career because, initially, I didn’t really know/understand what a psychotherapist did. It was when I was doing my mindfulness training that I learned more about counselling and psychotherapy and realized it was a blend of everything I loved and enjoyed in my previous careers – it allows me to listen, to help people with what really matters to them, and has a level of conversation and connection that I appreciate every day. Plus my background in mindfulness and other emotion regulation skill teaching provided strong foundations for me to come into the profession equipped with strong tools and resources.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The changes in clients that make them feel amazing about who they are. Seeing someone go from believing something they want, or some aspect of who they are is inaccessible, and then being able to step into a more effective, skillful, and self-loving space is awesome to me. Ultimately, the later – being able to not only accept, but also love, honour and celebrate the person within, is my favourite part.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As an eating disorder specialist, one of the more unique things about my practice is actually being able to help people heal and connect with others through the very thing that initially caused pain – eating and food. Otherwise, I don’t know if it is unique or special, but I do love a DBT approach to very skill-based interpersonal skill development, mixed with an attitude of reality-acceptance and really acknowledging where we have control in relationship, and where we do not.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I sometimes discuss with clients the idea that there are 3 parts to any relationship: you, the other person, and the “dynamic” between you. Seeing the dynamic, the “fit” between the “stuff” that is the clients, and the “stuff” that is the other person’s helps to loosen some of the expectations of control, recognize more realistic boundaries, and to consider the idea of “fit” rather than over-focusing on control and/or self-blame.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

As an eating disorder therapist, I really feel that the stigma and shame surrounding eating disorders in general is enormous. We are getting better and better, as a society, about reducing metal health stigma, but ED seems to be lagging still. I think we could all look at our relationship to food, eating, and body image and really consider what it is that we are promoting – love and acceptance and reality, or the commercialized ideals that make us all suffer to some extent.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

On the therapist end – thinking YOU can change a patient. It’s their journey, we guide and support and so what we can but it is and always will be up to the client.
On the patient end – hoping that the therapist can fix it. The changes will always need to come from you, BUT that also means all the progress also comes from within you. You have what it takes, a therapist simply hopes to help you access that.

Bio

Joelle received her Master of Counselling Psychology (MA) from Yorkville University and is a Registered Psychotherapist and Canadian Certified Counsellor in good standing with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, respectively. Joelle runs a private psychotherapy practice in Toronto where she (along with her therapy dog, Peanut) specializes in treating Eating Disorders. She is also an Eating Disorder Counsellor at Bellwood Health Services.

Joelle has been working in mental health and therapeutic fields for over four years. This includes working as a Counsellor at Bellwood Health Services and Georgian College, experience with Catholic Children’s Aid Society, and therapeutic work I have through teaching mindfulness meditation and through a number of not-for-profit organizations over the years. You can learn more about Jeolle Anderson at kernelofwisdom.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Justine Corrie

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My journey to becoming a psychotherapist was very much a personal one. My own childhood was very traumatic and I’d left home at a young age. I spent most of my twenties travelling and discovering myself through some hairy adventures, spiritual enquiry and also a lot of experimentation with my own consciousness. I had a experience in my late twenties that might have been considered a breakdown, I’ve learnt to understand what happened then through the lens of a ‘spiritual emergence’. That time led me to returning to the UK and finding ways to integrate my experiences and also coming to terms with my past. I spent several years in therapy myself as well as deepening my own meditation practice, and that led me to the Core Process Psychotherapy training, where Mindfulness practice meets western psychotherapy.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The privilege of accompanying others along their journey into wholeness. Witnessing another meeting their inherent health. It’s deeply humbling work.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Well, all therapy ultimately is about relationship. We’re inherently relationship-seeking beings. I’m not sure I have a unique approach, but I’m fascinated by how we come into relationship, with ourselves, with others and with the world. I see this as ‘the big work’ the human race needs to do!

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

The idea of intimate relationship as ‘spiritual practice’. That we’ve chosen this other exactly because they trigger us in all the right ways! And on a very practical note – appreciations are fuel for good relationship. The simple daily practice of sharing an appreciation with our intimate other can be hugely transformative to a relationship.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That therapy isn’t just for when your in difficulty! Increasingly, clients come to therapy both as individuals and as couples, when they’re in a resourced and healthy place. This can lead to some really rich and rewarding work!

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

A therapist and their client believing that the therapist is the expert. My clients are the expert in the room, I see my job as facilitating and supporting their process of discovery.

Bio

Justine Corrie is a Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist, Couples Counsellor and Group Facilitator. She has an MA in Core Process Psychotherapy from The Karuna Institute and a Diploma in Couples Counselling from ReVision, London. She works from a peaceful garden cabin in Somerset. As well as a thriving private practice, she runs Mindfulness retreats and workshops in Conscious Collaboration. You can discover more at www.justinecorrie.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Fe Robinson

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I used to work in HR, and found myself unable to help people with their problems as much as I wanted to. I initially trained as a life coach and then learned about NLP to deepen my skills. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn, so eventually becoming a therapist felt like coming home for me. I do this work because I believe in people’s capacity to thrive, whatever the circumstances.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

