5 Reasons Women Stay | Domestic Violence

5 Reasons Women Stay | Domestic Violence

Did you know that approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year; and a current or former intimate partner kills three women each day? This is more than just a statistic to my family and myself. I counsel individuals every day who are or have been in abusive/violent relationships and my family lost my eldest sister Carmen Rivera to domestic violence over 20 years ago. If we are to truly help those that are in domestic violence relationships, it is imperative that we understand the psychology behind those who choose to stay in these relationships.

Ray RicePeople who have not been in abusive situations find it very difficult to understand this level of dysfunction. Many times the victims are blamed for staying in this situation.  In my sister’s case, she was no longer in the relationship with the man who took her life.  In fact, she had a restraining order against him when she was murdered.

Below are a few of the many reasons why people stay in Abusive/violent relationships.

  1. Dysfunctional Emotional Connection. Those who use power and control with their partners are often verbally, emotionally and physically abusive along with apologies, promises, and affection to their victims. This often confuses the victim and they can start blaming themselves.
  1. Toxic Shame. A victim deep down often feels that something is wrong with them rather than the behavior of their partner. This results in a tremendous amount of feelings of shame and embarrassment. This, more often times than not, leads them to cope with denial of the reality of their situation.
  1. Safety Concerns. In […]

5 Questions To Choose The Best Orlando Therapist

5 Ways To Choose The Best Orlando Therapist | Life Counseling Solutions 

Did you know that most consumers of therapy don’t take the time to learn about what they need to know about partnering with the best counselor or therapist who can help them be successful in meeting their therapeutic goals?

Firstly, YOU are the consumer so ask questions and “shop” around to find the best fit for you.  It is also best to highly consider referrals from family and friends who have had experience working with a particular counselor or therapist.

ORLANDOBESTTHERAPISTLife Counseling Solutions like many counseling centers offer a complimentary phone consultation or face-to -face meeting. You want to take advantage of this opportunity to briefly explain your problem(s) and ask the counselor or therapist to share how they would approach the problem. If possible, try to chat with at least three different counselors or therapists.   Here are a few questions that you can ask in that initial conversation:

  • How many couples or individuals with similar issues do you work with per week?
    • For example, the more couples that a couple’s therapist works with per week, the more experience she or he has working with couples. Therefore, if you are seeking counseling for your relationship, then you want a therapist who primarily works with couples.
  • Do you work with a couple together or in separate sessions?
    • Life Counseling Solutions believes that it is imperative to see couples together. The therapist can miss the dynamic of how the couple relates when they are seen separately. While there may be a good reason to have one or two individual sessions with each person in the relationship, this should be more the exception […]

3 Questions To Ask Before Divorce | Orlando Divorce Counseling

3 Questions to Ask Before Divorce | Orlando Divorce Counseling

Deciding whether to divorce or not may be the most important decision you ever make in your life.  There are many questions to ask yourself in which the answers will make clear what is right for you.  Below are three questions and answers that will be helpful in guiding your decision.

1. Why do I want to divorce?

If you’re thinking about divorcing your spouse, there are a number of questions you first need to ask yourself before moving ahead. The initial inquiry is why?

  • What is going on in the marriage and maybe more importantly what is going on within you to want out?  Self reflection holds the answers to all the questions we could ever have about ourselves and about our life.
  • Have you taken the time to go within and understand what is driving your need to end your marriage?
  • Is there a need going unfulfilled?
  • Is there a desire going unnoticed?

Looking at your marriage and how you show up is another way to gain clarity about your thoughts about divorce.

  • Has the communication between yourself and your spouse broken down?
  • Have you talked about your feelings with your spouse?
  • Do you feel listened to?
  • Do you listen when your spouse wants to talk about their feelings?
  • Have you created a space of open and honest communication for both of you to share your feelings?

OrlandoDivorceCounselingThe answers to these questions will help give you clarity on why you want to divorce.  It may also bring up more questions as well as other reasons why you may be thinking about ending your marriage.  I invite you to take the time to inquire on the why and initiate a discussion with your spouse on […]

Three Things You Need To Know About Suicide | Robin Williams Death | Depression Counseling of Orlando

Three Things You Need To Know About Suicide | Robin Williams

 Shock, Disbelief, Confusion…. those are a few of the words that I heard in reaction to the untimely death of Oscar winning actor Robin Williams.  Two of his films are on my list of favorites: Ms. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting.   His characters made me laugh as well as cry as I watched them.  Sadly, for most individuals like Robin Williams suicide is preventable if there is appropriate intervention.  There are a few common risk factors for suicidal individuals.   The three things that you need to know about suicide are the following:

1)    History of Mental Disorders. Often times when an individual suffers from reoccurring mental disorders such as depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, addictions (alcohol or substance abuse or dependence), schizophrenia; borderline or antisocial personalities disorder to name a few they can be vulnerable to suicidal ideations. Usually there has also been a previous suicide attempt and/or a family history of attempted or completed suicide and at times a serious medical condition is present.

2)    Inescapable crisis. There are some individuals who view their life circumstance or dilemma as unavoidable and feel a complete loss of control. In these cases, there are some feelings and thoughts that they may experience and even communicate to those close to them (ie. Can’t see themselves as worthwhile, can’t see a future without pain, can’t seem to get control, can’t make the sadness go away).

3)    Prolonged Isolation. Often times this is more of a “feeling” of being cut off from other people over a sustained period of time. The individual can also feel that the “black internal hole”  or emptiness that they feel is so deep and […]

5 Tips to Survive End of Summer Blues | Orlando Family Counseling

Summer break is a time when families get to slow down, enjoy quality time and relaxation by getting out of the normal rigid routine associated with school, homework, sports, etc. When “back to school” rolls around it can be tough to get back into a normal routine. Kids and parents alike often show signs of stress and anxiety as they prepare to get back to the hustle and bustle leaving them feeling deflated. Are you suffering from the end of summer blues?

Here are 5 tips to help you get on track and eliminate the unavoidable stress!

summer, vacation, back to school,

1. Get your kids to bed early NOW. School will be starting soon so don’t wait till the Sunday before school starts to begin the early to bed routine. Kids typically need a good 10 plus hours of sleep so get them well rested this will help when early morning rolls around.

2. If you want to be ahead of the game have a plan. This means figuring out what your kids will be wearing the next day, what they are having for lunch and prepping the night before. The more you have done before you go to bed the less you have to rush around getting done in the morning. A few minutes in the evening can give you a much better start to your day.

3. Get up earlier. If you are like me it takes me a long time to get ready and adding another person just amplifies the morning rush. I have found it extremely helpful to get up at least 30-45 minutes before if I want to have a stress free morning […]

4 Ways To Prevent Teen Isolation | Orlando Social Anxiety Counseling

As I continue to work with teens in counseling, I’m constantly learning their new trends, ways of life, and outlooks on everything from family, to relationships, to friends. The newest sentence that keeps popping up in my sessions is: “I like my internet friends rather than my real life friends.” When I ask why the response is usually something like: “My internet friends don’t judge me” or “I feel comfortable talking to my internet friends because it’s not a face to face conversation” or “my internet friends are niceteens, online friends, anxiety, isolationr, more accepting and understand what I am going through.”

While these conversations always raise a red flag for me (i.e. online pedophiles, etc.) I remain calm and retrieve some information about these “friends” they are referring to. Back in my day, chat rooms were a big craze and you really didn’t know who was chatting on the other end. Today, apps like Instagram and Skype are used more often for online friends to connect and chat. This makes teenagers feel like they know the person on the other side of the screen because they can see their pictures or speak to them in real time. Texting apps are also a huge way that teens are “socializing” with their friends they meet online. Obviously, still, there can be predators on the other end.

What concerns me, mentally, though is the social wall that these teens are building. I have seen numerous clients push their “real friends” out of their life so much, that they are left with nothing but an online presence. They shut the real world out, and let the cyber world in. It’s […]

5 Signs of a Codependent Relationship

Tracy has felt like just an extension of another human being, at a loss of her own personal identity, and a doormat to her husband Bill of 23 years.  She describes her marriage as “all giving and not much getting”. She is frustrated, drained, alone, and so aware of his constant wants that she no longer knows what she wants out of life.  She admits to feeling sorry for herself often and has sought help but has never really followed through with anything. She admits that her fear of his anger or rejection dictates much of her decisions and accepts the relationship for what it is because she is “already too invested”.  The real investment here is her codependency with her husband.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation as Tracey? Do you find yourself constantly giving and giving, trying to please your partner, and/or trying to resolve your partner’s problems? Although it is normal for there to be moments in the partnership where you don’t feel a reciprocal amount of effort, it begins to get unhealthy when it is more the norm than not. It gets harmful and destructive when you find yourself in the codependency dance in your relationship.

