NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, October 31, 2022

Relationships: What Are the Underlying Issues in the Cat-and-Mouse Game?

The origin of the phrase "Cat-and-Mouse Game" dates back to 17th Century England.  This phrase refers to actions involving the constant pursuit, near capture and repeated escapes of two people stuck in this dynamic. 

The Underlying Issues of the Cat-and-Mouse Game

What Are the Underlying Issues in the Cat-and-Mouse Game?
The Cat-and-Mouse Game is similar to the cartoon characters, Tom and Jerry:  Tom, the cat, always almost captures Jerry, the mouse, but somehow Jerry always manages to get away.  

The result of this pursuer-withdrawer dynamic is that they continually engage in this dance of pursuit, near capture, and flight (see my articles: Are You Afraid of Being Emotionally Intimate in a Relationship? and Fear of Abandonment).

The Cat-and-Mouse Game usually involves an unconscious fear of either fear of engulfment or fear of abandonment.  There is an ambivalent quality to the dynamics of these two people, who might want to be together. but when it appears they are getting closer together, one or both of them distance themselves.

Fear of engulfment is extreme distress or anxiety about being emotionally taken over/engulfed in a relationship with another person. The fear involves a perceived loss of independence and sense of self.  Fear of engulfment often occurs when a person feels insecure and experiences relationships as overwhelming.  This usually relates to unresolved childhood trauma where this person felt overwhelmed by one or both parents.

Fear of abandonment is an overwhelming worry that people who are close will leave.  This fear is often rooted in unresolved childhood trauma where someone close, including a mother, father or another close relative, left or died.

Although the Cat-and-Mouse Game is referred to as a "game," there usually isn't a malicious intent.  Often it's more like an unspoken dance between two people, who might be unaware of what they're doing, but who are both dealing with fears within themselves.

The person in the role of the cat fears s/he will be abandoned by the mouse, so s/he pursues but also maintains some distance so there is enough space to deal with what s/he fears will be the inevitable abandonment.  

The mouse fears being engulfed or overwhelmed by the cat, so s/he maintains enough space to feel safe but close enough to maintain contact.

On an unconscious level, the cat, who is the pursuer, is interested the in the mouse because the cat knows the mouse will run.  And the mouse is interested in the cat because the mouse knows the cat will pursue the mouse.  

As long as one chases and the other pursues, they remain in contact with each other, but they also maintain a safe emotional distance which they both need for their own psychological reasons.  

The regulation of the space between them is an unconscious defensive act so that they can have contact with some distance at the same time.

The Cat-and-Mouse Game is exhausting and can be deeply painful.  Due to their fears, the two people involved often don't get close enough to have an emotionally intimate relationship.  They might really love each other, but their earlier traumatic history of abandonment or engulfment keeps them apart and stuck in this cycle.

Even people who are married or in a long term committed relationship can get caught in this dynamic.  For a period of time their relationship can be going relatively well when one of them will pick a fight with the other.  

On the surface, the fight might seem ridiculous.  But what's really going on underneath the surface is that one or both of them gets uncomfortable with being too close because it either triggers fear of abandonment/being left or fear of intimacy/being too close.  So, the unconscious reason for the fight is that it provides psychological distance.

After a while, when the psychological distance allows each of them feel safe enough, they reengage--until fear comes over them and they begin this negative cycle again.

How to Get Out of the Cat-and-Mouse Game
As I mentioned earlier, these dynamics are often deeply entrenched in an earlier traumatic history which left an indelible mark on each person.

Getting Out of the Cat-and-Mouse Game

But there is light at the end of the tunnel if both people are willing to get help in therapy.

Insight isn't enough to change this dynamic.

Often the most effective therapeutic strategy is individual trauma therapy to work through the unresolved trauma so it doesn't get continually triggered and, if the two people involved are in a relationship, couples therapy, like Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) to address the negative cycle in the relationship (see my articles: Overcoming the Negative Cycle in Your Relationship That Keeps You Stuck and New Bonds of Love Can Replace a Negative Cycle).

Once the couple is no longer getting triggered by their traumatic histories and the negative cycle they created together, they are free to be emotionally intimate.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT Couples Therapy, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a trauma therapist who works with individuals and couples (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

How Unresolved Childhood Trauma Can Affect Your Ability to Be Emotionally Vulnerable in an Adult Romantic Relationship

In my last article, Emotional Vulnerability as a Strength in a Relationship, I discussed the importance of being emotionally vulnerable as an adult in a romantic relationship.  I discussed how being emotionally vulnerable can bring people closer and create greater emotional intimacy (see my article: Vulnerability as a Pathway to Greater Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship).

