Conflict and COVID-19

Conflict and COVID-19 - The Bubble System 

Conflict and COVID-19 - The Bubble System 

 

Conflict and covid-19 seem to go hand-in-hand in our mental health practice. 

Something that is a pattern is the conflict surrounding people’s COVID-19 “bubbles” (and how to manage those boundaries). Many a session, I have spent speaking with couple’s, families, and individuals about negotiating boundaries around COVID-19 and how to do so appropriately. 

The biggest challenge has seemed to be various people's understanding of what is okay and what is not okay around COVID safety. As well as people’s understanding of what being in “their bubble” means. 

As we are aware people have different standards surrounding what feels safe with COVID. Some people prefer masks 100% of the time, some people are okay without masks if people are socially distant, some people will interact with others not in their households without masks, and some do not wish to interact with any outside of their household unless it is utilizing technology. 

Many have begun to utilize this idea of “the bubble” which includes people that you may have less restrictions with while you are around one another. This can include people outside someone's household, feeling okay being inside their home, and wearing or not wearing a mask. 

 

“The Bubble” 

The biggest issue is the bubble and consent. This is when people who share a bubble are feeling unclear or have different expectations of what is okay for them within their bubbles. This can look like one piece of the bubble believing that another is taking unnecessary risks or not providing adequate communication surrounding the decisions they are making. 

As a result of these decisions parts of the bubble are in conflict because there is a disagreement between the levels of risk they are engaging in and therefore creating that much risk for the “bubble system.” 

Because COVID is so easily transmitted, the actions you take pose a risk to others around you who you may have less restrictions with. This can be particularly challenging for people who are at higher risk from dying from COVID or around those who have a higher chance of dying from COVID. 

In therapy, we have spent many conversations discussing consent, communication,  and boundaries. 

 

How to Navigate This

This issue really comes down to communication and consent. If you are choosing to be in someone’s bubble you have to be able to agree on what is reasonable and feasible for your group. 

If you are not willing to engage in the rules or disregard them, it takes trust out of the “bubble system". This may mean that you have to create a different bubble or be willing to engage in communication with those for you to be able to come to agreements. 

In relationships, trust and respect are vital to the success of the relationship. If you find yourself being dishonest, omitting, or not able to have conversations with one another… THIS IS A PROBLEM.  

Breaking consent or boundaries in a relationship is also problematic! If you are doing something without the knowledge of someone else and creating a higher level of risk for them without their knowledge… that is a consent issue… and that is a pretty big deal. 

I have had many clients talk about it “not being a big deal” and invalidating one another’s experiences.. Also not helpful! In these sessions, if we are not able to have the conversations and people are not willing to change boundaries or behaviors, I recommend dis-engtangling their bubble. 

The most important thing is to keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy. We need to respect that we all may have differences as to how that may look and if it is so different than we are no longer comfortable… then we make different decisions around how to move forward. 

If you do not think it is a big deal, that is your prerogative. HOWEVER, your actions have an impact on those around you… so it's important to be mindful that no one can control you. 

Yet others have the right to set boundaries as they see fit around their comfort. And if you do not like it, you may consider shifting your behaviors. Yet, if you are unwilling to do that, then you have to come towards a radical acceptance of this current outcome for the time being. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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


Grief and COVID

Grief During Quarantining and COVID

Grief During Quarantining and COVID

 

During the last 10 months something that has been clearer in my clinical practice is grief and the intersection of COVID-19.  During this pandemic there are varying levels of grief that my clients are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. 

 

What is Grief?

Grief is the experience of loss, usually associated with death. But we can experience it in a variety of different ways. Grief is typically experienced as high levels of emotional suffering and struggle. Following a loss (extreme sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.).

Although, less talked about grief also comes with physical symptoms such as sleep difficulties, eating difficulties, changing in weight, fatigue, nauseous, aches and pains.

There are a variety of different processes of grief. One of the most well known is Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).