My work is a source of inspiration. I am humbled by the strength and resilience of my clients, and on a daily basis I learn and grow from our interactions. The most rewarding aspect of the job is being able to witness people finding healing and peace.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I believe we are each unique, our experiences, upbringing, family, culture and many other aspects shape us. At the same time we are all very ordinary, because so much of human experience is shared. I don’t think I have a special background or approach, I just aim to be real and present in the room. For some people, some of the time, I am the right therapist, that is as much as I hope for.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I encourage people to watch out for patterns in and across relationships. Life has a way of repeatedly offering us the opportunity to grow and learn, when we duck it the same old things will just keep happening until we take up the challenge. Getting to know your own foibles in the way you relate can really help you improve your relationships, but honest looking, and a willingness to change are essential.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I would love to increase public awareness about the ability for clients to recover from mental health issues. Often the media position people as sufferers or victims, and give the impression that mental health challenges last a lifetime. They can, but more often they do not. I would like to give people a sense of hope, and of their own ability to grow and change. Symptoms are a call to heal, they bring to our attention the work that needs to be done. Therapy is a great way to help symptoms reveal their strengths and improve health.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

What is a mistake for one person might be just right for another person, it’s hard to generalise. In therapy though, I think the thing I encourage both therapists and clients to avoid is not trusting themselves.Operating out of fear and disregarding what our body tells us is often a mistake. When we trust ourselves and listen to our intuition we are likely to be on the right track.

Bio

You can learn more about Fe Robinson at www.ferobinsonpsychotherapy.co.uk.

Interview with Inge Dean, LMFT

Why did you become a therapist?

I was drawn to becoming a therapist even before I knew exactly what one did. As I child, I watched “The Miracle Worker” about Helen Keller and declared that when I grew up I wanted to help people like Anne Sullivan. Part of what intrigued me was my curiosity about what other people were thinking, feelings .and experiencing. And I wanted to understand and help them. Also I was very connected to my own emotions and inner world as a child and wished that I had someone to talk to. When I went to college I majored in psychology and knew that is what I wanted to study. When we did class exercises where we took turns sharing and listening to each other it felt so natural to me. I went on to complete my masters in counseling psychology and became a licensed marriage and family therapist. I now work with children, adults, couples and families in my practice as they work through their life challenges so they can live life more fully.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist is inviting people into my office exactly where they are with no judgements and taking the time to deeply hear and listen to them about their hurts, challenges, hopes and dreams. Walking alongside people, supporting and facilitating them, as they find their way through the difficulties that brought them to see me and discover the ability to love, value and respect themselves is rewarding. It is deeply satisfying to witness my clients learn to hear and trust their own inner wisdom and live fully into their lives and relationships.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My short answer is that what is special and unique about me is that I am me, Inge Dean, with all the particularities around my experiences of life. That I have met and work through and will continue to work through the hurt and challenges of my life. And that I have a particular package of gifts and abilities that I get to live and share in the world. I also hold this same perspective on every other person I meet. As a therapist, I see that my work is to help my clients have the freedom to live in their own special unique way.
To borrow from the words of the poet Mary Oliver:

“Tell me what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

From this perspective I hold and work from an integrated holistic approach. I listen and give attention to your body, soul, mind and spirit.
BODY
• Heal from dissociation and trauma through sensory awareness, breath, movement
• Reclaim instinct, natural impulses, playful child, passion
• Experience belonging in your body and upon this earth
SOUL
• Work through painful relationship patterns and family legacies
• Release authentic self from patterns of self-doubt, depression and mistrust
• Find the gifts hidden in the wound through dreams, archetypal images, living myths
MIND
• Strengthen capacity for meaningful relationships and work
• Cultivate clarity of awareness and choice
• Offer your gifts in ways that serve you and others
SPIRIT
• Free mental blocks to inner guidance
• Integrate meditation, imagination, and ceremony into your life
• See your inner nature mirrored in outer nature

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips?

Never make yourself over in ways that are not true to who you are just to get someone to love you. Likewise, never try to make some else over in the image of what you desire. Instead practice cultivating self-love so you worth comes from within which also allow you to meet another person where they are.

Take the time you and get the help you need to be able to think clearly and know what you really think and want before you respond. So that your Yes will really mean Yes and your No will be a solid No.
Also it is alright to change your mind.

Be aware when you are creating a scenario based on what has happened in the past or what you fear will happen in the future. We are all great movie producers. And are mind and emotions respond to these movies as if they are actually happening. Instead catch yourself when this happens and bring yourself back to be present to what is actually happening now. The only place we can live, act and make changes.

When you and your partner are both calm talk about how to deal with that ooh so familiar argument; where no one can hear the other person that goes nowhere and takes a long time to recover from. Agree that one or both of you will call a time out before you get totally sucked in. And that you will both respect that timeout. Also agree that when you are both ready that you will connect to talk about things from a calm place where things can get worked out. If things get hot again take another timeout and do that as much as needed to break that ooh so familiar pattern of relating. If you can’t do this alone call a couples counselor to help you.

Don’t forget to make time for laughter, play.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not a weakness or failure to admit your struggles and vulnerabilities. But actually it takes strength and courage to ask for help.

Therapy is sometimes seen as a luxury that people cannot afford. When actually if the difficulties in your life or relationships cause sleepless nights and interfere with your work, family and ability to enjoy life it is something you cannot not afford to do.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The number one biggest mistake a therapist can make is to see a client as only a list of symptoms and a diagnosis. Narrowing their perspective to only relieving symptom can be a disservice. Certainly relief from suffering is a part of therapy but if that is where it stops a client loses the opportunity to explore their life story and create new ways of living and relating that give them the freedom to change and grow.

