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Monday, November 20, 2023

Compassionate Gender Dysphoria Therapy

Monday, November 20, 2023 @ 1:04 PM

I’m a Registered Psychotherapist specializing in Gender Dysphoria. In recent years, the prevalence rate of gender dysphoria, especially in young children, has significantly increased. Understandably, this increase has presented new challenges in caring for and educating children.

As this has been an issue of increasing concern within my professional practice, I now am making available a free video resource and other services that may be beneficial to parents, caretakers, and educators. I have put together a recording which provides some background information on Gender Dysphoria.

While one presentation is not enough to explain everything it provides some understanding on how protocols around gender transition have changed recently and over time. This is a field that is rapidly developing and has seen drastic change over the last 10 years. If you have any questions, please let me know. You can find the video at the following link.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

When Busy is Bad

Sunday, November 19, 2023 @ 5:23 PM

We’re all busy. We have deadlines, expectations, and places to be. Busy isn’t bad. Busy can often be a sign of a healthy life being well lived. It’s inevitable we’ll have times where we’re busier than at other times. These busy days or seasons don’t have to derail our spiritual focus or hinder our walk with Christ.

Solomon reminded, “Keep your eyes focused on what is right and look straight ahead to what is good” (Proverbs 4:25), and Paul encouraged, “My eyes are on the crown. I want to win the race and get the crown of God’s call from heaven through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

We have such a gift of perspective, friends. Because of Jesus, our purpose is clear, our daily tasks that often keep us busy can take on new meaning. But even with an overall spiritual outlook on life, we’re bound to find ourselves in situations where busyness derails our focus. If you find yourself busy, and also feeling anxious or exhausted, the busyness in your life may have become problematic.

Busyness can become problematic when we use it as
· An excuse for not prioritizing the most important areas of our lives.
· A badge of honor worn with pride, reminding us of our worth.
· A way to numb our uncomfortable feelings.
· An armor we wear to avoid experiencing the pain of life.

There are two common ways this can happen:
1. If you have a hard time saying no, or difficulty recognizing your own capacity, you may routinely take on more than you can handle. This can set you up to feel overwhelmed and incompetent.
2. If you’re afraid you’ll miss out on opportunities to connect with others and nourish relationships, you may tend to overcommit yourself. What you’re looking for is connection, but the over-commitment can have the opposite effect and may create a sense of loneliness and isolation.

If either one of these scenarios sound familiar, try taking an honest assessment of how you’re spending your time. Then, ask yourself these two questions:
1. “Am I able to be fully engaged and present in every activity of which I find myself a part?” If the answer is “No”, that may be your cue to reevaluate your commitments.
2. “Do I feel connected and happy after spending time in a specific activity?” If you feel sad or lonely or overwhelmed, you again may find it helpful to reevaluate your busy schedule.

Try these ideas to help you refocus and reduce overwhelm from busyness:
• Schedule in some “white space” on your calendar this week. We’re more likely to do the things
we plan for, so plan for unscheduled blocks of time.
• Look for natural ways to group similar tasks. Batching tasks prevents us from having to “switch
gears” as often and therefore saves time. It allows us to prevent additional time setting up for
similar tasks and improves focus.
• Make lists and keep your “To Do’s” somewhere besides your brain. Your day may be busy, but
your mind doesn’t have to be cluttered!

Being busy, active, and about the work God has set out for you to do individually, and as a part of the body of Christ is good. Allowing yourself to become so busy that your purpose feels muddled, however, can be a sign to slow down, allow yourself to reassess and rest. I love how author Mark Buchanan puts it, “Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.”

Friday, November 10, 2023

Filling a Half-empty Glass

Friday, November 10, 2023 @ 9:44 AM

Do you view your glass as half empty or half full? Trying times can challenge us to rethink our expectations, values, and goals. Read this story of a gifted writer who lost virtually everything – to the point that his glass was nearly empty, and how he refilled his glass with faith.

John felt devastated when his father died weeks before his planned wedding. Lost forever was the opportunity to clink a champagne glass full of hope with his beloved Dad. Struggling with depression, John sought psychiatric care and started taking a common antidepressant. Despite a postponement, the wedding events resembled a Greek tragedy as John's depressive symptoms worsened to the point that the couple canceled their long-awaited honeymoon.

The Glass Half Empty
During the first weeks of marriage, John's psychiatrist ignored his complaints of confusion and agitation until he became delusional. Days after starting antipsychotic medication, he became more disoriented as he reported symptoms of blurred vision and flashing lights in his peripheral vision. His primary doctor and ophthalmologist dismissed his physical complaints as psychotic delusions. Desperate to please his boss, he worked for a week in this condition. On his last day at work, his new bride found him in the parking lot outside his office, kneeling on the cold December pavement and staring into his car, mumbling incoherently.

The next day, John's wife brought him to a local hospital emergency room, where he was admitted to the psychiatric unit. Branding him with the diagnosis of "schizoaffective disorder" (chronically depressed and psychotic), the hospital psychiatrist dosed him heavily with powerful antipsychotic medications. The hospital staff discharged John a week later in far worse condition than when he entered, with the dire predictions that he would never drive or work again. Too confused to sign his name to a check, drive, read, or write a coherent sentence, John reluctantly resigned from his full-time writing job of 25 years.

The Glass Shatters
In the following weeks, John lost virtually everything in his life – his friends, purpose, standing in the community, financial security, adequate health insurance, and identity. Even his outpatient psychologist and psychiatrist abruptly abandoned him shortly after he lost his means to pay their fees. His few brief social encounters reeked of awkward silences in his presence and judging whispers when he went outside to smoke, his only reprieve from his horror. Some people even criticized him for smoking, being lazy, or not "getting over" his problems. No question, his new trials tested his new marriage. In the throes of intense grief, he withdrew from the world." My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer by night, but I find no rest." (Psalm 22: 1-2)

The Glass Half Full
John’s wife set up a GoFundMe page to solicit funds to pay his hospital bill. Donations offered mainly by relatives and the local Lions Club enabled John to pay his immediate medical bills.

After a period of mourning, John sought effective treatment. With the help of an inspired neurologist, John learned that he suffered a stroke, probably during the last week at his job. Finally, a glimmer of hope sparkled as he learned he could recover with occupational therapy. John reconnected with the few supportive people willing to hold conversations with him.

He practiced speaking several hours weekly with his trusted life coach, a new therapist, a cousin, and his chiropractor's receptionist. He practiced reading aloud and driving daily with his wife. He enrolled in a drawing and writing class at the local community college. With much encouragement from his writing teacher, he even started writing again. Soon, he felt ready to pursue part-time or volunteer work. Now, he could imagine his glass becoming half full. "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Refilling the Glass
After many community members ignored or refused his offers of volunteer service, John eventually landed a part-time job scrubbing pots and pans at a nursing home in a neighboring town. Soon, he delivered meals to nursing home residents in their rooms. They welcomed the opportunity to talk with him, even briefly. In time, his social skills improved enough to work at a neighboring town's health club facility. Following a demoralizing experience as a freelance writer, he gave up on writing and pursued rigorous training to become a licensed insurance producer. Upon passing his exams, he found an entry-level job working for a kind insurance agent in a neighboring town. His confidence grew. "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

With loving encouragement from his Dad's older sister, John risked another attempt at writing – a part-time position at his old job. The community members who previously shunned him grew impressed with his recovered talents. As his skills improved, John landed two more prominent writing gigs and a full-time sales job with health insurance benefits. Finally, with the help of supportive people, John started to recoup the losses he suffered to the point where his glass overflowed with hope. "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12)

Dear Lord, please grant us the sensitivity and compassion to offer our friendship and support to everyone who struggles with behavioral health challenges. Amen.

Author: Jessica Loftus, Ph.D.
Image is under license from

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Other-Directedness and Anxiety: Does Focusing on Others Help or Hurt?

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 @ 9:05 PM

by Jennifer Martin Rieck, LCPC

An Overview of Early Maladaptive Schemas and Schema Therapy

In the world of Schema Therapy, which is the type of therapy I practice, an Early Maladaptive Schema is an adaptive but harmful belief system, or blueprint for interpreting information, that underpins the way that someone processes new information. According to the theory of Cognitive Consistency, as humans we are hardwired to look for consistency in our beliefs and experiences, even if doing so causes us problems. An Early Maladaptive Schema is formed when we have early childhood experiences that we internalize as representing truth, or being how things are globally. This is an example of a cognitive distortion called Overgeneralization, which occurs when we come to a conclusion about a specific event and then apply it to other unrelated events. When someone experiences a loss, such as losing a caregiver or parent by death or divorce early in life, they often form the belief that people will always leave in the end. This scenario often results in an individual having an Abandonment schema, which later results in repeated experiences that enforce the schema due to the individual engaging in behaviors driven by the anxiety caused by such a belief.

For example, most of us are familiar with relationally insecure individuals commonly being referred to as having “abandonment issues”. These individuals are often so clingy or needy with partners or friends that the partner or friends ends up leaving the relationship or making boundaries that cause the individual to feel abandoned. Many times these individuals are misunderstood by themselves and others, as they are acting on strong feelings and automatic thoughts. Without processing when and how their Abandonment schema was formed, and how it might be at the root of their painful feelings, these individuals will tend to misinterpret current situations and engage in behaviors that result in them being re-injured time and time again. The goal of Schema Therapy is not to pretend that painful early childhood experiences haven’t occurred or that painful messages haven’t been internalized, but rather to fully explore and acknowledge those experiences, and the messages that we’ve taken away from them, in a way that prevents us from acting unconsciously and subsequently reliving the same painful scenarios over and over again.

An Introduction to Other-Directedness Schemas

Other-Directedness domain schemas of Subjugation, Self-Sacrifice, and Approval Seeking are three different Early Maladaptive Schemas that are evaluated for and treated as problematic in Schema Therapy due to the fact that they often underpin an individual’s anxiety and/or depression. Each of these three schemas have to do with being overly focused on the feelings, needs, opinions, and reactions of others. Individuals with high scores in these schemas tend to have poor boundaries and a distorted sense of responsibility. Overly focusing on others and being overly accountable for another person’s feelings, needs, behaviors, and attitudes, creates an unhealthy style of being in relationship with others. Focusing on what one cannot control removes an individual’s sense of power and prevents investing emotional energy where the person does have power.

Subjugation Schema

The schema of Subjugation has to do with feelings of inferiority regarding ones own needs and desires and a strong belief that it isn’t safe to express emotions. It makes sense that if someone grew up in an environment where it truly wasn’t safe to express emotions, because they had an angry or volatile parent or would be punished for doing so, that over time a child would begin suppressing and silencing their thoughts and feelings in order to feel safe or to prevent harm. However, this sort of chronic suppression often results in inner turmoil and anger, as an individual can’t articulate what they are truly feeling and thinking and subsequently can’t get their needs met. With this schema comes a lot of inner turmoil and frustration over what is okay to say and do and want and what isn’t.

Self-Sacrifice Schema

Self-Sacrifice schema is another very common harmful schema that often results from growing up in environment where the message they received from caregivers was that there was no room for their emotions due to the parent’s own limited emotional capacity or a parent being self-absorbed. When a parent reacts negatively to their child’s emotions it unfortunately sends the message that the child’s emotions are problematic and that if the child wants to be well-liked they shouldn’t need anything from others. The child takes away the message that they should be mature, independent, and self-sufficient. Unfortunately, adults with this schema often wind up with emotionally unhealthy partners and friends due to the fact that they don’t require empathy or understanding or accommodations from others. These individuals often become increasingly depressed and/or anxious because they spend all of their time focusing on the needs and feelings of others and suppressing their own. They often feel extremely guilty for holding others accountable due to the fact that they believe their job is to be of comfort to others and that there is no room for their emotions and needs.

Approval Seeking Schema

Approval Seeking is the third of the Other-Directedness schemas, and is pretty self-explanatory. Individuals who have high Approval Seeking schemas often wind up living inauthentic lives based on the preferences and desires of those around them. These individuals experience a lot of anxiety as they attempt to get the things they want only if they can garner the full support and affirmation of those close to them. It becomes very hard then for these individuals to make choices or make changes to their lives that would make them happy, because they can rarely get everyone on board with their ideas.

