Gender Non-Conforming

Gender Non-Conforming or Gender Creative

Gender Non-Conforming or Gender Creative

 

Gender Non-Conforming or Gender Creative individuals are people whose gender expression does not follow the stereotypical “rules” surrounding what is expected in male or female within our society. 

You may wonder what is gender non-conforming or what does it mean when people are gender creative? 

In our society, we commonly categorize individuals as male or female. 

Therefore, those people who identify themselves as either side of the binary are expected to conform to a particular style and behavior. 

Someone who identifies as female is expected to wear “feminine” clothing such as dresses, leggings, skirts, specific shirts, etc. Females are also assumed to wear makeup, have longer hair, and no facial hair. 

Those who identify themselves as male are expected to wear “masculine” clothing such as sports attire, pants, more solid colors, and usually not bright clothing. These are some of the “rules” that are gender conformity. 

When an individual does not ascribe to these set of rules or engages in shifting gender expressive play (through clothing, makeup, etc), this is breaking gender conformity or the binary. 

Gender non-conforming individuals are those we are focusing on here.

There are a variety of ways people can choose to break gender conformity through the varying ways gender is expressed. 

Some common options are: 

  • Mannerisms
  • Dress and attire
  • Makeup
  • Hair style
  • Accessories 

Individuals who are gender non-conforming or gender creative may have a different style completely or may fluctuate between what the culture considers masculine and feminine. 

Some people who identify as non-conforming may present more neutral or androgenous, while others may shift their gender expression based on activity, crowd, emotion, or internal desire. 

People who are gender non-conforming or gender creative may identify with their assigned gender or may identify with other identities. 

These identities can include, yet are not limited to:

  • Non-binary
  • Gender queer
  • Gender fluid
  • Gender bending
  • Gender non-conforming
  • Or something else. 

The important thing is learning to understand each person's identity and not making assumptions about those you meet. 

If you are wanting to learn more about someone’s identity, be sure you are doing it for them and their comfort, rather than for your own needs. This is often a good place to start by knowing your intentions. 

You can also seek therapy or reputable sources who can help support you in learning and understanding. 

It is your own responsibility to learn more rather than anyone in the community teaching you. Seek a professional if you need, that specializes in this area of focus. 

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


5 Labor Languages

5 Love Language Quiz replaced by 5 Labor Languages in Relationships

5 Love Language Quiz replaced by 5 Labor Languages in Relationships

 

Have you heard about 5 Labor Languages?

You may be here because you are looking for a 5 love language quiz to try. 

Here is the thing… I am a millennial therapist, so I talk about emotional, cognitive, physical, relational labor… and the idea of bringing those all to consciousness often. 

Through my experience in working with individuals and relationships, many people discuss the 5 love language quiz, yet they are still in therapy. 

I have learned that Labor Languages are FAR less talked about than it should be. 

So buckle up, today we are talking about “labor” instead of the 5 love language quiz! 

Before we begin, I want you to take stock of which pieces or aspects of labor in relationships (romantic and otherwise) you do!

 

Physical labor

Physical labor looks like what is done in a relationship that are often seen as tasks or chores. This labor could look like taking out the garbage, cleaning, organizing, yard work, physical intimacy, fixing things in shared space, cleaning the dishes, mowing the lawn, etc. These are not all the ways to do physical labor, I am just noting some examples.

Physical labor requires one to do some physical or manual work. Often these tasks or chores are day to day (such as cleaning the kitchen or cooking) or multiple times per week (such as vacuuming)  or weekly (mowing the lawn) or larger tasks such as fixing something in the household, etc. 

Admittedly, this has not always been my personal strength, but I have used this as a growth edge for me. I have worked hard at building ways to increase my ability to engage in these type of labor and I am rocking it out!

 

Emotional Labor

Emotional labor is placing your own personal resources or energy into someone else’s emotions or feelings to support them in what may be occurring. This can be done through conversation, holding space for someone, physical reassurance, listening to them, communicating, etc. 

Emotional labor is one that we see in various types of relationships (not just romantic ones). I am very lucky as a therapist to have so many people in my life who are great at this and to have the skills to engage in this.

 

Cognitive Labor

Cognitive labor is often known as the “invisible” work in relationships. 

It is how someone organizes tasks, keeps the household running, and often includes planning, forethought, and looking at the big picture. 

Cognitive labor can look like running the family calendar, managing family finances, planning meals, scheduling appointments, organizing events, and coordinating with other systems (family, friends, daycare, etc.). 

