Tuesday, August 27, 2013

VMA Performance: Another Warning Sign

In a day where families need two income earners to support a home our children and adolescents are being taught less by parents and more by media and school environments. The performance by Miley Cyrus on the VMA's is not a first in what our children are seeing but instead was an outright public performance that millions watched that should be a warning to our desensitization as a society. We can turn away with shock and dismay but what is needed is for parents and others to begin to speak up about how public displays such as this are affecting our younger generations in a very negative way. The television indicated that the VMA program was acceptable for the ages of 14 and older and yet this again only shows that it is time to take a stand for our children and adolescents as the media is not censoring inappropriate content for our children's self esteem and healthy development. It is our job as parents and society to take the stand and not wait for others to take action to protect our children's eyes, ears and minds. The argument begins to occur by others about freedom of speech but these individuals do not have a front seat view of what is occurring to our younger generations as they view sexuality, individuality, and attempts to stand out to others in unhealthy and negative ways.

As a mother and therapist I will give some insight into what is occurring in our younger generations due to medias influence. Years ago I gave an interview on a local television show about medias influence on children and adolescents and since that time as a therapist I  have continued to see a continued moral decline in  media that is only getting worse as the years go by. In my practice over half my case load is teenagers who wrestle with self esteem and identity issues in a world where magazines, television and media is influencing our girls to grow up faster and express their sexuality at a very young age. We have young adolescents wearing more provocative clothing and makeup to make themselves look older while we also fear the sex trade industry and continued abductions of our young beautiful women off the streets at ages as young as eleven.  When we allow the media to continue to indicate to our young women that individuals such as Miley Cyrus support drugs, shaking it like you are at a strip club and rubbing yourself against men who could be old enough to be your father we are allowing our young girls to think that this is what is normal and is expected to be famous and popular. I see girls daily who struggle to be the age they are at yet are being conflicted with a constant influx of propaganda that is teaching them that they should be portraying themselves as years older. The other issue with this is that our young women are not emotionally or intellectually mature enough yet to even comprehend or understand healthy sexuality or identity as a young adult.

As a mother I am thankful that my daughter looks at topics such as Miley Cyrus with sadness and thoughts of not understanding how a young adult woman could allow herself to be portrayed in this way. As a therapist I am saddened that many other young girls out there are not being taught what is healthy and appropriate. I am speaking of young women in this article but do not want to miss out on talking about the effect that this is also having on our young men in society. Boys in our society are also being negatively affected by media. We are seeing an increase in violence and desensitization in our young men as they are babysat at young ages by video games that teach killing without consequence. Boys are also being taught to objectify women and that they are sexual objects that want to be objectified. I am seeing an increase in children and adolescent boys who are becoming addicted to pornography at young ages. I also want to point out that parents who are not monitoring what their children are watching on their electronic systems need to understand that pornographic material is not what it used to be. There are numerous pornographic sites of women being tied up and raped indicating that they want this treatment. To those men out there who watched the VMA's and thought Miley's performance was sexy I want to remind you that this young woman is not much older than many of your daughters and should be a warning to fathers about their own daughters and sons needing help to understand what is appropriate and healthy.

As I watched the performance of Miley I for one felt a strong pain of sadness in my heart for this young woman. Her performance to me indicated that she is hurting and struggling and has been pulled into the same decline we have observed with other child stars. I can only hope that after this display that perhaps she could be a media voice to our young girls and boys and the media as she reflects on what she displayed and realizes the influence it may have had.  I also thought about her own father when I watched the performance and questioned why he is not stepping up to his role as a loving caring father. I only know that as a therapist and mother I will continue to step up to my role in helping our young men and women decipher healthy vs unhealthy. My hope is that many others can step up with me and be a voice to protect and save the upcoming generations from fictitious views of who they should be and how they should portray themselves. We as adults need to step up and take action instead of just talking about how shocked and dismayed we are by what is happening in the media and to our children and adolescents.

