8 Great Tips for Couples Counseling in Denver, Colorado
Couples counseling is a place where partners can stand on neutral ground and learn to see each other in a different light. Whether you’ve been struggling against a negative cycle for years or only recently started having trouble, we offer couples counseling services for everyone in Denver, Colorado and beyond!
Below are some of our best tips for couples struggling in their relationship. These can help you learn how to communicate better, reconnect and honor the bond that you’ve built together.
1. Set Some Ground Rules
First and foremost, there have to be boundaries in every relationship. A lack of boundaries from either partner leads to an ongoing pattern of pain. Left unvoiced and unforgiven, this leads to a build-up of resentment and even attempts to get “revenge” on one another.
Openly set rules for your communication. What types of words can you use? What is off-limits? How should you speak to each other? What volume of your voice indicates it’s time to step back, no questions asked?
Ground rules help you operate from a place of respect, and they establish the safety and security couples need to be authentic and vulnerable with one another.
2. Mindfully Practice Intimacy
You may feel distanced from your partner but not know how to bridge the gap. If you’ve been together for a while, it’s natural for physical intimacy and its many expressions to change. In some cases, it may disappear altogether. Let your partner know that you miss them and want to feel close to them again.
Start practicing mindful acts of intimacy, like holding hands, hugging more and cuddling each night. If sex is an issue in your relationship, have an honest conversation about what you would like and what your partner needs from you.
3. Ask What Your Partner Needs
So many of us run in circles trying to please our partners, all the while never really asking what they expect from us in the first place. If you aren’t voicing your needs to your partner, how can you get angry when they don’t fulfill them? You may also be asking too much from a partner, expecting them to meet needs that really need met by yourself.
In any relationship, being open about your needs and desires builds trust and fosters intimacy. It is fundamental to keeping your connection open and staying in sync with one another.
4. Address Personal Issues
If you struggle with pain from past relationships, childhood trauma or mental illness, it can drastically impact your relationship. You may feel guilty for subjecting your partner to your problems, or you could rely too heavily on them instead of healing yourself.
Be honest about your struggles, and reach out to a therapist who can help. In addition to couples counseling, individual therapy is a wonderful way to heal and grow.
5. Schedule Counseling
We offer in person as well as virtual couples counseling to help partners work through challenges when it’s most convenient for them. Scheduling an appointment with a trained therapist can be the start of a new chapter in your relationship. Having a neutral third-party guide you through issues can be the doorway you need for lasting positive change.
6. Remember to Have Fun
Relationships are meant to be fun. Your partnership should be a source of amusement, joy and positivity in your life. Between parenthood, work and other responsibilities, many partners forget that they are also meant to be friends. Start doing things you love just because you can; that’s what being in love is all about.
7. Stop Trying to “Win”
When you have a mindset focused on “winning” arguments, you immediately distance yourself from your partner. Instead of feeling like a unified team, it’s you versus them. Seeing each other as an opponent to defeat never leads to a positive outcome. Instead of trying to be right, shift your mindset to asking how you can both be happy.
8. Learn to Honor Your Partner’s Story
One of the biggest hurdles in a relationship comes from accepting the fact your partner is not who you want them to be. The beauty of this struggle is that you can learn to finally love and accept them for who they truly are and vice-versa. From their childhood to past relationships, there are many pieces of your partner’s story that have shaped them into who they are today.
A healthy relationship encompasses each person’s whole story without erasing any parts of their unique identities. By honoring your partner’s past, you become more accepting and receptive in the present.
Connect With a Couples Therapist in Denver, CO
Healing your relationship requires healing yourself, too. There will be both highs and lows in your journey together, and the right strategies can help you celebrate the good times more fully and grow through your challenges.
To learn more about our services or schedule a couples counseling appointment, please contact us or call us at 720.314.7378.
Friendships / Relationships
Mental Health Therapy for Loneliness
Someone can have many friends, know people everywhere they go and even be in a loving relationship and still feel lonely from time to time. Loneliness is often a sign that we need to reconnect with ourselves, especially if we already have an established support system in real life.
