Participation Awards in Sports

We all like recognition, attention and approval. When young children participate in recreational sports at the beginner level, it is about fun , physical activity ,basic skill development, interacting with others, listening, following directions and developing interests in areas they like, are good at and might like to pursue more in depth later on.

At the youngest ages, it has become a widespread practice to provide medals awards of one kind or another so not to make a less skilled player feel “left out our inferior”. It is also useful in helping the child feel good about his/herself. This approach is probably useful for children from ages 3 up until around age 8. Beyond that children can better assess the value and importance of awards and have the sense if everyone is getting it, it can’t be very worthwhile.

Participation awards add to the satisfaction of playing and learning and help keep them interested so they can grow through active participation in a sports program

Placing too much emphasis of “results”, especially at an early age can negatively impact self-esteem. It is harder for younger individuals to separate winning and playing well from how they feel about themselves.

As the child matures physically and emotionally and their skill level improves they can be introduced to “competitive” sports programs that place greater emphasis on results and winning while having a less significant impact on their self esteem.

Even at the professional level, providing awards of different types for different purposes has value.. For example : first place, most valuable player, rookie of the year, sportsmanship award, etc. Each has its place and purpose.

Dr. Robert Heller is a psychologist and sports psychology consultant based in Boca Raton, Fl. And works with individuals of all ages on developing peak performance in sports and in life. His contact information is www.mentalskillstennis.com

After 40 years in practice, I have made some observations of some of the ingredients that result in success in therapy.

1.What do you want to be different as a result of your work in therapy?

Be clear and specific about your goals and what you want to achieve.

2.Come to your appointments on time.

Therapy sessions are usually 45-50 minutes in length. Time passes very quickly so get the most of your session by coming on time, being prepared and focused.

3.Be consistent. Don’t miss scheduled appointments.

Most clients are usually seen once a week. Missing sessions can seriously interfere with the assessment process as well as the flow of treatment. Make the commitment.

4.Do your homework!

Reaching your goals, getting better and feeling better require effort, work and practice. Strengthening and reinforcing what you learn within the session is valuable but you increase your chances of success by the work you do between the sessions.

5.Be honest and open.

Success is strongly related to a good relationship based on trust, communication, raising any questions or concerns you may have and providing full and complete details of your experiences, efforts and results.

6.Keep a log or journal.

Recording your efforts and response to guided suggestions, readings ,and/or experiential exercises.is highly related to successful outcomes.

7.Silence your cell phone.

Your therapy hour should be the most important focus. Stay in the present moment. Avoid all distractions.

 

Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind Body Newsletter

 “Strategies for Improved Performance in Sports and in Life”

 April, 2014

Athleticism, Talent and Mental Toughness Win at the SONY Tennis Tournament

No surprises this year: Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and the Bryan brothers; all winners this tournament  with their lethal combinations of skill, experience, physical and mental strengths. Most athletes, even world class, don’t train hard enough or smart enough mentally and emotionally to develop the winning edge in tough matches. Remember, it is not practice that makes perfect, but Perfect Practice that makes Perfect. Include mental skills training in whatever you do and you will improve your chances for success.

Three Types of Thinking

This month, I worked with athletes from golf, tennis and baseball. What they all had in common was an excess of negative thinking and a deficit in positive and self-instructional thinking.  Negative thinking, “I stink, I can’t believe I missed that,” “What’s  wrong with me,”  etc., just leads to getting further down on yourself and becoming more helpless and less focused. Positive thinking provides energy with a “can do “ attitude. “It’s OK. I can play better, come back and win this game.” Self-instructional thinking provides “focus”. “Keep your eye on the ball. He likes to serve to your backhand so look to run around it and pound the forehand cross court.”

Changing your thinking can change your mindset, mood and performance. Practice it both on and off the playing field and see results  with the positive change of how you feel and behave.

Marital Satisfaction

Last month I attended an interesting program by Dr. Jared Pingleton, the author of “Making Magnificent Marriages”. The author brings 37 years of marriage counseling to the table as a licensed psychologist and priest. The product of a divorced family himself, he has been married for 27 years and raised four boys in the process. The book is written from a heavy conservative Christian perspective and many references and quotes from the bible are interspersed with psychological research and activities geared to improve a marriage such as caring, commitment and communication.

