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Relationship tips for Individual, Couples, and Families

Her Libido, His Libido: When It's the Husband who does not Want Sex

Remember the old refrain from a Frank Sinatra song, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, that’s what mother taught me…”
Here is a variation of that song, “Sex and marriage, sex and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage, that’s what I learned but…”

Depressed, Lonely, Have You Considered a Dog?

Depression is complicated and there is no single treatment that can bring about its cure. Certainly, Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been found to be effective for many people. Also, supportive or psychodynamic therapy is also a. helpful treatment for many people. Then, there are the antidepressant medications which have been found to relieve some of the worst symptoms. Usually, psychiatrists recommend a combination of psychotherapy and medication as effective treatments for this mood disorder. 

Butterfly in HandRelationships, Empathy vs, Sympathy Vs. Compassion

Successful relationships are built on mutual empathy and compassion, two of the major components of love. This discussion is about empathy and compassion. However, it provides a contrast to sympathy which often does not ring true.


Woman cryingSexual Harassment in the Workplace and Elsewhere

Everyone is aware of the raging headlines and news shows depicting awful cases of women coming forward and accusing their superiors in the workplace of sexual harassment. In fact, by coming forward publicly and confronting their abusers some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Television and Government have fallen into disgrace resulting in the loss of their careers. Why do these men as well as many others throughout society take advantage of women who do not give their consent to sexual encounters? Part of the answer may lie in one word, Misogyny.

Older Asisan couple smilingLoneliness and Aging

There have been several newspaper and magazine articles reporting that loneliness has become epidemic in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association An estimated one in three older adults is lonely, according to a 2010 survey by AARP. Married adults were least likely to be lonely (29 percent) and never-married were most likely to be lonely (51 percent). Other research has found that among all adults, those under 25 or over 65 are more likely to be lonely.

A Good Old Age

Some of us have reached our golden years, and some of us have not. But these suggestions should be read by everyone. They have been collected from many a senior, each with his or her own piece of advice. Some you know, some may surprise you, and some will remind you of what's important. So read well, share with your loved ones, and have a great day and a great life! 

Marriages in Trouble, Sex, Money and Lies Part I: Sex

Successful marriages are based on trust. However, there are many pitfalls that erode and even destroy that trust and, ultimately, the marriage. The two major areas that pose this threat have to do with sex and money.

Golfing man smilingAging and it's Challenges

“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.”
Albert Einstein

Despite the widespread notion that aging means decline and loss, it has it’s many benefits, as Einstein so effectively points out above. In fact, there is research that shows that aging experience less depression than those who are a lot younger. However, that does not mean that aging does not present its own challenges. In fact, the research may give a more optimistic picture to the aging process than is really true.

The Gift of Inspiration: Holiday Gift Ideas for Improved Mental Health

The holiday season is a season of joy, giving, family, and, of course, gifts. Except sometimes we want to search for the perfect gift: something beyond the material. Something that provides more than that. The modern world is fast paced and chaotic and the best gifts are often the ones that provide sanctuary from it all.

Some Stress Free Tips for Hosting a Holiday Get Together

Hosting a seasonal get-together can evoke all sorts of feelings, from eagerness to show off your culinary skills to uncertainty or even anxiety over how the event will turn out. In this post we'll suggest ways to take the stress out of the occasion while ensuring your guests have a marvelous time. Think of this as your quick-and-easy guide to holiday hosting success.

Humiliation, Anger, Rage and Violence

There are consequences to people being ridiculed and insulted. This what this blog is about.
Words like shame, humiliation and mortification are powerful words because they speak to the human condition. These words show up in many of our sayings: “hang your head in shame.” Another term is that he or she was so shame faced that his face was all red. We also speak of “saving face,” to express how hard it is to tolerate shame. It is interesting that many of these sayings have included in the face. After all, that is where we show so many of our emotions including embarrassment.

tree with many branches in a forestThe Anxiety Epidemic and How to Cope

A very good friend and I have decided to pay as little attention to the news as possible. Whereas, at one time I would have read the New York Times articles with great care and would have watched MSNBC with full attention, I now breeze through the newspaper and do not turn to MSNBC or any of the news channels. Well, maybe just to get the weather report. You may ask why? The answer is simple. The news creates too much anxiety and despair which is why my friend and I are minimizing our exposure. By the way, my friend is Dr. Charles Merrill, a New York City Clinical Psychologist.

woman with back painThe Relationship between Pain and Addiction

First, it’s important to understand what we are talking about when we refer to addiction. The American Psychiatric Association states that  “addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life.”

Clip art of depression textDepression, ADHD and Addiction

Jay, a 30-year-old man referred himself to me for depression, marijuana abuse and Adult ADHD, Inattentive Type. His marijuana abuse was acute because he used it daily and throughout the day. While highly educated, he was socially isolated and unemployed.

According to Dr. Srini Pillay, MD: More than 1 in 10 children in primary schools have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and this number increases to more than 4 out of 10 adults between the ages of 18-24 years old. 