Boom! This is 100% my strength in almost all my relationships. 

My friends and family know that when I am at my highest and best version of me, I am usually really engaged with cognitive (and emotional!) labor in my relationships. 

 

Relational Labor

Relational labor is a combination of all of the above listed ones. I say this because this is the labor where we have to communicate and work together in our relationships to engage in each of the above (physical, emotional, and cognitive). In relational labor, it is our responsibility to communicate, share, collaborate, and create within our relationships in order to make sure our needs are met within that relationship. Relational labor looks like having conversations about the relationship, setting boundaries, clarifying, and communicating. 

For me, this is a growth edge that I have had. There have been times in my life where I rocked at this and there have certainly been times in various relationships where I have struggled with this piece. I think it is important that we take stock and look at which relationships this was hardest to do and why. When I do that, I notice this has showed up in many of my friendships and because of my own traumas, me not engaging in this labor was for fear or loss so setting boundaries or talking about my needs was often so scary I didn’t address it.

 

Boom Shaka Laka - Bring the Unconscious to the Conscious!

Alright, now we have looked at each of these sections and we are sitting and considering which areas in which relationships are on point and which are a growth edge for us. Wahoo!

This is so important to reflect on because often times we unconsciously engage in this labor. When this labor is done unconsciously it can result in feelings of resentment towards others. The problem is, is if we are not conscious or aware of it we may not be able to truly communicate what is showing up for us - and if we cannot do that we are not going to feel fulfilled in our relationships. 

I urge you to bring the unconscious to the conscious. Reflect. Learn. Growth. Communicate. HEAL. Healing is a process, when we truly begin to do it - it looks like conscious, intentional, consensual growth. When we are unconsciously doing, we are not truly choosing or consenting. When we do not choose or consent, we resent and (re)experience trauma. When we choose and consent, we are empowered and work within our relationships to negotiate, collaborate, and create. 

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Queer Women

Queer Women

 

Queer women are wonderful. Even though I may be biased that queer women are wonderful, hear me out and let me explain the why! 

 

What does Queer even mean?

Back in the day being dubbed “queer” was a slur and negative. 

People used that to insult people in the LGBTQ+ community or to insult someone's perceived identity (often feminine men). 

Recently, we as a community have reclaimed the term “queer”  to be empowering and create a sense of community rather than as an insult. 

When you hear the word queer (not “what a queer” or “you are sucha queer” those are still negative), it indicates someone within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc (LGBTQ+) community. 

The word queer encapsulates for many relational, sexual, and gender identties. 

 

Queer Women

So queer women are people who identify as women and are on some piece of the LGBTQ+ community spectrum. 

As queer women, we come in a variety forms, identities, and belief systems. Some of these identities are within sexuality identities of bisexual, lesbian, gay, pansexual, etc. Some of these identities are within gender: transgender, cisgender, nonbinary, femme, genderflexible, etc. 

Relational identities such as monogamous, polyamorous, swinging, open, etc. 

Often queer women, specifically “lesbians” are boiled down to either being super “butch” or about lesbian orgasms. Some queer women are butch, many like to orgasm, but in my experience queer women show up in so many different ways. Please do not boil us down that simply. 

Queer women are on a spectrum of gender and sexual fluidity. In my practice, I work with many queer women. As a queer woman, it is amazing to learn the diversity of this part of my community. 

Not one of us is the exact same, but we all seem to intersect in some way or another. 

This intersectionality is important in our collective growth, and learning from one another allows us to reach new levels of empowerment and discovery.

I learn so much from my queer clients, in general, and my clients who identify as queer women. 

Being able to break the stereotypes, defy the patriarchy, and show up and be who we are is an empowering process to be a part of. 

I have so much pride to know and work with them on this collective, healing journey towards growth and empowerment. 

 

Collective Healing

In my practice, I have bore witness to collective trauma of the queer community. 

This includes, yet is not limited to queer women. 

The intersection of the identity as “queer” and “woman” has created a unique experience for queer women. The intersection of sexism and homophobia and if they are people of color add racism in the mix.

Bearing witness to the pain, the hurt, the trauma is heartbreaking. These brave women, who have fought and been harmed by a system of oppression. 

This harm has reverberated through their beings and they are wanting to heal. 

It is so sad to hear the stories of failed attempts at therapy - not on their part - but on the therapists part. 

Therapists have tried to hold space for them and their experiences but were far beyond their depth in being able to facilitate a space to heal or to recognize the intersections of systems of play that were continuing their trauma as queer women. 

