Family Matters Counseling Group | FMCG http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org Mon, 18 Jun 2018 19:15:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Gaming Addiction: 9 Signs Gaming Has Become an Addiction http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/gaming-addiction-9-signs-gaming-has-become-an-addiction/ Mon, 18 Jun 2018 19:10:36 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1509

Excessive and compulsive video gaming is a current psychological problem that has become increasingly popular over the last several years. Unlike, other addictions such as drugs, alcohol, and sex gaming addicts aren’t hooked on prescription medication, illicit substances, or sex, rather they are addicted to and dependent on video games and alternate universes.

In an effort to understand gaming addiction you must understand the nature of addiction. Addiction is defined as a condition in which a person engages in use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite negative consequences. Addiction may involve the use of substances such as alcohol, inhalants, opioids, nicotine, and others, or behaviors such as gambling or gaming; there is scientific evidence that the addictive substances and behaviors share a key neurobiological feature—they intensely activate brain pathways of reward and reinforcement, many of which involve the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Excessive gaming as with any other addiction can take over the lives of the players making it difficult to obtain from repeated playing in spite of negative consequences. Consequences can include failure to meet deadlines (homework/work assignments), decreased socialization, self-isolation, challenges with communication, social awkwardness, challenges with relating to the here and now, irritability whenever the gaming cannot be done, etc. Like many other addictions gaming can take control of the user’s life rendering him/her unable to refrain from impulsive behaviors.

Criteria for gaming addiction include:

  • Inability to control his/her usage
  • Increased use to maintain him/herself in order to feel normal
  • Irritability/angry mood if the usage is decreased or unable to be done
  • Self-isolation
  • Concealing gaming usage from others
  • Interference with sleeping/eating habits due to excessive gaming
  • Feeling inadequate or less than unless he or she is unable to play
  • Feeling like he or she does not “measure up” unless they are acting out an alternate self (escapism)
  • Thoughts of gaming during other activities or work

Creating an alternate world or living in a fantasy world can be very appealing as it allows us to live out our fantasies without divulging our identity to others. However, it is very common for individuals that experiences challenges with communicating with others to create his/her own fantasy world. The attractiveness with creating one’s own fantasy world include having full control over the way he/she looks, how the character behaviors, how others see them, being rich, popular, or powerful. One of the most harmful effects of gaming limits or prevents the gamer from learning how to cope with real world challenges. By resolving problems, we build resiliency and coping skills to manage future problems, hence, gaming does not afford the gamer with the opportunity to resolve problems in a realistic real-world way.

Gaming and Cognition

Excessive gaming can impact the intellectual growth of the user, creating barriers with the processing of information, language, and emotional intelligence. Many of theses challenges are due in part to the user being unable to directly engage and learn from others via verbal language, body language, and sports. Unfortunately, gaming is not just a problem for the very young but older adults as well. Gaming can create a problem for older adults much in the same way it can for children. However, the costs of gaming addiction can be much higher for adults, e.g., staying up late to play, inattentiveness as work, late or insufficient work production, missed assignments, loss of employment, etc.

Tips to Manage Gaming in children Include:

  • Monitor when your child games
  • Monitor how long they game
  • Monitor how gaming impacts your child’s school work, friendships, etc.,
  • Monitor how your child reacts to limits placed on gaming
  • Monitor how your child sees him/herself during gaming
  • Monitor how your child relates to the world around him or herself
  • Plan more outdoor activities/family time

Parents are encouraged to show kids the value of living in the here and now rather than the fantasy world they have created. Remind your child he or she has the power to control or have an impact on their current surroundings, they can and should be present in the real world rather than the fantasy world. With fantasy living, fantasy results are produced, real world living provides real world results with the ability to build or current strengths and learn from mistakes.

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Physicians and Suicide: A Rising Concern http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/test/ Sat, 12 May 2018 21:45:27 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1498

Physicians and Suicide: A Rising Concern

Graduating from medical school and starting one’s residency can be the most exhilarating time in the life of future physicians. However, some residents never get the opportunity to fully reap the benefits of their hard-earned work. Unfortunately, there is a tragic and often avoided topic pertaining to the medical profession; doctors are completing suicide at an alarming rate. When you think of doctors you often think about saving lives and restoring health. Rarely, do we think about physician suicide. Doctors commit suicide at a rate more than twice the national average. Every year approximately 400 physicians take their own lives. This number calculates to roughly one death per day, or the equivalent of two entire graduating medical classes each year. Imagine, losing two classes per year of our best and brightest.

Depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and burnout are of the factors that have been positively correlated to physician suicide. Surprisingly, residents and acting physicians are not routinely assessed for depression or suicidal ideations. With the most recent completed suicides amongst residents there needs to be more education and training to aid with the identification of the warning signs of depression amongst medical school students. Ironically, a lot of education and training is providing to physicians in an effort to reduce or eliminate patient suicide. Make no mistake newly minted physicians are not the only physicians at risk of suicide. Practicing physicians with a lengthy history in the field of medicine are also at risk. However, the rate of suicide amongst new physicians is a lot higher than that of physicians that have been practicing medicine for several years. The rate for suicide is especially disturbing for physicians between the ages of 25 to 40.

Alarmingly, many physicians experiencing depressive symptoms or thoughts of suicide never seek or obtain mental health services. The stigma of mental health transcends the general population by impacting physicians that one would assume are aware of the dangers of failing to seek and secure treatment for mental health concerns. Sometimes depression and suicide are the result of slow-building and long-standing issues. Other times they seem to come out of the blue. There is a fear among physicians that seeking mental health services conveys weakness or an inability to perform his/her job. I am unaware of any physician that willing wants to be questioned about his or her competence, therefore, when negative symptoms emerge they are hidden from onlookers.

Treatment Approaches

Treatment approaches should be enhanced to help physicians better recognize the signs and symptoms in providers, developing techniques to address intense feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout which could lead to attempted or completed suicide. As a culture, we need to help both the general population and physicians destigmatize mental illness. Mental illness can happen to anyone, it does not have to be long and destabilizing, there are effective treatment options available. We should also develop more effective approaches to best identify those that are struggling with negative symptoms. The goal is to provide physicians with prompt and targeted mental health assessments, medical & support, and treatment when negative symptoms emerge. By tracking, conducting research, and reporting this information we can become better equipped to identify and implement appropriate treatment options and reduce the rate of physician suicide.

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17 Things Couples Tend to Over Share on Social Media http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/1481-2/ Mon, 07 May 2018 16:00:39 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1481
17 Things Shared on Social Media

New relationships can be both fun and exciting, prompting a lot of couples to want to share their excitement with the world, specifically, via social media. Social media affords many individuals and couples the opportunity to share their happiness, sometimes unhappiness with not only family and close friends but everyone in the stratosphere. Most of us have been there, unable to contain our happiness about our new love and budding relationship, however, some things should not be shared with everyone. Advancements in technology and social media has really changed the way most people socialize, engage the world, and view relationships. Years ago, when you started a new relationship you would share the news with your best friend, opting to reveal your status to your family until it became “serious”. However, with the changes in the usage, users, and options to share, we have not only increased our usage, but what we reveal and how we reveal it on social media. Social media is not limited to couples, but single adults and children. We share both insignificant and significant, from what we ate on a given day to sickness, additions to family, and breakups.

It may come as a surprise, but nearly one-third of all adults and teenagers post their relationship statuses to social media outlets, such as Facebook. Unfortunately, with the sharing of personal, intimate details of our lives also comes with scrutiny and judgement. Seeing someone’s life and relationship updates can be a welcome distraction from our own less interesting or challenging lives. Would it shock you to know that more than half of social media users lie about or exaggerate their statuses online? Often, users will report their relationships or partners in a fantastical way with everything “being great”, having the “perfect partner” or the “perfect relationship”, when their partner or the relationship is far from perfect. Keep in mind no one and no relationship is perfect, every relationship has its ups and downs, every person has both good and bad traits. Consider this, most people watching our lives play out online we barely know, do not remember, or have never met. However, that does not seem to stop our social media or “Facebook” friends from weighing in on the changes and or updates we report. Every time an update or status is reported we have potentially invited another person into our lives and relationships.

In addition to the limitless opportunities to share, some users utilize social media to keep tabs on or spy on current and former partners. Keeping tabs on current as well as former partners can lead to breakdown of a current relationship or inability to move on from a previous relationship. Using social media to spy can lead to insecurities, self-doubt, or unwarranted suspicions. Rather than providing updates on our lives and partners we are encouraged to live life, not write about it, engage in it both selflessly and feverishly.

