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Couple showing how to eliminate stress with relaxation

How to eliminate stress and become more resilient: Part 1

By | Coping, Stress, Todd’s Thursday Thought | No Comments

7 Tips to Work with Your Body to Eliminate Stress and Become More Resilient I thought a great way to end 2017 is with a 2-part article on stress and resilience.  Whether or not you are reading this at the end of 2017 or at any time of the year these tips where I show you how to eliminate stress and become more resilient are timeless. According to an Internet definition, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties....

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Healing from a Broken Heart

By | Coping, Counseling, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

Just about all of us have experienced heartbreak.  We can literally feel the pain in our heart when someone breaks up with us.  How can we get over this pain and move on?  Here are 5 steps towards healing from a broken heart. Feel your feelings; don’t avoid them by going quickly into another relationship or drugs or alcohol.  Avoidance will only belabor your anguish.  Slow down and spend time feeling what you are experiencing.  Cry if you need to;…

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3 Ways Caring Relationships Can Help a Trauma Survivor

By | Coping, Counseling, Healing, Love, Mind/Body Health, Relationships, Toxic Relationships | One Comment

Newborns and young babies depend on their caretakers to regulate their emotions until their brain is sufficiently developed to be able to regulate more on their own.  When a person goes through a trauma, there is cortisol shooting through the person’s system and is it difficult to regulate feelings and like the newborn can benefit greatly from supportive caring interpersonal relationships.  One of the most accepted and researched psychological theories is attachment theory which basically states that the primary motivation…

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5 Steps to Recover from the Emotional Trauma of Abuse

By | Coping, Counseling, Healing, Relationships | No Comments

Whether it is physical, sexual or verbal abuse, victims have emotional wounds.  If these wounds make it difficult to move on or you repeat the same victimization over and over again, or you avoid future relationships because of the past, you may have PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.  The four signs of PTSD as described in the DSM5, the newest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual are: Negative Alterations of Cognition and Mood i.e.- feeling that you are bad or a terrible…

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Toxic Relationship: Couple Quarreling

Verbal Abuse Can Be Subtle and Traumatic

By | Coping, Counseling, Dysfunctional Family, Healing, Relationships, Toxic Relationships | 8 Comments

This article will be written as if the males are the abusers and the females are the victims, which is true according to research the majority of the time.  However, if you are a male that is the victim or a female who is the perpetrator, please just swap the pronouns in your head. It is easy to understand that sexual and physical abuse can be traumatic.   It is also easy to understand that severe verbal abuse (i.e.-yelling, name calling)…

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How Childhood Trauma Can Ruin Your Current Relationship and How to Heal So It Doesn’t

By | Coping, Healing, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Toxic Relationships | 3 Comments

As a therapist, I deal with couples that are having challenges in their relationship.  As a professor at the USC School of Social Work, I teach graduate students the relationship between early developmental childhood trauma and the emotional, behavioral and cognitive symptoms that clients present when they come see the student interns for therapy.  One of the things I teach my students is that the brain develops in the first few years of life to adapt to the family who…

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Trauma Bonding: Why People Repeat being Abuse Victims

By | Coping, Counseling, Relationships, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

Attachment to others has been shown to be the basic human motivation.  When people are victimized at a young age, their brains actually adapt to their environment and they learn that the way to attach is to be a victim.  This is not just a psychological phenomenon; it is also a neurobiological phenomenon.  People who have abuse histories may not even feel a desire to be attached to someone who is kind, genuine and safe.  That is not the way…

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Communication in Relationships: Effective and Destructive

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Coping, Counseling, Dysfunctional Family, Family Relationships, Healing, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Parenting, Relationships, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

Effective: Clean communication- clean communication is when the only intent of your communication is to reveal something about yourself. Example: I am angry with you for getting defensive rather than listening. Destructive: Unclean communication- unclean communication is when you have other intentions such as punishing the other person defending yourself, getting rid of your own tension or proving you are right. Example: Yelling loudly- your listening skills suck!  (Getting rid of tension) Effective: Being receptive which includes dropping your own…

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Toxic Relationship: Couple Quarreling

“You’re the Worst Communicator Ever”- Confessions of a Marriage Therapist- (Me)

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Coping, Counseling, Dysfunctional Family, Family Relationships, Healing, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Parenting, Relationships, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

I have been to many parties where people would come up to my wife and say- “You must have a perfect marriage- you are married to a marriage therapist.”  And my wife found that comment very funny!  The truth is- yes- I am a marriage therapist, and I am also a human being who grew up in a family where great communication was not modeled.  There were many times I would be helping a couple with communication and suddenly had…

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The Most Important Element Of Communication Nobody Talks About

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Coping, Counseling, Healing, Intimacy, Love, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems | 2 Comments

Say “I” statements. Don’t be defensive. Repeat the words that your partner said. These are a few of the things people hear at basic communication seminars or what they read in communication articles. That is all well and good except that there is something that everyone has to do before anything else so that communication can be effective. And here it is: DROP YOUR AGENDA! What do I mean by that? I mean stop trying to accomplish ANYTHING when your…

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