Couple by a Lake
Couple by a Lake

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March 17, 2016
For parents that have lost contact with their child(ren) due to rejection or alienation:
https://app.box.com/s/9y3dbd5osn8tnanm6etjbxu49r06iew8


February 27, 2016
Mental Toughness - FEAR...
FEAR is a common 'F' word in sports!  The fear to fail, make mistakes, or lose can make or break an athletes performance.  
One may decide FEAR is their friend, and embrace fear. Another athlete may ignore fear, and lose their confidence in their performance. Time and time again we see this in professional sports all the way down to beginning athletes regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. FEAR WILL TAKE OVER IF YOU DO NOT FACE FEAR HEAD ON, EMBRACE IT, AND FIGHT THROUGH THOSE FEARS!  You can and you will prevail once you face your fears!!


October 20, 2015
Court or no Court for child custody?

Family Courts are swamped daily with child custody related issues. Majority of families can save time and money without going to court. Commissioner and/or Judges may rule in your favor, not in your favor, or in the middle. Most likely you will not like the outcome, and more fighting and contention is between both parties. Emotions are high, and logical thinking is no longer present. Before you decide to take your child's parent to court, ask yourself, 1. Is my ex going against a court order (I.e. Parenting plan), 2. Can we work this out between ourselves, or hire a mediator?, 3. Am I logical right now, or full of emotions? , 4. Are your children in imminent danger and you have proof (arrest records, substance abuse records, CPS founded case, etc.), 
If you can answer the questions above with a Definite YES, then it is possible you have a reason for court and should consult with a family law attorney. If your answer is 'may be' 'I don't know' 'no', then it is possible you do not need court and can reach out to a divorce coach and see if there is a way to resolve what is going on. Just because your child's parent is making you mad, or upset, or doing so,etching you do not agree with, does not mean it is against the law. Call for expert advice before proceeding to court. Think about your children and what is best for them. You most likely will need a professional to help you clear your mind. Think. Logically!











August 31, 2015

http://newsletter.samhsa.gov/2015/08/13/social-media-as-a-tool-for-addressing-behavioral-health/?src=eblast

Take me a look at this!

July 21, 2015

READ THIS FLYER ON Human Trafficking...
<a href="https://www.ovcttac.gov/TaskForceGuide/index.cfm" ><img height=105 alt="Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide" src="https://www.ovcttac.gov/assets/images/resources/e-Guide-link.jpg" width=310 border="0"/> </a>

June 23, 2015

This article is so important to read...

Co-Parenting for the Sake of the Children...

By

Rochelle Long, MA, LMHC

 

What exactly does co-parenting mean?  This term is used frequently amongst divorced couples with children. Recently, I had a parent ask me, "What is co-parenting?  I do not want to hang out with my ex, we got divorced for a reason."  This is a common question received, and will explain in this article the what co-parenting involves and how to co-parent effectively with your children's other parent. 

 

"I got divorced for a reason."  "We are no longer together because we couldn't get along, and now I am suppose to talk about our children?"  "I hate my ex, how am I suppose to parent with them?"  "I do not want to talk with my ex, there is nothing nice to say."  Any of these sound familiar?  Most divorced/separated couples feel this way at one time or another toward each other. They receive the 'dreaded' e-mail, phone call, or in person contact. The feelings are still too new and raw, and they do not want to talk to their ex.  Some parents feel when it is their residential time, it is "their" time with the children and do not want to discuss or share the children with their ex. Have you hear the phrase from your ex; "this is my time."?

 

Many divorced/separated parents can relate to the above, and most likely admit feeling this way. Yet, the question arises, "what about the children?"  What is best for the children?  Research from many well-known Psychologists have repeatedly found that in most divorced/separated families, the children suffer as well and need both parents in their lives* (there are few exceptions). Additionally, research continuosly points out that children of divorced/separated families do better when parents co-parent and get along most of the time. There are many risk factors stacked against children of divorced/separated families as it is; especially when the parents do not get along, do not talk, argue, fight in court, custody battles, and so forth. Children are caught in the middle whether parents want to admit this or not. 

