NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Sexual Wellness: How to Access Your Sexual Energy

Your sexual energy is your life force.  After all, you were conceived as a result of sexual energy. So, knowing how to access this energy can give you a sense of aliveness, regardless of whether or not you have a partner (see my articles: Sexual Pleasure and Developing the Erotic Self - Part 1Part 2 and Women's Sexuality: Tips For Sexual Discovery).

Sexual Wellness: How to Access Your Sexual Energy

Suggestions For Accessing Your Sexual Energy
Here are several ways to access your sexual energy--even if you've been out of touch with it for a while:
  • Connect to Your 5 Senses: Your five senses include what you see, hear, smell, feel (touch) and taste.  By engaging your senses in pleasurable ways, you can come alive sensuously and sexually.  This can include tasting delicious food, smelling your favorite scent, listening to your favorite music, and so on.
  • Move: Exercise and dance can be pleasurable ways to access your sexual energy. These activities can connect you to your deepest energy.  When you feel the beat of the music, it can connect you to your heartbeat.  As you move,  you can feel the rhythm of the music, which makes you come alive to your senses, including your erotic sense.  To access sexual energy through exercise, you can try: glut bridges, plank, Kegels, pigeon pose and so on (always consult with your medical doctor before you begin an exercise program).
  • Make Sounds: Humming, singing, chanting and making other sounds that vibrate in your body is another good way to connect with your sexual energy.  
  • Try Self Pleasure: Touch yourself in ways that feel pleasurable to you.  If you're uncomfortable with masturbating, you can enliven your sensuous self by doing simple things like taking a bubble bath or massaging yourself with your favorite lotion or oil after you shower.  You can also use sex toys (if you feel comfortable) to connect with your sexual energy.  You might need to experiment with the type of toys that feel right to you.
  • Get a Sensual Massage: Touch is so important, and a relaxing massage can help to reconnect you to your body, especially your erogenous zones like the nape of your neck, your scalp, behind your knees, your earlobes, your buttocks and genitals, and your feet--to name the most common erogenous zones.  You might also discover additional erogenous zones that enlive you.  Whether you massage yourself with massage oil or a partner gives you a sensual massage, this kind of touch is healing and can also help you to access your sexual energy.  
Overcoming Psychological Issues That Inhibit Your Sexual Energy
Sometimes unresolved trauma can inhibit or block your sexual energy.  Whether this was the result of sexual abuse, anxiety or familial or cultural taboos, a trauma therapist who uses Experiential Therapy can help you to overcome the problems that are keeping you blocked (see my article: Why Experiential Psychotherapy is More Effective Than Talk Therapy to Overcome Trauma).

Getting Help in Therapy
If you have been feeling disconnected from yourself emotionally or physically, you can get help from a licensed mental health professional who uses the mind-body connection in therapy (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help.  

Resolving the problems that keep you blocked can free you from your history and reconnect you to your vitality.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Love Maps: How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, who wrote The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Worka "Love Map" is a metaphor for that part of your brain where you store important information about your partner, including their preferences, opinions, likes and dislikes, fears, hopes and dreams, and major events in their life (see my articles: The 5 Stages of Love From Attraction to Commitment and Developing and Maintaining a Happy Relationship).

Love Maps: How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

Getting to know your partner and allowing your partner to get to know you, including your inner emotional world, is an ongoing process.  It means making a sustained effort throughout the course of your relationship to learn about your partner and allow your partner to get to know you on a deep emotional level.

Why Are Love Maps Important?
According to Dr. Gottman, people who remain up to date with what's going on with their partner, including their thoughts and feelings, are more resilient and they're in a better position to weather life's inevitable ups and downs, including conflict and stressful events.

The reason why developing love maps is an ongoing process is that people change over time.  If you're not paying attention to your partner's thoughts and feelings as well as the significant events in their life, you will probably drift apart (see my articles: Telltale Signs That You and Your Partner Are Drifting Apart and How to Get Closer If You and Your Partner Have Grown Apart).