Sometimes clients make the mistake of staying in therapy which is not a good fit because a therapist is prescribing more session. Therapist are all different and finding one that fits for you is so important. On the other hand a client can leave therapy prematurely if uncomfortable memories and feeling are arising. It is important to find a therapist that you can trust. Who can walk with you and support you as you find your way to the other side.

Bio

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 25 years of experience working with children, teens, individual adult, couples and families. I see clients in my Berkeley, California office as well as California residents on a secure on line practice. I also am a trained dream teacher and consultant and run dream groups. I am available to consult with people around the world on dreams that trouble them or they want to understand more thoroughly. You can find more about me at Ingedeanberkeleypsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Anna Marson, MA, RP, CCC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Always being psychologically-minded from a young age, I tended to gravitate towards studies in psychology to better understand human thinking and behavior. Years later in my career I realized that I’d been inadvertently counselling my friends in high school hallways all along! So a great deal of my ability to connect with others on a deeper level came naturally. I was also drawn to the idea of dedicating my life to a meaningful cause that benefits the world in some small way.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing lives transformed for the better! Giving clients new insights that help them make sense of their experiences. Saving people’s lives; giving them hope. Witnessing clients picking up new skills, making them their own, and living more empowered and fulfilled lives. The work is always very meaningful. I feel humbled and honoured to be able to build intimate working relationships with clients, sometimes during their darkest moments, and help them maximize their personal potentials.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Having a background in cognitive sciences and neurophysiology, I tend to incorporate a lot of teaching into my therapy to help clients understand the origins of their thinking patterns, behaviours, attachment styles in relationships, and responses to stress and trauma. I think if we understand the underlying nature of the concerns, then we have a roadmap for creating change, and understanding the logic behind human tendencies helps clients overcome shame. Clients seem to find this information empowering and normalizing.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Knowing your attachment style and your partner’s attachment style makes all the difference. Similarly, considering your respective “love languages” can be helpful. And Esther Perel’s teachings that extramarital affairs don’t necessarily have to signal the end of a marriage, but rather, can inspire a fresh start can leave room for growth as a couple.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy doesn’t have to be scary. Some clients have the misconception that they are expected to share all of their traumatic experiences the first time(s) we meet, which can sometimes actually do more harm than good. It’s possible to do good therapy at a slow, steady pace, without overwhelming clients’ nervous systems. The idea is to maintain safety in the session and give clients a sense of choice and empowerment about what and when they’re ready to share.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Being judgmental rather than curious. All human thinking and behavior makes sense within the right context. Being judgmental causes others to become defensive, which is counterproductive to the therapeutic process.

Bio

Anna Marson, MA, RP, CCC, is the Chief Psychotherapist at Heartfulness Psychotherapy, a private practice in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Heartfulness Psychotherapy specializes in mental health, addictions, trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, acquired brain injury, other difficulties with attention and/or emotions, daily life challenges, and life transitions.

Specific therapies offered include evidence-based practices such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Gottman Couple’s Therapy, and Interpersonal/Relational Psychotherapy. Additional services offered include consulting, coaching, and Kundalini Yoga instruction.

Heartfulness Psychotherapy offers services to youth, adults, couples, and groups. Services are covered by most extended health benefits programs.

heartfulness.io

Interview with Psychotherapist Kirsty Campbell

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist partly because therapy has helped me a great deal at various points in my life. I’ve had some really supportive and helpful experiences with therapists who’ve journeyed alongside me as I’ve navigated something painful or a big change. Becoming a qualified therapist in the UK, where I trained and now work, isn’t an easy journey. It involved a four year commitment to part-time study, placement experience and more of my own therapy. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the theory and practicalities of the job, though, and had some really inspiring tutors – not to mention how much I learned from my fellow student therapists, several of whom I’m still in touch with even though our initial training is long behind us.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Without doubt, being trusted with peoples’ private worlds. It’s very special to go through parts of someone’s life with them, and be let into how they’re feeling and changing. Knowing that they have confidentiality allows people to open up in a way that perhaps they can’t do with partners or friends. That kind of confidence being placed in you is humbling and rewarding.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t think anything is – and perhaps that’s useful in itself. Therapy is all about relationships, so in a way all of my training and experience feeds into my approach to working with interpersonal relationships. I love working with all kinds of relationships, too: different couples, at different relationship and/or life stages, dealing with a host of pressures both inside and outside their relationship with each other.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I’m very drawn to the idea that the more secure you are with yourself, the more available you are to your partner (and others in your life, come to that). Anxieties in a relationship can really get in the way and cause couples to get into unhelpful patterns of relating.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I’d like therapy to become a very normal thing that people go off and do when they feel they need to. Sometimes it’s seen publicly as something only really distressed or traumatised people are entitled to seek out, or clients worry that they will be judged as ‘going mad’ or ‘being oversensitive’ if they admit to being in therapy. It’s fine to seek therapy whenever you feel it might be helpful. Many of us feel comfortable with treating ourselves to regular personal grooming things like massages or manicures – why not be that comfortable with tending to our mental health, too?

