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Monday, May 22, 2017

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner: Where Did the Love Go?

I've written prior articles about being in a relationship with a narcissistic romantic partner or spouse, including: A Relationship with a Narcissistic Person Can Have a Negative Impact on Your Self Esteem,  Coping Strategies For Being in a Relationship with a Narcissistic PartnerHow Narcissism Begins at an Early Age, and Narcissism: An Emotional Seesaw Between Grandiosity and Shame
In this article, I'm addressing a particular aspect of being in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic traits, which is how a relationship can start as a whirlwind romance and end with a thud.

A Relationship With a Narcissistic Partner: Where Did the Love Go?

As I've mentioned before in other articles, I usually don't think of people in terms of diagnosis (see my article: Psychotherapy: You're Not Defined By Your Diagnosis).  So, although I do believe that everyone is an individual, there are certain general recurring patterns that tend to occur when you get involved with someone who has strong narcissistic traits.

The Whirlwind Romance
Many people who have narcissistic traits can be very romantic at the outset of the relationship.  They might wine and dine you and sweep you off your feet before you even realize what's happening.

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner: Where Did the Love Go?

This is a very heady, romantic time for both people involved.  They will put you on a pedestal.  Often, they will treat you like you're the most special person that they've ever been in a relationship with--they've never felt this way before about anyone else.

The relationship is very exciting at this stage and the sex is usually passionate.

Taking the Relationship to the Next Level
Soon after that, they might tell you that the two of you should move in together or plan a wedding.  You might be surprised, but since every seems to be going so well, you might think, "This was meant to be!"

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner: Fantasizing About a Wedding

You might find yourself looking at wedding dresses and looking at wedding venues online.

After a While, They Become Less Available
In most relationships where things are going well, some of the passion might wear off, as is normal, but the emotional intimacy grows deeper and the relationship becomes more meaningful.

But when you're involved with someone who has narcissistic traits, this is when things start to go south:  Your partner is less available.  S/he might start cancelling dates because of other pressing matters at work.

At this point, you definitely get the sense that something has changed and you are right.  What has changed is that your partner has started to get to know you better.

You're no longer that idealized person in his or her imagination--you're a real person that has flaws as well as strengths, as does everyone.

But to the person with narcissistic traits, you're no longer as attractive as s/he imagined you to be.  S/he wants the idealized person that was in his or her imagination--not the real person.  And therein lies the problem.

The person who has strong narcissistic traits is often incapable of having a mature relationship once the heady romantic time is over and reality hits.

Generally speaking, people with narcissistic traits often don't understand this about themselves, so rather than taking responsibility for their own shortcomings in this area, they often blame you:  "You're not the person that you led me to believe that you were" or you will probably blamed in some other way.

Soon after that, the relationship fizzles out because they are looking for someone new in order to recreate that idealistic, romantic relationship again and you're "old news."

It's very difficult to have closure with your former romantic partner because he or she is already thinking about how to meet the next person or is already infatuated with someone else.

What's Real?
You might be shocked to discover how soon your partner gets involved again.  This can cause you to question what's real.  Did you ex really care about you?

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner:  Asking Yourself, "What's real?"

The answer to that question is difficult.

First, people who are highly narcissistic usually lack the capacity to love deeply in a mature way.

As I mentioned earlier, they often get wrapped up in the idea of the romantic relationship and idealize you in a way that makes you seem "perfect."

Since you're perfect in their eyes, this is also indirectly a reflection on them, so they must be "perfect" too, and together you're "perfect couple"--until you're not.

Once you begin to show normal human flaws, you're no longer "perfect" and whatever self-imposed spell your partner was under is gone.

You're no longer desirable or fun or whatever other qualities s/he thought you had before you showed yourself to be a normal human being.

Breakup Anxiety
It can be very disorienting to know that while you're heartbroken and riddled with anxiety about what happened to the relationship, your ex is already out and about looking for the next romantic partner.

Many people who have experienced this question their own sense of reality about what happened and how the relationship went from being so loving to nothing.

Having to deal with this on your own (since your ex probably isn't going to be helpful) creates breakup anxiety, and you can feel very alone with it.

Some people even question their self worth, which can devolve into a depressive episode without professional help.

Getting Help in Therapy
A skilled psychotherapist who is knowledgeable about the patterns involved with this type of relationship can help you to understand what happened, process your feelings, get closure and regain a sense of self confidence again.

So, you're not alone, and rather than struggling on your own, you can seek help from an experienced psychotherapist who has worked with this issue in a way that you can't on your own.

Once you have worked through the emotional pain of this type of breakup, you can lead a more fulfilling life with someone who is emotionally mature and ready for a full relationship and not just a fantasy.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults 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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Becoming the Mother You Wish You Had

Donald Winnicott, a well-respected British psychoanalyst and pediatrician, introduced the idea of the "good enough mother" (see my article: Books: Tea With Winnicott at 87 Chester Square).

Becoming the Mother You Wish You Had

Thousands of British mothers listened to his BBC broadcasts from 1943-1962 during which he spoke about motherhood and infant development in ordinary terms without using psychoanalytic jargon.

He dispelled the idea that mothers had to be perfect--they only needed to be good enough, which was a relief to most mothers (see my article: Perfect vs. Good Enough).

Winnicott's message is as true and valuable today as it was back then because many new mothers fear that they're going to be inadequate, especially women who had mothers who were abusive or neglectful.  This is also true for women who didn't grow up with a mother.

Their fears are that they will make the same mistakes that their mothers made with emotionally damaging effects to their new babies (see my article: Overcoming Your Fear of Making Mistakes).

The following fictional vignette illustrates these points:

When Agnes found out that she was pregnant, after trying to conceive for a few years, she and her husband were elated.

Becoming the Mother You Wish You Had

Although Agnes was thrilled beyond words, she also developed an overwhelming fear that she would become like her mother--cold, emotionally withholding and critical.

Even though her husband attempted to alleviate Agnes' concerns, telling her that she was nothing like her mother, her fears became more intense over time.