A proponent of pre-marital counseling, a requirement for couples getting married from his congregation, Dr. Pingleton quotes that studies indicate those who complete pre-marital counseling are 80% less likely to get divorced. However, there is no distinction made among those who remain married as to the level of satisfaction within those marriages or if they stay together for various reasons but are far from happy or satisfied. (The current divorce rate in the US is about 50%. )

CEO’s Secret to Decision-Making: Total Silence

This was the title of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which chronicles the transformation of a wealthy successful but type A personality to one who embraces yoga meditation, periodic retreats at a monastery and a vegetarian diet. According to the article, “Throughout his company’s growth, Mr. Keledjian made time to run, take spin class and kick box.  I was burning calories and releasing endorphins  but none of those activities brought me inner peace.” Can you say “Namaste”?

I admit I have not yet jumped on the “meditation” bandwagon although I do practice yoga regularly and teach/practice forms of deep breathing throughout the day. I also eat a plant-based diet about 80% of the time.

New Mexico

Heading to New Mexico next month to explore some of the Indian culture and perhaps visit the famous Ghost Ranch, a retreat near Taos. I think it’s great to plan time to get away from our normal routine and expose ourselves to different cultures and experiences.

Upcoming Talks:

In May, I will be presenting a talk on “Public Speaking” to the members of the Florida Division of the United States Professional Tennis Teachers Association. Public speaking is a vital skill in improving confidence and performing well in school and in many jobs and careers. My previous talk on this topic to Palm Beach Psychological association was very well received, so off I go to Port St. Lucie to carry on!

Until next month,

Dr. Robert Heller

If you know someone else who’d be interested in receiving these mailings on mind-body skills and peak performance trainings, please encourage them to sign up through my websites, http://www.mentalskillstennis.comhttp://www.cognitivetherapy.cc or send an e-mail to info@robertheller.net  with the subject heading, “ATTN: add to e-mail list”.

Please forward all questions, feedback and comments to Dr. Heller at info@robertheller.net

Spread the knowledge: Share this newsletter with family, friends and colleagues (http://cognitivetherapy.cc/newsletter).

How to select a psychologist can be a challenging task. Over the past few years, more and more people have been relying on their health insurance benefits or “provider panels” when they have a need for a psychologist. However, if your plan is an HMO, you may be limited to a relatively small number of “qualified” psychologists to choose from. Some HMO’s may not even have psychologists to refer to but rely on lessor trained “mental health professionals”.  More experienced and well-established psychologists are increasingly choosing not to be on insurance panels because of the poor reimbursement rates and extreme amount of paperwork and bureaucracy. In addition, individuals are increasingly concerned about their privacy when using their mental health benefits. As a result, more and more people seeking psychotherapy are more willing to pay “out of pocket”.

How to select a psychologist will usually depend on a range of additional important factors. For example, if you have a young child, you may want a “child psychologist”.  Not all psychologists are trained or interested in working with all ages and/or types of concerns.  For example, although I do “some” career counseling, I am more likely to refer out to a colleague if career planning is the main referral reason.

While most psychologists generally deal with “anxiety and depression issues”, their approach may vary from a non-directive, passive, supportive approach (Rogerian)  to a much more active, focused and solution oriented approach (Cognitive-behavioral ). When I sought help for dealing with some of my own issues back in college, I found non-directive approach to be largely unhelpful and frustrating for me.

Depending on the problem, individuals may want to select a psychologist that has specific skills or uses a particular method. For example, people suffering from chronic pain might benefit from a psychologist with expertise in hypnosis, and those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder may want a psychologist who used Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

A useful method to select a psychologist is a referral from a trusted friend or health care professional that has used or knows of the psychologist’s work first hand.

Another consideration in how to select a psychologist is convenience. When are you most available to see the psychologist and does he or she have openings when you would like to be seen? Since “therapy” may occur weekly for a period of months, this is a more important consideration than seeing a medical doctor or dentist who you might just see once or twice a year.

Another factor that needs to be addressed is location. The closer and more convenient the location, the greater chances you will be able to make your appointments on a regular basis.

Finally, a key factor is how to select a psychologist is “comfort and fit”.  How comfortable do you feel in talking with the psychologist? Do you feel safe in the location? Do you feel understood? Does the psychologist explain the assessment and treatment approach that will be used?  Do you leave the session with a sense of rapport and a degree of hopefulness?

I hope these factors will be useful to you in your search for a psychologist, if and when you have the need for one.

Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind-Body Newsletter

 “Strategies for Mental and Physical Well Being”

 December 2013

“Quote of the Month”

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.

If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.

Learning gives life meaning. Challenge yourself to grow a little more each day in some way. Discover something new that adds to or enriches your life.

News, products and events:

I will be visiting the Lucida Treatment Center in Lantana this month, a new treatment facility for drug and alcohol rehabilitation featuring the areas first SMART RECOVERY treatment option, based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. For more information on this approach you can visit the national website of at www.SmartRecovery.Org.

A new colleague of mine, Sarena Morello has put out a beautiful relaxation CD based on autogenic training. It is about 20 minutes long with soft background music and a biofeedback stress card to measure you relaxation before and after listening to the CD.  It is available through her website at www.ShaktiMusic.com.

If you are visiting the weekly Green Market in West Palm Beach, be sure to check out the book run by the Palm Beach Psychologist Chapter of the Florida Psychological Association. Psychologists will be on hand to talk with you personally and handout useful information on various mental health topics. You can also access the membership page of licensed psychologists who are members of the Florida Psychological Association at http://www.flapsych.com/?page=PalmChapter.

The holidays sometimes bring stress and sadness. A thoughtful present to yourself, friend or a loved one might be one of the pocket sized self help guides available on the products page at www.cognitivetherapy.cc.  The guides are convenient, easy to use, beautifully illustrated and under $10. Topics  include, Managing Stress, Anger Management, Dealing with Worry and many more titles.

The Andrew Kukes foundation for social anxiety provides professional and community education, research, on-line workshops and wellness education. I am proud to be part of their referral network of providers who works with individuals suffering from social anxiety. Visit their website for additional information at www.akfsa.org.

Yoga and Injuries

With the ever increasing popularity and participation in Yoga, injuries can and do occur. To reduce the risk of injuries, know what your limitations are, understand and share any medical conditions with the teacher, know the level of the class you are participating in, know the “style “ of yoga the class is based on, research the background of the instructor, never do a pose you are unsure of or uncomfortable with, don’t compete with other students in the class. Seek classes with a small number of students that allow greater supervision and attention by the instructor.

In most cases, a yoga “studio” will provide a better and safer experience then the local gym or health club. Check with a medical professional before engaging in yoga or any exercise program.

I have been studying yoga and yoga therapy in a serious way for six years now and can attest to its physical and mental benefits when practiced regularly with expert teachers. There are many styles of yoga but the one I practice is called Iyengar Yoga, named after its founder, B.K.S. Iyengar who just turned 95 years old. It uses various props and equipment that allows very stiff individuals like myself and those with injuries and physical limitations to practice yoga poses safely. Also, the certification process to become a Iyengar teacher is very thorough, so you can be confident in getting a teacher who knows what he or she is doing!

“A Comparison of Rational Emotive Therapy and Tibetan Buddhism: Albert Ellis and the Dalai Lama”

This article highlights some of the key similarities and some of the differences of two approaches, which provide guidelines and strategies for healthy, happy living and avoiding psychopathology. According to Ellis, “ People can acquire skills allowing them to debate their irrational thoughts  and acquire a realistic view of the world.”  According to the Dali Lama, a positive mental attitude  is very important and makes a real difference in our state of happiness.

In my work with clients, I have attempted to blend the best of both Western and Eastern approaches to well being.

THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is more than a day. It is not about a day off from work, great shopping deals or even spending time with loved ones. It’s an attitude, a lifestyle, a way of behaving towards yourself and others EVERY day.  It’s an attitude of gratitude, and a lifestyle of treating yourself and others with kindness and respect. Create a healthy habit of giving thanks every day!

On a professional level, I give thanks to my clients who have trusted me to help them live healthier and happier lives. I thank the late Dr. Albert Ellis for inventing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and giving me the opportunity to learn from him and the other great teachers from the Institute of Rational Emotive Therapy, now called the Albert Ellis Institute in his honor.  I give thanks to Dr. Francine  Shapiro for developing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and providing me with a wonderful and powerful methods for helping those suffering from trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. I give thanks to Dr. Daniel Brown who helped take my skills as a hypnotherapist to a newer and higher level. I am thankful to my yoga teacher, Colleen Gallagher for helping me integrate yoga theory and practice into my own life and to those of my clients.

