All is quiet at the home front, or so it seems. The house is well-kept, the children are well-behaved and the couple looks happy. But like an iceberg, there is something more below the surface – there may be domestic violence.
A marriage is a partnership that ought to provide a place of safety, comfort and love to both partners. But sadly, this is not the case all the time. Domestic violence may not be easy to spot, especially if the ones being abused feel the need to cover it up. Also, one may not be even aware or recognize that he or she is in an abusive relationship. The abuse may start subtly and then get worse as the cycle of abuse goes on and on.
Domestic abuse is about the abuser aiming to exercise control and power over the partner. The abuse may come in different forms:
– Emotional: The abuser heaps insults and criticisms, making the victim feel helpless and have a bad image about himself or herself. This is designed to undermine the victim’s self-confidence and sense of worth.
– Control, including economic abuse: Here, the balance of power in the relationship is skewed in favor of the abuser. The victim is left out of the decision-making process – this includes decisions about the household, about friendships, down to little things such as what to get from the grocery. There is a bid to make the victim financially dependent on the abuser since the abuser holds control over the family’s finances, even the victim’s earned income.
– Intimidation. This is instilling fear in the victim, not just for himself or herself, but also for the children. The intimidation may be through blackmail, damage to property, threats of physical harm or the display of weapons.
– Physical abuse. This may be inflicting physical injury (such as slapping, kicking, biting and anything that causes physical pain). It may also come in the form of withholding access to food, medication, sleep and other resources needed for the victim to maintain health.
– Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse comes with sexual contact where the other partner is unwilling. There are cases of marital rape, forcing the partner to commit acts that are against the victim’s will, forcing the partner to have sex with others, attempts to demoralize and damage the victim’s sexuality (such as criticizing sexual performance).
– Isolation. This is cutting off the victim from family, friends, social and work ties.
– Blaming and denial. The abuser turns the tables and accuses the victim of causing the abusive behavior or he or she may deny the abuse.
An abusive relationship may also be marked by constant accusations of unfaithfulness, intimidation, extreme jealousy and attempts to exert excessive control (of where you go, what you wear, who you see and how you spend your time).
You don’t have to be a victim
Domestic abuse is a vicious cycle. As the cycle turns and turns, the victim falls deeper and deeper into the cycle. With continued abuse, one may lose their self-esteem and sense of reality altogether and may even accept the abuse as natural and deserved. There may even be fear in that you feel you can’t get out of the situation.
However, you can break free from the cycle. You see, without any form of intervention, the cycle will most likely go on and on. Breaking free of the abusive relationship may be the only way to stop the abuse. The good thing is that there is a lot of help available for victims of domestic abuse. There are hotlines one can call; there are safe houses one can go to.
The Question of Marriage Counseling
There is still a debate on whether going to Provo marriage counseling is an effective way of breaking the cycle. It is believed that unless the therapist has extensive experience and training in domestic violence, couples therapy may do more harm than good.
Sometimes, the victim comes for couples counseling in Provo in the hopes of changing the abusive spouse. But that is not the aim of counseling. Counseling encourages open communication but in an abusive relationship, being open may just expose the victim to even more violence, where whatever he or she discloses during the sessions can be used as ammunition for the abuser to step up with the abusive behavior.
However, individual Utah counseling may help. This is usually more effective when the victim has decided to leave the situation and escape the violence. Through therapy, the victim can come to terms with the fact of abuse and be given tools to properly respond to this abuse and to make moves towards protecting oneself.
Therapy will be instrumental in repairing the emotional and psychological damage wreaked by the domestic violence. Counseling can provide tools to restore your self-esteem and heal the scars of the abuse. The therapy sessions can be times when anger, fear, guilt and resentment can be threshed out and released.
If you feel the need for therapy to help you break free of the cycle of domestic violence and you happen to be in Provo, Utah, feel free to set up an initial appointment with Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan is an experienced and licensed therapist who has helped individuals be equipped with the tools they need to cope and live victorious, satisfied lives.
You notice your teen acting strangely lately, but you shrug it off with the thought that teens do act strange and that it is just his “emo” phase. But is it really? Is it just a teen’s moods swings (which is normal) or is it already depression? How can you even know?
Depressing Facts about this Mental Illness
Depression is a mental illness. It is not just having an “emo phase”, which can be normal during the teenage years. The teenage years are a source of a lot of drama between the parents and the teen. This is a time of great upheaval – the teen is facing confusion about his identity, his transition from childhood into adulthood. Add in peer pressure, stress from school and home and other setbacks in life into the mix and you may have a teen who feels sad and angry. But normally, these feelings fade over time.
Not so with depression. Depression is a mental state or mood that persists for weeks, even months. There is an overwhelming sense of despair, guilt or even anger. And depression can hit teens and hit hard. According to statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 1 in every 12 teens are affected with depression. And this will rise to be 3 in every 12 teens by the time these teens reach age 18. In addition, one out of every 5 teens who have suffered from clinical depression will also carry this well into adulthood.
There are many types of depression that can strike teenagers:
Major depression. The sad mood that persists is already affecting the teen’s ability to function normally – to eat, sleep and study. There is a constant feeling of helplessness and an inability to feel happy.