She was flooded with memories of frequently being left alone and lonely (see my article: Growing Up Feeling Invisible and Emotionally Invalidated).

Whenever, as a child, Agnes attempted to get her mother's attention, her mother treated her like she was a nuisance.

Her father was frequently away on business trips, and when he was home, he secluded himself in his study, so Agnes spent most of her time alone.

As an only child, Agnes was left on her own to play and keep herself entertained.  She would often pretend that she had a kind guardian angel, who loved her, watched over her and kept her safe.

After a while, as the pregnancy progressed, Agnes realized that she needed to get help because her fear of being like her mother began to overwhelm her, so she sought a recommendation from her doctor, who referred Agnes to therapy.

Initially, Agnes had many worries about being in therapy.  She worried that she "wouldn't do it right" or that she would be a disappointment to her therapist (see my article: Fear of Being a Disappointment to Your Therapist).

Her therapist explained the concept of transference in therapy and that many psychotherapy clients,  especially clients who had emotionally withholding and critical parents, had similar fears (see my article: Psychotherapy and the Effects of Parental Transference).

Over time, Agnes began to distinguish her childhood fears from her current relationship with her therapist, who was warm and nonjudgmental (see my article: Working Through Emotional Trauma: Learning to Separate "Then" From "Now."

Agnes never realized that the emotional neglect that she experienced as a child was traumatic (see my article:  What is Childhood Emotional Neglect?).

She always thought of childhood trauma as being related to physical abuse (see my article: Psychotherapy to Overcome Past Childhood Trauma).

However, as she and her therapist worked together, Agnes understood how damaging it was not feel loved when she was growing up and how much she longed for that as a child (see my article: What is the Connection Between Childhood Emotional Neglect and Problems Later on as an Adult?)

Agnes was also able to work through much of the childhood trauma in therapy.  She mourned for what she wanted from her parents and didn't get.  As part of working through these issues, Agnes learned to nurture and appreciate the child part of herself (as known as inner child).

She also realized that she could be the mother that she wished she had had as a child.  She made distinctions between herself and her mother, and she felt deep down that she was very different from her mother.

As her husband had told her all along, Agnes realized that she was a warm, nurturing person and she wouldn't be cold, withholding or critical.  The difference between her husband telling her and Agnes working it through for herself in therapy was that Agnes actually felt it in therapy.

Over time, Agnes also realized that, even though she would make mistakes because no one is perfect, she didn't have to be a perfect mother--she just needed to be good enough.

Getting Help in Therapy
For many women, who were not fortunate enough to have nurturing, loving mothers, their fear that they will become their mothers is strong.

Although family members and friends can be emotionally supportive and try to convince these women that they're nothing like their mothers, often these are experienced as only words.

Working in therapy to overcome unresolved childhood trauma and work through these fears can make all the difference between being an anxious, self doubting mother and being more self assured.

If the vignette in this article resonates with you, whether you're a mother-to-be or a father-to-be with the same fears, you're not alone.

Getting help from a skilled psychotherapist can help you to overcome these fears so that you and your family can have a more fulfilling lives.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR 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 or email me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

NYC Psychotherapy Blog: Are You Setting Boundaries That Are Too Rigid?

In a prior article,  Setting Healthy Boundaries, I discussed how to set healthy boundaries.  In this article, I'm focusing on how to overcome setting boundaries that are too rigid.

Are You Setting Boundaries That Are Too Rigid?
Most of the time when we think of setting boundaries, we think about boundaries that are too loose.

But there are some people who set boundaries that are too rigid and they end up having problems in their interpersonal relationships.

Signs That Your Boundaries Might Be Too Rigid
  • You spend most of your time alone.
  • Your plans don't include other people.
  • You feel lonely, disconnected and alienated from others (see my article: Overcoming Loneliness and Social Isolation).
  • You don't get to know other people because you don't open up to them or allow them to open up to you.
  • You're unhappy because you feel that others don't know the real you, but you also fear allowing them to get to know the real you (see my article:  Overcoming the Fear That Others Won't Like You If They Knew the Real You).
  • You've alienated others because you keep them at a distance.
  • Family or friends complain that you keep them shut out emotionally because you've built a wall around yourself.
  • Other people seem to dislike you, misunderstand you or feel put off by you because you're emotionally cold towards them.
And so on.

What Are Some of the Reasons Why You Might Be Setting Rigid Boundaries?
Generally, people who set rigid boundaries have often experienced prior emotional trauma that makes them fearful of allowing people to get close to them.

This can include an early history of physical abuse or neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and other forms of abuse (see my article: Adults Who Were Traumatized as Children Are Often Afraid to Experience All Their Feelings).

Are You Setting Boundaries That Are Too Rigid?

If you're setting rigid boundaries, you probably don't feel safe allowing others to get to know you beyond the surface, so you might use maladaptive coping strategies or defense mechanisms that include keeping yourself walled off and shutting others out (see my article: How Therapy Can Help You to Gradually Take Down the "Wall" You've Built Around Yourself).

What Are Some of the Problems You Might Be Having As a Result of Rigid Boundaries?
We are all hard wired for emotional attachment.

Everyone has a basic need for emotional connection, even people who deny to themselves and others that this is what they need.

As I mentioned earlier, if you're setting rigid boundaries with others, you probably feel lonely a lot of the time.

You might not make the connection between your loneliness and the rigid boundaries that you set with others.  You might not even realize that you're setting rigid boundaries because it might be unconscious on your part.

You might feel like others don't like you or they're the ones who are avoiding you--when, in fact, what's really happening is that others sense you want them to remain at a distance.

This isn't always something that is clearly defined--it might be a vague sense that others have to keep away from you.

Rigid Boundaries: Others Sense You Want Them to Keep Their Distance

Due to this dynamic, there is a spiraling effect:  You signal to others, either consciously or  unconsciously, that you don't want others to get too close to you.  Then, others respond by keeping their distance from you.

But just like everyone else, you need emotional connection, so you end up feeling lonely and then wonder why others are keeping their distance.  This, in turn, can lead to you're feeling annoyed or resentful, which further signals to others to stay away.