Although a foundational in the concept of grieving, it does not necessarily mean that it is a step by step process (as described) or that everyone will engage in every stage. Also, these 5 stages were identified after researching the Holocaust (a genocide). 

 

Types of Grief

Grief is not a one size fits all way to grief or one type of grief. Below are a list of different types of grief that people can experience: 

  • Anticipatory grief 
  • Complicated grief
  • Traumatic grief
  • Ambiguous loss
  • Delayed grief
  • Secondary Loss

There may be several various types of grief, these are the ones I see most clearly in my practice. 

 

Grief and COVID

Frief is a complicated and broad topic. The amount of grief experienced collectively in our families, communities, country, and world is unique as a result of this pandemic. 

COVID-19 has struck our world in massive proportions resulting in high levels of loss be it human life, jobs, access to friends and family, change in cultural norms, etc. 

 

Death

Obviously, the death of people as a result of contracting COVID-19 is a horrendous experience for anyone and would be considered “traumatic grief.” 

Many of my clients who have experienced the loss of someone to COVID-19 have had a difficult time. Many of my clients were not able to be with their loved one when they were hospitalized and then died. They were not able to hold celebrations or services for their loved ones. They were not able to access the support of others because of quarantine. Being isolated and not able to be with the loved one has been extremely difficult. 

If the death was of a person who was not someone you are close to, you may be experiencing “secondary” or “vicarious” grief which is the loss of someone you knew. But may not have as significant daily impact. Although it might not have been your spouse, your parent, your child, OR your best friend, does not minimize the grief you may be experiencing. 

 

Life in Quarantine

Life in Quarantine has created its own version of loss for our communities. People are social creatures and require connection so being in quarantine for as long as we have is not something healthy for us. Life in Quarantine has resulted in social isolation and connection via technology. People’s worlds have been turned upside down and have created high levels of struggle for many. 

As a therapist, I am seeing higher levels of depression, trauma, and anxiety across the board. Clients are finding it hard to manage their symptoms because their is a lack of resources and connection. Isolation has become easier, self care has become more difficulty, and conflict is on the rise. People are stuck in the same environment 24/7. 

People are needing to do everything from one space and as the weather gets colder. Options dwindle for being able to engage in some level of safe connection with others outside their household.

This dramatic change in the way we live our day to day lives is causing grief, a loss for life pre-covid. 

 

Loss of Job and Resources

Businesses are struggling or shutting down. Thousands of people are losing their jobs. Resources are becoming more expensive as a way for some businesses to stay afloat. More and more continues to changes as COVID continues to be a predominant issue in our life. 

The above stated losses are hard enough, add in the loss of jobs people have been experiencing, loss of financial stability and resources. And the ability to feel certainty is creating high levels of grief and stress culturally. 

 

How do we Cope with Grief

On a variety of levels we are all struggling with grief right now. The best that we can do is try to facilitate support, connection, validation, love.

Ask for help or offering help to those we love and our communities. Noticing the privileges we have and areas that we can help those around us and our communities can be an important part of collective healing. Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a global trauma and in order to heal and survive this we need to work together to collectively grief, support, and heal. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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


PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

Systemic Impact of Coronavirus - PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

Systemic Impact of Coronavirus - PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

 

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in our medical system. And the systemic effect of PTSD for nurses and doctors is being overlooked. 

In addition to the “normal” exposure of trauma that first responders “sign up for,”. We must consider that since the pandemic began, first responders have witnessed more loss, fear, and / or vicarious trauma than they have ever prepared for in their training. 

For those of you who live with and love doctors, nurses, CNAs, mental health workers, military, firefighters, EMS workers, etc. We thank you for being here to gather information on how to support the ones you love.   

 

What does Trauma Look Like for First Responders: 

I work with many people in the medical field (as do my colleagues) who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things I focus on in my practice is trauma - and it is really clear to me that this population is undergoing trauma.

