Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Positive and Negative Spirals

Our partners in life are one of the biggest influences on our growth, development as a person, and happiness (parents are the other big one). If you’re having trouble, you and your relationship are worth improving!

People tend to underestimate how much of an influence your love partner has on your life. Stop for a minute. This is the person you see every day, who you usually live with, who you talk to about everything (hopefully).

They can help you grow as a person and support your dreams and hopes in life.

They can also influence you in ways you’re not even aware of. Research studies have shown that couples’ rate of breathing, heart rates, and walking paces synchronize when they’re together. Their communication styles also synchronize and they become very efficient at communication. Someone who can do all of this to your body also has an influence on your emotions and mind.

One study showed that negative interactions between couples also synchronize, which means that the “negative spiral” is a real effect! It’s not just in our imaginations that we hit a rough spot. It really does happen. It also means though that you can enter a “positive spiral” and hit a really good spot.

Positive spirals build on each other and help protect the couple when they hit a rougher patch. If you haven’t had a positive spiral in a while, talk to your marriage partner to see if you can shift it together. Do some things you enjoy together to help shift you into a positive spiral.


Yoga helps boost mood, relieve anxiety

Research is finding that yoga really does help! Should you drop therapy and just do yoga? That might work for some but not others. Just try it and see. Yoga can certainly be a good addition to talk therapy.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that compared with walking, yoga appears to be accompanied by greater improvement in mood and decrease in anxiety and a boost in the brain chemical (GABA) associated with these benefits.

Those who did yoga three times per week saw a consistent increase in GABA levels. Those who simply walked for exercise saw no change at all. Another study found an hour of yoga boosted GABA levels 27 percent over relaxing with a book for an hour.

“That information gets sent up to the brain, the brain uses that information so that the GABA levels go up,” the author the the study, Chris Streeter says. GABA is the chemical that helps lift your mood and reduce anxiety.

Her study is the first to demonstrate the GABA-mood-yoga connection by looking at actual changes in the brain using scanning technology.

New Office Open!

I came to check out my blog and realized it truly is “Barely a Blog!” I didn’t realize I hadn’t made any posts since October. Yikes! I think the holidays hit and then I was concentrating on opening my own practice so everything else went lower down the priority list. Yes, you heard right.

The new practice is open in Hollywood! It’s just west of I95 on Hollywood Blvd in the Wachovia building. It’s a great location – easy to get to and the office turned out pretty cozy.

My partner is Lisa Zucker, LCSW. She specializes in cancer and grief counseling and does a lot of work with Gilda’s Club. Give either one of us a shout if you’re looking for counseling.

Life gets hard sometimes and there are people (moi) who actually enjoy helping you through it. Some people come in and have a hard time understanding that. They feel like they’re burdening me with their problems. But they’re not. . . if I didn’t enjoy what I do, enjoy helping someone work through what’s going on for them, I couldn’t be a therapist for long.

It does take some self-care. I take measures for myself to not burn out, to remain good at what I do and present for my clients. That’s my responsibility and ultimately I do that for my clients so they don’t have to worry about any “burden” they may feel.

Goal for next blog – post it in a month! Take care!

Make it to bedtime

Sometimes you’re having a really bad day and the kids are driving you cra-zee. Here’s a mantra for you  – “I only have to make it until bedtime.”

Now it’s bad if you’re thinking that at 9 a.m. in which case you may want to pick a closer goal – “I only have to make it until naptime.” If naptime has been given up long ago, well then  . . .

You have full permission to decompensate, collapse, freak out at that point. In fact, you have full permission to do that before that point if you need to. I know plenty of moms who go into their bedrooms for a little private time. Make sure the baby/kiddos are safe and go for it.

Some days are just going to be like that. You’ll get through them. Call a friend, get out of the house, go to the grocery store, put the t.v. on for the kids, anything to help you cope. If you have willing relatives/friends, ask if you can drop the baby off for a bit. Nothing horrible is going to happen if you take a couple of hours to yourself. And you need it!

If it doesn’t help, well then contact a professional. Seriously. If the depression doesn’t let up and just keeps coming at you, never giving you a break, and you feel like this day after day after day you need to see someone. It will help like it helps thousands of women every day.

Is “you’re a bad mom” Emotional Abuse?

I work with individuals and couples facing emotional abuse. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that if your partner is saying that you’re a bad mother, chances are that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship. I’m assuming you’re not breaking bones or leaving bruises here and that you’re doing the basics of motherhood – cleaning, feeding, and drying those tears. Motherhood is unbelievably hard and what we need are partners that get that and try in any way they can to support us and help us through the daily struggle.

Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT, says this about it:

How then do we recognize and deal with emotional abuse?

Trust your own instincts and the instincts of others who claim to have been abused. If you/they feel it or can name it, attention must be paid. Respect your emotions. This abuse is insidious and can be very subtle. But it wears away at your self-esteem and sense of self. If someone has or is continually making you feel bad about yourself, scaring you or making you feel as if you are crazy, then even if they aren’t fully aware of it, they are abusing you. Just because emotional abuse is not treated as a crime doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.

So how do you start the healing process from emotional abuse?

First, you recognize it. “Trying harder” will not stop abuse because nothing you did caused it in the first place. No matter how clean the house it, how spotless the kitchen, how quiet the children are, an abuser will find something to attack. Try to recognize that as a first step. Then seek some help in dealing with this very subtle, insidious problem.

Abusers can change, particularly when they are confronted with how hurtful and painful the abuse is for their families. Yes, families. It’s not good for children to grow up witnessing emotional abuse and learning either that that is how you treat someone or that is how you’re treated in what is supposed to be a loving relationship. But besides them, it’s not good for you either.

Roni’s blog is at:

Another resource is Annie Kaszina’s newsletter, which is excellent. You can find it at

Oz and Back

Ashley Gates Johnson is a friend of a friend. She has a beautiful piece about being diagnosed bipolar and how she handled it.

The piece brought to mind for me a discussion I had last year with a close friend. Namely, that one hundred years ago depression was considered “melancholy.” Sounds more beautiful, yes? Melancholy. And something you can descend into and then arise transformed.

Creating Space

My practice has changed over the years, as it will for a psychotherapist. I’ve worked from exploring emotions from the bodily standpoint in the last couple of years. Lately, I’m being drawn more and more to practicing “yoga therapy.” Really working from a physical standpoint and integrating it with talk therapy vs. working from talk therapy as the base and integrating how someone is feeling emotions in their body. Who know where this will go, but I wanted to share an excerpt from “Focusing” by Eugene Gendlin that is related. This is a really old book that shouldn’t be. It discusses how emotions are felt and carried in the body.

“Most people let their bodies be cramped into the shape of what’s wrong with their lives, being a monument to all the things that are wrong, every moment . . . Often, we feel so much wrong that we come to accept those bad feelings as the basic state of things. But it is not. The bad feeling is the body knowing and pushing toward what good would be.

Every bad feeling is potential energy toward a more right way of being if you give it space to move toward its rightness.

The very existence of bad feelings within you is evidence that your body knows what is wrong and what is right. It must know what it would be like to feel perfect or it could not evoke a sense of wrong. . . . You can definitely trust the whole series of steps by which your body moves to resolve and change a wrong state of being. You can trust that, even if the words and understanding of a given step are superseded, that step was the right step to come then, at that moment, and will lead to the right next step from there.”