For a variety of reasons, many couples lose touch with the details of their partner's life.  Understandably, this might be due to being overwhelmed by childrearing, stress at work or other everyday stressors.  For instance, many couples tell me that they barely have time to talk to each other because they're focused on their children.  

Another example is a situation where one or both spouses are expected to work long hours at home after the normal workday and respond to calls, email and texts late at night.  As a result, they end up being exhausted and have no time for each other.  If they don't make a conscious effort to make time for each other, they can become increasingly alienated from one another.

Under these circumstances, they might know general information about a particular area of their spouse's life, like an interest in a particular type of music, but they might not be up to date on their spouse's new favorite band, the name of a new friend or the details of a new hobby or interest.

Some people are also afraid to be emotionally vulnerable in relationships.  Emotional vulnerability feels threatening to them, so they don't like to share their inner emotional world.  

These are the couples who are likely to drift apart because emotional vulnerability is part of the glue that keeps relationships together and without it they might just coexist in the same household like roommates (see my article: Relationships: Fear of Being Emotionally Vulnerable and Emotional Vulnerability as a Pathway to Greater Emotional Intimacy).

Over time, without shared emotional intimacy, there is often more distance in the relationship.  When there is less and less to share, the relationship suffers.  In the worst case scenario, alienation can increase until they feel like strangers to each other.

Fortunately, there are ways for couples to overcome the emotional distance that can so easily develop over time.  Developing a Love Map, as described in Dr. Gottman's book, is one way to do this (see my article: New Bonds of Love Can Replace a Negative Cycle in a Relationship).

Getting Help in Therapy
If you're struggling with unresolved problems, you're not alone.  Help is available.

Taking the first step to contact a licensed therapist might be the hardest, but it's also the first step to resolving your problems.  So, rather than struggling on your own, seek help.

A licensed mental health professional can help you to resolve your problems so you can live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Corrective Emotional Experiences in Therapy Help to Heal Trauma

In a prior article, What is the Corrective Emotional Experience in Therapy?, I discussed how a corrective emotional experience in therapy can occur when a client has an experience with the therapist that challenges the client's negative beliefs about him or herself and provides a new emotional experience that's healing.  

Corrective Emotional Experiences Help to Heal Trauma

A Corrective Emotional Experience in Therapy and a Change in Attachment Styles
A common example of this is when an adult client, who grew up feeling emotionally neglectedinvisible and unloved by his parents, has a felt sense that his therapist cares about him.  

Usually, when people grow up emotionally neglected or abused, they develop an insecure attachment style.  Although insecure attachment styles are difficult to change, corrective emotional experiences can help someone to change from an insecure to a secure attachment style, which is called earned secure attachment (see my articles: What is Your Attachment Style?How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Relationship and Developing a Secure Attachment Style: What is Earned Secure Attachment?)

In other words, this person, who grew up with a sense that he was unlovable, can have a new transformative experience in therapy.  So, not only does he feel understood, but he also has a visceral experience of being deeply cared about by his therapist.  

What Are Corrective Emotional Experiences in Your Personal Life?
In addition to transformative emotional experiences in therapy, corrective emotional experiences occur in everyday life, but people often don't notice them or can't feel them.

You might wonder how this is possible and you might ask: Wouldn't it be easier to feel these experiences in everyday personal interactions than it would be in therapy?  The answer is: It depends.  Some people are really adept at picking up on corrective emotional experiences, especially when they occur with a loved one, and others are not.

For instance, John, who grew up in a family where he felt unloved and neglected, believes he's unlovable and these feelings carry over into adulthood.  He doesn't realize that he wasn't the problem--it was his parents who had problems expressing their love for him.

As an adult, John married a woman who is affectionate, kind and attentive to his emotional needs.  At first, he's uncomfortable with taking in her love because he's not accustomed to feeling loved.  But, over time, he learns to take in her love and affection and these new emotional experiences with his wife disconfirm the way he felt about himself since childhood.  This is a transformative experience for John--whether he's consciously aware of it or not.

Other people have a harder time with corrective emotional experiences.  For instance, Sara, who was also emotionally neglected as a child, still feels unlovable even though she knows her spouse loves her.  In this second example, Sara's traumatic childhood has had such a profound effect on her that her spouse's love makes no difference in the way she feels about herself because it's split off from how she feels about herself.  

