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Hi! I am Michael Heath and this is the Pine Ridge Pastoral Counseling Web Page. Pine Ridge is a place for folks who are looking for the best mental health care but who are turned off by large clinics or impersonal facilities.
Since 1994, Pine Ridge has offered a distinctive and more personal alternative for mental health needs while providing a comprehensive range of psychological services to help individuals, couples and families deal with a wide range of emotional, relational, crisis related, life phase and spiritual problems.
Since I am both a state Licensed Psychotherapist and a nationally Certified Pastoral Counselor, I offer a comprehensive therapeutic approach which can relate to both the psychological and spiritual dimensions of life’s difficulties .
This web site is a great place to learn about my areas of expertise and to find answers to questions you may have concerning psychotherapy, marriage counseling, couples counseling, and other counseling related issues. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact me and I’ll be glad to help.
Helping the people of Central New York since 1978 with:
- ANXIETY / DEPRESSION / OCD
- PTSD / SEXUAL ABUSE
- STRESS MANAGEMENT
- OBSESSIONS / COMPULSIONS
- LOSS AND GRIEVING
- SPIRITUAL CONFUSION / LOSS OF FAITH
- SHAME / GUILT / LOW SELF-ESTEEM
- POOR COUPLE COMMUNICATION
- ARGUMENTS / CONFLICT
- SEX / NO SEX
- PORNOGRAPHY / SEX ADDICTION
- BETRAYAL / INFIDELITY
- SEPARATION / DIVORCE
- MONEY / KIDS / INLAWS
Latest Blog Articles
By Rev. Michael Heath
It’s almost Father’s Day but, in addition to dads, men are also husbands. And there is a serious problem that does not receive enough attention: Men’s lack of sexual desire for their wives .
Although many believe that men are more interested in sex than their women, it has been my clinical experience for some time that this is not true . In fact, the number of men who are not having sex with their wives seems to be increasing. Hope and Understanding for Sexless Marriages. (revmichaelheath.com)
The truth is, unfortunately, that there is no simple answer as to why men don’t want to have sex with their wives. There are, however, several different reasons why passion may left the relationship. (Since each situation is different and because there are so many different causes, each couple could benefit from discussing their particulars with an experienced professional .) Nonetheless, in general, here are some of the most common causes men don’t want sex with their wives.
This segment seeks to help couples who struggle with trust after an affair. It especially offers guidance for the offending partner. Specifically, the solution rests on the offending spouse’s ability to listen, accept and understand his/her partner’s anger. Indeed, defensiveness by the betraying spouse toward his partner’s pain is often a major obstacle which blocks the offended spouse from regaining trust. Here are some observations which can help explain why rebuilding trust is so difficult as well as some tips for how it can be done.
Personal journaling has been a big deal in counseling circles for a long time. It is a mainstay for most stress management strategies. Even the military, after researching its clinical effectiveness, decided to use it to help soldiers who are stressed or suffering from PTSD. Without getting too deep into the neurological weeds, personal journaling helps us to wring the painful and irrational elements out of our experience so that we might be better able to rationally asses and address our emotional wounds.
Ironically, although journaling is talked about a lot, for many there is much confusion and hesitancy about how to actually do it. Here are three questions which are commonly asked to help you have a helpful personal journaling experience:
For those who have recently lost their moms or for those who associate absence, neglect or other kinds of emotional trauma with their mothers, this holiday can be painful.
Apart from being aware of the fact that not everyone is excited about celebrating Mother’s Day, I wanted to share two thoughts.
Despite all of the progress psychology and medical science has made, there are many who still hold an outdated and misleading view of psychological disorders and their treatment. Common Misconceptions About Psychotherapy (verywellmind.com) To be clear from the get go: 1) Most of the people who have mental health issues are normal people. Their problems are generally caused by past trauma or by current stress or a combination of both. 2) Most counseling is a process by which clients can expand their awareness of how their past experiences and present have combined to create perceptional distortions and irrational emotional and behavioral reactions . The impact of this expanded awareness enables individuals to perceive life more accurately and respond to it in a more congruent way. The lack of public understanding is problematic because it perpetuates stigma, confusion, unnecessary fears and avoidance of seeking help. Let me update and expand on two of the most common mental health myths.
