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8 Signs You Need Marriage Counseling

Has your marriage changed? Do you feel like there is something missing? Perhaps you find yourself sometimes longing for the days when you were both happy and in love.

We often think of marriage counseling as a last resort--when things are so bad that divorce is the next best solution. Many people also associate divorce with major life issues and changes: infidelity, abandonment, abuse, or addictions.

What if I told you that you need to consider the possibility of counseling well before any of those things were to happen?

Here are 8 prominent signs that indicate you need marriage counseling:

1. You hardly speak to one another. Many relationship challenges center around communications: things left said or unsaid without resolution. A trained therapist can help facilitate new ways for you to communicate effectively.

2. You bicker and argue constantly, especially about trivial matters, leaving everything completely unresolved. Negative communication is just as bad as no communication at all. When your partner leaves you feeling judged or disregarded, things can escalate into emotional abuse.

3. There is a lack of candor in your relationship: you hide things from one another. We all need some privacy in our lives but when you and your partner find yourselves keeping secrets from one another, it is a clear sign that something is wrong.

4. You no longer feel an emotional or physical connection. A healthy marriage means sharing personal feelings, understanding, affirmation, and caring. When these things go, the relationship is in serious trouble.

5. You go to someone else to have your emotional needs met. It is not uncommon to turn to friends and family occasionally for emotional support, but when you find that your spouse is unable or unwilling to provide support, or you avoid going to them for support, then it is time to consider getting some professional help.

6. There is no physical or sexual intimacy in your relationship. Intimacy is paramount to maintain a healthy marriage. A therapist can help you to explore and rekindle the physical chemistry and rediscovery the love and friendship that was once there in the relationship.

7. You find yourself sexually attracted to other people, or you worry that your spouse may be. Relationships where a spouse has had an affair are very difficult (but not impossible) to repair. Trust is a foundation in the relationship that, when lost, takes time to rebuild. Fantasizing about having an affair is a sign that you desire something different. It's also a sign that there is a major problem in your marriage that you need to resolve now to avoid being unfaithful.

8. You have experienced a life-changing event, grief, or trauma which has left you feeling stuck. Trauma and grief are conditions that do not simply pass with time--you need to address them together with a trained therapist who can help you deal with the emotional scars the tragedy has left behind.

Marriage counseling can help you to gain insight into your relationship, resolve conflicts, and improve your relationship satisfaction. It can help you resolve relationship roadblocks before they become impasses.

According to renowned marriage expert, Dr. John Gottman, less than 5% of divorcing couples seek marriage counseling. It's way better to address problems in the marriage early before divorce becomes your final destination.

Source: 8 Signs You Need Marriage Counseling – Motivations Counseling – Medium

Motivations Counseling offers marriage and couples counseling services to clients in Sugar Land, Katy, Richmond, Missouri City and Houston, Texas. Our therapists use various therapy modalities for couples counseling, including the Gottman Method and Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT).

Call today to schedule a free consultation with a marriage and family therapist.

How to reach us...

Phone: (713) 568-1685
Email: admin@motivationscounseling.com
Form: Contact Us

Meet Patti Monroe, M.A., LPC


Motivations Counseling Welcomes A New Therapist !


Patti Monroe is a Licensed Professional who focuses on helping individuals and couples to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from making necessary, meaningful life changes.

Having previously worked in a variety of environments, including residential treatment, academid/schools, inpatient psychiatric care and community support services, Patti brings to the team significant experience in counseling teens, couples and individuals.

Patti Monroe, M.A., LPC

She is now accepting new clients at our Sugar Land Office located at 14090 Southwest Fwy, Suite 300.

Please join us in welcoming Patti to the Motivations Counseling family and wishing her success in her new practice here in Sugar Land.

How to reach Patti...

Phone: (832) 945-1007
Email: patti@motivationscounseling.com

Click here for more information about Patti's therapeutic experiences and her overall approach to counseling.