What is Experiential Trauma Therapy and How Does It Help Clients to Experience Corrective Emotional Experiences in Their Personal Lives?
Experiential trauma therapy is a bottom up approach (as opposed to a top down approach in regular talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of talk therapy).  The bottom up approach is an embodied therapy that provides an integrated mind-body connection (see my articles: What is a Trauma Therapist? and Why is Experiential Therapy More Effective Than Talk Therapy to Resolve Trauma?)

The bottom up approach used in experiential trauma therapy focuses on the limbic system of the brain where traumatic memories are stored and where they get triggered (see my article: What's the Difference Between Top Down and Bottom Up Approaches to Therapy?).   

Clinical Vignette:  
The following clinical example illustrates how experiential trauma can provide a corrective emotional experience that is transformative and helps to heal trauma:

After attempting on his own to work through childhood trauma that continued to affect him as an adult, Ed began seeing a trauma therapist who used an experiential approach to therapy.

As Ed explained to his therapist, he had pervasive feelings of not being lovable his whole life--even now that he had a loving wife, close friends, and a successful career with colleagues who cared about him.  

In other words, there was a disconnect for Ed between what he knew logically and what he felt emotionally, and no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn't reconcile this disconnection, which was frustrating and discouraging for him.

His therapist recommended that they use EMDR therapy to work on Ed's sense of feeling unlovable.  With EMDR, Ed focused on his feelings of being unlovable and, gradually, he worked through much of his history of early trauma related to emotional neglect.  

Over time, as he continued in EMDR therapy, he developed an understanding, both mentally and emotionally, that his feelings of being unlovable developed because his parents were unable to express their love and affection for him. 

He also realized that they were unable to express their love because they grew up in home environments where they also felt unloved and so did their parents (see my article: Psychotherapy and Intergenerational Trauma).

Part of Ed's experience in EMDR therapy included grieving the loss of love he experienced as a child.  He also grieved for his parents' loss and the generations of families before them who also experienced this emotional loss.

Since his trauma therapist integrated EMDR therapy with other types of experiential therapy, like AEDP and Parts Work therapy, Ed's sense of himself changed to being a person that his wife and friends loved.  It was no longer just a thought or concept in his mind--he had a visceral sense of being lovable, which endured for him even after his therapy.

A corrective emotional experience comes in relationship with others--whether it's with someone in your personal life, like a significant other or a close friend or family member, or it's with a psychotherapist where you have a good therapeutic relationship and where you feel cared about.

Many people who have experienced developmental trauma, also known as unresolved childhood trauma, are unable to take in corrective emotional experiences, even when they have people close to them who love them.  

These people might know logically that their loved ones are now providing them with loving experiences that they didn't have when they were children but, due to their unresolved trauma, they're unable to feel it.

Experiential trauma therapy provides an opportunity to work through unresolved trauma and allows individuals to integrate corrective emotional experiences in an embodied way so they can have a new sense of feeling loved and cared about on an emotional level.  

Getting Help in Therapy
There are many people who spend their entire lives trying to overcome a history of trauma on their own without success.  As a result, their trauma continues to have a profound negative impact.

If you have tried on your own to overcome a traumatic history, you're not alone.  Help is available to you (see my article: Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help).

If you work with an experiential trauma therapist, you can free yourself from your history so you can live a more fulfilling life. 

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article:  The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Therapy).

I work 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Your Peak Erotic Experiences - Part 2

In Part 1 of this topic, I described how recalling your peak erotic experiences can help individuals and couples revive their sex life, based on the work of sex therapist, Dr. Jack Morin.  According to Dr. Morin, learning about yourself from your peak erotic experiences can help enhance your sex life (see my articles: Sexual Wellness: Overcoming Boredom in Long Term Relationships and Changing Your Sex Script).

Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Your Peak Erotic Experiences

As I mentioned in my prior article, Dr. Morin's work is based on Dr. Abraham Maslow's concepts of peak performance and self actualizers.

