Yearly Archives: 2016


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/2016

Managing Hostile Anger in Relationships

By | July 1st, 2016|Communication Issues|

Are you shocked when your partner suddenly turns nasty? Do you wonder what on earth made someone you love become angry, hostile and aggressive in their attitude towards you? Does it feel like they have a surprising well of hatred directed at you? Perhaps you cower in fear until your partner calms down, not daring to breathe in case the hostile attitude becomes physically violent. Maybe you try to stand up for your side of the story but find that you are drowned out, mocked and or dismissed. But when all is said and done, you’re still left wondering how it got this way. You still don’t understand what makes your partner so mean and even cruel when you haven’t done anything different and are not knowingly provoking them. This was exactly the puzzle facing 35-year-old Cara, a school nurse, who loved and cared for her partner Miles, a 38-year-old district sales manager for a soft drinks firm. They both loved their 3 young children, and had a good standard of living. The only problem was that Cara frequently got destabilized when Miles suddenly flew off the handle and either accused her of being disloyal, or devalued her role in the family by suggesting that her financial contribution was insignificant and she cared more about the kids in school she worked at than her own.

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5 Ways Self-Care Strengthens Relationships

By | June 13th, 2016|Couples Counseling|

Are you exhausted taking care of your partner, your family, your extended family, your colleagues and your living arrangements? Does it make you feel good that you attended to your partner and children, put them first and played the role of dutiful and loving care giver? Perhaps you think that by making everything and everyone else your priority that you will be rewarded with appreciation, recognition, and admiration. But there is probably another part of you that is aching to get off the treadmill and feed your soul. You know you are depleted and often not able to enjoy your relationship as much as you would if you didn't feel burdened with never ending duties and jobs. You know that most of the day you shut off your feelings and needs because they conflict with your dutiful self. So you kind of 'die' inside, feeling less than human. When you aren't able to fully enjoy your relationship, you put it in jepoardy. If you can't fully participate emotionally then the threads of connection get lose and threaten the unity between you. In order to avoid losing your connection, you have to take care of yourself and others. It's not an either or situation, it's a "both" scenario. It doesn't mean leaving them and going on trips or avoiding chores for a day or two, but rather a recognition of your humanity and the important role it plays in maintaining and sustaining your most important relationship.

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Releasing Pain in Your Body By Getting in Touch with Buried Emotions

By | June 6th, 2016|stress|

Chronic pain is the most common debilitating experience for a quarter of all American’s under 60 years of age, and costs $635 billion a year to health care services. Opioids caused 18,893 overdose deaths in the United States in 2014, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Andrew Ahn, chief scientific officer of pain research at Lilly, said opioids are effective against acute pain, but have limited and decreasing effectiveness against chronic pain. An article in the Journal of Neuroscience, 2105, reports that strong opiates like morphine offer little relief because they don’t release the rewarding dopamine neurotransmitters that would ease chronic pain. The Journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2007 indicates that pain disrupts the process whereby you consolidate your learning into long-term memory storage. So when you can’t form a memory of a good feeling or experience during relaxation, meditation, yoga or other non-invasive practices, your chronic pain quite literally, drives you to distractio

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Couples Communication Issues – 7, Suspicion

By | March 29th, 2016|Communication Issues, Communication Problems, couples therapy|

Do you automatically brush away your partner’s promises to do chores or specific tasks with suspicion, thinking that it will never happen? Do you doubt your partner’s sincerity when they apologize, suspecting that they are just saying the right words, but don’t really mean it? Maybe you anticipate that you will have to do all the jobs your partner does over again because they won’t do it right or in a timely fashion. You are suspicious of their intentions and capabilities and that makes it hard for you to trust. It puts you on guard, watching for the next mistake or broken promise that will become your problem to handle. It’s not easy to have a loving and open connection when you are in this state, is it?

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Couples Communication Issues, Part 6 -Being in Control

By | March 12th, 2016|Anger Issues, Communication Issues, Communication Problems, couples therapy|