When we (collectively) are able to hold space for queer women in therapy, where we recognize the various intersections and systems at play, we allow for the trauma and harm to be confronted in a way that allows for healing. 

As therapists, it is our job to work towards facilitating a space of healing, growth, and change. In order to do that, we have to allow for the space to be one of vulnerability. 

My hope is that through more therapists and clients being able to work together to create more spaces for (yet not limited to) queer women, we allow for collective healing and growth. 

Queer women, I am sorry that in so many ways you have not felt seen or heard in the mental health field. I am sorry that in so many ways you were retraumatized in your experiences. 

Although, I cannot take away that pain for you, I can offer a space in a practice where we are committed to growth, learning, social justice, and doing better! 

We want to hear you, we want to see you, and we want to support you. We are here to empower you at Life Coaching and Therapy, LLC. Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational Trauma

 

TRIGGER WARNING: Transgenerational Trauma and Can Trauma get Passed Down in the DNA? 

There is a new body of research which is talking about how trauma can be passed down generationally (including through biology). 

I first learned about this over the last several years in specializing trauma and noticing that my clients often had parents or caregivers with significant trauma histories. 

I began to do my own informal research through completing genograms (a family tree that indicates relationships, health, etc), having conversations with colleagues, and eventually being led to the research that showed this very phenomenon. 

So… does trauma get passed down in the DNA? 

 

What does Transgenerational Trauma Mean? 

Transgenerational trauma is trauma that is inherited from generation to generation. 

There is no doubt in my mind as a relational and systems therapist that trauma can be inherited. 

From what I know about families and relationships, it is clear that nurture certainly plays a role in how we see ourselves and experience the world and people around us. 

If we were raised in abusive or toxic circumstances, it is clear that as children we would pick up on some of those patterns of behavior and then use those patterns of behavior or “habits” in future relationships in that way as well. 

For example: a child who was raised in a household where their parents engaged in excessive drinking, drug use, and violence would likely be traumatized by that. 

As they grew up, they may learn to engage in some of those same behaviors or strategies to manage emotions or conflict. Say this individual then begins has children and as a parent engages in strategies that engage in emotional numbing and explosions of conflict. 

These behaviors may not be the same exact things as drugs and violence, yet now they are parenting utilizing the same addictive strategies (gambling, eating disorders, drug use, sex, fights, shaming, blaming, etc.), and you can see how the pattern continues as unconsciously as the environment continues to utilize various strategies to maintain until it is brought to consciousness and the system works to change. 

In the example of transgenerational trauma above, you may see how the environment creates trauma and continues from one generation to the next, as those who experienced high levels of trauma parented and continued to parent within the context and knowledge of what they knew. 

As children, we learn from our environment and how that translates into the future can depend on a variety of factors outside our control as well as some that are within our control. 

This made sense to me. I get this and believe that what we learn from our relationships throughout our lives impacts us on a conscious and unconscious basis. 

We can consider finding ways to become more conscious and aware of these impacts so we can shift the pattern.

 

Inherited Transgenerational Trauma and Biology

There seems to be some research indicating that this may not just be true just through nurture, yet through nature as well. 

What I found was that it was not just something that was being researched relationally within the family, yet also being studied genetically and biologically. This was OVERWHELMING to consider. 

People who experience trauma are possibly passing down these patterns via their relationships and dynamics with others AND through their biological genes as well!

Much of what I read focused specifically on survivors of genocide (such as the Holocaust). 

Some research focused specifically on tests run on animals. It seems that the evidence has begun to show how adverse experiences of children at early ages (and throughout life) can change someone’s brain and perhaps even the way trauma is passed down genetically across generations. 

To me, this is a fascinating area and concept to consider especially as a way to place more value on preventative measures to help with trauma generally speaking (especially in childhood). 

As this body of research continues to grow my hope is that there will be more resources placed to help treat trauma (and it’s many forms) and ways to prevent it. 

In some states (like California), they look at the “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) as a public health issue (which it is!) and focus on ways to work with children and families to help prevent and intervene as soon as possible to reduce the long term impacts.

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where Amanda Pasciucco, Founder of LCAT provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Boundaries

The Boundary Trap - What are Boundaries? 

The Boundary Trap - What are Boundaries? 

 

Boundaries have become the new buzzword - so what the heck are they?

They are ways to create limits or express needs. 

They can be physical, emotional, spiritual, verbal, sexual, etc. 

