5 Amazing Outcomes that Can Come from Family Therapy

July 15, 2017

Many people wish they could belong to a family that resembles the Brady Bunch. But the truth is, most of us belong to families that are not nearly as perfect or copacetic. Families are as complicated as the individuals who make them up. Though each family is entirely unique, all can benefit from family therapy. […]

5 Amazing Outcomes that Can Come from Family Therapy

Many people wish they could belong to a family that resembles the Brady Bunch. But the truth is, most of us belong to families that are not nearly as perfect or copacetic.

Families are as complicated as the individuals who make them up. Though each family is entirely unique, all can benefit from family therapy. Counseling can help family members improve communication and resolve conflicts.

Here are 5 amazing outcomes that can come from family therapy.

1. Surviving Those Teenage Years

It has been said that parents face the most challenges during the toddler and teenage years. That’s probably because teenagers often act like toddlers. While teenage angst is common and normal, many teenagers struggle with anxiety, huge mood swings, and other mental health issues. Family therapy helps parents and children not feel alone and assists them in communicating feelings and expectations.

With this in mind, it’s a great idea to connect with a good therapist during the pre-teen years so a relationship can be built and nurtured. That way as difficult situations arise in later years, you have someone you know and trust who can help you.

2. Gain Important Skills and Tools

It would be so much easier to be a parent if the job came with some kind of training manual. Since it doesn’t, many parents, who perhaps didn’t have the best examples given to them by their own parents, struggle to raise their children the right way.

Parenting can be much less daunting and more fun when you have the right skills and tools at your disposal. For instance, learning positive ways to communicate with your child, constructive ways to discipline, and how to avoid power struggles.

While it can be helpful to speak with supportive friends and look for advice within the pages of books and magazines, there is something uniquely beneficial to family therapy.

3. All Families Can Benefit

Many people assume they have to be in a full-blown crisis before they should seek counseling, but this is simply not true. All families can benefit from family therapy. This is because in therapy, everyone gets a chance to be heard. And any problems, whether big or small, can be dealt with in a productive way.

Family therapy offers tremendous benefits, including:

  1. Better understanding of healthy boundaries, family patterns and dynamics
  2. Enhanced communication
  3. Improved problem solving
  4. Deeper empathy
  5. Reduced conflict and better anger management skills

4. Cultivate Self-Worth


Very often it is our own lack of self-worth that causes us to treat the people we love badly. Family counseling cultivates self-worth for all members of the family and, as a result, intimacy and compassion are cultivated as well.

5. You Learn How to Deal with Anger

Very few people know how to deal with their anger and temper, and as a result, we lash out at our family members and sometimes say things we can never take back. Therapy allows for calm and guided discussion where feelings of anger can be explored in healthy ways.

A family that is in constant conflict is unhealthy and needs help. If you are aware of a potential problem in your family, or are simply looking for a way to communicate and connect, family therapy may be an excellent option to consider.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

3 Emotional Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom — And How to Overcome Them!

July 5, 2017

Being a stay-at-home mom can be very rewarding, but also incredibly challenging. There’s the guilt about not bringing home a paycheck combined with, at times, significant loneliness. If you’ve ever felt joy when a salesman shows up unannounced at your front door, you know what I’m talking about! OMG! An adult to talk to during […]

3 Emotional Challenges of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom — And How to Overcome Them!

Being a stay-at-home mom can be very rewarding, but also incredibly challenging. There’s the guilt about not bringing home a paycheck combined with, at times, significant loneliness. If you’ve ever felt joy when a salesman shows up unannounced at your front door, you know what I’m talking about! OMG! An adult to talk to during the day! (Right? lol).

Here are three emotional challenges that come along with being a stay-at-home mom and how you can overcome them.

  1. The Frustration of Not Finishing What You Start

Before you became a mom, you were always on top of things. Not only did you work full time, you also managed to keep the house clean and have the laundry done as well.

Now it seems like you can’t finish one project.

There are always dirty dishes in the sink, laundry is clean but sitting in the drier becoming more and more wrinkled, cheerios adorn every flat surface of your once pristine car, and your family is subsisting on frozen pizzas because grocery shopping is often too much to handle.

It’s perfectly normal for mothers, especially new mothers, to constantly need to shift the hierarchy of their priority list.

Consider working with friends on larger projects you could use help with. If you need to completely clean out and reorganize the garage before summer, when bikes and kayaks and other sporting equipment must be accessible, call up a friend or two for help. You’ll get the job done faster and have some much-needed adult time.

Also, see if a friend or family member can watch the kids while you spend an hour or two a week grocery shopping. This will help you stock up on the supplies you need for the week, and also give you some time to be all by yourself!

And finally, see if you can get up before your children. Even an extra half hour in the morning will help you accomplish one extra task a day, and that will make you feel great (A lot easier said than done, though, especially if you have a newborn).

  1. Isolation and Boredom

You were once surrounded by people in your office, cracking jokes and giving presentations in a plush conference room. Now you spend most days looking for socks and having full-on conversations with yourself. Out loud.

Being a stay-at-home mom can be incredibly isolating. And, though raising children is, on one hand, very rewarding, if we’re going to be honest, there are plenty of days when the boredom is mind-numbing.

Though it isn’t always easy finding time to nurture your social needs, it’s important that you make socializing a priority. Plan regular grown-up gatherings. Take a class once a week, or even a couple of times a month. Walk around the neighborhood every night with a friend. It’s great to get together with other stay-at-home moms. Not only can you have fun, but you can support each other as well.

  1. Questioning Your Parenting Skills

Stay-at-home moms eat, sleep, and breathe being a parent. There is almost no break from it, which makes it very easy to become somewhat obsessed and begin to question every parenting decision you make.

Connecting with other stay-at-home moms, whether in person or in a chat room, will help you gain perspective on your situation. Also, when you begin to worry and obsess over a recent decision you’ve made, step back and look at the bigger picture. Instead of always asking, “Did I do this or that right,” begin asking, “Is my family happy and healthy?” If you can answer yes to those second questions, then you KNOW you’re doing plenty right!

Sometimes, talking with a neutral third party, like a family therapist, can help you gain perspective on your life and how being a stay-at-home mom is affecting you on a day-to-day basis. If you’re interested in talking with someone, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

3 Tips to Get You on the Right Side of Calm

June 15, 2017

They say you can wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But many days it feels like you woke up on the wrong side of calm. And who can blame you? Life seems to have gotten more complicated, stressful and chaotic, making it more difficult to feel peaceful and calm. But there are things […]

3 Tips to Get You on the Right Side of Calm

They say you can wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But many days it feels like you woke up on the wrong side of calm. And who can blame you? Life seems to have gotten more complicated, stressful and chaotic, making it more difficult to feel peaceful and calm.

But there are things you can do each day to get yourself on the right side of calm. Here are 3 of them:

1. Breathe Deeply

Many people are shallow breathers, meaning they take small, short breaths. But did you know shallow breathing is actually part of the “fight or flight” response?  It’s an evolutionary adaptation designed to keep us safe from danger, like that angry sabretooth tiger chasing us. When faced with danger, our heartbeat speeds up and we breathe faster in order to get more oxygen for fighting or fleeing.

Our bodies don’t recognize real danger (that tiger) from modern day danger (that stack of bills). And so we spend most days breathing like our life depends on it.

One of the quickest ways to calm yourself is to slow down your breathing. Many people scoff at the idea that breathing deeply and slowly will do much of anything. Those that try it know deep breaths have an incredible calming affect.

2. Get Familiar with Your Acupressure Points

There are key acupressure points located on your hands, face, and head. These points are near bundles of nerves that, when massaged or tapped, can help relax your entire nervous system.  This is why we instinctively rub our forehead and temples when we’re feeling stressed. You can subtly apply pressure to the meaty part of the hand between the thumb and forefinger when in a stressful meeting, at the airport, or any public setting when you need to calm down but don’t want to call much attention to yourself.

3. Focus on the Positive Things in Your Life

Every night before you fall asleep, think about three things that happened that day you are grateful for. They can be small, like that parking spot in front of the always-busy post office you got this morning, or big, like your son’s ankle was sprained not broken.

Feeling happy and grateful will naturally calm you down and give you a different perspective on things. And, doing this exercise night after night will train your brain to be more positive.

Have you tried these tips in the past but are still dealing with persistent anxiety and worry? Therapy can help you uncover the root cause of your anxiety and provide tools for coping.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Low Self-Esteem: What is it? What to Do About it

June 1, 2017

Self-esteem is an opinion we have of ourselves; a way of placing value on ourselves as people. While we may voice characteristics such as “I’m American” or “I have brown eyes,” these are facts that don’t carry a negative or positive connotation. A low self-esteem suggests we carry a negative opinion of ourselves. For example, […]

Low Self-Esteem: What is it? What to Do About it

Self-esteem is an opinion we have of ourselves; a way of placing value on ourselves as people. While we may voice characteristics such as “I’m American” or “I have brown eyes,” these are facts that don’t carry a negative or positive connotation.