 

Most parents want to do what is best for their children, however, they get caught up in the emotional turmoil with their ex or soon to be ex, and have difficulty tending to their children's needs. Some examples include: parents are working more hours or returning to work because there is now only one income, parents are so angry and hurt about the break up they can not concentrate well, parents blame each other about their children's performance in school, social, what they eat, wear, etc. rather than focus on their children's needs, and so on. 

 

Co-parenting is an important element to children's growth and development. Positive co-parenting most likely will trump most of the risk factors of divorce/separation because parents are effectively communicating about their children. Co-parenting positively does not mean you are obligated to 'hang out' or do things together as a family; it means effectively communicating with each other, setting some general guidelines up at both homes (i.e. same bedtime, homework completed before play, etc), and showing the children that both parents are on the same page when it comes to parenting. In order to do this, there must be 'some' trust with both parents, and not feeling that either parent is 'out to get them,' or 'documentation for court.'  Both parents must fully commit to co-parenting and give their best efforts to communicate effectively for their children's sake. Both parents must put their personal feelings aside when it comes to communicating with each other, and focus solely on their children. Mudslinging and bashing each other is not going to get either parent anywhere, except negative emotions and negative impacts on their children. 

 

Co-parenting effectively is an unselfish act, and will pay off in the long run. Here are some ways to co-parent effectively:

 

1. Have a weekly or bi- monthly (every two weeks)  meeting over the telephone without the children in ear shot. This may include same time and day each week, and set aside a good hour (not be rushed) to talk about the children, any issues in regards to the children, financial, etc.  This will be the only time (unless an urgent matter occurs in between) that issues are discussed as it relates to the children. This phone conversation is solely reserved to discuss the children, nothing personal. Your relationship has changed from parents together to co-parenting apart. Treat the relationship as a business one, as business colleagues. Get your mind set that this relationship is no longer "together"; it is purely business about raising your child(ren). 

 

2.  When talking to the other parent, have your notes or outline in front of you on what you want to discuss and hopefully accomplish. Set it up as a business meeting and be prepared. Some parents chose to send the discussion before hand via e-mail, and some do not (this depends on the relationship and trust factor). This will help you stay on track and keep you focused on the issues at hand when the emotions kick in. Think logically during these conversations, and stay on task. Keep your emotions out of the conversation (I.e. "I feel..."), emotions can cloud your judgement and the conversation may end abruptly and hostile. It is okay to tell the other parent that you need time to think about what they are saying and/or asking; and to give them notice when you will return to that conversation (i.e. Say, "I will get back to you in two days"... And then make sure to follow through with your promise). 

 

3.  During transition times (drop off/pick up), keep conversation light and comfortable for the kids. Remember, children are extremely perceptive and can feel tension (there doesn't need to be words).  When children do not want to leave you, let them know you love them and encourage their next transition with the other parent. Do not prolong good byes, miss you, etc. Let the children know you will be fine, and to enjoy their time with the other parent. Pick ups and drop offs should go smoothly and quickly. This is NOT the time to discuss any parenting issues (other than medications children are taking, homework due, last nap time, etc.). Parenting issues are reserved for the telephone meetings!  Children will transition quicker and have a better time when both parents make it pleasant and fast. 

 

4.  Residential time with children is special time to spend quality time with your children. Respect the other parent's residential time, and do not interfere with their time. Phone calls, texts, e-mails should only occur once a day (or however both parents have agreed on), and kept short. For example, a phone call before bedtime should consist of telling the children you love them, sweet dreams, and have a good day tomorrow. Keep it quick and simple, and this gives the children peace of mind that they can have both their parents in their lives, and can speak freely without worrying about the other parents feelings, and builds some trust with the parent that you are not taking their time away. This goes both ways and agreed upon by both parents. If it becomes an issue, discuss during the next phone meeting. Children should have access to both parents regardless of residential time and not worry if they are hurting feelings, etc.  you are the adults here, keep your feelings in check. If children are constantly calling, texting, etc. the other parent, then have a discussion with the other parent on how to deal with this issue. It is possible your child is going through a hard time, and they feel more comfortable talking to one parent - do not take personal and set some boundaries after agreement with the other parent. 

