Struggling in your marriage? Not sure how to fix your communication problems? Tired of being stuck and not knowing how to get unstuck in your marriage? These are all common concerns for couples experiencing difficulties. There is help and a way to get unstuck! As a couples counselor in Utah County, over the years I have help couples find this success many times as they apply certain principles.
Marriage researcher, John Gottman, has found certain principles and developed a model of therapy to help couples find this happiness together. His work is based on researching hundreds of couples. Here are a few things he found that you can try with your spouse:
- ‘Enhancing your love maps’ – Love maps consist of how you understand each other and what you know about your relationship and your spouse. Knowing the intimate details of what your partner likes to do for fun to what stresses them out helps you have a stronger relationship.
- ‘Nurture your fondness and admiration’ – Creating fondness and admiration are crucial to having a long-lasting and satisfying relationship. One thing you are your spouse can do is participate in an activity called, “I appreciate”. This is where you list three or more positive characteristics your spouse has along with an example of each.
- ‘Turn toward each other instead of away’ – Whether this is literal or figurative, turning towards each other helps create an intimacy and healthy dependence on one another. Turning off the TV and listening to your spouse when they say they have had a hard day is a great example of turning toward each other. This might seem simple, but it goes a long way.
- ‘Let your partner influence you’ – Consider what your partner says and how they feel about things. Make decisions together as you discuss both of your points of view. These things will help you develop a strong relationship together.
- ‘Solve your solvable problems’ – Some problems can be solved and other constitute what Gottman would call ‘perpetual problems’. Work on the ones that you can do something about. The solvable problems have a feel to them that they are situational.
- ‘Overcome gridlock’ – What about the perpetual problems? They do seem unsolvable and for a reason! When dealing with these types of problems Gottman teaches that couples must move from gridlock to dialogue. If done right this can be done on your own with your spouse. Many couples find success with a marriage therapist to overcome these problems.
- ‘Creating shared meaning’ – There is so much more than the difficulty of marriage and life that you can share with your spouse. Enjoying life together, even in the smallest way, helps to create meaning that means something to both of you. Dream big and dream together!
This research can be found in John Gottman’s book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Happy marriages don’t happen on accident. It takes time and effort and can be done! In my Provo counseling center, I have found that couples who want to change and be happy can!
In the movie, When A Man Loves a Woman, Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia play a picture-perfect couple whose family is threatened by the wife’s addiction to alcohol. The story chronicles Ryan’s alcoholism, and how it has caused harm to their marriage and family, as well as her struggle towards recovery and the succeeding adjustments that prompted them to seek marriage counseling.
The movie depicts a happy, “perfect” mom (when sober) who then transforms into one that “loses” her child in the shopping mall, drives her kids around drunk, leaves her husband with the responsibility to take care of her and the children and engages in risk-taking and anti-social behavior. Andy Garcia plays the role of the caretaking and enabling husband, who is at a loss after his wife’s recovery.
Addiction’s Effect on a Marriage
Drugs. Alcohol. Prescription medicine. Although to the abuser, his or her choice of poison seems to be the only world, the people who love him or her are affected. In most cases, the non-addicted spouse bears the brunt of the burden of a spouse driven by addiction. The spouse may need to take on roles that should have been played by the addicted spouse. The non-addicted spouse may be forced to cover up the other spouse’s addiction (i.e. call work and explain that the spouse is “sick”, act as both the father and mother to the children). This need to cover up can drain the person and strain the relationship.
As the addiction spirals deeper and deeper, it will drive the couple further apart. Fights and arguments will ensue and with an addicted spouse, the fights can turn violent. What results is an environment that is not healthy for a marriage to flourish.
As in the movie, the spouse with substance abuse problems is not the only one with issues. The non-addicted spouse also needs to thresh out some negative emotions (anger, guilt and bitterness) and behaviors (bad communications habits or codependent patterns) as well.
Is there hope for an addicted spouse to beat his or her cravings? Is there hope that the marriage can become stronger as they weather the storm of addiction? As a spouse of an addict, what can you do to support him or her and help your spouse being the slow and painful journey towards recovery and healing?
The non-addicted spouse can also do well to accompany his or her spouse to Utah marriage counseling to help them patch up the cracks that the addiction has wreaked on the marriage.