Regardless of which of the Other-Directedness schemas you have (or perhaps you even have all three), the research is clear that these belief systems, regardless of how “nice and considerate” they seem, are often what underpin the mental health struggles of many individuals. It is important work for individuals who struggle with these schemas to practice being self-validating and to really acknowledge the fact that having a healthy life and healthy relationships means being true to oneself. No amount of looking to others, whether it’s to avoid anger, care give or serve, or garner approval, will ever result in healthy, congruent decisions or healthy relationships. In fact, too often these schemas are the reason that relationships are unsatisfying and individuals feel unseen or lonely.

Healing Other-Directedness Schemas

If you struggle with any of the Other-Directedness schemas, your work is to become more self-focused and to only operate within your own boundary of responsibility. I often encourage my clients to constantly remind themselves to “stay in [their] lane”. The more somebody swerves into another’s lane and takes ownership for another’s issues, preferences, desires, and the more that someone attempts to manage other’s feelings, the more stressed and helpless they feel. Being self-focused and accountable increases a person’s internal locus of control, or their sense of having the power needed to effectively make changes to their life. Someone who is self-aware and practices being accountable for themselves, and not others, is able to put their energy to good use and create changes and make choices that support their identity and wellbeing and that improve their mental health.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

The Power of Perspective: Finding Strength in Tough Times

Saturday, November 4, 2023 @ 8:25 PM

Throughout the past few weeks, the theme around perspective has been yelling in my ear loud and clear. As a wife, mom of two very active children, therapist and business owner it's one of the many things I had to lean on when I recently fell, fractured my ankle and had to have surgery all within the same week. Talk about perspective when chaos appears to be erupting all around you. And as if this weren't enough, my doctor tells me I can't drive for two months and must cancel my family trip to Puerto Rico. What????!!! Believe it or not, I was pretty calm when the doctor gave me the news about the severity of my injury. Some may think I was too calm, but as someone who has worked hard to find healthier ways of managing stress, I knew that reacting versus responding would not serve me well. My options were to become overwhelmed with emotions or accept the situation at hand. So, I immediately decided to accept what I couldn't control and process what was happening without getting too far ahead of myself.

In light of all that has happened, I'm hoping, that in sharing my experience, I can share some tips that may help someone when it feels like everything around them is falling apart.

Although difficult, in challenging times, it's important to cultivate a proactive mindset that allows us to navigate hurdles and overcome obstacles. Adopting a fresh perspective to build resilience and effectively coping with tough times can reduce stress and overwhelming feelings. In the face of adversity, it is easy to get consumed by negativity and lose sight of potential opportunities for growth and personal development. However, it is during these tough moments that adopting a fresh perspective becomes more important than ever and so I created a list of the things that helped me get through.

1. Acknowledge and express emotions: It is vital to acknowledge and accept the emotions that arise from tough situations. By doing so, we can release the negative energy and make room for a more positive outlook.

2. Identify areas of control: In tough times, it is important to focus on what we can control rather than dwell on what is beyond our reach. By identifying areas where we can exert influence and take action, we regain a sense of empowerment.

3. Seek alternative viewpoints: Engaging in conversations with others who have faced similar challenges can offer fresh perspectives and valuable insights. It can help broaden our understanding and can lead to creative solutions that one may have not thought of.

4. Embrace change and adaptability: In tough times, adaptability is key. By cultivating a mindset that embraces change, we are more likely to find new opportunities and creative solutions to overcome obstacles.

5. Practice gratitude: During challenging periods, it is easy to become fixated on what is going wrong. However, cultivating a gratitude practice can help shift our focus to what is going right, no matter how small. This change in perspective can bring a renewed sense of hope and positivity.

6. Focus on personal growth: Tough times provide an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Taking time to identify our strengths and weaknesses allows us to work on areas that need improvement and develop new skills, fostering resilience for the future.

Building resilience in tough times is not an overnight process, but by adopting a fresh perspective and embracing the challenges as opportunities for growth, we can navigate through even the most challenging circumstances. Remember, tough times do not define us; it is our response to them that truly shapes our resilience.

Final thoughts, when faced with tough times, shifting our perspective can make all the difference. By acknowledging emotions, identifying areas of control, seeking alternative viewpoints, embracing change, practicing gratitude, and focusing on personal growth, we can build resilience and emerge stronger than ever.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Bonding, Boundaries And Life During The Holidays At Home, Church And Work

Wednesday, November 1, 2023 @ 9:02 PM

The holidays bring up more intense feelings as we bond and try to set boundaries with ourselves and others during this special season. Now we may want to do more bonding because we see more opportunities to be around friends and or loved ones. This is important and we should take advantage of it. It's also important that we be careful of our own entitlement as well as getting too close to people where it might become enmeshment or what therapists call pseudo-mutuality. This is where boundaries come in and may be important for us to have as we look at our obligations, expectations, and even other people's entitlement.

Good memories, fun times, sincere gift giving and receiving as well as the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and friends can be a great part of bonding during the holidays. Sharing, talking and just hanging out can sometimes be the richest experience for this time of year. The biblical word for knowing somebody is really more about close connection and having emotional intimacy. Look for this in some form during the holidays because it can become very rewarding. It's important to ask questions to catch up with your relatives and friends. Find out what their experiences have been in the last year.

At the same time, you may need to set boundaries with Uncle Frank who gets drunk on most holidays. Or maybe your relatives have huge expectations of you and others. Or you may need to set boundaries with your boss who expects you to work overtime for a holiday rush or even as a leader in a company you may need to set limits with stakeholders that have large expectations of your staff. Or even getting burned out at church by doing too much Christmas stuff and you're thinking about giving up your denomination for lent.

Boundaries might be setting limits on your own holiday eating pattern. Besides which you can probably take some of it home and store it in the refrigerator. It may also be good to set limits on how much you talk about memories or people who have passed on. As a leader you can distribute information on how to cope with holiday stress and depression. You can also train your staff to recognize signs of holiday letdown in their employees. You can also coordinate holiday support groups especially for the newly relocated or single employees who may not have relatives to go to the holidays with. A good trick is to set limits on your motives as well of course as your own expectations or entitlement. Pray before you go to a holiday event at work or at church or even at home even if you have to pray for the desire of your heart so you help lay out your expectations with God before you go which can help you both with bonding and boundaries.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Marriage Roller Coasters HELP: I WANNA GET OFF!!!

Monday, October 30, 2023 @ 3:54 PM

I recall years ago going on trips to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Back then that was a big deal, especially the anticipation of what was considered the most exciting roller coaster ride of that time, “The Cyclone”. For some reason anticipating tumbling from the top of a huge hill at record speed made the heart race, and actually doing it caused even more heart palpitations. I remember as that huge machine went creaking slowly up, what seemed like, an insurmountable hill. There was a deluge of thoughts that ran through my mind, from “Oh Lord this was a mistake”, or “Why did I let them talk me into this” or What if this thing gets to the top and I go flying off” or literally whispering prayers of repentance, just in case. Needless to say, this was always the anticipated and also dreaded ride of my life, but at the end I would utter a sigh of relief knowing ALL WAS WELL!!!
Over the years, the marriage union has been taking a severe bashing, as marriages go up and down a roller coaster ride. Marriage is under siege and the idea is to eradicate the family and bring complete destruction. Most research indicates that the marriage roller coaster ride is violently going up and down and the family is taking a beating on every relationship turf, starting with marriage. As a result of the ride, the Christian therapist bent on finding healing answers, stands on the sidelines waiting for couples to get off, take a deep breath, and put their hands in the air as they make their way down hill screaming HELP!!!
As one of those therapists waiting on the sidelines, when those seeking my help decide to schedule an appointment with me, my first question is usually “how can I help you”? That simple, yet riveting question, has managed to reap a colossal array of responses, one of which is usually “how can I save my marriage? I think my husband/wife hates me.” This response is most times followed by whimpering and sobbing from being on the ride of their lives for so long, as they try to figure out what they did wrong and why they ever got on the ride in the first place. The response to this ongoing ride is mind boggling, sometimes even for the therapist, bent on helping to repair the emotional and verbal bumps and bruises already suffered. While the desire is always to see the glass half full, some scars are very deep.
The hurt, discouragement and rejection that is felt during this life changing ride leaves one’s heart in a fright that is second to none. However, all should not be lost knowing there is an answer on the horizon that brings comfort and healing on every downward slope. It is up to the therapist to prescribe tools that bring comfort and release, especially when the ride seems unending. There is a remedy for this Gaslighting (form of emotional abuse) that has the potential to cripple one’s dreams, desires and hopes.
What or who is the answer that brings lasting hope?
Where can the couple find lasting peace when all they see is chaos?
Should the couple be seeking happiness or joy and where does this lie?
How can one find comfort in a devastatingly uncomfortable situation?
The voice of hope, peace, joy and comfort, beckons to the man/woman questioning why his/her husband/wife hates him/her, letting him/her know there is an everlasting love that can be realized even when all hell has broken loose in the once loving home, that was at ease on the upward slope. Despite the anguish that this ride sometimes causes, there is healing to be embraced as the victims, release themselves and victoriously scream as they get to the bottom of the ride ALL IS STILL WELL!!! “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3
Submitted by:
Dr. Sharon Arrindell

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

What's In Your Wagon?

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 @ 7:00 PM

On the corner of my desk sits a little red, Radio Flyer wagon - a miniature version of the real thing. Inside the wagon are several individually wrapped candies of various sorts. Some are sweet; some are tart or bitter. They differ in color, size and shape. What the candies have in common is that they are all in the wagon, seemingly competing for the limited space. On top of the candies rests a chubby stuffed squirrel that by all accounts, is out of place. After all, when have you ever seen a squirrel sitting in a wagon full of candy? So now you know what is in my preverbal wagon - sort of.

My first question for you is this, what's in your wagon? Before answering the question, we first must define the term "wagon". Very simply, the metaphoric wagon refers to a person and his or her life. All of us have a wagon. Assuming we are discussing your life and your wagon, each candy in the wagon represents your different thoughts, healthy and unhealthy emotions, cherished experiences as well as heart breaks and trauma, stressors, loyalties, relationships, cares and concerns, responsibilities, and debts. It includes your likes and dislikes, passions and biases, insecurities, failures, potential, your faith or the lack thereof, and most importantly - your accurate and inaccurate beliefs about God, yourself, others and the world around you.

If you were to inventory the contents of your wagon, replacing individual candies for nuggets of reality, what would you find? The second question is similar to the first: does it (whatever you found) belong in your wagon? Or does it belong to someone else? For example, suppose you have a relative who spends his paycheck on really stupid stuff and then comes to you with a sob story and crocodile tears. Does he put you on a guilt trip until you acquiesce and grudgingly place his house payment into your wagon? Do you assume responsibility for his mortgage? In reality, his behaviors and his mortgage belong to him and therefore belong in his wagon, not yours. You have the right and responsibility to manage your own life - to determine what goes in your wagon and what doesn't, what remains in the wagon because it legitimately belongs to you and what is unceremoniously removed from the wagon. When we unnecessarily assume responsibilities for others, we often times place unbearable and untenable weight in our own wagon. Eventually the extra weight will cause the axles to falter or the tires to flatten; in other words, something inside of our being stops functioning as it should. We become stuck somehow; just worn out with nothing left to give ourselves or others.

The same thing can happen when we ourselves make stupid or haphazard choices, like choosing to drive drunk or marrying a person twenty-eight days after we meet them on line (or in person). Sounds romantically Hollywood, doesn't it? Perhaps, but it doesn't require deep thought to appreciate the perils of impetuous decision making. Yet, some people carelessly complicate their lives by placing such things in their wagon. As we all know, it's much easier to fill up the wagon than it is to empty it - and all God's people said: AMEN to that!

Let's not overlook the fact that we contribute good things to the wagon also. We choose the right spouse at the right time, start a family, pursue a career, make investments, buy a house, or engage in ministry. Many things in our wagon are wholesome and welcomed - the results of reasoned decision making coupled with blessings from God.

So far we have introduced two wagon content categories. The first is 'from others', and the second is 'from self'. There is another content category: the unrealized. The origin of some things we discover in the wagon cannot be explained. We have no idea where it came from - an illogical or self-defeating belief about God or self, for example. Often times it really doesn't matter how we acquired a dysfunctional belief or habit or how it got into our wagon. What's important is that we recognize it now for what it is. The next step is to remove it immediately. That may be easier said than done but it can be done. Depending on the depth of the dysfunction, effective professional counseling may be helpful with that endeavor.