Overcoming the Need to Set Rigid Boundaries With Others
The first step in overcoming this problem is self awareness.

Without self awareness, you won't know that you're creating this dynamic with others and there will be little to no chance of changing it.

The next step is getting help in therapy to overcome the original problem that created the need for you to keep people at a distance.

Getting Help in Therapy
Often, people with rigid boundaries come into therapy because they feel lonely, misunderstood or alienated from others.

Even if they're missing having close connections with others, they might not know how to make those connections.

The underlying problems that lead to forming rigid boundaries often starts at a young age.

It's hard to change from having rigid boundaries to having healthy, flexible boundaries without professional help.

Getting Help in Therapy to Overcome Unresolved Trauma That Results in Rigid Boundaries

A skilled psychotherapist, who is trained in trauma therapy, can help you with unresolved trauma to work through these problems so you can learn to trust and form healthy relationships.

This isn't easy or quick, but trauma therapy has helped many people with rigid boundaries and other similar problems.

I'll be writing more about this in my next article.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialties is helping adults to overcome psychological trauma, and I have helped many people to overcome their trauma history so they could go on to lead fulfilling lives.

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.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

When unrealistic wishful thinking gets in the way of your using good judgment about a relationship, chances are you're setting yourself up to make poor choices and to experience a big disappointment (see my articles:  Emotionally Unhealthy Relationships: Bad Luck or Poor Choices?,  Falling in Love With "Mr. Wrong" Over and Over Again  and  Relationships: Learning to Make Better Choices).

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

Wishful thinking about a relationship, as I'm defining it in this article, is a form of denial and self deception based on what you would like to believe as opposed to reality.

Let's look at a fictionalized scenario that illustrates these points.

Before Ginny met Ron at Cindy's party, she was lonely and unhappy because she had not been in a relationship for several years.  She feared that she would never get married and have children, which she really wanted more than anything.

From the moment she met Ron, she was swept off her feet.  She realized that she never laughed so much or had so much fun with anyone else.  Not only was he a lot of fun, he was handsome, charming and witty.

The first time they made love, Ginny's experience was beyond what she had ever experienced in any other relationship.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices 

And when Ron told Ginny that he loved her that first night they made love, she felt like she was so happy that she would burst.  She told him that she loved him too, and they remained in each other's arms for the rest of the night.

Soon after that, Ginny told her friend, Cindy, that she was sure Ron would be the man that she would marry.  She knew she had never felt this way before and she was sure that Ron felt the same way about her.

Cindy listened to Ginny gush about Ron, and she hesitated before she responded because she didn't want to disappoint Ginny, "Ginny, I'm glad you're having a great time with Ron.  I feel badly saying this, but I've known Ron for a long time, and I think you should know that he has a reputation as a womanizer.  He doesn't remain with anyone for long.  I don't want to see you get hurt" (see my article: Could It Be That Your Friends See Things About Your Lover That You Don't See?).

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

Ginny felt like ice water had been thrown in her face.  Initially, she was shocked and then she felt hurt and angry.  She thought that Cindy was jealous and wanted to ruin things between her and Ron, "I can't believe you're saying this to me!  He told me that he loves me and I believe him.  What we have is real, and I'm not going to let you spoil it."

Ginny continued to see Ron several times a week for the next few months.  Even when she wasn't with him, she spent nearly all of her time thinking about him and what their future together might be like.

When Ginny suggested to him that they go away for a long weekend, Ron told her that he loved the idea, but he would need to check his schedule because he knew he had a business trip coming up.

Ginny hoped that they could go away for his birthday, which was coming up in a couple of weeks.  But when Ron got back to her, he told her that, unfortunately, that was the weekend that he had to go to a business convention in California, and he couldn't get out of it.

He also didn't know when he could get away from work.  He assured her that he really wanted to spend a long weekend with her, but he suggested that they wait to plan it.

At first, Ginny was disappointed that she wouldn't be with Ron on his birthday. But then she had an idea--she would surprise him by showing up at his hotel.  Then, they could, at least, spend some time together on his birthday.

So, Ginny found out the name of the hotel, and she made her plane reservations for the night of his birthday.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

She felt giddy with how happy he would be when he opened his door and saw her standing there.  She was sure it would be the best night they had ever had together.

A week before Ron left, Ginny bought him an expensive watch that he had been eyeing while they were window shopping.  It cost a lot more than Ginny could afford, but she wanted Ron to know how much she loved him.  Besides, it would be worth it to see the look of joy on his face when she gave it to him on his birthday.

All the way on her flight from New York City to California, Ginny closed her eyes and imagined seeing Ron.  She imagined him taking her in his arms and kissing her, being so happy that she surprised him on his special day.

She also imagined that Ron would realize this weekend that they were perfect for each other, and he would propose to her.  Just the thought of his marriage proposal made her smile to herself.  Only a few months ago, she was worried that she was in her mid-30s and that she would never get married and have children.  Now, she was happier than she had ever been in her life.

When Ginny got to the hotel, she could feel her heart pounding as she became increasingly excited about seeing how surprised and happy Ron would be.

When she got to the door, she hesitated for a second and then she knocked.  When Ron opened the door, Ginny leaped into his arms, "Surprise!  Happy birthday!"

But when she looked at Ron's face, she was shocked to see that he looked confused and annoyed. Then, from the corner of her eye, she could see there was a woman in his bed.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

At first, Ginny froze and she barely heard Ron say, "Ginny, what are you doing here!?!  You shouldn't have come without telling me."

Then, he closed the door in her face, saying, "We'll talk about this when I get back to New York."

Then, as she stood there frozen holding the gift bag with his watch, Ginny heard Ron and the woman in his room laughing, and she felt like she was having a nightmare (see my article: Relationships: Falling For Charisma Instead of Character).

When she was finally able to move, Ginny ran out of the hotel, took a taxi to the airport and got herself on the next flight back to New York.

All the way back to New York, she couldn't believe this was happening.  She couldn't get the image of that woman out of her head.  She cried quietly to herself throughout the entire flight.

