Overcoming Societal Pressures on Becoming a Mother

Overcoming Societal Pressures on Becoming a Mother

We’ve all seen those scenes in movies and TV shows where the mother is pressuring her daughter to have children. Usually, the mother character will guilt her daughter by saying something like, “You’re not getting any younger you know,” or, “All I want is to be a grandmother. Why are you keeping that from me!” 

These scenes are always funny. Unless of course, you live these scenes in real life! And sadly, many women do live these scenes on a daily basis. If they’re not getting pressure from their mother about having kids they’re usually getting it from a sister or some of their female friends. But this pressure is far from helpful.

Not All Women are Cut Out for Motherhood

As a therapist, I have heard all kinds of stories about the relationship people have had with their mothers. Now granted, mothers are human beings, and even those that try their very best are going to make some mistakes.

But I have heard more stories than I can count of mothers who seemed to not like being a mother very much at all. I have one client who has shared many heartbreaking stories of his childhood; of his mother who always seemed sad and angry. She was never really “into” playing with him or his two other siblings or spending much time with them. She always made my client feel like she gave up a wonderful life to have children and she regretted it every day.

The truth is, not all women are cut out for motherhood. Some women have it in them and some don’t. There was a time when women didn’t really have a choice but to follow the traditional path and get married and have 2, 3, or more kids. But times have changed and women do have a say now about what kind of life they would like to live. 

Pressuring women to fit a specific mold and have children, just because society deems that the “right” life path is simply wrong. All that does is create families who become broken.

Speaking to Someone Can Help

Are you “of a certain age” and feeling pressured by friends and family to have children? Do you feel overwhelmed? It can really help to have someone in your corner that can help you decide what is right for you personally. A therapist can help you understand clearly what your needs are. He or she can then help you set up boundaries with others so that your needs are met.

If you’d like to speak with someone, please get in touch with me.


What is Art Therapy?

At some point in most of our lives, there will come a time when we experience a mental health crisis. It may come after a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or another traumatic event.

Many traditional types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, can be very effective at helping people overcome their depression, anxiety, and other symptoms. That is, if they are comfortable using verbal communication to share their pain.

Many people are not comfortable enough with their communication skills or their own emotions to be able to benefit from traditional talk therapies. This is especially true with young children. In these cases, art therapy can be very worthwhile.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy uses creative outlets such as painting, collage, and drawing to help people express themselves in a way they feel comfortable. The art they create can then be used by the therapist to better understand their behaviors and emotional health. Just as our dreams use symbolism to “tell” us about ourselves, art does the same.

Who is Art Therapy Right for?

Art therapy is a great option for small children, adolescents, and adults who have a difficult time understanding their own emotions or speaking about them. Art therapy has been successfully used to improve self-esteem, relieve stress and anxiety, manage addictions, and improve symptoms of depression.

If you are interested in exploring art therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have and see if art therapy may be a good fit for you.


Journaling Therapy – Art Therapy

“Dear Diary…” 

As kids, many of us told our deepest secrets and our hopes and dreams to our diaries. And then we got older and forgot all about visiting those pages each day.

You may have heard about journaling, which some would say is the adult equivalent of keeping a diary. But journaling can also be a powerful form of therapy, as journaling exercises can bring about self-awareness and improve mental health.

The Difference Between Journal Therapy and Keeping a Journal

Before the 1960s, when journal therapy began, people simply used a journal to record their experiences, much like they did as kids. This was a narrative form of writing and wasn’t really seen as a truly therapeutic process.

But when psychologist Dr. Ira Progoff introduced an intensive form of journaling, the therapeutic potential of the journaling process came into view. Today, journal therapy is a stand-alone therapy modality similar to art and music therapy. 

Perhaps the biggest difference between journal therapy and simply keeping a journal is the way an individual’s internal thoughts, feelings and experiences are captured. Journal therapy allows a person to not only write down their issues and concerns, but to also be reflective and introspective about them. In this way, journal therapy can be a real agent for change.

Who Can Benefit from Journal Therapy?

Journal therapy can be very beneficial for those individuals who typically have difficulty processing their thoughts and emotions. Journal therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Grief and loss
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Low self-esteem
  • And more

Getting Started

While anyone can try journaling on their own, to truly benefit from the process, it’s best to work with a therapist who can guide you and offer prompts that can help you get your thoughts and feelings on the page.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, have a hard time talking about them, and would like to explore journaling therapy, please reach out to me.


What is Crisis Therapy?

Suicidal ideation is a medical term used to describe when someone has begun having thoughts about committing suicide. Sometimes these thoughts might be fleeting in nature, and other times the thoughts may persist until the individual begins to formulate a plan.

According to recent data, suicide is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15 and 24 years. And suicide accounts for 1% of deaths in America.

Suicide has a ripple effect. In fact, the American Association of Suicidology estimates that each suicide intimately affects at least six other people.

Thoughts of suicide are usually a result of prolonged depression, severe anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, and feelings of hopelessness. Not all people diagnosed with these conditions become suicidal, however. Also, many people who experience suicidal ideation do not die by suicide, though they may exhibit suicidal behavior and even make an attempt.

What is a Crisis Intervention?

Crisis intervention is a short-term emergency response to someone who is experiencing intense emotional or mental distress. This form of therapy is an effective way of restoring the person’s equilibrium and biopsychosocial functioning. Doing so reduces the potential for long-term trauma.

