Trying Too Hard?

MANAGE your anger. CONTROL your anxiety. STOP having panic attacks. FIX the relationship.

All of these are great ideas and actually work for a large percentage of people. However, for some, the more they emphasize on attacking the problem, the worse it gets.

How can this be? You have to take the bull by the horns, right? Well, most of the time you do. But not always.

There really is such a thing as trying too hard. Yes, believe it or not! Sometimes, I urge people to accept the feelings they are having. There can be a lot said by admitting that you are really nervous, angry, sad, or upset. Giving yourself permission to feel these things can actually help these unpleasant feelings pass.

The next time you have an unwanted feeling, try to stay with it for a bit and see what happens.

Prescription Sex Enhancing Drugs

Drugs = better sex?? When we watch TV, we get this message. If we subscribe to much of the popular culture, we get this message. Is it true? Well, I don’t subscribe to this philosophy. Of course drugs can enhance sex, but it often does not work and certainly has its drawbacks.

I see many people in my office who are having some sort of sex problem…like lack of desire, impotence, or just boring sex. Often, they have turned to prescription sex enhancing drugs to help them. Usually, they are quite surprised when these drugs do not work as advertised. Other times, I get couples who use illegal drugs to enhance their sexual experiences. Again, they end up falling short. It might work fantastically at first and then quickly lose its effects. Many drugs, especially cocaine, end up having a negative effect on the sex life after time.

So you may be wondering why I say these drugs often do not work. If there is simply a physical problem, then these sex-enhancing drugs often do the trick. Here is the kicker—Many people rely on drugs to help their sex life because they have emotional and communication difficulties that make sex very difficult. No matter the issue, if a person relies on drugs to help them with a problem with communicating, thinking, or behavior, it will not work unless they also make changes in their attitude and lifestyle. People who rely on drugs alone often have little benefit.

I want everyone who is using a drug to enhance their sex life to really look at why they are choosing this as a “remedy.” Is it a result of difficulty talking about sex, feelings of guilt or nervousness during sex, maybe it is the fact that you are angry with your partner and this is making it difficult to perform. Would you believe that some people take sex-enhancing drugs because they have so much anger towards their partner that they are unable to become aroused without chemical help? I know this exists because I have talked with several who admit this problem.

I am urging everyone who uses these sexual enhancing drugs to think about the emotional side of sex and ask themselves if this is impacting the actual mechanics of sex. Of course, if there is a physical or hormonal problem causing sexual difficulty, then sex-enhancing drugs are often beneficial.

Video Therapy

Video conferencing is a unique way to provide therapy services for many different reasons. Just think about the ease of having a therapy session without leaving the house. It also increases privacy because you know no one will see you in a waiting room or walking into a clinic. It is also important to mention that you save time and travel expenses.

Video conferencing allows for both the client and therapist to see and hear one another via the internet. Although face to face therapy is usually the most beneficial, Video conferencing is a great alternative due to its flexibility and (usually) high quality of voice and video. I prefer a video call over a telephone call because it really does sound much more clear!

Many people are often leery of a video session and would rather make office visits. I invite you to give it a try and see how you like it.

Anger management, stress management, sexuality issues and even couples therapy are all great topics for video conferencing.

The Value of a Smile

by Author Unknown

A smile cost nothing, but gives much.
It enriches those who receive,
Without making poorer those who give.
It takes but a moment,
But the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it,
And none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it.
A smile creates happiness in the home,
Fosters good will in business,
And is the countersign of friendship.
It brings rest to the weary,
Cheer to the discouraged,
Sunshine to the sad,
And is nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen,
For it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.
Some people are too tired to give you a smile.
Give them one of yours,
As none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

Talk Sex?

Sexuality is often one of those things people have great difficulty discussing. So much of the time, people have sex, but they do not have discussions about sex. I wonder how many of you do not really discuss sex with your partner(s).

I see many people in my office and on the phone who are very sexually active and are quite open minded. However, it is very interesting to see that so many of them do not have solid adult to adult conversations about sex. The lack of these conversations seems to result in misunderstandings. I think of the classic story about the woman who fakes her orgasm because she is afraid to tell her partner what feels good. Maybe she thinks her partner will be offended if she asks him/her to do a little less of that or a little more of this. Once the pattern has been established, she has been “faking” for years! How do you get out of that one?  You start by taking the tough step of acknowledging it and then focusing on needs.

I also see many couples who end up with diseases or feeling let down by their sexual experiences. This is all because there is not honest face to face discussion before the sexual activities begin. Remember, your partner(s) is not going to know what feels good to you unless you tell him or her! This is very important. Sometimes, the lack of communication causes one to be lax about safer sex…and disease(s) happen.

I want you to look at how comfortable you are TALKING about sex, not having it. Chances are, if you are able to increase your comfort level with discussing this, then you will have a much better and safer sex life.

Stress Management

Here are a couple of quick quips for managing stress:

  • If you allow others to make you stressed, you are allowing them to control you. Do you really want others pulling your strings?
  • Look at stress as a test.
  • The only person responsible for your stress is you.
  • Stress is energy. Are you going to use this energy for something productive or destructive?
  • Will it matter tomorrow? Next week? Next Month?

Getting the Most out of Online Therapy

When clients talk with me via video conference (online therapy), there are often things they can do to better their experience. I want you to get the most out of your session, so please look over these tips.

Tips for bettering your session:

  • Treat this session the same as you would if you were in my office.
  • Put the appointment on your calendar so it is not a surprise when I call you! (this happens far too often)
  • Make sure you are in a quiet place, which is free from distractions.
  • Don’t drive and talk!
  • Keep yourself focused during the discussion…don’t try to do housework or surf the web.
  • Give yourself 30 minutes before and after the session to think about our discussion.
  • If you disagree with something I say, speak your mind! The last thing I want is for you to just quit talking with me because you are upset. Who knows, maybe I misheard you, which caused my response to be wrong.
  • Remember that some body language is missed over online therapy, so please don’t be afraid to be more verbally expressive.

Marriage Counseling as a Last Resort?

I see a lot of couples in my office who are striving to better their relationships and, often, save their relationships. The disturbing trend I see is couples therapy or marriage counseling being used as a last resort.

Many couples will tell me that they have tried psychiatric medication (often antidepressants) and different forms of arguing, as well as separations, threats of lawsuits, and who knows what else. Of course…this is all before trying couples therapy.

The problem I see is that many couples do not look for finding ways to better their communication, appreciate one another, or develop ways to settle differences. Instead, they are often caught up on who is right or how to get revenge. When all else has failed and they are on the brink of ending it forever, the couple calls me.

Marriage counseling and couples therapy works best when it is one of the first resorts–not last. When therapy is the last resort, there is an incredible amount of pressure put on each partner, as well as me! It is much more difficult for therapy to help a couple reverse years of bad habits, compared to helping the couple address these issues early on.

I urge couples to think about therapy as the second resort, instead of the last one on the list. If you have waited to use therapy as a last resort, there is plenty of hope. However, it will be more difficult and probably require more sessions compared to that couple who used therapy early on.

Many people view couples counseling as too expensive. However, I can assure you that your visit with me will be just a very small fraction of the cost of a divorce…and think about the heartache you may save.