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Disagreement and arguments are common in most all relationships—between coworkers, spouses, siblings.  In the heat of the moment, angry words can destroy a relationship that took many years to build.  By following a few short tips, individuals can use the opportunity to strengthen a relationship rather than destroy it.

Disagreement Do List

  1. Agree upon a time to discuss the issue
  2. Be aware of your body language (appear nonthreatening and relaxed)
  3. Avoid interruptions (phone calls, texts…)
  4. Control your tone of voice and volume
  5. Listen, Listen, Listen
  6. Think before you speak
  7. Make good eye contact
  8. Ask clarifying questions
  9. Be non-judgmental
  10. Be empathetic

 

boxing-gloves10 Rules of Fair Fighting

  1. No name calling
  2. No interrupting
  3. No blaming or accusations
  4. No cursing
  5. No yelling
  6. No sarcasm
  7. No defensiveness
  8. No generalizations (you always…)
  9. No physical/emotional intimidating
  10. No walking out without naming a follow up time.

 

Diane Reed, MA, LPCC

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The best way to make your relationship better is to work at fixing what’s wrong, right? Nope. The most effective way to boost fun and passion is to add positive elements to your marriage. That positive energy makes you feel good and motivates you to keep going in that direction. 

Happy Couple.jpg

  • Say thank you for even the small things like folding the towels.
  • Stay Connected. Talk about the details of your day.
  • Mention the qualities that you appreciate… hair, laugh, kindness.
  • Recall past times together and describe your hopes for the future.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t feel —or talk about —anything negative, but pretend you are weighing your interactions on a scale.

If you want a happier relationship, the positive side needs to far outweigh the bad. The more you honor the love and joy in your bond, the sooner you’ll transform your marriage into one that is truly great.

Here are some warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about suicide. Preoccupation with death.
  • Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Anger, restlessness, agitation, irritability, or other dramatic changes in mood.
  • Recklessness or high risk-taking behavior.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about – Withdrawing from family, friends and activities.
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about.
  • Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order. Giving away prized possessions.

If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…

Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seek professional help. Questions okay to ask:

  • “Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?”
  • “Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?”
  • “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?”
  • “Have you thought about what method you would use?”

Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family members is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. Calling the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK is also a resource for you or the person you care about for help. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.

Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering with a mental illness that it’s not that bad, or that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that depression is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better!

If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain as legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Make sure you follow through. This is one instance where you must be tenacious in your follow-up. Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. If you’re in a position to help, don’t assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking.

Image result for suicide

If you have thoughts of suicide, these options are available to you:

  • Dial: 911 or Dial: 1-800-273-TALK
  • Check yourself into the emergency room.
  • Tell someone who can help you find help immediately.
  • Stay away from things that might hurt you.
  • Most people can be treated with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
  • Look in your local Yellow Pages under Mental Health and/or Suicide Prevention; then call the mental health organizations or crisis phone lines that are listed. There may be clinics or counseling centers in your area operating on a sliding or no-fee scale.
  • Visit the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill website at http://www.nami.org for more information. http://www.save.org/

A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.           

Information gathered from:  http://www.save.org/

Life is a balancing act for all of us. We are constantly trying to move forward with our purpose, to achieve our goals, all the while trying to keep in balance the various elements of our lives. But if any aspect of our life draws a disproportionate amount of energy, we have to shortchange the other aspects. That throws us off—and we are unable to move forward on life’s tightrope until a balance can be reestablished. We have to deal with any areas that are taking too much energy and put them in perspective, align them, so that we have energy available for all areas.

thCheck on your whole self. The first step is to stop and assess how you are doing. Look at all the  various aspects of your life that you are constantly juggling, constantly trying to keep in balance—marriage and family, money, health, social circles, spiritual development, mental growth. Have you lost touch with good friends?Are you working too much and family life has suffered?

Assess your life as it is right now. With both your money and your health, aim for progress, not perfection. Don’t wait for big leaps. Small steps in the right direction can be a game changer. For example, if you are overwhelmed with debt, saving just $20 a week can add up over time – and best of all, it eventually becomes a habit. It is the same with your health. Maybe you can’t get to the gym, but you can make a habit of taking the stairs, stretching during a commercial or marching in place while you brush your teeth.

