Blog & Video Archives
Past Bridge Street Mental Health segment with accompanying text.
Something significant is happening amidst the chaos of the current COVID situation. People are becoming interested in the psychology of trauma, As I write this segment, a modern classic in trauma theory, The Body Keeps the Score, sits atop the New York Times best seller list. Opinion | This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Trauma – The New York Times (nytimes.com) This book and its findings are especially important for survivors of childhood sexual trauma because it both dispels myths and false beliefs commonly held about trauma and offers important insights for recovery.
One false notion is the idea that trauma is just a normal memory about an unpleasant event. Likewise, many erroneously believe that some trauma survivor “hold on” to the abuse or that they could “let go” if they really wanted to do so. Indeed, the author, van der Kolk points out that the conscious mind is often unaware of the full extent of the damage caused by trauma and even worse it blames the self for causing it.
Although explaining what trauma actually is and does, neurologically, is a bit complicated, here is practical summary of the most important findings of his contemporary research concerning what trauma is, how it harms the survivors and how they can heal from it:
Defining trauma: Rather than simply causing a return of a memory of a bad event , ” When someone experiences a traumatic event or experiences extreme fear, brain chemistry is altered and the brain begins to function differently–this is called the “Fear Circuity” Neurobiology of Trauma (unco.edu) Here are some crucial ways trauma alters brain functioning:
As COVID-19 surges, the number of angry people and violent incidents increases daily and is growing at an alarming rate.
Given this level of rancor, one never knows when one may be caught in a difficult situation . As such, in order to to know how to respond in when menaced by an angry person, it is helpful to understand some basic brain science about anger.
Here is a summary of what is going on in the brain of folks who have “lost it” and some guidelines for dealing with them.
It’s time to clear up some misunderstandings and provide some important facts about tele-therapy.
For those who are exhausted by the social restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and who are seeking counseling, it is understandable that they would want to see a counselor face-to-face. Others have questions about tele-therapy and are reluctant to give it a try.
Unfortunately, because of safety issues concerning COVID-19, finding a therapist who does in-the-office visits may be difficult at this time. As such, I would like to clear the air and address some of these worries and misconceptions as well as to provide some important facts about tele-therapy.
Here are some common concerns, advantages and limitations of remote counseling.
There is a quiet crisis spreading across our land which is not gaining much media attention: Adult children caring for aging parents. Currently, advances in medical science which have added decades to our lives, have also created unintended problems for those who care for our aging population.
Specifically, our increase in longevity has also come about in the wake of the disappearance of the extended family. These two social shifts has created new challenges for caring for our seniors and have increased stress, especially for those adult children who are trying to take care of their parents. While this is a significant cultural problem it seems to fly beneath the radar of most Americans and is not widely recognized.
The consequences of these changes and deficits is that adult children who are trying to fill in the care gaps for their parent are becoming physically and emotionally overwhelmed. Today I want to shed some light on this this growing crisis and provide some basic information to help reduce the stress in your family.
Because of the added stress of COVID-19 , many couples report that they are having less sex than usual and feel like they are sailing in the sexual doldrums. (see photo) So, today I want to share some tips for couples who want to break out of their sexual doldrums and perk up their physical intimacy. Easy Ways to Spice Up Your (Married) Sex Life | Everyday Health
To be clear, the word Doldrum is a oceanographic term which refers to a part of the ocean near the equator which is marked by the absence of wind. Metaphorically, doldrums has come to mean listless or despondent. If your sex life used to be great but has fallen off over the past year, ask yourself:
— Do you or your partner seem to have less interest in sex than you used to ?
— Does the very thought of having sex seem like too much work ?
— Are you currently having sex less than once a week ?
If you said yes to any of these questions, your marriage may be in the sexual doldrums.