The last wagon content category is the 'unexpected' circumstances that flip our lives upside down. What sets them apart from the norm is they are seemingly huge and unmanageable. It is likened to the chubby squirrel sitting in my wagon - only he's not really sitting. He is a menace wreaking havoc by running all over everywhere complicating every other aspect of our lives with little relief in sight. If you've ever experienced a wild squirrel running loose in your garage or attic, you understand the metaphor perfectly. As with most things in our lives (or in our preverbal wagons), we normally have some level of influence over it. In a wild squirrel situation, it seems we have no control. Instead, we are relegated from an active role to a reactionary posture. Multiply the stress level if we have multiple squirrels running around the wagon simultaneously. In some situations, our negative or fatalistic attitude IS the squirrel; sometimes not. Either way, we need to figure out the best way to manage our wagon.

Herein lies a few questions. When and how do we discover the wagon's content? And what should we do about what we find? Short answer: seek to discover the contents now, this minute. Begin by making a list of all of your duties, responsibilities and obligations followed by your past and present emotional experiences that still affect you, your worries, and anxiety producing thoughts and beliefs. Include everything that comes to mind, both negative and positive. Next, decide which things on the list belong to you and which do not. Decide which things may belong to you but are either not true, or unhealthy for you to maintain. Lastly, choose what to do with each one. For example, if something clearly belongs to someone else, give it back to them. If they don't want it, leave it at their doorstep anyway. When you consider things that legitimately belong to you, assume adult responsibility for it. Take appropriate action. If something is yours that you no longer want to carry, let it go. For example, a misstep you made 20 years ago that you can do nothing about now - it's time to let it go; choose not to think about it; focus your thoughts and energy on today.

The above paragraph is merely a snippet. It is not intended to walk you through the entire process but instead, to remind you that there is hope for you and your situation. You don't have to continue life pulling a wagon whose tires have gone flat from excess weight. You can choose to do something about it - now! So, do it!

Our phone number is 817.812.3021. Call us if we can help.

We offer Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Seek Christian Counseling when your marriage needs help!

Thursday, October 5, 2023 @ 2:11 PM


Title: Blog: Seek Christian Counseling when your marriage needs help
Written by: Dr. Donna M. Marshall

I encourage all couples to seek counseling if their marriage is in a place where they feel they just can’t seem to move past this point in time. Tension and stress will only get worse. It is difficult when there is not unity in the marriage. When you feel like the only thing you have in common is disagreeing that is a big red flag. You have snippy answers for each other instead of trying to work together to resolve your differences. Being able to realize that someone has to bend in order to move beyond where you are is important. Often times no one is willing to bend and digging your heals in only makes matters worse. If it’s been going on for so long that you start to wonder if it will ever get better this is a time your beginning to realize that without bending it won’t just go away. Your worry about whether it will ever get better is a legitimate concern.
I want to tell you that there is a way of moving past this point in time. But it will take going to counseling. I recommend Christian Counseling and here is why. Christian Counseling helps couples to reunite by keeping a hope for the future focus. It’s about forgiveness and letting go of the anger and resentment so you can apologize sincerely and move forward. But it doesn’t end there. Now the work begins. That’s right I said work. Because it will take time to learn how to communicate effectively without letting anger or resentment take the reigns. It will be about being mindful and intentional with your words. And it will be about taking your time with each other and learn how to interact being respectful and kind to one another.
Gradually, you will come back to a place where you appreciate each other again. You will look forward to spending time together and you will value each other. So again I do encourage counseling because it is the right thing to do to get back on track but not just any track, the right track which will lead you to a place of peace and unity in marriage.
If you need counseling consider Christian Counseling with me Dr. Marshall of Oceanlife Christian Counseling. I hope this blog encourages you and has offered you a new hope.
God bless you.

Dr. Donna M. Marshall

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Cognitive Distortions you don't need them

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 @ 4:05 PM

For many of us, we are entirely unaware of how prevalent cognitive distortions are in our lives. We have allowed them to run rampant in our every day thought processes and when someone points out how dysfunctional they are, we can even become a bit defensive.

Cognitive distortions serve no healthy purpose. In fact, they often lead to more irrational thinking, dysregulated mood, as well as intrapersonal and interpersonal problems. We find that those struggling with distortions regularly struggle to maintain a positive outlook or hope that things can get better. They often have more difficulties in their interpersonal relationships and allow their distortions to dictate the outcome of their relationships.

All this to say, cognitive distortions are relatively normal to have. Most of us have struggled, and often even after learning about distortions and how to work through them effectively, still do struggle with at least one. Below you will find a list of the 10 most common distortions. It would be beneficial for you to go through the list and notate any that you feel resonate with you, or that you are aware that you do regularly.

1. Mental Filtering: When we choose (often unconsciously) to focus on everything that is not working. We filter out all the good and only see the bad.

Reframe: Begin by listing 1 thing daily that is going right or is good. Eventually work up to 5-10 items daily.

2. Jumping to Conclusions: When we make *irrational* assumptions about other people or situations based on our feelings rather than on facts or evidence.

Reframe: Examine the evidence. Is your conclusion substantiated? Challenge the feeling. Remind yourself that feelings are not facts. Question what the conclusion does for you, does it help you or hurt you? And, are their healthier alternatives?

3. Personalization: When we take undue blame for everything that goes wrong in our lives and others, and we find ourselves to constantly be a victim of circumstance.

Reframe: Examine what part (if any) you did have in the outcome, accept whatever responsibility you have in the matter and work on letting others accept responsibility as well.

4. All of Nothing Thinking: When we see everything in black or white, right, or wrong; there is no middle ground or space to compromise.

Reframe: Challenge yourself by finding alternative (middle ground) solutions or compromises. Start small and work up to adjusting on a larger scale.

5. Catastrophizing: When we blow things our of proportion or make situations/events worse than they actually are. Everything will always be bad.

Reframe: Challenge your thinking. “Are things really as bad as I feel?” And then challenge your feelings; Why am I feeling this way, what evidence do I have that supports this feeling?

6. Overgeneralization: When we have a habit of using past experiences (often based in feelings rather than evidence) to predict or make assumptions about the future. “She ALWAYS…He NEVER…”

Reframe: Challenge the absolutes (always, never, must..) and is there evidence to support a different outcome? Could things be different if we didn’t use absolutes?

7. Labeling: When we make global statements about ourselves or others based on situation specific behaviors. We use one event to label the rest. *this often mirrors our internal belief system.

Reframe: Where is the evidence that this is true in every situation? Reminding ourselves that using one event to determine the outcome of everything requires further reflection.

8. Shoulding and Musting: When we use “should and must” to have unreasonable expectations of ourselves or others. “You SHOULD…I MUST…”

Reframe: When you notice yourself using these words, challenge yourself to see if the expectations are reasonable. How are you feeling? Is your feeling based on evidence? Are there any other healthy alternatives that can help you reach the desired outcome.

9. Emotional Reasoning: When we allow our feelings to dictate how we see situations, people, and outcomes. The tendency to allow our feelings to control our perceptions.

Reframe: Being mindful in the moment and questioning our feelings. “Is how I am feeling skewed or biased? What evidence do I have to support my feelings?”

10. Magnification and Minimization: When we tend to minimize our own positive attributes and devalue ourselves, while magnifying someone else’s positive attributes and putting them on a pedestal. In other words, recognizing and magnifying some else’s good while putting yourself down.

Reframe: Challenge yourself to find reasons that you are deserving and capable. Start out with listing one thing daily that you are good at, that you do well. Eventually build up and add to your list. “What about today/this situation makes me deserving and capable?”

So, what to do once you have identified which ones you struggle with? You work on reframing your thoughts. A mental health professional can work with you to identify which ones you struggle with (do not be surprised if multiple resonate with you) and help you to gain more effective and healthy coping skills. Cognitive distortions often come from a time when they served you. For example, at some point in your life someone you trusted told you what you SHOULD do, and you saw the unreasonable expectations they had on themselves (what they MUST do). This led you to utilizing the “shoulding and musting” in your own life without even recognizing where it came from. At one point it was normal. But that does not mean it was healthy. Which leads you to finding healthier alternatives for the distortions.

To some extent we may all do these from time to time. To say that we could entirely eradicate ever doing any of these would not be beneficial, but we can minimize the frequency and extent to which you utilize these to cope. Our thoughts are based on our perceptions and our perceptions are our reality. But if we can change our thoughts, we can change our reality. We can go from hopeless to having hope. From struggling interpersonally to maintaining healthy and thriving relationships. From intrapersonal discord to shaping who we want to be and loving the life we live. You are not destined to live with unhealthy thinking patterns or maladaptive (unhealthy) coping skills. The thing about our thoughts is, they are often founded through feelings, and feelings are not facts. When we take the time to examine our feelings and their validity, we find that we have unresolved hurts or ineffective coping skills that have served us but no longer do. We find that we can let go of those feelings and focus on the facts, we can change our thoughts, we can lean into the discomfort temporarily to create a life we will love, we can choose a different path than the one we are currently on, and we do not have to let our past dictate our future outcomes.

What Therapy is and who I am as a Therapist.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 @ 4:02 PM

Therapy is a place that you can come to be fully yourself. You can say what you need to say, feel whatever you need to feel, and trust that your therapist will hold a nonjudgmental and safe space for you to process. One of the things I like to go over with clients in our initial consultation call is who I am as a therapist, because let’s face it, we are all different, and what they can expect out of the therapy process with me. So, if you are here reading and are curious, let me do my best to explain myself and my process.

As a therapist I promise to show up and be authentically me. I promise to be transparent with you, to challenge you to grow, and to guide you in your journey. I promise to model a healthy, loving and encouraging relationship with and for you, and that I will always be in your corner cheering you on and believing in you. I promise to hold hope for you, even and especially when, the hurt threatens to overtake any hope you might have had. I promise to work my hardest to help you reach your goals and write a story you will love being a part of. I promise to not make any empty promises.

As a therapist I act as a guide, and you are the expert. I come alongside you and help you navigate your life currently, how the past has influenced the present, and how you would like to mold yourself to create a future that you look forward to. I will utilize a wide range of techniques, tools, and modalities to help you reach your goals. And I will work my hardest,but I can’t and won’t work harder than you. This means you must be willing to do the hard work, make the changes you want to make, and try new things. We might not always get it right, but we will always try, and if you are committed to the process, I can promise the process works. When we discuss what a therapist and therapy is, we also need to discuss what a therapist and therapy is not.

As your therapist I am not a miracle worker or magician. I say this with love. I can’t magically make everything better, and I can’t work out all your problems. What I can do though, is help you navigate life, give you healthy alternatives and encourage you to grow and change to be a healthier and thriving you. I do not have a magic wand and coming to therapy isn’t a miracle answer. Therapy is hard work. It’s a place where you lay it all down, you sort through the hard stuff, you cry, you get angry, you want to give up. You question why you chose to do this, and if you should continue. But therapy works. That I can also promise. Therapy is messy and beautiful, and all the good things life should be. It teaches you to see yourself through new eyes, and it helps you to focus on the things that are most important. Therapy is painful. We are talking about all the things you typically avoid, and each week I challenge you with a new concept to try outside of session. Stagnation has no place in therapy. Even when it seems like we are stuck, there is work being done. And if you get to a place with a therapist where you feel like there isn’t work being done, address it. As a therapist I don’t have all the answers, and I am not always right. I have a genuine and empathic heart. I have strong intuition and often lean on that when I go out on limbs trying to connect the dots. I have years of training, and on-going training that equips me to help you in this process. While I don’t like labels, and I never have, I am able to diagnose and utilize the diagnosis as a lens to formulate the best possible treatment plan for you. But I promise to do that with you. I promise to discuss goals and to do my best to understand what you ultimately want to achieve through therapy.