Bipolar disorder. This is marked by alternating moods. One moment, your teen can’t seem to be bothered to even lift a finger and in another moment there is high (though negative) energy. One moment, your teen explodes into a temper tantrum and then in another dissolves into tears with no apparent. Bipolar disorder is usually developed during the late teens and early adulthood and may strike 1 to 2% of teens.
Dysthymia. This is marked by irritability, sadness, feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem but is not as severe as major depression. However, the feelings may last for a long time, in some cases for more than a year.
Dealing with teen depression
The good news is that depression can be treated successfully. The bad news is that depression is just attributed as a phase and only about 1 out of 5 teens get treated. As parents and caregivers of teens, it is important that we are on the lookout for the red flags that point towards depression to ensure that our teens get the help they need.
Note the following red flags; consider the length and severity wherein these symptoms have been present and lastly, how large the disparity of the child’s present behavior as opposed to his “usual” self.
– Increased behaviors that point towards anger, sadness, hopelessness, irritability or hostility
– Increased frequency of crying and temper tantrums. The teen may cry for no obvious reason.
– Increased withdrawal from family and even from past friends. The teen may avoid social or family activity and would rather be alone.
– The teen constantly has no energy or motivation and may start neglecting their hygiene and appearance.
– Loss of interest in sports, hobbies and activities that the teen used to enjoy.
– Shifts in bedtime and eating habits. May exhibit signs of an eating disorder – loss of appetite, unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
– Lack of the ability to focus.
– Comments about suicide or death, especially those that mention these as being beneficial or advantageous to him (i.e. “Perhaps more people will love me if I’m gone.”)
– Increased complaints about stomachaches, headaches, back pains and dizziness where there is no medical cause.
– Deteriorating school performance – drop in grades, discipline problems at school and truancy.
– Preoccupation with sadness and death, may exhibit self-destructive behavior
– Makes effort to run away from home or talks about it
Also take note that in some teens, depression may be predominantly marked by hostility, irritability and aggression rather than sadness.
With teen depression, there is a tendency to act in self-destructive ways – attempt suicide, abuse drugs or alcohol, exhibit reckless behavior that may endanger self or others and so on. Suicide ranks in the top 3 causes of deaths among American teens. That is why it is important to get an early diagnosis and seek help from Provo counselors.
Getting a counselor that is not just qualified and trained but also experienced in handling troubled teens will be particularly helpful. If necessary, you must also get the help of a Provo substance abuse counselor to deal with alcohol or drug abuse.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that prevention programs, including individual or family counseling in Utah and therapeutic boarding schools, can really help to arrest the negative effects of teen depression. And by doing so, these also prevent alcohol and drug use or abuse, eating disorders and so on. Teens usually need to simply get the tools to help him deal with teen depression.
If you are looking for an experienced family counselor in Provo, Utah, do give Dr. Triston Morgan a call. He has extensive experience in working with troubled teens, especially those with substance abuse issues. He provides his therapy in a non-confrontational environment that helps the child open up.
They say that if there is no conflict whatsoever in a marriage, one of the partners isn’t thinking.
Marriage is about the union of two individuals. You can’t expect two people to be in harmony and agreement about everything every time. What you can expect is that two people can disagree and have clashes, even if they are crazy about each other.
Conflict is, in fact, healthy. It shows that the marriage is still a partner of two individuals. When handled right, they can be opportunities for the marriage to grow stronger and deeper. Thus, instead of trying to sweep conflict under the rug, it is healthier to build skills that will help you and your spouse resolve any conflict you will be facing.
There are some negative ways in which to resolve conflicts. These can include:
– Concession. Giving in to the other person just to get the conflict over with. When one sees conceding as a victory for the other spouse, there will be feelings of resentment and the situation is not really resolved.
– Denying the conflict. Sweeping the conflict under the rug and pretending it never happened may solve the situation temporarily. But the conflicts will pile up until someone blows up.
– Withdrawing from the conflict. Responding to the conflict by withdrawing will not solve anything. Withholding your company and your love to your spouse will just deepen the rift, rather than strengthen your bond.
Here are some tips that may help resolve conflicts positively:
– Think win-win. Marriage is a partnership. It is not a battleground where each one is collecting victories. Your spouse is not the enemy. Go for a solution where both of you can win. Winning the argument may feel good but you will be at the losing end when it comes to your relationship. Aim towards resolving conflict in a way that will strengthen the relationship and build trust and respect. If win-win is not possible, the two of you must be willing to meet halfway or compromise.
– Ask, don’t make assumptions. Some conflicts are caused by what you believe your spouse has done or because of assumptions regarding the motives. Rather than running a hundred theories in your head about what your spouse did or why he or she did it, it’s best to ask outright. Get some clarification – seek to understand.
– Listen, not just to words, but to what your partner is feeling. This will help you get insights on the other person’s side. Recognize that when a person is upset, he or she may not be able to effectively convey the issues. Be on the lookout for nonverbal communication such as gestures, tone of voice, facial expression and intensity of your voice.
– Don’t be historical. Focus on the conflict currently at the table. Avoid the temptation of dredging up past failures or resentments. The path towards conflict resolution does not lie in assigning blame; rather it is in coming up with a solution that works for both of you.