Sometimes, loneliness can also be a wake-up call that we’ve outgrown our current friend group or relationships. Ongoing feelings of loneliness can also be linked to mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
For some people, when they feel lonely, reaching out to a friend or family member helps the feeling pass. But if you struggle with feelings of loneliness most of the time and aren’t sure what to do, therapy can help.
Is There Therapy for Loneliness?
Therapy in and of itself can help combat loneliness as you are able to connect with your counselor. They listen to you, take interest in your feelings and help you begin to explore the role that loneliness has in your life and how it is affecting your well-being. In many cases, loneliness comes from self-isolation, which is a coping mechanism many people adopt when they’re suffering from other mental health symptoms.
Feeling lonely is complicated, and you may even feel guilty for your feelings if you have other people you could talk to. But loneliness has nothing to do with your love for your friends and family. Certain relationships in your life may simply be lacking in ways you need to feel fulfilled; you could also be going through a difficult period and not feel like anyone understands you.
Talk therapy explores loneliness to get to the underlying cause. How is it serving you, and what is it protecting you from? Sometimes, isolation and loneliness serve as barricades to connection when you are afraid of vulnerability or intimacy. Therapy helps you identify beliefs and behaviors that might be making your loneliness worse and replace them with healthy alternatives.
How to Cope With Loneliness
Loneliness can trigger other feelings too, including worthlessness, hopelessness and despair. For someone struggling with depression, loneliness can worsen their symptoms and even lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. The most important thing to do is recognize you’re lonely and acknowledge that feeling. Rather than try to suppress or ignore it, think of loneliness as a messenger that you need to connect.
Engage in meaningful activities with others; if you are trying to make friends, then you may have to start with smaller engagements. Even smiling at the barista or drinking your coffee at the cafe around others can be helpful. It’s also important to look for new opportunities to meet people. You can do this in person and through online communities.
It’s also important to address how your beliefs affect your idea of loneliness. Someone with social anxiety likely sees themself as shy and awkward, which makes them less likely to socialize with other people. If you don’t trust easily or have a hard time getting close to others, then you may have habits that make forming relationships a challenge for you.
You May Feel Lonely, But You Are Not Alone
At Caring Heart Counseling, we are always here to listen and help. Reaching out to a therapist for the first time can be scary, but we are available to answer any questions you have. Contact us today and learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed therapists.
Friendships / Relationships
Stuck in a Rut? How to Inspire Change in Your Own Life
Everyone feels stuck now and again, but what if every day of your life feels exactly the same? Instead of providing healthy structure and promoting discipline, your routine feels like a prison, and you can’t figure out what’s wrong, what’s missing or how to feel excited about your day-to-day life again.
Many adults struggle with a lack of inspiration, even those who have everything they think they’re “supposed to” such as a partner, children and a good job. You could also feel like you’re treading water, never getting ahead in life no matter how hard you try. Every action seems to lead you back to the same spot, which drains your motivation. Eventually, you stop trying.
Although a lack of motivation and interest can feel disheartening, it does not have to be permanent. There are several ways you can start to implement change in your life and rediscover passion, excitement and inspiration.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
Do you know why so many people quit their New Year’s Resolutions within three months? They push themselves too far to make a big change. Your comfort zone isn’t a bad place to be, but it can become stifling if you use it as a way to avoid the temporary discomfort some new experiences can bring.
But rather than forcing yourself to completely transform your life overnight, think about ways you could try new things that expand your comfort zone. For example, if you want to meet new people but consider yourself an introvert, going to bars or clubs probably won’t pay off in the long run. Instead, you could look for new opportunities that still feel comfortable for you such as joining a book club or visiting a museum.
Make Time to Have Fun
If your life is just work, sleep and repeat, then you’ll soon find yourself dreading waking up every morning. Fun isn’t just for children! Adults also need downtime to enjoy their hobbies, pursue their interests and do things solely for the sake of enjoyment. Try to dedicate at least one hour a day to something that’s entirely for your pleasure. It could be watching a documentary on Netflix, playing a video game, reading a book or anything else you enjoy.
Start Saying Yes to New Experiences
How many invitations have you turned down because you couldn’t motivate yourself to go out? The hardest part about getting out of a rut is giving ourselves the momentum we need to inspire change. It will be uncomfortable at first because you’ve grown accustomed to the confines of your current life. But a little effort and willingness go a long way; take a walk around the city without any plans, or invite a friend over for coffee. Be open to letting life surprise you!