Renew your decisions on a daily, minute-to-minute basis. This is especially important after a slip. It allows you to ease into change, instead of expecting things to change overnight. Step back and put things in perspective. Set reasonable goals. If you can’t figure out how to get where you want to be, ask for help. Acknowledge that creating balance is essential to your health in all areas and worth the effort.

Make time for yourself everyday, in a quiet meditative state, to relax and “check yourself out.” The right balance today might not be the same as yesterday. Sometimes priorities change. None of us is going to be perfectly balanced all of the time. But if you don’t keep tabs on your progress, you might find one day that you have moved far away from your goals. The important thing in having a balanced life is the feeling of accomplishment and happiness you enjoy at the end of the day.

At different times of our life all of us will experience feelings of grief and loss. Whether that may be a death of a loved one, an accident, or loss of something vital in life we all will experience the pain that accompany’s the respective action.

There are some things to keep in mind when grieving. Some of these are:

  • Give yourself permission to feel bad. It is normal.
  • Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.
  • Alternate exercise with relaxing.
  • Reach out, spend time with others and be willing to share your feelings.
  • Do not make any big life changes.
  • Get plenty of rest

For family and friends:

  • Spend time with grieving person.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Reassure them that they are safe.
  • Don’t offer false comfort such as “you will feel better in time,” “at least their suffering is over.” Such statements may make you feel better but are not usually consoling.
  • Give them some private time

At Christian Counseling Center we have helped a number of people in all types of grieving situations. If you feel the need of comfort or healing call us at 270-442-5738.

Break_ball_and_chain_bigger.pngWritten by a friend of the center who has broken a strong habit in their life.

Whether it is biting your nails, smoking, overeating, alcohol abuse or drug addiction that you want to stop, you CAN break it.

Even if you have tried before, you CAN make it.

  • Make a decision. You have to WANT to break your habit.
  • Make a list. Write out all the reasons that YOU want to quit.
  • Make a plan. Talk to someone who has already had success.
  • Make a substitute. For instance, if you are trying to quit smoking substitute brushing your teeth when you have a need to smoke. Call a friend, read a verse in the bible.

Do it because you want to, not because someone else thinks you should.

And then do it again. Every time you want to pick up that cigarette, piece of pie or bottle of alcohol either refer to your list, call someone, or find a substitute.

It feels good to be in control instead of having that habit control you.

Depression can be more prevalent in the winter time. Dark dreary days can hinder our moods. There are some simple things to be done in order to handle feelings of depression. In no particular order here are a few simple tips in handling feelings for depression.Depression

1. Turn to trusted friends and relatives. Sharing what you are going through is helpful because you do not feel like you are carrying the load on your own.

2. Challenge negative thinking. Think outside yourself, are these thoughts rational? Try to adopt the positive thinking of those in your life who tend to see the bright side.

3. Take care of yourself. Live a healthy lifestyle, get the appropriate amount of sleep, eat in a healthy way and get exercise.

4. Be open to professional help. Sometimes we just need someone to walk with us for a little while. This does not mean we are any less of a person.

We have plenty of training and experience in treating those dealing with depressive thoughts and feelings at Christian Counseling Center. We are able to provide in depth help for depression. If you need someone to support you for a time feel free to call us (270) 442-5738.

Henry Cloud and John Townsend are the authors of the very helpful book, “Boundaries in Marriage.” In this book they list these two common pitfalls in a marriage.

Moralizing Your Preferences

The problem here comes when one of the partners in the marriage claims his or her preference in somehow superior. One person’s hobby may seem more “productive” or “important” because it is satisfying or enjoyable to them; but that does not mean the other person’s hobby or way of relaxing is somehow wrong. Spouses may have differences in how they relax or socialize. This does not make one way right and the other wrong. We are in danger of working against our spouse in our marriage if this becomes a norm.

Score-keeping

Another problem area in marriages is score-keeping. At times couples may get into seemingly endless arguments about how time needs to be more balanced. When this replaces kind loving exchanges our marriage is obviously going to suffer. Trying to keep up with what the other person gets to do versus what you get to do can be a way to build resentment. Remember, balance does not have to mean equality. The important thing is that both people are satisfied. It all probably evens up in the end, anyways.

Most importantly always be open when there is conflict or resentment building. It’s much easier to handle in the early stages than when it becomes a habit. At Christian Counseling Center we are willing and able to help couples create healthy habits and learn communication strategies. Feel free to contact us for an appointment.