– Don’t be hysterical. Keep yourself calm so as to keep the ability to express yourself to your spouse effectively. Getting into a shouting match will not resolve any conflict. Do not be aggressive or defensive. Rather, both of you should work to maintain respect for each other, even in the midst of the conflict. When emotions flare up, you may be tempted to hit below the belt and do more damage instead of good while trying to resolve the conflict.
– Keep your sense of humor. Sometimes, seeing the humor or irony in things can decrease the tension and set the mood for a more constructive dialogue. Be sure to laugh with your spouse, not at your spouse. Sarcasm is also not an effective form of humor.
– Be ready to forgive. Sometimes, resolving conflict may need letting go of the hurt and anger generated by the conflict. This also involves letting go of the need to punish the partner – this will only add to the problem and may deepen the conflict.
– Be ready to agree to disagree. There are issues where you two will still have different stands. If both cannot agree on a certain issue, you can agree to disagree about that matter, where both of you can move on.
Sometimes, effectively resolving conflict may need an outside party, like a marriage counselor. This objective third party can help pick out solutions that you and your spouse may not see because you are too close to the situation.
Also, marriage therapy can be a great avenue for you and your spouse to discuss the conflict and resolve it with less drama. The therapist can act as a facilitator and referee. An experienced marriage therapist will also be able to provide you with great conflict-resolution tools.
If you and your spouse are in need of conflict resolution therapy and you are residing in Provo,
Utah, you can look to Dr. Triston Morgan for help. Dr. Triston Morgan holds a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy and holds years of experience in helping couples resolve their conflicts positively and constructively.
In the road towards resolving conflict, we can be reminded of these words from Phyllis McGinley: “In a successful marriage, there is no such thing as one’s way. There is only the way of both, only the bumpy, dusty, difficult, but always mutual path.”
Seeing red when a driver cuts in front of you or steals a parking slot you already have. Raising your voice when talking to a particularly insensitive customer service agent. Getting irritated when you get a prank call at 3 a.m. We all have felt the full range of anger – from mild annoyance to intense rage. It’s normal to feel angry. Anger, after all, is one of the emotions in our bag of human feelings and expressed properly, it is healthy. Anger is sometimes the body’s way to respond to attacks and threats, it enables us to defend ourselves against such threats.
However, there are “proper” ways to express your anger and there are ways that are not. You can suppress anger, express it or manage it. The best way to manage your anger is to express your feelings in an assertive (and not aggressive) manner. This allows you to make your feelings and needs known (and possibly have these met) without hurting others.
Anger may also be expressed in unhealthy manners. You may blow up and physically or emotionally hurt the people around you. Another way to express anger in an unhealthy manner is to try to suppress it or turn it inward. You can try to ignore your angry feelings, but in doing so, it may result in high blood pressure, tension or depression. It can also lead towards behaviors that display hostility and bitterness, or perhaps, passive-aggressiveness. Angry people who aren’t able to express their emotions well tend to be hypercritical, cynical and have a tendency to put others down.
When Anger takes the Better of You
How do you know if you have a problem managing your anger? Here are some symptoms to look out for:
– An attitude of being constantly critical, short-tempered and easily provoked
– Tendency to want things done his way
– Uncontrollable outbursts that are often triggered by seemingly trivial matters and are manifested by throwing things or hitting people
– Tendency towards threats or acts of violence. Tendency to get into trouble with the law.
– Easily gets into a fight
– Tendency to abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol
– Vulnerability towards depression and anxiety
You may have to go for counseling in Utah when you feel that your angry feelings are going out of control. This will help you thresh out the root causes of your anger and provide you with tools to effectively express these feelings. Anger management Provo family counseling can help you identify the triggers that cause the anger, develop healthy reactions towards these triggers and give us tools to solve our anger management issues.
An anger management counselor will provide you with strategies to effectively manage anger:
– Relaxation techniques. This is one way to calm yourself and keep angry feelings at bay. You can imagine yourself as a cube of ice that is slowly melting. You can take deep breaths and slowly count from one to ten (or even a hundred!). Other relaxation techniques include yoga exercises and calming yourself down by repeating a word or phrase such as “calm down” or “relax”.
– Try to keep perspective. It is easy for you to be swept away by the angry emotions and feel that the world is conspiring to make life difficult for you. In your anger you might exaggerate the true nature of the situation. Keeping the proper perspective will help you keep your anger at bay when you realize that that anger isn’t warranted. It can also help you more easily answer the question, “Is this matter worth getting angry about?”
– Learning to communicate. Anger may be caused by a mismatch of your and the other party’s expectations and behaviors. When you fail to communicate your expectations and also jump to conclusions about the other party’s behavior, anger can erupt. In learning better communication skills, you are able to express your feelings and also listen to what the other party has to say.
– Getting solutions. Sometimes anger is caused by a real problem that needs a solution. Rather than chafe at the situation, you can explore ways to solve the problem or get around it. When trying to find solutions, anger can be a positive force to change things for the better. However, it is vital that you know which problems can be solved and which issues are out of your control.
– Laugh it out. Keeping a good sense of humor can keep the edge of the angry feelings. Instead of raging at a situation, you can choose to find the humor in things. Remember, though, that sarcasm will not also work.
