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 […]

4 Healthy Boundaries in Social Media | Orlando Counseling Services

Strength Behind the Screen

In a world of selfies, hashtags, and tweets, social media and the pressures it brings have bombarded our lives. It is well understood by now that social media can be used to bring harm, heartache, and even “acceptance” to its users, but it is surprising how often we gain “strength” behind the screen to promote, defend and process.


The most common types of statuses and comments that we come across (or have posted ourselves) are ones like the following:

The passive aggressive, not so passive status: “I usually do not post statuses like this, but I just have to vent with how frustrated I am with…”

The vague, not so vague, post about someone, who knows that they’re the someone that the post is about: “I want to unfollow you because I see you with her, but I can’t because it’s my only connection to you.”

The posts that are fishing for compliments: “Feeling frustrated because I can’t seem to shake these last few pounds” which are usually followed by “What are you talking about?! You look amazing!”

The outright fights that people have via comments, which doesn’t need an example. We’ve all seen it!

While social media can be fun and even beneficial at times, it is important to understand when to limit yourself and your thoughts to the entire world. Here are some helpful tips to keep healthy boundaries online and to take that strength that you have behind the computer or phone screen into the real world.

  1. Do not pick fights over the Internet – When you are upset with someone social media is not the place to hash things out, even if they start the […]

Friends With Benefits: Is It Really A Benefit?

Friends With Benefits: Is It Really A Benefit?

A Walk in Jane Doe’s Shoes

Jane Doe wakes up every morning and goes about her day like any regular woman in her twenties and thirties.  She takes her coffee bold, a little extra hot and with a hint of hazelnut for flavor.  She knows what she wants, known for being confident, educated, and even a tad bit sassy.  She is technically single but could pass for the new popular status: “it’s complicated”.  Why?  Because she has fallen into the 50% of woman her age who have, have had, or will have a “friend with benefits”.  So the question might be burning us all to ask, is Ms. Doe really happy with her no-strings-attached boy toy?  Is there really a benefit to having a friend with benefits?

I have had the pleasure of sitting down with this lovely lady we call Jane Doe and many others in her very same situation.  For the most part the decision to just hook up without the ties wasn’t even the plan to begin with.  Ms. Doe in particular has had her friend-with-benefits for two years now who we’ll call John.  She met this gentleman at work and was invited out for drinks one night with a couple other coworkers.  That night after a few too many drinks, she bashfully admits, they both got a bit “carried away” in a night of passion when they were the last two closing down the bar that evening.  She admitted that she was attracted to John from the moment they met, shared flirtatious banter back and forth at work, and read into their fun sexy night as a possible start to a romantic relationship.  […]

Dangers of Teen Codependent Relationships| Orlando Teen Codependency Counseling

Dangers of Teen Codependent Relationships| Orlando Teen Codependency Counseling

Codependency is a term that can be defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” Unfortunately, codependence can affect anyone and it is an issue that is even affecting teenagers. Codependent relationships in teens can be extremely dangerous, as we have learned by recent events in Windermere, Florida.

Florida Teen Double Suicide Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.20.13 PM

On Saturday, March 22nd, two teens shot and killed an officer and then themselves. Suicide notes were found by parents along with notes to each other and plans of the future. The plans included that the couple desired to get married (Brandon Goode being 18 years old and his girlfriend Alex Hollinghurst only 17 years old), steal a boat and sail to Panama. Brandon painted Alex a “romantic” idea of a future by saying, “We could live on a beach, just you and me, forever;” however, this isolation and dependency is exactly what fed into the couple’s toxic relationship. Another letter was found where Brandon was apologizing for creating so many problems for Alex and breaking up with her. According to letters, and the events that ensued on Saturday, obviously the break up did not last.

