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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Relationships: Knowing When to Stay and When to Go

Knowing when to stay and try to work things out versus when to end a relationship can be challenging, especially when there have been longstanding problems. Often, people feel they've invested so much in the relationship that they want to do everything they can before giving up. But, for many of these relationships, both people feel they've exhausted their internal resources and they don't know what to do to make things better. They might flounder for months or years in an emotional stalemate.

Relationships: When to Stay and When to Go

Staying for the Sake of the Children?
Many people decide that even though the relationship no longer works for either of them, they will stay together for the sake of the children. This rarely works. I've had many adults clients tell me in their psychotherapy sessions that they wish their parents had divorced rather than staying together for the sake of the family. Usually, they say that they and their siblings sensed that something was wrong between their parents, even though the parents thought they were hiding it well. This creates a great deal of tension in the household with the parents attempting to keep their problems a secret and the children feeling confused about what they're sensing.

Relationships: When to Go and When to Leave.  Staying Together for the Children?

Wanting to Escape When Things Get Tough
There are those people who tend to want to escape from relationships when things get rough. Often, they haven't learned the necessary skills to stick with it and work through normal, everyday problems. Most of the time, these people didn't grow up in families where they saw good communication and problem solving modeled so they're at loss about what to do.

Relationships: When to Stay and When to Leave.  Escaping When Things Get Tough

Staying Because You're Afraid of Being Alone
Other people are on the other end of the spectrum: They don't know when the relationship has run its course. They keep trying to salvage the relationship, even when nothing works any more. In some cases, they fear being alone. In other cases, they don't want to feel they've "failed" in their relationship. There can be so many reasons.

When to Stay and When to Go.  Staying Because You're Afraid of Being Alone

Doing Some Soul Searching
Knowing when to stay or when to go can be daunting. It can take a lot of soul searching on your part as well as open and honest communication between you and your partner.

When to Stay and When to Go.  Doing Some Soul Searching

Needless to say, if you're going to try to work things out, both people must be willing to make the effort.

Getting Help
When you and your partner aren't sure if the relationship can be salvaged, you could benefit from seeing a couples counselor. An experienced couples counselor, who is objective, can help you and your partner sort through the current emotional stalemate to either work things out or end the relationship in an amicable way.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist who sees individuals and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.

Relationships: The Courage to Say When You've Made a Mistake

Many relationships would benefit if one or both people could admit that they made a mistake, make amends for the mistake, and then move on. Instead too many couples end up having long drawn out arguments where nothing gets resolved and both people end up feeling resentful. These are the kind of arguments that tend to erode relationships and often lead to their demise.

Relationships:  The Courage to Say When You've Made a Mistake

Many people feel that to admit a mistake is a sign of weakness. This might be due to messages they received from their family when they were growing up. But, in fact, to be able to admit you're wrong or, at least, that you had a part in creating the problem takes strength and a certain amount of faith that your spouse or partner will forgive you.
Making Amends

We all make mistakes at one time or another. That's what makes us human. Rather than get caught up in an endless cycle of making excuses or deflecting the blame, it's better for you and your relationship to acknowledge your error, apologize, and make amends.

Avoiding Power Struggles
When you're able to admit that you've made a mistake, you also make it easier for your partner to do the same. Rather than getting into power struggles, you can both rely on the sense of integrity that you each feel towards each other and the relationship to carry you through the difficulties that come in any relationship.

Getting Help
If you and your spouse have gotten to the point where you can no longer resolve arguments on your own, you might benefit from couples counseling. An experienced couples counselor can help you to improve communication between you and restore a healthier dynamic in your relationship.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns into Verbal Abuse

Often couples who have problems communicating with each other make the mistake of believing that expressing their feelings means they can say whatever they want, in whatever tone or volume all in the name of "being honest." 

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns into Verbal Abuse

This distortion in reasoning often leads to an escalation in arguments and more misunderstandings.

Making Excuses for Verbal Abuse
As a psychotherapist and couples counselor in NYC, have heard people say over and over again, "I was just expressing my feelings" as a way to rationalize abusive verbal behavior. Often, the underlying intent of this "honesty", whether the person realizes it or not, is to hurt or one-up the other person.

Relationships: When Expressing Your Feelings Turns Into Verbal Abuse

Stop and Think Before You Speak
If you stop to think about what you're about to say before you say it, you can catch yourself before you become mean spirited with your spouse or partner.

There's no reason for honesty to come with a sledge hammer. It's often better to take the time to cool down and come back to the discussion later rather than saying something rash in the heat of the moment.

Then, you can focus on what you're really trying to communicate rather than getting side tracked because you're too angry to think straight.

Getting Help
Learning effective communication skills with your spouse or partner takes practice. If you find yourself falling into the same pitfalls, you might benefit from couples counseling.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.







Home for the Holidays

Being with family for the holidays can be challenging for many people. We see images of happy families in ads, TV programs, and movies, which can leave us feeling that something is wrong with us or our families if our family doesn't measure up to these happy images. However, the holidays can be very stressful, especially if we have unrealistic expectations of our familiies or ourselves.


Home for the Holidays
Rather than putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and your family, here are a few tips to help you during these holiday get togethers:

  • Try to keep the day light. Steer clear of topics that might be contentious or that could cretate tension. This is not the time to debate politics if you know the discussion will become heated.
  • Try to have reasonable expectations of friends and family. If Uncle Bob tends to be grouchy at family gatherings, there's no reason to expect that his personality will change this year.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol tends to amplify emotions and if you drink excessively, you might find yourself saying and doing things at the family gathering that you might regret.
  • Don't take the bait if a relative becomes difficult. Try not to personalize his or her behavior.
  • Plan in advance.  If you know in advance that a family gathering will be difficult, "book end" the visit by planning in advance to talk to a trusted friend or loved one before and after the visit so you feel supported.
  • Do keep in mind the meaning of the holiday. So, for instance, Thanksgiving is a day to acknowledge all that we have to be grateful for.
Home for the Holidays
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at 212 726-1006.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

photo credit: Scott Ableman via photopin cc