Although, you may want to cast yourself and your relationship in the best light possible, you may also be setting your partner and yourself up for unrealistic expectations. Relationships and people are not without fault or imperfections; therefore, they should not be depicted that way online or anywhere else. Relationships that are exaggerated online can lead persons viewing your posts to question their own relationship quality. Those that play out negatively online can lead to onlookers taking sides, speculating about the future of your relationship, reveling your relationship challenges, pitying your relationship, etc. Once you put something online you cannot take it back, it is out there, and it is out there to stay.

17 Things Couples Tend to Over Share on Social Media

  • Their relationship status
  • Overly mushy exchanges
  • Relationship challenges/fights
  • A cheating partner
  • Intimate or sexual details
  • Sexy/scandalous pictures of a partner
  • Criticisms of a partner or former partner
  • Comparisons between themselves and an ex-partners new partner
  • Mean spirited jokes
  • Breakups
  • Pregnancy announcements
  • Challenges with conception
  • Flaunting of personal items or gifts
  • Multiple pictures
  • Jealousy comments
  • Friends or families dislike for a partner
  • Vacation photos with your partner

Every relationship goes through a period of ups and downs. The good, the bad, and the ugly. However, the things that strengthen a relationship and enhances the bond between partners is their ability to communicate directly with each other, rather than communicating through social media, or sharing personal details about their relationship online. The urge to share can seem overwhelming, especially, in a budding relationship. However, to preserve intimacy and keep your relationship private you need to resist the urge and keep the details of your relationship between your partner and yourself.

As you spend more time with your partner and keep private things private the trust in the relationship builds, you become closer as a couple. Notably, when you overshare on social media you open yourself and your relationship up for criticism and negative feedback that can affect your thoughts and actions in your relationship. When partners overly share details of their relationship, those lending their advice can say things or make recommendations that are less than positive. This advice can lead to self-doubt, pressure to escalate the relationship, and cause tension in the relationship.

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Living a Double Life: 6 Possible Reasons http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/living-a-double-life-6-possible-reasons/ Sun, 06 May 2018 16:10:18 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1482
Living a Double Life

Leading a double life occurs more often than most of us would assume or think. However, some of us erroneously assume double lives and adulterous behaviors are on the rise, but this may not necessarily be true. In fact, with the advancement in technology, the rise as well as options available to us via social media it may be harder to hide a double life then it had been in the past. Leading a double life is not as uncommon or abnormal as it may sound. I am sure many of us have known or heard rumors about a someone that appeared to have another family on another side of time. I remember one of my neighbors’ husband would travel for work, often for several weeks or a month at a time. Although, the husband was gone a lot the family appeared to have it all, e.g., they appeared really close knit, enjoyed spending time together, and showed genuine affection for each other. What they appeared to lack in time together they seemed to make up for it in the quality of time spent together. Unfortunately, the husbands work wasn’t the only thing that took him away from his family. John had another family, a family he managed to keep secret from his wife for more than 13 years, a family that included other children. Both families appeared to be unaware the other existed until John’s untimely death. Who knows how long John would have been able to successfully live this double life had he not died. All the secrets he managed to hide, the people he was able to manipulate, and the people he managed to keep separate suddenly collided and he was no longer able control the outcome.

Living a double life can occur for many different reasons that includes but are not limited to the following:

  • One partner feeling he or she is unable to get all of his/her needs met by one persons
  • The thrill of having and maintaining such a large secret
  • Destructive duality that stems from an individual’s inability to integrate two conflicting, opposite sides of a personality
  • A form of self-sabotage found in people who don’t feel they deserve to be successful or happy
  • Persons that are unable to be their true selves with their primary partner, so they create an alternate life to live out a fantasy, other aspect of self, or have compartmentalized their lives.
  • Selfishly holding onto one relationship while starting and maintaining another one out of fear of being alone.

Characteristics that suggest your partner may be living a double life include:

  • Changes in spending or secrecy surrounding financial matters
  • They display a marked change in personality and behaviors
  • Changes in clothing, self-care, or habits
  • Excessive time spent on the computer
  • More frequent trips away from home
  • Late night calls, trips, or flirty texts
  • Unfamiliar smells
  • Intuition or nagging feeling
  • Has difficulty remembering events, anniversaries or noticeably irritated when you discuss past personal or family events
  • Mentions names of people you have never heard of or met
  • Present physically but absent mentally

Psychologists and other mental health professionals say that thousands of people are living in dual worlds, caught in a web of lies, risks and shame that ultimately force them into secret behavior that is far different from their everyday existence. It is also worth mentioning that duality exists in some form in the lives of most people. Duality can be in the form of harmless daydreaming, fantasizing about an attractive person, feelings that are never acted upon. Experts say that it is also not uncommon for most normal, well-adjusted people to have a public self and a private self, but some people cross the line when exploring the darker side of their nature, creating a situation that is dangerous and destructive.

