Keep the Peace This Summer

School is out and your family will be spending a lot of quality time together. While that initially sounds good, more time together can increase fighting and over-all family tension. So, that begs the question: How do you keep the peace this summer?

Pick and choose your battles– not everything is worth fighting about. It is better just to listen. Saying things like, “That’s an interesting way to look at it”, or “I’ve never thought about it like that before” are great substitutes for disagreements. Sometimes it is best to go with the old saying and agree to disagree.

Communication is key! Making clear expectations and boundaries are essential to a peaceful living environment. There are things adults think are second nature but children and teens have never thought about before. As an example, you know that your car needs an oil change every few months. But does your teen know that? Without explicit instructions, this scenario can lead to disaster. Imagine if the car you purchased for your adolescent broke down simply due to a lack of oil change! Your first reaction could be anger, but don’t forget that they didn’t know that. It is hard on the child and parent when there is a failure to communicate. By establishing open lines of communication, everyone can be on the same page, and know what is expected of them and circumstances like that can be avoided.

Inevitably, there will be disagreements this summer. (We are only human after all.) However, it is important for your mental and physical health that you go about resolving those issues. The Mayo Clinic reports, “Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body”. Take steps to control your stress. With so many pressures of day to day life, your home should be a place of rejuvenation. By maturely sitting down, and calmly addressing the issue, you can set the stage for rational discussions. It is also important to remain the adult in the situation since it is easy to get over-heated in an argument, especially with an adolescent.

If you are finding it hard to keep the peace this summer, even with these helpful tools, schedule a family counseling session with us.

Which Jenner Do You See?

When you hear the name “Bruce Jenner,” which persona do you envision: the dauntless 1976 Olympic decathlon winner or the vulnerable emerging transsexual?  Either way, he’s actually the same person struggling with a slowly increasing phenomenon.

As definitions of transsexualism evolve, society remains somewhat unclear how to approach it.  Doctors once diagnosed gender identity disorder (GID) as a psychiatric disorder treatable by psychotherapy, but more and more, debates continue to swirl around this topic.  Having renamed GID to “gender dysorphia” (referring to the experience of discontentment caused by sex characteristics assigned by birth), advocates argue that the term “gender identity disorder” implies a dysfunction on the part of the individual and creates a stigma.

However, if psychiatrists completely remove gender dysorphia from the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), then individuals seeking psychotherapy for this condition would have to pay out-of-pocket.  The “normality” of gender dysorphia would negate medical necessity for sex reassignment and other procedures, deeming them cosmetic treatments uncovered by insurance.  (Homosexuality, by the way, was completely removed from the DSM in 1986.  Transsexualism seems to be following in the same footprints of controversy.)

Perhaps the best way to ascertain how a transsexual views himself or herself is to ask him/her.  Depending on the influence of their societal constructs, they may consider cross-gender feelings to be either a pathological disorder or a norm.  As much as governments across the globe have grappled with defining this issue, the matter ultimately comes down to each individual.  Much of the stress associated with gender dysorphia comes from lack of societal acceptance, so each person must be treated uniquely.

At South Denver Psychotherapy, we provide support for the LGBT community and offer GLBT counseling in the Denver and Littleton areas, including gay couples counseling and counseling for lesbians.  Call today if you or someone you know is struggling with any of these issues.

Family Vacations Benefit Mental and Physical Health

If someone told you he or she held the key to your happiness and success, would you be interested in hearing what it is?  Well, the key is simple: it’s play.  Balancing a complicated work life with adequate amounts of play can change your whole world.  The hard part is allotting yourself time to relax.  That’s why scheduling quality experiences for yourself and your family this summer is highly encouraged.  Vacation is not merely “something to do:” it’s actually crucial for maintaining your wellbeing, strengthening the family bond, and re-energizing your work ethic.

First of all, setting aside time to drop everything but pleasure benefits your personal health.  High levels of stress wear on your body over time, leading to possible indigestion and infection.  Stress weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off sickness and also makes sleep difficult.  Overall, this can lead to irritability and moodiness, causing you to isolate yourself from friends and family who care about you.  Vacations are a time to leave physical stress behind.  The best and most beneficial vacations are those in which you get outside your comfort zone and take a little risk, do something you may not usually do.  New adventures make the truest adventures.