Unresolved Childhood Trauma Can Affect Adult Romantic Relationships

But there are times when unresolved trauma can create an obstacle in terms of someone feeling safe enough to allow themselves to take the risk of being vulnerable, which is the topic of this article.

How Unresolved Childhood Trauma Affects Your Ability to Be Emotionally Vulnerable in an Adult Romantic Relationship
The following clinical vignette, which is a composite of many cases with all identifying information removed, illustrates how unresolved childhood trauma creates an obstacle to emotional vulnerability and how experiential therapy can help:

Bill and Sara
When Bill and Sara first met, the chemistry between them was so strong that they both knew they wanted to be in a relationship within the first month.  

But six months into the relationship, after the new relationship energy wore off, they were getting into arguments because Sara felt her emotional needs weren't being met in their relationship.

Specifically, Sara complained to Bill that he was often emotionally distant.  At first, Bill wasn't aware of being any different from how he had always been with Sara, but he took her complaints seriously, especially when she told him that he seemed to have difficulty now being emotionally intimate.  

She told him that he didn't seem to have any problem with being close to her during the first several months of their relationship, but after that he seemed more emotionally withdrawn. 

Initially, Bill felt annoyed. He felt she was making a big deal out of nothing.  But, over time, as he continued to listen to her tell him that she felt he was distant around her, he thought about it more carefully, especially since his last two girlfriends told him the same thing.

Since he didn't want to lose another girlfriend because of complaints about his being emotionally withdrawn, Bill started therapy to work on this issue. 

He had attended cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the past and he learned some relationship skills, but he felt CBT didn't get to the root of his problem.  

After hearing Bill's childhood history of childhood emotional neglect, his therapist understood why Bill was so uncomfortable allowing himself to be vulnerable with Sara and also in his previous relationships (see my article: How Unresolved Trauma Affects Intimate Relationships).

His father worked long hours and when he was around, he usually spent most of his time in the basement tinkering with gadgets he was developing.  

His mother spent a lot of time doing volunteer work for several organizations, so Bill was usually left in the company of the housekeeper.  She was emotionally cold, and she was  also preoccupied with her duties, so she didn't have time for Bill.

As a child, Bill was aware that he wasn't supposed to interrupt his father when he was tinkering with his gadgets or bother his mother when she got home.  This was made very clear to him by both parents. 

So, as an only child, he often felt lonely and as if he was a nuisance to his parents (see my article: Growing Up Feeling Invisible and Emotionally Invalidated).

Whenever he went to visit his friends, Bill was surprised to see how warm and affectionate his friends' parents were with them.  This was so different from his own experience with his parents.

Now that he was in therapy as an adult, he admitted to his therapist that it was easier for him to tell Sara that he loved her during the first few months.  But after that, he felt uncomfortable and he didn't understand why.  

His therapist explained to Bill that as a couple gets closer and a relationship gets deeper, unresolved childhood issues come up and affect the relationship--especially issues involving emotional vulnerability (see my article: Reacting to the Present Based on Your Traumatic Past).

She also provided psychoeducation about childhood emotional neglect and how this often triggers issues with emotional intimacy in adult romantic relationships after the initial new relationship energy wears off.

At first, Bill had problems getting in touch with his fear of being emotionally vulnerable.  But working experientially with Somatic Experiencing (SE) with a recent memory of his discomfort when Sara asked him to tell her that he loved her.  

As he sensed into his body, he felt the right side of his neck and shoulder tense up.  He also felt a tightening in is stomach (see my article: Experiential Therapy and the Mind-Body Connection: The Body Offers a Window Into the Unconscious Mind).

His therapist asked Bill to stay with that feelings for as long as they were tolerable.  Then, she asked him to identify the emotions he felt that were connected to the tension in his body.  

At first, Bill couldn't think of anything, but as he continued to stay with his bodily experience, he had a sense of fear and sadness when his therapist used a technique called the Affect Bridge, which is used in hypnotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, EMDR and other types of experiential therapy.

Over time, Bill and his therapist continued to work with this memory in subsequent therapy sessions, another memory came to him where he asked his mother to play with him when he was five years old.  

