The Christmas lights are packed up, and the paper hearts have been taken down; now we are all waiting for spring. Whether things have been rocky at home, or you and your significant other are doing your best, here at South Denver Psychotherapy, we have a few books to help keep you, and your marriage, warm, cozy, and well-informed until bright, warm days arrive again.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book is a heavy weight in the self-help world, and it continues to be a staple for people from all walks of life. It may seem like an unlikely read for improving your relationships, but think about it -those who are successful and happy usually excel at navigating healthy relationships.
While some people say there are places where Covey drags, a read through of the chapter on Understanding (habit 5) is a good way to learn the basics of communicating with those you love. It could even inspire you to read the rest of the book.
4. How Can I Forgive You? by Janis Abrahms Spring
How Can I Forgive You is a follow-up to Spring’s cornerstone work, After the Affair. Both are great reads and can be found on the shelves of a wide variety of therapists, psychologists, and counselors. As the title suggests, How Can I Forgive You? focuses on forgiveness in relationships. It deals with how to forgive after a traumatic event, how to earn forgiveness, and the healthy steps you should take if forgiveness is not an option.
3. The Relationship Cure by John Gottman
John Gottman is here to teach you that it isn’t what you say, but how you say it, that matters. He explains this key principle in 5 steps sure to improve your relationships through better emotional connectedness. As he is one of the leading experts in relationships, his book, The Relationship Cure, is sure to help you grow and improve your friendships, family ties, and, of course, your marriage.
2. The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real
Terrance Real dives into the trenches and tackles the everyday struggles couples face in today’s world. He is known for his work helping both sexes understand that conflict is normal and to communicate better. He promotes fighting fair, remembering passion, and establishing boundaries. This book is a great tool for any 21st century marriage and a perfect reference for two strong, capable partners.
1. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
This is one of the classics! Learn which way you and your spouse show and best receive love, through acts, gifts, physical contact, or quality time. Once you learn which category you and your spouse fall under, you will be able to communicate better and find a balance so that both parties feel loved.
This book often shows up dog-eared and well-loved as it circulates among friends. It’s a great gift for couples, new and old alike.
We love helping you and your spouse thrive in a healthy and happy partnership, but as many of us know, marriage is hard work and constantly grows and change. South Denver Psychotherapy is here to help you grow along the way. Don’t forget to do a little reading while you are at it.
EMDR therapy is a method to lessen the effects of trauma on a person. Traumas can be defined as big traumas, such as abuse, car accidents, and exposure to violence, anything that feels life threatening at the time. Small traumas are not necessarily life threatening but often life changing such as a break up, a devastating comment from a loved one, a betrayal, loss of job, etc.
When things happen to us, exciting things and traumatic things, we experience it in our whole body. We feel the emotions such as excitement and/or fear spontaneously. Over time, we mull the experiences in our minds and even if the memory is still vivid, we lose the full physical and emotional impact it had on us. Other events might remind us of the memory but we don’t feel like we are “there again”.
For some reason, traumatic events can “get stuff” in the part of the brain that feels like we are actually reliving the event. This is what happens in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For events that affect us this way, we didn’t finish the processing of the events so it becomes part of our narrative instead of reliving the experience over and over.
In a counseling office, in a place where trust and safety is established, EMDR therapy can be used to help the memory along, help make sense of it or accept it. It can be used to speed recovery.
For more information, call Pam Kennel at 303-730-1144.
For more detailed information about EMDR Therapy, visit www.emdria.org.
Anxiety is a problem when there are persistent feelings of fear or apprehension. It is troublesome because it often interferes with daily functioning, personal growth, and creates uncomfortable physical feelings. It can become overwhelming making the ability to stay rational and objective nearly impossible. Anxiety is based in fear.
Fear is a valuable emotion. It is our first warning of a problem. By paying attention to our feelings of fear or anxiety, we can determine if we are entering into an unsafe situation, relationship, or path. It is warnings that can help us decide to take action or avoid something potentially harmful. This is normal.
