Tag: family and relationships

How Managing Your Emotions Can Benefit Your Relationship

toso -how managing your emotions can benefit your relationship- blog header.png

As you get older, you will experience an increase in responsibilities that will begin weighing more heavily on your shoulders. While these changes are an exciting transition into new stages of life, they can occasionally feel burdensome as feelings of overwhelming happiness, fear, heartache, and loneliness weave together and blur the lines between each individual emotion. This makes it difficult to separate these feelings in an attempt to conquer them independently.

When difficult emotions arise, it not only affects the person, it affects their relationships as well. If not addressed, these emotions can cause serious implications between a person and their family and friends – and, more specifically, with their significant others.

When you find yourself under the weight of pressure, it is imperative that you learn how to properly cope with your different emotions:

Allow yourself to fully feel the emotion.

You may think you are already doing this since you currently feel angry or depressed, but you most likely try to escape from your current state as quickly as possible – no one prefers to feel those negative emotions. However, it’s important that you allow yourself to truly feel through the emotion instead of pushing it away.

Separate yourself from your emotions.

Your emotions do not define you, they are just a part of life that requires your attention every now and then. If you identify yourself with your emotions, it is much harder to separate yourself from them when they are in full force. Be aware of their presence, but detach yourself from them as quickly and as often as possible.

Try to identify the triggers of your emotions.

Don’t try to do this in the heat of the moment because it will be difficult to try to deal with your current state of mind while also analyzing the reason for why you feel this way. Once the emotion has subsided, take the time to think back to what triggered the feeling. Why did it cause this reaction? Is it something that can be avoided in the future if you can just adjust your mentality? These questions may not be fun to work through, but this change in perspective will help to reduce how intense these emotions will feel in the future, making them easier to process.

If you can be more in tune with yourself, approaching every situation with mindfulness and the necessary attention, it will show itself in your relationship with your significant other. Instead of going from bad to worse, you will have more control in how the situation will play out because you will be better equipped to work through these difficult emotions before approaching your partner.

If you both approach life this way, it is going to positively show itself within your relationship!

5 Family Bonding Activities to Try this Holiday Season

The holiday season can get busy. With all of the hustle and bustle that surrounds holidays, sometimes the most important part gets lost in the mix. Regardless of your background, the holiday season is a perfect time to remember the most important people in our lives, our families. The holiday season provides an excellent opportunity to reconnect and bond with your special people. holiday wreath with ornaments

Build a Snowman or Watch a Holiday Movie

Depending on where you live, building a snowman with your loved ones is a great bonding activity. It’s not just for young children. Older children, adult children, and couples can enjoy the healthy and genuine fun that creating a snowman gives a family. Deck your snowman out in a holiday theme and hope the cooler temperatures guarantee your snowman will last. If you live somewhere where snow is not in the forecast, try watching a holiday movie together instead. You can watch one about a snowman, and you can use your imagination to create a unique snowman that doesn’t require snow. Let your imagination and bonding guide your ideas.

Decorate a Holiday Tree

A holiday tree shouldn’t get reserved for particular belief systems or traditions. If you live in a household where a holiday tree is a tradition, then kick off the holiday season by decorating it together. You can make your ornaments and get creative with the way you decorate the tree. Even if you are from a household where a holiday tree is not a tradition, you can start this tradition this year. A holiday tree is an excellent way to welcome the winter season. Break out a string of lights and inspire new tradition in your home.

Bake Cookies or Pies

Not much says it’s the holiday season like the scent of fresh cookies or pies. Even for the most health conscious amongst us, baking together is a great way to bond. Let young children get creative by decorating cookies or let older children get creative with ingredients. When you are finished baking, make sure you give yourself a break, and enjoy the fruits, or cookies and pies, of your labor by indulging together.

Read Holiday Stories

Reading a holiday story is a great way to start the holiday season. Take turns reading and doing voices for the characters. Reading opens up a world of creativity, and it’s a wonderful way to expand creativity and bond together.

Sing Holiday Songs

You don’t need a Billboard 100 voice to enjoy singing together. Let your guard down, and enjoy the company of your family by singing classic holiday songs. It’s a fun way to showcase your talents or showcase your humility.
During the holidays this year remember the people who give your life meaning. It’s easy to lose sight of the reason for the holiday season, but a perfect way to give thanks is by embracing your family and making time to bond.

from Catharine Toso’s: Family Counseling http://ift.tt/2gE0MAM

Keeping a Marriage Healthy

Spousal communication is the key to a happy marriage and, if kids are involved, a healthy family life. Writing for Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S sought insight from family therapist Ashley Thorn, who shared several of the pointers she often gives clients.

Making Time

This is, understandably, the foundation on which all other goals are built. Between children, careers, and personal maintenance, spending quality time with your spouse can be quite a challenge. Thorn provides several suggestions for meeting a base-level of quality time with your partner. For starters, she mentions that you should make time once a week to discuss upcoming schedules. Being aware of major activities throughout the week means you know when to ask for help and when to give them some alone time.