As your therapist, I am unlike other people in your life. I am not your friend, though it may feel that way. Trust me when I say, there have been clients, and I believe there always will be, that I could see as friends in different circumstances. Its normal to feel this way. We meet regularly, you share openly and honestly with me, I listen and reflect on what you tell me, I challenge you to grow and do so with love and admiration for who you already are. I genuinely care for every single client. And it is not something I can turn off when session ends. As a therapist, I think about clients outside of therapy. I pray for them, sometimes I will even check on them if my heart tells me to reach out. I want the best for you, and I am honored that I get to be part of the process. It is my job to model healthy boundaries for you,but that doesn’t mean I won’t celebrate if you call or text just to tell me something exciting. I guarantee I will scream with you in joy and celebration. Or, if something horrible happens, I will be there to sit with you and allow you to cry or simply be. Sometimes, I will even cry with you, because I am human too, and when you hurt, I hurt. As your therapist, I promise to see you fully. For whom you are, and who you have the potential to become. And I promise that, as long as you will allow me, I will work with you to create the life you want.

As your therapist I promise to create a safe, loving, nonjudgmental and life-changing space for you. I promise to hold hope. I promise to sort through the hurt. I promise to guide you in the process. I want you to know that this isn’t my job, it’s my passion and calling, and I believe that God led me to this to help and to be a beacon of hope and light in the darkness. I won’t always get it right, I will make mistakes, sometimes I will be sick or need to cancel, or be gone on trainings, or take time off to be with my family, but what I can promise you is that while you continue your process I will be here. As long as you and God allow me to be, I will walk alongside you and cheer you on every step of the way.

I might not have all the answers, but I promise to always do my best to understand you, encourage you, and guide you with truth and love. Therapy might not be magical, but magic does happen when we allow someone else the chance to fully be seen.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Gentle Correction At Work, Church And Home

Thursday, August 24, 2023 @ 7:04 PM

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6: 1-5, Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Proverbs 9: 8

1. Pray first, listen second and then do it again.

a. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Luke 11:4

b. It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife; but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 20: 3

c. Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will rescue and save you.

d. Differing weights are detestable and offensive to the LORD, and fraudulent scales are not good. Proverbs 20:22

e. The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out Proverbs 20:5

With God, process your hurt and frustration as well as your fear and sense of injustice.

2. Be direct.

a. If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

b. Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so, drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Proverbs 17:14

Don't gossip be passive or avoid. Find a good time and deal with the issue.

3. Build up.

a. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

b. A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

c. Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise - Proverbs 20:1

Don't tear down or unload. Cover one issue at a time.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Beyond the Timeline: Exploring Postpartum Depression and Late-Onset Symptoms

Sunday, August 20, 2023 @ 10:51 PM

Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS) are commonly associated with the period following childbirth. However, it's important to recognize that postpartum depression and anxiety can occur even if your youngest child is over 2, 3, or 4 years old.

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of late-onset postpartum depression, its possible causes, and how to recognize, seek support, and deal with postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms that arise beyond the typical postpartum timeframe. Remember, it's never too late to prioritize your mental health and seek the help you need.

Understanding Late-Onset Postpartum Depression

Late-onset postpartum depression refers to the occurrence of depressive symptoms after the typical postpartum period, often beyond the first year or even when your youngest child is over 2 years old. While the exact causes are not fully understood, factors such as hormonal fluctuations, life stressors, sleep deprivation, and the challenges of parenting can contribute to the development of postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms at any stage.

Recognizing Late-Onset Postpartum Depression Symptoms

It's crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of late-onset postpartum depression, as they may present differently than during the immediate postpartum period. Symptoms can include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. If you notice these symptoms persisting for more than two weeks and interfering with your daily functioning, it's important to seek professional help.

Possible Triggers and Contributing Factors

Several factors can contribute to the onset of postpartum depression beyond the typical timeframe. Life stressors, such as relationship challenges, financial difficulties, or significant life changes, can trigger or exacerbate depressive symptoms. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during the weaning process or changes in birth control methods, may also play a role. Additionally, the ongoing demands and pressures of parenting, coupled with a lack of self-care, can contribute to the development of late-onset PPD.

The Importance of Seeking Support

Regardless of when PPD symptoms arise, seeking support is essential for your well-being. Reach out to healthcare professionals, such as your doctor or a mental health specialist, who can provide a thorough assessment and guide you toward appropriate treatment options. Don't hesitate to confide in trusted family members, friends, or support groups, as their understanding and support can be invaluable throughout your journey.

Treatment Options and Self-Care Strategies

Treating late-onset postpartum depression often involves a combination of therapies tailored to your specific needs. Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), can provide valuable tools for managing symptoms and addressing underlying issues. Medication may also be considered in consultation with a healthcare professional. Additionally, prioritize self-care activities, such as exercise, adequate sleep, healthy nutrition, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Breaking the Stigma and Finding Empowerment

It's crucial to break the stigma surrounding postpartum depression, regardless of when it occurs. Remember that PPD is a medical condition and not a reflection of your worth as a mother. By seeking help and sharing your experiences, you contribute to reducing the shame and isolation often associated with PPD. Embrace the opportunity to prioritize your mental health, as it allows you to be a more present and fulfilled parent for your child.


Postpartum depression can manifest beyond the typical postpartum period, and it's important to acknowledge and address the possibility of late-onset symptoms. By recognizing the signs, seeking support, and implementing appropriate treatment and postpartum depression strategies, you can navigate the challenges of PPD, regardless of when they arise. Remember, you deserve compassion, understanding, and the necessary support to prioritize your mental well-being as a parent.

To discuss ways that I can support you during your postpartum journey, please visit:

Faith Prescription for Easing Anxiety Each Day

Sunday, August 20, 2023 @ 1:50 PM

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

As I awaken, my mind reels with anxious thoughts stemming from unsettling dreams.
The pit in my stomach gnaws as I recall all the current struggles in my life. The inspirational phrase placed in a photo frame on my nightstand beckons. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24, NLT)

Armed with this inspiration, I jump out of bed to start my day. After offering a short prayer of thanks, I nourish my body with a healthy breakfast while I nourish my soul with this faith-filled reminder. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The phone trumpets the first challenge of the day. Sure enough, my boss requests that I complete a taxing project by tomorrow morning. I agree to email the final report by 8 a.m.

My heart flutters as I remind myself, "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13). Upon quieting the noise in my mind, I outline a realistic game plan to complete the crucial components of this task.

After several productive hours, it becomes evident that elements of this assignment extend beyond my reach. A rival coworker, not exactly known for cooperation, must be consulted. The bible quote, "If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) flows through my mind as I text a request for assistance.

The Lord answered my prayer. I received the precise information I needed in a few minutes. With gratitude, I acknowledged God’s help. "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20)

Minutes later, my hopeful mood dampened at receiving an email that a close family member was admitted to the hospital with chest pain. In a moment of panic, I recalled the first lines of the serenity prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference" (Reinhold Niebuhr) *

What's in my control? I muse. Well, I can visit my family member after I finish work this evening. Then I pray for God's healing and divine guidance to all the hospital staff involved. I also pray for the serenity to accept His will in this and all situations. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Satisfied with my efforts with my family member, I focus back on my work. After completing a draft of my project summary, the kitchen faucet starts to drip. Not again, I complain as I call the plumber. I just replaced it last week. Worried about the plumber's fees on my tight budget, I read this scripture passage. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)

Miracles do happen! The plumber didn't even charge me. And I emailed my completed work project to my boss at 5 p.m. - with plenty of time to make it to the hospital during visiting hours. As I entered the hospital room, my family member shared the good news that the chest pain was not a heart attack, just a minor stomach issue that only required medication.

As I left the hospital and headed to my car, my boss called to congratulate me on my fine work on that demanding project and to inform me that I will be recommended for a promotion. “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalms 118:1)

Of course, I know that all days do not go so well. And I start to feel anxious about tomorrow when I recall, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)

* Excerpt from “The Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr

Article and Photo by Jessica Loftus

Friday, August 18, 2023

Hitting the Wall: Overcoming Life's Challenges!

Friday, August 18, 2023 @ 2:59 PM

You know the feeling. That moment when things seem dark, like the color has been stripped away from your world when either failure or loss tears away plans you’ve made and dreams you envisioned.

Everything that you had been building towards, all of the progress and struggle and sacrifice, everything falls apart, and you’re unsure if there’s a way to pick up the pieces. No matter where you are in your life, whether buying a house, building a career, or trying to relax, there’s the chance you’ll run into THE WALL.

THE WALL is the limit of our abilities, emotions, patience, or luck. THE WALL is the point where we find that our efforts are not good enough and where we find our greatest struggles. THE WALL is where we are beaten.

But it doesn’t have to be. It turns out we climb THE WALL every single day. That’s right. We climb the wall hundreds of times a day. It’s in our head, and we CAN conquer it.

We will talk about some ways to refocus, dust ourselves off, and get over that beast. There isn’t any single, unified approach. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” road to success, even though many self-help books insist there is. But we can use skills, tactics, and mindsets to keep ourselves in the fight, no matter what that fight may be.

THE WALL is where we fail, but it must not be where we give up!

Remember the story of Moses (Exodus 17) when the Israelites were battling the Amalekites? As long as Moses' arms are raised, God's people will be victorious against their enemies. But should Moses' arms fall, the enemy will win. Even though he bravely tried to hold up his arms so the Israelites would win the battle, Moses became fatigued. He couldn't do it alone. His brother, Aaron, and his general, Hur, knew Moses couldn't do it alone. They had him sit on a rock and stood on either side of him, holding up his arms until the day ended and the battle was won.

All of us will hit the wall, as Moses did, no matter how strong our faith is, how dedicated we are, and how strong we are physically.

That's why we need each other. But we can also look at different ways to climb those walls (obstacles) we face daily.

The first and most crucial step in overcoming an obstacle is to identify what prevents us from achieving our goals and define the obstacle itself. To do that, we also must have a firm grasp on what our goal is and the conditions in which we will find satisfaction.

We do this kind of evaluation subconsciously all the time; “I am hungry; I do not have a burger,” for example. The solution to the obstacle is simple and straightforward in this case. We can hit a drive-thru or get the pan out and cook a hamburger ourselves.

However, when the Obstacle becomes more complex, we may have to take more time and effort to examine what hinders our progress.

This may seem basic to some readers, but the fundamentals are important. We absolutely must be capable of expanding our awareness of the situation before we can dissect and dismantle the obstacle. We have to be able to slow things down, to stop and pay attention, focus, and see where we can improve. This step comes with an important task, which cannot or MUST NOT be skipped.

We have to figure out if we can win the fight at all or if we need to.

Ultimately, we cannot overcome everything. We cannot overcome every obstacle.

Failure is as much a part of the human experience as success, and while it often feels like defeat is a precursor to death, it’s rarely so serious.

As we analyze our situation, we may find that encountering the wall has made us realize our priorities are skewed and need to be adjusted, or the obstacles have challenged us to grow or obtain success we would not have otherwise obtained.

Often, our emotions distort our perception, and we place a heightened level of importance on the immediate challenge that might not be necessary or appropriate. By taking a step back, examining our emotional response, and reframing the problem through a lens of rationality, we might find that the thing that currently confounds us may be out of our control or something that can be side-stepped entirely.

Save yourself the frustration of climbing THE WALL if you don’t need to or want to climb it! If you take the time to determine that you care about the problem you are facing, the next steps become easier, and you can adjust how much you care later down the line.

It’s vital to note that other people's actions and feelings are NOT under our control. If your rational examination of THE WALL reveals someone else is controlling your progress, you’ll have to adjust your strategy. More on that later, but for now, focus on what YOU can accomplish.

Once we’ve figured out what the obstacle is and that there is something we can do to overcome it, we have to enact the plan.

Whether it’s physical improvement, relationship goals, or learning a new skill, having a course of action that includes intent and commitment is necessary. An added bonus is to simply write it down. In short, you must maintain the idea that YOU CAN DO THIS in your mind at all times and learn to manage emotions and expectations until that idea becomes a reality, whether it takes a short time or a long time.

Specificity can be extraordinarily helpful in this stage; it’s better to set a plan that includes performance milestones. It’s HARD to lose 20 pounds or play the guitar like Hendrix, but if our plan is “eat more vegetables and less pie” or “learn how to play a chord this week,” we can break THE WALL into manageable “sections.” The smaller the sections, the easier they are to get over.

OK, we have our plan, our goal, and the all-important realistic and rational appraisal of our own ability. We’re almost there! Now, all we have to do is build our skills and find our flow, and this part can take YEARS! Ideally, in fact, it will take the rest of your life. Ultimately, if we can conquer THE WALL, we will do so by improving ourselves, our communication, our focus, and our habits.