– Sweat it out. One other outlet for anger is some exercise – such as jogging or going for a quick walk. Exercise produces “happy” endorphins that loosen up the anger and relax you.
– Express your anger when you’re calm enough. This way, you are less emotional and confrontational and will not hurt others with your words.
– Let go of grudges and forgive. They say that forgiveness is actually releasing a prisoner – you. As long as you hold a grudge, feelings of anger swell up every time you remember the incident or the person that did you wrong.
– Change your environment. If you are able to identify some things that trigger your anger, it is sometimes best to avoid the aggravation. If going through a certain road at a certain time causes the traffic that so angers you, try to drive through another route or drive earlier in the day. If your child’s room particularly upsets you, close his room so you don’t see it. Avoid discussing important matters when you are tired or hungry.
Remember, anger management therapy is not about doing away with anger but with how you can positively and healthily express this anger. There are therapists that hold individual and group therapy sessions. If your anger issues may be affecting your relationship with your spouse, you can also go for Provo couples counseling.
Do you feel trapped in a relationship where the normal range of emotions includes fear, humiliation and the feeling of being trapped? Do you feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner and have to deal with insults, intimidation and manipulation? Are you constantly being belittled and your opinions rejected, even scoffed at? Are you struggling with your own self worth and feel the constant need for validation? You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Emotional abuse deals with eroding a person’s sense of self-worth and self confidence. Remember the sayings, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”? Well, in an emotionally abusive relationship, this is far from the truth. Although it dwells mostly on the emotions and does not leave any visible wounds, the scars that come from years of emotional abuse may be harder to heal than physical ones.
Emotional abuse may be marked by aggression (constant criticisms, blaming, insulting and name calling), denial (seeks to deny a reality i.e. “That never happened.” “No one ever said or did that to you.” or giving the silent treatment as punishment) and minimizing (reducing the victim’s feelings as something trivial, where the victim is just overreacting). Emotional abuse seeks to marginalize one’s strengths while magnifying one’s weaknesses.
The result is that the victim feels not just hurt and angry, but also powerless and lacking in confidence. The victim may start accepting the emotional abuse as the norm and may have failed to give value to their own opinions, perceptions and feelings. Over time, the abuse can produce serious psychological damage to the victim and can turn into an anxiety disorder or depression. The victim may also turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs to deal with the situation and may need the help of a Utah substance abuse counselor.
Usually, the one doing the emotional abuse is himself or herself a victim of such abuse. He or she may also have a low level of self-worth and may feel the need to put others down to feel good about himself or herself.
How do you know that you are in an abusive relationship?
Here are some marks of an emotionally abusive relationship:
– Use of words that demean and insult, even if there are other people who are witnesses to it
– Making baseless accusations
– Denying something ever happened or if it did, that the victim is just exaggerating or being too sensitive about it
– Arguments where only one party is doing the talking and never the listening
– Insulting, demeaning or belittling the other even when the victim becomes upset and vulnerable to the abuse. Even as the victim starts crying or asks for a time out, the abuser continues with the behavior.
– Refusal to be pleased by anything the other partner does or says
– May also be sometimes accompanied by other forms of abuse (i.e. physical abuse or sexual abuse)
– May blame the other partner for his or her infidelities
– The victim may become increasingly isolated from loved ones and friends.
Please note also that the role of victim and abuser may switch, depending on the type of relationship. An individual who is a victim of emotional abuse with his or her spouse may be the abuser when he or she is with friends or loved ones.
Getting help for emotional abuse
One does not have to settle with a life marked by feelings of helplessness and humiliation. You can start to see your worth as a person and learn not to accept abuse but to assert yourself. One good way to begin is by going into therapy in Utah. If you are the victim of emotional abuse, it may be best for you to get counseling first as an individual rather than dragging your partner to go for couples counseling. With individual therapy, the victim may start the journey of rediscovery towards his or her sense of self-worth and self-esteem and learn how to assert himself or herself in the relationship.
Going for marriage counseling in Provo may work if both partners are willing to admit to the problem and to change. They can start by trying to identify the root causes of the abusive behavior and then learn communication techniques that do away with abusive language. However, that is usually not the case as the abuser may try to use the couples therapy sessions as a way to point the responsibility of the problem to the other party.
The comfort is that one can get out of an emotionally abusive relationship. A marriage should be a relationship that brings you joy, peace and comfort. If you feel otherwise, if you feel that you are being demeaned, belittled and if your self-worth is being battered, then it is time for you to seek professional help through counseling. If you know of someone who is in an emotionally abusive relationship, chances are, he or she may be hesitant to go for help. You may have to help by accompanying him or her to the counseling session and by supporting him or her throughout.
For those who are seeking help for emotional abuse in the Provo, Utah area, do try to contact Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a Ph. D of the same from Brigham Young University. Through his years of practice in the state of Utah, he has helped individuals and couples first discover who they are and how their relationships can be strengthened.
Fight club! Does your family feel like a warzone? Do you feel that your family is into an argument or a fight half the time? Don’t be surprised. Conflict is part and parcel of being a family. Remember, a family is made up of different people. Yes, they are related by blood (and love), but sometimes they come with different personalities, beliefs and opinions. And these differences may sometimes chafe another member of the family.