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Heller

Robert Heller, Ed.D., ABPP
Board Certified in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology
561-451-2731

If you know someone else who’d be interested in receiving these mailings on mind-body skills and peak performance trainings, please encourage them to sign up through my websites, http://www.mentalskillstennis.comhttp://www.cognitivetherapy.cc or send an e-mail to info@robertheller.net  with the subject heading, “ATTN: add to e-mail list”.

Please forward all questions, feedback and comments to Dr. Heller at info@robertheller.net.

Spread the knowledge: Share this newsletter with family, friends and colleagues (http://cognitivetherapy.cc/newsletter).

Be sure to check out the new blogs and articles on each of the websites (www.cognitivetherapy.cc or www.mentalskillstennis.com) as they are updated fairly regularly.

Visit http://www.cognitivetherapy.cc to view back issues of the newsletter, new articles and blogs and self-help/educational products to get mentally and emotionally fit.

 

Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind Body Newsletter

 “Strategies for Strengthening the Mind and Body”

 November 2013

 Quote of the Month

“Men are disturbed not so much by things as by the view they take of them” – ancient Greek Philosopher

This quote became the cornerstone for one of the most important psychotherapies ever developed, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT for short.

REBT was the brainchild of the late, great psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis, who founded REBT more than 60 years ago. Now, REBT and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) are among the most effective therapies of all time for relieving psychological suffering.

I recently visited the new home of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City located just 20 blocks from its former location.  No longer housed in the magnificent old brownstone building, the new facilities still provide 9 treatment rooms for clients, train 6 post doctoral fellows each year and a lecture room for workshops and the continuing tradition of Dr. Ellis’s public Friday night workshops. I have continued to practice REBT for almost 40 years in addition to offering hypnosis, EMDR and yoga related practices to provide a holistic experience for my clients to not only feel better but to get better and stay that way.

In Memoriam: Dr. Arnold Lazarus

Dr. Lazarus was one of the pioneers of the Behavior Therapy movement. He recently passed after a 6-year struggle with illness. I had the good fortune to attend a number of workshops by him over the years, which greatly formed my therapeutic approach with clients. I still use his “multi-modal” assessment ideas in my work with client and am strongly influenced by his 1981 publication, “The Practice of Multi-Modal Therapy”. Dr. Lazarus wrote a number of very readable self-help books that I still use with clients today.

A gentle, soft-spoken man, he was a giant in the field of psychology and although he will be sorely missed, his great contributions to the field of psychology will surely live on.

What’s the play of ACT?

ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Originally introduced by psychologist Dr. Steven Hayes some twenty plus years ago, ACT seems to have borrowed a lot from the Eastern traditions  and philosophy of yoga and mediation and blended it with a number of traditional cognitive behavior methods. The essence of ACT is about being in the present moment with your thoughts and feelings rather than trying to avoid or change them. Rather than dwelling on them, the individual learns to non-judgmentally observe them and let them pass by without reacting to them.  I use parts of ACT in my clinical work with particular clients and have found it to be a helpful approach in a number of situations.

The Worry Epidemic

Seems to me that more and more of us are worrying about more and more things. In my self-help pocket sized guidebook,  “Dealing with Worry”, I list 23 common worries along with tips and methods that you can use to both reduce worry and be less bothered by it. “ Dealing with Worry” and my other self-help guidebooks help you and other’s better understand common life problems and provide useful ways to better cope with them. They make great gifts for the holidays.

For details, visit the products section of www.cognitivetherapy.cc

Happy holidays!

Dr. Heller

If you know someone else who’d be interested in receiving these mailings on mind-body skills and peak performance trainings, please encourage them to sign up through my websites, http://www.mentalskillstennis.comhttp://www.cognitivetherapy.cc or send an e-mail to info@robertheller.net  with the subject heading, “ATTN: add to e-mail list”.

Please forward all questions, feedback and comments to Dr. Heller at info@robertheller.net.

Spread the knowledge: Share this newsletter with family, friends and colleagues (http://cognitivetherapy.cc/newsletter).

Be sure to check out the new blogs and articles on each of the websites (www.cognitivetherapy.cc or www.mentalskillstennis.com) as they are updated fairly regularly.

Visit http://www.cognitivetherapy.cc to view back issues of the newsletter, new articles and blogs and self-help/educational products to get mentally and emotionally fit.

 

Hypnosis has been a useful tool for improving performance. Over the past 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work with performing artists, athletes, business persons and students who were looking to either enhance their performance or reduce anxiety, worry and fear associated with performing in front of others.

