Sexual health problems within a relationship are very complex to sort out. It helps to have a sort of matrix or template you can overlay on any particular issue. This may help you pinpoint the real issue of concern more accurately. The six principles of a healthy sexual relationships I offer here are meant to serve in that capacity. They are taken from Doug Braun-Harvey’s work from the Harvey Institute in San Diego, California (see resources below).
“I hate confrontation.”
That is what I hear at least once a day in my therapy practice. And it is usually from women. I wish I could give every woman who thinks this a short lesson on assertiveness, which is often what they mistake for confrontation or conflict. It does not mean you must alter a quiet demeanor, become bold and brassy, or the even worse expression— “a real ball breaker.” Why is assertiveness important? First you have to understand what assertiveness actually means.
As therapist, here are six things I want you to know. Some could be considered general life truisms, but they are also things that will help you progress more quickly if you choose to enter therapy.
It’s pretty standard knowledge that you go to therapy to change something. But changing a way of thinking or a behavior we don’t like is just not that easy, is it? And it is especially difficult to change our reactions to other’s mayhem. If it was we’d all do it and be on our merry way. Let me share three signs you need therapy.
Lies come in two large categories. One is to save face and the other is manipulation. You could also call these categories white lies and strategic lies. I’m primarily interested in self-deception, which comes under the heading of saving face. Or maybe hiding, or disguising, your true face, into one you believe is acceptable. Read more
Money fights are a hot spot I am asked about frequently by couples. Money has a lot to do with power in relationships. Here’s an example.
Definitions are in order for these three designations: social worker, psychologist and psychiatrist. How else will you know the answer to ‘Who ya gonna call?’ Recently the local newspaper had a front page article in the “Your Health” section called “No Room On the Couch.” I was quite happy to see this coverage, especially in light of the opioid epidemic. And I am going to say right up front there are no easy answers to this problem. The mental health profession can be draining and not particularly financially rewarding compared with other medical endeavors, but the job is unique in its reward system. By that I mean it is always interesting and challenging, and the joy received from seeing an individual make connections that lead them to live better lives is hard to describe. I get to see the lights go on! So, on to definitions, and how to decide who to call for what.
One thing I often hear about partners, spouses, and coworkers–indeed, even bosses, is that the person feels they “Should just know what I need” because the person with this particular narrative has been with them for umpteen days, months, or years. But have you said this to them? Ever? “Well, no, but they should just know!” In other words, you expect them to get out their crystal ball and engage in a bit of fortune telling.
I am so fascinated by why emotions have such a low value in our culture. People are simply not aware of the power their emotions exert over their behavior. They do not investigate them. They are not curious about emotion. And Brené Brown’s research has shown that people who do investigate their emotions have learned to do so in one of three ways. How I wish they were as curious as this little boy staring at his fish!
Ha! Bet you’re saying well that’s easy, since they act like one sometimes! But why you should treat your partner like a child has serious implications for building a better relationship with them. Sometimes communication patterns start that become detrimental. We forget how we came to be in a relationship with this person as we fall into our daily routines. By this, I mean we forget what drew us together in the first place. We go to work, schlep the kids around (if they are present), grocery shop, mop up the spills, do the laundry, take the dog to the vet, get the car inspected, pay the taxes, etc. The requirements of daily life can feel like such a slog at times!
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office