When she got home, she tried to reach Ron on his cellphone several times, but the calls went straight to voicemail.  And by the next day, he had not responded to any of her messages, so she kept trying him, but she couldn't reach him.

She felt desperate to speak to him and get some explanation, so she called the hotel and tried to reach him through the hotel operator, but the calls went to voicemail.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

Then, she thought she might be able to reach him on the convention floor, so she asked the hotel operator to put her through to the convention floor, but the operator told her that there was no convention at the hotel this weekend.

Stunned, Ginny hung up the phone and sat still for a long time.  All she could think was: There must be some explanation for this.  Maybe he was drunk and he made a mistake that night.  I could forgive him if he apologized and made a mistake.

But then, she thought:  If he made a mistake, why did he look annoyed to see me?  Why didn't he just tell the other woman to leave when he saw me standing there?  Did I really see a woman in his bed or was it my imagination?  Why did he tell me that he was attending a convention?

The next few days were agonizing for Ginny.  She didn't hear back from Ron and he wasn't taking her calls.  She knew that he was back at work, so she tried him there, but she kept getting his voicemail.

She debated back and forth in her mind if she should go to his apartment and confront him there.  She started walking to his apartment and turned around and walked back home several times before she decided that she just had to see him and talk to him.

As she rang his buzzer, she feared that she might see him again with another woman, but when Ron opened the door, he was alone and let her in.

As she sat down on his couch, he stood peering at her with his arms folded across his chest.  She had never seen him look so angry before.

After an awkward silence he told her, "You shouldn't have come without telling me.  What happened was your own fault."

While Ginny tried to get an explanation from him, Ron talked over her and said he didn't want to see her anymore and she should leave.

Then, he turned his back on her, walked into his bedroom and closed the the bedroom door, leaving Ginny standing there alone.  She had no choice to leave but to leave (see my article: A Relationship With a Narcissistic Partner Can Ruin Your Self Esteem).

During the next few weeks, against her pride and better judgment, Ginny pleaded with Ron to talk to her, but he ignored her messages.

Soon after that, Ginny started therapy to deal with her hurt and anger.  She also began to feel despair again that she would ever meet anyone else, and she was sure that she would never get married and, at her age, she might never have children.

Without the possibility of having closure with Ron, Ginny talked to her therapist to try to understand what happened (see my article: Coping With a Breakup When Closure With Your Ex Isn't Possible).

Over time, she realized that her friend, Cindy, was right--Ron was a womanizer and couldn't be trusted.

Worse than that, Ginny allowed herself to get caught up in wishful thinking, which prevented her from using the good judgment that she usually had in most situations.

She realized that her doubts about ever meeting someone who would love her and would marry her blinded her from taking it slowly with Ron.  She allowed herself to be swept off her feet from the start before she even knew him well (see my article: Dating vs Being in a Relationship: Taking the Time to Get to Know Each Other).

In hindsight, she realized that there were other times when Ron made excuses and he was probably seeing other women all along.

Getting Help in Therapy to Choose Healthier Relationships

Ginny and her therapist worked on her low sense of self to build her confidence so that she felt worthy of being treated well and she wouldn't fall into that trap again.

Gradually, she felt more confident that she would meet another man who would treat her well.

It's very easy to fall into a trap where wishful thinking leads to denial about a relationship.

This is especially true when you're not feeling good about yourself and you have doubts about whether you will ever be in a serious relationship again.  When you feel this way, you're more likely to allow yourself to get swept up by someone new.

When you're lonely and unhappy, you're more susceptible to fooling yourself.

There might be obvious signs that others might see where you're turning a blind eye.

Getting Help in Therapy
There's nothing wrong with wanting to love and be loved, but when you develop a blind spot about someone you've just met, you're setting yourself up (see my article: The Benefits of Psychotherapy).

If this has happened to you, rather than being hard on yourself, be as compassionate and forgiving towards yourself as you would be to your best friend (see my article: Psychotherapy and Compassionate Self Acceptance).

If you haven't been able to work through your sadness about a relationship that hasn't worked out, you could benefit from getting help from a licensed mental health professional (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

You're not alone.  A licensed psychotherapist can help you to overcome the emotional pain that you're going through and also help you to overcome the self defeating patterns that resulted in the pain.

With help in therapy, you can become more confident and learn have healthier romantic relationships.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults 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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

NYC Psychotherapy Blog: Healing Trauma: The Effect of Emotionally Reparative Relationships

As a psychotherapist who is a trauma specialist in New York City, I have written many articles about healing trauma, including: Growing Up Feeling Invisible and InvalidatedHealing Old Emotional Childhood Wounds That Are Affecting Your Current Relationships, and Overcoming Emotional Trauma and Developing Resilience.  In this article, I'm focusing on the healing effect of emotionally reparative relationships for people who have experienced childhood trauma.

Healing Trauma: The Effect of Emotionally Reparative Relationships

As you may know, early emotional trauma can have devastating effects psychologically, physically and interpersonally.

Although you can't change what happened to you in the past, emotionally reparative relationships can help you to heal (see my article: You Can't Change the Past, But You Can Change How the Past Affects You Now).

What is an Emotionally Reparative Relationship?
An emotionally reparative relationship is a relationship that is emotionally supportive and nurturing.

Unlike the neglectful or abusive relationships that traumatized individuals had with parents and others in their childhood, these supportive people are there for them now.

These reparative relationships can be with a spouse or significant other, loving friendships, a close mentoring relationship, a loving pet and so on.

You can also have an emotionally reparative relationship with a skilled psychotherapist (see my article: The Therapist's Empathic Attunement Can Be Emotionally Reparative to the Client).

Healing Trauma: The Effect of Emotionally Reparative Relationships

Choosing Healthy Relationships is a Challenge For Childhood Trauma Survivors
The challenge for people who experienced childhood trauma is that they often choose people who will hurt or betray them (see my articles: Relationships: Are You Attracted to People Who Hurt You?).

Choosing hurtful or abusive relationships are usually unconscious choices.

Due to a childhood history of being mistreated, it's often difficult to know how to discern people who will be loving from people who will be abusive (see my article: Emotionally Unhealthy Relationships: Bad Luck or Poor Choices?).

