Help For Anxiety, Obsessions, And Compulsions

Although some forms of anxiety are helpful because they motivate us to take healthy action (for example, anxiety about illness might lead us to seek treatment), there are other times when feelings of anxiety can lead to a disorder (for example, if the anxiety doesn’t make sense in a given situation, or if it is either so much or so intense that it interferes with a person’s sense of wellness or quality of life). The diagnosis “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” (OCD) specifically refers to a type Continue reading →

Dealing With Narcissists

Based on the work of Heinz Kohut’s Self Psychology What are Narcissistic Vulnerabilities? Many of the “difficult people” that we encounter in life can be thought of as having narcissistic vulnerabilities. This means that it is very difficult for them to regulate their self-esteem, and that they are vulnerable to feeling very ashamed. These people often feel the need to use other people as selfobjects, meaning that they use other people to fulfills functions of their own selves that they cannot fulfill on their own, Continue reading →

Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy

“A crisis is an opportunity for growth.” A marriage counselor, much like an alchemist, must take raw materials and somehow transform them into something precious. The raw materials of couples counseling are different for each couple- for some, it might be a sense of distance and growing apart, and the loneliness that comes with that. You might be asking yourself, “What’s happened to my relationship? We used to be so close but I can hardly remember those feelings because they seem so elusive right now”. Continue reading →

Split Attention is Not Always a Bad Thing!

Recent trends encouraging mindfulness have pointed our awareness to the benefits of directing our full attention to one thing at a time, giving that thing our full focus and presence of mind. When it comes to things like eating mindlessly, multi-tasking, checking facebook while our loved ones are talking to us- to name just a few examples- learning to slow down and pay full and complete attention to the moment or task at hand- can be extremely beneficial. Staying in the moment helps us do Continue reading →

How to Stop Getting the Opposite of Your Relationship Needs

One of the most challenging aspects of relationship needs and wants is that we often need exactly what the other person cannot give. Getting stuck on what others cannot give us often distracts us from all of the things we are getting in a relationship. Still, it is extremely painful when vulnerabilities intersect, or when strengths and weaknesses in relationships get in the way of gratifying our most desperate quests. Ironically, though, it is often the way in which we go about trying to get Continue reading →

Everday Assumptions and the Messes They Make: Misunderstandings in Relationships

Why do assumptions have such a major effect on relationships? One of the reasons is that, most of the time, we don’t even know we are making them! Misunderstandings happen in every relationship, but the more often we assume we know what another person means- when we in fact do not- and then react or respond based on our assumptions, the more often we are going to have miscommunications. These frustrating communication experiences often lead to a cycle of defensiveness, in which we get defensive Continue reading →

Emotional Boundaries in Development

How do we learn how to tell the difference between our own and others’ feelings? Some of us actually don’t! If you’re the type of person who can walk into a room and immediately absorb the feeling state in the “air” (tension, for example), then this is something you might struggle with. If strong emotions in other people affect you a lot, this might be another example of emotional contagion- when emotions seem to be transmitted from one person to another like droplets in the Continue reading →

“Normopaths” and How to Help Those with Avoidant Attachment

I have been thinking a lot lately, ever since hearing a wonderful talk by the author of “Trauma and the Avoidant Client”- Robert Muller- about how to understand the avoidant attachment pattern. This is a personality style in which a person places a lot of value on seeming “normal”, not being emotionally vulnerable, weak, or dependent, and able to “tough things out”, “get over it”, focus on the tasks of daily living without become bogged down in emotional experiences. Avoidant personalities might be great at Continue reading →