Whether it’s a walk through the park, hiking or site-seeing, going outside is a great way to get energized. When you feel stuck in life, you might find yourself avoiding any time outdoors and just head straight to work and right back home. Going out makes you feel tired, so to avoid that exhaustion, you isolate yourself even more. This, of course, only fuels the feeling of missing out on a rewarding life and new opportunities.
Spending time in nature is proven to improve mood and increase energy. You can even look for fun local events or classes that get you outside and meeting people. You might not become best friends right away, but just seeing new faces and having small conversations can make you feel more connected with the world.
Therapy Isn’t Just for Mental Illness
If you feel stuck in life, aren’t sure how to reach your goals or wondering why you’re so unmotivated, we can help. Therapy is also a form of life coaching, and it offers an open space for you to work through your limiting beliefs, address your problems and come up with solutions that work for you.
Contact us at Caring Heart Counseling today if you would like to learn more about our services. We would be happy to schedule an appointment with one of our Denver, CO therapists at your earliest convenience.
Friendships / Relationships
5 Strengths Unique to the LGBTQ Community
The Mile High City is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts, and summer is the perfect time to head out and enjoy all the amazing scenery and fresh air. Spending time outside is wonderful for your mental health; in addition to immersing yourself in nature, you can also get some physical exercise that promotes greater mood stability, better memory and promotes positive emotions.
Read on to discover 10 outdoor activities to do in and around Denver, Colorado, this summer.
Denver is close to plenty of incredible rivers and breathtaking lakes. Kayaking through the Colorado River is an amazing experience that you’ll never forget. Look for a kayaking tour or class that can get you acquainted with the equipment and process. You might even make some new friends along the way!
Walk City Park’s Mile High Trail
The Mile High Trail loops around City Park for a scenic 3.2-miles trek that’s perfect for passing a sunny afternoon. Along the way, you’ll pass the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum and enjoy a view of the city as well as glimpses of Ferril Lake. Stop by and appreciate the ducks and geese, or bring your pooch along for a relaxing stroll.
Shred It Up at Denver SkatePark
For the extreme sports fans, skateboarding at the Denver Skate Park can be an awesome way to get outside and return to a simpler time when all you had to worry about was when you could skate again with your friends. Don’t forget your helmet! And if you’re not a skater/bmx-er/trick-scooter person, go just to watch! Super fun.
Appreciate Wildlife at Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo is home to more than 3,000 wild animals across a sprawling 84-acre campus. The nonprofit organization is passionate about educating the public about wildlife conservation through their animal ambassadors. There are always fun events taking place throughout the year, but even a regular day at the Denver Zoo is a treat.
Bike or Hike Your Way Through Red Rocks Park
Red Rocks Park is home to an open-air amphitheater, but it also boasts two hiking trails that are perfect for taking in some of Denver’s best natural scenery. The park is situated between the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, so you’ll want to bring your camera to snap some amazing scenery shots.
Visit the National Wildlife Refuge
Fishing, wildlife drives and 20 miles of hiking trails await at the National Wildlife Refuge. Take in the amazing preserved habitat of animals such as coyotes, waterfowl, deer, bison and more. You may even spot our national bird, the Bald Eagle!
Take a Peaceful Tour of the Denver Botanic Gardens
Special events such as art exhibitions and workshops are always happening at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Stop by on one of their free days or order tickets online and enjoy the day surrounded by 24-acres of blooming flora and fauna from around the world.
Take a Thrill Ride via Zip Line
Colorado Adventure Center’s Denver zipline tour takes you sailing along the nearby mining town of Idaho Springs. This is a beginner-friendly tour with non-restrictive weight and height limits. The 5,000-foot course will take you over Clear Creek three times. You can end the day by visiting Idaho Springs or sign up for one of the center’s white water rafting courses!
Yoga in the Park
Denver’s parks are perfect for getting in touch with nature and centering your mind and body with a bit of yoga. There are free Yoga in the Park events you can book online. Just bring a mat and you’re good to go!