A low self-esteem suggests we carry a negative opinion of ourselves. For example, “I’m unattractive” or “I’m not good enough.” Most of us have mixed opinions of ourselves, but if your overall opinion is that you are an inferior or inadequate in some way, if you feel you have little worth and are not entitled to experiencing good things in life, your self-esteem is low. Having a low self-esteem can damper the great joys in life and have a negative impact on your relationships in general.

People with healthy self-esteems feel good about and value themselves. They also take pride in their abilities and accomplishments and enjoy sharing their talents with others. And perhaps most importantly, those with healthy self-esteems acknowledge their imperfections but do not feel they play a large part in their own self-image. In other words, they don’t put too much emphasis on their faults and limitations.

How to Create a Healthy Self-Esteem

The good news is a low self-esteem is not a life sentence. Since your low self-esteem developed over time (no one is born with low self-esteem), you can trade it in for a higher one. Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Forget Perfection – Focus on Accomplishments

Perfection only happens in Hollywood (and even there it gets a lot of help from Beverly Hills plastic surgeons and airbrushes!). The truth is, you will never have the perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect kids, or the perfect relationships. Perfection simply doesn’t exist in human nature.

Better to focus your attention and efforts on your accomplishments. And, when you achieve them, don’t de-value them by saying something like, “Oh, anyone could have done that.” Maybe, but then again, maybe not. The point is, you set a goal for yourself and you reached it. Celebrate your achievements and keep track of them in a journal so you can always refer to it and see how accomplished you are.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

Of course, when you’re setting goals, make sure they’re realistic. Having unrealistic expectations of yourself or how the world works in general is a surefire way to kill your self-esteem.

For example, setting a goal like, “I will have enough money to retire by the time I’m 35,” may not be realistic. Then what happens? Your 35th birthday comes along and you are nowhere near retirement and you feel like a failure. What happened? You didn’t take into account that life throws you curveballs and that owning a home and having kids requires liquid capital (there goes the savings account!).

Don’t set yourself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Nothing hurts self-esteem quicker than unfair comparisons. Others may make more money than you, have more Facebook followers or six-pack abs, but they don’t have your mind and experiences. Though it’s a tough habit to break, it’s important to stop comparing yourself to others and, instead, celebrate how unique you are.

If you’ve tried these tips in the past but are still struggling with a low self-esteem, speaking with a counselor can help. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

What is Play Therapy?

May 19, 2017

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation” – Plato What is Play Therapy? For a child, play is a safe medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self-fulfillment. Children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, so they feel safe to […]

What is Play Therapy?

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation” – Plato

What is Play Therapy?

For a child, play is a safe medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self-fulfillment. Children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, so they feel safe to communicate their awareness of what is happening in their world through their play. In play therapy toys are viewed as the child’s words and play as the child’s language–a language of activity. Play therapy to children is similar to counseling or psychotherapy to adults. In play therapy, the symbolic function of play is what is so important, providing children with a means of expressing their inner world. Emotionally significant experiences from a child’s inner world can be expressed more comfortably and safely through the symbolic representation the toys provide. Using this, counselors can experience the inner thought of the child.

Who can Benefit from Play Therapy?

Ages 3 – 12yrs benefit from Play therapy. All children go through stages of emotional distress. But some children can have serious problems, often caused by:

  • Loss of loved one
  • Family Conflict
  • Neglect
  • Family Violence
  • Abuse (Sexual, Emotional and Physical)
  • Divorce and Separation
  • Moving to a New School/Place
  • Bullying
  • Hospitalization
  • Learning Disabilities and Mental Challenges
  • Autism and ADHD
  • Chronic Illness
  • Deaf and other Physical Challenges
  • Burn Victims
  • Disassociation and Schizophrenia

Often the child needing help present the following traits or behaviors

  • Poor Academic Performance
  • Speech difficulties like Selective Mutism
  • Elimination disorders – E.g. Bedwetting after toilet training age
  • Sleep Issues – Bed time Anxiety, Nightmares
  • Fear of school
  • Test Anxiety
  • Excessive worry and sadness
  • Anger outbursts
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety when separation from caregivers
  • Relational conflict with parents, peers or siblings
  • Attachment Difficulties

How does it work?

Each play therapy session lasts 45-50 minutes and is usually held weekly. Studies have shown the average length of time for a child to receive play therapy is 20 weeks, although some children need fewer or additional sessions.

Benefits of Play Therapy

  • Children learn to accept ownership of their actions and responsibility for behaviors
  • Establish creative problem solving skills,
  • Acceptance of self and others
  • Identify and Express emotions in a healthy age appropriate way.
  • Self-regulation when in distress
  • cultivate relational skills with family,
  • Increase in Self Esteem

Reference: Adopted from Association of Play Therapy and American Counseling Association

If you want to explore Play Therapy for your child, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Do You Suffer from Anxiety? Yoga Can Help!

