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Give a Boost to Your Relationship

Has your relationship lost its spark? Breathe new life into it to stop familiarity breeding contempt

The first in an occasional series on relationship issues by ProvenTherapy Director and Therapist, Matt Butler

Relationship feeling a little jaded? Lost the spark with your nearest and dearest? It’s unfortunately all too easy to take our partners for granted sometimes. The familiarity factor whereby we drift along in our most important relationships is common, though ultimately corrosive. We all need that extra spark in our relationships to keep them alive – the feeling that we are involved in something special; a frisson of excitement, a soupcon of … well … sauce. When in a committed relationship though we need to realise that we must act to make these things happen. This is vital in order to keep our relationships alive. It’s no accident that the word for keeping relationship alive is the same as that for keeping a fire going – relationships need kindling and re-kindling. The fire needs stoking. Ultimately such sparks of desire signify something we all yearn for but are sometimes phased by, maybe even a little scared of, intimacy and perhaps for some this is the root of the problem.

Relationship Counseling
“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all” – Psychologist and Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson

Relationship difficulties should remind us of the central importance of intimacy in our lives. Clearly a human desire, it is perhaps more than that, a human need.

Psychologist Robert Sternberg said, “Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still”. In an age of advanced communications it remains the case that people can still feel lonely amid apparent togetherness, even in outwardly committed relationships.

So, to keep your relationships kindled, re-kindled and positively fizzing here are ProvenTherapy’s tips for maintaining a great relationship.

6 tips to give your jaded relationship a boost

  1. Make a point of paying your loved one a compliment or two, pick out something you like about them and tell them you like it! Don’t lay it on too thick – just be honest about it
  2. Be physical but gentle. Take time for touch – a hug, a kiss .. and who knows, maybe something more ..
  3. Go on a date together. It’s so easy when in a long term relationship – especially if you have children – to get out of the habit of going out together so make a date and stick to it. Even if you can’t go out try taking time to dress up and have a candle lit dinner together indoors every once in a while
  4. Talk! Spend time each day talking to your significant other, find out what’s happening for them
  5. Listen! Take time to really listen to your partner. You might feel tempted to dive into communications with ‘answers’ or comments on your partner’s self-expression. Try not to act on these – really give them space to talk and freely express themselves. This will be time well spent
  6. Have some fun! Try not to take things so seriously. Even in the most difficult situations it is often possible to find some humour

In summary, if you find your relationship with your significant other is showing signs of strain then take some time out to re-connect – make time to rekindle those closest of relationships with tenderness, gentleness and understanding – before things have a chance to take a turn for the worse.

Meet Matt Butler here for further support

Is Your Relationship Ready for Online Counseling?

Gina Lorenzo

Gina Lorenzo

All couples experience some problems with communication, intimacy, beliefs, personality-conflicts, etc. at one time or another. Are the differences strong enough to create chaos or even the inability to co-exist? There are a few ways to assess whether your relationship needs and is ready for on-line counseling. The underlying initial question is Do I want to continue the relationship?

1. Do both partners agree that the relationship is worth saving?

If one partner has made up their mind to leave the relationship then long term therapy is not the answer although a session with a therapist to close the relationship is worth the investment. If each person wants to continue the relationship then therapy is for you.

2. If each person can admit that the issues in the relationship have not been solvable together, then a third party needs to help.

Arguing, tuning out or just existing in the same house are no way to live together. If the communication problems won’t go away or if the same argument repeats itself then a counselor will help to mend the issues.

3. Can you embrace the fact that accepting a therapist’s help isn’t a sign of weakness but a positive step forward?

Friends and family are a great resource- a good outlet if you need to share problems but they will always give subjective advice no matter what their intentions are. Often times they will be surprised and perhaps judge why you would seek a professional. Keep in mind that their judgments may have deep personal roots and that you are making a positive step. Your decision will only result in a happier partnership.

4. Do you each agree that you are responsible for the problems?

Relationships are a partnership. Placing all blame on the other is counterproductive. Even if a specific event or personality trait is what is leading you to therapy, both participants will need to explore their feelings, behavior, and reaction.

5. Are your expectations for the therapist positive and realistic?

While the therapist will help guide you, explore the origins of your behavior and feelings and give suggestions for better communication, child-rearing, intimacy, etc. it is you that needs to complete the ‘homework’ and take ownership. The therapist cannot ‘fix’ you or your relationship without your participation.

6. Are your expectations for change in the relationship realistic?

Are you ready to accept and adopt changes in behavior? Are you ready to change while (and not wait for) your partner also takes steps forward? Tell your partner that you are willing and hoping to do this for the relationship and agree that this will not be an overnight process.
The advantage to on-line counseling is that you can speak or email a counselor when the time is convenient and complete homework and experience change in a timely way.

Congratulations and enjoy the positive process.

Contact Gina

Take Online Family Therapy or Relationship Counseling for marriage and relationship problems now.

Therapist Specialized in Stress Management Opens Virtual Clinic at ProvenTherapy

Rodica Mihalis, a professionally qualified Counselor, is the latest addition to the ProvenTherapists team to extend healing touch to troubled hearts and souls through person-centered Rogerian methods.

PRLog (Press Release) – Feb. 25, 2013 – Originally from Eastern Europe, Rodica holds a M.S. in Counseling and Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, joined the ProvenTherapists team recently.

The focus of her practice is on relationships, improving couple communication, loss and grief and parental support. For ten years she worked in the wellness industry, specializing in stress management using natural methods such as breathing exercises, positive visualizations and aromatherapy.

Rodica’s educational background and life experiences make her an empathetic counselor who understands the complexities of the human nature.  She will listen, evaluate the special needs of clients and offer her professional suggestions so they may achieve desired goals.