Boundaries are the ways in which we say what is or is not okay for us. This could be in the way we want to be communicated with, the way we are loved, the way we are touched, the way people show up for us, and the way people speak to us.

Our culture sucks with boundaries… which is probably why boundaries have become such a buzz word in our society now. Our culture has focused on what I call: aggressive, active, or passive boundaries. 

In the United States, we live in a dominating society where aggression and dominance are reinforced… down to the ways we even communicare. 

 

Aggressive, Passive, or Active?

Most of my clients come to me either utilizing aggressive or passive boundaries. 

Aggressive boundaries can use physical or (most often) verbal strategies. 

Aggressive boundaries is engaging in what I consider to be dominating, abrasive, coercive, demanding, controlling, shaming, blaming, or critical tactics. In my experience, these strategies result in compliance, rebellion, or conflict. None of which work towards connection and understanding. These boundaries are typically “at someone” and can be reactive boundaries. This is usually as a result of not having boundaries respected unless they were loud and big.

An example of an aggressive boundary would be: “You can never do anything right. Don’t help me anymore because you are an idiot. I know what is best and you either need to get on board or else.”

Passive boundaries are people who either do not set boundaries at all or are VERY unclear. People who struggle to set boundaries at all usually fall in this category. 

People who set passive boundaries often feel resentful because those around them do not understand the boundaries resulting in these individuals overgiving. These individuals may be conflict avoidant, may have not learned how to have a voice, or learned their needs were not important. 

Boundaries

An example of passive boundaries would be: 

  • feeling uncomfortable with something someone is doing and saying nothing
  • not responding
  • lying about your feelings such as saying “its okay”
  • over-committing and saying “yes” when you mean “no.”
  • Saying “whatever you want to do” 
  • Using vague language like “I mean maybe it’s a sorta thing that I….”

Passive Aggressive is the combo platter of boundaries. It is vague statements or boundaries that usually are accompanied by sarcasm, anger, or contempt. 

People who set passive aggressive boundaries are often unclear, rude, indirect in trying to get what they want or need. People who are passive aggressive often do not know how to get their needs met, may be conflict avoidant, or struggle to be vulnerable. 

An example of this would be: “I guess I didn’t need that anyways” with a sarcastic tone or non-descript tone.

Active Boundaries are clear, compassionate, and communicative. Active boundaries are when we are able to share what we need without engaging in violent communication techniques. 

These boundaries show how we need or what we want from others without engaging in destructive communication patterns that create disconnection and conflict. 

An example of this would be: “I feel really frustrated and hurt when you speak to me that way. I would ask in the future that we work together on communicating differently so that we both feel more safe.” or “I am noticing that I am uncomfortable when you touch me like that, is it possible for you to ask in the future? If you cannot do that, I am going to have to find another way to feel like I can be more comfortable around you.” or “In the future, when you go to get something to eat can you please also reach out if I need anything to? I felt really hurt when I did not have dinner too. In the future that would be so cool because I would feel really loved and seen.” 

 

Boundaries, PEOPLE!

So often we struggle to do this. It is so important that we find ways to communicate our needs through boundary setting. At LCAT, we use Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication as a guide to help our clients and ourselves navigate these difficult conversations. 

Boundaries are not something many of us are comfortable with in our culture and it is so important that we remember boundaries are FOR US not AT others. 

When we are able to focus on boundaries being for us and not AT others, we are more able to set them in an active way rather than a passive and/or aggressive way. 

Let us help you get there!

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


parenting in a pandemic

Parenting in a Pandemic

Parenting in a Pandemic

 

Parenting in a pandemic; 2020 has proven to be one of the most unique years in modern history! 

Most notably due to of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus, parenting in the pandemic has become a primary focus! 

A notable challenge has been parenting in a pandemic, especially during the quick changes.

Parenting during a pandemic has proven to be much more difficult than I think many parents predicted. 

I have spent many sessions working with parents discussing: the lack of accessibility or time they have to balance the needs of their kids, work (paid or unpaid), finances due to job changes or loss, online schooling, and everyone home with limited opportunities outside the home. 

 

Stressors of Parenting in COVID-19

What became clear to me throughout this is that each unique age and stage of the child determined challenges for children. 

For me, I am a single mother of a 1 year old so my daughter loves being with me and those that love her. She enjoys exploring wherever she is or whatever is in front of her… for instance, she loves shoes. 

So entertaining her was less of an issue for me as it may be for many parents with older children. 