His mother had just gotten in from one of her volunteer projects and she seemed annoyed.  She told him to go to his room and play by himself, which made him feel sad and fearful of making his mother angry.

In other subsequent sessions Bill remembered trying to approach his father to try to get him to play catch with him.  But his father said he was too busy and sent Bill away to play on his own.

His therapist provided Bill with additional psychoeducation about childhood emotional neglect, which surprised Bill because he never thought of himself as being emotionally neglect, but now this made sense to him.

As Bill continued to work on these issues in therapy using the mind-body connection, he was able to put words to emotions about his early experiences of being dismissed by his parents and what came to mind for him was, "I'm not good enough" (see my article: What is the Felt Sense in Experiential Therapy?).

Over time, Bill made the connection between his early feelings of not being good enough and his fear of being emotionally vulnerable with Sara.  He realized that he had put up a wall with her--a defense mechanism to ward off his fear of being rejected, which was connected to his childhood emotional neglect and not feeling good enough. 

Deep down he feared Sara would discover that he wasn't good enough for her, so he protected himself by being emotionally distant with her.

His therapist explained EMDR Therapy to Bill and how it can help with unresolved trauma (see my article: Experiential Therapy, Like EMDR, Helps Achieve Emotional Breakthroughs).

Experiential Therapy Can Achieve Emotional Breakthroughs

Gradually, Bill worked through his childhood trauma in therapy so that it no longer affected him in the present.  The work was neither quick nor easy.

Once he worked through his childhood trauma, being emotionally vulnerable was no longer a problem for him and he was able to express his emotional vulnerability openly with Sara without fear (see my article: Healing Old Emotional Wounds That Are Affecting Your Relationship).

Sara was happier in their relationship than she had ever been because she felt her emotional needs were now being met, and Bill was happy because he was no longer burdened by childhood trauma.

For the purposes of this blog article, which is short compared to scholarly articles, the vignette above is a simplified version of trauma therapy using Somatic Experiencing and EMDR therapy.

In real life cases clients might need other interventions, like doing Parts Work to work through obstacles that come up in trauma therapy--obstacles which are often fairly entrenched by the time a client reaches adulthood and comes to therapy.

Generally, experiential therapy, like EMDR and Somatic Experiencing, tend to work faster than regular talk therapy because an experiential therapist is using the mind-body connection to get access to the unresolved trauma and the unconscious emotions connected to it.

It is often the case that these types of problems don't come up early in the relationship, as seen in the vignette.  At that point, couples are often carried along with the excitement of new relationship energy (NRE), which is a heightened emotional and sexual state during the beginning phase of a relationship.  

The wearing off of NRE, which is also referred to as limerance, varies for people.  However, in most cases NRE wears off anywhere from a few months to a couple of years.  At that point, the couple usually enters into a new phase of the relationship where emotionally intimacy deepens, and this is when problems with emotional vulnerability often comes up.

Without the NRE (or limerance) to carry him along in the scenario above and faced with the deepening of emotional intimacy in the relationship, Bill's unconscious fears of allowing himself to be vulnerable surfaced.

Before he attended therapy, Bill would not have made the connection between his early childhood neglect (and the fear this engendered in him) and his emotional withdrawal from Sara.  It was only when he began doing Somatic Experiencing in therapy that he felt the connection--physically and emotionally--between his childhood experiences and his current relationship with Sara.

Getting Help in Therapy
Unresolved childhood trauma often creates obstacles once a romantic relationship deepens and one or both people feel the need to withdraw emotionally to protect themselves.  Most of the time, this occurs on an unconscious level so they are not aware of what is causing it.

Since emotions are stored in the body, experiential therapy creates a connection between the mind and the body so that clients are able to have a felt sense of these issues.

Once the original trauma is worked through, the client is free of their traumatic history so they can allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable without fear.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Therapy and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples and I have helped many clients to overcome trauma (see my article:  What is a Trauma Therapist?).

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.

Emotional Vulnerability as a Strength in Relationships

There are many misconceptions about emotional vulnerability.  Emotional vulnerability is often described as negative and mislabeled as being "weak." But rather than being weak, vulnerability is actually a strength, which is the focus of this article (see my article: The Emotional Vulnerability of Being in a Relationship and Vulnerability as a Pathway to Greater Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship).

Emotional Vulnerability as a Strength in Relationships

What is Emotional Vulnerability?
Before we delve into how emotional vulnerability is a strength in relationships, let's first define it.

