Call 315.637.0605 Rev. Heath Can Help!
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.

Serving the people of Central New York since 1978!

Latest Blog Articles

By Rev. Michael Heath

Hope and Understanding for Sexless Marriages.

Hope and Understanding for Sexless Marriages.

I don’t understand why but, recently, the number of sexless marriages reported by the couples I see is on the rise. Indeed, this lack of physical intimacy has becoming a major source of concern and even results in divorce for those who do not seek help. Having checked national statistics , as of 2019 as many as 15 to 20% of marriages surveyed are sexless. (A sexless marriage is one in which the couple reports having sex less than once a month,)   This statistic is shocking because , as little as ten years ago,  only 2 to 5 % of marriages  were classified as sexless. In addition, one wonders if the stressful effects of COVID-19 has made the percentage even higher.

Typically, there are always some couples who don’t have sex from time to time.  The most common reasons married people abstain  are obvious.  Stress from work, marital conflicts, exhaustion from raising children and work as well as having impairing medical conditions top the list.  Others experience a significantly diminished libido because of depressive disorders or the effects of medication.

In a sexless marriage , however, the loss of interest is neither transient nor obvious . While I can’t explain, specifically, why this dramatic shift has occurred , unresolved anger and resentment are always serious factors which can virtually eliminate normal marital relations.   Submerged anger can literally block erotic neurological impulses and leave a person without romantic desire.

Fortunately, for couples who wish to address this situation, a lot can be done to resolve the problem and restore normal feelings of attraction and excitement.  If the lack of sex is an issue in your relationship and you wish to do something about it, here are some questions to think about and discuss with your mate to get you started:

Alone on Valentine’s Day : Looking at your Outlook on Love

Alone on Valentine’s Day : Looking at your Outlook on Love

Depending on your romantic  situation, Valentine’s Day can mean dramatically different things.  For lovers and happily married folks, it can be a  joyful time to reflect on and express love and affection for one another.

However, this media-hyped day can be an excruciating and heartbreaking time for folks who have lost, are without partners or who are in the midst of relational strife or divorce.  Indeed, the plight of those who are lonely can be overlooked and ignored in the wake of the red-hearted deluge of the holiday.

We need to remember  that, for these folks, Valentine’s Day is at best awkward and at worst a painful reminder of loneliness, frustration, disappointment and loss.  Beyond the pain of being without or losing a loving partner is the destructive impact on one’s self-esteem . Unfortunately, partner-less and divorcing folks often blame themselves for their lack of romantic success and see themselves as defective or so damaged that they will always be alone.

While some folks do suffer from emotional issues which make sustaining intimate relationships difficult or problematic, that is not the case for most.  If you are bummed out on Valentine’s Day, here are some questions and tips to help you better understand the mystery of romance and improve your odds for finding love.

The Secret to More Romance: THE FIVE SECOND KISS

The Secret to More Romance: THE FIVE SECOND KISS

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our attention naturally turns to thoughts of love and romance. Ironically, despite all of the media hype advertisers place on it, many folks (especially women) report that real romance is in short supply in their relationships.  The stress and restrictions imposed by COVID-19 have made matters even worse.  That said, now is a good time to talk about romance and desire because there is good news for folks who want to rekindle their passion.

Kissing is one of the most often overlooked and undervalued gestures which will evoke romantic feelings between lovers. While couples report that they still kiss, they also report that kissing often has become almost perfunctory and has lost a  lot of its pizazz. This observation leads us to the title of this blog post: The Five Second Kiss. 

Doing more kissing for at least five seconds is a simple change that couples can do which will increase the amount of romance ( and mostly likely sex) in their relationship.   Once you give this a try, you will be amazed what a big difference such a simple thing like taking a little longer to kiss makes. It’s also great to learn that, for healthy relationships, even though romance has been neglected in the past, it’s never too late to get it back.  If you have a romance deficit and want to improve but aren’t sure what to do or feel a little awkward getting started , know that breaking the ice is the hardest part.  Here are some tips to help you get started.

BABY STEPS : The Best Way to Make New Year’s Resolutions.

BABY STEPS : The Best Way to Make New Year’s Resolutions.

As we head toward the last week in January, it is important to realize that it is not too late to think about new year’s resolutions and deciding to make important changes and improvements in your life.   You know, things like losing weight, exercising more, not smoking and cutting down on drinking.

Sadly however, despite good intentions, many have trouble carrying through with their plans and are unable to achieve their goals.

Fortunately, there are things that one can do to improve one’s chances of succeeding. Specifically, Baby Steps is an excellent alternative to all or nothing thinking when trying to make life changes.

The Psychological Importance of Prayer.

The Psychological Importance of Prayer.

In the wake of news reports about the recent assault on the Capitol, many have been pushed to edge of their limits to cope. The level of violence and the intensity of the anger displayed in the videos reveals a shocking and dangerous segment of America which causes many to wonder if the center can hold.

In troubling times such as these, people throughout the ages have turned to prayer for emotional and spiritual support. For many in this science dominated world, however, the idea of praying to a god is archaic and has lost its meaning and power.

Some falsely believe that one needs to be “religious” to experience the power of prayer. I disagree. I firmly believe that the need to call out to the divine in times of distress is imprinted in our DNA regardless of one’s religious beliefs or lack thereof. Even those who are technologically advanced seem to possess a spiritual longing for transcendent meaning and reality. This fundamental curiosity and need for comfort and reassurance is deeply imbedded in human nature.

That said, prayer may have many meanings and forms. Prayer does not necessarily have to be conceived of as praying to a man with a long white beard who sits on a throne. Indeed, reality of the divine may be experienced in many ways just as the practice of prayer has many forms. Personally, psychology has been a powerful alternative to literalism which makes prayer meaningful for me. For many, psychology is the Rosetta Stone which translates eternal spiritual concepts into contemporaneously meaningful ideas and truths. Let me explain:

5 Tips for Keeping your Brain “Sharp”.

5 Tips for Keeping your Brain “Sharp”.

As we begin a new year, rather than talk about resolutions and tips for keeping them as I have done over the past many years, I decided to do something different.  Upon turning 72 today, I decided to celebrate by sharing some new and truly significant research with you (especially for those older folks like me) about how to keep your brain young and to fight off dementia.

My inspiration and source for this segment is CNN’s chief medical consultant and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, M.D. and his new book Keeping Sharp .  In it, Dr. Gupta provides not only a concise summary of practical information of how to stay mentally sharp but also offers new data which suggests lifestyle changes which can help fend off dementia and even reverse some of its effects. Here is a summary that I hope will get your new year off to a great start . Happy New Year ! 

For more articles, visit our Blog archive.

Individual Counseling

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Pornography/Alcohol / Substance Abuse

Couples Counseling

Realistic Expectations

Conflict Resolution

Poor Communication

Sex

Infidelity

Recovery from Affairs

Lack of Desire

Sexless Marriage 

Pornography

Sexual Abuse

Lack of Desire

Separation / Divorce

Parenting Issues

In-law/Family Problems

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