 

5.  Extra-curricular activities - Both parents should attend them only if they can get along, and make it comfortable for their children. Can you imagine what it must feel like if a child has a recital, or important game, and they have to worry about their adult parents?  Children have enough to worry about; it should not be about their parents. Both parents must agree prior to these activities how they will be handled, who takes them, where they sit (together or separately), etc. Parents that do not have residential time with them during these times must keep their greetings and good byes short. For example, a greeting hug, and good luck prior to the event, and a good bye hug and 'good job and love you' when you leave. Also, parents should have a plan if they enter and exit together or separately. Bottom line, have an agreement, go by your agreement, and keep the peace for the children. 

 

6.  There will be conflict and disagreements, after all you are human and no longer together. Emotions do get the best of us sometimes. Keep In mind, this is a business relationship, try to set your feelings aside, and really listen to what the other parent is saying. You may agree to disagree, and that is okay. Ultimately, what will be the compromise?  Take the 24-hour rule, and do not make any decisions, make any comments to the other parent or children,, and really take the time to think about what is going on, and how can you two come to a middle ground.  Most of the time it is emotions, feelings hurt, feeling rejected, worried that the other parent is trying to manipulate, etc.  You cannot get in the heads of the other parent, so why even try?  You can control what you do and say, not the other parent. Do what is best for the children, not what the parenting plan says, and be flexible. Parenting plans are guides to help us with schedules, however, allowing flexibility will be best for all parties. For example, if parent A is asking to take the children to a family event during Parent B's residential time, and Parent B says "it's my time" but has no plans; why not allow the children to attend the event with Parent A?   Possibly, Parent A can offer some make up time on a different day. There are many creative ways to be flexible, and attempt to show good faith that you are doing what is best for the children.  Use the 24 hour rule before making a decision. 

 

These are guidelines above are helpful ways to keep your co-parenting relationship healthy. *There are some parents and individuals that will not co-parent and for good reasons.  

Most parents (approximately 90%) will co-parent on some level, and the other ten percent will 'parallel parent'. Parallel parenting is when both parents do not communicate with each other and parent during 'their time' and not sharing information in regards to the children with the other parent. This causes more confusion, triangulation, and issues for the children. Children know their parents are not communicating, and possibly will tell each parent different things to 'appease' them, get what they want, etc. Since the parents are not speaking to each other, parents usually get 'caught up' believing their child before checking in with the other parent. Some examples include, what they are fed, what they did over at the other parents, say the other parent is 'mean', etc. As you can see this is not effective parenting, and can make things worse in parenting relationships. If you can avoid parallel parenting, and co-parent; you will be helping your children to feel free, and not feel that they must chose one parent over the other. There are few situations when co-parenting is not recommended. Relationships that ended in domestic violence is one situation. Domestic violence is about power and control, and may still follow once the divorce/separation is final; the abuser will use the 'children' as leverage instead. Co-parenting in these situations are almost impossible because the abuser will blame and try to control, and manipulate the abusee. Sometimes, e-mail communication is the only way to communicate the basics in regards to the children. For example, an e-mail that clearly states the children's medications, last dosage, and any emergent events. Other than that, it is best to keep communication sparse and parallel parent. Many relationships that ended in domestic violence, the ex-partner continued to use domestic violence by proxy (use the children to get to the other parent). There are more examples, however, will stick to the main points for now. 

Other reasons to not co-parent may be one parent has drug and/or alcohol problems or an untreated mental health problem. These are issues that may be resolved through treatment and medication. 