For a spouse that is interested in being a partner “in sickness and in health” and supporting the addicted spouse towards healing and recovery while maintaining a strong marriage, here are some tips:
– Learn about the addiction. Recognize that there are different levels of substance problems – substance use, substance dependency and substance abuse. Getting yourself educated about addictions can lead to better insights towards why your spouse is addicted, what he or she is dealing with and what you can do to be supportive.
– Supporting your spouse through counseling and treatment. Very often, addicted spouses are unwilling to go into any treatment program. You can talk to a Provo substance abuse counselor for help on how you can encourage your spouse to think about moving towards recovery. When your spouse is ready, you can consider supporting him as he goes to Utah counseling.
– Seek family counseling. Often, to properly support an addicted spouse, it is helpful to go for family counseling in Utah to help equip you (as the spouse) and other family members (children, close relatives) with the proper coping tools. This is so that family members can show their love and support for the addicted member but not enable his or her negative behaviors. This can also help sustain the addict’s positive (and healing) behaviors and ensure that his or her recovery is lasting. It is also important to admit that there are issues in the relationship that results from the addiction. You may need some sessions for Utah counseling to help.
– Learn how to act and react. The addict has fallen into a trap where he or she feels helpless and hopeless, so overcome with his or her addiction. This can trigger negative behavior such as getting into shouting matches, name calling and fighting. It may also mean trying to “reason it out” with the addicted spouse. Doing these behaviors will not help your spouse. What you can do is to learn ways to react and reinforce any positive behavior by your spouse. This includes providing your unconditional love and support but at the same time not being enabling of his addictive behavior.
– Explore healthy coping mechanisms for yourself. The situation with an addictive spouse can lead to pent-up stress and anger. You need to have a healthy outlet for these for your to be able to cope with the situation you are in now. These can include relaxation techniques, doing hobbies you enjoy and eating the right kinds of food.
The economic downturn has, more and more, produced a lot of victims. Today’s economic challenges do not only produce jobless workers, but workers who are scared of losing their jobs and will do anything to keep their job. Aside from those who are in fear for their livelihood, possible candidates for job burnout include those who have a high level of job dissatisfaction, who have a problematic family life, who have poor work prospects and those who feel unfairly treated and discriminated against.
Reading through this list, can you consider yourself a candidate for job burnout?
Burning both ends of the candle can result in serious consequences – not just physically but also psychologically and emotionally. While you can blaze hard and fast and gain a lot of headway in your career, if you’re not careful, the long days of work and the accompanying stress will take its toll on you eventually. Aside from its effects on your health and well-being, it can also have negative consequences on something that you have sacrificed so much for in the first place – your job performance. Eventually, this will spill into your personal life and social life.
Burnout is not just something physical. It also is emotional, mental and psychological. There is a feeling of helplessness and being overwhelmed by your job responsibilities.
Job burnout: Identifying the Red Flags
It can help to identify the signs of career burnout to start seeking Utah counseling as early as possible.
– Poor enthusiasm for work. When in the past, you used to look forward to getting out of bed to prepare for work, you now fear the prospect of clocking in. Even doing the easiest of tasks is a struggle. Your usual set of responsibilities feels dull and mind-numbingly boring. Typing an email feels like weights being tied on your hands. Finishing that project can be a struggle.
– Depression about one’s work situation. The future (at least career-wise) looks bleak and disenchanting. And work engenders feelings of hopelessness.
– Poor work performance. Because of a lack of enthusiasm for your job, your work will start to deteriorate. You start missing deadlines, turn in poor quality work, get in late for work, miss whole days of work and not care about the possible consequences.
– Being weak and sickly. You will start having backaches, headaches and other physical problems. There can also be a marked lack of energy. This can be a result of the stress of performing the job or the stress of starting to hate the job.
– Poor relationships with colleagues and bosses. There is suppressed anger and this can be marked by spurts of temper. Your irritability may affect your relationships with other people in the workplace.
– Poor sleep patterns. The stress of being overworked can lead to restlessness and sleeplessness.
– Substance abuse. Often, the likely choice of escape would be the abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs. The stress can also lead to a compromised immune system, leaving you prone to colds, flu, ulcer and other illnesses.
Counseling for Job Burnout
To stop your work life from fizzling out, you can start by seeking the help of a therapist in Utah. If you notice the above symptoms, it is advisable to act towards rectifying the possible long term consequences to your health and work life. Provo counseling can start the road towards a healthier view of work and of life in general.