To all my teens that may be reading this article, you are beautiful, unique and an individual that defines yourself. Be strong in who you are and remember that the truest beauty about who you comes from your individuality and not conforming to what others, media, and society tell you that you should be.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Priority Versus Option

Hello all. I know it has been a while since I posted a blog and have been inspired this week to type up a new one. I have had many clients this week who are dealing with relationship woes and it appears to me that I am utilizing a quote quite often in these sessions. I am sure you have heard the quote "NEVER MAKE SOMEONE  A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES YOU AN OPTION". When you are with the right person it should complement not contradict your life. The healthiest happiest relationships are those in which both individuals put the other persons needs, feelings and thoughts before their own without selfish motive or desire. A relationship should be a give / give exchange with both thinking of the person they love and how certain decisions, choices, and behaviors may affect their loved one.

I see so many people living in unhappiness because they love the person so much that they put up with addictions, unfaithfulness (emotional and sexual), dishonesty, and being put on the back burner in hopes that the person they are with will soon love them as much as they love their partner. A healthy relationship is one in which both walk side by side and support each other though hurts, adjustments, and transitions and grow together in happiness and celebration of who they are as a couple.

If you are making someone in your life a priority and they are making you an option, or you find yourself being a convenience to them and there is an ebb and flow in them showing you through words and actions what you mean to them then you need to stop and ask yourself why am I trying so hard to be a priority and to be loved in a healthy way. When you are with the right person you will still have ups and downs but you will never doubt what you mean to them because even through the rough times they will be right beside you holding your hand as you both encourage each other on to the future. You should not have to beg to be a priority, you should not have to beg to have your thoughts and feelings respected, and you should never have to question if you are an option to them or not.

I tell women and men frequently if you find yourself chasing after someone or begging to be loved the way you desire to be loved then you are probably with the wrong person. The right person will not turn his or her back on you and if they have you might need to turn away from that person because I guarantee there will be someone out there who will always be facing you with open arms and could never imagine turning their back on you or life without you. This blog of what to look for in the one is not a fairy tale or fiction. This blog  is about being able to recognize unselfish, pure, genuine, committed, faithful and long lasting love. Again I repeat the quote "NEVER MAKE SOMEONE A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES YOU AN OPTION".

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Power of Your Thoughts

As many of you know I am a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. I describe this to new clients as believing that your thoughts lead to your feelings and your feelings in turn lead to your interactions or reactions to situations and others around you. I truly believe that many of my clients could escape the invisible chains trapping them in depression, anxiety, and fear if they could change their thoughts to more powerful and positive strength based thinking. I have observed my clients make drastic changes in their life as a whole just by changing negative and self destructive thoughts into powerful positive thoughts that are optimistic and hopeful.

There is much research coming out in numerous books and articles on the power of positive thinking. Individuals such as Martha Beck talk of creating vision boards with pictures and words on a poster board that individuals look at daily that have symbolic meaning to what they want in their lives. There are beliefs and research to back up the notion that when individuals focus everyday on things they want in their lives that they are more prone to recognize every day things that point them in that direction and help them achieve their goals. The other belief is that if individuals utilize the words "can't, won't, and messages of doubt" that they will focus on those things around them that support their view that what they want in life is impossible. If you doubt the future of a relationship do not be surprised if it fails, if you doubt your abilities do not be surprised to find you never fully experience the power of your talents, and if you believe your past defines your future do not be surprised to find you never leave the past behind to focus on the positives now in the present. To sum up this concept what you focus on will direct your steps and your path in life. If you do not believe in success then you will pull towards anything that keeps you from achieving success as it supports your distorted view point. If you believe things are possible you will be invested in taking off the blinders of doubt and seeing options that support your success that may have been in front of you all along.