Often times, teenagers get a tumultuous relationship confused for a passionate one. They think the codependency is romantic rather than unhealthy. And the on again/off again relationship as destiny to be together, rather than being unable to set and maintain healthy boundaries. This kind of behavior is definitely dangerous to one’s mental health, but as Windermere and the families of […]

The Pansexual Generation | Pansexual Orlando Counseling

By working closely with teens, I often find myself discovering the newest trends, the latest beliefs and the most common behaviors. Their way of life is so different than when I was in high school (which was NOT that long ago) and while I talk to them, I often hear me “dating” myself.

The latest movement is being “Pansexual.” I first started hearing a lot of this term last year when I had a few clients loosely throwing the word around. One day, a teenage girl that I had been counseling for a while told me that her and her long time boyfriend had broken up and she was now talking to this girl named…”Susie” or whatever her name was. I responded with, “Susie? I didn’t realize you were a lesbian.” To which she responded, “I’m not.” And then we stared blankly at each other. I waited for a while and then said, “Oh, I’m sorry…bisexual?” To which she responded, “Nope!” So jokingly (while totally serious) I said, “So…how would you classify your sexual orientation?” She responded that she didn’t want to be labeled anything, but if she had to be, then she would be considered pansexual. At this point, I was so confused because I thought liking men and women meant you were bisexual. She went on to explain that it’s not just guys and girls, but it’s “anyone…” transgendered, androgynous and “gender neutral.” (The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix pan-, which translated means “all”).

Pansexual Orlando Counseling

This generation of adolescents (or at least many of them) has taken such a different approach to “acceptance” than their predecessors. While my generation has become more […]

6 Ways to Combat Holiday Social Anxiety | Orlando Social Anxiety Counseling

Halloween has come and gone and now we are starting to see Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, and retailers decking the halls with sales and specials. Thanksgiving has gotten lost amongst the hustle and bustle of it all, which means one thing: The Holidays are upon us. The Holidays are a time when people enjoy Christmas parties, family gatherings and work events. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? Well, not for someone suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder.

Orlando Social Counseling

The Holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year for someone who suffers from Social Anxiety. This may even be a time that he or she finds dreadful. Here are Six Ways to Combat Social Anxiety During the Holidays and make this season a merry one.

Six Ways to Combat Social Anxiety During the Holidays

1) Inform Yourself: Anxiety comes from the unknown: “Who will be at this party?” “What if everyone thinks I’m stupid for bringing this gift? What are we even supposed to bring?” “What time is everyone showing up?” If you ask the host these questions and get this information beforehand, it may alleviate a lot of that anxiety.

2) Stick with the least threatening situations: If you are the most comfortable at a small family gathering or an intimate dinner rather than the annual corporate Christmas party, then go to those events. You do NOT have to go to every event that you are invited to, but you DO need to remain social during the holidays. Avoidance will only fuel your social anxiety.

3) Avoid/Limit alcohol: You may think that a few glasses of wine may help calm your nerves, […]

The X Factor: 5 Signs You Are NOT Over Your Ex | Breakups


window waiting

“I’m so over him! I don’t care anymore!”

How many times have you said this but shortly thereafter you were wishing you were back together?  Have you ever felt so certain that this time you were going to move on, only to then have the “what if” thoughts flood your brain?  You are not alone!  Did you know that 9 out of 10 people reading this have been on this roller coaster ride?  The thing is …we don’t really like this ride; it’s very difficult to handle.  Some might find themselves daydreaming about their ex or reliving the good times even months or years after the relationship has ended.  They may really want to think that they’re over their ex but subconsciously might be harboring romantic feelings, which can keep them from finding healthy love in which both parties are mutually invested.

Here are some signs that you might still be holding on to the past:

Sign #1: You are still hoping to “bump” into him. 

If you are still going to the same hang out spots, hoping to run into him with your new sexy outfit on, you are not over your ex!  Sure you know his schedule, it involved you, but it doesn’t anymore. That can be a hard realization but until that sinks in, you may find yourself not taking the necessary steps to keep it moving.