Conflicts within the family are normal, even healthy, up to a certain point. However, conflicts may escalate to the point where other family members are affected. The conflicts have a negative impact not just on the relationship but on the family’s wellbeing, happiness, and day to day functioning. There may be a need for family members to go into Utah family therapy in order for each member to know how to communicate and resolve conflicts in an effective and healthy manner.
Different kinds of conflict
There are different kinds of conflict – conflict between the husband and wife, between a parent and a child and between siblings. Spouses may have conflict due to money matters, how the kids are to be disciplined, how to deal with in laws and so on. Parents may have conflict with a child as the child tries to test limits and assert a certain level of independence. Siblings may fight due to conflicts about personal space and respect for one’s property and privacy.
Other sources of family conflicts include substance abuse, a child playing the truant at school or a child’s rebellious behavior. Or, the family may be undergoing some stress or grief caused by transferring from one place to another, a breadwinner losing his or her job or the death of a loved one.
These conflicts and issues may affect one or more family members – resulting in higher levels of stress that in turn result in changes in sleeping patterns and eating habits. It may even produce physical symptoms such as stomachaches or headaches.
In an effort to ensure that a family stays strong in the midst of conflict, the family can create guidelines on how they will deal with conflict. It is important to encourage open communications but this should be balanced with mutual respect. Here are some guidelines that can provide helpful:
- Have regular family meetings. Provide a venue where family members can openly communicate. This will actually prevent plenty of conflicts in that potential arguments are headed off and resolved before they become a full blown conflict. Communicating also creates a deeper understanding for other family members, their feelings and reasoning and how these affect their actions.
- Calm down. A blow-up from one family member may negatively affect the rest of the family. When you feel yourself getting emotionally worked up, take a moment to calm yourself down. You may have to leave the room or take a short breather. This will help put you in the proper frame of mind. When one is emotionally charged, it can hamper the way you can objectively look at things with the view of resolving them.
- Focus on the issue at hand. Discuss the issue that caused the conflict. However, avoid the temptation of making “you” statements (i.e. You never listen to me. You are doing this just to irritate me.) Instead, go and identify the core problem so that you can start discussing ways on how to deal with it.
- Choose which battles to fight. Family situations are often complex. There will be trivial issues and large ones that can be potential sources of conflict. Choose which battle to fight. Sometimes, when you solve the bigger issue, it will trickle down to solving other smaller issues. Relationships are about give and take as well. Don’t expect other members of the family to agree with each other on all issues – agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinions. Learn to meet halfway.
- Come up with and discuss solutions. Going into family counseling may help you be better at exploring solutions for a problem. Discuss these solutions with the family so that they can evaluate and help with making the final decision. Some solutions may require changes – evaluate a chosen solution over a period of time to see if it is the right solution for the issue at hand.
Going for family counseling will help in resolving family conflict. An experienced and well-trained family therapist can help the family recognize how each one communicates, how to understand a situation and deal with the problem in the most effective way. With the help of a well-trained and experienced family therapist in Utah, families can learn to find their way out of conflict and build a stronger bond with each other.
When you are in the Provo, Utah area, feel free to drop by Dr. Triston Morgan’s family and Provo marriage therapy practice. Dr. Morgan holds a Ph. D in marriage and family therapy. Ever since he started his practice in Utah, he has helped a considerable number of couples and families deal with conflict in a positive and non-confrontational way.
Couples undergo rough patches time and time again. And sometimes, it would be helpful for couples to go into Utah marriage therapy. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a bit of outside help to keep the marriage and the family in one piece and even stronger throughout the years.
This is not to say that going into couples counseling is a foolproof solution that will ensure that you keep the marriage intact. There are times when the damage may be too much for counseling to help salvage the marriage. One or both spouses may have gone “over the edge” and have already emotionally given up on the relationship. Sometimes the attitudes brought into the counseling room prevent the couple from getting the most out of the sessions.
If you are thinking of getting into marriage counseling in Utah, come prepared to get the most out of your therapy time, not just to get your money’s worth but to ensure that you and your spouse enjoy the full benefits of the counseling. It can be quite a challenge and you will have to be ready to work at the therapy sessions. Here are some of the things that can help you take the most advantage out of marriage counseling:
- Accept that there is a problem that needs to be resolved. There is the temptation to go into denial. It is easier to ignore a problem and not act on it. In a marriage, sometimes only one partner thinks that there is a problem while the other is contented with the status quo. It takes work but if one partner thinks there is a problem, chances are, there is a problem. Getting into couples therapy with the realization that you are there because a problem needs to be solved will actually speed things up since you can go straight into identifying the problem and discussing solutions and tools you can use to deal with it.
- Come prepared. Before the sessions, it would be best if you and your spouse discuss the problem areas you want to focus on. Identify your objectives and make a list of possible questions and thoughts you can discuss during the session. Some areas to discuss include: what you expect to get out of the sessions, what kind of marriage you want to have, what are your expectations of your partner and yourself, what are the things that bother you about the relationship. Be ready to ask (and be asked) tough questions as you try to discover the root causes of the problems you and your spouse face.