For me, I have found socialization and consistent attention to be the most difficult when one is juggling all these roles at once. 

For other parents, taking on the schooling process has shown to be a major and stressful undertaking. 

Other parents cite “keeping kids busy” as a primary stressor or concern. 

Whether it is social-emotional development, ability to engage in varying activities, mental health, stress level, motivation, or something else, parents are sharing new and creative ways to meet their kids needs.

Many parents shared these woes, whether their children were young like mine or school aged. 

A predominant developmental task for childhood is socializing, exploring, and learning (language, emotions, people, etc.). 

COVID19 has certainly inhibited the ability to socialize and confronted them with learning and exploring in ways that parents typically do not do. 

Many parents, including myself, have had to find creative ways to build social and emotional development in children with the limited resources we have. 

Parents have shared finding new hands-on activities, exciting ways to utilize technology, going back to old school techniques of the great outdoors, and finding connections with their kids they have not otherwise found. 

Parenting in a Pandemic

 

Can We Do it All?

The short answer is HECK NO! I will also provide a longer answer if that is useful. 

As parents we have these moments of pure genius where we see something differently and creatively find ways to engage our children, yet that does not negate all the hardship and stress that goes into being a parent right now. 

So many parents express levels of shame or guilt of not “being enough” for their children. 

Parents express feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and working around the clock between their children, taking care of their home, and finding jobs/engaging in paid labor positions.

My clients often (myself included) often worry what the long term impact of this will be to our children. 

Feeling like you have to be everything for your child; whether that is teacher, friend, activities director, social planner/coordinator, healthcare provider, personal chef, tutor, childcare provider, parent, snuggle buddy, scientist, explorer, maid, nanny, custodian, therapist, housekeeper, grocer, etc. while also trying to meet the needs of yourself, other children, partners, and family. 

Not to mention if you were able to maintain employment during this… add job responsibilities. 

Parents feel guilty for needing to resort to increased screen time for their kids or struggling to remain consistent with boundaries. 

Here’s the thing… THAT IS OKAY! WE ARE LIVING IN A PANDEMIC.

So I will say to you what I say to many of my clients:

Take a deep breath in….and out… and slow the EFF down. 

Breathe in self compassion and understanding because… just in case you did not hear me in the back… WE ARE LIVING IN A FREAKING PANDEMIC!

So many parents express feeling more exhausted than they have ever felt due to being within their homes, surrounded by the same people. 

The function of school was a lot to take on, and the needs of children are still present. 

Radical permission to know that you cannot be 100% of everything for anyone, yet there are tips I have learned parenting in a pandemic to share! 

 

Tips and Tricks to Parenting in A Pandemic

What we work on so often in therapy is utilizing your resources, collaborating when you can, and engaging in some level of self care. 

  • Finding ways to connect with other parents (online forums, zoom, phone or text, following social media, social distancing while wearing masks)
  • Exercise or movement while distancing yourself from others
  • Finding safe ways for your children to connect with other children (online, hygiene conscientiousness, social distancing, and mask wearing, etc.)
  • Basic self-care (eating, drinking water, batheing, sleeping or getting out of bed)
  • Asking for help for those that you feel safe inviting back to your life (physically, emotionally, or socially)
  • Go to therapy (see what I did there? :) )
  • Engage in community based activities online (religion, 12 step, protests, etc)
  • Finding new hobbies 
  • Prioritizing without overgiving or overfunctioning (I.E SET BOUNDARIES)
  • Finding time to check in with yourself, with your child, and with any partners or loved ones

These are SOME options for you, and I invite you to find creative strategies for you to find what works for you. 

The most important thing to do is find connection for yourself and with your loved ones (children and partners included) as well as being able to set boundaries for yourself, your family, and your children. 

These are some intense times… it’s important to find ways that work for you and your kids. 

Remember to have self-compassion and give yourself and your family a little bit more grace that you may normally parenting in a pandemic.

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


gender expression

Gender Expression and Gender Identity

Gender Expression and Gender Identity

 

What is it? 

It is talked about so much now and so often we find people needing more information about gender and its different facets. 

I am writing this as a way to help create some clarity surrounding gender, gender conformity, and gender expression - I hope it helps!

 

What is Gender?

Gender is a social construction that we focus on how we show our gender which stereotypically is man/boy or girl/woman. 

As we have progressed in the understanding of gender, many are able to see that gender is beyond the binary of man and woman. 

Gender is how we express our experience of being male or female regardless of natal (birth) sex. 