Sign #2: You want him to see you happy

girls night out 8If you are posting a usual amount of “party girl” pictures on your social media sites, just so he can see you that you are perfectly fine without […]

3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Single | Singles Counseling & Therapy

girls night out 2I took nearly two hours to get ready for a fun night with my single girlfriends.  My Michael Kors outfit was fab, my makeup was spotless, and the compliments were overflowing from my girlfriends.  We were going to paint the town red, or at least that was the plan. But on that particular night I felt empty and more so than usual.  I was looking for acceptance, validation, and recognition, but not from my girlfriends. I was hoping that my Prince Charming would magically appear and whisk me away into the sunset. HE never showed up! My expectations weren’t much after all; I was only asking for a half decent looking guy with a pulse. Was that too much to ask for? Years later, I realized it was too little to ask for.

Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I had the self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence that I do today.  Why isn’t this a high school graduation requirement?  Why aren’t children taught the meaning of self-respect and self-love before they are taught Algebra I (which most won’t use anyway)?  The truth is I can’t go back in time and whisper to myself, “love yourself Joann, you are good enough.” I struggled and felt empty.  But what was I truly missing if love wasn’t the answer?girls night out 5

1. I was missing a positive inner voice.  I was too busy focusing on what others said, waiting for them to affirm what I should have already known.  I was good enough, worthy enough, and beautiful enough that night and every other night for that matter.  […]

Finding Purpose in Being Alone: 3 Ways to Uncover the Power of One

Singledom: we’re either there, been there, or going to be there! This stage and time in our lives is something we all, as human beings, hold in common. Everyone, regardless of size, color, economic position, power, or geographic location will experience this very moment in their lives at some point. How we take advantage of this time is up to us on an individual basis. There can be power in your singleness, you just have to uncover it.

1.  There is power in self-discovery. This process is intense and incredibly different for a person who is single versus someone who is in a relationship. This is the time to not only discover your likes and passions but also to discover your own personal barriers to finding healthy love. You need to uncover that power, gently, by peeling away layer after layer of who you are, why you are the way you are, and who you want to be. There is power in knowing your previous relationship triggers, your deep individual hidden issues and expectations. While you are single, self-exploring and reflecting, you have the ability to take the steps necessary for change without affecting anyone but YOURSELF.
Uncover: Self-discovery can be a bumpy journey but it is o’ so worth it. Begin by journaling or meditating on the events that have made a significant impact in your life. Ask yourself, what consequences has it had on me personally and romantically? What behaviors do I display when I am triggered by similar events? What are those triggers or events? Acknowledge the purpose those circumstances may have had in your life and make the decision to be different. Give […]

  • Three Ways to Help You Walk Away from a Toxic Relationship Three Ways to Help You Walk Away from a Toxic Relationship

    Three Ways to Help You Walk Away from a Toxic Relationship

Three Ways to Help You Walk Away from a Toxic Relationship

It Is Hard To Walk Away From Toxic Relationships 

Why do we hold on to a toxic relationship?  There is no solid one-answer-fits-all response. What is clear is that humans are creatures of habit;  finding comfort within discomfort.  Unfortunately, people who come from a dysfunctional family dynamic are also likely to repeat family dysfunction in their own respective families and romantic relationships.  So how can you walk away from someone you love so passionately, whom you’ve invested so much time and effort into, and someone whom you’ve shared so many experiences with?  Walking away is not easy but if you want to break those unhealthy relationship patterns from your past, some tough decisions may be in order.  Here are some tips to help you walk away with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child:

1. First, identify if the relationship has ran its course or if it is simply going through a rough patch. 

Identify the red flags; take inventory of the good, the bad, and the ugly. An example of a red flag that can help you identify an unhealthy relationship is if you are keeping secrets from others or within the relationship itself.  I am not talking about privacy.  Privacy is important in a marriage to protect the integrity of your union but secrecy is something you keep from others because you are a) embarrassed, b) afraid others will dislike your partner, c) afraid of the repercussions, or d) all of the above. For more information check out “Warning!! Warning!! Four Signs Of A Potentially Toxic Relationship.”

2. Have the courage to say “enough is enough.”

People often stay in toxic relationships because it’s “not that bad,” because “they […]