Hypnosis can often accelerate the progress and improve the effectiveness in treatment . While not everyone can benefit from hypnosis, about 50% can  be helped with hypnosis and another 20% can experience powerful results.

Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility based on deep relaxation and specific suggestions developed through careful consultation with a skilled therapist specially trained in clinical hypnosis. While it is not entirely clear exactly how hypnosis works, there is ample evidence from numerous controlled and clinical studies  that  it can often be highly successful .

With performance issues, I often find direct suggestions around confidence, concentration and calmness are the foundation for enhanced performance. Where negative past experiences are blocking  progress, hypnosis can be useful in identifying the blocks and facilitate working through them.

Hypnosis can be used as a sole treatment or as an adjunct to more comprehensive  treatment depending on the presenting issues. It is increasingly common for clients coming in with performance issues to have significant co- occurring conditions which magnify there performance issues and make them harder to treat unless they are addressed as well.

Hypnosis treatment tends to be straightforward and short term. Following the education of the client on what hypnosis is and isn’t,  a detailed assessment occurs. Then, the therapist develops problem-specific suggestions. Initial relaxation is taught and deepened in a follow-up session. Suggestions combined with relaxation gradually help clients change attitudes, feelings and behaviors. Often times performance issues can be improved or overcome in six to twelve sessions over a 3-4 month period.

Some examples of applications of hypnosis and performance include musicians, dancers and other performers, students taking tests, business  people and other professionals needing to speak in public and even some forms of impotence .

The common elements of performance anxieties include basing one’s self worth on the performance, having perfectionistic standards, being overly self critical, fear of the anxiety and caring too much what others think about them.

Hypnosis aids in reducing anxiety, providing an effective method for regulating emotions and assisting in creating a healthier, stronger and positive performance image.

In my work with clients, I often record the sessions and encourage them to practice between visits to strengthen the suggestions. I also teach clients how to develop their own suggestions to maintain their progress in this and other areas of their life.

Hypnosis is a useful tool in the hands of a skilled psychologist or other mental health professional trained in its use. It accelerates treatment and has almost no negative side effects.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been used to treat a great many types of conditions and disorders. Among the most devastating emotional conditions is post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. When experienced early on in life it can significantly alter the course of emotional development and even impact one’s physical health. In more serious cases it can lead to serious eating disorders, drug abuse, violent behaviors, panic attacks, major depression and even suicide. The extremely high rates of suicide in the military reflect how serious an impact significant trauma can have on a person.

Post-traumatic stress is not limited to military personnel who are exposed to life threatening situations in combat and involved in horrific acts of violence on the battlefield. PTSD can affect anyone: fireman, policeman, ambulance personnel, bystanders, etc.

Post-traumatic stress is also seen in individuals who have been exposed to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, those who are involved in serious auto accidents, victims of violent crimes, domestic violence and childhood, physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Cognitive behavior therapy is made up of many types of methods and approaches, several of which are particularly useful in treating PTSD. Psychologists and other mental health professionals undergo specialized training in these methods to be able to work effectively with post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

One method that I have been using for perhaps 20 years now is known as EMDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.  I have had some very good results with a number of serious PTSD cases in a relatively short period of time. For some, the therapy is life changing and I am humbled and grateful to have the tools to make such a big difference in people’s lives.

Often times, people with PTSD who have had it for some years have been to many therapists and been on a variety of medications without significant relief. With EMDR, I have seen many clients significantly improve and in a number of cases, rid themselves of their symptoms completely.

EMDR treatment for PTSD is generally short term (3 months to a year). However, in my experience, sessions that are 90 minutes in length and held twice weekly, especially during the active treatment phases, tend to produce the best results.

I am not a scientist or a researcher, but as a psychologist and cognitive behavior therapist, I read and understand the research and much of it, both clinical trials and scientific studies largely support the usefulness of EMDR in the treatment of post traumatic stress.

If you or someone you know is suffering, know that help is available. EMDR trained psychologists and other mental health professionals are available world wide to help you live a trauma free life.

Marriage therapy is a service that is growing in demand, sadly due to the large numbers of unhappy and/or dysfunctional marriages. There is an arbitrary distinction sometimes made between marriage counseling and marriage therapy. Counseling usually refers to less serious cases where the couple is having some issues and are looking to make some adjustments or improvements to enhance their overall marriage satisfaction. Marriage therapy usually refers to couples that are having serious issues and in many cases one or both partners are considering divorce.