Then I encouraged Rachel to explain how she felt in that situation, and why she went to a cold, mean place later on. She told Byron how she wanted to show their closeness, that speaking about his view was a way of expressing togetherness. When she was controlled and humiliated, it made her want to hurt him by withdrawing and shooting verbal barbs that stung – in other words, taking back control. Making room for both of their wounds and pain showed them that each was trying to control the other to protect their sore spots. Now that they understood the nature and origin of the hurt, they no longer had to use control to manage their couples communication issues, but could instead remind each other of their sensitivities and have other more comforting responses from one and other. Then I encouraged Rachel to explain how she felt in that situation, and why she went to a cold, mean place later on. She told Byron how she wanted to show their closeness, that speaking about his view was a way of expressing togetherness. When she was controlled and humiliated, it made her want to hurt him by withdrawing and shooting verbal barbs that stung – in other words, taking back control. Making room for both of their wounds and pain showed them that each was trying to control the other to protect their sore spots. Now that they understood the nature and origin of the hurt, they no longer had to use control to manage their couples communication issues, but could instead remind each other of their sensitivities and have other more comforting responses from one and other. Do you feel like your partner cuts you off mid-sentence, or gags you just when you are about to say something that bothers you? Maybe you find that the subject has been artfully changed so that you can’t talk about what’s really important to you. Perhaps you feel that you don’t want to hear what your partner has to say because it is nonsense or just irrelevant. One of the major couples communication issues that brings them into couples counseling is where one or both attempt to control the other by the way they react to each other’s efforts to get something across.

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A Series of Dreams About Failing Tests Rescues Damien From Ruining His Life

By | February 22nd, 2016|Dreams|

The experience of failure in the dream came to remind him that he hadn’t fully absorbed the lesson in the prior dream. Damien tends to hand over his authority to someone else and suffers as a result. So this dream is an even sharper reminder that he has to tune in and trust his inner guide who will ensure that he will pass life’s tests as and when they come along. This time Damien took the message to heart and his next dream exemplified it. “I was walking from school up a hiking trail to a mountain. There was a museum there like the The views were spectacular. It was open and there were lots of people there. It was magnificent. The museum had stuff that people had made from the past and I thought about how they did it and that that person in that time touched this.” We talked of the place of learning that brought back memories of being there for 10 years as a student. He had gone there to study and it felt like a home. Damien is now showing signs that he is tuning into himself (home) as a source of wisdom because it’s a place where he learned and matured. He described the museum as being a place of respect – that keeps history and shows what people did in the past, where one can see what they once worked on. Damien is learning to respect his own personal history and development, respecting it and honoring it, instead of always looking to someone or something outside of himself to guide him. In the dream he enjoyed the scenery and good views indicating that it made him feel free, good, and alive. So we can see how Damien is in touch with his own internal scenery that liberates him and brings him vitality. In the next few weeks, Damien experienced several triggers at work that shook his confidence, propelling him towards trying to be perfect and please everyone around him. He was going back to what was familiar – yet irritated that he couldn’t maintain his inner calm. Another dream came along to help him feel solid again. “I am in high school, and have to do a math test but feel like I’m not prepared. My wife is with me. I see a booth where you can take a practice test that predicts how well you do on the real thing. I took it and got 95%. That was good and I knew that I could do it. It was empowering.” We noticed that the good feelings Damien had after this dream were very different to the fear and panic at the end of the previous dreams. Something has shifted inside him that points to a greater sense of self-trust as he keeps putting himself to the test. He seems to continue to need proof that he is okay and isn’t just lazy and dependent like his father and brother. He wants to be sure that he has what it takes for his future, needing to ‘practice,’ get assurance and relieve his anxiety. The symbol of Math is probably related to ‘adding and subtracting’ things in his life. Almost as if he is sorting out what’s useful and discarding what gets in the way. In real life he is ‘adding’ other activities in his personal life like picking up his interest in comic books. His wife is with him in the dream suggesting that he is identifying more with his adult self and less with his family of origin that had held him back. But unfortunately he only gets it right 95% of the time. Ninety-five is an odd number indicating he still has a way to go to make his life more even and wholesome In part 5 I’ll show you how Damien struggled with his journey towards greater confidence and more self-trust in his life, as his dreams continued to illuminate his progress as he navigated fears of not being perfect, constantly needing proof of his ability to pass life’s tests. The experience of failure in the dream came to remind him that he hadn’t fully absorbed the lesson in the prior dream. Damien tends to hand over his authority to someone else and suffers as a result. So this dream is an even sharper reminder that he has to tune in and trust his inner guide who will ensure that he will pass life’s tests as and when they come along. This time Damien took the message to heart and his next dream exemplified it. “I was walking from school up a hiking trail to a mountain. There was a museum there like the The views were spectacular. It was open and there were lots of people there. It was magnificent. The museum had stuff that people had made from the past and I thought about how they did it and that that person in that time touched this.” We talked of the place of learning that brought back memories of being there for 10 years as a student. He had gone there to study and it felt like a home. Damien is now showing signs that he is tuning into himself (home) as a source of wisdom because it’s a place where he learned and matured. He described the museum as being a place of respect – that keeps history and shows what people did in the past, where one can see what they once worked on. Damien is learning to respect his own personal history and development, respecting it and honoring it, instead of always looking to someone or something outside of himself to guide him. In the dream he enjoyed the scenery and good views indicating that it made him feel free, good, and alive. So we can see how Damien is in touch with his own internal scenery that liberates him and brings him vitality. In the next few weeks, Damien experienced several triggers at work that shook his confidence, propelling him towards trying to be perfect and please everyone around him. He was going back to what was familiar – yet irritated that he couldn’t maintain his inner calm. Another dream came along to help him feel solid again. “I am in high school, and have to do a math test but feel like I’m not prepared. My wife is with me. I see a booth where you can take a practice test that predicts how well you do on the real thing. I took it and got 95%. That was good and I knew that I could do it. It was empowering.” We noticed that the good feelings Damien had after this dream were very different to the fear and panic at the end of the previous dreams. Something has shifted inside him that points to a greater sense of self-trust as he keeps putting himself to the test. He seems to continue to need proof that he is okay and isn’t just lazy and dependent like his father and brother. He wants to be sure that he has what it takes for his future, needing to ‘practice,’ get assurance and relieve his anxiety. The symbol of Math is probably related to ‘adding and subtracting’ things in his life. Almost as if he is sorting out what’s useful and discarding what gets in the way. In real life he is ‘adding’ other activities in his personal life like picking up his interest in comic books. His wife is with him in the dream suggesting that he is identifying more with his adult self and less with his family of origin that had held him back. But unfortunately he only gets it right 95% of the time. Ninety-five is an odd number indicating he still has a way to go to make his life more even and wholesome In part 5 I’ll show you how Damien struggled with his journey towards greater confidence and more self-trust in his life, as his dreams continued to illuminate his progress as he navigated fears of not being perfect, constantly needing proof of his ability to pass life’s tests. Settling into married life felt good. Damien was content and very relieved that he had got that part of his life sorted out. But now he was having problems at work. He was making errors on tasks that he routinely did with no difficulty. His confidence cracked and his stress levels went through the roof. His rhythm became disturbed and he couldn’t get back on track to do things on time, and that jarred even more on his perfectionistic attitude. Irritable when he got home, he found it hard to tell his wife about his ‘failures’ and deprived himself of comfort and understanding. Fearful for his reputation and job, Damien had a series of scary dreams about being tested for exams, just like he felt tested in his life at the time. These dreams were instrumental in getting his confidence back and performing adequately. The first dream throws shows how he is on the brink of an emotional crisis