Reminder: sex and gender are different.

 

Gender Expression

Gender is something we express to those around us, it is not something we are “born with.” Without gender expression people would not necessarily know our gender because again sex and gender are different. 

Gender expression is how we show our gender through clothing, what we wear, jewelry, make up, art, hair style, colors, etc. Gender is not tied to our genitals or physical body, we are assigned a gender at birth based on our “natal” or birth sex. 

As we age, we learn to express our gender in what feels comfortable for us. Many people are influenced on what society prescribes us to where based on our assigned genders. 

Others express their gender based on what feels most right for them regardless if that is within societies standards of expression of gender or not.

gender expression

 

Gender Conforming

Gender conforming individuals are people who adhere to “normative” cultural standards surrounding gender expression. 

This would be a woman dressing in feminine attire or what our culture would consider acceptable for a woman (dress, leggings, certain colors, etc.) or a man dressing in “masculine” attire (pants, athletic gear, polos, tshirts, etc). 

The majority of our culture is “gender conforming” because that is what is expected and acceptable. 

People, generally, like to feel connected and accepted in our culture so most people will follow or conform to what is “in style” or “appropriate” for their gender.

Gender conforming can also be defined as following the “rules”  to your assigned gender at birth or your natal sex. 

Some would not consider transgender people to be gender conforming, even if they are wearing clothes that match their gender. 

Most of the clients and people in our world are gender conforming. 

What I work on with these clients is challenging these “normative” beliefs in order for them to assess what truly is comfortable for them so that it is a conscious choice rather than an unconscious one. 

So often when we conform, we do not think, we just do without being conscious. Whatever your choice is, I want you to realize it is a choice.

 

Gender Non-Conforming or Gender Creative

Gender Non-Conforming or Gender Creative are people who’s gender expression does not follow the stereotypical “rules” surrounding what is expected in male or female attire. 

Additionally, individuals who are gender creative may have a different style completely or may fluctuate between what the culture considers masculine and feminine. 

Some people may present more neutral or androgenous while others may shift their gender expression based on activity, crowd, emotion, or internal desire. 

People who are gender creatives may identify with their assigned gender or may identify with other identities such as non-binary, gender queer, gender fluid, gender bending, gender non-conforming, or something else. 

For the clients that I work with who are gender creatives, often have a strong sense of internal identity and also really connect with the spectrum of masculinity and femininity. Others do not connect to either at all. 

 

Gender Identity and Gender Expression are NORMAL!

To be clear, there is nothing clinically problematic or concerning about gender expression or identity AT ALL. 

The individuals who see me and are gender non-confomring or creative are either seeing me for a completely different reason (and just want an identity affirming therapist) or are wanting to work through how to manage the difficulties within our society with “non-conforming.” 

As you may imagine, someone who is not conforming to societal norms experiences a lot of unique stressors, and with gender expression being something that you “show” the world - it creates a lot of difficulty due to people’s hate and inability to learn and grow. 

Regardless of how you express your gender, whether you conform or not, at LCAT we see you and we are here to help provide a safe, comfortable environment for you to explore yourself and learn and grow to be in your best empowered self!

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


addictive personality

What is an Addictive Personality?

What is an Addictive Personality?

 

You may ask yourself, what is an addictive personality?

Addiction has multiple parts to it and many people state they have “addictive personalities.”

What the heck does that mean?

Do you know someone who becomes consumed with different things or people?

Do you or others you know seem to become obsessive in relationships?

Do you know someone who is compelled and seems out of control in various aspects of their life?

Do you wonder why you are out of control or do you struggle to be able to manage relationships without becoming obsessive?

Do you often find yourself going from one substance or "high" of New Relationship Energy (NRE) to another?


Big “A” vs Little “a”

These may be indicators of an “addictive personality.”

In my clinical practice, I use the “A”ddiction and “a”ddiction.

To me, “A” is the one most referred to in our society and within clinical settings and surrounds drugs, alcohol, compulsive gambling, and some schools of thought would include sex and/or food.

In that regard, I do not treat as many people with or specialize in the “A”.

To be clear, neither is more valid or important - both are equally important to focus on and treat. 

I would say I work with a lot of folks who engage in obsessive or addictive patterns that would fall under the little “a.” 

In my experience, addiction often focuses on someone’s need to numb or escape some type of emotion or experience.

This could be from trauma, anxiety, depression, dysfunctional relationships or family systems, etc.

People with “addictive personalities” often use addiction as a strategy to feel differently than they do in order to “function.” 

