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A Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on: July 12, 2019

“To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub.”  — William Shakespeare, from Hamlet

The National Sleep Foundation tells us that nearly half of us don’t get enough sleep. In modern-day society, because of night work, television, computers, and the profound stress we experience in everyday life, our sleep is often disrupted. Sleep is a basic biological need, like hunger and thirst. When we don’t get enough of it, our bodies let us know that there are consequences. Sleep is a regular, natural state of rest characterized by a reduction in voluntary body movement and a decreased awareness of the surroundings. Sleep is not a state of falling completely into unconsciousness, but rather an altered state of consciousness that performs a restorative function for the brain and body.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Posted on: June 26, 2019

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
The Earl of Chesterfield, December 26, 1749

Almost everyone has been afflicted by procrastination at one time or another – that nagging menace that compels us to put things off for another day, another time. For some people this is a persistent problem, and for others it appears in only some areas of their lives. The result, though, is the same for everyone –  increased anxiety, wasted time, poor performance, missed opportunities, guilt, excusing ourselves, and avoiding people who depend on us. There are better ways of dealing with the demands of our everyday lives. Procrastination is not a trivial problem – it causes suffering for many people.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

To Forgive

Posted on: June 14, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  
Mahatma Gandhi

All of us have been hurt, in one way or another, by someone else. While it is easy to forgive a friend for the slight distress we feel over a phone call that was not returned, it is not so easy to forgive those who have harmed us in a major way. The greatest hurt seems to come from those who play the most significant roles in our lives. The enormity of the hurt may lead us to conclude that we can never forgive the other person. To forgive or not to forgive is one of our life choices. It is important for our own emotional well-being to understand that it is a choice, and a choice with consequences.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Understanding Anxiety

Posted on: May 29, 2019

“The bow too tensely strung is easily broken.”
    – Publius Syrus(42 B.C.)

Anxiety is the body’s reaction to an event that is experienced as disturbing or threatening. Our primitive ancestors experienced stress when they had to fight off wild animals and other threats to their survival. Now, in the contemporary world, we are more likely to feel the anxiety that emerges from stress when we face overwhelming responsibilities at work or home, experience loneliness, rejection, or the fear of losing things that are important to us, such as our jobs or friends. When we are exposed to such events, we experience what has been called the fight or flight response. To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure. This sends more blood to our heart and muscles, and our respiration rate increases. We become vigilant and tense. Our bodies end up on full alert – and this allows us to take action. When these anxiety-inducing conditions continue over a long period of time, however, and have a significant impact on how we live, we may begin to suffer from one of the anxiety disorders.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Maintaining Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Posted on: May 14, 2019

A successful relationship is composed of two individuals – each with a clearly defined sense of her or his own identity. Without our own understanding of self, of who we are, and what makes us unique, it is difficult to engage in the process of an ongoing relationship in a way that functions smoothly and enhances each of the partners. We need a sense of self in order to clearly communicate our needs and desires to our partner. When we have a strong conception of our own identity, we can appreciate and love those qualities in our partner that make him or her a unique person. When two people come together, each with a clear definition of her or his own individuality, the potential for intimacy and commitment can be astounding. The similarities between two people may bring them together, but their differences contribute to the growth, excitement, and mystery of their relationship.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

The Committed Relationship

Posted on: April 29, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

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Emotionally committed relationships bring excitement and passion into our lives, especially when they are new.  Over time, however, we come across roadblocks, for example, our personal issues or family experiences, that can distance us from our partners.  When we first enter into a committed relationship, we may think that we have found the answer to life’s problems, that we have a partner to share in the turmoil of daily life, that we will never be alone again, that it will be smooth sailing from here on out. If we base relationships on these assumptions, however, we may be sorely disappointed when our partner fails to live up to these expectations. There is a strong probability that if we look to another person to provide fulfillment, we will begin to focus on the failings of that person as the cause of our own disappointments in life. This pattern is the reason for a great deal of discord in committed relationships. Many people who come in for relationship therapy actually hope that the therapy will change their partner because they are convinced that the partner is the source of the problem.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Relationships and Manipulation

Posted on: April 9, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

We are all vulnerable to being manipulated in relationships, whether between romantic partners, friends, parents, children, employers, coworkers, or neighbors. When we allow another person to manipulate us, we are colluding with their desire to control our feelings, motives, and even our thoughts through deceptive, exploitative, and unfair means. A manipulative relationship is one-sided and unbalanced, advancing the goals of the manipulator at the expense of the person being manipulated. These relationships become troubled over time. If you want to change this kind of relationship, you must first recognize the features of manipulation and then look within to understand your contribution to the manipulation. There are effective ways to stand up to manipulation and bring balance back into the relationship.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

When Your Partner’s Feelings Don’t Show

Posted on: March 21, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“Fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

– Bette Davis

When we commit to a relationship, we usually expect that our partner will reciprocate with roughly the same level of emotional involvement that we put into it. Many of us hope to find a soulmate, a partner who can share and understand our feelings and ways of thinking on an intensely personal level. Others don’t expect such an intense level of involvement and feel more comfortable maintaining personal privacy within a more boundaried relationship. Conflicts may arise when the two partners differ in their expectations of how close they should become. One partner may feel emotionally stranded, feeling abandoned and craving more closeness, while the other partner may feel smothered or pressured into providing more of his or her emotional self than can possibly be given. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Finding Intimacy

Posted on: March 7, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Many people search for that special intimacy in their relationship

Some of us search our entire lives for a feeling of oneness with another person. It’s hard to describe, really, what we search for, but we know it when we finally achieve it. Maybe we tire of that dark feeling of being ultimately alone as we struggle through life. If only there were someone else here, we say to ourselves, who could understand and share these burdens. Then it wouldn’t be so lonely. It wouldn’t be so hard. Or perhaps, in our more positive moments, we want to share not just the burdens but our pleasures too, our strength and beauty. We want the powerful impact of our internal experience to have an impression on someone else, as if to say that we count, we are whole, and we want to impart this feeling to another person. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Staying Healthy At Work

Posted on: February 26, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working? (Or Both?)

The atmosphere of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent times. Ever since the exploitative practices of the industrial revolution were removed through legislation, work has been defined as a place where a person could find fulfillment through a job which was rewarding and paid a fair wage. But this definition has reverted in recent years to one in which the needs of the employee have become less important. Finding personal fulfillment through our work has become more of a challenge. Progressive occupational stress leading to job burnout has become a painful reality for many people. This is especially true during times of high unemployment – when the workers who are still employed are expected to carry the load of those who are no longer with the company. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling