Couples

Are You Settling in the Relationship? | Orlando Self-Esteem Counseling

Are you settling in the Relationship? | Orlando Self-Esteem Counseling

“Meg” is a 19 year old, beautiful, young woman. She is driven, funny, engaging, and kind. She has many qualities that guys would look for in a significant other and even, one day, a wife. But Meg’s boyfriend is not looking for a wife. He’s barely looking for a girlfriend. He doesn’t have a job, is still smoking marijuana and drinking almost daily and has dropped out of college. Worse than all of this, he never takes Meg on dates, doesn’t romance her in any way, and doesn’t speak her love language. (Click here for more info on love languages) Meg describes her beau as fun, and adventurous, but wonders if she can change the (many) behaviors that make him less than the ideal boyfriend.

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Unfortunately, “Meg” is a real woman…in fact, “Meg” is many women that constantly choose to settle in their relationships. When did we, as women, lower our expectations of men? When was it ok to be dating without ever going on a date? When did our self-esteems become so low that we forgot how valuable and worthy we are of having someone who adores us?

  1. Wanting a man that pursues you does not make you weak, it makes you desirable. Men like the chase. When you’re easy, guys get bored and stop trying. And when they stop, so does the excitement of the relationship.
  2.  You cannot change anyone except you. You are not the guy you are wanting to change and you are not God; therefore, you cannot change anyone. If you go into a relationship looking to tweak some things, take […]

10 Habits of Emotionally Healthy Families

10 Habits of Emotionally Healthy Families

As a young woman, I knew instinctively that I had some ground to cover if I wanted to one day live out my dream of being a part of a harmonious, happy family. My family gave me a great schooling in what not to do, but that left me very lacking and unsure about exactly what to do to one day have an emotionally healthy family of my own. Most of us have heard the statistics that over 50% of American families end up in divorce, and sadly that trend is not decreasing. So, it stands to reason that I have not been alone in my quest to understand how a healthy family functions.

When a person comes from a foundation of dysfunction, it can be easy to become so fixated on the dysfunction that one forgets to lift their head up and believe that there may be something better. Those of us who come from a place of longing for the safety and security of an emotionally healthy family because we’ve never known it, may want to know that it is possible to take concrete steps today. After over 10 years in various aspects of ministry and as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I want to share with you what I have observed about the habits of those couples who succeed in creating a lifelong, healthy, loving, and emotionally healthy family.

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Join a Faith Community Together

Let’s face it. Family life is tough. Men and women have multiple roles and juggling acts to carry on their own. We live in an age where support systems for families are no […]

5 Indicators That You Need Relationship Counseling

In relationships it is normal to have ups and downs; moments when you feel close and times when you feel more distant. You may have heard the saying that couples fall in and out of love, I believe this to be true. However, there comes a time when a relationship may be facing more serious issues that if not dealt with will lead to the detriment of your union.

Below are five indicators that you may need relationship counseling.

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#1 – You are wondering if the grass is greener on the other side.

By this I mean you are entering into a dangerous zone that could lead to an affair. It is not uncommon for individuals to fall into temptation when they are not happy at home. Emotional distance can leave us feeling unwanted so when someone comes along showing interest and easily gives you attention it is easy to wonder if you could be happier with someone new. Before you make a decision that will have lasting effects on you and your partner it would be wise to resolve the issues within your current relationship and figure out if it’s really over before you start something new.

#2 – You think your mate may be having an affair.

It is easy to become suspicious or even paranoid about what your partner is doing when things are not good between you. However there is a point where things start to add up and you may begin to feel that your relationship is in real danger. Trust your intuition and don’t ignore the signs. It is time to do something before things get out of control.

#3 – He or […]

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 […]

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!

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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 […]

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.

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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 […]

7 Ways To Help Your Kids

How can anyone explain tragedies like the relatively recent killings in Santa Barbara or the Connecticut murders to kids? There are a few things that parents can do to address any questions or any fears that may come up in children after being exposed to news reports or conversations from classmates.

Kids & Tragedies Be Flexible

It is important that you realize there is no exact right or wrong way to answer any difficult questions about any of these tragedies. What matters the most is that children know that they can talk to you about their feelings and ask questions (i.e. that it is safe to talk about it).

Ask Open-Ended Questions

You want to ask kids open-ended questions such as, “what happened in school today? What did you see today? How do you feel about that conversation? This may help facilitate them expressing their feelings.

Maintain Routines

Encourage your child to go to school if they want to stay home. When they are at school with other children and teachers, this can be the best place for them to confront any anxieties. If your child is really upset and wants the day off with you, that is ok too. Just make sure any changes in routine don’t become permanent.

Be Reassuring

Use language to distance the child from the tragedy and reassure them that they will be safe at school. You can say things like, “that happened far away and I will do everything I can to keep you safe.”

Use Developmentally Appropriate Language

Children as young as 2 can be aware that something is happening, but the amount of information they need still changes age by age. It is not advisable to give them […]