I talk to my clients about tunnel vision and wearing blinders on the sides of their eyes that only allow them to see a small part of the picture in their life. I truly believe many individuals at times want a healthy happy relationship, marriage, financial success, peace, hope yet they have worn blinders so long due to past hurts by others or disappointments that no matter how much they want success in all areas of their lives they fear it doesn't exist for them ( a thought that turns into a belief ). We all have choices in life and we do choose which path we go down in our lives whether it be in believing in love, trust, success, fulfillment, and healing or believing that none of this is possible. Our circumstances and our past do not define our present and our future. Each moment we have the choice to choose our path and determine our future.

As you work on changing your negative view points and seeing life as positive be careful what you speak out loud. To think a negative thought is powerful in itself but I warn individuals to be careful what they speak out loud and claim. Even when you speak negative thoughts you could be creating negative thoughts in others and compound the issue of challenging your own negative thinking. I see this in working with couples when I hear one partner verbalize doubt about love in the relationship or the future of the relationship and you can see how their negative thoughts create negative thinking in the other partner. Another example of this would be speaking negatively about your job and it in turn creates negative thoughts in others about considering you for the promotion. Challenge your negative thinking and begin to speak out words that are hopeful not doubtful and positive and not negative. Thoughts can be changed and when thoughts are changed you will notice your feelings begin to change. When feelings change you will find that you find more strength, your relationships are deepened, your eyes are open to more opportunities and your sails are fully open with you taking charge and sailing towards those things you never THOUGHT were possible.

Recommended Reading: Norman Vincent Peale "The Power of Positive Thinking"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reaping What You Sow Into A Relationship

As many know my primary specialty in private practice is couples counseling. I am currently working on a book that defines the healthy building blocks that must be present in every relationship. I see couples frequently who struggle in one or more areas and I have found that there are important components that if present in relationship prevent erosion and break down in the future of a partnership.

I once had a good friend of mine say that a relationship should never be a give / take but a give / give type of relationship. I agree with this friend that in a healthy relationship both parties should always be working to give to the other partner and the only way to do this effectively is to take the time to really get to know what your other partners needs are. Our society today is filled with egocentricism and selfishness and the break down of relationships appears to always have selfishness at the core eating like a cancer in one form or another.

Dr. Harley describes each person as having a love bank. When one partner is making deposits of love into their partner by actions and words of love then they are filling their partners love bank. However when one partner begins to only deposit love and emotion into a relationship without their partner investing in them as well then the one partner will become depleted and their love bank will become empty with nothing more to give. For this reason it is important for both individuals to be giving into the relationship and into their partner as it is impossible for a relationship to last if only one partner is a giver and the other continues to be only a taker.

Religion describes this as you reap what you sow and if one person is not sowing into a relationship eventually their will be nothing more for that person to reap. How can you expect a harvest if you are not sowing and I must add that this must continue throughout a relationship just as farmers take care of their land by fertilizing the soil, tilling the ground, and making sure that what they sow is being nurtured effectively year after year. I see this with couples who think that only in the beginning do they need to court their partner, invest time in finding out about them, getting to know their needs (fears, desires, goals, dreams), and show them that they are the only one they want in their life that compares with no other yet after a period of time become comfortable and stagnate thinking the relationship will continue to grow without further investment.

Relationships are fragile, require emotional investment, open honest communication, respect, and commitment year after year. These components are not going to produce a healthy relationship if one person is the only one giving and the other taking as both individuals in a relationship need these components to grow, to fill their love bank, and to trust that they are loved as much as they love their partner.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Your Online Therapist Returns

I wanted to update everyone that had been following or will begin following my blogs that I am once again back and ready to write. Many changes have been occurring over the past year to two years and all of the changes have been in preparation for steps in a journey personally and professionally that will add to this blog in dynamic ways. I am preparing to take steps that will have me joining a very dear friend as we embark on a new private practice together which has been a dream of ours for some time.  I am also working with a publisher in preparing to complete my book on healthy building blocks in a relationship as well completion of children's books that can be utilized by parents, therapists or schools to help children with current issues such as bullying and self esteem issues. Over the next year or two this blog will not only be utilized for articles I write on therapeutic topics but as a way for my followers to stay up to date on publication of books and possible speaking engagements that I will be making in the future. I look forward to having all my followers join me on this journey as we embrace the future without fear, never looking back at the past with regret, and remembering that the present moment defines that future ahead.