If possible, you’ll want to do something easy to say and hard to accomplish; Detach your sense of self-worth from success or failure.

This isn't easy. It’s INCREDIBLY counter-intuitive to reaffirm that failure does not make you a bad person.

Naturally, there is a sense of scale to be considered; failure to meet a deadline is less of an indication of your character than, say, failure to remain faithful in a relationship, so this step needs to be performed carefully. If THE WALL you face will affect other people, you need to communicate with them honestly and openly before you begin attempting a course of action.

This is essentially your chance to call in a secret weapon. If you can, get help. If THE WALL is too tough to break down alone, find someone with a jackhammer. If you don’t naturally have the skill set necessary to achieve your goal, getting assistance from someone that does will help you develop new skills more efficiently.

In most cases, the people who can help you have had to do the same thing themselves. This might be a personal trainer or a gym buddy for obstacles like physical fitness. For relationship hurdles, we (of course) highly recommend therapy, or at the very least, an honest and open discussion with the people involved in the relationship. If you’re trying to develop new skills or a new career, get insight from those who have walked that road before or have expertise in those areas. They may show you holes in THE WALL that you didn’t see before and help you overcome the wall more quickly or successfully.

Finally, you’re going to want to find a community. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR STRUGGLE IS, YOU NEED COMMUNITY, even if it’s a problem you can solve yourself.

We are human. We will fail, possibly several times, until we succeed and ALL hit THE WALL. We need other people who understand the struggle and can provide support, especially those who share our values.

Sometimes, we will need encouragement through the more complicated parts of our personal growth, even if it comes from someone uninvolved in our personal WALL. We need people to celebrate when we finally get over the top, and we need to share what we have learned as well. It is incredibly important that we share the lessons that we have learned with others to lessen the burden of the struggle.

Humans have the most amazing capacity for change and achievement. It may take a ton of time. It might take assistance, organization, or tools. But that’s life. Getting over THE WALL makes our lives and communities better, stronger, and more capable of supporting each other. In the end, that’s the greatest goal.

We can start building bridges once we hit the top of THE WALL. And that’s when we can become advocates to help others overcome their walls and find joy in our and their journeys.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Healthy Cell Phone Habits for Your Kids

Thursday, August 17, 2023 @ 12:45 PM

Based on extensive research studies, it is evident that children on social media checking on their number of likes and followers have led to increased number of suicides (pre-COVID). Many children suffer from anxiety due to their activity on social media and feeling not good enough or unloved. Research says that the amount of time spent on social media negatively effects children’s well-being and mental health. However, there is good news…we have tips that may be benefit your children and family unit.

 Tip #1: Connection before Correction
o It is imperative that you establish a healthy relationship with your children before jumping right into rules. Rules without relationship leads to rebellious children. Talk with your children about the research studies mentioned above and engage in a dialogue to answer their questions.
 Tip #2: Delay social media until High School
o Although this is very difficult and you may get lots of push back from your children, it is beneficial to resist giving in. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privary Protection Act (COPPA) children are not legally permitted to be on social media until they are 13 years of age. There are lots of content that your children under the age of 13 should be restricted from viewing.
 Tip #3: Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom at night
o There have many horror stories of children getting into troubling situations after they turn in for the night having their phones with them in their beds. To help parents avoid unfortunate events from occurring, it is best practice to collect your children’s phones every night about an hour before bedtime. Watch out for your children making excuses of why they need their phones with them at night such as “But Mom, I need it for my alarm”. Be strong and keep their phones and buy them an alarm clock.

Provide your children with evidence-based research of why you are setting these ground rules surrounding their possession of a smart phone. You will be saving them from negative thoughts about themselves and prevent them from experiencing severe levels of anxiety and depression.

Healthy vs. Toxic Relationships

Thursday, August 17, 2023 @ 12:44 PM

Is your relationship considered a healthy or toxic one? It may be difficult to decipher between the two, dependent upon the dynamics of your family of origin and what you consider to be normal. For instance, one may believe that their relationship is healthy based on what was modeled to them during their childhood upbringing. The important question here is how you define a healthy relationship versus an unhealthy relationship. If it was a simple and/or obvious question to answer, then I believe that no one would allow themselves to remain in an unhealthy relationship. It is a complex distinction for others, especially for those who grew up witnessing domestic violence between their parents.

In my experience working with couples, it has become evident that in a marital dynamic, one spouse may view an unhealthy relationship differently from their spouse. This means that one partner may normalize and minimize any issues that cause distress because of their own childhood experiences. It is likely that the other partner may become easily frustrated with their marriage and would rather dissolve their relationship. Therefore, when a couple is at odds, it is vitally important to reach out to a professional to gain a greater understanding of the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.

Below are bullet points emphasizing characteristics of each type of relationship

Healthy Relationships
• Honesty and transparency
• Exchange of kind and loving words
• Respect and appreciation
• Compromise without giving up either partner’s core needs
• Expressing vulnerability without blaming the other partner
• Accepting responsibility of your own behaviors and apologizing

Unhealthy Relationships
• Criticizing
• Contemptuous comments or behaviors
• Tearing down your partner with negative comments (publicly or privately)
• Name calling
• Physical violence
• Addictions
• Always holding a “righteous” stance
• Blaming

Which characteristics do you identify that is occurring in your relationship? If you circled more than one under the Unhealthy Relationships category, it may be helpful to reach out to a professional to shift towards healthier patterns.

Prioritizing Your Marriage

Thursday, August 17, 2023 @ 12:44 PM

Your marriage will go through various stages as you grow and experience things together. At times, it may feel that your marriage is placed on the back burner while focusing on other things that may appear more important. How many times do you find yourself hyper-focused and consumed of other things such as your job, children, finances, extended family members, health, service, etc.? Don’t worry, you are not alone, this happens to probably most if not all marriages. However, as it is written in Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh”, it is clear that as you agree to marriage, you must put your spouse after your relationship with God.

There have been numerous times when couples are asked, what are your priorities in life, that their spouse is listed towards the bottom. This is the number one reason that couples experience distress and in turn loveless relationships. It is imperative that once you decide to get married, your priorities in life must be shifted. Always place your relationship and spiritual life first and your spouse comes next. Even when you transition into parenthood, be careful to shift all of your focus on your child(ren). It is easy for this to happen, therefore take time to reflect on your life and identify how much time is spent on nurturing your marriage versus your children. There is no doubt that young children need your attention, but so does your spouse. Make time to spend quality time with your spouse (without the children) at least once a week. Be creative with how you want to spend your date time without it breaking your financial bank. Take turns to schedule date days/nights and look forward to that time alone.

Here are some simple ways to show your spouse that they are important in your life:
• Be kind to your spouse
• Be a friend to your spouse
• Accept their influence as you value your own opinions
• Look for the good in your spouse and speak it
• Express appreciation daily
• Assume the best from your spouse
• Ask God to present your best self in front of your spouse
• Meet your spouse’s emotional needs while putting yours aside
• Express verbal and non-verbal affection
• Thoughtful gifts
• Special notes or texts
• Make your spouse breakfast in bed
• Cook a special meal that you both can share after children are in bed
• Whisper in your partner’s ears something that they can look forward to

Prioritizing your marital relationship will bring your days, weeks, months, and years of joy and happiness. Your marriage will not make you happy, but you can make your marriage happy with your positive intentions.

Conflict Interaction

Thursday, August 17, 2023 @ 12:43 PM

Conflict Interaction

Think about replaying your last big argument/fight with your partner. Describe what you see both partners doing and/or saying. Does this type of behavior remind you of another couple, maybe friends, parents, siblings, co-workers, etc.? The way that you converse with your partner during a highly conflictual interaction may resemble something that you are too familiar with. It is likely because that is what was modeled for you and it may have been normalized. Think back during your childhood experiences, what did you witness your parents saying or doing while they were arguing? How did they manage conflicts? Generational patterns are carried out…is this happening to you? If so, there is good news, you can break that pattern. The first step is to recognize it, then become aware of it when it happens in your relationship, finally begin to make changes in the way you are dialoguing with your partner.

St. James depicts is clearly in his passage, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1-19. To engage in a healthy dialogue, remember that you are speaking to the one you love and chose to be your life partner. Take time to think about how you want to express a negative emotion without blaming your partner, rather complain about a behavior with a positive suggestion. Listen to your partner as they express their thoughts and emotions. Validate what your partner is feeling, because feelings are real. If you feel that you are beginning to lose control of the conversation, ask for a break. Take time to self-soothe and then come back to the conversation using a soft start-up. Listen to your tone and adjust it if needed.

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary education, that it may impart grace to the hearers” Ephesians 4:29. The words that are used during a conversation can either improve or damage your relationship. Once words are released out of your mouth, it is impossible to take it back. Words can be hurtful, therefore use kind words to express your thoughts. If you feel defensive when your partner is talking to you about a situation, it probably means that it’s too difficult to admit some truth to what they are saying. Research studies have shown that we are all responsible for at least 30% of what is happening or being said in a conversation. Take accountability and admit when you fell short.

Use repair attempts when you feel things have gotten out of control during a conversation. Admit when you are wrong and say “I am sorry” or “I didn’t mean it that way”. Accept influence by saying “Yes, that makes sense, I agree with you”. Understand your partner’s perspective recognizing that you do not necessarily have to agree with their viewpoint. It’s healthy to have opposite opinions so embrace each other’s differences. Always keep in mind that you chose each other for life and want to have healthy conversations. Bring things up that cause you both to laugh. Laughter is a great way to lighten the mood when things get difficult to talk through.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Free Stress Management Workshop: Unwind, Relax, and Thrive

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 @ 11:14 AM

This stress management workshop is designed to help participants understand and manage stress in a healthy and effective way. Through various techniques and strategies, participants will learn to identify stressors, develop coping mechanisms, and create a balanced lifestyle. This workshop will provide practical tools to help individuals navigate stress and enhance their overall well-being.

Registration Required * Limited Slots Available

Sept 16 * 3:00-5:00 PM EST * 1009 Frederick Rd. * Suite 1 * Catonsville, MD 21228

To register, complete the Registration Form below:

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Premarital Group

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 @ 4:54 PM

Are you thinking of getting engaged? Are you in a serious relationship? Are you already engaged?
If you answered yes to any of these join us for 8 weeks of premarital group counseling.
The group is led by one of our certified PREPARE/ENRICH Facilitators and Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapists.
We have 4 locations for you and your partner to choose from: Bloomfield, Randolph, Fort Lee or Midland Park. We also offer a video group for those who are further away and want to build relationships and be prepared for a long and vibrant marriage.
We have openings for just 5 couples at each location so don't wait. Groups start the week of September 11.
Contact for more information and to sign up.

Monday, August 7, 2023

70 Powerful Prayers for a Healthy Pregnancy

Monday, August 7, 2023 @ 11:25 AM

Pregnancy is a miraculous journey marked by both anticipation and challenges. It's a time of profound transformation, not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. During this sacred period, many women turn to prayers for pregnancy as a source of comfort, guidance, and connection to the Lord.

In this blog, we will delve into the significance of prayers during pregnancy, explore different types of prayers, and offer a collection of prayers that can uplift and empower expectant mothers.

The Power of Prayer in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of heightened emotions, vulnerability, and excitement. It's a period when women may experience a rollercoaster of feelings, ranging from joy and gratitude to anxiety and uncertainty. Prayers for pregnancy offer a profound way to navigate these emotions, fostering a sense of peace, reassurance, and connection. They allow expectant mothers to channel their hopes, fears, and aspirations to a higher power, inviting divine guidance and strength into their journey.

Types of Prayers for Pregnancy

Prayers for Health and Well-being: Pregnancy brings about physical changes that can sometimes lead to discomfort or health concerns. Prayers for health and well-being seek protection for both the expectant parent and the developing baby. These prayers often express gratitude for the gift of life and ask for strength to overcome any challenges.

Prayers for a Healthy Pregnancy: Many moms pray for a safe and healthy pregnancy, asking for divine intervention to ensure the well-being of both mother and child. These prayers often focus on the nurturing and growth of the baby, while also seeking strength for the expectant mother to navigate the journey with grace.

Prayers for Inner Peace: Pregnancy can be emotionally overwhelming, with a range of feelings from excitement to anxiety. Prayers for inner peace center on finding calm amidst the chaos, offering solace and serenity during times of stress.