Provo therapists can help by equipping you with coping tools to help put balance in your life – work, family and social connections. This includes:
– Relaxation techniques. This can include deep breathing exercises, enjoying a hobby, learning yoga or meditating. This can also include learning to “disengage” from technology. Learning how to relax can help mitigate the stress that can threaten to overwhelm.
– Assertiveness training. Sometimes, the piles of work can be because one is unable to say no to bosses and colleagues. Therapists in Provo can provide training for becoming more assertive in setting limits to the level of demands your work makes on you.
– Learning to take good care of yourself. The awareness of what stress and job burnout is doing to the body can help a person be more motivated to engage in healthy life habits. This includes eating healthy food, having a regular exercise regimen and getting enough sleep.
– Stress and anger management. Counseling can help provide you with tools to manage and express your stress and anger in positive ways.
– Goal and priority-setting. Your counselor will help you rediscover your life goals and to see how these are working out in your current situation. Your sessions can delve into knowing your priorities in life and how these can help change your direction.
Having a healthy work-family-social life balance is difficult. Juggling a lot of balls on air can be quite a challenge – but it can be done. With a proactive mentality and help from your counselor and loved ones, you can enjoy life to the full – and this includes your job!
Time-outs are not just a useful tool in disciplining your kids. You can actually use this in your marriage as well. Time outs can give you and your spouse time to calm down before a disagreement makes a turn for the worse and goes out of hand.
Couples fight – that’s a given. However, anger can make someone do crazy things, say things he or she would not normally say. During the heat of the argument, barbs may be thrown at each other way to a point where the wounds inflicted can cause permanent damage. Responding out of anger, annoyance or exasperation will not actually help resolve a problem. Anger can cause you to resort in name calling, making threats or throwing insults. According to Utah counselors, it will work best for the couple to take a breather rather than allow the argument to escalate.
A time out can help:
– Cool tempers down so as to be more able to communicate more effectively – to listen as well as to express one’s thoughts.
– Give each other time to gain perspective, especially about the other spouse’s point of view on the issue.
– Enable each other to express their emotions and thoughts clearly, more rationally.
After a time out, couples can now buckle down towards resolving the conflict at hand in a healthier and loving manner. That way, couples learn to fight fairly and ultimately, enjoy a stronger, happier marriage. According to Provo counseling, time outs can also prevent you from saying or doing things you may later regret. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Working to heal emotional wounds caused by words spoken in anger is harder than avoiding those words in the first place.
Here are some tips with regards to establishing a time out:
– Talk about it and make an agreement beforehand. Before you even get into an argument, it will be good for you to agree on a signal on having a time out. It may be as simple as saying, “Let’s take a break.” Or, “I need to go out.” When someone signals a time out, the other spouse is obligated by their agreement to let the argument lie rather than insisting on continuing with the argument (i.e. following your spouse to continue the argument even after one has signaled a time out).
Beforehand, you should talk about how long the time out will be, whether this means that one of you should just stay on the other room or should leave the house for a moment. Before you leave, make sure that the other spouse understands that you are taking a time out. And that no one is walking away from the argument. Rather, taking the time out to be able to resolve the argument with a win-win outlook.
– Come back after the time out. You should also talk about committing to getting back to the conversation or the argument once the time out is finished. Check whether the both of you are ready to talk more calmly. If not, you may ask to extend the time out.
– Time out is not silent treatment. Take note that taking a time out is not to be equated to giving your spouse the silent treatment. The latter is a passive-aggressive way of trying to manipulate your spouse to do things your way. The former is an effort towards forging better communications, to enable one to manage one’s thoughts and feelings at the time of the argument. A time out says that you are willing to work things out, only that you need time to calm down so that you both can do things properly.
– Practice relaxation techniques while on your time out. This can include taking slow, deep and cleansing breaths. Or thinking calming thoughts. Rather than working yourself up to more anger, work towards gaining an understanding of your spouse’s point of view. In a marriage, one spouse does not “win” an argument. So, don’t aim towards winning the fight, rather, it should be an exercise towards resolving the issue that caused the fight in the first place.
Practicing good communication techniques may require work and help from a third party, such as Utah marriage counseling. Taking time outs is just one of the techniques that you and your spouse can put into practice to improve communication between you. With the help of an experienced Utah therapist, you and your spouse can learn to fight fairly and build a stronger marriage and build trust.