  • lack of self care
  • hypervigilance (on edge, jumpy)
  • irritable
  • constantly tired
  • perseverating or not being able to let something go 
  • depression
  • anger
  • responses that appear more intense (something is mild and it is seen as highly stressful)
  • not engaging in taking care of basic needs
  • sleep issues (too much or too little)

 

The Trauma of Treating in the Age of COVID-19

Some of my clients do not see their families due to safety concerns. Some have watched patients dying and needing to sit with them as their families are not able to be with them, being inundated with cases without support, resources, and enough gear. 

One of the biggest struggles I have heard from my clients is the level of uncertainty experienced when this pandemic hit. 

Various medical professionals were scared of transmitting the illness and having more suffer the same fate of many. Seeing the lack of resources (beds, PPE, equipment, and information) lead to high levels of uncertainty and fear resulting in many medical professionals experiencing high levels of trauma.

As the statistics reduced in New York and Connecticut, and its surrounding areas, many first responders finally began to feel the up tick in stress.

When someone is going through trauma and in survival mode, it can be VERY difficult to be able to notice the level of stress. This pandemic and the impact on the medical field is an example of this because it is a chronic trauma. 

 

How Can We All Help?

As we begin to see the numbers climbing again, I imagine our medical field will be re-traumatized. If you are a medical professional, first responder, or love someone who is here are some ways to consider supporting them:

  • Allow time to vent
  • Complete acts of service for the first responders (bringing them food or something to drink, running errands, etc)
  • Meditate 
  • Reduce stimulation at home
  • Focus on basic needs such as sleep, eating, and hydration
  • Hold compassion for the first responders
  • Focus on recharging and building a set of tools and resources to help
  • Try to be flexible and adaptive to allow your love one to check in with themselves and their needs
  • Ask for what you need and/or how you can support them
  • Do not bombard them with lots of information, try to slow things down 
  • Take care of yourselves!

These skills are important for everyone because if you are a first responder and experiencing trauma these tips will be useful for you. For those of you who support first responders, you are at risk of “vicarious” trauma or “secondary” trauma from hearing stories or experiences from your loved one. 

Please make sure you take care of yourself, knowing your limits, and communicating. Many client are seeking our support at LCAT to help learn ways to cope through this time. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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


Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication

Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication 

 

If you haven’t read part 1 of our post election stress series, please click here

Post election stress is here to stay as we transition administrations. 

In the meantime, we will give you our specific examples on how to communicate during this time. 

 

Use Compassionate and Non Violent Communication

If you work with me or others at our practice, you have probably heard about Non-Violent (or Compassionate) Communication (NVC). If you have not, look it up! 

Great resources on ways to learn to communicate differently and in a way that our culture has not done a great job developing. Marshall Rosenberg wrote books on it and there is a website

The premise of NVC is to be able to communicate more compassionately, kindly, and effectively. 

This is recommended in being able to take accountability for our role, acknowledge our feelings, be respectful, and set boundaries or make requests. 

So the “I feel ______________ when (insert experience or concern of behavior) and am wondering if you would be willing to ______________ (needs, boundary or request).” 

post election stress

Using NVC focuses on using “I statements” to reduce blame, acknowledge our role, and build ways to understand through identifying our own needs. 

This helps us communicate with those around us and be able to slow conversations down through engaging in validation and reflective listening. 

Again, this is NOT about agreeing with someone, it is about being able to sit in discomfort and still hear another person.

Does this mean that if someone is sharing something harmful and is continuing to cause harm that I keep having the conversation or the relationship? NO. 

If you are in a conversation and you are doing suggestions from Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog, and there is a lack of respect, kindness, or compassion - you have a clear right to set a boundary using NVC and remove yourself, if necessary. 

There are times where we do everything we can to facilitate and engage appropriately and it is just not okay for us to continue. This is where you can request space, time, or boundaries around the conversation. 

 

Real Examples of How You Can Apply This:

Some of my clients have set boundaries around not speaking about politics. 

Some have a system in place where they say a code word when things become heated and take 20-30 minutes to de-escalate alone and then return and try to continue the conversation and then rinse and repeat until they get through it. 