The other major problem is that if ,when they were children, people couldn't trust their parents, it's understandable that they would wonder if they can trust others as adults (see my article: Adults Who Were Neglected as Children Often Have Problems Trusting Others).

Mistrust can lead to social isolation and shying away from relationships--both romantic relationships and friendships (see my article: Overcoming Social Isolation and Loneliness).

The Effect of Emotional Trauma Can Be Fear, Mistrust, Isolation and Loneliness

Social isolation leads to loneliness.  So, every so often, to overcome their loneliness, they might open up to meeting someone new, hoping that this new person will treat them well.

But if they have little or no experience in how to choose healthy people to be in their lives, they haven't developed the necessary skills to make healthy choices.

In addition, the unconscious mind can be a powerful factor in being drawn to what's familiar.

So, if what's familiar to them is mistreatment, without realizing it, they often choose people who will be hurtful (see my article: Choosing "Mr. Wrong" Over and Over Again).

Choosing someone who is hurtful confirms their "reality" that people can't be trusted and opening up to new people will only lead to emotional pain.

It's easy to see how this could lead to an ongoing cycle from fear and mistrust to social isolation to loneliness to opening up (to overcome feelings of loneliness) and then to making poor choices again.  Then, the cycle starts again going back to fear, social isolation, loneliness and so on.

Eventually, many people, who are caught up in this cycle over and over, give up on relationships altogether.

They decide that it's too painful to open up to others and they remain alone.  Their thinking is usually:  It's better to be alone than to risk getting hurt again (see my article: An Emotional Dilemma: Wanting and Dreading Love).

This is very unfortunate because they don't see how their own unconscious mind leads them to keep choosing what's familiar and that if they worked through their early trauma in therapy, they could free themselves from their early history and make better choices (see my article: Learning From Past Romantic Relationships).

Doing Trauma Therapy to Overcome Early Trauma
While the thought of being in therapy to work through early trauma might seem daunting, it's far less daunting than the prospect of continuing to choose people who are hurtful or abusive or giving up on relationships altogether.

There are many different ways of working on early trauma.

In my professional opinion, the most effective modalities are mind-body oriented therapy, such as EMDR Therapy, Somatic Experiencing and clinical hypnosis.

Doing Trauma Work in Therapy to Overcome Early Trauma

A skilled trauma therapist will make sure that clients are emotionally ready to do trauma work.

This will include doing the necessary preparation in terms of developing internal and external resources so the work isn't retraumatizing to clients (see my article: Developing Coping Strategies in Therapy Before Working on Trauma).

As I mentioned earlier, you can't change what you didn't get in your childhood, so it's important to grieve for the abuse, emotional deprivation and major losses.

There's no fixed time when the grief is over, especially when the trauma involves multiple losses or mistreatment on many levels.

But, in most cases, with help in trauma therapy, the grief eventually subsides, which can feel like a big weight has been lifted from you.

Part of working on trauma in therapy is also helping you to develop the insight and skills you didn't develop earlier in terms of choosing healthier people in your life, so you don't continue to make the same mistakes, which lead to getting hurt again (see my article: Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships and  Choosing Healthier Relationships).

Developing Healthy Relationships
Choosing healthier relationships can include:
  • Developing friendships with people who are trustworthy, emotionally supportive and nurturing.  Healthy people can be there for you in ways that your family might not have been when you were growing up (see my article: Emotional Support From Your Family of Choice).
  • Choosing a romantic partner who is loving, kind and supportive, who will be there for you in good times and in bad.
  • Choosing wise people in the form of mentors, teachers or spiritual leaders who will provide inspiration, motivation and guidance.
  • Choosing a caring psychotherapist who will be attuned to your emotional needs and who will help you to overcome early trauma and to make healthy choices in your life.
  • Loving and caring for a pet, who provides unconditional love (see my article: Our Pets Help Us to Be Healthier and Happier).

Healing Trauma: The Effect of Emotionally Reparative Relationships
These relationships can be emotionally healing.  They can fill in the emotional "holes" that were left due to early abuse or neglect.  They can provide the nurturance and love you didn't get in your childhood.

Healing Trauma: The Effect of Emotionally Reparative Relationships

It's also important that these relationships are reciprocal.

In healthy relationships, the emotional support, love and nurturance go both ways.  It's not a one way street.

So, part of the work in therapy is also to learn how to be in reciprocal relationships.

This is important because many people who have had abuse or neglect in early childhood often become other people's rescuers (see my article: How to Stop Being the "Rescuer" in Your Family).

They're always the ones that others go to for help, whether it's emotional, financial or some other kind of help.  But they don't allow others to be supportive of them or they choose people who aren't capable of being supportive.

Other people who were traumatized as children hope to be the ones who are rescued (see my article: Overcoming Fantasies of Being Rescued).  They feel a need to be overly dependent upon others.

So, healthy, mature relationships include both give and take over time and aren't about rescuing or being rescued.  They are mutually supportive relationships.

Emotionally reparative relationships can help to heal the effects of early childhood trauma.

It's usually necessary to first do trauma work in therapy to get to the point where you feel open enough and ready to make healthy choices in relationships, so you don't keep making unhealthy choices.

Part of the work is grieving for your losses and healing from your childhood experiences, but also recognizing that it's possible to get love and emotional support in new relationships.

Healthy relationships, whether it's a friendship or a romantic relationship, include reciprocity so that it's a mutually supportive relationship.

Getting Help in Therapy
As I've mentioned in previous articles, untreated emotional trauma can have serious consequences in terms of emotional and physical health.

Healing Trauma: Getting Help in Therapy

Untreated emotional trauma can also have a damaging effect on your marriage, your relationships with your children and other important relationships.

Rather than getting caught in a cycle of fear, mistrust, isolation and despair, you can get help with a skilled trauma therapist so that you can free yourself from your trauma history to live a happier life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

I have helped many clients to overcome their trauma history to lead more fulfilling lives.

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.