The right kind of praise can help build up a child’s sense of self and confidence. However, the wrong kind of praise will actually be detrimental to the development of a child. The words, “Good boy!” “Great job!” or “That was wonderful!” does not provide constructive praise. This kind of praise is “lazy praise” since it really does not give the child any value.
There is one school of thought that encourages the giving out of praise. There is also another that fears that too much praise can spoil a child. So, how much and what kind of praise can help build confident individuals without necessarily building kids that are spoiled with praise?
One important thing is that praise should not be manipulative – given only when a child makes us feel good of gives us what we want. Rather, praise should be given to highlight a child’s good behavior and to encourage that behavior.
Here are some ways to give “proper” praise:
Focus on the process and the effort, rather than the outcome. Instead of saying “Good job!’ (which highlights the results), say, “Thank you for your hard work and effort!” A child should be able to know why they did well in order for them to know how to do it the next time. Focusing on results will diminish the value of praise, especially if the next result is a failure. The child will tend to feel the pressure to produce the same results. Acknowledging effort will encourage the child to be ready to accept new and tougher challenges as well as encourage them to work harder.
Avoid giving too much praise. Lavishing praise can either turn children into praise junkies who crave for more praise or who no longer find the praise of any value. According to a research made by Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller of Columbia University, too much praise can result in a child who is less confident of their actions and responses, who is fearful about sharing ideas and who shun difficult assignments.
Don’t praise a child for areas which are not in their control. This includes talents and abilities that are innate in a child – intellect, artistic or musical talent or athletic ability. Praising a child for intelligence will teach the child that any failure is caused by a lack of intelligence (“I failed, therefore, I must be stupid.”). This kind of praise may be harmful to the child and may necessitate Provo counseling at a later age.
Praising kids for their natural ability and intelligence may result in children who are more wary of challenges and more fearful of failure. Also, praising someone for their natural ability gives the child a sense of helplessness. Praise the child for behavior they can control and can be responsible for. This includes being disciplined, showing focus, being generous, respectful or hardworking. That way, they know that they can step up on the level of their efforts and see improvements.
Let your child see the natural consequences and results of their performance. Especially with children at a young age, praise may not even be necessary at all. You just need to point out what they were able to accomplish and this accomplishment will provide the praise. For instance, if a young child was able to tie his shoelaces, you simply need to say, “Look, you did it all by yourself.”
Be specific. Saying “Good job.” does not really tell the child what he did well. Rather, use praise that describes the behavior you want the child to learn. Rather, say things like, “I like the way you worked hard at finishing that assignment.” Or, “I appreciate your being able to control your temper.”
Be sincere and truthful. Rather than being helpful, insincere praise can, in fact, be damaging to a child. A child knows whether he did or did not do well. If he notices you praising him because you feel sorry for him, your praise will have little effect on him.
Avoid giving praise for achievements that came with little or no effort. This can send out the message that you don’t really care or don’t have an understanding of what the child does.
Never compare the child to other kids. Instead, focus on how well the child behaved or worked towards mastering a skill. Comparing other children brings the focus towards competition between the children, rather than in mastering a skill. This kind of comparison breeds children who are devastated at losing and whose motivation is lost when they also lose their competitive edge.
Giving the right kind of praise is a communication skill and it is a skill that is not learned overnight. You may need to go for family counseling in Utah to become more adept in your communication with your child. Utah counseling can also help thresh out issues with communication between parents and children.
How you parent reflects your unique personality. Your parenting style is formed by many factors and is based on an overall pattern of your actions, reactions and interactions between you and your child. Diana Baumrind and her fellow researchers have outlined various parenting styles based on the characteristics that particular style fosters in a child. A parenting style may encourage openness, self-sufficiency, self-discipline, achievement, friendliness or maturity.
Your parenting style will be characterized by four dimensions: communication styles, nurture and warmth, discipline style and expectations of maturity and control. Based on these, how you parent will predominantly fall under one of the four:
– Authoritarian. “Because I said so” is the theme of this style. Under this parenting style, a parent provides the rules and expects the child to follow without question; otherwise, a child can face punishment. Discussions and feedback on rules are frowned upon. The parent is not responsive to questions about the rules. According to Utah therapists, an authoritarian parenting style can produce rebellious and resentful children.