One of the most important emotional blessings of marriage is the experience of true intimacy and trust. Good communication is essential for building the trust which is needed to deal with marital challenges and problems. Knowing and understanding our partner’s feelings, opinions and preferences are necessary to resolve conflicts , negotiate compromises and to make joint decisions and future plans. Sexual communication is an important form of communication which is often overlooked and neglected.
While we do pretty well communicating when it’s about practical and mundane issues, when it comes to sex, there can be a problem. Sex is a tricky thing and difficult for many folks to talk about. Many have misguided feelings of guilt which prevent them from speaking honestly about their feelings or desires. Others think that their wants or preferences are abnormal and are ashamed to reveal them. Still others avoid talking about their frustrations or conflicts with their partner because they are afraid of either hurting their partner’s feelings or being personally rejected.
Fortunately, with a little help and practice , overcoming one’s uneasiness with and aversion to talking about sex can be accomplished. Greater sharing can lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship. Indeed, learning to speak openly and explicitly about sexual matters with one’s mate can be a deeply rewarding and intimacy-enriching experience.
If you or your partner feel stuck in this area or have trouble sharing feelings or concerns about sex, here are seven tips to help you to get started opening the lines of communication with one another :
Easter is almost here but, to be honest and especially under COVID restrictions, it is not what it used to be. Even so, it still important even though this holiday means different things to different people. For some, Easter is a celebration of the coming of Spring. For others, it is a playful time for children and their colored eggs and chocolate bunnies. For Christians, it remains a time of spiritual renewal and remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still for many, Easter has lost much of its spiritual meaning. Indeed, there is no denying that America is becoming less and less religious. A recent Gallup poll found that, for the first time since it has been keeping data, fewer than 50% of Americans attend Church. For many , the narrative of Jesus literally rising from the dead is an insurmountable obstacle.
Does this cultural shift and institutional decline mean that we have lost our ability to experience important spiritual dimensions of life ?
I don’t think so . I believe that form many the conceptual framework for experiencing spiritual matters has changed from supernatural representations to psychological ones . To the point, is it not necessary to suspend your belief in science to experience the full joy of Easter ? Likewise when holy scripture is interpreted metaphorically rather than literally or as a historical account, the full spiritual significance still shines through.
Easter may be understood as a spiritual/psychological metaphor which conveys, symbolically, the fundamental affirmation of faith. Apart from the improbable literalism, the Easter story expresses a profound psychological journey which passes through the devastating experience of loss to the joyous discovery of new life and meaning . That said, I want explain how it is possible to celebrate Easter apart from either supernatural or nature-based interpretations, i.e. how to appreciate Easter without myth.
Many times the role of a pastoral counselor is to point out and lift up spiritual concerns hidden by cultural or psychological trappings. At other times, it is to call to task errors and abuses of religion which have gone astray and become abusive of mental health or to help those who have suffered abuse from harmful religious practices or clergy misconduct to heal. The latter is the nature of our discussion today.
The recent murder of Asian women in Atlanta has brought attention to the growing number of attacks against Asian-Americans. There is another aspect of this slaughter, however, which must not be overlooked : the harmful influence of the alleged shooter’s religion. More specifically, I believe that the conservative church’s teachings about sex and women played a significant part in the murderer’s enraged emotional state . The church’s ignorant and outdated attitudes about…
This is an important announcement concerning upcoming possible insurance policy changes for those who are currently engaged in tele-therapy and who use medical insurance to pay for these services.
Even though there is encouraging news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, with reports of dropping positivity rates, greater vaccine availability and expanded vaccination locations, the CDC and the President have made it clear that we are not yet out of the woods. Specifically, they have strongly warned against prematurely loosening COVID-19 precautions for things such as social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding being in indoor, non-ventilated settings for more than fifteen minutes.
Despite the persistence of the COVID-19 threat and the repeated warnings from federal agencies and officials, New York’s government has been…
For more recent and past Mental Health postings, visit our Blog archive.