It’s almost Father’s Day but, in addition to dads, men are also husbands. And since there isn’t a “husbands” day … there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed that does not receive enough attention, viz., 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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
- May 31, 2017
Understanding the Parallels between Biblical and Psychological Wisdom
- May 14, 2017
Aprreciating the Emotinal Complexity of Mother’s Day
- May 02, 2017
Redefining Mental Health: The Struggle to be Reasonable
- April 16, 2017
Easter and the Therapeutic Process: The Rest of the Story
- April 02, 2017
Judgers and Perceivers
- March 19, 2017
Communication Tip # 6 : Understanding the Differences between Thinkers and Feelers
- March 04, 2017
Communication tip #5 : Understanding iNtuitive and Sensate Personality Differences
- February 21, 2017
Communication Tip # 4: Understanding the differences between Extroverts and Introverts
- February 03, 2017
Aristophanes and the Myth of Androgyne: The Soulful Meanings of Love
- January 15, 2017
The Myth of “Holding on” to the Past : Neuro-science and the Grieving Process
- January 02, 2017
Being Reasonable about New Year’s Resolutions:
- December 17, 2016
New Research offers Hope for Resistant Depression
- December 04, 2016
Bursting Some Common Myths About Pastoral Counseling
- November 23, 2016
Thanksgiving: A Time for Regaining Perspective and ,for some, Conflict
- November 11, 2016
Dealing With Political Grief
- November 02, 2016
Explaining the Facebook Study: Turns out Cyber Friends Are Important Too
- October 19, 2016
Beyond Romantic Myths: 9 Tips for Getting real about what it takes to have a great marriage
- October 03, 2016
Why Mental Health Check-Ups Are a Good Idea
- September 15, 2016
Appreciating the Health Benefits of Good Friends
- August 31, 2016
When it comes to sex, men are Windows and women are DOS
- August 14, 2016
Good News for People Who Worry about Memory Loss
- August 05, 2016
The Psychology of Blaming: Learning to See the Fear Behind the Anger
- July 07, 2016
Psychological Manipulation: What it is and How to deal with it.
- June 21, 2016
Coping with the Absurd and the Horrifying Stories in the News
- June 05, 2016
Do you have to be “crazy” to see a therapist ?
- May 18, 2016
Sex in Marriage : Are You having Enough ?
- May 07, 2016
Updating the Image of Psychotherapist: A Life-Tour Guide
- April 29, 2016
Updating the Image of Psychotherapist: From Orthodontist to Helicopter Pilot When people think abo
- April 12, 2016
Spring Cleaning for your Marriage
- March 28, 2016
Some thoughts about the importance of Hope
- March 16, 2016
I-Statements 101: The Keys to Expressing Anger Constructively
- March 02, 2016
Understanding Leisure as an Essential Part of Self-Care
- February 12, 2016
Romantic Myth # 3: Love is a Special Feeling
- February 09, 2016
Romantic Myth #2 : Love Never Ends
- February 06, 2016
Bursting Popular Myths about Love
- January 25, 2016
How to Make a Worry List: The Importance of Emotional Triage
- January 12, 2016
Want More Intimacy In Your Relationship? Try Sharing Your Dreams
- January 02, 2016
The Secret to Keeping New Year’s Resolutions
- December 21, 2015
Light and the Meaning of the Holidays
- December 07, 2015
Dealing with Increased Terror-Related Anxiety
- November 20, 2015
Dealing with the stress of Holiday Gatherings
- November 10, 2015
Are You An IMpatient Person ?
- October 27, 2015
How Exchanging Marital Report Cards Can Improve Your Relationship
- October 07, 2015
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- September 21, 2015
Understanding the new “Female” Viagra
- September 12, 2015
Talking about end of life issues and facing our fears of dying
- August 24, 2015
Bursting the Forgiveness Myth
- August 13, 2015
Understainding our False Guilt about Sex
- August 02, 2015
Do you know your “Organ of Distress”: Recognizing when an emotional fire is about to break out.
- July 20, 2015
How to Build Trust After an Affair .
- July 05, 2015
The “Emotinal Cigarette” – A breathing exercise to help you relax.
- May 18, 2016
Sex in Marriage : Are You having Enough ?
- June 24, 2015
Good News for Work Outs
- June 15, 2015
Sneaky Depression Triggers
- June 03, 2015
Human Sexuality Is More Complicated Than You Think.
- May 28, 2015
Mental Health Myth # 4: Talking to friends is the same thing as going to therapy.