Prayers for Guidance: Expectant moms often pray for guidance as they make important decisions regarding prenatal care, birthing options, and parenting choices. These prayers seek clarity and wisdom to make choices that align with the best interests of both the mother and the child.

Prayers for Connection: Pregnancy is a time of connection between the mother and their unborn child. Prayers for connection celebrate this bond, inviting a deeper spiritual link between the two souls and asking for protection and blessings on their journey together.

Prayers for Courage: Pregnancy, though beautiful, can also be challenging. Prayers for courage ask for the strength to face the unknown, navigate any complications, and embrace the changes that come with parenthood.

Prayers for Gratitude: Gratitude prayers are expressions of thankfulness for the gift of pregnancy and the impending arrival of a child. These prayers celebrate the miracle of life and the joy it brings to the expectant parents' lives.

Below, you will find a compilation of 70 heartfelt prayers for pregnancy. These prayers cover the various aspects of the pregnancy journey, including health, peace, gratitude, guidance, courage, and more. May these prayers serve as a source of strength and solace as you navigate this transformative path of pregnancy and motherhood."

Prayers for Health and Well-being:

"Loving God, I humbly ask for your watchful eye over my health and the health of my unborn child. Protect us from harm, grant us strength, and guide us towards a safe and healthy pregnancy."

"Heavenly Father, I surrender my worries and anxieties about my pregnancy into your caring hands. Surround me with your healing light, filling my body and mind with vitality and well-being."

"Dear Lord, as I embark on this journey of pregnancy, I pray for your divine touch of wellness. May every cell of my body resonate with your healing, nurturing the life within me."

"God of creation, bless my body with the strength it needs to nurture this new life. Let me feel the wonder of your life-giving power flowing through me, bringing health and well-being."

"Loving Father, I ask for your healing touch to alleviate any discomfort or pain during my pregnancy. Grant me the grace to embrace the challenges with patience and trust in your plan."

"Heavenly Healer, guide my pregnancy with your wisdom and grace. Help me make choices that promote well-being, and may every heartbeat remind me of the miracle you've entrusted to me."

"Dear God, as I carry this precious life, I pray for optimal health for both of us. Strengthen my body, mind, and spirit, and grant me the peace of knowing that you are with us."

"Lord of wellness, I offer my gratitude for the health I've been blessed with during this pregnancy. May your healing presence continue to surround us as we journey forward."

"Loving Creator, I place my health and that of my baby in your hands. Fill me with strength and vitality, and guide me towards making choices that honor the sacred gift of life."

"God, I trust in your plan for my well-being and that of my child. May your loving presence be a shield of protection, ensuring a healthy and vibrant pregnancy."

Prayers for a Healthy Pregnancy:

"Heavenly Father, I thank you for this miracle of life growing within me. I pray for a healthy and smooth pregnancy, free from complications. May your blessings guide us."

"Dear God, I ask for your grace to bless this pregnancy with perfect health. Strengthen us against any challenges and let us experience the joy of a thriving and vibrant journey."

"Loving Creator, I hold the precious life within me with awe and reverence. I pray for a pregnancy filled with vitality, wellness, and the promise of a strong and healthy baby."

"God of life, bless this journey with robust health. Shield us from harm and grant us the blessing of a pregnancy that unfolds with grace, vitality, and the glow of well-being."

"Heavenly Father, as I cradle this new life, I ask for your hand of protection over us. May every day of my pregnancy be marked by strength, health, and the joy of your presence."

"Dear Lord, I entrust this pregnancy into your capable hands. Fill each moment with your divine light, ensuring the health and well-being of both me and my precious baby."

"Loving God, guide my body and my baby's growth with your gentle touch. May the journey ahead be marked by health, vitality, and the assurance of your unwavering care."

"Heavenly Healer, I humbly ask for your grace to safeguard our well-being during this pregnancy. Grant us the blessing of a healthy journey filled with joy and hope."

"God of creation, I pray for a pregnancy that unfolds in perfect harmony with your plan. Bless us with health, protect us from harm, and fill our hearts with gratitude."

"Loving Father, I offer my gratitude for the gift of this pregnancy and ask for your continued blessing of health. May our journey be marked by strength, vitality, and well-being."

Prayers for Inner Peace:

"Dear God, as I navigate the emotions of pregnancy, grant me inner peace. Quiet the storms within me and let your presence soothe my spirit with calm and serenity."

"Loving Creator, in moments of anxiety and restlessness, be my source of inner peace. Help me find solace in your love and release my worries into your caring hands."

"Heavenly Father, fill my heart with the peace that transcends all understanding. As I journey through pregnancy's uncertainties, let your tranquility be my constant companion."

"God of peace, I surrender my fears and anxieties to you. Infuse my soul with the serenity that comes from trusting in your divine plan for me and my unborn child."

"Loving Lord, during the emotional highs and lows of pregnancy, anchor me in your peace. May your presence be a calming balm that guides me through every moment."

"Heavenly Healer, I seek your peace amidst the changes and challenges of pregnancy. Let your stillness fill my heart, reminding me that I am held in the embrace of your grace."

"Dear God, as I journey through this sacred time, grant me the peace that comes from knowing you are in control. Help me release worries and embrace the present with tranquility."

"Loving Father, quiet the turbulence of my thoughts and emotions during this pregnancy. Let your peace reign within me, providing me the strength to navigate each day with grace."

"God of serenity, let your peace envelop me in the midst of pregnancy's uncertainties. Guide me to find moments of calm, knowing that you are the ultimate source of comfort."

"Heavenly Creator, I open my heart to your peace, which surpasses all understanding. As I prepare to welcome new life, grant me the serenity to trust in your divine plan."

Prayers for Guidance:

"Dear God, as I make decisions during my pregnancy, I seek your guidance. Illuminate my path with wisdom, and lead me to choices that align with the well-being of my child."

"Heavenly Father, in the face of choices and uncertainties, I ask for your divine guidance. Direct my steps as I navigate this pregnancy journey, seeking the best for my baby."

"Loving Creator, guide me as I make important decisions regarding my pregnancy and birth plan. May your wisdom lead me to choices that honor both my baby and myself."

"God of wisdom, I seek your guidance in each decision I make for my pregnancy. Let your light shine on the path ahead, helping me discern what is best for my child and me."

"Heavenly Guide, in moments of uncertainty, I turn to you for direction. Lead me towards the choices that align with the health, happiness, and well-being of my unborn child."

"Dear Lord, grant me clarity as I navigate this pregnancy journey. Help me make choices that resonate with the love and care I have for my baby, guided by your wisdom."

"Loving God, bless me with discernment and insight as I prepare for the arrival of my child. May your guidance steer me towards decisions that bring us joy, safety, and comfort."

"Heavenly Father, I invite your guidance into my pregnancy journey. Illuminate the path before me, helping me make choices that reflect your divine wisdom and love."

"God of clarity, as I face the unknowns of pregnancy, grant me your guidance. Let your light shine on the choices I need to make, leading me towards the best outcomes."

"Dear God, I seek your guidance as I navigate the complexities of pregnancy. Help me make decisions that honor the sanctity of life and the profound journey I am embarking upon."

Prayers for Connection:

"Loving Father, as I carry this life within me, I feel a deep connection to my unborn child. May this connection be a reminder of the sacred bond we share, growing stronger each day."

"Heavenly Creator, bless the connection between my heart and my baby's. Let our souls intertwine as we journey together through this miraculous time of pregnancy."

"Dear God, I thank you for the connection I feel to my unborn child. Guide me to nurture this bond, creating a foundation of love and understanding that will last a lifetime."

"God of unity, deepen the connection between my baby and me. May my thoughts, actions, and intentions be guided by the love that flows between us during this pregnancy."

"Loving Lord, as I carry life within me, let me be ever mindful of the connection we share. Help me celebrate this bond and foster an environment of love and warmth."

"Heavenly Father, bless the connection between my soul and the soul of my unborn child. Let our spirits dance together in harmony as we journey through pregnancy."

"Dear God, as my body carries the weight of new life, let my heart carry the weight of love and connection. May the bond between us be a testament to the miracle of creation."

"Loving Creator, help me honor the sacred connection I share with my unborn child. Let my thoughts, words, and actions reflect the love that unites us during this pregnancy."

"Heavenly God, deepen the connection between my partner, my baby, and me. May our family be a beacon of love and unity as we prepare to welcome new life."

"Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of connection during this pregnancy. As I hold my hand over my belly, I feel the presence of a life connected to my heart and soul."

Prayers for Courage:

"Loving God, as I face the unknowns of pregnancy, grant me courage. Let your strength be my rock, empowering me to overcome fears and embrace the challenges."

"Heavenly Father, in moments of doubt and uncertainty, infuse me with the courage to believe in myself and the journey ahead. Let your presence be my constant source of bravery."

"Dear Lord, I ask for the courage to confront any obstacles that come my way during pregnancy. With your guidance, I know I can overcome challenges and emerge stronger."

"God of strength, be my shield of courage as I navigate the path of pregnancy. Empower me to face each day with a brave heart and an unwavering spirit."

"Loving Creator, in times of vulnerability, grant me the courage to be gentle with myself. Let your love fill me with the strength to face both the joys and the struggles of pregnancy."

"Heavenly God, I lean on your courage as I step into the uncharted territory of parenthood. Grant me the bravery to embrace the changes and challenges that come my way."

"Dear God, infuse me with courage as I await the arrival of my child. May this courage enable me to welcome new life with open arms, even in moments of uncertainty."

"Loving Lord, I pray for the courage to rise above the doubts that pregnancy may bring. Help me trust in your plan and find strength in the knowledge that you are by my side."

"Heavenly Father, I ask for courage in facing the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy. May your presence empower me to meet each challenge with grace and determination."

"Dear God, I am grateful for the courage that resides within me. Help me tap into this inner strength as I journey through pregnancy, knowing that I am capable and strong."

Prayers for Gratitude:

"God of gratitude, I offer thanks for the gift of new life within me. As I navigate this pregnancy, may my heart overflow with thankfulness for the blessings you've bestowed."

"Heavenly Father, I am grateful for the privilege of nurturing life within me. Let my days be filled with gratitude for the miracle of pregnancy and the joy it brings."

"Dear Lord, in moments of uncertainty, I turn to gratitude. Thank you for entrusting me with the role of a parent and for the opportunity to experience the journey of pregnancy."

"Loving God, I am thankful for the chance to witness the miracle of creation through this pregnancy. Let my heart be a vessel of gratitude, cherishing each moment."

"Heavenly Creator, as I carry this precious life, I offer my gratitude for the privilege of motherhood. May my journey be marked by a spirit of thankfulness and appreciation."

"Dear Lord, I thank you for the changing body, the growing belly, and the new life within. Grant me the grace to find gratitude in every phase of this pregnancy journey."

"God of blessings, I am grateful for the gift of pregnancy and the opportunity to become a parent. Let my heart overflow with thankfulness for the new life that graces my world."

"Heavenly Father, fill me with gratitude for the small miracles that happen within me during pregnancy. Let me find joy in every kick, flutter, and heartbeat that reminds me of the miracle of life."

"Loving Lord, I offer thanks for the lessons and growth that come with pregnancy. Let gratitude be my guiding light, illuminating the path of this transformative journey."

"Dear God, I thank you for the honor of being a vessel of new life. As I journey through pregnancy, help me cultivate an attitude of gratitude that colors every aspect of my experience."


Prayers for pregnancy encompass a spectrum of emotions, desires, and hopes that arise during this extraordinary journey. Whether seeking health, peace, guidance, connection, courage, or gratitude, these prayers provide a way to communicate with the divine and draw strength from a higher source. As expectant parents recite these heartfelt prayers, may they find solace, support, and a deeper connection to the miracle of life unfolding within and around them.

To learn more, visit: and

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Feed Your Marriage

Sunday, August 6, 2023 @ 8:38 AM

This blog is going to focus on what steps to take to feed your marriage. However, I would like to begin with an analogy of what will likely happen to your marital relationship if you don’t spend time nourishing it. Think of your indoor/outdoor plants…if they are not watered, fed, clipped, trimmed, pruned, transplanted, etc., what is likely going to happen to them? Simply put…they will begin to wither and eventually die. That’s exactly what happens in a relationship that is not fed with healthy nourishments. I don’t mean to sound harsh when I say this, but excuses of not having enough time are just that, EXCUSES. Think of your professional career, if you begin to neglect your duties and responsibilities, it may lead to your termination.