– Authoritative Parenting. This style is similar to the first, with high standards set, but the child is motivated towards self-discipline and maturity through love and warmth, rather than by punishment. The child is allowed to reason and the parent may consider the child’s point of view but standards are still expected to be followed. This style of parenting is a mix of firmness with nurture and care. When the child also fails to follow the rules, the parent tends to be more lenient and forgiving rather than punishing. The disciplinary methods firm yet gentle guidance for the child, with an encouragement to be self-reliant and responsible for his decisions. With an authoritative parent, there are limits and expectations while the children are able to learn about the natural consequences of any mistakes they make.
– Permissive Parenting. “Do what you want.” This style of parenting allows the child the run on things. Parents don’t demand much from the child with regards to self-discipline and maturity and make no efforts towards confronting the wrong things a child does. Parents are more friends rather than disciplinarian. This style of parenting exhibits warmth and acceptance, but very little control. Children are allowed more freedom to decide what they want to do and what rules they want to follow.
– Uninvolved parenting. “I’m busy, don’t bother me.” This is marked by low communication, low responsiveness and low demands from the parent to the child. The parent is too busy with other things that he is not involved with the child’s life.
It is important to note that as parenting styles differ according to your personality, how your child reacts to your parenting style will also be based on his own personality.
It is obvious from the descriptions of the different parenting style that the authoritative style of parenting provides the healthiest balance between expectations and nurture, self-control and warmth. With an authoritative parenting style, there is a balance between developing a sense of responsibility and with respecting a child’s rights and privileges.
Where an authoritarian parenting style breeds resentment, dependence on a higher authority and a lack of spontaneity in the child, an authoritative parenting style encourages a child to still retain his sense of independence. On the other hand, where a permissive parenting style breeds children that have self-control and immaturity issues, an authoritative parenting style provides structure by which a child can develop self-discipline and a desire to work towards meeting expectations.
Authoritative parenting also allows for open dialogue about expectations and rules. This fosters independence in the child while providing controls and limitations on how he acts and interacts with others.
Getting Help as a Parent
Even knowing that an authoritative parenting style works the best, we may still find it difficult to develop that parenting style. Parents will do well to find outside help, such as family counseling in Utah. Some tips you can keep in mind to help you develop an authoritative parenting style includes:
– Knowing your child and his temperament. This understanding will help you attune your parenting with his unique personality.
– Set clear expectations and limits.
– Communicate with your child. Take time to listen to what he thinks about issues, especially when it comes to rules covering his behavior. Be sure to explain the importance and impact of the rules and system of consequences you want established in your home. Provo therapists can help you develop your communication skills.
– In the face of resistance, be sure to let your child know that you respect their opinions. However, you will need to be consistent and firm in your decisions and expectations.
– Get help. Maybe existing issues in your family will need to be dealt with. It is best to consider going for family counseling in Provo.
With some effort and Utah counseling, you can work towards being a loving, yet firm parent and help your child grow and thrive as responsible adults who make a positive contribution to society and the world in general.
“So I made a mistake. Pooh, pooh. I already said I’m sorry. Why can’t we not make a big deal out of this?”
“It wasn’t that serious. Let’s forget about it and move on.”
We go into marriage recognizing that our significant other is not perfect – nor are we. We are bound to make mistakes – and some mistakes may have more serious consequences than others. Our mistakes (willful or otherwise) will have negative consequences on our union. When one strays and commits adultery, it will hurt the other spouse. When a wife is addicted to shopping and spending, it will not only strain the family’s finances but the couple’s relationship as well.
We sometimes have negative behaviors. What is important is learning how to deal with mistakes from both sides of the coin. For the person who was offended to be able to deal with it and forgive the erring spouse, as well as for the offending party to take responsibility for the consequences and to recognize and validate the other spouse’s hurt feelings. In doing so, a couple can take further steps towards addressing the issue and changing for the better.
Minimizing – A defense Mechanism
“It wasn’t all that bad.” This is the recurring theme of someone who has a tendency to minimize his negative behaviors and its effects. It is a form of denial where one justifies his behavior to avoid dealing with the root cause of the problem and to allow him to continue with the negative behavior.
Minimizing also means having the sense that something one does, thinks or feels is less important as compared to if someone else had the same actions, thoughts and feelings. For instance, a person who is prone to minimizing will try to justify that his being a workaholic isn’t all that bad. He will tell himself that it does not have serious consequences on his family and that as soon as “things settle down in the office”, he can ease off on the work load.