Thorn also tells her clients to set apart two hours per week for quality one-on-one time, allowing them to reconnect and rekindle. Presumably this is time spent alone, or out on the town. But every few months it is necessary to really let go and plan for an extended getaway. You chose your partner because you enjoyed their company, so continue to make that a priority.

Your Spouse is Your Friend

“Friendship is a large part of the basis of a good committed relationship,” writes Thorn. Think of your spouse as your best friend first. This means reflecting on what a good friend means to you, and then pursuing it in your relationship. Don’t be shy to probe and ask questions— you never know someone 100%. What are their likes and dislikes? There’s always more to find out!

Get a Handle on Stress

Instead of dealing with stress effectively, Thorn notices that sometimes clients lash out at each other. In order to prevent this, you need to take a closer look at you. Find out what stresses you out, then learn to deal with it in an productive and mature way. Maybe meditation works for you, or perhaps it’s retreating to a place of quiet. And of course, there is always exercise.

Knowing how to cope with everyday stressors will lead you to positive interactions with those in your family.

from Catharine Toso’s: Family Counseling http://ift.tt/20tr9tB

The Family’s Role in Adolescent Anxiety

In a recent post for Lower Manhattan based journal Luhud, New York-Presbyterian Hospital writers discuss the impact that anxiety has on teenagers and young adults.

angry child

While many ideas of teenage mental health center on the cultural staples of the rebel or outsider, teens can be emotionally volatile; not as stoic as we may believe. In many modern family structures, the first wave of independent decision-making can be anxiety inducing for a number of teenagers and young adults. And it makes sense. Going off to college, finding a first home or apartment, and hunting for the first job are all stressful periods of one’s life.

NY Presbyterian’s John Walkup, Director Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, identifies anxiety disorders as the dominant class of mental health disorders amongst teens. While we can’t say exactly why they take hold, we do know that they most typically start in childhood. These disorders take many different forms. For example, a child may experience separation anxiety when going off to school for the first time, or social anxiety when interacting with their new classmates. Although these children are curious enough to explore their new surroundings, as a child is wont to do, they will often do so with a stubborn sense of foreboding. At the end of the day, they’ll venture into the unknown, but something will feel off.

The recommended solution is for parents to seek treatment as soon as this behavior becomes apparent. Despite the high number of children who suffer from anxiety issues, only around a third of them receive treatment. Families can often exacerbate the issue, albeit unknowingly, by facilitating this behavior. Parents often want their kids to feel as comfortable as possible, so if being in novel situations makes a child visibly uncomfortable, parents may dissuade them from these interactions instead of receiving help. This has far reaching effects into the future, as this kind of anxiety can manifest itself as a roadblock for completing normal, healthy adult activities.

from Catharine Toso’s: Family Counseling http://ift.tt/1Lnkzyk

Types of Family Counseling

Family therapy is unique because it doesn’t necessarily follow the assumed one-on-one model that other counseling sessions follow. Family therapy is rooted in the idea that one’s behavior is inseparable and originates from the family unit, and that understanding that complex relationship is necessary for resolving conflict in the family life. But while it does form its own unique aspect of therapy, one aspect it has in common with other areas of therapy is that there are many different techniques used to achieve similar goals. This post will break down several of the techniques highlighted over at Goodtherapy.org. Keep in mind that this is just an overview, but there are many resources available should you wish to learn more!

Family Looking up

Structural Family Therapy

If you’ve ever seen any pop culture representations of family systems therapy, chances are this was it. Structural family therapy, pioneered by Argentinian family therapist Salvador Minuchin, examines and evaluate the family’s behaviors within the therapy setting. Minuchin believed the first steps to repairing the family came from slight changes to each individual’s behavior (first order changes), and then a reevaluation of family rules (second order changes). He also encouraged role-playing activities to get a better sense of the familial dynamic.

Strategic Family Therapy

The functional inverse of structural family therapy. While structural therapy evaluates the family unit within the therapy session, strategic therapy does the bulk of its evaluations outside of the sessions. It also places emphasis on reframing problems and situations, and can make use of something called a “paradoxical intervention”,  which is essentially taking an action that runs counter to what a family would normally do in a given situation. Clinical psychiatrists such as Jay Haley made great contributions to this field of study. Haley’s approach suggested that common patient issues stemmed from families attempting to correct what they saw as problematic behavior. To fix this, he focused on rapid, short-term changes.

Intergenerational Family Therapy

This branch is particularly fascinating, because it examines how different generations of family traditions can have an impact on one member. It can also be used to see how the problems experienced today could have roots in the behavior of the previous generations, Murray Bowen was one of the biggest names in this area of family therapy. To help his patients, he would often discuss how other families may experience the same problems.

from Catharine Toso’s: Family Counseling http://ift.tt/1GoQGqM