- Be honest. Therapy is not about “putting your best face forward”. It is about being candid about your feelings, your behaviors and your opinions. Your therapist (no matter how good he or she is) cannot help you when you are not fully honest. Of course, it can be difficult to talk plainly about something that may be hurtful or embarrassing to you, but remember, your therapist is bound by rules of confidentiality and cannot repeat whatever is discussed in the sessions.
- Be fully engaged. You are there to listen and talk. Be involved in the sessions and don’t allow your mind to wander off. Share your thoughts and ask your questions.
- Don’t make it about the here and now. You may be inclined to talk about your fight the morning of the therapy session or to what’s on your mind just now. Focus on the root causes of the problem, on the context of what causes these fights and arguments.
- Think win-win. Therapy is not about pointing out that the other party is wrong. It is about working together to strengthen your relationship as a couple. There will even be a time when you have to admit that you are part of the problem and be ready to change. As you and your partner figure out ways for you to both “win” by having a stronger relationship, you are able to resolve issues faster and easier.
- Be ready to change yourself. Remember, marriage is a partnership – what you do and are will have an impact on your spouse and vice versa. This means that the cracks in your union are not just the fault of the other partner. Be ready to make changes in yourself, rather than expect your partner to do the changing. You may need to change how you respond to the issue and how you relate to your spouse. Be ready to become a better partner for your spouse; in such a way, you can have a positive (and greater) impact on your relationship. This is saying to your partner that the marriage is worth making adjustments for.
- Follow it up. Sometimes the Provo marriage counselor will give you “assignments” or suggest action points you can try. This may have to do with your behavior, with your lifestyle and who you want to be. To do this more effectively, you should pay attention to what is said in the sessions and reflect on these in between sessions. Try out the new ideas being discussed during the sessions and see how well they apply to your situation and be ready to discuss the results in the next session.
- Be regular. For couples counseling to be effective, you need to work at it over a consistent period of time. It’s not an on again, off again affair. Regular sessions will help you and your spouse track progress and identify how certain changes in your behavior have affected the relationship.
- Be patient. Therapy is not some magic wand you wave over your marriage and think that it will be okay. As you are on a journey towards discovering yourself and your partner and towards learning new behaviors and mindsets, you and your spouse may make mistakes. You may also need time to adjust. Be patient with yourself and your spouse.
Marriage therapy is very helpful in resolving conflicts in a marriage. But it also needs a lot of work from your end. The marriage therapist is there to guide you through the road towards a healthy relationship, but you and your spouse will be the ones doing the discovering (and the changing).
If you are in the Provo, Utah area, you can consider getting help from Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan has had extensive experience in helping couples. He holds a Ph.D and a license to practice marriage and family therapy in Utah. He is committed to helping couples work their way through the muddle of conflicts and into a stronger and more fulfilling relationships.
Like a storm that uncontrollably washes wave after wave and threatens to drown you, sorrow and grief may engulf you and devastate you so that you are no longer able to function as you should. This is particularly true if the sorrow is combined with other similarly debilitating emotions – anger, guilt, bitterness and shock. Feelings of sorrow and grief may be caused by the loss of a loved one, dealing with a divorce, receiving news of a terminal illness, losing a home to foreclosure, the death of a pet, irreparable damage to an important relationship or friendship.
Although it seems like one will never fully recover from the grief and pain of loss, going through the grieving process is necessary for one to heal. Although everyone grieves in their own way, there are common reactions to grief. These include:
– Denial or shock. The first reaction would either be shock or denial. “That’s not true.” “I can’t believe this is happening.” “This is all a dream.” People who have lost a loved one sometimes feel that he can go home and see his lost loved one waiting there, safe and sound. As the shock of the moment fades, the grieving person will start to take in the reality of the loss.
– Despair. During the early stages of grieving, the sadness may weigh too heavily that it seems too hard to bear. This is natural. When left unmanaged, though, this sadness may turn into depression. Although the sadness will never quite go away, over time, it will lessen in intensity.
– Bitterness and anger. Grief may cause you to feel angry or bitter and question the unfairness of what happened, why bad things happen to good people. The grieving person may look for someone to blame – God, the person who caused the accident that killed your loved one, or even the person who died.
– Guilt. “The last words we exchanged were angry ones.””I never even got a chance to say goodbye.” Guilt over the grief may be doubly debilitating. You may also blame yourself somehow. The grieving person may go over the things he should have done while the person is alive.
– Acceptance. Reality will start to set in that the loss is permanent and that there is nothing to be done but to accept it. Accepting the loss will help the person move on and heal.
When the negative feelings are left uncontrolled, it may result in some negative and hurtful behaviors. It may also result in physical symptoms. These include nausea, the inability to sleep, heaviness of the body, a tendency to overeat or to starve yourself.
Grief can be hard to bear but it can be managed. Here are some ways you can cope with your loss:
– Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who support you. There is a time when you want to be alone with your grief. But it is important to find people who share your loss and who can grieve with you. These people will be invaluable as you deal with the arrangements necessary immediately after the loss (scheduling funeral services, arranging for the burial, packing your ex-spouse’s things, etc.).