However, when the same person sees the same things happen to another workaholic, he can immediately see what’s wrong with the behavior. He already knows how the persons can act towards correcting their negative behavior. The sad thing is, the things he sees in other people in a similar condition as he is, he can’t see in himself because he has already minimized the consequences of his own behavior.
In the case of an alcoholic or substance abuser, he will try to minimize his addiction by saying, “I just had a couple of drinks, nothing major.” Or, “I was just experimenting; other people were doing it as well.” When he gets into trouble at work, he will respond by saying, “Even if I had a few beers in me, I still manage to do a lot of the work. In fact, my work performance is better than other people’s.” And, if his spouse will suggest going to a Utah substance abuse counselor, he will say, “Why spend good money when there really is no problem. I don’t need Utah counseling– I just have a few beers now and then and I can stop when and if I want to.”
Minimizing and Your Marriage
This kind of defense mechanism will have a negative impact on the marriage as well. Since the problem “isn’t a big deal”, the problem is not faced and dealt with as it should. To address a problem, both spouses must first be able to acknowledge that a problem exists.
Minimizing also sends out the message to the spouse that his or her feelings do not factor in. His or her feelings aren’t recognized and validated. As a result, the negative behaviors can breed resentment, bitterness and hurt. Ultimately, the failure to deal with the problems head on will lead to serious rifts in the marriage.
Breaking down the defense of Minimizing
This habit of minimizing may not be as easy to conquer. It may be more ingrained than you think. You may need the help of an experienced Utah counselor to help you recognize this behavior in you. With the help of Utah marriage counselor, you can start learning appropriate communication and coping tools in order to gain insights into your spouse’s feelings about your negative behaviors. This is one step towards learning to acknowledge and validate your spouse’s feelings. As you communicate with an effort of building empathy and understanding, you will also learn to take responsibility for your actions.
One step is acknowledging that even if you don’t see anything wrong with your behavior is to acknowledge how your spouse feels about it. Even if you don’t have a problem with the issue, if it hurts your spouse, then there is an issue. This sends out the message that your spouse’s feelings are important to you.
Provo marriage counseling can help you get have more emotional equipment in your marriage toolbox that can strengthen your marriage. This includes learning to empathize with your spouse and accepting the consequences of your behavior.
Princess Diana, the well-loved Princess of Wales gives a helpful insight into the mind of those who indulge in cutting and self-injury: “You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help.” Princess Diana admitted in a 1995 BBC interview that she had cutting and self-injuring tendencies.
And Princess Diana is not alone. An estimated one percent of adults and teens in the country have, at one point or another, shown some type of self-abusive tendencies. This includes practices such as:
– Fracturing the bones
– Burning or piercing of the skin
– Banging the hear or pulling out hair
– Cutting symbols or words onto the skin
– Preventing the healing process to be fully complete
When these tendencies are allowed to persist without treatment, this behavior will worsen over the years. There may be a need to go for Utah counseling.
A self-injurer may look “normal” at the outside and is usually female. She is more likely in the prime of her life (middle 20s to early 30s) and usually will belong in the upper-middle or middle class. The cutting may be traced to experiences of physical or sexual abuse, as well as a dysfunctional family environment. Cutting and self-injury is usually rooted in a deeper problem. . Provo counseling will not only aim towards stopping the act of cutting but also to delve into the root causes.
Self-injury is defined as intentionally causing injury to the body. This is usually manifested in making cuts or burns in some areas of the body. Self-injury is a coping mechanism that one may use to ward off feelings that may seem to overwhelm. A self-cutter will usually perform these acts to cope with anger, frustration, stress or feelings of emptiness and loss of control.
More often than not, self-injury also goes together with other psychological problems such as anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders. They may perform acts of self-injury to:
– Provide a temporary relief from what they are feeling
– Gain a sense of calm and control over their situation
– Provide some form of self-punishment, for what the individual perceives as his failure. It can also be seen as a cry for help
– Feel “alive” when feelings of emptiness become overwhelming. Cutting results in the release of endorphins, which give the body a certain rush.
Dealing with a Self-Cutter
Some signs of self-injury include:
– The presence of cuts, scratches and scars. Usually, these are unexplained.
– Having sharp objects nearby or in his person. This includes needles, razors, shaving implements
– Being “accident prone’”- where someone suffers from an unexpected number of broken bones, bruises and scars from cuts or burns
– Blood stains on clothes, tissues, bed linen and towels.