Its great to be back and again I apologize for leaving you for a time with no new articles to read. Are you ready to take this journey with me? Lets get started.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are You Building Walls

So many individuals come to see me everyday and struggle to forgive others for deceiving them, hurting them, and causing emotional pain. It is as if these individuals construct a strong emotional wall to keep the person from getting close to them again so that they feel protected and prevent any further damage from that person. However many times I find that in constructing that emotional wall individuals begin to shut out other people and not just the one person that they constructed the wall for in the first place. This can cause further damage in individuals lives as they push away everyone, believing that no one can be trusted or allowed to get close enough to them to cause pain emotionally or physically.

Once an individual begins to have this pattern of behavior in their lives they can begin to push away all individuals and prevent themselves from seeing that not all individuals are negative or hurtful. They may decrease the chance of being hurt by others but they are also preventing themselves from being loved by others as well. The wall not only keeps out those who are negative but those who can create positive emotional and relational growth in the persons life.
Even constructing a wall against someone who has hurt them can prevent them from being able to heal in that relationship if the other person is attempting to seek healing and change as the wall creates blindness towards the other persons positive actions. I tell individuals at least to take a few bricks down from that wall at eye sight so they can look upon the person who hurt them as that person may be doing everything possible to make amends and create healing.

What walls have you constructed in your life? Who are the individuals that motivated you to construct those walls? Are the walls really protecting you or are they creating a barrier that is hindering your relationship(s)?

Boundaries are the direction to take in relationships instead of walls. If someone hurts you over and over then it may be time to set boundaries of what you will accept and not accept in healthy relationships. Boundaries will empower you where as walls can close you in.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Change Starts With You

To many people wait for circumstances or people around them to change and fail to recognize their own power in changing circumstances around them. In fact, individuals are the key to change in their lives and even the motivational force in change in those around them. Now make no mistake in thinking that you can change other people as they are also responsible for their own change. However, when you change it causes a trickle down effect that causes others to evaluate their choices in changing or stagnating.

One of my favorite sayings is by Nietzshe in which he stated "change is inevitable and those who resist change cause suffering in their own lives". When we are depressed, angry, anxious or unhappy in our circumstances we have a tendency to put responsibility on people and situations around us instead of make a cognitive choice to look at our negative feelings as a sign that it is time to take responsibility for modifying our situations and relationships.

I see it everyday in therapy where individuals complain, struggle, and lay waiting in the mess of their own muck not recognizing that they and they alone can pull themselves out of that ditch and not wait to be saved by someone else. This is also evident in patterns of repeating negative relationships, negative choices, and negative views that hinder individuals from pulling themselves up to higher ground and redefining their lives as they are the author of their lifes design. Negative thoughts and views have a tendency to multiply as it is a magnet that attracts the negative. On the other hand challenging your negative thoughts, reframing your negative views, and looking at trials as a refinement process causes empowerment and strength.

If you are waiting for change and not recognizing that you are the author of this change despite your circumstances and people in your life then you will be waiting and prolonging transformation that can occur in the present moment. If you are waiting for God to change your circumstances without acknowledging action first has to take place on your part then you are failing to recognize many teachings that point towards individuals being the precursor to change. Change begins with you and you alone. When you begin to challenge stagnation in your life then you will open the door to healing, restoration and transformation that will change you and in turn change every circumstance, situation, and relationship in your life.

What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for? Why are you waiting? Wait and you will sink deeper and deeper into despair. Choose change and put it into action and you will create more fulfillment in your life than you thought possible.

Change starts with you and only you. Now what do you want to change?