In this article, I'm providing the clinical vignette (below) to illustrate some of the concepts in Dr. Morin's book, The Erotic Mind.

Clinical Vignette: The following clinical vignette, which is a composite of many cases, illustrates the benefits of focusing on peak sexual experiences:

Bob, who was in his mid-50s, sought help in therapy because he was concerned that he and his wife weren't having sex.  Over the years, sex dwindled down to a few times a year.  He also indicated that when they were sexual, it wasn't enjoyable for either of them.  Since his wife told him that she felt too uncomfortable to participate in couples therapy, he sought help for himself in individual psychotherapy.

According to Bob, when they got married 25 years ago, they could hardly keep their hands off each other and they enjoyed a passionate sex life.  Then, they had children and their sex life waned.  He had hoped that, once their children were on their own, he and his wife could revive their sex life, but their attempts were disappointing. After medical problems were ruled out, their doctor recommended therapy.  

When asked, Bob said he still felt sexually aroused when he saw an attractive woman and he was tempted a few times to have affairs when he was away at business conferences, but he really didn't want to cheat on his wife.  

Rather than approaching the issue as a problem, his therapist encouraged Bob to think back to peak sexual experiences with his wife from the past when they were both turned on.  Unaccustomed to thinking in this way, at first, Bob had problems remembering any sexual experiences that stood out for him, so he agreed to think about it during the week between therapy sessions.

When Bob returned to see his psychotherapist the following week, he seemed more engaged and enthusiastic than he had the week before.  He said he recalled a memory from 10 years ago: He and his wife were in their pool late at night when they began to spontaneously flirt with each other, which led to sex play and one of their most unexpected passionate sexual experiences they ever had together.

When his therapist asked him what made that sexual experience so exciting, Bob said he thought it was a combination of both of them being relaxed, the spontaneity and novelty of the situation, and the excitement over the possibility of being seen by their neighbors, although he said this wasn't likely.  He said they had never done that before and they both found it thrilling.  He also wondered aloud why they had never done it again.

After Bob recalled that memory, he also recalled other peak sexual experiences with his wife that involved being relaxed, playful and open to novelty.  Although he was excited to recall these memories, he was hesitant to bring them up to his wife because he feared she would laugh at him and then he would feel ashamed (see my article: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex).

Over time, Bob and his therapist worked on his shame, including a family history where sex was taboo, before Bob felt ready to talk to his wife about taking steps to revive their sex life.

He told his therapist that, at first, as usual, his wife got anxious when he brought up the topic of their nearly nonexistent sex life. But when he told her about his memories about when sex was exciting for them, she relaxed and became more enthusiastic.  

In fact, he said, just talking about those peak sexual experiences got them both turned on and they had passionate sex that night. Afterwards, when they were cuddling, they both agreed that they hadn't had such passionate sex in a long time and they both wanted to continue to revive their sex life.

Over time, Bob and his wife became increasingly more open and vulnerable to exploring their sexuality together, and their sex life flourished (see my article: Emotional Vulnerability as a Pathway to Greater Intimacy).

Getting Help in Therapy
There can be many reasons why an individual's or couple's sex life can wane.  

Once medical issues have been ruled out, working with a skilled psychotherapist can be helpful to overcoming the obstacles to a more fulfilling sex life and relationship.

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a licensed mental health practitioner.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Your Peak Erotic Experiences - Part 1

In his book, The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment, Dr. Jack Morin says that if you want to explore your most enjoyable turn-ons, you can think back on your most pleasurable and compelling sexual experiences (see my article: What is Good Sex? and Understanding Your Sex Script).

Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Your Peak Erotic Experiences 

What Are Peak Experiences?
Peak experiences can occur in any part of your life--not just your sex life.  They can include (but are not limited to):
  • Transcendent moments of joy
  • A sense of wonder, awe or ecstasy
  • A highly valued experience due to its intensity, depth of feeling or a sense of profound significance
  • A religious or spiritual experience
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Dr. Morin's concept of sexual peak experiences was influenced by Dr. Abraham Maslow who focused on the "psychology of health" in the 1960s to counterbalance the negativity in psychology at that time.