It’s important to recognize when duality is occurring, when you are manipulating the people you love for your own selfish gratification. If, for example, you notice yourself engaging in continuous high-risk behaviors such as making the same promises to two different people, engaging in multiple affairs, are unable to “show” your true self to one person but feel you need more than one partner to create “the perfect partner”, then it is time to change. One strategy is to break the pattern of secrecy, if possible, and to get some external input.

One thing to be mindful of includes the recognition that secret lives have power. The may consist of their own rules, codes of conduct, and may be motivated differently from the life that is portrayed to the world. Persons leading secret lives must confess and take ownership of their behavior in order to move forward and reconcile both sides of their personality. Duality needs to cease, and integration needs to occur. Counseling as well as self-exploration can help partners living doubles lives get to the root cause of their unhappiness, recognize no one is perfect, and understand how their behavior creates negative consequences for themselves and the people entangled in their web of lies.

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Human Trafficking: 8 Ways to Fight Trafficking http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/human-trafficking-8-ways-to-fight-trafficking/ Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:27:27 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1244

Human trafficking continues to be an ongoing problem both abroad and in the United States. Human trafficking is the act of luring, tricking, deceiving, making false promises, and forcing a person or group of people to leave their home, work, or family through physical force (raped or beaten), threat of violence, or false promises of a better life, a job, or kidnapped. A significant number of human trafficking victims are made to work, or engage in sex for money for little or no pay.

Victims of human trafficking are often forced into prostitution, work in sweatshops, brothels, domestic situations, construction sites, etc. Victims are held in unclean, dangerous, or otherwise unhealthy situations. They are rarely fed or underfed, raped, receive no medical attention, beaten, drugged, threatened, and living in a constant state of fear.

Unfortunately, the trafficking of humans is a highly profitable route to wealth and power, now ranking alongside drug and weapons trafficking as the largest criminal activities. Human trafficking is not just a domestic problem but a worldwide phenomenon. According to the US State Department about 900,000 persons, mainly women and children, are being trafficked annually across borders worldwide. For every human trafficking victim that is successfully freed from their captor, others continue to be trafficked and forced into servitude.

Human trafficking victims become enslaved for some of the following reasons:

  • Receiving promises of a better life
  • A good or lucrative job
  • A promise of marriage for love or citizenship
  • Agree to a deal arranged by poverty-stricken parents
  • Kidnapped or otherwise abducted
  • Blackmail
  • Violence threatened again individual or individual’s family

How traffickers keep their victims enslaved:

  • Ongoing physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse
  • Threats of violence
  • Beaten, raped and humiliated
  • Held against their will
  • Starved
  • Sell and resell them around international networks

Surprisingly, many countries have no specific laws against trafficking, so victims are reluctant to report their experiences for fear of being killed, prosecuted or deported as illegal immigrants. Even in countries with laws, there is little real protection for victims. Human trafficking victims fear being killed or deported, therefore, most are afraid to take the risk by reporting their trafficker.

Here a Few Ways We Can Stop Human Trafficking:

  • Learn how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and assist victims.
  • Identify appropriate assistance from anti-trafficking organizations, extend low-cost or free services to human trafficking victims.
  • Be a conscientious and informed consumer, i.e., ask who made a piece of clothing, picked your fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Host an awareness event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking.
  • Work with a local religious community or congregation to help stop trafficking by supporting a victim service provider or spreading awareness of human trafficking.
  • Encourage your local schools to partner with students and include modern slavery in their curricula.
  • Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
  • Partner with law enforcement by reporting suspicions of human trafficking
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Infidelity in Committed Relationships: 4 Tips to Manage Feelings http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/infidelity-in-committed-relationships-4-tips-to-manage-feelings/ Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:32:24 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1248

Often when one partner cheats during the course of a relationship the other partner is left confused or seemingly blind-sided by the infidelity. Some react with outrage and anger while others shut down, turning their disappointment and frustrations inward. However, the same remains true for both responses to infidelity, upon initial discovery of an affair neither knows what to do and how to respond.