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think a client can make the mistake of staying with a therapist they don’t really feel they can talk to, because they assume the therapist must in some way know best. Not every therapist-client relationship ‘clicks’ and I try to encourage clients to keep looking if they don’t happen to find the right therapist right away. Therapists make mistakes all the time – I know I do – and often these things are actually gifts. If I can own up to something I feel I’ve handled poorly or examine the stuff that falls flat, I often end up strengthening the relationship with the client and learning something into the bargain. It’s useful to model that mistakes can be used in this way, too, so that clients can embrace their own insecurities and frustrations, rather than feeling they must aim to be nice and get things ‘right’.

Bio

I am a fully qualified counsellor and psychotherapist working with all ages and issues from my practice in Cambridge, UK. I hold a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and I am a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. I currently work for a local primary school as a school counsellor, seeing young people with a wide range of issues, and spend the rest of my time seeing clients privately in my peaceful garden studio. I also enjoy working with a diverse range of couples. Please feel welcome to browse my website and helpful articles at www.kirsty-campbell.com.

Interview with BPS chartered and HCPC registered consultant Clinical Psychologist Adriana Giotta

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Being a psychotherapist for me is a vocation. I have been passionate about psychology and philosophy since I was an adolescent, always curious about the mysteries of the human mind and existence itself. One of the driving forces to become a therapist has also been my wish to help others, reciprocating the way I had been helped myself.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing people progressively blossom and thrive in their lives, becoming fulfilled by facilitating the emergence of their true selves. I also very much enjoy researching in the field of psychology and depth psychology, continuing to learn more to find new and more powerful ways of helping people.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

– I believe the uniqueness of my background and past experience in the field of the fashion industry and fashion modelling equipped me with relevant life experience to better understand and support clients working in tough and competitive corporate environments and enabled a profound understanding of femininity in postmodern western societies and all the issues related to body image, gender role behaviour and relational issues, identity challenges,oppression, discrimination, low self-esteem, feeding and eating disorders, addictions, compulsions and obsessions.

– My approach is holistic and integrative. Whilst indeed the focus is on the depth and deeper aspects of the psychic structure, I am also a very pragmatic person, aiming to empower patients to handle their challenges effectively and thus thrive in their day to day lives. Furthermore, I believe all aspects of human existence need to be embraced and integrated in the therapeutic process, including the body and the soul, and I see the changes observed in patients as a result of the therapeutic process are profound and generally begin to occur swiftly.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Learning to attune and connect to our own feelings, needs and internal world enables us to do the same with others thus to thrive and enjoy fulfilling relationships. Learning to hear about one another’s anxieties and supporting each other is paramount: Often people are caught with the resentment of not getting what they need or want from the other and in so doing they are incapable of giving anything and seeing the other at all. If two people do the same in a relationship it is easy to see how people can begin to part away with the illusion that someone else will fulfil all of their needs and wants and that there is someone ideal out there. Our brain is relational and is wired around the relational interactions which occurred since birth; however, our brain is also plastic as such wounds can be healed, past core beliefs re-scripted, past impressions released and new relational patterns can be learned. The best tips I can suggest to increase the quality of one’s relationships are to

1. learn to (actively) accept all people and situations exactly as they are (accepting does not mean agreeing, it just means to accept that this is what it is right now);
2. set firm boundaries;
3. learn to respect one’s and others’ needs;
4. not read intentions in other people’s mistakes;
5. let go of the need or wish to be ‘right’ in conflicts or arguments but rather try to really hear the other and attempt to see what it is like to be in their shoes, so to say.
6. not take things personally.
7. learn to take criticism in a constructive way and to discriminate between constructive criticism, which helps us grow, and destructive criticism, which we need to just let go.
8. have an attitude of compassion which always wins in any relationship.
9. Learn to repair ruptures: life is an ongoing process of relational ruptures and reparation. Learning to effectively repair ruptures whilst learning and growing from them and not to repeat the same patterns is the most powerful way to be in relationship.
10. remember and accept that relationships will bring forth our ‘unfinished business’; it is good practice to take this as an opportunity to grow rather than running away from relationships or blaming the other.
11. take responsibility for one’s own feelings, thoughts, actions and mistakes. This is the way to grow within relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy isn’t for mentally ill people but rather for people who wish to thrive in life and become who they truly are, bringing forth their unique selves.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For therapists, there is a risk when they believe they no longer need to learn and upgrade their skills, knowledge about their selves and about new theories, thus becoming entrenched in one way of being a therapist and/or on one theoretical framework with the subsequent risk of becoming dogmatic, non-reflexive and/or imposing onto the patient – within a dehumanising ‘I-it’ type of relationship – their formulation of the patient’s issue. The biggest risk for therapists, though, in my experience, is when they have not had enough personal therapy of their own and/or if they may be in the profession for the wrong reasons – such as a desire for power – thereby risking the abuse of such a power dynamic and/or being unaware of their own ‘unfinished business’ triggered in the consulting room and embracing a defensive position, projecting their material on the patients themselves. 

For patients, a common mistake is to be entrenched in one’s old way of seeing the world and doing things and not taking the necessary leap of faith required to jump into the unknown territory of self-discovery with the help of the therapist’s guidance, thus holding to a rigid position. Not applying what is agreed in sessions after each session as well as not giving themselves the space and the time required in between sessions to digest and process the emerging material can also hinder the therapeutic process . Also, in some instances, assuming the therapists is always right by virtue of the ‘hat’ they wear can be a risk.