Some of my clients set timers and engage in an activity called “active listening” where one person speaks, the other listens, when the speaker is done they validate through reflecting back what the speaker said, then the speaker identifies if they felt heard, then if they do they reverse roles, and if they don't, then they clarify what they were missing. 

Some of my clients have chosen to stop having relationships indefinitely or for a set amount of time (space) from the relationship. Some have ended relationships completely. 

Whatever you decide to do, I think it is important that you are responding rather than reacting. Responding is thoughtful, conscious choices vs reacting which is acting abruptly or without conscious thought. I usually encourage people to engage in these tips before making such a decision, unless there is an issue of safety or abuse or significant harm being done. 

Unsurprisingly, I also recommend engaging in therapy if that feels right for you, as a way to figure out what you might need so that your decision is indeed coming from a responsive vs. reactive place.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


Guide to Surviving Conversations in 2020 Post Election Anxiety

Guide to Surviving Conversations in 2020 Post Election Anxiety

 

The 2020 post election anxiety has contributed to an incredibly stressful time for many of us. 

As we gear up for the holiday season during COVID, I thought it pertinent to write about ways to communicate about post election anxiety with various individuals around many important topics.

Most of my sessions the last week or two (minimum) have focused predominantly on the election:

  • whether that was the stress of the outcome
  • human rights concerns 
  • communication on different perspectives and opinions with those around them
  • fear of police brutality
  • fear of civil war or violence within communities
  • issues surrounding boundaries. 

Although I could write a whole post about the election itself and the various observations I have, I imagine that it would be more helpful to hear tricks and tips to navigate this rather than to hear me “rant.” 

 

Check yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Most of all, it is important to remember to check your privilege. 

What do I mean by that? 

Well, the more privilege you have, the more difficult it may be for you to relate to someone who has a different privilege status (i.e a different set of barriers). 

For instance if you are a white, cisgender, middle class, heterosexual woman, you have a different level of privilege compared to someone who is a multiracial, transgender man who lives pay check to pay check. 

I share this because for people of various communities, there were significant policy and human rights issues on the line. 

So if you are coming from different privilege spaces it's important for you to notice if safety was on the ballot for you this year. 

Safety can look like the right to marry, the right to walk on the street, financial security, health care, rights over your body, etc. 

There are many examples, and these are just BRIEF examples of what that might look like.

I share this because so many of my clients have shared either struggling to understand some levels of reactivity from certain people in their lives or the lack of understanding and compassion. 

One of the main issues I have seen are clients feeling like people are not understanding the level of safety and harm that can be done with specific policies. 

So please be aware that recognizing your privilege in conversations is important

 

Take a Deep Breath… Slow Down!

In heated conversations it is important to to take a deep breath and I tell many of my clients “slow the F*** down.” 

I say this because when we are not breathing, we are literally unable to hear or speak in a way that is effective or productive. 

Our body literally starts to go into survival mode which depending on our lived experience can throw us into what I like to call a “trauma tornado” or get you a “ticket on the trauma train” which is my silly way of saying a “trauma spiral.” 

Breathing is so important. So just breathe. Post Election Anxiety

Slow down. 

Take a breathe (inhale) for 1….2….3….4. 

And hold it for 1….2….3….4. 

Then exhale breath for 1….2….3….4. 

Then hold for 1….2….3….4. 

If you practice this daily, it will help you have more control over your body and breath, and thus, it will allow you to engage in the moment in diaphragmatic breathing. 

In my experience (personally and professionally), when we do not do this we lose our ability to remain in the conversation and be within our integrity. 

 

Seek to Understand Rather than Be Understood

This one is a little bit complicated and nuanced as the first one was. 

Seek to understand means to ask questions and use curiosity. 

If you are in a curious space, you are able to be in a space of learning which puts your brain in a different focus and allows you to try to understand (not agree) with whomever you are speaking with. 

When we seek to understand, people can feel less defensive or critical.

When people are in a defensive or critical position we are leaning into an argument style of communication or what will likely be an ineffective conversation. 

When we seek to understand, we seek to collaborate with who we are working with, rather than convincing someone. 

