individual therapy

Communicating about Sex

Communication would be at the top of the list when discussing ways to maintain a healthy relationship. While there are other equally important skills you and your partner should have, communication remains as the highest trait in helping a relationship stay solid. This fundamental piece can determine how in sync you and your partner really are. Since communication is such a key element, why is it then hard to talk about sex with your partner? The answer to why we still tend to cringe towards this subject may be understandable.

Even though different forms of media are filled with sexual content nowadays, society still tell us conversations with sexual content is a “no, no”. It keeps persisting that sex is taboo. Altogether, this can be confusing and send mixed messages on how to approach the topic. You could feel stuck on what to do. Furthermore, there are additional contributing factors influencing your perception of sex. This includes: upbringing, religious beliefs, gender stereotypes, and any other influential origins you believe formed your perception. When considering everything, staying away from talks regarding sex seems like the easiest solution. However, think of it this way: If you and your partner feel that open communication should be implemented throughout all aspects of your relationship…shouldn’t sex be included too? Talking over what’s currently going on in your sex life or what ways it may have changed is a discussion worth having. No matter what the sexual issue contains, an open and honest conversation should occur. It can feel uncomfortable at first, but bringing up sex may be a vulnerable conversation that needs to happen within your relationship starting now.

In order to keep your relationship successful, your sexual health and experiences have to be prioritized too. If you’re like most clients I talk to, your sex life is less than ideal. Likely you’ve simply avoided the topic, hoping it will get better. Unfortunately you’re not likely to see much improvement without actually discussing the issue. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about communicating your sexual concerns. Remember: As you progress through life’s ups and downs, your sexual desires can also fluctuate. Maybe what was a turn on isn’t one anymore, maybe you’re experiencing a sexual difficulty that once wasn’t there before or maybe you’re wanting to explore something different. Whatever the matter is, your partner should know what is going on. In a healthy relationship, each partner is willing and open to share their sexual issues. They understand the importance of addressing and having a healthy sex life. You and your partner’s connection will only strengthen from it.

If you’ve never been good at discussing sex with your partner, you may benefit from seeking professional help, whether individually or as a couple. As a therapist with training and experience helping couples communicate regarding their sexual relationship, I’m happy to help.

Is It Your Gut or Your Guilt?

Should I follow my heart or my gut?  My heart is telling me to do one thing and my gut is telling me another.Have you ever found yourself in a position like this… trying to make a decision and having a hard time figuring out what to listen to?  Go with my heart or go with my gut?Our heart guides us to the future that we want and sometimes what we very much hope for.  However, sometimes chasing after what we very much want or holding onto something we really hope for can blur the reality of what is really happening right in front of us.  Our heart, or better said hope, can drown out what our gut is really trying to tell us.  If we just don’t talk about that issue, he won’t leave me.  Even though I don’t have enough money, I can get this apartment and things will be okay.  Moreover, what I’ve noticed even more when it comes to making tough decisions… there is a third factor that comes into play.  That factor being GUILT.  I notice myself asking many clients is it your gut that’s driving you to make that decision or is it guilt?When we feel guilty, we make decisions out of obligation and we may even feel the need to make something right.  But when feel obligated, we have to be honest and ask ourselves:

  • Am I making this decision because it is something I really want?
  • Am I making this decision because I should?
  • Am I making this decision because she/he made me feel bad?
  • Am I making this decision solely out of fear of what someone else may think?

Making decisions can be hard enough and if you are feeling confusion about any or all of the above… is this my heart? My gut? Or my guilt?  Please give me a call and I can help navigate you through this time in your life.  We can get to the root of your behaviors and help you to make the best and healthiest decision for you.      

What are your habits? Part 2, Complaining vs Caring

Has someone ever asked you "how is it going" and your response was "I have no complaints"? More than likely you have either said it or heard someone say it. Sometimes my follow is "even if I complain, it will not resolve anything." The best part of the conversation is someone is caring for your well-being even in the briefest of moments. Part 2 of the habits series is exploring complaining (disconnecting habit) versus caring (connecting habit). Complaining is defined as "feeling dissatisfied or frustrated with someone or something and communicating those feelings". Complain comes from the Latin word "complangere" = com (very much) + plangere "to hit the chest." This habit can drive a wedge between individuals if the habit of caring is absent. Caring is defined as "having and communicating a genuine interest in another or concern for another." Care comes from the Old English "caru" = trouble. Caring about another's troubles takes a great deal of self-awareness and self-sacrifice. In your relationships, determine which of these habits dominates your interactions. Are you disconnecting or connecting? Which habit are you using? Until next time, everyone. Remember, the choice is yours.

Life's Curveballs

No matter how much we plan, life can throw us curveballs.  Whether planned or unplanned, life’s curveballs catapult us into a different life transition and dealing with them can be challenging.  Transitions can include but are not limited to: graduating college and entering the workforce, getting laid off, moving, and dealing with a relationship break up.  Transitions can last between a few short days to long periods of time and can make anyone feel unsettled and anxious.  Many times before I've heard, “I’m scared of the unknown.  How am I supposed to know what should happen next?  How do I know I am making the right decision?”Understandably, navigating through life transitions can be anxiety provoking and emotionally challenging.  Here are a few tips to help guide you through uncertain times:

  • Known that it is OKAY to feel anxious.
  • Having a POSITIVE attitude goes a long way.
  • Think about what you’re meant to embrace in the next phase of your life.
  • Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Work diligently towards your goals. And don’t forget to acknowledge your progress along the way.
  • Lean on your support system.
  • Remember transitions are temporary… things will settle.

As cliché as the saying goes, when one chapter closes another one always opens.  If you can muster the strength and focus to navigate through your life transition, something positive and meaningful will come of it and it will give you a chance to learn something about yourself.If navigating your life transition has become too difficult to deal on your own, please contact me for help!