Emotional vulnerability involves risk, uncertainty and exposing your emotions. 

You can experience emotional vulnerability when you try something new by going outside your comfort zone.  

Vulnerability is a natural part of personal growth (see my article: Being Open to New Experiences).

Vulnerability is also inevitable.  In general, aside from relationships, you can't live your life without ever feeling emotionally vulnerable.

For instance, when you challenge yourself to take a public speaking class and it's your turn to go up in front of the class to give your talk, you can feel a rush of emotions, including fear, embarrassment, uncertainty and other difficult emotions.  But afterwards, you can feel proud that you did something difficult, and accomplished because you were able to give your talk in front of your classmates--despite your fear.

What is Emotional Vulnerability in Relationships?
Putting yourself out there for a potential relationship often feels risky because you're opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt.  Of course, you're also opening yourself to the possibility of experiencing love.  

Emotional Vulnerability as a Strength in Relationships

Even though being emotionally vulnerable can feel uncomfortable, it's the only way you can hope to find love in an intimate relationship.  

It's normal to feel somewhat scared when you open up emotionally to someone else. It takes courage to push through your fear to allow yourself to be vulnerable (see my article: Growing as an Individual While You're in a Relationship).

In order to have what you want in terms of being in a relationship, you have to be willing to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to take a chance.  

This doesn't mean you completely open your heart when you first meet someone.  Instead, it's a gradual opening over time as you get to know someone and feel more comfortable opening up more emotionally to that person (see my article: Intimate Relationships Provide You New Ways to Get to Know Yourself).

Tips on Being Vulnerable
  • Practice Self Compassion: Rather than berating yourself for your fear of being vulnerable, practice self compassion. Recognize that you're being brave when you allow yourself to open up to yourself and to someone you care about.
  • Be in the Moment: Rather than focusing on what someone else might think or say, keep your thoughts in the present moment.  Rather than thinking about what might happen, just focus on now.  Mindfulness meditation can be very helpful in terms of helping you to develop the skill to be in the present moment.
  • Don't Focus on Other People's Opinions of You: Other people are mostly focused on themselves. When you focus on how you think others will see you, you are often projecting your own negative feelings about yourself onto others. You also can't control what other people are thinking, so try not to worry about it.  
  • Take a Breath to Calm Yourself: If you're feeling nervous, take a moment to focus on your breath and bring your attention to your body.  Slow down and don't allow negative thoughts to overtake you (see my article: Learning to Relax: Square Breathing).
  • Share Your Feelings: When you have gotten to know someone and you care about them, sharing your feelings can deepen your relationship with them.  This can feel risky, especially if you're not sure if they care about you in the same way. But there's only one way to find out and that's by sharing your feelings. 

Emotional Vulnerability as a Strength in Relationships
As I have mentioned in previous articles, emotional vulnerability is a pathway to greater emotional intimacy so that it's a definite strength in a relationship.

Emotional Vulnerability as a Strength in Relationships

Emotional vulnerability
  • Allows you to be your authentic self
  • Helps to build empathy between you and your significant other 
  • Can take down the walls or defensive barriers between you and others
  • Can give you confidence to be even more vulnerable
  • Can encourage the other person to be emotionally vulnerable with you
  • Helps you to connect with people who are accepting of you

Obstacles to Emotional Vulnerability
If you grew up in a family where it wasn't safe to express your emotions or you didn't see others expressing vulnerable emotions, you might have a particularly difficult time being vulnerable (see my article: Are You Afraid of Emotional Intimacy? and How Trauma Affects Intimate Relationships).

Unresolved trauma from the past, including childhood emotional neglect or abuse, might be getting in your way (see my article: Unresolved Trauma Creates Negative Expectations About the Future).

You might
  • Not know what you really feel because you were discouraged from expressing emotions as a child and you didn't learn to identify your emotions
  • Not have the words to express how you feel
  • Think you have to express yourself "perfectly"
  • Be so afraid of rejection that you feel emotionally paralyzed
  • Catastrophize about all the things you imagine can go wrong to the point where you don't express yourself--even though you really want to do it
  • Fear you'll be embarrassed by your feelings
  • Become emotionally paralyzed by shame
  • Numb yourself to your real feelings
Next Article
I'll focus on how you can overcome obstacles to emotional intimacy in my next article.

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

I am a trauma specialist who works with individual adults and couples (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

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.

What's the Difference Between Functional and Dysfunctional Anxiety?

