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 →

Learning from Experience is Painful Sometimes

Learning from Experience   It’s a well-known and sometimes paradoxical thing, but I do think it’s true: People often repeat painful experiences over and over again simply because they are afraid of the unfamiliar. Sometimes what we know, even though painful, is much easier than opening ourselves up to something new. However, even more problematic than our fears of the unfamiliar, can be our fears of focusing on the negative long enough to learn from it.   This came up recently with a young woman Continue reading →

Building Up “Distress Tolerance” in Ourselves and Our Children

The Benefits of Healthy “Distress Tolerance” Skills   Although pain and distress are inevitable parts of life, many of us lack the skills to manage our pain in effective ways.   Sometimes this comes from growing up with overprotective parents (who shielded us from having to learn skills to cope with discomfort), or from life experiences that were so painful that we learned to avoid pain because we were often overwhelmed by it.   Now, most people do not appreciate hearing about the benefits of Continue reading →

Power dynamics and being caught off guard

Power Dynamics and Being Caught Off Guard   One of the most complicated power dynamics that can come up in relationships with difficult people (i.e. some types of narcissistic people), is when feelings of confusion and insecurity are evoked when you spend time with certain people who seem very nice and harmless on the surface, but somehow manage to get under your skin time and time again, no matter what you do to try to stay in control of the interaction.   For example, one Continue reading →

Video: How to Recognize Dismissive/ Avoidant Attachment

What does it mean to have a “dismissive attachment style” (also known as Avoidant Attachment)? How can you tell if you or others have “dismissive” tendencies, and what can be done to change this? Find out why it matters by watching this 30 minute video clip here: Dismissive/ Avoidant  Attachment       For additional reading on Avoidant Attachment, see: Trauma and the Avoidant Client      

Running Away from Ourselves vs. Mindful Awareness

Many of us are afraid to spend quality time with ourselves. We manage to run away in all sorts of ways, trying to escape the unsettling quiet of being alone with our own minds, or noticing how loud our feelings can be when we actually pay attention to them. Some of us mask the “quiet” by constantly talking to other people, chattering endlessly with others and filling up silences the minute they appear. For others, a frenzy of activity offers the desired distraction. And for Continue reading →