Wednesday
Oct012014

1 in 4

Welcome to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  This month we recognize Anti-bullying Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness and Spina-Bifida Awareness, among others.  Nearest and dearest to my heart, because all of the awarenesses are dear to me, but nearest and dearest is Pregnancy and Infant Loss, known in the loss community as PAIL.  1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.  Sometimes the reason for the loss is known, other times it is not.  The fact that remains the same, no matter how the loss happens or at what week in the pregnancy, is the emotional devastation that comes with the loss.  Many families feel blind sided by the loss.  With the loss comes the potential for depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, martial problems, relationship problems and other emotional issues.  Throughout this month I will update this blog with different aspects of dealing with the loss of a baby.  The most important part of dealing with loss is to have a good support network.  Reaching out for help can be exhausting and scary, but for many it makes all of the difference in their journey of grief.  Locally, here in Modesto we have H.A.N.D Helping After Neonatal Death.  You can visit their website at www.handonline.org.  Joining a support group, for many, is a necessary lifeline in dealing with grief.

Tuesday
Sep232014

Why is couples therapy so hard?

Let's face it, it is.  From my years of experience working with all sorts of treatment dynamics, I can tell you that often times the hardest dyanmic to treat is the couple.  Why?  Although it seems complicated, its actually pretty simple.  Couples often wait too long when they are in stress, before they seek out professional help.  I can't tell you the number of times I've heard "well this is our last effort before we start calling divorce lawyers". Whoa!  And, most times, couples often mean exactly that.  Why is this an issue in therapy?  Often times, by the time a couple is googling divorce lawyers in the area, they have such a long, sordid laundry list of resentments toward each other and problems that have accumulated for years.  Resentment works like the buildings of a brick wall, each layer goes on and eventually creates an impermeable wall that is often hard to deconstruct.  These walls of resentment effect the way a partner views the other partner, their relationship, and many other aspects of life.  It often, if not nearly always, leads to much more negative views of the relationships and feelings of the relationship then actual exist.  However, if we view our partner negatively, we will tend to view the relationship and all that goes with it negatively as well, then our actions toward each other become negative and thus begits the cycle of arguing over silly small stuff ("Are you EVER going to pick your socks up off of the floor?-yup, I've heard that one!)

 

Here is the positive news.  The walls of resentment CAN be deconstructed.  However, it will take time to do so.  Couples therapy requires each partner to have a considerable amount of patience.  Things will not change overnight, or after a couple of therapy sessions.  Often I see couples who still very much love each other and want to get things back on track.  They are anxious to reestablish a connection (makes sense right?).  But they often have unrealistic views of how therapy can help them, and how quickly it will happen.  It took months, often years to get to this breaking point.  A couple (or times not even a few) sessions will not resolve what took several months or years to break.  I will always be upfront with my couples about that.  There is no quick fix for things that are so important in life.  In time however, couples can find togetherness, and rekindle their relationship in therapy.  Always talk to your therapist about timelines and always ask any questions you have about what to expect in couples therapy.

Wednesday
Sep172014

No longer accepting personal checks

I have made the decision recently, to discontinue taking personal checks.  Payment can be made by cash or credit card only.  Please feel free to discuss with me questions or concerns regarding this new policy.

Tuesday
Jul292014

New book suggestion

I love books.  I think they can be so helpful.  Especially in couples therapy, I will often suggest books as an adjunct to sessions.  There are a couple of reasons.  First, it gets the most for your couples session dollars.  The books I suggest are an adjunct to what we are learning in session.  Second, it gives you time to continue to process what is happening in session.  I found a great new book, applicable to everyone but especially helpful for families and couples.  I think very highly of Gary Chapman and his work.  I suggest the Five Love Languages to couples daily, and often to individuals as well.  Its that important.  I recently found another book by Mr. Chapman that will go on my "often suggested list."  When Sorry Isn't Enough.  Did you know that there are different ways to say I'm sorry?  And just as each person has a different way to give and receive love, each of us has different perceptions on apology, and what creates a believable apology and leads to forgiveness and healing.  There is also a great resource www.5lovelanguages.com where you can do the online profiles for apology and love languages.  These tools are a great way to understand more about yourself, which can help you facilitate communication with your partner!  So here I am, doing the happy dance at this new found resource!  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!  :)

Wednesday
May282014

HSA Credit Cards

I'm happy to announce that I am now accepting HSA credit cards.  If you have a Health Savings Account and want to use your credit card from that account to pay for services I am now set up to do that.  If you have any questions feel free to ask!