Whether people are experiencing “A” or “a”, both result in what I would consider a chemical reinforcement in our brain and often a physical or emotional reinforcement in our minds and bodies.

This chemical high is a major reinforcement of the strategy or the "thing" (person, drink, drug, etc) that becomes the compulsion. Does this sound like anyone you may know? 

Have you ever been this person?

In working with addiction, it would seem that most addiction comes from some level of trauma someone experienced within their life and their addiction is a way or strategy to manage this.

We so often focus on the behavior in treatment, and to be clear that can be VERY necessary, HOWEVER, I would argue that until we are able to treat what is below that behavior [and have someone understand the why and the what the pattern of behavior (or strategy)] will just continue.

Common Underlying Issues Related to “Addictive Personality”

  • Codependency
  • Trauma (physical, emotional, sexual, etc.)
  • Family members (biological) who have history of substance use (research shows genetic component)
  • Family members or community members who have substance use history
  • Common coping is avoidance
  • Narcissism or increased self-focus
  • Systemic Trauma (institutional racism, white supremacy, heteronormativity)
  • Frequently invalidated throughout life
  • External locus of control
  • Significant difficulty in self-regulation

The list of "addict personality" traits can go on and on!

Seriously, there are many more, and these are just common ones that I have noticed in our practice. 

We hope this answers your question for "what is an addictive personality?"

If you feel like this post speaks to yourself or someone you know, therapy can be a very effective way in doing this work. Various providers engage in different techniques to help people who struggle with addiction. I truly encourage people to really do the inner work to find more adaptive strategies that do not reinforce these addictive patterns. 

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Feeling Lost - Hello, My Name is Uncertainty

Feeling Lost - Hello, My Name is Uncertainty

Feeling Lost?

Over the last several years, and especially the last several months, there has been a lot of uncertainty for many of the clients I work with. What I have noticed is that with this level of uncertainty, people feel lost, confused, and overwhelmed. People are expressing more and more stress at the current state of our world between the civil rights/social justice call to action and the pandemic.

People are reporting feeling “trapped,” “lost,” “overwhelmed,” and even paranoid. All these feelings, I liken to the level of uncertainty in our world right now. Many of my clients symptoms of trauma are flaring up and I am noticing a lot of regression in people. As a therapist, all of these things make A LOT of sense to me given looking at the greater factors at play in our world and the systemic impact this has throughout our world, our communities, our families, and ourselves.

For many clients who have been marginalized or oppressed - the uncertainty is bringing a resurgence in the feelings of “learned helplessness.” When we unpack this dynamic, it is a feeling of extreme difficulty and people often feel stuck because they have so many barriers to access change. This concept is used in a variety of ways, but to me it makes most sense as we are looking at it through the eyes of those who have been oppressed by the way our world works. For many clients in this category, I am noticing that any movements they have felt at a personal or community level have been removed, recreating the intense feelings of uncertainty and learned helplessness.

 

What is Uncertainty? Why do we need it?lost and confused

Uncertainty can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and trauma. This often results in people engaging in strategies that have been unhelpful in the past when they have had these feelings of loss or uncertainty. These strategies to get people’s needs met that are no longer adaptive can look like overcontrolling, secrecy, impulse spending, explosive emotions, avoidance, isolation, chasing or pursuing people, eating disorders, self destructive/injurious behavior, addiction, affairs, and numbing. 

People who experience symptoms anxiety, depression, and trauma often feel needs for the direct opposite of uncertainty - certainty. Certainty allows people struggling with these disorders to feel more control and predictability. When uncertainty increases, it often results in feelings of chaos and disorder around people - this unpredictability results in stress. 

When working with my clients, I work hard to support them in creating ways to balance their need for certainty and uncertainty. Here are some ways to help create more certainty and uncertainty in your life.

 

Ways to Create Certainty

Certainty is the need for structure, predictability, and organization. Often people use inappropriate attempts to control their surroundings as a strategy to access certainty. The problem with this is that we cannot control anything other than ourselves, our reactions, and our choices. When we work to do that for others we create a false sense of security and conflict in our relationships.