Read full Press Release…

Whose Children?

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist Khalil Gibran is my favorite poet and philosopher; this is what he wrote about children:‘Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

Contact Sharanya for Counseling and Parenting Support

Your children are temporarily in your custody and you are their guardian and care taker. You have no ownership rights over them because they are owned by God and He has sent them to accomplish a goal or a purpose unique to them. Life called out for them and here they are, as your children in name and form but His children in verity. The animals and the birds seem to understand this philosophy much better than the intelligent human race. The lioness feeds the cub and simultaneously encourages the cub to fend for itself. The chicks are also urged to fly and gather twigs from a very young age. We humans keep missing this fine point somehow.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.He again says, they come from you; yes, you do give birth to them, yet they are from Him alone and not from you, which is what most parents mistakenly take claim for. The children stay with us as long as it is destined and not a single moment beyond that. They are with us but they do not belong to us; they are definitely not the personal property of parents.You may give them your love but not your thoughts,For they have their own thoughts.Again so true, did we, as children think like our parents? Did we not have different thoughts, dreams, aspirations and ambitions? Did we not wait for the day when we would be able to live ‘our’ life, the way we want to, without being told, what to do, what to eat, what to wear and a seamless stream of instructions? If that was generation gap then, should not the gap be more gaping and wider now? Times have changed very dramatically over the last 2 decades and with it a very tumultuous parent age has arrived. Love is scarce or showered as a return gift for something well done or withheld as punishment at times. The present day children are facing more insecure times, it is all the more important that we shower as much love as we can on them and give them the freedom of thought. Raise them such that they are free with discipline and love.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  Healthy Parenting
Almost every child achieves much more than what their parents did. They belong to the tomorrow and have to learn from today, whereas we belong to a yesterday, trying to adjust to today for a better tomorrow. We are yet to get a grip over the way times have changed, whereas they are already of this generation. They are planning and dreaming of a tomorrow which we may never see. Is it fair to drag them backwards in time, to our times and force them to think our way, do our way, live our way? We can be like the lamp post guiding and throwing light on the path, we cannot walk that path though. They have to walk their own path and discover their destiny.You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

I initially never agreed with this line, why should the parents be like the children? My parents always wanted me to emulate either one of them and that is exactly what I have done. So why should my son (I need to remember, he is HIS son, not mine) not emulate his Dad or me? Why should we not ask him to try and become like his father or mother? The next line has the answer though; because, life has never gone backwards and time does not wait or depend on a yesterday. It is today and then tomorrow. I woke up to the fact that if I expect my son to become like his father or me, I would be asking him to move backwards, live in a yesterday. As a parent I should be asking him to look at his tomorrow, move on the road ahead and achieve his dreams. Is it fair on my part to ask him to live my unaccomplished dreams and achievements?

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The parents are the bows from which the children of God as living arrows are set forth in search of their destiny.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

The archer or God has already marked the path over which the arrow, the child, will fly. God simply wants that the Bow, parents, also to bend, yield, string themselves just so much so that the arrow, child, can reach its destined goal. It is the strength of the bow and the flexibility of the string which allows the archer to set forth the arrow swift and far.

Let you bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

So He loves also the bow that is stable. ’

One without the other is incomplete and God loves both equally. He has assigned us the job of taking care of His children and entrusted us with the big responsibility of raising them happily and with joy. Bend yield listen to the child and nourish them with love and joy, God does send forth His children through you and is happy to see them ascend, but He also loves the stable hand of the parent which joyfully raises its offspring.

As a child counselor by profession I am forced to read this poem to every parent because they all invariably expect me, the counselor, to change the mindset of the child. They look me at me very expectantly as if I can wave a magic wand and their errant child will start obeying them or start behaving the way they expect the child to behave.

MARRIAGE – Happy despite the challenges

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist I am an ardent fan of Khalil Gibran; a poet, philosopher, visionary, saint ….I run out of eulogies when I need to describe this one person. This page is dedicated to him, in the sense I will be writing his poems and try to understand them with you all. Each of us sees the same thing with a unique individual perception. Help understand this great prophet better…

Contact Sharanya for Marriage and Relationship Counseling

He writes:

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But, let there be spaces in togetherness.
Love one another but make not a bond of love
Let your love be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous,
But let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your heart but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
Stand together yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Beautiful, is it not? A few lines to aptly describe the way a couple can live together happily! A marriage is not about merging with each other! How can two different people merge? It would mean a loss of identity for the partner who is making all the changes or accommodating more. This only results in bitterness and shows its ugly face at the most unexpected stage of married life.

Can an oak tree and the cypress tree be called oak tree? We need to walk hand in hand towards the same goal. Like the train tracks, each one independent yet dependent and very imperative for the smooth running of the train. The train carries so many people every day to their respective destinations and achieves its own milestones because of these two tracks on which it confidently chugs away. When the tracks need to meet and change the direction of the train they do meet and again mutually stay together at a little distance.

Couples too need to retain their individuality, take decisions together and let life stay on course with the partners holding hands and walking in forward n the same direction. Give your love to your spouse but safe guard your heart. That is for the creator! We humans forget this truth. We shower everything on each other. And breathe down each other’s neck! Too much proximity brings in claustrophobia. We are meant for each other and God brought us together for some purpose. Our individual goals and our destiny together are as designed by God. We forget the creator, the purpose of our lives and ourselves too. We begin trying to merge; with unmet expectations end up on different shores with a sea of misunderstandings between us.

He says that we all need time to introspect, be alone and ponder about ourselves. The pillars of the temple stand apart and are home to the God inside and to the thousands of devotees praying to the Lord. The couples should support each other, help each other and learn from each other. The Oak tree and Cyprus tree do not grow in each other’s shadow.