Overall, majority of parents can co-parent effectively, work through their differences, set boundaries, and have a working relationship for the sake of their children. Children deserve to be kids, and not in the middle of a custody dispute or arguing parents. 


April 7, 2015 
when the going gets tough...
Some clients ask..."why does bad luck follow me?"  
We must ponder; is it bad luck, choices you are making, how you view life challenges, all the above?

Life is not easy, no one said it was. Like the saying goes in one of my favorite movies, 'Forest Gump', "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get."  This Quote is so true, simple to read, and yet so hard accept. Life is full of surprises and challenges we must face every day.  Some are simple and some are hard. If we did not have these challenges, life would be mundane...robotic. Some people enjoy routine oriented days, same thing, day in and day out. Now, there is nothing wrong with that if you can honestly say 'I am happy and doing what I want to do.'  Most people go through the motions, however, are not happy with their lives, their marriage, career, parenting, life choices, etc.  STOP!  NO MORE. This is filling up the negative bucket, and hindering on what YOU can do!  Life is full of endless possibilities...Begin to live your dreams, face your fears, and conquer your dreams. At the end of the day can you realistically say, if I were to die tomorrow have I done most things I have wanted?  Am I happy with the choices I made today, and will I rest in peace knowing I could not have been any happier with the choices I made today?  Just today?  If the answer is, 'yes', then you are on the right path. If the answer is 'no' then it is time to press 'reset' and start all over with you goals. Set your goal, be realistic in setting goal, and begin to pave the way. We can only move forward, and learn from the past. Dwelling on the past will get you no where, so quit. Learn from your past, and move on. Face your fears, take chances, and do not give up!  Life is full of open doors, you jut need to find the keys as you open them. There are endless possibilities if you just keep trying. Do not let life bring you down, or people bring you down.  You have control over what you do, and your next move. You have NO control over others and their choices....do ONLY what you can, live the dream, and make it a reality. 

More re to come on life choices!



February 24, 2015
From today forward, when you encounter a problem or event with a person or situation, tempting you to try to control it, review the situation carefully before taking any action.  Reveiw and reflect what is healthy, normal problem-solving skills you can use in the situation.  Attempt to come up with at least "three" resonable and logical solutions.  Keep track how many times you use your problem solving skills, and see if it helps the situation. If you have tried these techniques more than three times and it is not effective, clear the slate, take a break from solving the problem as it seems you are still too emotionally involved in the problem or situation.  Once your mind is clear, and thinking logically, go back to the exercise, and try again.  When you are not trying to 'solve' other peoples problems, and not 'trying' to control things that are out of your control, you will be able to effectively problem solve.

November 2, 2014
Most people view Domestic Violence as a form of Physical Abuse. This is not always true, and in fact 95% of victims to DV will suffer from psychological abuse. This is a huge silent problem in our society and it is time for people to be informed. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Do you:

feel afraid of your partner much of the time?

Does your partner:

humiliate or yell at you?

avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?

criticize you and put you down?

feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?

treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?

believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?

ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?

wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?

blame you for their own abusive behavior?

feel emotionally numb or helpless?

see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

have a bad and unpredictable temper?

Does your partner:

act excessively jealous and possessive?

hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?

control where you go or what you do?

threaten to take your children away or harm them?

keep you from seeing your friends or family?

threaten to commit suicide if you leave?

limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?

force you to have sex?

limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?

destroy your belongings?

constantly check up on you?