Go Horseback Riding
Visit 12 Miles Stables in Cherry Creek State Park to participate in a day of horseback riding. Horse rentals, day camps and riding lessons are available for both experienced riders and first-timers. The stables have over 3,300 acres of riding trails available for individuals and parties.
Start Summer Off Right With Therapy
If you’re working on improving your mental health this summer, we’re happy to help. contact our Colorado therapists for more information on our virtual talk therapy sessions today.
Friendships / Relationships
5 Strengths Unique to the LGBTQ Community
Social connection is invaluable, but it doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Even the most extroverted, well-adjusted people have to work hard to maintain friendships. But for some, even making the first move can be incredibly difficult and intimidating. Although you may struggle to get to know people or make friends, you aren’t condemned to living life alone.
With the right education, tools and help, you can begin to work through your barriers to making connections and begin finding the right people for you.
3 Reasons You Struggle to Connect With People
There are many reasons you may struggle to connect with others; below are three of the most common reasons and challenges we help clients overcome. If you feel like you can’t connect with anyone, working with a therapist may be able to help you figure out why and start making positive changes.
It’s normal to feel nervous meeting new people, but for some, the anxiety that stems from interacting with others is so severe that it prevents them from making friends, dating, speaking up for themselves at work and more. Social anxiety disorder is a treatable condition that you can overcome with time.
Signs of social anxiety disorder include:
- Racing heart, sweaty palms and shakiness when having to interact with others.
- Feelings of intense fear and anxiety when facing a social situation.
- Avoiding social settings, even once you want to go to, because you’re afraid others will reject you or make fun of you.
- Fear that others will notice how anxious you are.
- Judging yourself after a conversation and wondering what you may have said wrong, how you may have looked and ways you might have embarrassed yourself.
If you find that your social anxiety makes it difficult to speak, interact and maintain relationships, therapy can help. The first step is reaching out and talking to a counselor you feel comfortable with. They can help you work through the reasons why you feel so anxious around other people. Then, they’ll help you build confidence by practicing different strategies to manage your anxiety and communicate with others more easily.
You Fear Rejection
One of the reasons you may struggle to connect with others is that you fear they’ll judge you and not like you. In this case, you might consider yourself someone with high standards who always finds a reason to cut ties with someone before they get a chance to know and, in turn, hurt you.
You might also simply avoid people altogether because you’re afraid that they’ll dislike you if they get to know you. Fear of rejection is linked to low self-esteem, something that many people wrestle with. You can combat it by learning to recognize your own strengths and engaging in social situations that you feel comfortable in.
Low-risk social situations are key because they give you a foundation of positive interactions to build from. When you have more confidence from successful encounters, it becomes easier to confront situations with higher risks of rejection like dating and job interviews.
Social Distancing Habits
COVID isolation left millions of people quarantined indoors and fearful of interacting with anyone. Although social distancing and mask mandates are still in effect in many areas, the psychological effects of quarantine have left some people with a deep fear of engaging with others. This can make it hard to push past any anxiety and begin to interact with people. If your mind is worried about getting sick, you can’t enter social situations in a positive manner.
Physical health should never be compromised for connection, so if you’re not able to connect with others in-person due to being high-risk or unvaccinated, there are still options. Virtual clubs and online meetups give you a way to begin rebuilding social skills without putting yourself or members of your household at risk.
Therapy Can Help
Therapy for social anxiety and relationship troubles is effective. Our counselors are always here to help you begin improving your self-esteem and build new skills. Contact us today at Caring Heart Counseling with any questions. If you’re ready to book an appointment, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to arrange a time and date that works best for you.
Tips on Avoiding Family Confrontation During the Holidays
Holiday gatherings are both a long-awaited tradition and dreaded aspect of the season. Celebrating with an extended family often involves meeting relatives you rather not deal with. Even your closest family members may share political views you disagree with or find ways to turn conversation into unwanted criticism and questions.
While you can’t stop someone from sharing their views, you can make a game plan to respond to any unwanted conversion and keep the holidays centered around companionship and appreciation.
Keep a Distance
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, health experts recommend celebrating from afar. This may receive some backlash from family members who do not believe gathering poses a threat, especially if others quarantine prior. However, new studies show that getting together indoors can lead to the spread of the coronavirus, even if people wear masks and practice social distancing.