Bio

Consultant Clinical Psychologist
BPS Chartered & HCPC Registered
Certified Schema Therapist (ISST)
MSc (Clin Psych), BSc (Hons)
CPsychol, AFBPsS, HCPC, EuroPsy,
SRP, SPS Full Member,
HCPC Registration Number: PYL32977
www.Elephant.com.sg

Interview with Ronnie Diener, M.A, LMFT, LPCC

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

My therapy approach, which I call Quantumview Therapy, is largely based on the discoveries of quantum physics. This may sound like a scientific approach, but it’s actually the opposite. Quantum reality is an understanding of reality, based on quantum physics discoveries, which, unlike material or Newtonian reality, is founded on principles of consciousness, i.e., freedom, creativity, justice, love, peace, balance and goodness, rather than on the limitations of matter and practicality.

Quantum reality exists on the soul level as opposed to the mind level. This affects psychotherapy by allowing for the natural resolution of issues by changing the context of life into something compatible with the human spirit. In this new context, maladaptive coping processes are no longer necessary and we discover that life around us responds to our feelings, intuition and desire for balance. This is in stark contrast to classical or Newtonian concepts in which everything around us is counter intuitive and there is little or no balance. The way to make this change is by learning how to trust feelings and intuition rather than the conditioned mind.

Most people I run into have heard of and are vaguely impressed by quantum physics, but do not have a real understanding of the deep impact it implies for them in their everyday lives. Most people are familiar with E=MC2, which has shown us that all matter can be converted to energy, but quantum physics goes immeasurably further. Amazing as it may seem to our Newtonian conditioned minds, quantum physics has proven that even the particles within the electron previously thought to be the basic building block of matter, have properties that do not belong to matter. Among theoretical quantum physicists there have been some other interpretations proposed, but it seems to me that the only reasonable interpretation of quantum experimentation is that there is in fact no such thing as matter. Matter is, in reality, no more than concentrated energy with certain magnetic properties which keep it from being penetrable.

In other words, there is nothing out there but pure energy in different states. Even more staggering is the discovery that the frequency and wavelength properties of this energy are most like the energy of our own thoughts (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?” 2006), which leads to the obvious conclusion that our own consciousness, not matter which is separate from us, is the ground of all being.

Another major concept in quantum physics that has huge implications for psychotherapy is that reality is non-local as proven by “entanglement”. Two “entangled” atoms affect each other instantaneously even when separated by any arbitrary distance. What happens to one atom happens to the other with no time in between for transfer of information. The only reasonable explanation of this proven fact is that there is no such thing as distance, everywhere is actually all in the same place, connected by one sensitive consciousness that we are all a part of.

This affects human interaction (and therefore psychotherapy) by providing support for the importance of relying on our intuition and feelings, since logic and ration as we know it are rendered obsolete in such a world, It also lends indisputable support for the reality of extra sensory perception and communication and therefore for the need to be consistently honest with each other on every level. If we all know intuitively what each of us is conscious of anyway, therapy (especially relationship therapy) needs to focus on the need for absolute honesty about what we feel and know on the deepest level in all our relations with others. This is the beginning of a transformation of our relations with each other that promises to be phenomenal.

Creativity is another area which is underplayed in mainstream psychotherapy. Quantum physics makes it clear that creativity is what we as human beings are all about. Amit Goswami, well known theoretical quantum physicist, holds that creativity is the source of the greatest joy possible to us as human beings, and that is certainly my own experience. Quantum physics experimentation has shown that we exist in a field of infinite possibility by proving that all electrons occupying ‘vacant space’ are identical to each other, without individual traits (such as spin, frequency, etc.) until they are ‘observed’ by the scientist. At that time they develop innate qualities of their own from the infinity of possibilities they hold within themselves. Observation is an act of interaction between the consciousness and perspective of the observer and the field of infinite possibility that surrounds us in the form of undeveloped electrons.

That we exist in an infinite sea of possibility, which does not take form until it connects with our consciousness, has amazing significance for the abundant creative potential we hold within and how limited our actual creative expression is in contrast. Psychotherapy is in a unique position to help people understand and develop their huge creative potential. That our consciousness has the power to create what we desire in the world also shows us that we are in control, not victims in an already established system of enforced limitation.

What binds us to the old paradigm is emotional baggage held in the unconscious and constant monitoring of this baggage to keep it buried in denial by the societally conditioned mind. Learning to trust only our own feelings and intuition is the path to the quantum world. By exploring, accepting and integrating the feelings underlying our issues without influence by the mind, we can bring back to consciousness all of our denied, stuck feelings and release ourselves from conditioned patterns of thinking and acting.

The focus in quantum therapy is on the uniqueness of you, without compromising with societal limitations, a process that can be referred to as becoming whole. Immersing yourself in your own feelings and intuitive insight, and allowing your feelings alone to guide you to an answer, solution or realization will ultimately empower you to find your quantum self and all the rewards and joys of becoming whole and free.

Welcome to the You-niverse!

Bio

Learn more about Ronnie Diener at www.quantumviewtherapy.net.