The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:

  1. Denial — As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of his/her situation, and begins to develop a false, preferable reality.
  2. Anger — Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. The person in question can be angry with himself, or with others, or at a higher power, and especially those who are close to them. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"; "Why would God let this happen?"
  3. Bargaining — The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Other times, they will use anything valuable as a bargaining chip against another human agency to extend or prolong the life they live. In essence, the individual cannot totally move into acceptance yet acknowledges the fact that what has happened cannot be undone. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example, one may say "Can we still be friends?" when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it is a matter of life or death.
  4. Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon so what's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
    During the fourth stage, the grieving person begins to understand the certainty of death. Much like the existential concept of The Void, the idea of living becomes pointless. Things begin to lose meaning to the griever. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and sullen. This process allows the grieving person to disconnect from things of love and affection, possibly in an attempt to avoid further trauma. Depression could be referred to as the dress rehearsal for the 'aftermath'. It is a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. Oftentimes, this is the ideal path to take, to find closure and make their ways to the fifth step, Acceptance.
  5. Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
    In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. This stage varies according to the person's situation. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief. This typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable mindset.

Kübler-Ross originally developed this model based on her observations of people suffering from terminal illness. She later expanded her theory to apply to any form of catastrophic personal loss, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or income, major rejection, the end of a relationship or divorcedrug addictionincarceration, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, as well as many tragedies and disasters (and even minor losses).

Supporting her theory, many (both sufferers and therapists) have reported the usefulness of the Kübler-Ross Model in a wide variety of situations where people were experiencing a significant loss. The application of the theory is intended to help the sufferer to fully resolve each stage, then help them transition to the next – at the appropriate time – rather than getting stuck in a particular phase or continually bouncing around from one unresolved phase to another. The subsections below give a few specific examples of how the model can be applied in different situations. These are just some of the many benefits that Kübler-Ross hoped her model would provide.

Children grieving in divorce

Denial
Children feel the need to believe that their parents will get back together, or will change their mind about the divorce. Example: “Mom and Dad will stay together.”
Anger
Children feel the need to blame someone for their sadness and loss. Example: “I hate Mom for leaving us.”
Bargaining
In this stage, children feel as if they have some say in the situation if they bring a bargain to the table. This helps them keep focused on the positive that the situation might change, and less focused on the negative, the sadness they’ll experience after the divorce. Example: “If I do all of my chores maybe Mom won’t leave Dad.”
Depression
This involves the child experiencing sadness when they know there is nothing else to be done, and they realize they cannot stop the divorce. The parents need to let the child experience this process of grieving because if they do not, it only shows their inability to cope with the situation. Example: “I’m sorry that I cannot fix this situation for you.”
Acceptance
This does not necessarily mean that the child will be completely happy again. The acceptance is just moving past the depression and starting to accept the divorce. The sooner the parents start to move on from the situation, the sooner the children can begin to accept the reality of it.[3]

Grieving a break-up

Denial
The person left behind is unable to admit that the relationship is really over. They may continue to call the former partner even though that person wants to be left alone. Instead they may deny their feelings and not admit that they are upset about it at all.
Anger
The partner left behind may feel angry for the pain the leaving partner causes them. The partner left also might blame himself/herself.
Bargaining
After the anger stage, the one left behind may plead with their former partner by promising that whatever caused the breakup will never happen again. Example: “I can change. Please give me a chance."
Depression
Next, the person might feel discouraged that his or her bargaining plea did not convince the former partner to stay. This may send the person into depression causing disruption to life functions.
Acceptance
Moving on from the situation and the person is the last stage. The partner left behind accepts that the relationship is over and begins to move forward with his or her life. She or he may not be completely over the situation but is weary of going back and forth, so much so that they can accept the separation as reality.[4]

Grieving in substance abuse

Denial
People feel that they do not have a problem concerning alcohol or substances. Even if they do feel as if they might have a small problem they believe that they have complete control over the situation and can stop drinking or doing drugs whenever they want. Example: “I don’t have to drink all of the time. I can stop whenever I want.”
Anger
The anger stage of abusers relates to how they get upset because they have an addiction or are angry that they can no longer use drugs. Some of these examples include “I don’t want to have this addiction anymore.” “This isn’t fair, I’m too young to have this problem.”
Bargaining
This is the stage that drug and alcohol abusers go through when they are trying to convince themselves or someone else that they are going to stop abusing in order to get something out of it or get themselves out of trouble. Example: “God, I promise I’ll never use again if you just get me out of trouble.”
Depression
Sadness and hopelessness are important parts of the depression stage when dealing with a drug abuser. Most abusers experience this when they are going through the withdrawal stage quitting their addiction. It is important to communicate these feelings as a process of the healing.
Acceptance
With substance abusers, admitting the existence of a problem is different from accepting the problem. When a substance abuser admits that he/she has a problem, this is more likely to occur in the bargaining stage. Accepting that he/she has a problem is when you realise that you have a problem and start the process to resolve the issue.[5]