From personal experiences, I understand that ‘Life’ can get busy and chaotic. As child-rearing parents of three, from infancy to adulthood, my husband and I found it challenging to just keep up with fulfilling our children’s basic needs, desires, schedules, and spending quality time with them. Over time, we noticed that we both became too comfortable in our marriage and shifted priority to our children. This was a very dangerous situation we found ourselves in. As our marriage was dwindling, we found that our children were suffering due to increased bickering, disagreements, and arguments causing familial distress. Hence, after becoming aware of our shortcomings, we became intentional to carve out alone time spent with each other. This took a lot of concerted effort on both of our parts as we were very busy raising our children.

As a result of my personal and professional experiences, I am providing suggestions of how to feed your marriage, surrounding chaotic and busy schedules.

• Schedule daily 20-30 minutes to engage in stimulating conversations with your spouse; no complaining about each other
• Plan and execute caring behaviors (make your spouse his/her favorite meal once a week)
• Coordinate a babysitter to have weekly date nights
• Surprise your spouse with a Because I Love You gift (monthly or bi-monthly)
• Initiate sexual intimacy when your spouse least expects it
• Show physical affection (i.e. holding hands, hugging, kisses, and cuddling) in front of your children
• Leave loving post-it notes for your spouse (weekly or monthly)

These are just some suggestions; however I am sure that you can come up with a few on your own. Stay focused on doing or saying something that will put a smile on your spouse’s face. Please do not keep score on who does what; this is called Quid Pro Quo and will NOT work. This will likely cause you both to feel discouraged and disappointed. Be intentional to feeding your marriage with positive contributions that will last a life time.

Sexual Intimacy: The Creation of Sex

Sunday, August 6, 2023 @ 8:37 AM

God created sex with an amazing design in mind! Part of his design is that it only occurs in the safety and security of marriage. There are three reasons for sexual intercourse that is found in the Bible:
• Oneness before God
• Pleasure
• Procreation
God created sex to be enjoyable, pleasurable, and passionate in marriage. He created sex and called the union between man and woman "very good". The purpose of sex is a celebration of our oneness in the sight of God.

Married couples often have different expectations and desires relative to sexual intimacy. The following are identified areas that needs to be addressed in your marriage:
• How often you engage in sex
• The timing of when to have sex is chosen
• Your emotional connection
• Quality time spent together outside the bedroom
• Time spent in foreplay before having sex
• How you verbalize your affection and love
• The amount of nonsexual touch you share with your spouse
• The strength of your relationship with God
I advise you to take one of these areas to discuss with your spouse weekly until they have all been addressed. Talking about sex may be awkward or uncomfortable, especially if there have been some "rocky" times in the relationship. Here are a few ideas for communicating about sex:
1. Pray for wisdom and that God would help your heart be in the right place before you approach your spouse
2. Wait for the right moment and location when talking about sensitive subjects
3. Be clear about your sexual likes and dislikes. Your spouse cannot read your mind, so he/she needs to know about the turn-offs as well. When you feel pleased in the bedroom, it will help your spouse know that they did a great job.
4. Use good communication techniques; avoid using words like "You always..." or "You never...". Phrases like "I feel like..." and "Help me understand...". Rephrasing the way you communicate with your spouse will help your spouse not feel like you are accusing him/her.
5. Learn to flirt with each other outside of the bedroom to lighten the mood. Whisper in your spouse's ear to mention your desires which can help build the excitement and anticipation for the big moment.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

International Overdose Awareness Day: Honoring Lives, Inspiring Change

Wednesday, August 2, 2023 @ 12:47 PM

August 31st marks International Overdose Awareness Day each year. In recent years, the world has been coping with a devastating opioid epidemic that has claimed countless lives and left communities in disarray. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost and an opportunity to raise awareness about the overdose crises. This day is not only a time to remember those who have passed, but also to support those survivors affected.

After a traumatic event such as overdose, it can be extremely difficult to grieve your loved one. Some reactions that may follow your grief are guilt, anger, shame, and isolation. There are many emotions that occur when someone dies, but when the death is from an overdose, the most difficult ones rise to the surface.

Due largely to the opioid and fentanyl epidemic, Ohio has one of the highest per capita death overdose rate. On July 18th, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner issued a public health alert due to nine overdose deaths within a 24-hour period.

We’ve learned from our Cleveland Overdose Loss Support Group participants that there are common, yet unique, challenges faced by those grieving an overdose loss. These groups offer a safe place, and sense of belonging to individuals and families who may feel isolated or stigmatized due to addiction. Being surrounded by others who have faced similar struggles can provide a comforting and non-judgmental space to share stories, emotions, and challenges.

For anyone that has lost a loved one due to overdose, knowing that others have face similar battles can provide a sense of relief and hope. Through shared stories and guidance from our facilitators, the support group participants can find peace and learn healthy ways to navigate their emotions.

Last year, Cornerstone of Hope began a Mid-Ohio Traumatic Loss Response Team program in Central Ohio. This program provides the survivors of overdose loss with emotional support, crisis intervention and links these survivors to local resources or faith communities.

Our response team volunteers are trained in crisis intervention and peer companioning. They are all reliable, gentle, and compassionate individuals that have also been through their own healing journey and are ready to provide care to others.

It is important to reach out to your friends or family that may be affected by this kind of tragic loss. Grief can be very isolating. Those that have lost their loved ones often want others to check in on them, sit with them, listen and embrace their pain. Overdose Awareness Day is a solemn yet powerful reminder of the devastating impact of addiction and the urgent need for action. By sharing personal stories and advocating for each other, we can drive meaningful change and turn our pain into purpose.

by Juliana Myers

Friday, July 28, 2023

What is Emotional Flooding in the Postpartum Period? 7 Ways to Effectively Manage Your Emotions

Friday, July 28, 2023 @ 9:05 PM

What is emotional flooding? Emotional flooding is a profound and complex experience that many postpartum moms may encounter during their journey through parenthood. As a postpartum therapist, I frequently help moms understand and cope with the overwhelming emotional tidal waves that can arise after childbirth.

In this comprehensive blog, I will explore the concept of emotional flooding, its triggers, manifestations, and most importantly, effective strategies to help you navigate these turbulent waters with resilience and grace.

The Concept of Emotional Flooding: What is emotional flooding?

Emotional flooding is a term used to describe an intense and overpowering surge of emotions that can overwhelm an individual's ability to cope effectively. In the context of postpartum, new mothers can find themselves grappling with a flood of emotions due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, added responsibilities, and the profound transformation of becoming a caregiver. This deluge of feelings can become a significant challenge, affecting one's mental well-being and the overall dynamics of the family.

Hormonal changes play a crucial role in emotional flooding during the postpartum period. Following childbirth, there is a rapid decline in estrogen and progesterone levels, which can lead to mood swings and emotional instability. The sudden drop in these hormones can create a rollercoaster effect on emotions, causing new moms to experience intense highs and lows without warning. Additionally, fluctuating levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, can contribute to intense feelings of love and attachment to their newborn, further amplifying emotions during this period.

Triggers of Emotional Flooding in the Postpartum Period

Several factors can act as triggers for emotional flooding during the postpartum period. Understanding these triggers is vital for new moms. Some common triggers include:

1) Hormonal fluctuations: As mentioned earlier, the abrupt hormonal changes after childbirth can lead to emotional instability and intensify feelings of vulnerability. The sudden hormonal shifts may leave new moms feeling emotionally unprepared to handle the intensity of their emotions, making them more susceptible to emotional flooding.

2) Sleep deprivation: The demanding nature of caring for a newborn often results in disrupted sleep patterns, leading to exhaustion and emotional vulnerability. The relentless cycle of feeding, diaper changes, and comforting can leave new moms chronically sleep-deprived, impacting their emotional resilience and ability to cope with stress effectively.

3) Adjusting to parenthood: The transition to parenthood is a life-altering event that brings new roles, responsibilities, and challenges. New moms may find themselves struggling to adapt to the demands of their new roles, which can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. The uncertainty and fear of not knowing if they are "doing it right" can contribute to emotional flooding.

4) Past trauma: New moms with a history of trauma may find their emotions resurfacing during this vulnerable period, contributing to emotional flooding. The heightened emotions during postpartum can trigger unresolved issues from the past. Past traumas can be reactivated during moments of vulnerability, causing emotional flooding.

5) Lack of support: A lack of a strong support system can intensify feelings of isolation and helplessness. New moms need a network of understanding and empathetic people who can provide emotional, practical, and informational support. Isolation can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed by emotions without anyone to turn to for guidance and reassurance.

6) Unrealistic expectations: Unrealistic expectations about parenthood can lead to feelings of failure and disappointment when reality doesn't align with the envisioned experience. The pressure to be the perfect mom can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and emotional overload. Comparing oneself to idealized images of parenthood can increase stress and emotional vulnerability.

7) Relationship changes: The arrival of a new baby can bring significant changes to the dynamics of the relationship between partners. Conflicts, misunderstandings, and disagreements can arise as parents navigate their new roles and responsibilities, potentially triggering emotional flooding as they grapple with the changes in their relationship.

8) Identity shift: The transition to parenthood can lead to an identity shift, as new moms may struggle to balance their previous sense of self with their new role as a mother. This identity shift can cause internal conflict and emotional overwhelm as moms attempt to find their new sense of self amidst the challenges of parenthood.

Manifestations of Emotional Flooding

Emotional flooding can manifest in various ways, and it is crucial for new mothers to recognize these signs. By identifying these manifestations, new moms can find appropriate support when they are feeling triggered. Some common manifestations include:

1) Intense mood swings: Rapid shifts between extreme emotions, such as joy, anger, sadness, and anxiety. New moms may feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster, struggling to stabilize their feelings. For instance, they may experience moments of overwhelming joy and love for their baby, followed by periods of self-doubt and sadness.

2)Hypersensitivity: Feeling emotionally raw and easily triggered by seemingly minor events or comments. What might have been a minor annoyance pre-parenthood can now become a significant emotional trigger. New moms may react strongly to external stimuli, such as a crying baby, a messy house, or unsolicited advice, leading to emotional flooding.

3)Overwhelm and helplessness: A sense of being engulfed by emotions, leading to a feeling of helplessness in managing them. New mothers may feel that their emotions are too powerful to control, making them vulnerable to emotional flooding. They may feel overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of their emotions, leaving them unsure of how to cope effectively.

4)Racing thoughts: An influx of thoughts that can be difficult to process and organize coherently. This mental clutter can exacerbate feelings of overwhelm and create a sense of mental chaos. New moms may find themselves consumed by a stream of worries, fears, and responsibilities, making it challenging to find clarity amidst the chaos of their thoughts.

5) Physical symptoms: Emotional flooding can manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or tension. The mind-body connection can be strong during this time, and emotional distress can manifest in somatic symptoms. The stress and tension associated with emotional flooding can lead to physical discomfort and health issues.

6) Withdrawal and avoidance: The desire to retreat from social interactions or responsibilities due to emotional distress. New moms may feel overwhelmed by social situations or find it challenging to engage with others due to emotional flooding. They may withdraw from social gatherings or isolate themselves to avoid potential triggers.

7) Impaired decision-making: Emotional flooding can impair one's ability to think rationally and make sound decisions. New mothers may struggle to prioritize tasks, leading to a feeling of being scattered and unproductive. This can further contribute to feelings of inadequacy and frustration.
Increased irritability: Emotional flooding can heighten irritability and impatience. New moms may find themselves easily agitated by minor inconveniences or frustrations, reacting with greater intensity than they typically would.

8) Self-doubt and guilt: Emotional flooding can lead to self-doubt and a sense of inadequacy in one's parenting abilities. New moms may question their competence and feel guilty for experiencing overwhelming emotions, fearing that they are failing as mothers.

9) Disconnection from the baby: Ironically, emotional flooding can create emotional distance between the mom and the baby. The intensity of emotions may lead to feelings of detachment or being emotionally unavailable to the baby.

7 Strategies to Navigate Emotional Flooding

As a postpartum therapist, I am passionate about equipping new moms with strategies to manage emotional flooding effectively. By incorporating these techniques into their daily lives, new moms build resilience and are better able to manage their emotions.