5 Healthy Relationship Boundaries To Establish Now

Creating and maintaining boundaries is important to for building healthy relationships and developing your own confidence and self-worth. There are lots of personal boundaries you might set, but here are a few that I think can help you right away — whether it’s with a friend or your significant other.


Don’t wait

You have that person you want to get closer to, but they aren’t that into you right now, or perhaps they seem to be waiting for something, someone, maybe just a better offer.

Don’t put your life on hold hoping that they will eventually come around and eventually decide to reciprocate the feelings. Live your life in the present and treat yourself fairly in the process, too.

And remember, a little self-compassion goes a long way, too.

Avoid fakery

We’ve all seen this on social media. There are people who live to “show” everyone how important they are, how many friends they have, or even how glamorous their daily life is.

Don’t get caught up in all that.

In fact, learn to see through the hype and move beyond it. True friendships aren’t based on what you wear, where you eat, or how many shiny new objects you’ve purchased. It’s all about being real, human, and sharing life experiences together.

The memories you make together are what make life worth living.

Don’t accept lying

Some people can’t help themselves. They talk themselves up in the beginning and even believe their own hype, making promises they cannot keep and have no intention to.

Their personality changes quickly or they end up disappearing once they’re expected to deliver. When that person is unable to discuss the future with you, then maybe they don’t want you to think you’re going to be a part of theirs.

Trust, without control

Healthy relationships don’t revolve around one person’s desire to be in control.

Whether it’s you or your partner exhibiting this behavior, seek out equality in the relationship rather having one of you dominate the other. In loving relationships, it’s best to fully understand one another.

Take some time to figure the other person out — if it’s your significant other, take the love languages quiz and find out exactly who your partner is and what they really need from the relationship.

No lazy communication

Communication is the bedrock of any solid relationship.

Smart phones have become a ubiquitous part our lives. We text, email, instant message, and send pictures and emojis around the world like there’s no tomorrow. But, somewhere along the way, we’ve stopped communicating directly.

Don’t fall into that trap.

Every text message is open to interpretation: i.e. what is he/she trying to tell me, but not saying? Texting is lazy communication and creates distance. It’s perfect for people who are emotionally unavailable and is not a good substitute for talking interactively.

Avoid relationships that are built around texting. Better yet, use the phone for what it was originally intended: calling someone.


There are lots of other boundaries you can set that will make your life simpler. These are just a few that you can adopt now to make your relationships stronger.

Think about other boundaries that will make your life less complicated and, hopefully, help you build a stronger connection.

Source: 5 Healthy Relationship Boundaries To Establish Now – Motivations Counseling – Medium

At Motivations Counseling, we want to help you to resolve emotional issues of the past and the present. Together, we can open the door to you finding a brighter and more confident future.

Call us today for a free 10-minute consultation to see if our approach and experience are right for you.

How to reach us...

Phone: (281) 858-3001
Email: susan@motivationscounseling.com
Form: Contact Us

Self-Compassion: Compassion Is A Two-way Street

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”
-William Shakespeare

The human condition is something that has been written about many times over. Major religions have definitive beliefs about it. Even Shakespeare tried to sum it up with his “All the world’s a stage” monologue.

When it comes to compassion, as humans we instinctively apply it to our fellow man when we observe suffering. It’s a natural reaction to want to help others who are in pain. But, so often we overlook the need for compassion when applying it to ourselves.

We all deal with difficulties in our lives. When you experience failure or feelings of inadequacy, do you find yourself self-criticizing or telling yourself to simply ignore the feelings hoping that they will just go away?

Self-compassion is about extending compassion to yourself whenever you experience failure, inadequacy, or general suffering. It is similar to the notion of “unconditional positive regard”, a concept developed by psychologist Carl Rogers.

Within the context of client-centered therapy, unconditional positive regard is about accepting and supporting a person regardless of what they say or do. With self-compassion, this unconditional positive regard is applied to your own experiences and actions.