As stated above, according to her hypothesis, Kübler-Ross claimed these stages do not necessarily come in order, nor are all stages experienced by all patients. She stated, however, that a person always experiences at least two of the stages. Often, people experience several stages in a "roller coaster" effect—switching between two or more stages, returning to one or more several times before working through it.[2] Women are more likely than men to experience all five stages.[2]

However, the Kübler-Ross hypothesis holds that there are individuals who struggle with death until the end. Some psychologists believe that the harder a person fights death, the more likely they will be to stay in the denial stage. If this is the case, it is possible the ill person will have more difficulty dying in a dignified way. Other psychologists state that not confronting death until the end is adaptive for some people.[2]










Please join our DV group led by an experienced Licensed Therapist if you are or have experienced the following:

Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.

The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence: An Example

A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, "I'm sorry for hurting you." What he does not say is, "Because I might get caught." He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her "If you weren't such a worthless whore I wouldn't have to hit you." He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because "you're having an affair with the store clerk." He has just set her up.

Source: Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service

Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse

It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

General warning signs of domestic abuse

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness

Warning signs of physical violence

People who are being physically abused may:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

Warning signs of isolation

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

The psychological warning signs of abuse

People who are being abused may:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do's and Don'ts

Do:

  • Ask if something is wrong
  • Express concern
  • Listen and validate
  • Offer help
  • Support his or her decisions

Don’t:

  • Wait for him or her to come to you
  • Judge or blame
  • Pressure him or her
  • Give advice
  • Place conditions on your support

Adapted from: NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.



September 1, 2014

Domestic Violence (DV) - NEW GROUP led by an experienced DV Therapist!  This is a low cost group for individuals going through DV:

Signs of DV- if you or your loved one is going through one or any of the following please call to inquire- you deserve to be free:

SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Do you:

feel afraid of your partner much of the time?

Does your partner:

humiliate or yell at you?

avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?

criticize you and put you down?

feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?

treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?

believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?

ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?

wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?

blame you for their own abusive behavior?

feel emotionally numb or helpless? 

see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

have a bad and unpredictable temper?

Does your partner:

act excessively jealous and possessive?

hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?

control where you go or what you do?

threaten to take your children away or harm them?

keep you from seeing your friends or family?

threaten to commit suicide if you leave?

limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?

force you to have sex?

limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?

destroy your belongings?

constantly check up on you?

Physical abuse and domestic violence

When people talk about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.

Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse

Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

It Is Still Abuse If . . .

  • The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result of being pushed, for example.
  • The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship.Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely he will continue to physically assault you.
  • The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted!
  • There has not been any physical violence. Many women are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.

Source: Breaking the Silence: a Handbook for Victims of Violence in Nebraska

Emotional abuse: It’s a bigger problem than you think

When people think of domestic abuse, they often picture battered women who have been physically assaulted. But not all abusive relationships involve violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked—even by the person being abused.

Understanding emotional abuse

The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without your abusive partner you have nothing.

Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want. 

You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so.

Economic or financial abuse: A subtle form of emotional abuse

Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he or she will frequently use money to do so. Economic or financial abuse includes:

  • Rigidly controlling your finances
  • Withholding money or credit cards
  • Making you account for every penny you spend
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter)
  • Restricting you to an allowance
  • Preventing you from working or choosing your own career
  • Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)
  • Stealing from you or taking your money

Violent and abusive behavior is the abuser’s choice

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his or her behavior. In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.

Abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power:

  • Dominance – Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession.
  • Humiliation – An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
  • Isolation – In order to increase your dependence on him or her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He or she may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
  • Threats – Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He or she may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.
  • Intimidation – Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences.
  • Denial and blame – Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He or she will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, his or her violent and abusive behavior is your fault.

Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time

  • Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love.
  • Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to see their abusive behavior. They may act like everything is fine in public, but lash out instantly as soon as you’re alone.
  • Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. In fact, they’re able to immediately stop their abusive behavior when it’s to their advantage to do so (for example, when the police show up or their boss calls).
  • Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t show. Rather than acting out in a mindless rage, many physically violent abusers carefully aim their kicks and punches where the bruises and marks won’t show.

The cycle of violence in domestic abuse

Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:

  • Cycle of violenceAbuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss."
  • Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he's done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
  • Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
  • "Normal" behavior – The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
  • Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he'll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
  •  


April 25, 2013
NEW PARENT GROUPS STARTING IN MAY.  LOOK AT THE GROUP SECTION on this website.  This group will help parents/guardians/grandparents raising children/teenagers take the "fight" out of their family dynamics and learn EFFECTIVE ways to parent in a loving and nurturing environment.  We all want our children to succeed, and be able to make choices in life that will be positive outcomes.  Life is challenging and we want to prepare our children to make appropriate choices whether it is about school, friends, drugs/alcohol, sex, etc., we want them prepared.  We can begin any time to help our children/teenagers learn to be respectful, do what is expected of them, and own their choices made.  This GROUP is six weeks in length!  Join and learn new ways to effectively parent!

Separating from your loved one is an extremely difficult choice to make.  This is not an easy choice for anyone, especially the two involved.  When children are part of the equation, the choice to separate and divide the children are very important and challenging.  Although you may want to divide your child in half, that is not realistic.  Children need stability and love and a place to call home.  When there are two "fit" parents (good enough as reasearchers call it), peaceful solutions can happen.  We can help you sort out the issues at hand, and assist you in reaching a solution that both of you will be at the most "content" with.  Going through the litigative process is gruelsome, tiring, and unnecessary in most divorce and custody issues.  The majority of couples that are dealing with divorce and child custody can make their own decisions, and work collaboratively with their ex-partner.  In the beginning, the emotions are high, and most people are not thinking clearly.  However, working with a mental health professional, mediator, collaborative lawyer/professional, you will see that you have options and do not need to fight in court.  There are some exceptions (high conflict) where you may need to go through litigation.  This usually pertains to people going through domestic violence, child abuse, obvious parent alienation, etc.  I am more than happy to discuss this with you further before you decide which avenue to take.  Approximately 10% of custody cases end up in litigation, and the other 90% are able to find another solution.  Although the parents emotions are high during this challenging time, the children's best interests and emotional and physical needs are the most important.  The majority of people going through custody issues will settle into their own life, and find their new normal and be able to truly co-parent with their ex-partner.  Dated December 17, 2012 by Rochelle Long, MA, LMHC





December 20, 2012 by Rochelle Long, LMHC

Feeling blue, down, sad, tired, no energy, and wish this would just stop?  You may be experiencing depression.  Depression is a common issue in the United States and especially this time of year...the holidays.  There is "clinical" depressiona and "situational" depression.  If you are having trouble sleeping (sleeping too much, too little), disrupted sleep, eating issues (too much, too little), have no energy, sit for hours and accomplish nothing, feel down/sad most of the time every day for the past two weeks, you may want to seek professional help.  It is possible there has been a life altering event that is causing these symptoms, or they may have come from no where.  Whatever the reason, it is sometimes good to speak to a professional that understands and is objective to your situation.  This does not mean you will need counseling forever, as it may only be temporary.  Before symptoms get worse, or the situation gets worse, please seek help.  You may also notice similar symptoms in your children.  Children display depression differently as well.  Children are more likely to be "angry" have more "outbursts" and have sleep issues.  Some children refuse to do their homework, or do not want to attend school, sporting activities, and/or other past enjoyable activities.  Children also have depression and it is very real whether it is situational or clinical.  If you see symptoms listed above, or feel something is not right with your child(ren) please seek professional help before the symptoms or situation gets worse.