Here are some strategies that you might find useful to create certainty: 

  • Creating hobbies
  • Predictable routines (waking, bedtime, etc)
  • Scheduling connection points with friends, family, or partners
  • Journaling
  • Organizing your space
  • Organizing your time 
  • Engaging in self-care
  • Planning a meal
  • Healthy connections with people you trust and are rejuvenating for you
  • Exercise
  • Watching movies or shows with people in your life, video calls, intentional shared time 
  • Join cause that you believe

 

Ways to Create Uncertainty

Often times we associate uncertainty with things “that are not good.” Uncertainty is the need for creativity, adventure, spontaneity, and chaos. Often times people can be stuck in uncertainty if they are unable to be reliable or may engage in addictive behaviors and/or relationship patterns to meet this need. With too much uncertainty people do not have any structure, predictability, and often live in chaos.

Here are some strategies that may be useful in meeting this need healthfully: 

  • Creativity or artistic endeavors
  • Exploring a new area of where you live or somewhere outdoors
  • Unplanned trips or adventures
  • Sex
  • Meeting new people (consensually)
  • Role play
  • Learning a new skill
  • Pushing your comfort zone
  • Work on your own healing
  • An activity that increases adrenaline (in a safe way)
  • Engage in a debate

 

Although these suggestions are helpful in a microlevel, it may allow to create some self-efficacy and mastery. This will not cure the feelings of learned helplessness or the uncertainty in the world, but these suggestions may offer some ability to have some personal empowerment. Steps towards personal empowerment can help each of us take steps towards change and hopefully if all of us take steps this change can make the changes that are NECESSARY at the macro level. As Margret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

If you are looking for extra support during these tough times, we offer tele-therapy sessions here at LCAT and are happy to help!

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Feeling Overwhelmed

Feeling Overwhelmed? Let's Solve Your Anxiety and Depression!

Feeling Overwhelmed? Let's Solve Your Anxiety and Depression!

 

As a therapist in the age of COVID, I have heard a lot from my clients and community sharing increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and feeling overwhelmed. 

Social distancing, quarantining, and uncertainty in our lives and communities has exacerbated people’s mental health symptoms. 

This pandemic created a world of uncertainty and put a halt on the world we live in. 

In these uncertain times, people are reporting higher levels of feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, trauma, and depressive symptoms. 

We know living in isolation or with minimal contact with others or no physical contact can have large impacts on people.

 

What Can we Do if we are Feeling Overwhelmed?

Clients have been sharing how this difficulty has created or exacerbated symptoms for them. We spend sessions reflecting on these emotions, ways to cope, and ways to connect with people. 

 

Feeling Overwhelmed

Find Ways To Express Yourself

In times like these, it is important to find ways to express yourself. 

Ways to express yourself include writing, art, talking with a trusted support (professional or informal), or creating. 

There are so many ways we can express ourselves to counter feeling overwhelmed. 

This allows us to have an outlet for feelings we are having. Finding ways to reflect on our experiences and emotions is vital in maintaining our health in times like these.

 

Find Things to Do

Find things to do that promote your safety and pleasure. 

Keeping busy can be helpful or finishing projects that you have struggled to complete in the past! Distraction can be a useful tool in managing mental health symptoms. 

To be clear, distraction is NOT avoidance. Distraction is a temporary tool to use when you are feeling overwhelmed or other negative emotions - and you have to go back to your emotions and still work through them. 

Things to do can be like new hobbies, exercise, listening to music, cleaning, watching a show, or something else! Find ways to stay appropriately busy, NOT avoidant or overfunctioning. 

 

Find Ways to Connect with Others

In this time of social distancing where we have limited physical contact with others, connection can be hard. It can create feelings of isolation, loneliness, or depression. Feeling Overwhelmed

Connection is a natural antidote to these things and can certainly help these experiences. 

Social Media or technology has afforded us with the ease of connecting to others. I think the important way to use this tool is with boundaries that create opportunity for intentional communication and with boundaries. 

Connection can look like instant messages, phone calls, video calls, or posting things that connect you to others on social media. Schedule times to connect with people through these modalities creates certainty in these uncertain times. 

Additionally, if you feel comfortable and safe to do so (while following CDC guidelines) there are a variety of socially distant connections you can make in person. Depending on where you live with differing guidelines, there are different ways to connect with others. 

If its possible to have physical connection with others in your household whether that is snuggling, massage, walking together, exercising together, hugging, etc.

 

Find Ways to Connect with Yourself

Connection does not stop with others. It starts with yourself. Taking the time to connect with yourself through self-reflection, self-touch, and self-love. There are so many ways to connect with yourself to work towards growth, healing, and connection. 

If you are looking for extra support during these tough times, we offer tele-therapy sessions here at LCAT and are happy to help!

YouTube page where she provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.