1) Validate emotions: New moms can acknowledge and accept their emotions without judgment. Validating their own feelings creates a safe space for emotional expression and fosters self-compassion.
--Emotion journaling: New moms should keep an emotion journal to identify and process their feelings. By writing down their emotions, new mothers can gain insight into their triggers and patterns, enabling them to navigate emotional flooding more effectively.

2) Mindfulness and grounding exercises: Practicing mindfulness and grounding techniques can help anchor new moms in the present moment, reducing the overwhelming nature of emotional flooding. Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and sensory grounding can be particularly helpful.
--Mindful breathing: New moms can take a few moments each day to focus on their breath. They can practice deep belly breathing, inhaling slowly through their nose and exhaling through their mouth. This simple practice can help calm the nervous system and bring a sense of balance during emotional storms.
--Sensory grounding: New moms can also engage in sensory grounding exercises to help reconnect with their immediate surroundings. They can do this by noticing five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. This exercise can bring a sense of presence and stability during times of emotional flooding.

3) Support systems: Building a robust support network of friends, family, or postpartum support groups can provide new moms with an understanding and empathetic community to lean on during difficult times. Having a safe space to share emotions and experiences can be cathartic and validating.
--Postpartum support groups: New moms can join postpartum support groups where they can connect with others experiencing similar challenges. These groups offer a judgment-free zone where new moms can share their struggles, receive encouragement, and gain insights into coping with emotional flooding.
--Online forums and social media: While it's essential to maintain healthy boundaries with technology, online platforms can provide a sense of connection and support, especially for those who might find it challenging to attend in-person support groups. New moms can find online communities that align with their interests and parenting styles.

4) Self-care practices: Engage in self-care activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as gentle exercises, hobbies, and spending time in nature. Engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment can act as a buffer against emotional flooding.
--Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. New moms can engage in activities like walking, yoga, or dancing to help regulate their emotions and reduce stress.
--Creative outlets: New moms can also explore creative outlets such as writing, painting, or crafting. These activities provide a healthy way to express emotions and gain a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
--Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery can help new moms regulate their emotions. These practices can promote a sense of calm and help new moms manage stress and anxiety.

5) Sleep hygiene: Prioritize good sleep hygiene by establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine. Adequate sleep is essential for emotional well-being and can help new moms regulate their emotions more effectively.
--Establish a sleep routine: New moms should develop a consistent pre-sleep routine that signals to their bodies that it's time to wind down. This routine might include activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises.
--Nap when the baby naps: New moms can also take advantage of their baby's naptimes to rest themselves. Prioritizing their sleep can significantly impact their emotional resilience throughout the day.

6) Communication and boundary setting: New moms should engage in open communication with partners or family members about emotional needs and boundaries. This can prevent feelings of resentment and unmet expectations, reducing the likelihood of emotional flooding.
--"I" statements: New moms can use "I" statements when expressing their emotions and needs. For example, instead of saying, "You never help me enough," you could say, "I feel overwhelmed, and I could use some extra support."
--Setting realistic expectations: New moms can set realistic expectations for themselves and their partners. They should communicate openly about their roles and responsibilities to ensure that both partners feel supported.
--Establish emotional boundaries: New moms should also learn to set boundaries with others regarding their emotional well-being. It's okay to politely decline visitors or requests if they feel overwhelmed and need time to rest and recharge.

7) Professional help: New moms can also seek professional support through therapy or counseling. Professional guidance can offer valuable coping strategies and a safe space to process emotions. Therapists can provide essential psychoeducation on emotional flooding and help new moms develop personalized coping plans.
--Therapy options: New moms have several therapy options that have been proven effective such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based therapy, or interpersonal therapy. Each approach can address emotional flooding and support your mental well-being.
--Partner or family therapy: Couples or family therapy can also be helpful to facilitate open communication and understanding between all family members. A safe and supportive family environment can positively impact emotional regulation and overall mental health.


Emotional flooding is a significant challenge that many postpartum moms may face, but with understanding, compassion, and effective coping strategies, it can be navigated successfully.
If you are a new mom struggling with emotional flooding, I want you to know that you're not alone in this journey. Becoming a mother is a whirlwind of emotions, and sometimes, it can feel like those emotions are taking over.

As a postpartum therapist, I'm dedicated to helping new moms navigate emotional flooding. Together, we embrace your emotions with self-compassion and resilience, transforming emotional flooding into an opportunity for growth and connection. If you would like support on your path to becoming a confident, nurturing, and emotionally attuned mother, please schedule a free consultation today!

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Intrusive Thoughts vs. Impulsive Thoughts: Navigating the Postpartum Journey

Thursday, July 20, 2023 @ 11:18 PM

As a mom and therapist, I understand that being a new mom is an incredible journey, but also really hard. Amidst the baby giggles and sweet cuddles, there may be moments when you experience unexpected and sometimes unsettling thoughts. In this blog post, we will talk about the difference between intrusive thoughts and impulsive thoughts, their impact on your mental health, and some helpful tips to navigate them.

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

First off, let's clarify what intrusive thoughts are. These are those sneaky and distressing thoughts that unexpectedly pop into your mind, causing anxiety and fear. They might revolve around scenarios you'd never want to happen, like harm coming to your baby or yourself. The important thing to remember is that having these thoughts doesn't make you a bad mom. In fact, they are more common than you might think and are often the exact opposite of what you actually want to happen.

Why Do Intrusive Thoughts Occur?

Intrusive thoughts often happen because of the overwhelming changes and hormonal changes that happen after giving birth. As you bond with your baby, your brain is working overtime to transition to your new role, and sometimes, it can get a little glitchy in the thought department. Remember, it's your brain's way of trying to process the world around you and protect you from danger.

Dealing with Intrusive Thoughts:

When intrusive thoughts hit, it's important to practice self-care and self-compassion. Beating yourself up over the thoughts will only make your stress worse. Instead, acknowledge these thoughts and remind yourself that they are just thoughts, not actions. It means that you are a great mom and you want the opposite of the scary thought to happen. Reach out for support from your husband, friends, or a certified perinatal mental health therapist like me, who can provide validation and help you cope.

Understanding Impulsive Thoughts:

Now, let's move on to impulsive thoughts. Unlike intrusive thoughts, these are sudden urges or impulses to do something without considering the consequences. For instance, you might feel compelled to shop on Amazon, loading up hundreds of dollars of baby gear in your cart while feeding your baby in the middle of the night.

Why Impulsive Thoughts Arise:

Almost all of us have impulsive thoughts at times. The stress and sleep deprivation that come with caring for a newborn can influence your brain's decision-making process and make these thoughts more common. The constant demands of motherhood might leave you feeling triggered by impulsive thoughts as your mind looks for something to occupy itself.

Managing Impulsive Thoughts:

Postpartum motherhood can be hard sometimes. Please remember that impulsive and intrusive thoughts can be completely normal, but they do not define you as a mom. Seek support when needed because you are not alone. As a perinatal mental health therapist, I’m here to remind you that seeking help is a sign of strength.


Postpartum motherhood can be hard sometimes. Please remember that impulsive and intrusive thoughts can be completely normal, but they do not define you as a mom. Seek support when needed because you are not alone. As a perinatal mental health therapist, I’m here to remind you that seeking help is a sign of strength.

If you would like to talk about more ways I can help during your postpartum journey, please send me a message today! I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Ways to Show Up for Your Partner

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 @ 6:21 PM

In any romantic relationship, showing up for your partner is vital for building trust, intimacy, and maintaining a healthy connection. It encompasses active engagement, support, and understanding. In this blog post, I will explore practical ways to show up for your partner and nurture a deeper bond.

1. Cultivate Open Communication: Effective and healthy communication styles form the foundation of a strong relationship. To show up for your partner, create an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue. Be an attentive listener, validating their feelings and perspectives without judgment. Establish an atmosphere where both of you feel safe expressing yourselves authentically.

2. Be Present: Being present goes beyond the physical form as mental and emotional presence are emotionally present is equally important. When you spend time with your partner, minimize distractions and focus on them. Show genuine interest in their life, actively engage in conversations, and create opportunities for quality time together.

3. Support Their Dreams and Goals: One of the most meaningful ways to show up for your partner is by supporting their dreams and aspirations. Take an active interest in their goals, provide encouragement, and help when needed. Celebrate their successes and be a pillar of support during setbacks.

4. Prioritize Quality Time: It is crucial to prioritize quality time together. Set aside dedicated moments for shared activities and create rituals that nurture connection. It could be as simple as cooking together, going for walks, or enjoying a weekly date night. By making time for each other, you reinforce the importance of your relationship.

5. Be Responsive to Their Needs: Everyone has unique emotional and practical needs in a relationship. By actively listening and observing, you can understand your partner's needs better. Be responsive and supportive in fulfilling those needs, whether it's offering your listening ear, helping with household chores, or providing encouragement during challenging times.

Showing up for your partner is an ongoing journey that requires intention, effort, and commitment. By cultivating open communication, practicing empathy, being present, supporting their dreams, showing affection, prioritizing quality time, and being responsive to their needs, you can build a deeper, more fulfilling relationship. Remember, the small acts of love and support you show each day can have a profound impact on your partner and your relationship.

Benefits of Physical Touch

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 @ 5:27 PM

Physical touch has numerous benefits for our overall well-being and the development of social bonds. Here are some of the key benefits of physical touch:

1. Enhances emotional connection: Physical touch, such as hugging, holding hands, or cuddling, releases oxytocin, also known as the "love hormone." Oxytocin promotes feelings of trust, bonding, and emotional connection between individuals, whether they are family members, friends, or romantic partners.

2. Reduces stress and anxiety: Physical touch has a calming effect on the body and can help reduce stress and anxiety. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and lowers the levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Touch therapies, such as massage, have been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

3. Boosts immune system: Research suggests that physical touch can have a positive impact on the immune system. Oxytocin, released during touch, has been linked to increased production of certain types of immune cells, promoting a stronger immune response.

4. Relieves pain: Physical touch, particularly therapeutic touch like massage or gentle stroking, can help alleviate physical pain. Touch stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body.

5. Enhances communication: Physical touch can be a powerful form of non-verbal communication. It can express comfort, support, empathy, and affection more effectively than words alone. Touch can create a sense of understanding between individuals.

6. Improves relationship satisfaction: Regular physical touch between partners has been associated with increased relationship satisfaction. Touch can create a sense of intimacy, improve emotional connection, and strengthen the bond between partners.

7. Enhances overall well-being: Physical touch has a positive impact on overall well-being. It can promote feelings of happiness, relaxation, and contentment. Regular touch can contribute to a greater sense of self-worth and improve overall mental and emotional health.

It is important to note that the benefits of physical touch may vary depending on cultural and personal preferences. It is always essential to respect personal boundaries and obtain consent before engaging in physical touch with others.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Listening & Understanding Your Partner

Monday, July 17, 2023 @ 11:38 AM

In successful relationships, be it romantic, familial, or friendship, effective communication builds trust, manages conflicts, and fosters a deep emotional connection. While expressing oneself is vital, equally important is the art of listening and understanding your partner. In this blog post, I will explore the power of active listening and empathetic understanding in nurturing healthy and fulfilling relationships.

1. Active Listening: Active listening involves being fully present and engaged in the conversation, focusing on understanding your partner's perspective without judgment or interruption. By actively listening, you create a safe space where your partner feels valued, respected, and heard. It allows for the expression of emotions, thoughts, and desires.

2. Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It goes beyond sympathy, as it requires you to put yourself in your partner's shoes, experiencing their emotions and perspectives as if they were your own. By practicing empathy, you gain a deeper understanding of your partner's experiences, needs, and desires, enhancing your ability to support and nurture your relationship.

3. Building Trust: Listening attentively and understanding your partner's needs and emotions builds trust in a relationship. When you genuinely hear and validate their experiences, it strengthens the bond between you. Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship, and by actively listening and empathizing, you demonstrate your commitment to their well-being, which fosters a deep sense of security and intimacy.

4. Enhancing Intimacy and Connection: Listening and understanding your partner's needs, desires, and fears can profoundly enhance intimacy and connection. When both partners feel seen, heard, and understood, it deepens the bond and strengthens the sense of togetherness.

By actively listening and empathetically understanding your partner, you create a safe and nurturing environment where love, trust, and connection can flourish.