Six Steps Toward More Effective Conversations

Six Steps Toward More Effective Conversations

A telltale sign that your conversation has been overtaken by anxiety is topic jumping. The more topics you jump to, the more powerful anxiety becomes, resulting in inefficient, frustrating conversations and a likelihood that the next conversation won’t be particularly positive. These six steps can help you have more focused, effective conversations.

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LGBTQ Families and Holidays

LGBTQ Families and Holidays

Same-sex couples often experience a uniquely complicated process with their families of origin. This begins with coming out and identifying as an LGBTQ person, and we recognize that many people will be spending their first holidays with their families either as an LGBTQ-identified person or in a new LGBTQ relationship. This article provides some tips for coming out to your family of origin.

Once family members begin to identify and work through their emotional experience, it generally becomes easier to figure out how to do the relationship moving forward, which may include the establishment of clear boundaries, particularly if parents are stuck in anger and criticism. Establishing boundaries with families can be challenging for long-term same-sex relationships as well. We provide tips for same-sex couples in which there's a continual need for establishing boundaries with families of origin.

 

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Regarding Sex Addiction

Regarding Sex Addiction

South Shore Family and South Shore Sexual Health join with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists in standing against language of sex addiction to describe the sexual behaviors and desires of people with high levels of sexual excitement and low levels of sexual inhibition. Problems may arise in relationships between people with differing levels of excitement and inhibition, but these are relational dynamics that can be discussed through couples and sex therapy.

We will talk about sexual urges, thoughts, and behaviors as natural sexual processes, as ways of exploring who you are and how you can grow both individually and relationally. We will continue to discuss sexuality from a pleasure-centric model, where sex is a way of celebrating the positive sensations and physiological processes of our bodies. And we will continue to explore sexuality in individual and couples contexts, where sex is representative of a decision making process by which you combine intimacy, growth, and pleasure.

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Families and Holidays

Families and Holidays

A couple relationship can be a venue for setting a boundary with your family of origin. In Episode 8 of Under the Covers, Stephanie Wallace and Jeremiah Gibson provide some tips for people seeking to celebrate the holidays with families while maintaining their adultness. They also talk about ways to establish new rituals for each stage of your relationship, rituals that may or may not involve other family members.

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Under the Covers Episode 4

Under the Covers Episode 4

Our couples therapists will ask early about how these patterns exist in the most intimate of contexts: sexuality. In Episode 4 of Under the Covers, Stephanie and Jeremiah talk about the messages (the "Shoulds") that we learn about sexuality. They then provide some healthy "shoulds"--expectations that could lead to a more fulfilling sexual experience.

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Under the Covers Episode 3

Under the Covers Episode 3

In Episode 3 of Under the Covers, Stephanie and Jeremiah break down this dance between pursuing and distancing. They discuss the strong emotional needs that may keep partners in the pursue-distance dance, and explore ways of effectively creating new dance steps.

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Loneliness, the Elderly, and Couples Therapy

Loneliness, the Elderly, and Couples Therapy

Healthy intimate relationships are often antidotes to feelings of loneliness for elderly folks.

Couples therapy could be a safe place to learn about and connect with your partner's vulnerabilities of loss and loneliness. Couples therapy could also help you improve your sexual relationship, and sense of connectedness. Our partner's acceptance and celebration of our bodies, particularly if they are affected by disability, often parallels an acceptance and sharing of our emotional worlds.

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Under the Covers Episode 2

Under the Covers Episode 2

In episode 2 of Under the Covers, Stephanie and Jeremiah discuss the anatomy of an argument and the relationship between criticism and defensiveness.

The goal of our work is not to help you stop arguing altogether, as it's imperative that your relationship has room to celebrate the differences between you and your partner, but rather to find healthy ways to end arguments that also support the relationship. Stephanie and Jeremiah share several tips for helping create these effective endings.

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The Sexual Double Standard

The Sexual Double Standard

The sexual double standard affects the way that young men and women talk about sexuality.

Women are far more likely to be on the receiving end of embarrassment and shame than men. After all, men gain social status for their sexual exploits. Women are more likely to be emblazoned with a capital A (or, in 2016, a capital S, for slut) for theirs.

The sexual double standard follows women and men into long-term committed relationships. Learn more about how, and how we can break the power of these social messages around sexuality:

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Millennials

Millennials

One of the significant challenges of our generation is the collision between the technological revolution and the larger cultural narrative of "Safety First". It's less risky to stay at home with mom and dad than to live on our own and develop our own domestic and financial decisions. It's less risky to build relationships through texting and social media than to rely on face-to-face interactions.

We millennials come by our anxiety honestly, and it has the power to significantly effect relationships by encouraging avoidance, the lack of clarity in our interpersonal and sexual needs, and distorting realistic expectations.

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Taboo and the Theory of Voldemort

Taboo and the Theory of Voldemort

We all have antagonists in our stories. Naysayers. The other woman (or man). Perpetrators of abuse.

We notice that these antagonists very seldom have names; rather, they’re referred to as “him”, “her”, “that woman/man”, “the babysitter” (or other qualifying descriptor). I ask clients the names of these antagonistic characters, and often face resistance to get an actual name.

Which leads us to the Theory of Voldemort:

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Understanding Distancing

Understanding Distancing

One of the most common complaints we get during our intake calls is the following: “My partner doesn’t communicate with me.”

Which is interesting, for one, because we’re always communicating. I could be silently sitting in the corner of the room with my back turned to you, and I’m communicating that I’m upset, or that I don’t want to talk to you.

More importantly, this sentiment gives us an early clue to what might be happening in your relationship.

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When We Ask About Alcohol...

When We Ask About Alcohol...

So when we ask our couples to not drink during the course of couples therapy, we aren’t attempting to impose the Prohibition into your relationship.

We’re doing a science experiment of sorts that asks: What happens if/when alcohol isn’t a part of your relationship?

Alcohol becomes a variable that we can isolate and remove so that we can observe the types of relationship changes that happen in the absence of alcohol.

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