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Couples Communication Issues – Part 5, Standoffs!

By | February 13th, 2016|Communication Issues, Communication Problems, couples therapy|

You've had a fight with your partner. You are sure you are in the right, and you stand your ground. There is no compromise and you are willing to wait until your partner acknowledges it. You want to be vindicated and you want your partner to acknowledge that you are right and they are wrong. How sweet the thought of that is! So you go off to your private corner with your head held high, and wait. Meantime your partner also feels in the right. Your partner too is willing to wait until you see the error of your judgment, admit it and give them a victory. Your partner is caught in the same couples communication issue as you : a standoff!

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Couples Communication Issues – Part 4 – Delivery Style

By | January 13th, 2016|Communication Issues, Communication Problems, couples therapy|

Are you enraged because your partner seems to hear what you said but doesn't respond? Do you want to engage your partner in a serious conversation but find that your words go in one ear and out the other? Then you are obviously not having an impact. Maybe there is a reason why matters that are important to you, doesn't hit your partner in the same spot.

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Couples Communication Issues – Part 3- Interaction Styles

By | January 4th, 2016|Anxiety therapy, Communication Issues, Communication Problems, couples therapy, Intimacy|

west los angeles couples counseling Do you walk away from your partner when they start talking to you in ways that seem critical and condemnatory? Maybe your partner does little things to deliberately annoy you while pretending to be angelic on the surface? This style of communicating has a huge impact and cause big feelings, often leading to erruptions. Actions set out to send a big message of protest or of having power and control over your partner can be very useful when you don't want to argue, or when it isn't comfortable to let two different points of view coexist in the same space. But there are some drawbacks - it avoids talking, discussing, exploring and understanding. Without words, there is no appreciation of each others intent, motive, hurt, anxiety, fear, expectation or desire. There is only protest, punishment, revenge, an attempt to be control, and one up-manship.

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