Secondly, vacations benefit the entire family.  Whether you choose a “stay-cation” or a tropical destination, spending quality time creates a “crescive bond” (a shared experience).  This tightens the family niche and helps expand horizons. Children witnessing their parents and grandparents laughing and having a good time sends a powerful positive message about enjoying life.  It also teaches them how to consider and coordinate with others.

Last but not least, bona fide vacations contribute to increased workflow upon return to the office.  If you get away from the office fully, you will more likely be ready to come back to work fully and bring a new angle to the table, adding fresh depth and perspective to whatever conversations you develop.

If you are having trouble prioritizing family or personal time this summer, let South Denver Psychotherapy help you unwind.  Our Denver psychotherapists are here to talk you through whatever predicament you may be facing, and we offer multiple counseling services for your wellbeing.

Adapting Female Identities to Include Their Dreams

With the many hats women wear these days, it’s no wonder females often lose their sense of identity while trying to adhere to societal standards.  Mothers who once pursued professional careers may find themselves wrapped up in the everyday lives of their children, thus neglecting personal hopes and dreams.  Young girls growing up with ambitious goals may fear chasing lofty careers because of outside pressures to be more “domestic.”  How can women identify which outside pressures are worth listening to, and which should be disregarded?  And where can women draw the line between balancing who they are as females and protecting their goals?

First, each woman must consider herself as an individual.  A thorough soul-searching session should produce a clear picture of what she wants in life.  If her goal is to be a lady in the workforce, paving entrepreneurial paths for herself and others, she should embrace it.

However, she must also consider herself as a family unit.  Who are the most important people in her life, and how can she incorporate them into her plans?  Oftentimes, there is a way to have one’s cake and eat it too, but there may be compromise involved.

For instance, in aiming to work for a Fortune 500 company, a single woman has virtually unlimited options.  The more domestic responsibilities a woman has, however, the more limitations she may encounter.  These, however, should not require her to forfeit every chance of having her dream job.  Even with children and a husband, a female can learn to forge a life she enjoys.  Without sacrificing dreams altogether, a modern woman can sit down and have a discussion with her support group—those whom she loves and who have her best interests at heart, not outside parties who blindly judge and condemn—and figure out how to make at least a portion of that dream come true.

The key is to consider all your options and choose the best course for you.  Then, block out all the voices that do not matter, and move forward in whatever plan of action works for you and your family.  Consider making South Denver Psychotherapy’s counseling services for women part of your network in helping you reach your goals, and call today to start becoming the best YOU possible.

SAD in the Spring? It’s Not as Rare as You Think.

We’ve set our clocks forward, the days are getting longer, the snow and ice at higher elevations is starting to melt, and the signs of Spring abound!  If you are struggling with feelings of isolation or sadness, you may suffer from a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Although most people think of SAD as a condition that strikes only during the winter months, when cold temperatures and short days can darken your mood, the arrival of Spring can also bring on symptoms of depression.  Approximately ten percent of those with SAD experience reverse onset, developing depression during the Spring or Summer months.  If you or a loved one exhibits one or more of the following symptoms, please seek professional help from a doctor or therapist.

  • Loss of appetite
  • New or heightened anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Spring depression can feel particularly hard to overcome because so many people experience Spring as a joyous season of rebirth and celebration, increasing the sense of isolation.  “Why do I feel so sad when everyone else is so happy?” you may ask.  As Spring progresses, it becomes harder to brush off feelings of sadness as just “winter blues,” exacerbating thoughts of hopelessness.  It may even seem like nature itself is taunting you.  In fact, more suicides occur in the Spring than at any other time of year.

Just as a lack of light and warmth in the winter can contribute to SAD, too much light and hot weather may play a role in the Spring-Summer version of the condition.  Seasonal changes can affect levels of certain mood-influencing hormones, and the time change can interrupt the brain’s normal circadian rhythm.  Since many factors contribute to depression, the precise cause of springtime SAD remains unclear.

For minor cases of Spring SAD, doctors recommend keeping cool by relying on air conditioning and taking cool showers, closing curtains and blinds to reduce exposure to bright light, engaging in light exercise to boost endorphins, eating a healthy diet, sticking to a regular sleep schedule, and taking part in social activities you would usually enjoy.  If you still feel depressed, or if your symptoms worsen, make an appointment for professional treatment.

South Denver Psychotherapy, LLC provides counseling services to help with all of your mental health problems.  Our therapists specialize in psychotherapy for women, men, couples, teens, and the GLBT community.  Let us give you the tools you need to live a better life.  Visit us or call us today at (303) 730-1144.

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