– Don’t disregard your physical needs. Grief will take its toll on you physically. It will make you more susceptible to illness. In order for you to heal and cope with your grief, make sure that you get the sleep and food you need.
– Go get help. If as parents, you have to cope with the loss of a child, it is good to visit a couples counselor for you to be able to deal with the loss as spouses. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get professional help. When the grief is particularly overwhelming that it negatively affects how you relate with other people and how you get on with your life, it may be time for grief counseling. Getting grief counseling will help you through the healing process. It is better to get help before it is too late and you find yourself getting depressed, develop severe anxiety or other psychological disorders.
– Find other outlets for your grief. Use a journal, start a scrapbook project, learn pottery or painting or do something that will memorialize your lost loved one in a special way. Honoring your lost loved one’s memory creatively will help speed up the healing. That is why grief and loss counselors may use various kinds of therapy involving art, music or writing to help you. Avoid negative outlets such as alcohol and drugs. Go to a Provo substance abuse counselor when you find yourself seeking a drug high or alcoholic oblivion as a way to “forget”.
– Be patient. There is no set time limit for grief. So don’t rush things for yourself.
Be comforted in the fact that you can survive a tragic loss. You will heal and find happiness in life even without someone you hold precious. Dr. Triston Morgan, who has a practice in Provo, Utah, can help you come to terms with your loss in a healthy manner. Dr. Morgan is a licensed Utah marriage and family therapist who has extensive experience helping couples and families establish stronger bonds and experience healing even in the face of a tragic loss.
Even with today’s pre-nuptial agreements, spouses will need to deal with the fact that they are managing the same household and that there is a merging of their finances somehow. This may be one of the reasons why money matters are such a hot button when it comes to marriages. The financial aspect of a marriage (and the resulting blowout if the couple disagrees) is also a good reason for couples to go for Utah marriage counseling.
Each person comes with his or her own financial upbringing and personal view about money. One may see money as something to be enjoyed and spent. Another may be brought up thinking that money (which one works hard for) should be well spent and purchases thought over carefully before they are made. One may feel that a budget is not necessary. Yet another may stress the need for a budget and spending below your means.
Another aspect to consider is that couples may not have the same level of income. A spouse may earn more or another spouse may have decided to stay at home to take care of the kids. There is a question of who has the control, who holds the purse strings in the marriage. Usually, Provo family counseling will strive to dig into the core of the issue and couples will see that underneath the money issue is a deeper issue that they need to thresh out.
A couple has to be proactive and creative in facing money matters. The best time to deal with this issue is when it has not already flared up and become a full-fledged problem. While your finances are not being threatened, it is best for you to develop rules (dos and don’ts) about how you will handle this. Here are a few examples.
- Agree on basic money principles. Although you may come from different financial backgrounds, it is important for you to decide on a set of financial goals and how accountable each is towards meeting that goal. Decide on just how much money to spend and how much to keep as your nest egg. Agree on what is worth cutting and what is worth splurging on once in a while. Decide on just how much money is allowed to spend at his or her discretion, without having to discuss it with the other spouse. Discuss your financial goals – paying off the mortgage, setting aside an amount for the kids’ college fund, wiping your credit card accounts clean, etc. – and how you as a couple plan to reach these goals.
- Agree to track your spending. Do you know where your money goes? Make a budget to help you track spending and savings. You will also need to regularly check if you have been keeping to your budget.
- Stop living beyond your means. As much as possible, spend below the level of your income so that you can have some left to put aside. If you live beyond your means, your monthly salary earnings will just be a way to catch up with last months’ debt. Avoid getting into debt – rather than buying items through debt, try to save up and pay with cash.
- Assign someone to handle the bills. Agree as to which spouse will handle this chore – it is important, though, that the other partner knows the details of these payments.
- Talk about money at the right moment. This is when tempers are cool and a financial problem has not cropped up yet. Initiating the “money talk” when your partner just got home tired from work may not be a good time.
- Discuss major purchases with your spouse before making them. Purchases that will make a considerable dent on the budget should be discussed and agreed upon by both spouses. If one spouse disagrees with the purchase, the other can present alternatives as to how he or she can get extra funds to make the purchase possible.
- Hide expenses from your spouse. So you’ve overdrawn your account or weren’t able to resist a certain purchase, stop hiding it from your spouse. Instead, be responsible to discuss possible solutions with your spouse.
- Micro-manage. If you and your partner have your own spending money, you don’t need to micro-manage and check what he or she is purchasing with that spending money. Since this money is already allocated for in the family’s budget, give your partner some leeway as to how he or she will spend it.
- Merge credit card accounts. It is a good idea for each partner to have at least one credit card account maintained under his or her own name. This way, you maintain your credit history and will make things easier for you in the event of your spouse’s death or if you divorce.
- Accuse. There may be a strong temptation to get on your partner’s case for a financial mistake he or she has made. Instead of making accusations, try to point out a solution for your financial strain. For instance, if your wife is passionate about shoes (and is intent on buying one every week, it seems), encourage her to earn supplementary income to support this passion.
- Ignore financial issues. Getting your head stuck in the sand over financial problems will not solve them. One may feel overwhelmed by the financial morass but it will do you good to own up and look at how you as a couple can solve a financial problem. Being aware of just how you stand financially and understanding the size of the financial problem will be helpful in coming up with workable solutions.