Psychotherapy, An Interplay Between Client and Therapist’s Emotions 

Most people are aware that one of the rolls of the therapist is to be objective. Another way of stating it is to say that the therapist is supposed to be neutral, avoiding any feelings and making certain not to take sides for or against the client. From a psychoanalytic point of view, the therapist must be a blank slate onto whom the client or patient can project his feelings and fantasies.  Is this what really happens during a psychotherapy session? 

man and woman arguingHow Depression Affects Relationships

In When Someone You Love Is Depressed: How to Help Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself, Rosen and Amador describe depression “as a devastating mental illness that affects not only the depressed person but also his or her relationship (3-4)”. According to the authors, someone who is married to a depressed individual is nine times more at risk of getting a divorce than a person who is married to someone who is not depressed. What are some of the reasons for depression having such a devastating effect on marriage?

parents carrying children on their backsRelationships, Family, Marriage and Personal Boundaries

This is the case of family that has been plagued by boundary issues ever since the children were born. The parents are married 40 years. They have two adult children, a daughter and a son. Their son has several children and their daughter has one little girl. The problem that the husband complains about is the amount of time his wife devotes to their daughter. During the years of their marriage his wife would take sides against him in support of the children. Any attempt of his to impose discipline was met with opposition from his wife. Apparently, they could do no wrong.

man and woman arguingHow to Know when you Need Help for Your Marriage

Many of us enter marriage believing that we will live “happily ever after” as promised in so many fairy tales from childhood. Reality is not a fairy tale and many couples discover that they are having problems soon after marriage. (Marriage Help is Availabe) At the very same time there are couples who seem to not to notice or admit that their marriage is in trouble. For those who don’t know or are not sure if they need help there are signs to look for.

man and woman arguingThe Battered Spouse Syndrome

One of the most important aspects of being battered is that it happens to both men and women even though most reported cases are of women. In addition, the battering does not have to be physical. Verbal and emotional abuse are just as damaging as physical abuse. There is a repetitive nature to these experiences. Abused and battered as children, these people tend to marry wives and husbands who are just as abusive as their parents.

Woman smiling at beachEmbracing Big Changes Can Improve Your Mental Health: Tips for a Successful Transition

When you are struggling with depression or other mental health issues, it can feel like an uphill climb to find balance again. You might be in a stressful job, have a toxic relationship, or live in an unsupportive environment, and these all take a toll on your overall health. You may feel that a major life transition, like moving, may be the best way to regain your balance, but this can feel like an overwhelming process.

Female counselor providing therapy to womanFamily Life and Addiction

A recent article in the New York Times reported that the rate of opioid addiction and death due to these drugs has reached alarming proportions. It is well established by family experts that family member want to maintain the status quo and if this means continuing to support drug abuse then that is what they will do. This is the reason why one of the approaches to addiction is to work not only with the individual addict but with the entire family.

Middle aged woman and older manElder Abuse

It has taken older adults a lifetime of working hard and building savings to be able to retire. And it is precisely because of that nest egg that seniors are vulnerable to financial exploitation, the fastest growing form of elder abuse. The cases vary, from swindlers posing as trusted financial advisers to adult children taking advantage of parents’ vulnerability and assets.

Parenting, is Love Enough?

When it comes to raising children love is not enough for the children to be healthy and prepared for adult life. On the surface the question seems simple enough. However, the job of raising children is not simple. Child development is complicated and unless parents respond in ways that are appropriate, there will be problems.

Rumination and Obssesional Thinking

Did you ever find yourself in a social situation that was uncomfortable and, afterwards, spent a lot of time thinking about everything you said and how dumb you must have sounded? What characterizes this kind of thinking is that it is repetitive, keeps people up all night and feels depressing. 

Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in the Workplace

Labor Day has just passed. Supposedly, Americans were celebrating the gains that workers during the last century in overcoming exploitation at the hands of powerful and wealthy industrialists. However, there are other problems at the work place that threaten worker health and well-being. 

Marriage, Money, and Conflict

The idea that opposites attract may work in a romantic comedy, but when it comes to marriage and money management, opposing opinions can lead to serious conflict. So, if hubby likes to spend and you like to save (or vice-versa), what can you do to stop fighting about money?

Adult ADHD and Difficult Relationships

Many people who have ADHD are able to hyperfocus. Highly motivated, they are able to give their full attention to something they want to achieve. Essentially, that is why some ADHD people are able to become doctors and lawyers. Once having achieved their goals, they run into difficult maintaining their focus, particularly without medication. However, it is in the area of relationships that ADHD people run into particular difficulties.

Unhappy Career Choices

Despite the fact that so many people are unhappy with their career choices, they remain in their jobs without making any changes. For some, a dim or pessimistic view of life leaves them with the notion that nothing better can be expected in their lives. Allow yourself to dream and don't allow others to discourage you, regardless of the odds against realizing your goals. Perhaps it is something you cannot do now but, in the future, there is always hope, that is, if you keep your dreams and refuse to listen to the nay sayers.