Arrange virtual holiday celebrations instead. You can open presents on video chat, stream holiday specials and even bake cookies together while Facetiming. You have a right to keep you and your family healthy and safe this year, even if other relatives do not agree. The best thing you can do if they criticize your choice to not attend any gatherings is to say you value their well-being as much as your own, so you’re keeping your distance and wishing them well even if you aren’t together.
Hold Gatherings on Rotation
You might decide to meet with certain family members at different times. Couples may visit each other’s parents on different days, and friends may choose to get together for a drama-free celebration. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary drama is to avoid intermingling with relatives who are prone to arguing with each other. Rather than expecting them to act differently, accept the reality of their differences and find a way to enjoy time with them individually.
Avoid Triggering Topics
Certain subject matter doesn’t have any place in a family gathering. Politics, religion and lifestyle choices, like gender identity and sexuality, should not be brought up during a holiday celebration. This is a time to cast aside differences and embrace people for who they are.
Of course, that does not mean you are subject to tolerating any unwanted abuse or commentary on your life. If there are certain relatives who make you uncomfortable or put you on the spot, it’s okay to decline seeing them, no matter what others have to say about it.
Put Gratitude Before Justification
Being grateful is more important than being right. While it may do your ego some good to best a relative in an argument or get into a heated debate about politics, will that really bring you what you need after such a tough year? As 2020 draws to a close, we must draw closer to what really matters in life.
Families are always going to have their differences. Some are easier to reconcile with than others. By returning to a place of gratitude, you can act with compassion and find the strength to let certain things go in favor of enjoying others’ company.
Caring Heart Counseling can help you navigate the often-stressful holiday season. Together, we can come up with an action plan to cope with difficult relatives and prioritize your peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to book a virtual therapy appointment.
How to Talk to Your Teen About Counseling
You want nothing but the best for your teenager, and it’s heartbreaking to watch them struggle mentally. Your child may have voiced their mental health problems, or you may notice from afar that something is off but have no idea how to intervene. Many parents worry about bringing up counseling to their child for fear it will send the wrong message.
Unfortunately, some parents have used the therapy as a threat, implying that it is a punishment and their teenager’s mental health struggles are a wrongdoing. We want to change the view families have about counseling and help you present it as not only a form of treatment or a “last resort” for serious issues.
We believe counseling is a tool for everyone, and it can be just as beneficial for treating problems as it can be at preventing them. If you are wondering whether counseling is right for your teen, here are some of the topics a counselor can address:
- • Self-esteem and confidence
- • Social skills, including making new friends and dating
- • Family relationships
- • Depression, self-harm and suicide risks
- • Anxiety
- • Substance use and addiction
- • Eating disorders
- • Sexuality and gender identity
How to Bring Up Counseling to Your Teen
Your child should feel like they are included in the decision to go to therapy. Counselors will face a greater challenge forming a connection with your teen if they have been essentially forced into talking against their will. Resistance to participate in counseling often stems from fear, embarrassment or shame about their struggles. To combat this, you should start a dialogue that is rooted in love and a desire to help your teen feel good about themselves.
You should start off by reminding your teen that you love and care about them. Just because they may not always be receptive to affection does not mean they don’t need it. In fact, adolescents are particularly sensitive to approval, so affirmation is essential.
Let them know what you’ve noticed about their behavior or mental health, but avoid coming at it from a critical standpoint. For example, you may say, “You’ve seemed really down lately, and I’ve noticed you’re spending a lot more time alone than usual. I need alone time when I feel down, too. Has this been helpful for you?”
Once you begin to understand your teenager’s experience and perspective, you can suggest counseling as one way for them to help themselves. You may share about therapy being helpful to you as well; it can also be beneficial to mention that you understand talking to you or other people can be difficult, and a counselor will listen without judging or violating your teen’s confidentiality.
Reach Out Together
Inform your teen about their options when it comes to counseling. We offer virtual online therapy for teens that is accessible and convenient for their schedule. Being able to talk to a therapist online can also make talking to a professional less intimidating. Let your teen know their options, and explore different counselors and forms of therapy together. Then, make the appointment and encourage your teen to play an active role in their own wellness.