- Refuse to get help. Money matters may have already caused an emotional breech between husband and wife. Sometimes, when emotions get in the way, it is harder to find a suitable solution. You may need outside help who sees things in an objective manner and can help point the way towards a solution. A marriage therapist has the training and experience to help couples with financial issues, as well as a host of other problems related to marriage and family.
Dealing with money matters can be problematic. This is where a good marriage counselor in Utah can come in and help. It may feel that going into marriage or family therapy will cost you more – when your plan is to save money. However, let us assure you that this is money well spent – since it will help you get the tools to communicate with your spouse and develop good spending habits.
For your marriage therapy needs when in Provo, Utah, you can count on Dr. Triston Morgan for a non-combative approach towards resolving the conflict brought about by money matters. Dr. Morgan holds a Ph. D in marriage and family therapy and has years of experience counseling troubled families, couples and teens. He holds a license to practice family and marriage therapy in the state of Utah.
As a child transitions into adulthood, there may be tough times ahead. And as a parent, it is worrisome and troubling to see your cute and cuddly cherub who did not get enough kisses from you turn into a moody and sullen individual that can’t seem to stand being near you. Worse, if your child suddenly exhibits signs of being troubled – getting into fights, substance abuse issues, eating disorders and sexually acting out. Your teen may also exhibit symptoms of depression. There are cases when the root causes manifest themselves by the teen’s playing the truant in school, have discipline problems and a rebellious attitude and display inappropriate anger.
You as a parent feel as if your sweet child has changed overnight. The teenage years are also fraught with landmines since your influence as a parent may have diminished and your child is starting to turn towards peers and other sources of influence other than the family environment. How do you deal with this transition? How do you love your child during this challenging time in his life? How do you provide your teen with guidance, even as he tries to discover his boundaries and sorts out the confusion and pressures that accompany this new phase of his life?
Yes, raising teens has its own difficulties and if handled wrongly, you may cause more damage to your relationship as parent and child rather than strengthen it. There is often conflict between parent and child as the teen tries to be more independent and make more decisions on his own.
Here are some ways you can start understanding and parenting your troubled teen:
– Connect and communicate with your teen. Spend quality time to bond with your child and do the things he enjoys. If your child is into sports, buy tickets and watch the games together. If she is into fashion, take her out shopping. Spend time together on family outings and camping trips. One practical way to connect with your child is to establish regular mealtimes where all family members share the meals together. Without being too intrusive, let your child understand that you are there when he wants to talk.
– Remember the teen you love and not focus on the attitudes and behaviors that you don’t. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you love your teen, even during times when you are arguing fiercely and when he is acting out. Remember your teen’s positive qualities and sincerely praise him for it every chance you get.
– Get into your Teen’s shoes. Try to see things from your teenager’s perspective. This is what family therapists call “reframing”. Trying to see things the way your teen sees it will provide you with valuable insights as to why he is acting the way he does. You will have a deeper understanding of the fact that there is usually pain at the root of the troubled behavior.
– Don’t play the blame game. Don’t blame yourself for what your teen is going through. The fact that your teen is troubled is not solely due to your parenting. Blaming yourself will just paralyze you into not acting as you should.
– Be patient. You may be at the point where you are exasperated with your child, and with yourself. Don’t. Showing impatience about your child’s attitudes and behavior will not help.
– Don’t be afraid to get help. You may need to call in some reinforcements to help you understand your teen and build a stronger relationship with them. You must be on the lookout for signs that your teen is troubled and then reach out to your child by going for family therapist in Utah. This can be an important step in learning how to communicate and bond with your child. If you notice that there are signs of alcoholism or drug use, don’t be afraid to go for substance abuse counseling.
– Be on the lookout for signs of a troubled teen. Here are some warning signs you should look into:
- Being particularly insistent about privacy. This is more than your average teenage desire to have privacy, especially from the prying eyes of parents and siblings. A troubled teen may be defensive when asked where he’s been or what he has been doing.
- Being irritable and prone to bursts of anger. Troubled teens may be more sensitive and usually flare up at the smallest reasons.
- Having discipline problems at home. This may be due to constantly violated curfews and rules, missed household chores or your teen being caught lying.
- Things and money that mysteriously go missing. Teens that are into drug and alcohol abuse will need money to buy their substance of choice. He may try to take out expensive items from home and sell it. Or, he may also try to steal some money from you.
- Change in group of friends. Your child may start hanging out with a new set of friends, often friends that you as a parent would consider as “the wrong crowd”. He may refuse to introduce his “new” friends to you and will not talk about them.
- Changes in behavior. Aside from sullenness and moodiness, your teen may just use your home just as a place to sleep and eat. They may spend more time eating and sleeping than they would just being with the rest of the family.
If you are looking for an experienced therapist in Provo, Utah, be sure to look Dr. Triston Morgan up. He provides a non-confrontational atmosphere for teens and their families. He holds a Ph. D in family and Utah marriage therapy and holds a license to practice the same in the state of Utah. He has extensive experience in dealing with teens in various settings such as wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic boarding school and in-office therapy.