– Insistence on wearing “cover up” clothes such as long sleeved shirts and long pants, even during hot weather
– Need for isolation and “privacy”. A person who self-injures will avoid getting dressed or undressed in front of others, He will also brood or stay in the bathroom or bedroom for extended periods of time.
If you are a parent whose child shows symptoms of self-injury, it can be quite a challenge. It may require a fine balancing act – wanting your child to be safe and supporting your child as he heals. You may need to deal with personal feelings of guilt and self-doubt.
Some do’s and don’ts include:
– Don’t assume that the cutting is just a passing phase with your child. Seek help immediately. This can come in the form of family counseling in Provo. An experienced family counselor can help sort out the reasons and the triggers for cutting behavior.
– Do recognize the need for help. This is when family counseling in Utah can be helpful.
– Don’t hide knives, blades or any sharp objects. If a person is intent of injuring himself, no amount of hiding will deter him.
– Do show your support and unconditional love.
– Do keep yourself informed and educated. It will benefit the family to understand that cutting has an underlying cause and that it won’t be “fixed” by a few visits to the therapists or the taking of medication. The road to recovery will be a long and arduous journey.
– Don’t pile on the guilt. On yourself or on the self-cutter.
Dealing with self-harm problems will need the cooperation of the entire family. This will help each member understand the loved one’s condition and know how they can respond and relate with him. Provo therapists can also help identify self-harm triggers to help the loved one manage these triggers.
With the help of an experienced therapist, a self-cutter can find his way towards healthy ways to cope with emotional pressure and to deal with difficult situations.
A friend had to go through the painful experience of watching his mother suffer the effects of colon cancer. The mother had cavalierly treated her health, didn’t go to the doctor to have her condition checked and the colon cancer was shown to be asymptomatic, so no serious treatment was made until it was too late. My friend saw his mother suffer from the cancer and die. As a result, he went to the other extreme – being too preoccupied with his health and convinced that he, too, will contract the same disease. Small aches and pains will drive him to demand a room in the hospital, even though his doctor has reassured him that he’s okay.
What is hypochondria?
Hypochondria is marked by an extreme preoccupation with one’s health. Simply put, it is an exaggerated health anxiety, despite the fact that thorough medical evaluation has ruled out any serious disease. The number of people suffering from hypochondria is difficult to pin, since people with hypochondria tend to go to their doctors instead of therapists in Provo or a mental healthcare practitioner. Nevertheless, approximately 1% of the American adult population has hypochondria.
According to Utah therapists, the preoccupation can be unhealthy due to the fact that it has already interfered with the person’s ability to lead a normal life. He is unable to deal with the needs of his family, relationships and work because his schedule is peppered with visits to the doctor or hospital stays.
Please take note that it is normal to worry and be concerned about one’s health, to learn to listen to your body and determine whether there are symptoms of a disease. However, a hypochondriac has taken this normal concern to an extreme.
Hypochondria can be marked by:
– Physical “symptoms” include nausea, dizziness, numbness, fatigue, stomachaches, headaches, soreness of the body. Usually, the pains are subjective, something that cannot be absolutely quantified by lab tests, MRI and CAT scans.
– Simple aches and pains, a cut, a cough, a runny nose or minor physical aberrations are seen to be serious diseases. (i.e. a stomach ache can be considered stomach cancer.) In some cases, even normal body functions (sweating, falling hair, bowel movements) can be seen as warning signs of a serious health condition.
– The symptoms are sometimes vague (“My liver feels sore.” “My joints feel achy.”), sometimes specific.
– Indulging in exploratory surgery or complicated diagnostic exams such as CAT scans or MRIs
– The selected disease is usually something that is serious and life threatening.
– The tendency to self-diagnose. When the disease of choice is ruled out by his doctor, he immediately researches the possibility that the symptoms can match another serious disease.
– The tendency of research about perceived symptoms excessively.
– Obsessively watching out for changes in the body to see whether there are problems or the problem has “worsened”.
– Switching doctors frequently, especially if the previous doctors have already given him a clean bill of health and is not “listening to him”.
– Talking about his illness and its symptoms to anyone who will listen.