Anxiety is a problem when it interferes with our daily living. When anxiety is high, it can keep us from leaving the house, doing things you intellectually know shouldn’t be a problem, being obsessed with recurrent thoughts of disaster and/or forgetting something, and fear of humiliation, being trapped or specific things like spiders. Anxiety can be generalized to all areas where a person can never feel content.
Remember, all people feel anxious at times and this is normal. If you the following symptoms regularly, some help is in order.
The symptoms you experience can be constant or spike to a full blown anxiety attack or panic attack.
An anxiety attack is a sudden spike in the above symptoms that can feel like a heart attack or that that a person is dying. Having panic attacks can become a vicious cycle. The unpredictability of them can increase the fear of humiliation, fear of being somewhere unsafe as well as fear of dying. The fear of an anxiety attack adds to the list of fears.
There are several things that can be done. One is to eliminate the possibility of a physical issue. Have you changed your medicines lately, could you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, are you going through menopause? Are you prone to high anxiety or worry?
Two is to look at how your life has changed recently. Are you in a new job, relationship or situation that would cause stress? Could this be normal stress that time will cure?
Three, seek counseling. Counseling can help you discover what the underlying fears and concerns are, help you find solutions to the causes of your anxiety and change your thought patterns to help you build resiliency. Therapy that helps you identify and change your negative beliefs can give relief. Understanding your unique experiences and triggers can give you prevention tools for the future.
Fourth, medications. Often, medication is conjunction with therapy can offer relief. Since anxiety and depression can go hand in hand, the medications can be the same. Depending on the drug, they can have immediate effects or take a few weeks to help. Sometimes the drugs are needed to help relieve some of the symptoms so you can be more proactive to facilitate change. Remember, all drugs have side effects and risks so be well informed before taking them.
For help with your anxiety or depression, call South Denver Psychotherapy at 303-730-1144.
National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Do you ever feel that you live in the past and worry about the future? Do you feel that you have trouble being emotionally regulated? Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help you feel more in control of your emotions, your thoughts and, better able to handle distressing situations.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) combines cognitive and behavioral therapy, incorporating methodologies from various practices including Eastern mindfulness techniques.
DBT can help you learn skills to help you be more present in your everyday life by learning to be mindful and present in your life. Learning distress tolerance techniques by learning to self-soothe, and be present in the moment. Dialectical Behavior Therapy can help you with your interpersonal relationships and can help you make them more effective. Lastly, DBT can help you become more emotionally regulated. By learning new skills that will help you interpret emotions, reduce vulnerability and, let go of painful emotions.
If you feel that you could benefit from these skills and are willing to make life long changes to your life than give DBT group an honest try. These groups are one hour meetings, once a week for sixteen (16) weeks. Each session is $30.00 and must be paid at the beginning of every session. For more information about DBT please use the following links http://behavioraltech.org/
“We don’t communicate well!”
“We never talk.”
These are statements made in couples counseling that are fairly common. So the first question that has to be answered is: What is communication?
Many people don’t think about the fact that EVERYTHING one does communicates something. We think of communication as talking but the look on ones face, ignoring someone, body language, and the tone of voice can speak louder than words.
If someone asks me a question and I take longer than usual to respond, it can be interpreted by the other person as me not hearing what was said, me ignoring what was said and farther, being hostile to what was said. I may be thinking about how to respond, be confused about what was said and trying to sort it out, I may by nature be more deliberate in my responses or indeed be ignoring the request.
It is helpful to go back to the last time you had a conflict that felt like miscommunications. Were you angry, disgusted or had you lost patience with that person? If so, in subtle (and maybe not so subtle) ways, you may have let them know of your feelings without telling them so you were both dealing with hidden messages. Think in your mind an alternative way that you could have communicated. Something like “I am really losing patience and I feel like you made a commitment to complete this and I don’t know what to do about it” instead of “When are you going to do this?” in an angry tone. This invites problem solving, you own your feelings, your not accusing the other of perceived motivations or emotions and there are no hidden messages.
If you work on this, over time your skills will get better. Have patience. It takes a while to get good at fully communicating in a way that encourages solutions. Have patience on your partner and give each other HUGE credit for trying and getting better.
More next time on “Communication for Couples”. Pam Kennel