- May 28, 2015
Myth # 3: Psychological disorders are very rare
- May 06, 2015
The Myth of Mental Illness: 2.0
- May 03, 2015
Did you know that May in Mental Health Awareness Month ?
- April 25, 2015
Bruce Jenner Interview Outshines Olympic Gold
- April 10, 2015
White House Supports Ban on “Conversion Therapy” for Gay and Transgender Youth
- April 03, 2015
Sexism in FDA: Continues a Double Standard, Hurts Women
- March 16, 2015
Taking Your Emotinal Pulse
- March 05, 2015
Your Emotional Docimeter
- December 21, 2015
Rekindling Passion: Part Two – The Secret to Re-igniting the Fames of Desire
- January 30, 2015
Rekindling Passion: Part One – The Truth about Aphrodisiacs
- January 14, 2015
Emotional Triage and the Worry List
- January 06, 2015
A Check-List Before Making Your New Year’s Resolutions
- January 30, 2015
- December 10, 2014
Reducing Stress Around the Holidays
- November 23, 2014
Feeling Grattitude When Times Are Hard
- November 07, 2014
Reducing Stress for Seniors : Tips for Dealing with Everyday Worries and Finding More Joy in LIfe
- October 27, 2014
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween
- October 14, 2014
Having Good Sex is a Sign of a Healthy Marriage
- September 30, 2014
New “Consent” App Asks Partners Important Questions to Think About Before Having Sex
- September 09, 2014
Lame Excuses – Why we make them. How to stop.
- August 13, 2014
Robin Williams’ Severe Depression: Keeping Things in Perspective
- July 16, 2014
The Quiet Crisis: Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents
- June 18, 2014
Clearing up the confusion about Transgendered People and Gender Non-Conformity: Getting the medical
- May 21, 2014
Getting Rid of Grudges: Just let it go – or maybe not.
- April 16, 2014
Finding Romance among the Diapers
- March 26, 2014
Bursting the “Hard Work” Myth”: The Importance of Leisure
- February 12, 2014
Wedding Insurance and Pre-Marital Counseling :Bursting the Obligation Myth.
- January 15, 2014
Submissiveness and Leadershipin the Modern Marriage
- December 23, 2013
Reducing Stress Around the Holidays – A Pastoral Counseling Approach
- December 18, 2013
Balancing Career and Family
- November 19, 2013
Dating Younger: How the internet and social media have expanded dating choices for single people
- October 30, 2013
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween
- October 09, 2013
Are You Bing Bullied in the Workplace ?
- September 04, 2013
Are You Addicted to the Internet ?
- August 14, 2013
Post-Partum Depression: What every expectant or new mom needs to know.
- July 31, 2013
Secrets of Assertiveness 101:
- July 08, 2013
Sex Education for Adults: Cheating
- June 17, 2013
- June 05, 2013
Leaving the Nest – Vaulable Tips for Parents and Young Adults
- May 22, 2013
Five Mental Health Myths
- May 08, 2013
A Spring Cleaning for Your Marriage: Personal Appearance
- April 17, 2013
Dealing with the Boston Marathon Bombings?
- March 28, 2013
“Breaking up” with your Hairdresser
- March 13, 2013
Is This ( am I ) Normal
- February 27, 2013
Romantic Second Chances: When should I give him (her) another chance?
- February 13, 2013
Caring and Consideration: The Keys to Lasting Passion
- January 17, 2013
Emotional First Aid: Tips for Responding to Everyday Psychological Distress
- January 02, 2013
New Year’s Resolutions: Why We Brake Them, How To Keep The,
- October 30, 2012
Here’s the Skinny on Scary: The Facts about Phobias
- October 19, 2012
Oh, I Remember it well … or maybe not !
- September 26, 2012
The Importance of Remembering
- September 05, 2012
Going Back to School Chaos: Help for Parents
- August 17, 2012
Money Conflicts and Marriage: Tips for Keeping the Peace
- July 30, 2012
Using Your Imagination to Overcome Procrastination
- July 23, 2012
UPreventing Tragic Story Overload in the Wake of the Colorado Massacre
- July 09, 2012
Redefining Normal: An Inclusive Way of Understanding Mental Health
- June 27, 2012
PTSD National Awareness Day : Myths and Facts
- June 20, 2012
Reducing Stress When You Travel
- May 30, 2012
How to Cope with an Unreasonable Boss
- May 16, 2012
How to Disagree without Being Disagreeable
- May 14, 2012
Myths and facts about happiness: What really makes us happy ?