Monday, April 17, 2017

How One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

One person can make a difference in an emotionally traumatized child's life (see my article: Overcoming Emotional Trauma and Developing Resilience).  More about this later in this article.

How Even One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

First some background:

The ACE Study
A landmark study that was conducted in 1998, called the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study found that the more types of emotional trauma a person experienced, the more likely it is that they  will develop social, behavioral, and emotional problems and the adult onset of chronic medical problems.

These adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) include:
  • direct emotional, physical and sexual abuse
  • a mother being treated violently
  • a family member with substance abuse or mental illness
  • parental separation and divorce
  • a house member incarcerated
  • emotional and physical neglect
Some specialists also include experiencing racism or witnessing violence, which I believe are also very important categories.

At around the same time that of the ACE study, Harvard researchers and pediatricians were conducting research on toxic stress.

They discovered that repeated and continuous exposure of toxic stress can have a negative impact on a child's brain development.  Their findings led them to question whether childhood trauma could be prevented or it's impact could be reduced.

How One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

As a psychotherapist, who specializes in helping clients to overcome emotional trauma, I've worked with many clients who have experienced both shock trauma and developmental trauma.

I have found that it is often the case that, even where there was emotional, physical and sexual abuse or neglect, adults, who experienced trauma as children, can often name at least one person in their childhood who made a difference in their life.

How One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

These often include relatives outside the immediate family, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, family friends, therapists and others who provided emotional support that helped to mitigate the emotional trauma they were experiencing as children.

Even when clients come to therapy and they can't immediately think of someone in their life who made a difference, over time, while working in therapy, they often remember people that they haven't thought of in a long time and realize how important those people were to their emotional survival.

The following is a fictionalized vignette, which is a composite based on many different cases with no identifying information, illustrates these points:

Mike came to therapy after many years of experiencing very little joy in his life.

How One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

He was married and gainfully employed, and he was able to function in his daily life.  But he always felt "there's something missing."  Mike felt an emptiness in his internal world.

When his therapist explored his family history, it became evident that, as an only child with emotionally distant parents, he was lonely and emotionally neglected (see my article: Looking at Your Childhood Trauma History From an Adult Perspective and Overcoming the Trauma of Parental Alienation).

How One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

His parents, who were both focused on their professional careers, didn't plan to have children.

At a young age, Mike learned from his parents that he was "a mistake" (see my article: Growing Up Feeling Invisible and Emotionally Invalidated).  Even though his parents joked about this, Mike felt emotionally wounded by it and he sensed the truth behind their jokes:  They didn't want him.

Mike was often left in the care of a full time nanny, who was efficient, but cold and emotionally withholding (see my article: What is Childhood Emotional Neglect?)

As he explored his feelings about himself, he realized that he felt like an unlovable person (see my article: Overcoming the Emotional Pain of Feeling Unlovable).

Mike's therapist prepared Mike to do EMDR Therapy to help Mike overcome the trauma he experienced as a child which resulted in his feeling unlovable (see my article: How Does EMDR Therapy Work?).

As part of EMDR therapy preparation, EMDR therapists often ask clients to remember people in their lives, either past or present, who were nurturing, protective or wise figures in their life (see my article: Developing Coping Strategies and Resources Before Beginning Trauma Processing in Therapy).

When his therapist asked Mike about people in his life who were emotionally supportive of him when he was growing up, Mike couldn't think of anyone from the past or present.  Not even his wife--they were together, but they were emotionally estranged.

How Even One Person Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Person's Life

As mentioned earlier, his parents were cold and withholding, and Mike had no siblings.  He and his parents also had very little contact with extended family, so there were no relatives that Mike could think of from his childhood who were nurturing.

During the preparation phase of EMDR, clients can identify any emotionally supportive people--whether they are "real" (people that they've known) or people they don't know but whom they imagine are nurturing, including people from a movie or TV programs, historical figure, characters from a book, and so on.

The important aspect of this part of the work is for clients to be able to have internal access to an emotionally supportive figure that they can imagine while they're doing the trauma work.  This helps them to sense emotional support, especially during the therapy work.  This, of course, would be in addition to the emotional support from the therapist.

When there has been emotional neglect or abuse, clients often have a hard time coming up with anyone from their life or someone imagined.

There can be such a pervasive feeling of being "unlovable" that, even when there actually were people who were supportive, these clients often don't have immediate access to those memories because they feel so unlovable and undeserving of love and nurturance.

After thinking about it for a while, Mike couldn't think of anyone from his life, so he chose a person from a program that he used to watch as a child, Mister Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Initially, Mike said he felt "silly" imagining Mister Rogers being there with him, but he understood the importance of re-experiencing his traumatic memories while sensing the presence of a nurturing figure, so he imagined Mister Rogers sitting next to him.

At first, it felt contrived to Mike, but as he continued to do it, he was surprised that he could actually feel the love and support of this kind person that he used to watch on TV.

As an emblematic memory of his feeling unlovable, the memory that Mike chose to work on was being told by his mother that he was "a mistake."

Even as he recalled his mother's words and how she laughed, as if she were making a joke, Mike felt profound waves of sadness and shame.

But, when the sadness and shame felt overwhelming, he was able to temporarily shift his attention away from the memory to imagining the emotional comfort of Mister Rogers.   At that point, he really understood the importance of the EMDR preparation work and using nurturing figures.

Several weeks into processing this memory, Mike suddenly remembered Mr. Blake, who had been like a Mister Rogers to him when he was a child.

Remembering Mr. Blake was part of the memory reconsolidating aspect of EMDR therapy. It helped Mike to access these positive memories about Mr. Blake.

How One Person, Like Mr. Blake, Can Make a Difference in a Traumatized Child's Life

Once he remembered Mr. Blake, Mike was surprised that he didn't think of Mr. Blake before when he and his therapist were working on the EMDR preparation phase.

Then, Mike remembered many of his talks with Mr. Blake and, for the first time in his life, Mike became fully aware of the positive effect that Mr. Blake had on his life.  It was like an epiphany to Mike.

Mike remembered that he did well in school, but he was very quiet and kept to himself.