Interview with Psychotherapist Lucas Teague

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist was always a vocation for me and definitely my calling in life. Prior to becoming a therapist, I realised I was suffering from depression. I decided not to go down the medical route of taking medication, and instead took up meditation and went into therapy. In hindsight, I feel this was one of the most important decisions of my life. Although I think medication has a place, for me understanding the root causes of my condition became my path into becoming a therapist.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It is a real privilege to do the work I do. I am given a rare glimpse into the lives of my clients, who in some cases have never told anyone else their difficulties. To be trusted in this way carries real responsibility and is in many ways the basis for the work between the therapist and client being successful. To be part to this process of changing people’s lives, is a real blessing.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I work as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, which means that I work with the whole person, including mind, body and spirit. I specialize in offering an holistic approach in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bereavement, and addictions. This means working with all aspects of my client’s experience, as a means of helping them gain a more complete understanding of the underlying issues related to their difficulties. Alongside talking together, I may suggest the use of mindfulness, creative visualisation techniques, drawing, and dream work. My experience of working with clients over a 10-year period has shown me that this is one of the most effective methods of fostering lasting change.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

It is often through being in a relationship, that our buttons get pressed and many of our issues come to the surface. This is because we often attract other people into our lives who reflect back to us those very things which we are unable or unwilling to see in ourselves. My experience has shown me that many of those issues, also have an opportunity within them. So, the symptoms that clients turn up to therapy with, often have an important story to tell. Therapy is fundamentally about giving a place for that story, and through which can bring its own healing.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I think that understanding that our sense of wellbeing and happiness comes from within. How we choose to live our lives, can impact on this. However, it is our relationship to the world around us which fundamentally determines our sense of ourselves.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapeutically, what can seem like a mistake, can reveal aspects of the client’s material, which may not have been seen any other way. I think it is important for client and therapist to see the therapeutic relationship as a safe place, where ‘mistakes’ can be held and explored with curiosity and understanding.

Bio

You can learn more about Lucas Teague at www.lucasteaguepsychotherapy.co.uk.

Interview with Judy Noddin, MFT

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist is constantly being challenged to grow and heal in order to have the necessary skills and capacities to support my client’s growth and healing.

The emphasis here is “support” my client’s healing. One of the biggest misnomers about therapy is the belief that the therapist has a “magic wand” and is going to do something to the client to “fix” them, as if the client is a passive bystander. In fact, the therapeutic relationship is a collaborative one, which both the therapist and client must work at.

I named my practice Garden Heart Psychotherapy because I love how the metaphor of the garden reflects the collaborative and organic nature of the therapeutic relationship and healing process.

In this metaphor, the client is the garden—a beautiful and complex eco-system full of miraculous potential for growth and abundance. However, the client often comes to therapy because their inner self and/or relationships are not thriving—their potential has not been realized. They feel blocked, drained of energy and motivation–stunted and wilted like a fallow garden.

While the therapist/gardener in this metaphor, cannot “make” the garden healthy or do the work the flower must do to come into full bloom, they can and should create the conditions conducive to health and growth. They must tend the soil to make sure there are adequate nutrients –help the client identify and overcome the barriers to connecting to people and engaging in experiences and activities that nourish and nurture them, including basic self-care like adequate sleep, nutrition and exercise. The therapist/gardener also provides the right amount of water and sun—witnessing the client with warmth and compassion, giving them an experience of a healthy relationship, mirroring the client’s goodness and their strengths.

While the gardener/therapist tends to the garden, the garden/client must make a deep commitment to themselves and the process to do the necessary work inside and outside of the therapy room. Just as the seed must push it’s roots deep into the earth gathering up nutrients and creating stability, so must the client be willing to dig deep, take in love and care from the therapist and others in their lives, and ultimately give this to themselves. Just as each plant must break out of the darkness of the soil and reach it’s branches towards the light of the sun, so must the client be willing to bring what is in the darkness to the light of day— to uncover buried painful feelings and give them expression, to allow their most vulnerable parts to be witnessed with warmth and compassion, thus producing resilience and strength.

Together, therapist and client, identify and pull out old life-draining weeds, releasing past hurts and toxic beliefs allowing the growth of inner peace. Together, client and therapist tend the wounds and heal the dis-ease of the heart/garden with compassion. This difficult and worthwhile work, undertaken by client and therapist, ultimately frees up previously blocked and drained energy that can be used for new growth, creativity, deepened connections to self and others, abundance and beauty.

The Heart is like a garden.
It can grow compassion or fear,
resentment or love.
What seeds will you plant
there?
–Buddha

Bio

Judy Noddin is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who sees individual adults and couples in her private practice in Oakland. Judy uses a variety of therapeutic methods in her work with clients including talk therapy, mindfulness techniques, somatic attachment therapy interventions, sand tray and expressive arts therapies. Judy also runs therapy groups for women called “Wild Women Unleashed” where she uses expressive arts to help women explore how the Wild Woman archetype can be a doorway to personal power, intuitive knowing and creative energy. For more information, or to contact Judy, please visit her website at www.gardenheartpsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Counsellor Lucy Cavendish