4 Techniques That Can Be Used to Deal with a Partners Infidelity:

  • Confront your partner about your discovery – Do not make the mistake of confronting or blaming the person your partner cheated with for the problems in your relationship. The person that your partner cheated with did not make a commitment to you and is not in a relationship with you, therefore, the only person that should be held accountable for going outside of the relationship is your partner. Also, before you confront your partner have proof, I cannot stress this enough. Do not confront your partner based upon assumptions as this will only breed resentment and increased frustration. Even if your partner is cheating he or she is more likely to deny the claims unless you have proof to support your allegations. If you confront without proof your partner is more likely to become more skilled in hiding his or her infidelity.
  • Do not give up your right to choose – Sometimes when we discover our mate is cheating on us we make the mistake of “forcing” the to choose between us and the person her or she is cheating with. This is wrong on so many levels as no one should have the right or privilege to decide your life’s course. By allowing the person who is cheating to decided who he or she wants to be with you not only convey the message that cheating is ok, but have placed yourself in a powerless position of being at the cheaters mercy. Take your power back in this situation, do not allow someone to make a life choice for you.
  • Do not blame yourself- While it is true relationships start and break-up as a result of both parties involved in the relationship. However, when it comes to infidelity in the relationship the cheater always has a choice. He or she has the capacity to decide if they are going to introduce another person into their relationship or whether or not they are going to address the underlining issues in the relationship with their partner. The cheating partner made a conscious decision to cheat and go outside his or her relationship with another person. Consider this, before sexual infidelity occurs there is emotional infidelity. Emotional infidelity opens the door to sexual infidelity as it typically starts with disclosing and sharing of personal information that should only be shared with one’s partner. If uncorrected it will quickly lead to blurring and breaking of boundaries that can only be described as inappropriate and a gateway to future sexual acts.
  • Do not drive yourself crazy trying to understand the cheater psyche – Some people can become so engrossed with trying to figure out why their partner cheater, what they may have done to encourage their partner to cheat, how they missed the signs their partner was “unhappy”, etc. It is not your responsibility to try and understand why someone has wronged you, broke your trust, but it is your responsibility to take care of yourself, figure out what makes you happy, and whether this relationship is a healthy viable option for you. You may even seek counseling to deal with any unresolved feelings of anger and betrayal that could negatively impact future relationships.

Infidelity and betrayal are never easy to deal with, however, it must be addressed in order to move forward, whether that is with your partner or alone. Most people upon discovery of infidelity will react within two different extremes, with hostility or pretending it does not exit. Both maladaptive responses can be damaging to our emotional, psychological, or physical health. Finding a healthy balance to process and manage our feeling is essential to maintaining our overall health. Infidelity is one of the more difficult challenges a marriage or romantic relationship can face. It doesn’t always mean it’s the end of the relationship, but there are issues that need to be addressed by the couple. It is critical for both you and your spouse to carefully consider what changes you are both willing to make in order to get past it. Once you have identified the changes that are necessary to build a healthier relationship you must agree to stay committed to the course you have outlined, validate your partner’s feelings, accept what cannot be changed, and agree to that each partner will recommit to both the relationship and each other.

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Insomnia: 10 Potential Causes http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/insomnia-10-potential-causes/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:35:40 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1250

Many people will experience challenges related to not achieving a sufficient amount of sleep, poor quality of sleep, being unable to sleep, or not feeling rested at some point in their lifetime. However, when the problem becomes prolonged, interferes with daily functioning, or impacts physical or mental health problems can arise in one’s familial, social, and vocational life. Notably, problems pertaining to sleep are often secondary to a medical illness such as sleep apnea, or a mental health condition like depression. Sleep issues can be a sign of an impending condition such as bipolar disorder. In addition to disturbing sleep itself, many medical and mental health conditions can be exacerbated by sleep-related problems. Unfortunately, some sleep problems and or interferences such as insomnia can be positively correlated to many mental illnesses, such as, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other significant mental health issues.

Insomnia is defined as an inability to get the amount of sleep needed to function efficiently throughout the daytime. Not surprisingly, over a third of persons living in the US report difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. In addition to physical and mental health concerns, insomnia can be caused by a change in lifestyle, work obligations, stress, travel, being in a adjusting to a different time zone, medicinal side effects, eating very late at night, poor diet, restlessness, etc. Some sedative medications may cause sleepiness during intoxication but can disturb sleep and cause serious problems sleeping in people who are addicted to or withdrawing from these medications.

