relationship dating

What Makes a Relationship Last?

Psychologists have studied couples for years in order to find out what makes for a lasting relationship. However, predicting what is going to work “before” the marriage is more difficult. Ted Huston, Ph.D. found that marriages fall into four distinct groups:  Married and happy; married and unhappy; divorced early, within seven years, or divorced later, after seven years. Ultimately, the distinguishing factor between those who divorced and those who remained married was noted in the amount of change in the fist two years of the marriage. Happily Married These people were as happy and “in love” as newlyweds. They had less mixed feelings,...
Dogs learning to play

Dogs, Anxiety and Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness is the basis for understanding the root causes of depression and panic anxiety. Early researchers discovered that when dogs were given electrical shocks that they could not control, they later showed signs of anxiety and depression. If the experiment went on for too long, the dogs didn’t even try to escape the shocks and instead just collapsed in a corner of their cage. If a "safe area" was made in the cage where the dogs could go to in order to not receive any shocks, they would act helpless and not move. If they were picked up and forcibly...
Gottman Method

What is Gottman Method Couples Therapy?

Some patients prefer to use a specific type of Relationship Counseling called the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy. Based on Dr. John Gottman's research from the 1970's, this type of therapy is designed to help teach specific tools to deepen friendship and intimacy in one's relationship. Officially, the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy relies on a specific structure and approach. Which is interesting in that Dr. John Gottman is also a vocal advocate for making modifications and adaptations to his techniques as each therapist sees as appropriate.  The structure involves a series of assessment phases, followed by treatment and then...
rocks balance water

Managing Stress and Anxiety

It's not surprising that any type of stress can affect us. What we often overlook is that this tends to be a cumulative effect that can affect our tolerance for change, our likelihood of getting sick and even how much we might be able to adapt to new problems. This isn't limited to just unpleasant stress; even good stress can take a toll on our body. One of the common ways a therapist might help you determine how much stress you've actually faced is the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. The consequences of unanticipated stress can have a tremendous impact on...
Pain, Change and Growth like a flower in the wilderness

How Do I Deal with Painful Feelings?

In our efforts to escape pain, loss, and suffering, we often miss the very happiness that we are searching for in life. When painful feelings get pushed to the side, we find ourselves falling apart, our relationships suffer, and often we just simply "shut down" in an attempt to avoid feeling, experiencing, and changing. Paradoxically, our attempts to "not feel" robs us of our own growth, which requires us to be vulnerable in the present moment. Irritability, anger, tension, outbursts of temper are common during times of stress and problems. Sometimes we end up dealing with things by getting divorced, falling...
Careers in mental health

Careers in Mental Health

I have been frequently asked about what it takes to become a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist or a clinical social worker. Many people are interested in becoming a therapist, or mental health professional. Ironically, there are not many places to find the answers. My goal is to shed some light on this and answer some of your questions. In general, you must go to four years of college to get a B.A. or B.S. (Bachelor's) degree. This is the general preparation for entry into professional graduate education which starts AFTER you have completed college. Many students will major in psychology or...
fire explosion

Bottling Up Emotions: Time Bombs for the Future

We all tend to bottle up our emotions. We hope that with a little time and effort, we can figure out things on our own. The problem is that the more we hold things in, the more we feel like we are “just going to explode.” Even the slightest thing can set us off. When we finally explode, we over-react. We might feel guilty and sorry that we ever said anything, so again we try to bottle up our feelings. This only continues the vicious cycle of holding things in and exploding when it becomes too much to handle. Some of this...
broken wine glass marriage

How Do I Come to Terms with my Divorce?

Divorce, or the loss of a relationship, is a very difficult time for all concerned.  It brings out many emotions, causes much confusion, and affects children, adults, parents, and the community.  Relationships are important to our lives and it is difficult for us to experience the loss of them. As we experience the changes of divorce, it is important that we understand what has happened. Divorce happens for many reasons: Because the relationship was not right from the beginning. Because the other person refused to grow in the relationship, did not do their part, was more dependent on their spouse, ...
Panic fast control

Controlling Your Next Panic Attack

Steps to control panic attacks are ironic. On the one hand, they are simple and straightforward. On the other hand, they are the most difficult to follow through with.  Here are some of the most critical steps in controlling your next panic attack. First, admit that you are feeling anxious. Accept your body feelings as symptoms of your anxiety and a sign that something is bothering you. Try to figure out what is really bothering you. Is it some type of conflict that you don't want to deal with? Is it a scary thought? Is it a ridiculous expectation you have...
pain medicine

Major Mistakes Made by Patient in Chronic Pain

There is no doubt that “entering the world of chronic pain” is a confusing and difficult process.  Many times, patients do not understand some of the basics of pain management approaches to care.  However, helping patients to become aware of various problems and mistakes, ahead of time, will allow them to respond differently and learn how to become part of the pain management team.  This handout is to be given to patients as they start treatment for their chronic pain problems.  There is no question that for the person living in chronic pain, life is very difficult and exhausting.  In...