Dr. Maslow was interested in many different types of peak experiences, including the experience of being enraptured by beautiful music, artwork, nature, dance, and athletics, among other things.  

During those moments of rapture and ecstasy, you are fully in the moment, and many people describe those moments as being life changing.

Dr. Maslow developed his theory of self actualization with a pyramid of the Hierarchy of Needs, which included five needs from lowest to highest:
  • Physiological Needs: The needs that keep you alive, including food, air, water, sleep
  • Safety Needs: The need to feel secure, stable and unafraid
  • Love and Belongingness Needs: The need to belong socially by developing relationships with friends and family
  • Esteem Needs: The need to feel self esteem based on achievements and abilities and recognition and respect from others
  • Self Actualization Needs: The need to pursue and fulfill your unique potential
According to Dr. Maslow, almost everyone has peak experiences but "self actualizers" have these experiences more often.  

What Characteristics Do Self Actualizers Have That Allow Them to Have More Peak Experiences?
Dr. Maslow posited that self actualizers have certain unique characteristics that enable them to have peak experiences, including:
  • A Sense of Independence With Their Own Perspective: They're usually autonomous and they don't necessarily conform to what others believe.  They're open to new experiences, even if others are not, and they develop their own perspective.  Their sense of independence allows them to live in the moment and appreciate what's around them.
  • An Enjoyment of Solitude and Privacy: Although they enjoy the company of others, self actualizers value their solitude and privacy.  Solitude and privacy is essential to self discovery and developing their individual potential.
  • A Sense of Spontaneity and Openness: Although they can go along with social norms when necessary, they also tend to be open, spontaneous and unconventional. They don't feel confined by rigid social norms.
  • A Sense of Humor: They're able to see the humor in situations, which helps them to get through tough times.  They can laugh at themselves, but they don't use humor to ridicule others.
Elements of Peak Sexual Experiences
Dr. Morin recommends that you consider those peak moments of high sexual arousal to understand the crucial elements of those experiences and how these elements came together to make a peak sexual experience, including:
  • Your partner
  • The setting
  • A particular twist or surprise in your sexual interaction
According to Dr. Morin, those peak experiences reveal a lot about how your personal eroticism works.

Focusing on Your Peak Sexual Experiences as a Window Into Your Erotic Mind
Dr. Morin provides clinical examples in his book of how his clients learned about what turned them on by focusing on peak erotic experiences (see my article: Sexual Wellness: Overcoming Sexual Boredom in Long Term Relationships).

Rather than focusing on their problems, they focused on memories of what sexual experiences turned them on.  They were able to overcome sexual problems by understanding and using these experiences to enhance their sex life.

My Next Article: I'll continue to explore these issues in my next article with a clinical vignette (see my next article: Reviving Your Sex Life By Exploring Peak Erotic Experiences - Part 2).

Getting Help in Therapy
There can be many reasons why an individual's or couple's sex life can wane.  

Once medical issues have been ruled out, working with a skilled psychotherapist can be helpful to overcoming the obstacles to a more fulfilling sex life.

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a licensed mental health practitioner.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Irrational Jealousy and Mate Guarding in Relationships - Part 2

In Part 1 of this topic, Irrational Jealousy and Mate Guarding in Relationships, I gave a basic description of this dynamic.  In the current article, which is Part 2, I'm providing a clinical vignette to illustrate a typical scenario.

Irrational Jealousy and Mate Guarding in Relationships

Clinical Vignette:  Irrational Jealousy and Mate Guarding in a Relationship
The following vignette, which is a composite of many different cases with all identifying information removed, illustrates a typical dynamic related to irrational jealousy and mate guarding:

After her boyfriend, Nick, told her that they should take some time apart, Sue sought help in therapy to deal with her irrational jealousy.

Sue told her therapist that Nick was a great guy and she had no objective reason to believe he was cheating on her or even interested in anyone else.  However, even the mere thought that he could become interested in another woman made her anxious, obsessively jealous and insecure.

She gave many examples of when she and Nick were around other people and how she would imagine Nick with one of the women in the group.  She felt something came over her, she lost all objectivity and then she would spend the rest of the night monitoring Nick's behavior--even watching to see if he glanced at any of the attractive women in the group.