Codependency is often associated with that of partners of alcoholics.  However, today we can see this same dysfunctional dynamic in any type of relationship.  Codependents get their label by finding their self-worth and value in their ability to give to others.  We see this in the alcoholic and codependent relationship because while the codependent is giving, pleasing, and fixing the alcoholic is taking, draining, breaking, and taking some more.


Here Are 5 Signs You […]

Five Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Five Tips To Improve Your Self-Esteem

Do you sit in the mirror with jaded lens and pin point all of your flaws? Do you find yourself daydreaming of how much happier you would if you could just change a certain part of your body? Do you hide behind layers of clothing? You are not alone and many are in the same struggle towards self acceptance.

I was that young teen afraid of the mirror. The mirror showed me a side of myself that I despised and wished I could magically change. I had wonderful friends that loved and accepted me but that just wasn’t enough for me to love myself. This self-hatred poured into my adult years but I learned to mask it a little better. I wore a girdle on a daily basis, spent hours on my hair and make-up, and hid behind jokes, kindness, and being a pretty awesome human being BUT even with the approval of others I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror.

Orlando Self Esteem CounselingI know I am not alone and that many have experienced or are experiencing this very same thing. What I can say is that this self-inflicted emotional abuse does not need to consume your life and does have an end. It is not an easy journey but I can honestly say that it is possible to love yourself wholly and accept yourself for who you are and where you are.

Stop the negative self-talk.

Have you ever taken a day to just listen to your self-talk? Your self-talk are the comments you say to yourself about yourself. For example, if you drop your lunch […]

EMDR | Orlando Trauma Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a treatment used to “desensitize and reprocess” memories that have been stored in your brain as a result of traumatic experiences (this can be a small trauma to a larger trauma).  EMDR is  considered to be an effective therapy because of the quick and lasting relief clients feel from their emotional distress.  EMDR therapy repeatedly activates opposite sides of the brain, which releases emotional experiences that have become trapped in the nervous system and can be completed by the eye movement, audio to tactile methods.

EMDR is shown and used at Life Counseling Solutions to have effectiveness in treating the following conditions:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Overwhelming Fears
  • Relationship Problems
  • Loss of a Loved One
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Post Traumatic Stress (Rape, Robbery, Natural Disaster, Car Accident, Fire, Earth Quakes)
  • Sexual, Physical, or Emotional Abuse

Orlando Trauma TherapyHow Does EMDR Work?

The EMDR therapist works with a client in revisiting the traumatic experience, the feelings about the experience, and any negative thoughts or feelings.  The therapist then uses bi-lateral stimulation (either eye-movement, tactile, or audio methods) to activate both sides of the brain to bring quick and vibrant images that are then processed by the stimulation bringing about relief and resolved feelings.  

Performance Based Self-Identity

Self-identity is the recognition of someone’s potential and qualities as an individual. When we have a balanced view of our self-identity, we can find the worth and value in the many facets that make us human. For example, a person can say I am smart, I am kind to others, I am attractive, I have a great sense of humor, I have a good work ethic, etc. However, many people find their self-identity, and their self-worth, not in who they are, but what they do.

This is called Performance Based Self-Identity.

Performance Based Self-Identity creates two types of people: perfectionists and avoiders. Both of these types of people have the same mantra of “I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself” (taken from “The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee- highly recommended!)

self-identity, performance, failing, workaholicBeing a perfectionist is often viewed as a good trait because perfectionists work hard, get things done, and are reliable; however, being a perfectionist means that impossible standards are set and never obtained. No one is perfect; therefore, setting out to be is impossible and frustrating when not achieved. The perfectionist’s thinking of him or herself looks like, “Today, I got a 100% on my AP test; I got the highest promotion at work; I am a mom who has it all together…therefore, I am good/valuable/worthy/etc.” While these are all wonderful achievements, situations and circumstances change on a daily basis, so if a perfectionist feels valuable because he got the highest promotion, what will happen to his self-worth if he gets fired or laid off? This is when the perfectionist spirals into a state of devastation […]