As a psychologist, I have to evaluate the relationship along with the strengths, weaknesses and concerns of each of the partners. If I determine there is a serious individual problem that is causing or impacting the marriage, I need to refer one or both individuals for individual treatment so that the marriage therapy can be most effective. This can be challenging at times. Not only do both participants need to agree, but they need to have the time, money and commitment to arrange for multiple appointments, sometimes within the same week while juggling work and family responsibilities.

At times, I work with marriage therapy issues from the standpoint of being the individual therapist for one of the participants. I might be working with the female on overcoming early trauma issues which are impacting her mood or ability to relate to her partner effectively. I might be working with a male whose anger is over –the-top or whose drinking, drugging or gambling problem is threatening to topple the marriage.

The success of marriage therapy depends first on the stability of the individuals and then the couple’s overall commitment to the relationship and the skills of the therapist working with the couple as well as any collateral therapy with the individuals.

Another complication is the field of marriage therapy is that there are many specialists who perform it, including, psychologists, social workers, marriage therapists, coaches, Rabbi’s and priests, etc. Their orientation, approaches and skill levels may vary widely.

My own approach to marriage therapy is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses more on the here-and-now issues and provides clients with practical skills, exercises and homework between sessions to work on improving themselves and the relationship. Cognitive and behavioral therapy tends to be focused, goal oriented and time limited. In general 12-20 visits that start out weekly and then are spread out as progress is made.  I have developed a number of psycho-educational guidebooks I use with clients to educate and support the work we do together. Many clients and couples like having these self help guidebooks to refer to between our meetings.

While not all marriage therapy leads to living happily ever after, the quality of most relationships can be improved with skillful help, commitment and hard work. To save clients time and money and to help them see if there is a potential good fit between what they are looking for and myself, I recommend to potential clients to view my website to review educational videos and read some of my articles and blogs. If I am not the right fit, I am happy to make recommendations to other colleagues who might be.

Psychologists often work with couples in marriage counseling. As a psychologist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy, the approach I use is often direct and straightforward.

I meet with the couple for an initial session. And then meet separately with each of the partners. Through both interview and specific questionnaires, I seek to identify and clarify the stated problems and issues along with the resources and strengths of the marriage and each partner.

Sometimes, if an individual’s problems are interfering with the marriage, like a significant alcohol, drug, major depression or anger problem, they are referred out to work with an individual therapist. In most cases marriage counseling proceeds with couples learning how to listen, communicate, assert, relax and often modify their unrealistic expectations of themselves and/ or their spouse. The process is less about changing the other person and more about changing and accepting oneself.  At times the spouse must change. For example it is not OK for someone to be physically abusive or to squander the families college fund for the kids on gambling.

In cognitive behavioral marriage counseling, the focus is mostly on the present thoughts, attitudes, feelings and behaviors rather than rehashing the past, early childhood and related issues.

Clients are often given skills to practice between sessions to not only feel better but also get better.

A significant part of cognitive behavioral marriage counseling is psychoeducational. For example, a female might state that she feels badly that her husband is not supportive. The husband denies it and says whenever she complains about something at work he always listens and tells her what she should do. The wife turns around and says, “You see, he is not supportive. He just tells me what to do.”  In this common example, the definition of “supportive” needs to be clarified. The wife needs to focus on the intent of the husband to be helpful and the husband needs to be more of a listener prior to jumping into the problem-solving role.

In cognitive behavioral marriage counseling, the psychologist helps both partners identify, recognize, support and reward positive efforts made by the spouse. Rather than focusing on what he or she didn’t do, there is more of an emphasis on what was done. The behavioral goal is to “shape up” the desired behaviors of both partners.

Cognitively, it is important for both partners to become more aware of their thoughts and how these thoughts impact their feelings about their partner. It is tough to feel warm and loving towards a partner in the evening if you have spent most of the day focusing-in on all their faults and mistakes.  Changing the way we think helps us change how we feel and act. More often than not, positive behaviors  in one partner triggers a reciprocal positive change in the other partner.

With committed couples, cognitive behavioral marriage counseling can be helpful in preserving and improving many marriages and often times in a matter of months rather than years.

 
For the latest articles take a look at our newsroom http://t.co/oA3MY2PPjq4 weeks ago

Fort Myers Web Design