Research consistently shows there is a positive correlation between self-compassion and psychological well-being. People with self-compassion have greater life satisfaction. They tend to have social connectedness, emotional intelligence and, in general, are happy. Self-compassion has also been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, shame, and fear of failure.

Kristin Neff, an associate professor at the University of Texas who is credited with conducting early academic studies into self-compassion, used her research to develop the Self-compassion Scales.

There are two measurements for Self-Compassion:

These scales were developed for researchers doing studies on self-compassion.

Dr. Neff defined self-compassion as being made up of three primary components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

  • Self-kindness is about accepting our own flaws and weaknesses and avoiding self-criticism and judgement. The goal is to find greater emotional equanimity.

  • Common humanity is about avoiding isolation. When you accept that all humans suffer, including ourselves, we can avoid feelings of isolation and that we are the only ones who make mistakes.

  • Mindfulness is about not suppressing or denying feelings, or over-exaggerating them due to the negative emotions we feel.

If you have some time and want to work on developing your own self-compassion please check out the Self-compassion guided meditation and exercises developed by Dr. Neff at the following link: Self-Compassion Exercises by Dr. Kristin Neffself-compassion.org


Source: Compassion Is A Two-way Street – Motivations Counseling – Medium

At Motivations Counseling, we want to help you to resolve emotional issues of the past and the present. Together, we can open the door to you finding a brighter and more confident future.

Call us today for a free 10-minute consultation to see if our approach and experience are right for you.

How to reach us...

Phone: (281) 858-3001
Email: susan@motivationscounseling.com
Form: Contact Us

Meet Carolina Román


Motivations Counseling Welcomes A New Therapist !


Carolina Román is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in couples counseling. She is trained and fully experienced in the use of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).

EFT is a research-driven, structured approach to couples therapy that was created based on known science regarding adult attachment and bonding. It has been validated by over twenty years of empirical research and has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.

Having previously worked at a Houston-based counseling agency, and closely trained with U.S. Army Family Life Chaplains, Carolina brings to the team a wealth of experience in counseling couples and individuals. She is now accepting new clients at our Sugar Land Office located at 14090 Southwest Fwy, Suite 300.

Please join us in welcoming Carolina to the Motivations Counseling family and wishing her success in her new practice here in Sugar Land.

How to reach Carolina...

Phone: (832) 521-1919
Email: carolina@motivationscounseling.com

Click here for more information about Carolina's therapeutic experiences and her overall approach to counseling.

EMDR Fingers

5 Ways EMDR Therapy Can Improve Your Life


EMDR, A Life-Changing Event


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, better known as EMDR, is a type of therapy using eye movements, audio tones, sometimes even hand-held buzzers -- to stimulate the left and right hemispheres of your brain.

Developed in the late 1980's to treat military veterans struggling with PTSD and combat-related trauma, EMDR eventually became more widespread as a treatment for many other conditions.

Today, it is used to treat addiction, trauma, PTSD, depression, anger, grief, fear, anxiety and more. In fact, the treatment can be life altering.


Some of the things EMDR can do for you


  1. Helping you to overcome one or more fears that you dread.

    EMDR can help you to see things from a different perspective, making you more aware of what things are a real threat to you, versus thoughts that amount to simply nonsense in your head.

  2. Bring long lost memories back again.

    EMDR impacts the neurons in your brain allowing you to bring back memories from the past. Places you grew up, people you knew, perhaps even memories of elementary school or a favorite teacher will return to you in vivid detail. Imagine walking through your childhood home again, remembering all the little details long forgotten.

  3. Feel and deal with emotions of the past.

    EMDR will help you to come to terms with thoughts and feelings from your past that you may not have fully processed. The EMDR sessions help bring these things to the surface to allow your brain to processes them in a safe, healthy way. You may find yourself shedding a few tears in the processes, or feeling angry. Those feelings will go away as EMDR helps you to process them and to heal.

