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Too Attached??

I have worked with so many clients in counseling who have formed unhealthy attachments with people in their lives. Perhaps they are too dependent on someone else for their worth, value or stability. Or sometimes they find their worth, value and stability from allowing someone else to be too dependent upon them. Either way, it's unhealthy for these clients and they work to learn how to detach from these relationships and to then have healthy attachments. We were made for relationships (including significant others and friendships). However, we are all messy people and things can get unhealthy pretty quickly in relationships. Once unhealthy attachments are formed, it can be really tough to let them go and learn to be healthy in relationship. Jade Mazarin, a friend of mine from graduate school, has written a couple of posts about how to let go of unhealthy attachments (she's referencing more than just unhealthy relationships). Take a look at part 1 and part 2 of her posts "How to let go of unhealthy attachments"! She has also written a book, "The Heart's Journey to Freedom", for women who have unhealthy attachments with men; here is where you can read more about it and buy the book!

Marriage Enrichment Seminar - Raleigh

There is a great upcoming marriage workshop here in Raleigh. I highly recommend these 2 presenters! One of them, Dr. Rosenau, was my professor at Richmont Graduate University for my sex therapy classes! He is a great speaker and very passionate about Biblical sexual intimacy in marriages! The other presenter, Dr. Neel, is a wonderful lady and a sex therapist here in Raleigh! Below is some info on the seminar and contact info in case you and your spouse are interested in signing up!

Covenant Lover’s

One-day Seminar  May 12, 2012

Providence Baptist Church


$40/couple- advance registration

Do you want to create a stronger, more passionate love relationship in your marriage, with a vibrant and mutually enjoyable sex life – to become “lovers” in the true sense of the word?  Join us for a one-day seminar that will help you develop practical and biblical foundational principles for experiencing intimate connecting and satisfying lovemaking within God’s amazing covenant relationship of marriage.   With two nationally recognized experts in the area of Christian sex education and therapy, learn helpful ways to grow your marital love life as you gain insights into the Creator’s grand plan for vibrant sexual intimacy – all in a safe and respectful environment.  This seminar promises to be fun, insightful, practical and biblical, with its basis the book:  A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Doug Rosenau.

You can contact Becky at or call 919-326-3000 for questions. 

Great Teen Workbooks

I see a lot of teens and their families for individual and family counseling. The teenagers I see struggle with various issues; some face anxiety, depression, stress, family issues, self injury, self esteem issues, bullying, etc. Many of them are in some serious pain and are looking for an outlet for that pain but do not have healthy coping skills. Some of them have difficult family situations or struggle with being bullied at school. I have found some great resources that I use with many of my teen clients; several of them have had great success using these resources! These workbooks contain short exercises that are geared towards helping teens cope in healthy ways. Stopping the Pain is a workbook for teenagers who cut or self injure. Beyond the Blues is a workbook for teens who experience depression. The Anxiety Workbook for Teens helps teenagers cope with anxiety and worry. Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens teaches teens Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills that can help them manage mood swings, control emotional outbursts and get along with others better. The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens teaches teenagers mindfulness skills that helps them decrease stress. The Bipolar Workbook for Teens helps teens learn Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills for mood swings they may experience. Think Confident, Be Confident for Teens teaches teenagers Cognitive Therapy skills to increase their self image and improve their self esteem. These workbooks may not be helpful for every teenager but I find many teens respond well to the short lessons they contain!

A Great Resource

A colleague and dear friend of mine, Meredith Stokke, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with clients who experience disordered eating, eating disorders and body image issues. She has a great blog here where she provides lots of useful information, links, articles and encouragement and her website can be found here! If you or someone you know struggles with disordered eating or body image issues, I highly recommend her as a counselor and her blog as a great resource! 

Deep Breathing to Manage Anxiety & Panic

Anxiety and panic escalate when we are not in control of our breathing. Short chest breaths can speed up heart rate making many of the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic also increase. You can reverse this escalation through deep breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is an important technique discussed when I'm counseling clients who are experiencing anxiety and panic. Typically this breathing technique does not come easily for those who experience frequent anxiety and panic. But this breathing technique can be learned! It just takes some practice and getting used to. Here and here are two links that describe diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing also helps decrease feelings of stress too! Practice this breathing technique many times when you are not feeling anxiety or panic. I encourage clients to practice it at least once a day when there are little to no symptoms of anxiety or panic present. That will help you be able to use the skill when you areexperiencing the feelings of anxiety or panic. I encourage clients to write the steps down on an index card or on a note in their phone and keep the note with them. That way if feelings of anxiety or panic begin, they can pull out their note and begin the deep breathing to calm down the physical effects of anxiety. This helps you get to a place where you can then begin to challenge your anxious thoughts and manage the anxiety and panic better. If you'd like to know more about that part of managing anxiety and panic you can read a few of my blogs here and here; you can also read this article that has a neat parable linked within it too. Counseling is a great way to learn how to manage anxiety and panic; you don't have to suffer with anxiety and panic!

