The following is an interview between Brittany Senseman, LPC-S, and Melanie Sutton, LPC. Melanie is a trained sex therapist with a Christian world view. In this interview, Mel answers some basic questions regarding the purpose and process of sex therapy.
Recently I visited "The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta" exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I should start by saying that I have no fashion education, and I am quite certain this limits my ability to truly appreciate the art I witnessed. So, I ask those well versed in the world of fashion to please forgive my potentially amateur observations.
Tis the season! The season for family and Christmas music and good food and… stress. During the holidays, we juggle busy schedules, celebrations, family dynamics, high expectations and complicated emotions. And this year, many of us are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. That means that our “starting point” for stress may be higher this year than it has been in previous years. And therefore, ideally, it should also be the season for good coping skills. In case you feel a need to add to your coping repertoire or simply brush up on your existing skills, here are some practical ideas for you to try this holiday season.
Is Christmas the most joyful or most stressful time of the year for you? There seems to be an underlying pressure to please others and an expectation to be joyful at the same time. The reality is, you cannot please everyone; and you are the only one who has the power to allow yourself to actually enjoy this season. What is most important to you this time of year? Do you want to visit Santa, send out Christmas cards or attend a holiday party? Maybe you want to order takeout and not cook, or put up a Christmas tree but not Christmas lights. Prioritizing what is most important will help you say, “Yes” to what you genuinely want to do!Is it difficult for you to say “No” for fear of disappointment?
The #metoo campaign has brought a very important and often taboo topic to the forefront recently. What started on social media is now fueling dialogue over dinner tables, happy hours and therapy sessions. As a counselor, I’m thankful for opportunities to give expression to traumatic events that have lurked in the dark because that is where healing begins. However, as with any issue that has spent so much time in the dark, once it’s open for discussion, the pendulum can swing in both helpful and unhelpful directions. All you need to do is peruse the comments of those who have shared via #metoo to see that this is a vulnerable, complicated and even divisive topic.There is no way that one article (or even one conversation) could cover all of the nuances and complexities involved in these issues. That said, I think it is helpful to start by defining terms.
When you read the word “family,” what feelings do you have? Some of you relaxed your faces and experienced joy, while others just got a knot in your stomachs as you felt the anxiety creep in. I want you to take a moment right now and figure out what you’re feeling. Seriously, stop reading and pay attention to what your body is telling you! I’ll wait…Ok, now that you know what you’re feeling, I’d like you to think about how satisfied you are with that feeling. Are you happy with your reaction or do you wish it were different?
Anxiety is persistent and excessive worry or stress that can negatively make an impact on one or multiple areas of your life. Symptoms of anxiety are restlessness, fatigue, impaired concentration, irritability, or tension. Heart palpitations, tense muscles, and stomach problems are often common with anxiety. Although genetics play a role, many other factors contribute to the development of anxiety.
Here is a list of resources for emotional management you may find helpful:
"Dry Guilt" Tip Sheet: This page addresses survival guilt for those who were not directly impacted by a crisis dry-guilt-tip-sheet
This is an EXCELLENT resource for helping kids tell their own Hurricane Story using words and drawings: https://www.mercycorps.org/sites/default/files/file1134606361.pdf
Self Care for Life's Storms: This page gives practical tips on how to take care of yourself during a crisis Self-Care After a Traumatic Event
A traumatic event is anything that causes or threatens harm to us or our loved ones in which we are powerless to change the circumstances. In many instances, trauma happens on an individual level where one person or a small group is affected. In cases of natural disaster, whole populations can be exposed to trauma.
It has only been a week since the peak of Hurricane Harvey, but for those of us in and around Houston it already seems like much longer. Now that more of the roads are passable and we can begin to take in the full impact, it is surreal.