Possible and Impossible are Both Possible?

The outcome depends on our thinking. When lies and betrayal have consumed a relationship, it is common and normal for couples to want to end their relationship. Sometimes the decision to separate is not because there is a lack of love. Most times, it is because the automatic negative thought (ANT) is “It’s over”. Second, it might be that couples have little to no idea how to resolve the difficulties and challenges involved. Of course, few of us are really taught, by parents or school, how to resolve such circumstances or even how to have a great romance.

Once an affair has happened, the deep feelings associated with adultery can feel much like open wounds. The couple is in a crisis state and will often act or react based on how they feel in the moment. Communication can fluctuate between over and under talking about pain, sorrow and grief which make resolutions and healing even more difficult. This is not a great time to make big decisions nor will most of us make good decisions in this type of crisis. Many professional counsellors are trained to assist couples or individuals with the journey ahead, regardless of whether that is to dissolve or resolve the relationship.

So how does a couple get back on track if they decide this is what they want? Is it actually possible for a couple that experience lying, hurt, and betrayal to overcome such hardships and continue a healthy, loving life together? It may seem to be impossible, however it is possible to overcome these challenges, rebuild the relationship and even create a better, healthier relationship than you and your partner had previously. Judith Spring’s book “After the Affair” can also assist and guide couples in their healing and recovery process.

Being in a romantic relationship. of course, is not all roses and butterflies. A true romance is quite likely one of the most magnificent relationships we can have yet, it is also potentially one of the most volatile or painful too when infidelity occurs. Couples face many different obstacles (work-related stress, family conflict, extended family pressures, financial strain, and parenting concerns to name a few). As we move through life’s challenges together, we learn that our core values and morals are quite important in working together and supporting one another through struggles.

Clarifying foundational beliefs are essential for couples who want to successfully recover from adultery. A recovering couple must work together, re-assessing values, facing reality and disclosing and discussing difficult truths, feelings, and experiences that may never have been shared before. Overcoming adultery in a relationship may be one of the hardest obstacles to work through, however, it is possible. Once effectively reconciled, these courageous couples can actually have one of the strongest and most resilient romances on earth.

Before making rash and simplistic decisions based on hurt feelings, call us today to consider your options and find solutions together.

Medication: One Possible Tool For Your Arsenal?

Many may be hesitant to take medication for depression; it is sometimes incorrectly perceived as a personal weakness. When we sprain an ankle or dislocate an arm, we require crutches or braces for support so that our bodies can heal. One may consider a similar attitude about the use of antidepressant medication.

It is very important to research the various types of medications that can be prescribed for depression, discuss these with your doctor and pharmacist and ask about side effects from various medications. Some side effects may include, yet are not limited to the following: nausea, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, decreased sex drive, weight gain, constipation, and headaches. Ultimately, it is your choice whether to use medications and for how long, however, it is important to work closely with your doctor to most effectively and safely use antidepressants.

A holistic approach to depression has shown to be the most effective treatment plan. Antipsychotic medications do not cure depression; they may reduce or eliminate symptoms which can help people address problematic areas of life. Pairing a medication plan with nutrition, exercise and counselling can help individuals suffering better cope with depression or possibly overcome depressive symptoms entiretly.

Counselling addresses factors medication cannot; helping people improve current relationships, heal past wounds, set healthy boundaries, reduce feeling overwhelmed by stress, and learn to cope with life’s challenges in a healthier and more effective manner.

As medication may improve the biochemistry factors associated with depression, counselling helps people resolve the psychosocial influences that heighten depressive symptoms. Essential life changes such as exercise, proper nutrition and healthy sleeping habits have shown to improve a person’s emotional state. Making significant lifestyle changes may be almost impossible without assistance, behavioural coaching and cognitive training. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, a well researched and evidence-based counselling approach, has been shown to be quite effective with helping those suffering from depression.

For effective assistance Book an appointment with us today!

Obsessive Thoughts Can Float Away

For more than ten years, all I’ve known or been accustomed to is my routine of counting everything in sight. It has impacted my life greatly. I’m usually late for appointments or dates with friends because my routine had become so extensive. My relationships with my parents became difficult to cope with as I tested their patience daily with my obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Needless to say, counting became a priority in my life and it was so hurtful.

When my parents suggested I attend counselling, I was very hesitant. All of my reservations about a therapist made me more paranoid and wanting to count even more often. “He’ll think I’m crazy!” “I can’t share my thoughts with a stranger!” “He’ll turn my parents against me!” These thoughts created a lot of anxiety; however, to please my parents, I thought I’d attend at least one session.

To my pleasant surprise, none of my fears about therapy and my counsellor came to be.  I now had someone who would listen to me, help me uncover and recognize the thoughts contributing to the repeated counting behaviour and then help me change my life for the better. My burden became lighter, with my effort, gradually floating away like a balloon.

I am finally on track to having the life I want and I am rebuilding relationships in my life. By learning to creatively shift my thoughts, I am able to replace my counting with activities that allow me to grow and develop into the person I want to be. I’m also now better able to embrace experiences with my families and friends.

If there’s anything that I can share with others who suffer with obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviours, it is this: YOU can control your life with help. Cognitive-behaviour therapy helps shift thoughts, feelings and then also the behavior!

Get Help!  For further information and resources to overcome OCD, call us today!

 

 

or… Post-Traumatic Stress “Reaction” (PTSR)

“The anger, the rage, the hurt, and the cold loneliness that separates you from your family, friends, and society’s normal daily routine are so powerful that the option of destroying yourself is both real and attractive….It appears, it grows, it invades and it overpowers you….You cannot put these things behind you…And the more people advise you to do so, the more you get mad because you know these things will not disappear. Time does not help,” (from Lt-Gen. Dallaire; Davison, Neale, Blankstein & Flett, 2002, p. 197).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is commonly known to be experienced by those who have fought in wars and experienced combat stress; however, it may also occur to individuals exposed to prolonged abuse, trauma, and victimization at home, school, work and in other social situations. Personal tragedy, natural disasters, or overwhelming life experiences also contribute to suffering and potentially being diagnosed with PTSD. The term “reaction” has been used increasingly over more recent years with symptoms following after trauma.

When we are exposed to difficult situations, it can sometimes feel unbearable to cope with. Excessive memory loss, increased doubt and insecurity, thoughts that bad things are inevitable, trouble sleeping and eating are just a few symptoms of excessive stress. At times, our family and friends may develop unrealistic expectations that we are “strong enough” to overcome life’s challenges. This may inhibit sufferers of PTSD from seeking help and being able to move forward. Living with untreated or under-treated PTSD, people may subsequently, over time, “experience problems with anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, substance abuse (as a means of self-medicating), marital problems, poor physical health, and occupational impairment” (Blankstein, et al.).

Feeling stuck in this dark place, as Lt-Gen. Dallaire describes above, can make us feel like there is no way out. We may be reliving traumatic experiences on a daily basis and not realize that there are ways to overcome the situation differently—ways to cope, ways to feel loved and supported (not shameful or guilty).

One-to-one therapy can help address the specific needs of an individual with PTSD. Group therapy may create a space of support for those also suffering with PTSD; being in the “same boat” with others who are able to relate to similar symptoms and experiences. Together, both individual counselling and support groups can help individuals overcome the symptoms and impact of severe trauma and regain a positive perspective on life. Call us today for an appointment and additional resources to assist you.

Doubts Are Normal… You’re Not Alone

“What is some stranger going to tell me about my life that I don’t already know?”

 

“Do I really have to lie on a couch and tell this guy about my dreams?”

 

“My partner already judges me, why go to someone else for further persecution….and pay for it!”

 

“I can’t share my inner demons with anyone; a therapist will think I’m crazy.”

These statements are just a few that inhibit individuals, couples, and families from seeking help for difficult situations. It is normal to worry and be hesitant to come in and talk to a therapist about your deepest thoughts, concerns, and conflict in your relationships. That is why it is important to interview and research counsellors as well. Finding someone you are comfortable with and someone who is well trained to help you with your specific needs are two criteria that should be high on your priority list.

How effective is therapy?

  • Research on the effectiveness of counselling show lasting results compared to no-treatment and placebo control conditions (Journal of Counseling & Development, Jul-Aug, 1996).
  • Counselling is effective both in short and long term periods for a wide range of psychological distress (Mulhauser, 2010).
  • For depression, compared to patients in drug therapy, an imaging study by neuroscientists in Canada found that individuals in a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program displayed different (and improved) patterns of brain changes (Medical News Today, 2004).

What is Therapy?

  • Google defines therapy as “A treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder”.
  • GoodTherapy.org indicates that “Therapy allows people to establish goals and determine the steps required to achieve them”.
  • The American Psychological Association reports therapy to be “A treatment for psychological problems in which therapists and clients work together to understand problems and come up with the plans for fixing them”.
  • The Health Psychology Center promotes therapy as “A method to increase awareness which helps people understand their thoughts and feelings in relation to a problem”.