Short-term Insomnia can be Relieved by Trying the Following:

  • Taking a hot bath
  • Exercising
  • Changing medication/stopping a medication
  • Drinking warm milk
  • Turning off the light before you go to bed
  • Making changes to your diet
  • Refrain from eating late at night
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Herbal remedies

Long-term Insomnia can be Relieved by Trying the Following:

  • Obtaining a physical assessment to identify/rule out physical illness causing insomnia
  • Obtaining a mental health assessment to identify/rule out mental illness causing insomnia
  • Treating underlying medical/mental condition causing insomnia
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Phototherapy (light therapy)
  • Medication
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy diet

Potential Causes of Insomnia Include:

  • Advanced age
  • Changes in health
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Medication side effects
  • Mental illness
  • Changes in physical activity
  • Hormonal changes
  • Increased Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of a regular or consistent schedule

Complications Resulting from Insomnia Include:

  • Disruption in daily functioning
  • Lower performance at work or in school
  • Difficulty processing information correctly/cognition
  • Slowed reaction time while driving and a higher risk of accidents
  • Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Negative impact on pre-existing mental or medical condition

Although, challenges related to sleep happens to everyone at some time or other during the course of one’s life once it begins to interrupt daily functioning or becomes long and debilitating it is important to discuss these issues with a doctor. Talk to your doctor and discuss which of the lifestyle changes, behavioral therapies, or medication options would be best for you.

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Mental Illness and Friendships: 5 Key Benefits http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/mental-illness-and-friendships-5-key-benefits/ Thu, 07 Sep 2017 23:03:29 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1287

Establishing and maintaining friendships can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being, however, it’s not always easy to build or maintain friendships when you carry an active mental health disorder. Having good friendships can be very good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times, provide support during bad times, help you focus in on what is truly important, help with reducing anxiety, and stabilizing mood.

Healthy friendships can also limit the likelihood of self-isolating, prevent loneliness and feelings of abandonment, and give those suffering from mental illness the love and companionship they desperately need to stay or manage a mental health crisis. When it comes to friendships, quality counts more than quantity. While it’s good to cultivate a diverse network of friends and acquaintances, you may also want to nurture a few truly close friends who will be there for you through both sunshine and stormy weather.

Unfortunately, as we age and mature it often becomes increasingly challenging to establish and maintain true and authentic friendships. Like most things in life friendships often take a back seat to other priorities, such as romantic relationships, work, caring for children, or caring for aging parents. Realistically, even when there are no mental health issues involved a lot of friendships will end as some friends grow apart due to changes in their life, career, or interests. Developing and maintaining good friendships takes effort. The enjoyment and comfort friendship can provide, however, makes the investment worthwhile.

5 Benefits of Healthy Friendships Include:

  • Regulation or stabilization of moods
  • Increased the sufferers sense of belonging and purpose
  • Help with the reduction of anxious feelings
  • Improve confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth
  • Help the sufferer cope with significant life changes such as the death of a loved one, divorce or other relationship issues, trauma, etc.
  • Help the sufferer cope with significant life changes such as the death of a loved one, divorce or other relationship issues, trauma, etc.

When someone has a mental health disorder or are experiencing a mental health crisis, it is important to try to keep friendships going, even though people with mental health problems often want to see their friends less than usual. A lot of people with mental health disorders self-isolate from friends and family once they become actively symptomatic.

Healthy friendship can play a key role in helping someone live with or recover from a mental health disorder and overcome both the isolation and challenges that often comes with it. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when a friend becomes actively symptomatic, prompting us to want to give up on our friend and the friendship, however, as difficult as it may be to support them through the crisis it may be well worth it for you as well as those suffering. Many people who do manage to keep their friendship going in spite of the challenges feel that the quality of the relationship had become stronger as a result.

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Sexual Health: 12 Potential Influences http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/sexual-health-12-potential-influences/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:46:22 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1366

Sexuality and sexual health is an essential part of being human-being. We all strive whether consciously or unconsciously for love, intimacy, affection, compatibility, and a genuine connection with others. Love, respect, sexual intimacy, and connectedness are the essential ingredients for the foundation of all healthy romantic relationships. However, dysfunctional relationships, abuse, promiscuity, maladaptive coping skills, impulsivity, and failure to protect oneself can lead to unintended consequences that can affect our sexual health. Talking about sexual health can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, or intrusive for some, but in order to promote positive sexual health open discussing need to occur.