Emma Goldmann, a political activist from the early 20th century wrote, “No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.”  Ms. Goldmann’s words aptly describe the attachment injured child.  It is as if they are gems waiting to be discovered and polished.  Until that discovery, they are viewed as useless and unwanted.  In order for these children to reach their value, persons like foster/adoptive parents, teachers, and friends will have to learn the skills needed to “unlock that treasure.”  

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It might be appropriate to call these children, “Children from the hard places.”  They may have known safety and stability at some point in their lives.  More likely, most of these children have had a “hard time” and have been forced to rely on themselves.  They do not have a sense of safety or stability.  A child’s sense of safety is created when the child begins to feel that his needs will be met not only physically but also emotionally.   This is called “felt safety.”  As a byproduct of the lack of “felt safety,” many children function in ways that seem dysfunctional.  These behaviors and attitudes have been useful survival tools.  Within a new family system, these behaviors are not only dysfunctional but can are destructive. 

Children, who display unwanted behaviors, are often diagnosed with disorders like ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, or Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.  While your child might exhibit and meet the qualities of these disorders, the scope and severity of many of these problems may be exacerbated by a developmental trauma and attachment injury.  In a sense, attachment injury is the body’s defense to the lack of safety or care it has received.  By this standard, it might be impossible for a child from the “hard place” to function in a “normal way.” 

A child who is from the “hard places” functions out of the lower brain.  This child has not experienced a stabile relationship where he learned to interpret and understand every day human interactions.  He has not had healthy, nutritionally loaded food to eat for brain development.  He has likely experienced chronically high levels of fear which compete with higher brain function.  More precisely, the events, in utero, infancy, or childhood create a neurochemical set point for how the child will respond in stressful situations.  These set points can occur if a mother experiences a stressful or difficult pregnancy, the child has a traumatic birth, or if the child experiences early hospitalization.  These are significant and profound ways that children can be programmed to struggle with attachment.  Furthermore, a child can also receive attachment injury through abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma (i.e., an overly critical parent). 

Dr. Karyn Purvis, creator of TBRI© (Trust Based Relational Intervention), believes that gaining the trust of an attachment injured child is the integral part of helping the child heal.  A child cannot operate at a higher brain function if he remains wary of his environment.  This requires that the caregiver learn to respond by first connecting to the child, later empowering the child, and last and least, correcting the child.  This seems to be the antithesis of most parenting approaches.  This approach, however, makes the most sense.  A child who is healthily attached to a parent can whether some emotional turbulence.  A child who is not securely attached will be tossed about in that same storm.

Most often, parents fear that if they are not correcting this child, he will not learn.  An attachment injured child’s brain will not learn if he is in a constant state of fear.  Fear must be reduced for learning to take place and new behavior to be enacted.  Connection is the best tool for reducing fear.  Connection is a time consuming work, but it is extremely rewarding.  Connecting requires that the parent learn to manage her fears about how she is perceived by others as well as managing fears about not being “in charge” of the child. 

There are several simple methods for connecting.  First, create an environment of “felt safety” by making available high nutrition snacks, attending to a child’s sensory needs (i.e., too loud, too bright, too scratchy, etc.), addressing their physical space needs, and using safe child appropriate language.  Second, model the positive behavior desired from the child.  This will include using encouraging language.  An example: Instead of saying, “Don’t run” say, “Remember to walk.”  Third, work to match the child.  A parent will make a powerful statement to a child about connection when he is attuned to the child.  One of the easiest ways to show attunement is through play.  Play by matching the child’s motions and actions; allow them to lead. Last, make both eye and, as allowed, body contact with the child.  This will require the adult to get down on the child’s level when talking to them.  If a parent can do nothing else with an attachment injured child, it is imperative that he work to make connection with the child. 

The sad truth is that many adults in our world are unprepared to deal with developmental trauma and attachment injuries.  Attachment injured children not only show up in foster and adoptive homes, they also appear in schools, churches and playgrounds. While these interventions will not “fix” attachment injured children, the connection created is the bridge to helping this child begin the healing process.   Understanding and connecting to attachment injured children not only helps the hurting child, but also those who are in the daily struggle with them. 

If you are in the midst of the struggle with an attachment injured child and are interested in more information on this subject, seek a licensed mental health professional, preferably one trained in TBRI©.  You may also be interested to read, The Connected Child, by Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine.

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