You can learn more about our teen counseling services and contact us anytime for more information. We’re also happy to provide you or your teen with personalized feedback about how we may help them address specific problems.
Political Stress and Anxiety and How to Cope
Social media and the internet has made it possible for political news, messages and online activism to reach us anywhere, anytime. Americans are stressed, anxious and downright scared about the direction the country is headed, and it’s natural to feel an unwavering sense of unease as things continue to progress beyond your control.
Some therapists have begun calling the uptick of politically-induced symptoms “election stress disorder.” While this is not a clinical diagnosis, it gives a name to the extremely common and increasing number of symptoms people are turning to therapy for help with. If you feel tense or anxious before checking the news, compelled to always see what is happening in the headlines and experience stress or depression thinking about the political climate in America, you may be suffering from this condition.
How Politics Cause Anxiety
Anxiety stems from fear of a threat, either real or perceived, which activates the autonomic nervous system. This is the system responsible for the fight-or-flight response. More than a psychological fear or constant worry, anxiety changes how your bodily systems function. It puts your brain on “high alert,” constantly tense and waiting for something bad to happen. In psychology, this is known as hyper-vigilance. It can impact our ability to function on a basic level.
When you constantly worry about politics, you may likely bring up worst-case scenarios or dwell on fears about what will happen if the opposing candidate wins. You may even feel like you’re stuck choosing between the lesser evil, essentially hoping for a miracle but fearful that there is no “right choice.”
No one can decide who you should vote for or what you should believe in but you. However, there is a social tie to politics these days that influences everything from our relationships to our feeling of control and autonomy. Even dating apps have even incorporated a feature that allows members to display whether or not they’ve voted on their profiles, causing us to immediately judge people for their outward actions and affiliations rather than getting to know them and their views independently.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with being passionate about government, over-emphasizing politics can not only damage your mental health but also become a barrier in your relationships.
Ways to Cope With Political Stress
The most important thing to do is distance yourself from the source of your problem without becoming avoidant. Rather than prohibiting any type of political news, moderate how much you read, and be picky about what forms of media you engage with. Watching analysis and opinionated videos may only heighten your stress, and you’re likely to feel worse rather than better after reading comments and engaging in heated online debates.
Make note of how often you think about, engage with and talk of politics. Obsessive thoughts can lead to compulsive behaviors, actions we feel like we have to do to eliminate feelings of distress. This thought cycle also causes you to feel less in control, which only heightens your need to look for external sources of validation.
Take a moment to write down your priorities in life, and see how they align with or conflict with your current relationship with politics. You might find that your differing opinions with relatives and friends are causing you to be more judgmental and intolerant, pushing you away from people who you love and care for because you think differently about certain subjects.
It’s okay to hold your own stance on things, and not everything has to be a debate. Therapy can also help you learn to balance your own views while coping with others’ opinions. A counselor can also help you work through your own underlying thoughts, unease and fears about the future in a constructive way that empowers you in the present moment. Contact us for more information.
Couple Counselling / Relationships
How to Talk to Your Partner About Couples Counseling
The decision to go to couples counseling is difficult. Although you may find it necessary, admitting that you need a professional’s help can feel like a personal failure. Couples might avoid the subject because it officiates the haunting feeling that things aren’t going as they should in the relationship.
But the only way to get better is to be honest. Bringing up the idea of couples therapy to your partner can be even more intimidating. You may not have talked about it, or you may fear that suggesting counseling only leads to greater confrontation and distance.
Although it is difficult, addressing the need for therapy when the need arises is always best. Waiting to get help only causes problems to continue and create a greater barrier between communication and intimacy. Couples counseling could be the step you and your partner need to rebuild and reconnect in your relationship.
Starting the Conversation
You should sit down with your partner and let them know exactly why you want to go to counseling. This requires a great deal of vulnerability and honesty, which can be hard to muster. But taking the first step can demonstrate to your partner how committed you are to them and the relationship.
Someone has to make the first move, though going to therapy is a mutual decision. Let your partner know that you love them, and explain what problems have led you to seek therapy without being accusatory.
Rely on I-statements to express yourself. Rather than saying, “You never talk to me anymore,” try, “I feel a disconnect between us, like we don’t talk as much as we used to. I don’t quite know how to reach you, and I’d like to work on that together. I miss sharing things with you.”
It’s important to explain how issues and actions on both sides impact you. Recognize your own partner’s feelings as well. A couples counselor will be there to honor both of your perspectives and your shared bond.
The conversation should also be centered around a goal that you can work toward together. Counseling is not a place to “fix” anyone, because none of us are broken or damaged. Instead, it brings greater awareness to problems and helps people find solutions using their unique strengths.
What Will Happen in Couples Therapy?
We will work with you to identify key issues in the relationship. We do not take sides, but instead opt to build greater trust and respect through mutual empathy. You will both be encouraged to listen with an open mind and heart and take accountability for your own actions.
To avoid falling into the same patterns of conflict, disconnect and avoidance, your therapist will guide the conversation to help you both learn to recognize and value each other’s side of the story. Unifying that story into a healthy, harmonious relationship is the ultimate goal.
Benefits of Couples Counseling
The greatest benefit of couples counseling for many is the opportunity to speak openly. It can be hard for couples to express themselves clearly in a relationship when there is anger, fear and anxiety clouding the connection between them. Therapy gives each person a place to be present, express themselves openly and discuss rather than judge and defend.
Couples from every age and walk of life can benefit from working with a counselor to improve their communication and build upon their strengths as individuals. It can be the stepping stone a couple needs to reach a deeper level of trust and intimacy that only comes from overcoming challenges together.
Relationships / Virtual Counseling
Elementary School Anxiety and How to Set Yourself up for Success
Elementary school is one of the most exciting times of childhood; your child may be headed into Kindergarten, or they could be gearing up for another year filled with its own challenges, triumphs and memorable moments. Watching your child grow can be bittersweet, and with the coronavirus pandemic underway, sending your elementary school student back to school can be downright terrifying.
Anxiety is a normal and often healthy part of parenthood; it causes you to step back, pay closer attention and be proactive. But it can also hinder your ability to promote healthy independence and resilience in your child. To combat the anxiety and stress of another school year, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Put Safety First
Schools that are reopening for the new year will likely have safety measures in place. Your child may be required to wear a face mask during the day, which could be met with some discomfort or resistance. Talk about the importance of wearing a mask; tell your child they have an important role to play, and wearing a mask helps them protect themselves as well as their teachers and friends.
Practice wearing a mask in extended durations before school resumes, and teach your child how to properly wash their hands and apply hand sanitizer. To make the new safety measures a little less scary, get your child involved by letting them pick out a mask with a fun design.
Placing masks on their favorite stuffed animals can be a good way to introduce the concept and make it more approachable for a child.
Parents and students can both experience anxiety when it’s time to go back to school. Combat this as early as possible by building excitement around the first day and upcoming year. Listen to your child’s worries, and offer reassurance. Rather than saying, “Don’t be worried,” tell them that it’s okay to be nervous, and everyone feels afraid of new things sometimes.
As a parent, your anxiety may be palpable to your child, which makes coping with it on your own time imperative. You don’t want to transfer any fears into your elementary schooler; therapy is one way to work through your fears, but speaking with your partner, journaling and talking with parents can help, too.
Isolation is difficult for anyone, but children are impacted tenfold by their social engagement at school. Your child may have been placed in a new classroom this year and not be with any of their friends; you may have images of them eating alone, getting picked last for gym or recess and standing on the sidelines. This is a natural part of growing up that, although difficult, is important to your child’s growth.
Not having any friends in class might be scary at first, but it’s a chance for them to develop social skills and learn how to cope with discomfort. Read books about making new friends, roleplay with toys and assure your child they can still connect with their old friends online and outside of the classroom.
We are not sure how the virus will impact the new school year; it’s best to speak with your child now and let them know things may change throughout the year. Plan ahead by talking about closures, what they mean and how your child will have to learn if the school does need to shut down temporarily. Let them know that school closing doesn’t mean they can’t talk to their friends or teachers.
As a parent, the best thing you can do is try to find as much flexibility as possible. In addition to looking after your own mental health, it helps to come up with a plan for childcare and education in the event of another closure. You may never have to use it, but thinking about potential solutions now can help lower anxiety by reducing “what ifs.”