Hypochondria can be debilitating and harmful to one’s health. There is a propensity to take medications without the doctor’s prescription or to abuse substances and drugs in an effort to alleviate the “symptoms”. The anxiety over getting seriously ill can also result in depression or other anxiety disorders. The unnecessary medical examinations, exploratory surgeries and medical procedures can also pose a serious threat to one’s health.
Hypochondria and the Internet
The access to ready information about symptoms and matching diseases has fueled more anxiety. This isn’t helped by the fact that minor ailments and major diseases can often share similar symptoms. If one continues searching for an illness that matches one’s perceived symptoms, chances are, he will find a serious illness he can get anxious about.
Treatment for hypochondria
Therapists in Utah can help with alleviating the symptoms and problematic behavior caused by hypochondria. Regular Provo counseling can help the patient come to an understanding that his symptoms are not caused by a physical disease, rather, it is a health anxiety problem. This understanding can help lessen the anxiety.
Hypochondria can be treated by Utah counselors with the help of cognitive-behavioral treatment. Those suffering from hypochondria can deal with it and overcome the anxiety about their health with the help of medications, therapy or counseling.
They say that when a guy asks his wife the question, “What is wrong?” and the wife answers, “Nothing.”, it means that the guy is in big trouble. What’s worse is if the wife does not say anything at all. Instead, he gets the cold shoulder. The other partner acts as if he doesn’t exist.
The Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is one of the weapons in the passive-aggressive arsenal. It is letting the other party know that you are angry or that something is wrong, without telling you why. The silent treatment can be seen as some form of emotional abuse. The person giving the silent treatment withholds something very basic – human interaction.
It is usually used for the following purpose:
– To get attention. “You messed up, and I’m letting you know.”
– To punish. “I’m not talking to you because you’re late for our date.”
– To get one’s way. “I will pretend you’re not in the room for as long as you don’t agree with what I say.”
– To teach a lesson. “I’m giving you the silent treatment so that next time, you will behave as you should.”
The problem with the silent treatment is that no communication is made, thus, the issues that caused the fight in the first place is not resolved properly. Stonewalling communication creates a situation where the spouses withdraw and distance themselves from each other. It results in feelings of anger, resentment and frustration – in a time when both spouses are most in need of each other’s support and love.
More than words. The silent treatment is more often than not, not too silent. It is often accompanied by negative body language – glares, some rolling of the eyes, and crying.
The silent treatment vs. the time out. Please don’t confuse the two – they are very much different. You can take a “time out” to cool down when an argument or a fight gets too heated. You can get out of an argument when you know that the anger will make the conversation degenerate into exchanging of insults that will be hard to take back after the fight. Taking a time out will give both you and your partner time to calm down so that you can communicate more effectively and resolve the issues involved. This is not the same thing with the silent treatment. The effort is not towards effective communication.
Breaking the habit
If you’re the one giving the silent treatment, it is high time to consider breaking this bad habit. Ask yourself, “Is it really working?” Try to delve deeply into the way you feel and make the effort to communicate this with your partner. You may need the help of Provo marriage counseling to enable you to be more forthcoming and expressive about the way you feel.
Responding to the “Cold War”
– Respond with maturity. If your spouse is giving you the silent treatment, resist the temptation to do the same. Attempt to talk it out with your spouse by letting him or her know that you’re ready and willing to listen and know what is wrong. During this time, continue to provide acts of love and affection, but make it clear that you will not accept this attitude.
– Seek to understand. The doling out of the silent treatment stems from feelings of anger, fear or resentment. Try to reach out to your partner and come to an understanding of the reason for their behavior.
– Ask if he or she needs a time out period. If your spouse is still unwilling to break the silent treatment, ask if he or she needs more time. Again, assure him or her that you’re there to listen when he or she is ready to talk.
– Get help. While things have not yet flared up, it is good to discuss the possibility of getting Utah marriage counseling. This can help you identify negative behaviors that hinder instead of promote communication and understanding between you and your spouse. An effective Provo counseling session can help equip you and your spouse with effective tools for communicating without having to resort to the silent treatment.
When the silent treatment is a pervasive behavior and if your spouse is unwilling to go for Utah counseling, , you can still go for counseling to help you cope with the tension and stress your situation may bring to you. Counseling will be good for your own mental health.
A good and experienced Utah marriage counselor will be able to provide a “safe place” for you to process your feelings and to help prevent your partner from inflicting more emotional injury to you. Going for counseling will also send a message that you are serious about the situation and the need for it to change for the better.