March 31, 2014

Recently, a couple came to me asking for a divorce.  They were at the wits end, and were ready to separate after 25+ years.  They had five children, ages ranging from 6 to 19 years of age.  Both were seeking help in formulating a residential schedule that would fit their needs, and schedules.  Both parents wanted the kids full-time.  Both parents were not willing to "share" their children, and both felt they "deserved" to have the children daily.  Their thought on the residential schedule was to have the kids daily, mom during the day, and dad at night.  While this is not realistic, and unfair to everyone invovled, especially the children; the parents were having a challenging time going from divorcing each other, and seeing what was in the 'best interests' of their children.  Once the couple realized they were no longer a "couple," and realized their childrens interests, they were able to produce a co-parenting relationship and formulate a residential schedule that fit their families needs and desires.  Of course, neither parent was 100% happy with the end result, however, they saved months of stress, mud slinging, money, their childrens well-being, by working this challenging event out between the co-parent counselor and the both of them.  They did not have attorneys invovled, and did not end up in court to see the black robe.  If you are considering a divorce/separation, and have children, do some research and long hard soul searching before retaining an attorney and going to court.  Court is NOT always the best option for your family.  **Court may be necessary in the cases of domestic violence, abuse, and child abuse.  

April 1, 2014 
I received a phone call from a previous client's parent that is once again concerned about her daughter's performance in soccer.  Her daughter plays select soccer, and recreational soccer.  Her daughter plays 9 months out of the year, and conditions during the 3 months off.  Her daughter is now 15, and is not performing at her best.  Upon meeting this former client, I sent her an article about stress, burnout, and confidence.  During our meeting, this 15 year old girl said "I can't do it anymore."  She said, "I used to be the best out there, and now I am just "one of them."  She no longer plays first string, and no longer is the lead scorer.  She may score one goal in a week of three games, when she used to score at the very minimum one goal per game.  Her grades are suffering in school (she is a "B" student right now, used to be an "A" student), and is putting a lot of pressure on herself in regards to school and soccer. She feels that she will let her parents down if she fails school, and her teammates down since she is not scoring the way she used to.  Her pre-game ritual is no longer there, and she is unable to visualize the soccer field and game.  She is unable to keep up with all her homework due to her travels with select soccer, and playing on her home recreational team.  She just recently began coaching a soccer team as well because she thought this may "motivate" her. She has many stresses and demands placed on her, and she is 15 years old.  She has no time to play with friends, hang out with friends, and take time for herself.  She misses most of the school events because of her schedule.  Her parents are taking her to and from most of her games, and they are also raising two other children.  Family and personal life is stressful as well.  In addition to all this, she has gained some weight, which is natural because she is becoming a woman.  We sat down in my office and went through a priority list, and her goals.  We broke them down even further, and made very concrete goals so she could feel grounded again.  She chose to leave recreational soccer after the seaason (almost done), and to not coach soccer until a later time.  She loves soccer, and feels she is good at it; she just lost her motivation due to the other stressors in her life.  She realized she could do most of her homework during school, and she realized attending some school functions were important to her.  She listed the important events she wanted to attend in order, and chose the top three.  Her parents are very supportive of her, and only want what is best for her.  Her mom knows what she is capable of, however, does not want to push her.  Her father, on the other hand, is the third coach, and is learning how to be a parent in the crowd.  This is all a learning curve, and with some mental fitness, this young girl will be back to playing at her peak performance in soccer, maintain her grades (and be okay with a B), and have a social life.  Do you have a child/youth/adolescent going through something like this?  If so, please do not wait!







 

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