May 17, 2017

Life is full of moments that cause us to feel stressed or nervous. Getting up and speaking in front of a large group of people, starting a new school, and trying to ace that important job interview – all of these scenarios can make us fearful, resulting in sleepless nights and performance jitters. The problem […]

Do You Suffer from Anxiety? Yoga Can Help!

Life is full of moments that cause us to feel stressed or nervous. Getting up and speaking in front of a large group of people, starting a new school, and trying to ace that important job interview – all of these scenarios can make us fearful, resulting in sleepless nights and performance jitters.

The problem starts when this fear becomes persistent and overwhelming and interferes with everyday life. At this point “normal fear” becomes a full-blown anxiety disorder.

While a certified therapist should be consulted to develop a plan for treating your anxiety disorder, yoga is an effective and natural way to get some relief from symptoms like trouble sleeping, muscle tensions, and chronic digestive upset.

Yoga, it turns out, can help control anxiety in a few different ways:

1. Yoga Builds Confidence

Anxiety can result from a lack of confidence in our ability to handle negative situations, either real or theoretical, that may arise. We are not so much fearful of public speaking as we are fearful that we are somehow going to “screw up.”

Yoga is a major confidence-builder because it works to strengthen the body and mind at the same time. The practice includes body postures and breathing techniques, along with ancient meditation approaches, and combined, these can help a person feel calm, centered, and able to handle any situation that crops up in their life.

2. Yoga Distracts Your Mind from the Negative Loop

What can you do when your mind seems to be stuck on an endless loop of negative and worrisome thoughts? Distract with other thoughts.

Yoga trains a person to focus their thoughts on the moment, specifically by thinking only of their rhythmic breath. As soon as the mind wanders to its typical negative thinking, the practitioner simply guides it back to the breath without anger or judgement. Feelings of calmness and acceptance naturally follow intense breath work.

3. Yoga is like Your Inner Therapist

Yoga is a wonderful compliment to therapy because, like your therapist, yoga helps you to observe how your mind works. And, also like your therapist, there is no judgement involved. Mediation is simply about paying attention to the thoughts you are having, keeping the thoughts that are helpful and releasing those that are harmful.

Yoga and meditation will also help you to train your mind to focus on the positive aspects of your life. When you surround yourself with positivity, the fear of negativity subsides.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment for your anxiety disorder, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

May 8, 2017

The birth of a child is a wondrous event that, along with some sleepless nights, brings joy into a family’s life. Unfortunately, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness for mothers experiencing postpartum depression. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the […]

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

The birth of a child is a wondrous event that, along with some sleepless nights, brings joy into a family’s life. Unfortunately, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness for mothers experiencing postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. It can also happen after a miscarriage and stillbirth as well. Beyond feeling sad and hopeless, the affliction can make it very difficult for a mother to bond with and care for her new baby.

It’s important to mention that postpartum depression is not the same thing as having, what is typically referred to as, the “baby blues.” These “blues” are milder and, more often than not, go away in a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression, brought on it is thought by significant hormonal changes, can last for several months.

If left untreated, women experiencing postpartum depression are in danger of hurting their baby and themselves.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please speak with your doctor who can connect you with a professional therapist. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Extreme Anxiety or Worry

All new mothers are nervous. After all, taking care of a newborn baby is a huge responsibility. But when fears become irrational and even increase in severity over time, this can be a sign of PPD. For instance, a mother who refuses to leave the house because she is convinced she and her child will get into a car accident. Or a mother who is terrified to bathe her baby because she believes her baby could drown.

Changes to Sleeping or Eating Habits

A change in eating or sleeping habits is always a sign that something may be going on with a new mother. For instance, if you or someone you know suddenly begins eating far more than you used to, or, stops eating altogether, this is a red flag that PPD may be the cause.

Also, new mothers are usually exhausted and should have little trouble falling asleep when given the opportunity to rest. If sleep cycles seem disrupted, it could be a sign of a bigger issue.

Feelings of Rage

New mothers who have PPD may find themselves with feelings of chronic irritability and even rage. Should a woman suddenly find herself flying off the handle or acting out in angry, aggressive ways, something she’s never done in the past, it could be a sign that something more may be going on.

Mothers experiencing PPD need a lot of support. This means asking not just how the baby is, but how she is and really listening to the answer. It also means helping take care of the baby so the new mother can rest and get the help she needs.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.