He also remembered that the school bullies would pick on him, taunting and harassing him all the way home from school because they sensed his vulnerability.

One day, as Mike was leaving school, the same bullies followed him and began calling him names.

Just as one of the bullies started tugging on Mike's jacket, their teacher, Mr. Blake, who was nearby, confronted the bullies, reprimanded them and threatened them with disciplinary action if they ever bothered Mike again.  This frightened the bullies and they ran off.

Mr. Blake took Mike aside and told him that he could come to him at any time if the bullies bothered him again or if he needed to talk about anything else.  Mike was grateful, but he was too shy to say anything except "Thank you" in a near whisper.

During the next few years, Mr. Blake would often talk to Mike after school to find out how Mike was doing, even after Mike was no longer in his class.

Unlike his parents, Mr. Blake was kind and empathetic and took an interest in what Mike had to say, and  Mike began opening up more to him to tell him about his interests.  Mr. Blake listened and praised Mike and encouraged him to pursue his interests.

When Mike was in high school, he would sometimes drop by his old school to talk to Mr. Blake.  During those visits, Mr. Blake encouraged Mike to go to college, even though Mike was filled with self doubt about applying to college.

Based on Mike's hard work in high school and Mr. Blake's encouragement, Mike got into the college of his choice.  Mike maintained contact with Mr. Blake for a while, but the demands of college soon overtook Mike's time and they lost contact.

By the time Mike came to therapy many years later, he had initially forgotten about Mr. Blake but, as previously mentioned, EMDR therapy helped him to access these memories, even though he wasn't consciously aware of them.

When he was younger, he didn't really understand the difference Mr. Blake made for him.  But now that he was accessing these memories about Mr. Blake, Mike was able to look back at those times and realize how pivotal his interactions with Mr. Blake were in his life.

Mike talked to his therapist about how, without Mr. Blake, he probably wouldn't have developed some of his interests and he wouldn't have gone to college.  He knew his life would have been very different without this mentoring and guidance.

As Mike talked about this, he realized that Mr. Blake really cared about him, and Mike was emotionally moved by this.  He couldn't believe that he went through his life feeling that no one really cared about him when Mr. Blake took the time to talk to him and obviously cared.

From then on, Mike used his memory of Mr. Blake as a nurturing figure to continue to do the trauma work.

As he continued to do the work, Mike suddenly remembered other people, who were kind and nurturing to him in small ways but, until then, Mike had forgotten all about them.

Mike also realized that, despite the emotional neglect that he experienced as a child, he was also a resilient person and he overcame many obstacles in his life from childhood through adulthood.  This really helped Mike to feel good about himself.

Working Through Early Childhood Trauma as an Adult 

Over time, Mike was able to overcome his feelings of being unlovable and, as he did, he opened up more to his wife.  He discovered that, until then, his wife experienced him as emotionally detached and didn't know how to approach him.  She assumed that he didn't love her anymore.

She didn't realize what an emotional rut he had been in for such a long time until he processed his childhood trauma and began coming out of his rut. As Mike felt more alive, he was able to rekindle his relationship with her.

Even in situations where children are abused or neglected, one person's can make a positive difference in a child's life by being emotionally attuned and caring.

At the time, children might have little to no understanding of the impact that this person is making in their life.  But later on in life, when they look back, especially if they're in therapy, they often become aware of how important this person was to them for their emotional survival and well-being.

As time goes by, it's not unusual for some people to forget about these pivotal people in their lives, especially if there is significant emotional trauma.

EMDR therapy and other forms of experiential therapy, like Somatic Experiencing and clinical hypnosis often help clients to have access to these memories, which can have a profound healing effect (see my article: Experiential Therapy, Like EMDR, Can Achieve Emotional Breakthroughs).

Getting Help in Therapy
As discovered in the ACE study and many years before that, going back to the time of Freud and the early days of psychoanalysis, childhood emotional neglect and abuse can have an adverse impact on adults' emotional and physical well-being with the adult often developing chronic physical ailments.

These detrimental effects usually carry over into adulthood.  But many adults, who feel anxious, depressed, emotionally numb or who have chronic ailments don't realize that what they're feeling is the result of their earlier childhood experiences.

They also don't realize that they can be helped in therapy to overcome these problems.

If you're feeling unhappy with yourself and your life, you're not alone.

You can be helped to overcome your problems with the help of a skilled mental health professional (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

The first step is making a phone call to set up a consultation.

While it might be the hardest step in the process, it can lead to positive changes in your life (see my article: The Benefits of Psychotherapy).

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialties is helping clients to overcome psychological trauma, and I have helped many clients to overcome trauma to live fulfilling lives.

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.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Psychotherapy Blog: Why You Can't "Think" Yourself Into Wellness

Understanding and developing insight into your problems is important but, unfortunately, it's often not enough to change your problems (see my article: Healing From the Inside Out: Why Understanding Your Problems Isn't Enough).

Why You Can't "Think" Yourself Into Wellness

Many people either never go to therapy to deal with emotional problems and many others leave therapy prematurely because they believe they can "think" themselves into wellness (see my article: When Clients Leave Therapy Prematurely).

There's no denying that understanding and developing insight into your problems is important, but it's only the first step.  You use your logical mind to understand and try not to repeat the same problems, if it's in your power.

But when your problems are deeply rooted in psychological trauma, your logical mind often isn't enough.  You need help from a licensed mental health professional to help resolve on the underlying problems that go beyond the logical part of your brain.  You need a skilled therapist to help you deal with the problem on the level of the emotional brain.

Let's take a look at a fictionalized vignette that illustrates these points:

Ed grew up in a family that was nearly destroyed by his father's gambling.  He saw first hand how the family struggled whenever his father lost money at casinos.

When Ed was 10, his mother threatened to leave the father if he didn't stop gambling, so the father stopped going to the casinos.  Instead, he started drinking heavily.

Cross Addiction: Switching One Addiction For Another

Ed's mother resigned herself to being in a marriage with a man who came home and locked himself in his "man cave" in the basement and drank every night.  She was relieved that, at least, she could pay the bills.  But they continued to drift apart.