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was a journalist and I loved interviewing people and finding out what makes them tick and I realised that I wanted to do that in a more in-depth way. I am fascinated by people, their world, our world.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It’s wonderful to build up a trusting relationships with someone. When I feel a shift, it makes me love what I do – what ‘we’ do in the room together. I learn a tremendous amount from my clients. Everyone brings something new and different in to the therapy room.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t feel I am unique! Everything has gone before me and will continue after me. I am just a small tiny cog in a much larger wheel of psychological process. It would worry me if I thought there was something special in my approach. I try to do the best job I can do in a ethically responsible way…

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Go in to every session as if it is new – it is necessary to be present but don’t beat yourself up if you drift off. Be curious. Be aware that we know nothing about this other person. We need to start joining up dots but be very careful when you do this. EG. My alcoholic father is not my client’s alcoholic father. Be aware of the many presumptions we make especially when circumstances bear an uncanny resemblance to our own.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

People still think it is something to be ashamed about – it isn’t. I’d have everyone in therapy for a few session sif it was possible! Or affordable. But I’m amazed how much people will spend on themselves but not when it comes to therapy which, for me, is one of the most effective way of supporting someone and heralding in the possibility of change.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

No such things as mistakes when it comes to the client, just ruptures that need to be worked through.

Bio

Learn more about Lucy Cavendish at www.lucycavendishcounselling.com.

Interview with Dr. Monica Sharma

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist or to be precise a clinical psychologist was not something I had planned for. Me being an average student during my school days I was helped by a special educator who made a difference in my life and what I am today. So, I was interested in psychology. During my bachelors days going through the disorders and understanding their clinical descriptions was something that excited me. But then in my internship when I actually saw my first client I observed that the reality of a disorder was different from what we read in books. Understanding the condition of psychiatric clients and also the social scenario (especially in India, that too in rural parts) I was motivated to work with these clients who others would say were better off with medications alone and to help them live a more meaningful life with the help of therapies. During my initial years of practice I also noticed that if few skills are taught to individuals in their childhood they can be protected from developing minor psychological problems. All this motivated me to be a psychologist and still does.

Also, before deciding a career as a clinical psychologist I asked myself whether I will enjoy my work or not. The answer that I got during my internship was that I would have the opportunity to explore new challenges, help people grow as individuals and learn new things about myself. Every case is unique so every time something new and different has to be planned even if the diagnosis is same. Clinical psychologists face constant challenges from clients who need their help in solving problems. Being a psychologist might be stressful at times, but the profession presents intellectual challenges that keep the job interesting. As it is a field which deals with treatment, every few years new developments take place which help one grow both as a person and as a professional. Helping others overcome their issues is very rewarding. And finally if one has his/her own private practice the work schedules can be flexible i.e., one can have a rewarding career and still have plenty of time to spend with family and friends.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

There is nothing better than seeing a human being alleviated from emotional and psychological pain. The experience of seeing a person walk away with excitement, more free, lighter and high on confidence to live their own personal journey after healing from disorder and obstacles in their path. The most rewarding part of being a counsellor is to know that you had a role to play in affecting the life of another human being. Giving hope when people are hopeless. Showing them their potential when they have no self worth, making them believe in themselves when they believe on no one etc. Altogether inspiring others to be all that they are capable of being. So that they can go act into the world. Being a psychologist one builds skills and strengths in children which they can use in their life to be a positive, productive and a fully functioning individual. It is rewarding to see them use and benefit from skills you trained them. The best part is when you see your clients doing well in their life and them reporting that you made a difference in their life. Of course a positive one.

Tips/advice for interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal Relationship are like plants – the more one cares for them, the healthier they become. The interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people such as association between couples, parent and child, friend, colleagues, between whole family etc. It may be for a short timespan or lifelong depending on the relationship. One cannot live in isolation and everyone needs someone to “share and care”. A Good interpersonal relationship helps an individual to lead a healthy and joyous life and for this one needs to be continuously aware of the effects of one’s thoughts, words, behaviour and actions on their relationships.

A few tips:
1. First and foremost, listen to understand not to react or reply.
2. Put away your phones. Give your full attention to the person in front of you.
3. Always speak in an appropriate tone (if you are right overtones won’t prove that you are)
4. Let others also speak. Allow the person you are communicating with to share their feelings and thoughts — uninterrupted. Empathize with them: put yourself in their shoes.
5. Restate the other person’s feelings back to them. Trying to restate or reflect back to the other person your interpretation of what they are telling you shows you have carefully listened and are putting effort and care into the interaction.
6. Learning to say “I was wrong” is a skill worth learning.
7. Be compassionate when your significant other is angry. Anger is often rooted in fear rather than aggression.
8. Compliment, and often. Let the genuine praise flow freely.
9. Make promises that you really can keep.
10. Acknowledge positive actions.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

1. One should always clearly mention the role of the client and the therapist in the first session itself, including the rules of therapy like coming on time, doing homework tasks, etc.
2. Take out time for yourself. Do have at least one pleasurable activity in your own schedule as well. Only work will lead to burnout.
3. Don’t be too eclectic in your approach. If integrative is needed it should be used.
4. Do not give advice to your clients. That’s what the whole world is doing to them. Help them find answers to their questions.
5. Most important, this is a field which is growing continuously. Getting a degree in Psychology does not make you a therapist; it’s just a good start. After that you have to stay updated in what is going on in your field. There are new techniques and therapies being developed – one should be updated to them and keep their training a continuous process.