In her TV documentary, "Atlas of the Heart," Dr. Brene Brown, who is a social worker, professor and a researcher of emotions, describes the difference between functional anxiety and dysfunctional anxiety (see my articles: What's the Difference Between Fear and Anxiety? and  Getting Help in Therapy For Anxiety).

Functional vs Dysfunctional Anxiety

What Are Common Symptoms of Anxiety?
Before I get into the difference between functional and dysfunctional anxiety, let's first go over some of the common symptoms of anxiety.

Everyone experiences anxiety in their own way, but here are some common symptoms:
  • Feeling tension in the body
  • Experiencing muscle aches, including headaches, stomachaches and other types of pain
  • Feeling shaky
  • Experiencing difficulty with breathing or loss of breath
  • Feeling restless, wound-up or on edge
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Having sleep problems including problems falling or staying asleep

Functional Anxiety
According to Dr. Brown, functional anxiety tells you something you need to know.  It's similar to an alarm clock that signals you to pay attention.  

For instance, if you are due to give a presentation, you might feel anxiety which is the signal to prepare for your presentation.  

Functional Anxiety Can Help You to Prepare For a Task

Another example is the anxiety you might feel as tax time is getting near and you know you have to collect your tax information so you can see your accountant.  

With functional anxiety, once you do what you need to do, the anxiety goes away.

Usually, you don't need to attend psychotherapy for functional anxiety as long as you use it to accomplish what needs to get done and then the anxiety dissipates (see my article: Self Help Tips For Anxiety).

Dysfunctional Anxiety
Unlike functional anxiety, dysfunctional anxiety is anxiety you experience that you can't use.  

Dysfunctional Anxiety

Dysfunctional anxiety can keep you uncomfortable for a long time.  You might feel it for weeks, months or even years.  

This type of anxiety keeps churning inside you. 

This is the type of anxiety where you can benefit from seeking help in therapy because this anxiety doesn't go away.

Dysfunctional anxiety is often related to unresolved trauma, as I will explain below.

How Does Experiential Psychotherapy Help to Overcome Dysfunctional Anxiety?
Psychotherapy can help you to understand why you're feeling anxious. 

People often feel dysfunctional anxiety because of past traumatic events that were overwhelming. 

Experiential Therapy Can Help to Overcome Dysfunctional Anxiety

For instance, if you experienced psychological trauma when you were a child and you weren't treated for it in therapy, this unresolved trauma can get triggered again when you're an adult (see my articles: How Past Unresolved Trauma Lives on in the Present and Reacting to the Present Based on Your Traumatic Past).

Experiential therapy, like EMDRSomatic Experiencing and AEDP are mind-body oriented therapies (see my article: Experiential Therapy and the Mind-Body Connection: The Body Provides a Window Into the Unconscious Mind).

These types of therapy often work better than regular talk therapy to overcome dysfunctional anxiety (see my article: Why Experiential Therapy is More Effective. Than Regular Talk Therapy to Overcome Trauma).

With experiential therapy, after you have learned  coping strategies for dysfunctional anxiety, if your anxiety is related to unresolved trauma, you can work through past trauma so that it's no longer an issue for you.

The Benefits of Experiential Therapy
The benefits of experiential therapy to deal with anxiety is that it helps you to:
  • identify triggers related to the past that you're feeling now
  • develop coping strategies to deal with dysfunctional anxiety
  • work through unresolved trauma so it no longer gets triggered

Anxiety isn't always a bad thing.  

Functional anxiety is positive because it acts as a signal for you to take care of something. With functional anxiety, once you have taken care of it, your anxiety is gone.

Unlike functional anxiety, dysfunctional anxiety doesn't help you. You can't use it to spur you to take care of something that needs to be done.

Dysfunctional anxiety doesn't go away on its own.

Since it doesn't go away, you need to seek help from a licensed mental health professional who helps clients to overcome dysfunctional anxiety.

Experiential therapy tends to be more effective than regular talk therapy to overcome dysfunctional anxiety and trauma.

If your anxiety is related to unresolved psychological trauma, your best option is to work with an experiential psychotherapist who is a trauma specialist (see my article: What is Trauma Therapy?).

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapy.

I am a trauma specialist and I have helped many clients to work through unresolved trauma so it no longer affects their life.

To find out more about me, visit my website where I have articles about how I work with anxiety and trauma: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist).