To fully understand the barriers limiting open sexual health discussions we need to both identify as well as understand how this information is being communicated. For example, is this information being conveyed in a manner that facilitates and encourages open dialogue or does it include limits to what can be said or even judgement. In many cases, the underlying causes include failure to discuss sexual health, specifically, sexual disorders and sexual dysfunctions. Sexual disorders and dysfunctions continue to be topics that are often poorly communicated and largely misunderstood. Most people would find it challenging at best to disclose problems with sexual functioning and decreased drive. It is important to address sexual health concerns with your health care provider and partner.

When discussing sexual health we are referring to all the things that influence and impact sexual functioning and reproduction. Not surprisingly, during these discussions a lot of people fail to recognize the importance of and the connection mental health has with sexual health. To prove my point consider how individuals with a history of childhood sexual abuse are often impacted by the abuse in their future romantic relationships. Persons with a history of sexual abuse may experience challenges trusting and connecting with others making sexual intimacy and sexual functioning extremely difficult. Sexual health and wellness plays a vital role in how we approach relationships, impacts our self-esteem, and contributes to our self-image.

Sexual Health can be Influenced by the Following:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)
  • Reproductive challenges
  • Orgasmic Issues/failures
  • Fertility Issues
  • Cancer and other gynecological problems
  • History of sexual abuse or rape
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Medication(s)
  • Decreased desire/drive
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Promiscuity
  • Birth control

Maintaining Your Sexual Health Includes:

  • Regular checkups
  • Using appropriate protection
  • Avoiding risky sexual activities
  • Sexual health evaluations and treatment
  • Maintaining periodic HIV/STD screening
  • Prompt treatment of STD’s
  • Implementing a healthy diet and exercise routine
  • Partnering with a health care provider in the event of orgasmic issues and concerns
  • Medication review
  • Blood pressure screening

Being healthy is about feeling good physically, emotionally, and mentally. When we are healthy we have avoided the pitfalls of contracting STD’s, illnesses, unplanned pregnancies, and behave responsibly when it comes to our sexual health. Sexual health is just as important as physical and mental health, as it is an integral part of our overall health. When we are sexually healthy we make the best decisions for ourselves with regard to our sexual partners and sexual practice.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder: 15 Signs http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/narcissistic-personality-disorder-15-signs/ Fri, 25 Aug 2017 23:14:14 +0000 http://familymatterscounselinggroup.org/?p=1294

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is one of many of personality disorders in which individuals possess traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially inappropriate or distressing ways. NPD has the ability to limit one’s ability to function in relationships and other areas of his/her life, such as work or school. Some of the key features of NPD include grandiosity, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for both attention and admiration. Persons with this disorder are described overly self-involved, arrogant, self-centered, boastful, pretentious, arrogant, calculating, and demanding. People with NPD may also possess an inflated view of self, abilities, and exhibit grandiosity. He or she may view themselves as smarter than others, more attractive, more successful, and more engaging than anyone else. It is not uncommon for persons with NPD to look down on others they perceive to be less attractive, intellectually inferior, not as talented or not as charming. People with NPD typically harbor feelings of superiority, or a uniqueness that is unmatched by others, hence, the reason they often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way.

Not surprisingly, persons with NPD have marked difficulty accepting criticism or someone else correcting them. Most of their difficulty accepting criticism stems from their personal feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, vulnerability, unattractiveness, etc. They often associate any perceived admiration with that of their own self-worth. Many of the behaviors exhibited by persons with NPD are used to mask negative feelings associated with their own personal view of self.

Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder Include:

  • Inflated view of self
  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Pronounced need for recognition and validation
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Manipulative
  • Condescending to others
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance
  • Lacks genuine empathy for others
  • Displays self-absorbed behaviors and attitudes
  • Is unable or unwilling to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Exaggerates personal achievements and talents
  • Maintains a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Arrogant
  • Has difficulty accepting criticism or rejection

Interestingly more than half the individuals diagnosed with NPD are male; however it is not uncommon to observe the characteristics listed above in teenagers. However, this does not mean nor will it determine that he or she will develop the disorder at a later date.

Treatment For NPD May Include:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy
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