So often in therapy, I watch people act as if I am the judge and they are in front of me and each other to convince the other that they are right. 

When we are focused on being right rather than understanding no one “wins.” And again if we are focused on “being right” or “winning” the argument that is not about connection or compassion that is about disconnection, shame, and/or rejection. Also, if we are focused on winning or only being understood… that is not usually helpful or productive.

Validation. It's a buzz word in our culture and in therapy. And this is a BIG part of seeking to understand rather than be understood. Validation is about hearing the other person NOT AGREEING. 

Let’s say that again for those in the back…

Validation is about hearing and understanding someone's perspective. NOT AGREEING.

So validating someone’s perspective is not agreeing with their point of view. At.All. It is about showing the person that you were listening and not just in your head thinking about a response (Guilty! I have done that… not my best strategy!). Validation is reflecting back to someone what they said in order to show that you are listening… or seeking to understand them.

The reason these things are important is because it allows the conversation the best opportunity and chance to not end in an explosion.

If you are still with us and want to learn more, stay tuned for our Friday download about how to communicate when you have post election stress.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


Gender Conforming

Are You Gender Conforming or Gender Non Conforming? 

Are You Gender Conforming or Gender Non Conforming? 

 

Gender conforming and gender non conforming are common words utilized in our society today. Read our blog post to learn more about Gender Expression and Gender Non Conforming.

 

What is 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, skirt, heels, etc.) or a man dressing in “masculine” attire (pants, athletic gear, a suit, 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 the majority of individuals 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 Individuals

Gender non-conforming individuals have gender expression that does not follow the stereotypical “rules” surrounding what is expected in for attire. For example, someone who presents as a woman yet is shopping for herself in the men’s department. 

Additionally, individuals who are gender non-conforming 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, whereas others may shift their gender expression based on activity, crowd, emotion, or internal part of them that they are embodying. 

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 Conforming, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression are NORMAL!

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

The individuals who see licensed clinicians like me and are gender non-confomring yet are seeing me for a completely different reason (and just want an identity-affirming therapist).

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. 

Join us on your healing journey. 

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.


why do marriages fail

Why Do Marriages Fail During Covid?

Why Do Marriages Fail During Covid?

 

We are here to answer “why do marriages fail,” especially for those of you getting divorced during coronavirus. 

During COVID, many marriages have remained in close quarters with limited interaction with others. As a couple’s therapist, I have seen many couples and/or relationships struggling due to quarantine, and I am here to answer why do marriages fail and why are so many couples struggling during this time?

Most marriages and couples have not had to spend this much time with each other ever or since they were in the beginning stages of their relationship when hormones 

Why Do Marriages Fail

were raging.

Generally why marriages fail is due to a struggle in: 

  • Communication
  • Sex
  • Finances
  • Parenting
  • Differences in political beliefs
  • Expectations about the future or priorities

During COVID, why marriages fail and couples struggle is because these categories (communication, sex, finances, etc) have become exacerbated.

As with many things, why marriages fail boils down to communication. If couples were not communicating well before the pandemic, it is more than likely that that has not improved due to:

  • Increased time together
  • Increased stress
  • Limited outside contact with others
  • Limited ability to be outside the home and/or living area
  • Limited ability to see one another if they do not live together
  • Changes in work expectations
  • Telecommuting or helping kids complete school work
  • Lack of privacy
  • Conflict with other close relationships

 

What Can Couples Do?

First of all, changing the language from “failing” to “struggling” or “not working out.” When we focus on failure it does not help. 

Generally speaking, couples should work together to identify if they have the willingness to try to work on the relationship or end the relationship (ideally with a conscious completion). If both partners are willing to try to work through these struggles or difficulties it is usually enlist a third party to help (professional) whether that's a therapist, coach, or religious member who provides counseling.

Within COVID (and also generally), boundaries are paramount. Being able to have boundaries around work, the relationship, family time, date time, etc. When we do not do this then we set our relationship up to truly have difficulty. Boundaries are helpful and within COVID, these are incredibly important, as there is limited privacy or socialization happening outside the home. 