It seems okay for us to suggest that therapy provides a means to an end of some concern, difficulty, or problem which people are facing. Whether you are seeking individual, couple, group or family therapy, counselling can enhance relationships and provide guidance and support for those going through troubled times. In addition, counselling can also assist in helping people be more proactive in their lives. With a trained therapist, people are able to create strategies of coping, develop problem-solving and conflict resolution skills, and enhance communication for situations that may arise in the future.

Call us today so … We Can Help!

What Can I Do?

Heart pumping, worry, fear, palms sweating, knees buckling, inability to carry out daily activities, avoiding social settings, and withdrawing from social interactions; these are just a few of the symptoms that individuals suffering from anxiety experience.

Overwhelming feelings of anxiety frequently prevent people from living the lives they dream of having. At times, “normal living” can seem unattainable or pointless because of the burden of constantly feeling anxious, otherwise referred to as heightened fear and apprehension. After years of suffering from anxiety, some people may have a difficult time remembering what it was like to feel “normal.”  For most sufferers, there was a more calm and relaxed time in their lives.

Anxiety rarely existed from birth or even early childhood. It may best be considered a phenomena that developed over time from a certain point in one’s life. Given the condition developed in concert with a person’s experiences and thought or cognitive development, effective interventions can assist people to uncover the sources and underlying thought patterns contributing to anxious and fearful experiences.

In addition to finding the underlying cause(s) of anxious symptoms, anxiety therapy can help people cope better and learn relaxation strategies to use when symptoms begin to arise. Individuals may learn to change their perceptions of situations, seeing these in less frightening ways and developing coping strategies to reduce the frequency and severity of panic or anxiety attacks.

Our registered and professional counsellors, located in Oshawa, can help individuals with anxiety recover and reclaim the life that was theirs back when anxiety was not a part of their daily living experience. Increased confidence in social situations and more satisfying relationships is the benefit when people struggling with anxiety get the help required to take control over anxiety.

Call us today, to discover the cause of your anxiety and learn how to overcome your symptoms!

Post Separation Thoughts and Behaviours Really Matter

Let’s consider why we think we may have a difficult time co-parenting with our ex-partners:

  • She/he has an addiction and refuses to get help.
  • Who knows who she/he will have around my child?
  • She/he has repeatedly lied and betrayed our trust.
  • We keep arguing.
  • I feel completely disrespected by my ex-partner, so why should I cooperate?
  • She/he has shown no interest in the care of this child!
  • We didn’t get along before so …

And BREATHE! Now that we have let all that out (and I’m sure we can express quite an extensive list of additional thoughts and feelings associated with our broken relationships), let’s consider just a few of the benefits of effective co-parenting:

  1. Children will feel more secure, relaxed and confident growing up with two involved and cooperative parents;
  2. Enhancement of children’s social, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional development;
  3. Parents actually improve their health and development as well;
  4. Positive examples and role models for children by working together through difficulties;
  5. Both of us have the pleasure of being cooperative, compassionate and mutually involved parents;
  6. Extended family members are able to remain more involved;

In his extensive review of the literature on the impact of separation and divorce, conducted for the Department of Justice Canada 2001, Ron Steward highlights  “a study of 51 families with an arrangement for joint physical custody, Steinman et al. (1985) identified a list of factors that lead to successful joint physical custody. Families who successfully maintained joint custody had the following qualities:

  1. respect and appreciation for the bond between the children and former spouse;
  2. an ability to maintain objectivity about the children’s needs during difficult periods of the 
divorce;
  3. ability to empathize with the point of view of the child and the other parent;
  4. ability to shift emotional expectations from the role of mate to that of co-parent;
  5. ability to establish new role boundaries; and
  6. show generally high self-esteem, flexibility and openness to help.” 

Separation or divorce can be an extremely difficult time for parents, and the children and extended family members involved. Feelings are hurt, people often choose sides (even though there are no sides in a family), distance is created (which is a normal part of any separation) and the emotional intensity and practical logistics of separating can inhibit parents’ attention to co-parenting for some time.

Co-parenting does work and is more likely when parents dig deep to develop the qualities listed above. With appropriate training, coaching, planning and practice, both parents will have the opportunity to create amazing lives for themselves, their children and extended family.

To improve your co-parenting by learning the how to strategies – book an appointment with us today!