  4. Your relationships will change.

    While EMDR helps you to clean up the problems of your past and present, you will have more energy to focus on your relationships with the people around you. Energy that you may have spent on a problem will become available to you to use to focus on improving relationships. You can deal with others now with confidence.

  5. You will find that you are able to leave the past behind for good.

    When it comes to trauma especially, EMDR will allow you to take traumatic, unpleasant, and even highly repetitive memories, and turn them into normal, everyday kinds of memories. Eventually, you will hardly think about any of these bad thoughts at all.

Through EMDR Therapy, you may find that you experience some or all of the above. There are many life experiences that can be addressed with EMDR, and even many more positive outcomes that I didn't even list in this article. Every individual's experience is different.

One thing that is very clear and, if nothing else, the main takaway from this article should be: EMDR therapy with a trained clinician can help you to change your life in a very positive, lasting way.


At Motivations Counseling, we want to help you to resolve emotional issues of the past and the present. Together, we can open the door to you finding a brighter and more confident future.

Call us today for a free 10-minute consultation to see if our approach and experience are right for you.

How to reach us...

Phone: (281) 858-3001
Email: susan@motivationscounseling.com
Form: Contact Us

Holiday Trash

10 Tips For Dealing With Holiday Stress


Holiday Trash


Stress is the trash of modern life. We all generate it, but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life. This is especially true when it comes to holiday stress.

The holiday season seems to bring with it some unwelcome guests -- both depression and stress. There are so many demands placed on us during this time of year -- shopping, cleaning, parties and entertaining, just to name a few.

With a few practical tips, you can minimize holiday-related stress. Taking these to account, you might even find that you can end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought.


Tips to prevent stress during the holidays


When stress is at it's worse, you will find it difficult to stop and regroup. The best strategy is to to to get ahead of it and stop stress or depression in the first place. This is especially true if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in years past. Hopefully the following tips provided by the Mayo Clinic will help you.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

  3. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

    Try these alternatives:

    • Donate to a charity in someone's name.
    • Give homemade gifts.
    • Start a family gift exchange.

  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

  8. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

    Try these suggestions:

    • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

    Some options may include:

    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
    • Listening to soothing music.
    • Getting a massage.
    • Reading a book.

  10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

At Motivations Counseling, we want to help you to resolve emotional issues of the past and the present.  Together, we can open the door to you finding a brighter and more confident future.

Call us today for a free 10-minute consultation to see if our approach and experience are right for you.

How to reach us...

Phone: (281) 858-3001
Email: susan@motivationscounseling.com
Form: Contact Us

Coping Strategies For Anxiety


Anxiety

It's a normal emotion--everyone feels anxious now and then. Different circumstances can trigger anxiety, including nervousness due to a problem at home or work, when facing an important decision, or when about to take a test.

On the other hand, some people suffer from Anxiety disorders, which are a group of mental illnesses that can keep you from carrying on with your life in a normal fashion. People suffering from this condition find that worry and fear are both constant and overwhelming. The good new is, with treatment, most people find that they can manage these feelings and resume a fulfilling life.

It's important to seek out treatment with a trained therapist to find help. In the meantime, there are a number of coping strategies that can help you to deal with the immediate affects of anxiety.


Coping Strategies - as recommended by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
  • Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.

  • Call us today for a free 10-minute consultation to see if our approach and experience are right for you.

    How to reach us...

    Phone: (281) 858-3001
    Email: susan@motivationscounseling.com
    Form: Contact Us

    Relationship Jumpstart Using Love Languages

    Jumpstarting Your Relationship

    Understanding Love Languages

    Are you having trouble in your relationship with your spouse or significant other? No one said relationships were easy. In fact, unhappiness in a relationship often has a simple root cause: we are speaking different love languages.

    Dr. Gary Chapman, who has worked as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, identified what he calls the five love languages. These include Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

    Find out more about this concept and gain a better understanding about what both you and your partner need from the relationship. Take the 5 Love Languages Quiz.