Bio

Dr. Monica Sharma is a RCI (Rehabilitation council of India) Licensed Clinical Psychologist at The IIS University, Jaipur, India. Dr. Sharma was educated at the same university, and graduated in Psychology Honors, she did her Masters in Psychology. She attended Amity University Rajasthan for her professional degree (M.Phil) of 2 years under the able guidance of Prof. S. S. Nathawat before gaining her P.hd in Clinical Psychology from The IIS University. Her PHd topic focused on CBT and Mindfulness as a treatment for Depression. Her area of interest is Mindfulness. She has attended many nationional and international conferences in India and abroad. She is currently the head of the counselling center at the university. Her work includes training undergraduate and postgraduate students in clinical and counselling psychology including basic counselling skills, ethics, therapies and research supervision. Also conducts workshops for staff and students and counsels those in need. Learn more about her at www.monicasharansharma.com.

Interview with Dr. Eva Smidova

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I remember that I loved to sit and observe people. I have images of me being 5 years old and 7, 8, or 15 years old, sitting on a bus or train or tram or anywhere and calmly observing other people, the way how they act, speak, not making any stories, just paying attention to everything about them. I was fascinated by humankind but happy to observe rather than be involved. I was a good listener as I was not tempted to help; I just listened. And on top of that I loved secrets and was never tempted to share them. My journey to become a therapist was a long one. First I was obsessed with philosophy, Far East religions and psychoanalysis. My father gave me a book “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm for my 16th or 17th birthday. I consider this book a milestone – the beginning of becoming a therapist. In this book Erich Fromm expressed and I got …that psychologists/therapists are in a state of becoming. It is a process of growing into it. Also he recommended studying law first as a good idea to get a basic knowledge about everything and also to learn how to think. So I did. I understood that being a therapist means having a variety of life experiences. I graduated from the law faculty and went into an international business so I learned a lot about different cultures and behavioral expressions. I hung out there for 8 years and after that I got involved in a divorce of my friend and was challenged by being a stepmother. At that time, I felt decently experienced in the “art of life” and submitted my application to become a therapist. I excelled and was hungry to do and try anything – clinical psychology in hospitals, work with schizophrenics, relationships, school psychology, etc. I tried it all, love it all, I was fascinated and passionate.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding moments for me are moments when me and my clients are attuned, when we surf on the same wave.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Probably experience with different cultures, work with systems, focus on process, goal and solution search.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I often say that as a therapist I am a tool in clients’ hands – educated, experienced, fast-thinking, genuine, straightforward and honest and ask them to use me to learn, make a change, figure it out. Being forced to therapy does not work. We need clients who really want, are motivated to change or understand their life.

Bio

Eva Smidova, M.A., PhDr., LMFT is a warm, friendly, open-minded and mindful professional, dedicated to providing the highest quality psychotherapy with respect, passion, and mindfulness, tailored to my clients. Learn more about her at www.psychotherapyswflorida.com.

Interview with Vinodha Joly, LMFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

This is my second career. My original career path was in Computer Engineering. I worked in Silicon Valley high-tech companies for over a decade, but I felt unfulfilled, as my heart was not in technology. Being empathic, I was drawn to psychology and wanted to make a direct positive impact in others’ lives. I was also fascinated by the workings of our minds and how we create our inner worlds. Finally in 2009, in my mid-thirties, I quit my Engineering career and went back to school full-time to become a psychotherapist.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is in being able to be my authentic empathic self and to be a witness to the immense healing and personal growth that happens in therapy.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I work only with individuals and do not provide any couples’ counseling at this time. I believe a person’s relationship to self is key in determining their relationships to others. As a person develops their capacity to relate to their own self with authenticity and compassion in individual therapy, they increase their capacity for authentic relationships and connections with others.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

There is a common misconception that “there is something wrong with you” or “You are mentally unstable” if you seek therapy. Therapy is beneficial for anyone who is feeling “stuck” or overwhelmed – it decreases isolation and increases self-awareness. There are so many different models of psychotherapy and counseling, from short-term solution focused models to depth-oriented healing of childhood emotional wounds. It is important to find the right therapist for you and your needs. Therapy need not be a luxury for the financially privileged alone. Low-income individuals and families can find affordable therapy via openpathcollective.org that finds and matches therapists willing to provide therapy at $30 to $50 per session.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Research shows that it is the quality of the therapeutic relationship that is the biggest factor in determining positive outcomes in therapy. As in any relationship, there might be times when the relationship between the therapist and client is strained or even ruptured, either by something directly said or done by the therapist or how it was perceived or experienced by the client. It is the therapist’s responsibility to take full ownership of their mistake, and to validate the experience of the client, in order to repair the relationship. Sometimes, clients do not give the therapist a chance to make amends or repair by not returning to therapy, or not letting the therapist know of how they feel. I would recommend that clients bring the difficult matter up to the therapists before deciding to terminate therapy. When a therapist navigates and repairs a rupture skillfully, it provides a corrective emotional experience to the client, and results in a stronger therapeutic relationship.

Bio

Vinodha Joly, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Pleasanton, CA. She specializes in working with adult individuals seeking personal growth and healing from childhood emotional wounds, including childhood emotional neglect as well as Domestic Violence and PTSD/trauma. Her website www.vinodhatherapy.com is a winner of “Top 100 Psychotherapy Blog” award.