As is often the case when people give up an addiction without getting help for the underlying issues, drinking replaced the gambling and led to the father having a fatal heart attack when he was in his early 50s.

By that time, Ed was a successful manager at a top company in NYC and married to a woman that he met in college.

Looking at Ed from the outside, it appeared to most people that Ed "had it all" (see my article:

But Ed had a big secret that he was very ashamed of:   Whenever he got paid, he made big bets on sports events.

Sometimes he won, and sometimes he lost.  But no one, except the person who placed bets for him, knew about his betting, not even his wife.

Sometimes, to cover his losses, he had to withdraw money from his savings.  Then, he was desperate to recoup his losses and he would frantically place more bets.

Logically, Ed knew that he needed to stop betting, but he couldn't control his impulses.  He kept chasing his losses and if he won, he wanted to win more.

One day, his wife, Nina, happened to look at their bank statement and she was shocked to see such a low balance compared to what had been in the account only a few months ago.

Normally, she didn't look at the statements because let Ed manage their finances.  So, when she saw the balance, her first thought was that either the bank made a mistake or someone hacked into their account.

When Ed got home, she showed him the statement and asked him what he thought had happened.  At first, he hung his head and didn't respond, and Nina began to feel sick.

Why You Can't "Think" Yourself Into Wellness
Reluctantly, Ed told her about his gambling problem and that he had been withdrawing the money.  Nina went into the bedroom and began to cry.

Ed tried to convince her that he had a "good feeling" about an upcoming football game and he knew he would win.  He only wanted to place one more bet to recoup his losses and then he would stop.

Ed and Nina argued for most of the night, and both of them called out sick from work the next day.

After being up all night, Ed promised Nina that he would never bet again.  He apologized profusely for keeping these secrets and betraying her.

Nina responded by telling Ed to seek help in therapy.  But Ed knew what he needed to do--he needed to stop gambling.  He told Nina that he didn't need a therapist to tell him this.  He could do it on his own.

For the next few months, whenever the person who placed his bets called him to find out it he wanted to place a bet, Ed told him that he wasn't going to bet anymore.  Each time, when he got off the phone, Ed felt dejected and tired, as if he was physically ill.

After a while, Ed began to feel bored and depressed.  He was tempted to place a bet on a basketball game, but he told himself over and over that he had promised his wife that he wouldn't do it, so he couldn't do it.  But he knew that he really wanted to do it, so he struggled with this internal conflict.

Then, one day, one of his colleagues, Jim, called Ed into his office and showed him a picture of a sexy, beautiful woman.

Ed knew Jim's family and he knew the woman in the picture wasn't Jim's wife, so he asked him about the woman.  Jim closed the office to his door and told Ed about the woman, who was with an escort service.

He told Ed in a low voice that he saw this woman from the escort service every few weeks and since he started seeing her, he felt on top of the world.  He said she told him that he was sexy and attractive and he felt like "a million bucks."

Then, Jim told Ed that he should call the service and have fun with one of the beautiful escorts.  He told him that they're very discrete and his wife would never know.

Ed laughed it off, but the image of the beautiful, sexy woman stayed in his mind.  He fantasized about how much fun it would be to be with her.  The more he thought about the happier he felt.

When Ed realized that he was feeling so good by just thinking about it, he told himself that he could try the service once and then never do it again.  He wouldn't tell anyone about it, not even Jim.  It would be his secret (see my articles: Infidelity: Married, Bored and Cheating and Overcoming Addiction: Boredom as a Relapse Trigger).

At the time, Ed didn't know about cross addiction and how a person could replace one addiction, like gambling, with another addiction, like sexual addiction.

Months later, his wife discovered an ad for an escort service in the pocket to Ed's jeans as she was doing laundry and got very upset.

When Ed got home, she threw the ad on his lap.  Ed froze and remained silent.

A week later, Ed began therapy with a psychotherapist who specialized in working with addictions, even though he wasn't convinced that he needed to be in therapy.

Over time, Ed learned about cross addiction and remembered that his father stopped gambling and began drinking heavily.

He also began doing the necessary work to understand the underlying issues that were part of his addiction, in addition to the possible genetic component, and what triggered him.

Why You Can't "Think" Yourself Into Wellness

The work wasn't easy or quick but, gradually, Ed began to realize that he couldn't just "think" himself into wellness.  He couldn't just tell himself not to gambling or engage in sex with escorts because that wasn't enough to override the deeper emotional issues that had to be worked through in therapy.

As he worked through the underlying emotional trauma and became aware of his triggers, Ed's impulse to gamble or have sex with escorts began to diminish because the underlying issues were getting worked on.

At the same time, Ed knew that he could never allow himself to become complacent and, along with therapy, he also attended Gambler's Anonymous and worked the 12 Steps with a sponsor.

There's a common misperception that if you understand your problems, you can avoid making the same mistakes.

While this might be true for certain problems, when you're dealing with more complex issues that have involve unconscious underlying issues, just telling yourself "to stop" isn't enough.

You might have the best intentions of never engaging in this behavior again, but it's not enough.

As many people know who have tried to stop engaging in addictive or dysfunctional behavior, it's very easy to replace one dysfunctional behavior with another, as the vignette above illustrates.

Whether it's gambling, sexual addiction or any other addictive behavior, you can get the same dopamine "rush" from many different types of dysfunctional behavior and this makes it difficult to stop.

Until you work through the underlying issues and discover your triggers, you will, most likely, continue to struggle or "white knuckle it" for a while, risking your relationship, your family, your job and everything that is precious to you.

Getting Help in Therapy
It's not easy asking for help (see my article: Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help).

It's much easier to be in denial and to tell yourself that you can do it on your own.

Many people wait until they lose everything before they seek help, but it doesn't have to be that way (see my article:  The Myth About Having to "Hit Bottom" to Change).

Taking the first step of setting up a consultation can be your first step in your recovery.

Working with a skilled psychotherapist who has experience helping people with addictive behavior and emotional trauma can help to free you from an unhappy existence.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialties is helping clients to overcome the emotional trauma that is creating problems in their lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website:

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.