- April 25, 2012
Body Language: Our Emotional Traffic Lights
- April 04, 2012
The Importance of Work Place Colleagues
- March 14, 2012
Stress and Relationships
- February 29, 2012
Is It Love or Chemistry ? Tips for knowing when real love comes along.
- February 13, 2012
Can Love and Romance Last ? Yes, But It Takes Work !
- January 18, 2012
Why am I so Impatient ? Tips for Dealing with the New Technologies that are Driving us Crazy./a>
- January 04, 2012
The Psychology of Successful Weight Loss — Tips for Avoiding the Emotional Pitfalls which Sabotage
- December 23, 2011
Are You Emotionally Out of Shape ? Here’s a Check List to Help You Become Emotinally Fit
- December 07, 2011
Don’t be So Defensive – Tips for Dealing with Criticism Gracefully
- November 23, 2011
Feeling Gratitude in the Wake of Hard Times
- November 08, 2011
The Truth about Secrets and Itimacy in Marriage
- October 26, 2011
How to Have A Constructive Argument
- October 12, 2011
The Psychological Cigarette – Understanding the Breathing/Relaxation Connection
- October 03, 2011
Am I OCD or just really particular ?
- September 12, 2011
The 411 about Marriage Counseling – What it Can and Can’t do.
- August 09, 2011
Psychology and Smart Phones: The Risks of Overusing your PocketPC
- August 01, 2011
The Art of Compromise: Keys to Successful Marital Negotiation
- July 20, 2011
Planning your wedding ? Don’t forget your relationship: the Essentials
- July 05, 2011
Creating 2nd Chances: Tips for Turning a Bad Situation into a Good One
- June 08, 2011
The Seven Year Itch: Why it Happens and How to Prevent i
- May 25, 2011
Fair Fighting – Some Ground Rules for Resolving Marital Conflicts
- May 11, 2011
Unnecessary Criticism: Why we do it ; How to stop it
- April 27, 2011
Money Conflicts in Marriage: It’s not just about the Money
- April 13, 2011
Spring Cleaning Your Marriage: Personal Appearance
- April 01, 2011
Understanding and Coping with Jealousy in Marriage
- March 16, 2011
Therapeutic Self-Talk: What it is, Why it’s Helpful and How it Works .
- March 09, 2011
Breaking the Ice After an Argument: Understanding the Psychology of Post Argument Silences
- February 23, 2011
Guilt-Tripping and Emotional Manipulation No one likes to be guilt-tripped, yet it happens all
- February 14, 2011
The Secret of Keeping Romance Alive: Tips for Busy Couples
- January 26, 2011
Sibling Relationships 101:Tips for Updating your Sib Status
- January 19, 2011
How Words Can Help Us to Heal The tragedies of the Tucson shooting has created many emotional wounds
- January 14, 2011
A Myth About Mourning Although most of the country was moved by the ceremony held for the victims
- January 06, 2011
Boosting Your Brain: Sorting out the Facts from the Myths
- December 29, 2010
End of Year Marital Review and Marital Resolutions for the New Year
- July 19, 2010
- June 28, 2010
Are You Just Discouraged or Really Depressed ? How to Tell the Difference
- May 25, 2010
Emotional False Alarms
- May 06, 2010
The Science of Making Up
- April 12, 2010
Spring Cleaning for your Marriage
- December 07, 2009
Marital Make-Overs for the Holidays: Tips for Fallling in Love All over Again
- November 02, 2009
Marriage Is Hard
- October 05, 2009
Keeping Your Cool
- September 10, 2009
Nagging: Why we do It , How to Stop
- July 23, 2009
- June 30, 2009
- June 01, 2009
Helping our Parents with Difficult Decisions
- March 09, 2009
The Good News About Stress
- February 19, 2009
Talking to Teens about Sex