How do I find a Counselor or Therapist?

Oftentimes I speak with people who have never had counseling before and aren't sure what to say or ask; this is completely normal. If I needed electrical services or plumbing services, I'd have no clue who to call or what to ask. It's OK not to know and to admit you don't know what to ask when you are first looking for a counselor. There are some great resources out there to help you find a counselor who will be able to help you with what you are going through. This article is a great start; it explains all the terms like counselor, therapist, psychologist, social worker and psychiatrist. The article gives good explanations of these terms and what services these professionals offer. If you are setting out to find a counselor or therapist but aren't sure what you need to know or ask, check out these frequently asked questions. There are other websites that are geared towards helping you find a therapist; they are here, here, here, here and here. Remember you are looking for someone to provide you a service so it's OK if you have many questions or want to call around to several therapist and even set up several initial consultation sessions so you can decide who is the best fit for you. It can seem like a daunting task, but just take it one step at a time. Spend a little time researching the type of professional you are looking for and searching for those professionals in your area. Formulate a small list of counselors you are interested in from looking at their bio or websites. Call the therapists and speak with them, ask them your questions about availability, fees, insurance, etc. Feel free to ask about their background, specialities, counseling philosophy, etc. Then take some time and decide who you'd want to set up an initial consultation(s). Then once you have the initial session, you'll have a good idea if the therapist is a good fit for you and whether or not you'd like to move forward with them.

Finding a Christian Counselor

It can be hard to find a counselor that matches your belief system. But they are out there, so keep searching! If you are looking for a Christian counselor, Focus on the Family has a link that lets you search for a counselor by your location and by the counselor's specialties. Focus on the Family also has some great resources, articles and links to other resources as well on a variety of topics. The counselors on the Focus on the Family Counseling Referral list must complete a lengthy application assessing the counselor's education, background, counseling style, beliefs and approaches to various counseling situations. Counselors on their list have been approved and are licensed professionals. This is a great way to find a Christian counselor who is a licensed professional in your area. I also encourage you to browse around their site, read some articles or look at other resources they have made available.

Living a Love Story

A dear friend of mine led me to this blog by Donald Miller. I've read many of his books but haven't followed his blog. This post stopped me in my tracks and was inspiring. He talks about how to live a great love story (and while this one is for the girls, he posts here for the boys). I see many young girls - teenagers and young adults - in counseling and we always come around to the topic of boys eventually. I hear from them (and experienced in my own life) the pressure from society to be alluring, perfect and easy sexually. But for those of us who live our lives according to God's Word, Scripture tells us something completely different. We are told not to conform to what the world says, but to be transformed by the Word so we can know what God's will is for us (Romans 12:2). We are told that marriage is sacred and the marriage bed (intimacy, sex) is to be protected (Hebrews 13:4). We are called to live a life counter-cultural. Society says "have fun", "do what feels good", "give yourself away freely in order to get anything in return". But this only leads to damaged hearts, low self esteem and broken relationships. If we live as Scripture teaches, we are truly living a great love story and set ourselves up for an incredible love story of our own. I encourage you to take some time and read Donald's blog referenced above. If you're looking for more reading about premarital sex and what Scripture says, take a look at this article.


Extending Grace

Grace is typically defined in Christian circles as unmerited favor; it's something we do not earn but are given freely. The Lord extends His grace so freely to us and that is a model for how we are called to live in relationship with others. His grace transforms us. How powerful to know that whether or not we are "good enough", we are given abounding grace! Grace is a powerful gift to give another freely and has the power to transform.

Giving grace to others not only helps to transform the relationship we have with them, but is also something powerful that can potentially transform both people individually. In couples therapy or marriage counseling, I often encourages clients to extend extra measures of grace to one another and to themselves when beginning the process of change. With clients in individual counseling, I encourage them to give grace to themselves as they begin to learn more about themselves and change as well!

A great professor I had during my graduate program, Dr. Michael Sytsma wrote an article on grace. His ministry, Building Intimate Marriages has many great resources. He is also the co-founder of the ministry Sexual Wholeness which is another great resource for intimacy issues in relationships.

Another great article about grace that I highly recommend is written by a talented friend, counselor, writer and colleague of mine, Jennie Brown. Her post challenges me to really think deeply about how I can give grace to others and what that might really look like.