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Friday, October 28, 2022

11 Ways to Become a More Creative Person

In my article, The Joy of Becoming More Playful As An Adult, I discussed how playing can help you to be a more creative person.  In this article, I'm focusing on creativity and things you can do to inspire your creativity.

Become a More Creative Person

Things You Can Do to Inspire Your Creativity
  • Tap Into Your Unconscious Mind Using Stream of Consciousness Writing: In her book, The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron writes about doing stream of consciousness writing when you wake up in the morning.  She calls it the Morning Pages.  This process also goes by other names, including free associative writing.  With any type of free associative writing you're allowing yourself to just write down whatever comes to mind. You're not editing it or assessing it. You're just allowing your thoughts to flow. This will eventually tap into your unconscious mind so you can access your creativity. 
  • Welcome Boredom: People usually try to avoid being bored by filling up their time with all kinds of activity, including spending time scrolling through social media.  But instead of trying to avoid boredom, embrace it.  People often get their best ideas when they're bored (see my article: How Boredom Can Lead to Greater Creativity).

Use Your Dream to Develop Your Creativity

  • Spend Time in Nature: Even just a few minutes of walking in nature can help you to relax and open up to new ideas.
  • Get Physical: Exercising helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It also helps to get you out of a linear mode of thinking so you can tap into your creativity.
  • Keep a List of Ideas: Whenever you hear an interesting or intriguing idea, write it down.  When you get into the habit of keeping a list of ideas, you give your mind the signal that you're open to new ideas so they can begin to flow.
  • Watch an Inspiring TED Talk: TED talk speakers are usually inspiring and can motivate you to open yourself to new ideas.
Become a More Creative Person: Watch an Inspiring TED Talk

  • Do Something New: Try something new--whether it's going to a new place, learning about a new culture, learning a new language, taking an acting class, telling your five minute story at a storytelling show, like The Moth, or whatever seems fun and inspiring to you (see my article: The Power of Storytelling and Being Open to New Experiences).
  • Look at Your World With New Eyes: Instead of seeing your surroundings in the way you always see them, look at your world with new eyes. This could mean you walk around your neighborhood and look for things you never noticed before--a decoration on a building, a flower in your neighbor's garden you've never noticed before, an unusual looking tree, a bird's nest and so on (see my article: Seeing Small Wonders All Around Us If We Just Take the Time to Notice).
  • Practice Mindfulness Meditation: Research studies have revealed many benefits to doing mindfulness meditation, including developing a more flexible way of thinking. When you can think more flexibly, you can be more creative (see my article: The Mind-Body Connection: Mindfulness Meditation).

There are many ways to tap into your creativity. It's a matter of finding what works for you.  

Sometimes people feel creatively blocked and they need to find ways to reclaim their creativity).  

Getting Help in Therapy
If you're unable to get out of a creative rut on your own, you can seek help in therapy from a therapist who does Experiential Therapy, which uses the mind-body connection to help clients to get creatively unblocked.

Getting Help in Therapy

Working with a skilled experiential therapist can help you overcome blocks that are hindering your progress (see my article: Overcoming Creative Blocks).

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

I am a sex positive 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

The Joy of Becoming More Playful As An Adult

Considering how stressful adulthood can be, learning to be to more playful is one of the best things you can do to improve your emotional well-being (see my articles: The Joy of Being Attuned to Your Inner Child).

The Joy of Being a Playful Adult

What Are the Benefits of Playfulness?
There are many benefits to being playful including:
  • Relieving stress
  • Stimulating your mind
  • Enhancing creativity
  • Improving mood
  • Boosting vitality
  • Improving social connections with others
  • Learning how to cooperate with others
  • Healing emotional wounds
How to Reconnect to Your Inner Child to Play
Usually, the words "inner child" are associated with overcoming trauma.  But reconnecting with your inner child can also mean allowing yourself to remember the best times of your childhood when you had fun (see my article: Opening Up to New Possibilities).

For people who are accustomed to being serious most of the time, this might involve getting out of your comfort zone, but it can be a lot of fun (see my article: Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone).

Many people have forgotten what it's like to have fun and they find themselves in a rut (see my article: Do You Remember What It's Like to Have Fun? Try a Little Playfulness).

Here are some ways that can help you to reconnect with the playful side of your inner child:

There can be many physical and psychological benefits to reconnecting with your inner child so you can be more playful.

Being attuned to your playful younger self can improve the quality of your life.

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

I am a sex positive 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 (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.