Afterwards when they were alone, Sue would grill Nick to try to find out if he found any of these women attractive.  Since Nick knew about Sue's irrational jealousy, he would try to change the subject, but once Sue was on the topic, she wouldn't let it go.

Eventually, after she hounded Nick about whether he noticed the attractive women at the social event, they would get into an argument and she would break up with him.  

Once she calmed down, Sue realized that these thoughts had taken over her better judgment and she would apologize to Nick.  Then, they would make up and get along for a while until the next time that Sue got jealous.

After the last event, Sue insisted that Nick check in with her several times a day to give her an account of his whereabouts.  She also told him that she wanted to install a tracking device on his phone, which he adamantly refused.

Most of the time Nick was patient with Sue, but after a particularly volatile exchange where she accused him of looking at an attractive women at a party, Nick said he was fed up. That's when he told her that he thought they needed some time apart.

As usual, when Sue calmed down, she realized she was being irrational and she apologized, but Nick insisted that they spend a few months apart so he could clear his head.  Even though Sue felt remorseful because she realized her mistake, she was even more concerned now that they were apart that Nick would meet someone else during their separation.

Sue revealed to her therapist that this wasn't the first time she experienced irrational jealousy in a relationship.  She felt the same way in her previous two serious relationships and her jealousy contributed to the demise of those relationships.  

In each case, she said, she knew logically that she had no reason to be jealous, but she felt once she became jealous, she couldn't help herself.  She told her therapist that she didn't want her jealousy to ruin her relationship with Nick, and she hoped it wasn't too late to overcome her problem.

As Sue discussed her family history with her therapist, she recounted her parents' marital problems.  She said her parents fought openly in front of Sue and her siblings about the father's infidelity (see my article: How Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Intimate Relationships).

She said her mother eventually found out that the father not only had an extramarital affair, but he also had several children with the other woman.  According to Sue, after her mother found out the father had another secret family, she threw him out of the house and he went to live with the other woman and their children.

Sue said she and her father had been very close before this, but after her mother told him to leave, she didn't see him for many years.  She said she believed as a child, and even as an adult, that her father loved his other children more and she was devastated by the loss.

Just before her father died, Sue said, he reached out to her and her siblings to reconnect.  Her siblings wanted nothing to do with him, but she went to visit him and spent the remaining weeks of his life visiting him at the hospital.  By then, he was a sad and lonely man--his relationship with the other woman had been long over and he had no contact with the children from that relationship.

Even though she had a chance to reconnect with her father before he died, she couldn't overcome her longstanding feelings of being abandoned and that her belief that he preferred the children from the other relationship (see my article: Fear of Abandonment Can Occur Even in a Healthy Relationship).

Her therapist recognized that Sue's childhood trauma was triggering Sue, and that history was having a negative impact on her relationship with Nick. So she helped Sue to develop internal resources to contain her emotions first, and then they worked on the original source of the trauma related to feeling abandoned by her father with a combination of EMDR therapySomatic Experiencing and AEDP therapy).

Once Sue processed and resolved her childhood traumatic memories over the course of trauma therapy, she was able to distinguish between her emotions related to her memories and her current relationship with Nick and she was no longer triggered.

Eventually, Sue no longer felt jealous and she had no need to engage in mate guarding behavior. Over time, after she and Nick reunited, they were much happier together.

When a person knows there are no objective reasons to feel jealous in their relationship and yet they still struggle with jealousy and mate guarding behavior, there is usually underlying unresolved trauma that is getting triggered. 

Trauma therapy can be very helpful in processing unresolved memories that trigger irrational jealousy (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

Although the clinical vignette presented above was focused on a woman who engaged in irrationally jealous behavior, this story could have just as easily been about a man because both men and women engage in these dynamics.

Getting Help in Therapy
Irrational jealousy and mate guarding behavior can ruin a relationship.

A skilled psychotherapist can help you to overcome problems related to irrational jealousy so you can free yourself from this dynamic and have a more fulfilling relationship.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP and EFT 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.