Why Do Marriages Fail

COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION! 

We communicate even when we do not intend to, which means both verbal and nonverbal. We do a whole lot of communication, so if you are communicating with your partner(s) then you may want to consider doing it most effectively. 

This is something that can be coached in sessions with therapists and coaches and finding strong resources. 

For those of you who are here to answer “why do marriages fail,” especially during coronavirus, I hope you have gotten some useful information.

I would recommend reading other blogs written in LCAT, reading Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenburg, and The Gottman Institutes resource as they focus on conflict and communication in relationships. 

These tips can help and the best thing to do is to work with a professional who can help you guide you in this process or work collaboratively with your partner to have a conscious completion (intentional, collaborative end to the relationship).

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


Sex Positive Parenting

Sex Positive Parenting! Let’s Talk about Sex… Baby.

Sex Positive Parenting! Let’s Talk about Sex…Baby.

 

Sex and sexuality are more often than not stigmatized in our society, especially around our children and sex positive parenting. 

Often, parents shame, objectify, or stigmatize most sexual behavior throughout child and adolescent development. In doing so, we set children up to have a lack of knowledge and understanding about their own sexuality, body, identity, and pleasure. 

In our country, we do a disservice to all by not engaging in age-appropriate sexuality education throughout childrens’ lives and avoiding sex positive parenting into adulthood. 

As parents, adults, educators, and therapists we are all responsible for helping break this pattern to build curiosity and appropriate understanding of their bodies, identity, and pleasure. 

 

Sex Positive Education for All Ages

I am fortunate to be a mother of a one and a half year old. 

You can bet I am starting her education around her body now. 

So you literally start sex positive parenting with babies… how do you ask?

  • Use accurate terms for different parts of their body (including genitals) 
    • ex. Vulva, penis, vagina, clitoris, anus, butt, etc.
  • Allow exploration of their bodies. 
    • With age and understanding you can create boundaries as to when and how this is appropriate
  • Support appropriate curiosity 
  • Include clitoris-centered pleasure 
  • Discuss body safety and informed consent
  • Allow space to discuss and learn about the different stages of sexual development 
    • Self exploration, terminology, questions about their bodies, resources, etc.
  • If you find your child or adolescent looking at porn or other sexually explicit material DO NOT SHAME them! 
    • Instead... collaborate and provide accurate information and explanations
  • Find reputable sources to help you learn to provide accurate and inclusive information around sexuality 
    • Do not assume your child’s sexual identity
    • Do not be heteronormative in your explainations (not just penis in vagina, etc)

 

Pornography

It is normative for children and adolescents to be curious about sexuality and due to our lack of ability to discuss this as a society, families, and in education one of the most accessible ways to learn about their sexuality is through pornography or through peers.

Pornography depicts various experiences around sexuality and sometimes focusing on fantasy. Although pornography does not always depict sexuality accurately and can often fetishize different populations, it also can be a very normal part of people’s sexuality. 

If you find you your child or adolescent looking at pornography DO NOT SHAME THEM. 

Here are things to consider doing instead of SHAME and PUNISHMENT:

  • Work on building curiosity, education, and providing accurate, realistic resources surrounding sexuality. 
  • Support your child in learning about sexuality and providing them accurate information about pornography, sex, and sexual exploration. 
  • Allow space for questions 
  • Reinforce they are not in trouble and allow space to talk about their emotions
  • Discuss boundaries and consent
  • Discuss difference between fantasy and reality
  • Pleasure centered conversations 
  • Provide information that pornography has been historically catered towards cis gender, heterosexual, white men and may not accurately depict sexual behavior across various identities and experiences

 

If you and/or other partner(s) or adults in your life are uncomfortable practicing sex positive parenting or discussing sexuality, find a therapist or AASECT sex educator who can help facilitate these conversations so that you can work towards building a healthy relationship with sexuality and your child. 

At LCAT, we are here 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.


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.