The Psychopath and the Abused Woman

Intelligent women come to the office suffering from PTSD because they were abused by a violent lover or husband. How is it possible to be blind to the signals that this type of man is dangerous and should be avoided? More than one survivor of abuse has reported that they sensed something was wrong at the start of the relationship but then dismissed their gut reaction to being too critical or sensitive and to not giving the guy a chance. So, what is a psychopath?  

Health Insurance and Psychotherapy, a Match Made in Heaven?

How important should insurance coverage be for someone who is looking for a therapist? In my opinion and in the opinion of Nathan Feiles LCSW, health insurance should not dictate going or not going to a therapist. The reasons are many because psychotherapy is very different from medical practice. Here are some of the factors that should mitigate against using insurance if possible.

Marriage and the Fear of Commitment

Commitment phobia or the fear of intimacy is all too real. The rate of divorce in the United States is estimated to be about fifty percent. While there are no statistics on how many of these are due to fear of intimacy, there is no question that at least some are.

The Tragedy of Domestic Violence

According to government statistics, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. In addition, three million physical assaults are on male victims. More than 60% of cases of domestic violence occur at home between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM. These statistics are inaccurate because most cases are never recorded. For example, according to HealthDay News, colleges and universities vastly under-report cases of sexual assault on campus. Then, too, many victims do not come forward to make a police report.

Pornography, Why, When You Have a Partner?

Why would someone turn to pornography when there are live and warm partners available with whom they can have sexual relations? Although it's possible to argue that not everyone has a partner, the fact is that even married people and those who are in relationships, turn to pornography. 

Pornography, Is It Extramarital Sex?

While research shows that there are women who enjoy watching pornography as much as some men, there are many more women, those who are married or in relationships, who are outraged by their husbands' viewing this material. Is their reaction warranted by something that appears, at first glance, to be harmless? The answer to how women feel about their partner watching porn depends upon a number of factors.

On Life and Being Mindful

Instead of looking forward to the next day, the next year, we must live now to the fullest and not wish away our days for some future that may never be. Of course, we do think about the past and plan for the future. The only instances in which that is a problem is when we exclude everything else. The teacher mentioned above was obsessed about the future because he hated the present in which he had to work.

Men Who Hate Women and the Power of Denial

There are men who hate women or who treat them accordingly. Yet, these women stay with them. The real question is why do these women love them and stay with them? Susan Forward's book, "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them," is a study of the dynamics that go on between these two types of people. The women are constantly looking for love from unloving and unavailable men.

Aging and The Meaning of Life

My family, friends and I have just celebrated my 73rd birthday. That number, 73, made me stop and think about the passage of time. How can I be 73 when I used to be 23? Of course, the dominant thought and answer is the fact that time moves on inevitably. Indeed it does. That begs the next question, what is life all about? What is the meaning of life? In the end, that is a question all of us try to answer.

Understanding How ADHD Complicates Marriage

The divorce rate in the United States is approximately 50% for new marriages, clearly reflecting how difficult intimate relationships can be. However, when one or both spouses are burdened with Adult ADHD, the problems are significantly amplified. Consider the fact that marriages involving Adult ADHD have a divorce rate twice that of the rest of the population. Why does ADHD complicate marriage and how can couples learn to cope without divorcing?

Is Your Spouse Your Best Friend?

One of the assessment techniques I use in couples/marriage therapy is to ask each member of the couple to identify their best friend. In my findings, those who answer that it's my wife or partner usually have the best outcome as a result of treatment. This not to imply that married couples cannot or do not have good friends. Friendship does not end with marriage. However, a marital relationship is something very special.

Unhealthy Family Dynamics, The Dangers of Silence

I grew up in a family where a favorite form of punishment and manipulation was to stop talking to the person with whom you are angry. Some perceived sense of wrongdoing on the part of the offender was the reason for the silent treatment. The only way to end the treatment was to apologize. It made no difference that the offender may have felt they did nothing for which they needed to apologize, they needed to apologize. Of course, this was maddening.

The Dysfunctional Family and the Role fo the Scape Goat

Identified Patient is a term used in a clinical setting to describe a person in a dysfunctional family who has been unconsciously selected to carry the burdens and problems of family disturbances. This individual becomes the whipping post or target of all kinds of abuse so that the family unit does not have to face up to and find solutions for the family dysfunction. Another way of putting it is to say that the Identified Patient is the family scapegoat. Very often it's the narcissitic parent who is the source of abuse.

Coping with Divorce and Dealing with Children

Divorce is a painful and traumatic experience for everyone involved. Unfortunately, more than fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce. The wounds and scars left by the experience affect husbands, wives, children and the families and friends involved with the former couple and their children.

You're All Good, He's All Back: Splitting

Some people talk about the fact that, when splitting, a person is thinking about a situation only in “right or wrong, black or white” terms. In other words, if you have a heated discussion with someone who disagrees with you, Person A, that person becomes an entirely bad individual with no redeeming qualities.