Crisis interventions are typically conducted by trained and certified crisis intervention counselors that work at hospitals, drug rehab centers, and mental health clinics. These trained mental health workers do not provide typical cognitive-behavioral treatments or anything on a long-term basis. Instead, they offer short-term intervention to help their clients become stable.

Therapy After Crisis Intervention 

People don’t become suicidal overnight. There were days, weeks, and months of struggling with stress, depression, trauma, and/or anxiety to get to that place. Once and only when the initial crisis has been fully remediated, and once the initial crisis therapy has occurred, it will be important for the individual to receive continued mental health care. This will help the individual identify the underlying causes of their suicidal ideation.

If you or someone you love is thinking about suicide, please seek immediate attention. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text Hello to 741741


Eating Disorders in Adults

Eating disorders are often associated with teenagers and adolescents. But many adults struggle with this same issue.

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are mental health issues that involve unhealthy or obsessive eating habits. Some of the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.

Anyone can develop an eating disorder at any point in their life, though a disproportionate number of those diagnosed are young females. Researchers have found there are often biological factors involved in developing an eating disorder, as well as social and interpersonal pressures. Many men and women develop eating disorders as a response to culturally mediated body image concerns. 

Eating Disorders and Physical Health

If not treated, eating disorders can and do often lead to poor physical health. Here are just some of the physical symptoms that commonly occur in people with eating disorders:

  • Drastic changes in weight (either increase or decrease)
  • Hair loss
  • Dizzy spells and fainting
  • Feeling cold
  • Stained or discolored teeth (from purging)
  • GI upsets like stomach aches and cramping
  • Dehydration
  • Nutritional deficiencies

It’s important to mention that while these symptoms are common, not everyone will present with them. Eating disorders and their physical and emotional effects will look different for each individual.

Treatment Options

Eating disorders can be very stressful for the person and their loved ones. In some cases, they can even be life-threatening.

There are a few different treatment options for those suffering from an eating disorder:

Speaking with a Trained Therapist

A therapist trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help a patient uncover the emotional reasons beneath the affliction and help them to adapt their behavior.


Medications may be needed to help treat any anxiety and depression that often coexists with an eating disorder.

Work with a Nutritionist

It is often advised that people with eating disorders work with a nutritionist to relearn proper eating habits and the importance of getting the right amount of nutrients each day.

If you or someone you love is living with an eating disorder, it is important that you get some help. With the right treatment plan, life can become healthy once again.


How Your Diet Can Affect Mood, Cognition, And Sleep

Most of us are aware that what we eat can affect our waistline. But did you know that the foods you eat can also impact your brain, which means they can affect your mood, cognition, and sleep?

Think of Your Brain Like an Expensive Car

Cars need fuel to operate. Some cars do fine no matter what type of gas you put in the tank. But expensive cars typically only do well when you fill the tank with premium gas.

Your brain is like an expensive car. You can try and feed it what YOU want and what YOU think is delicious, but it probably won’t operate optimally. In fact, your brain can actually become damaged if you feed it the wrong foods. For example, many processed and refined foods are harmful to your brain, causing inflammation and toxic overload. Diets high in refined carbohydrates not only promote inflammation but also oxidative stress and worsen your body’s regulation of insulin. 

All of this damage affects how your brain operates. That means when you eat poorly, you increase the risk of developing a mood disorder such as depression and anxiety, a cognitive impairment (making it hard to think clearly or remember information), and sleep issues.

And then it becomes a vicious cycle, because once our sleep takes a hit and our mood takes a hit and we can’t focus well, we intuitively want to reach for comfort foods that are usually unhealthy, and the cycle starts all over.

Making Lifestyle Changes Your Brain Will Thank You For

Life is easier and just feels better when our brains are working for us, not against us. With that in mind, here are some lifestyle choices you can make that will keep your brain working optimally:

Skip the Soft Drinks

One of the easiest changes you can make is to stop drinking soda, even sugar-free sodas, which can still impact your insulin levels. Opt for water instead. 

Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats

Your brain is 60% fat. It needs fat to thrive. But not all fats are created equally. Stay away from trans fats. These are fats made in a laboratory and are found in processed foods. Seed oils, vegetable oils – these are bad fats!

Healthy fats are those from grass-fed or pastured animals as well as nuts and avocados!

Take Care of Your Gut

Your gut health directly impacts the health of the rest of your body, including your brain. To be healthy, your gut needs a lot of good bacteria – AKA probiotics. So be sure to eat foods rich in probiotics. This can include sauerkraut, kimchi, Greek yogurt, kefir, and any fermented veggies you like!

Your brain does an awful lot for you. Isn’t it time you start paying more attention to what it needs? Eat right and you will experience a big change in your mood, how you think and how your sleep!


Stress’s Physiological Impact on the Body

The old saying goes, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” Stress is like rain. A little of it can be a good thing. But too much can cause havoc and devastation.

Our bodies are designed to handle a little bit of acute or sudden stress. But when stress is prolonged or becomes chronic, it can have devastating consequences to our health.

Here are just some of the ways stress can negatively impact your body:

Respiratory Issues

Prolonged stress can lead to respiratory issues such as shortness of breath. Individuals who do not have an underlying respiratory disease may not be very impacted. But for those with pre-existing conditions such as COPD and asthma, stress can dangerously exacerbate the situation.

Heart Health

When we’re stressed we are in fight or flight mode. This causes our heart to beat faster and our blood vessels to dilate. In short-term scenarios, these physical manifestations help get us out of danger.

But for prolonged periods, this can put a lot of stress on our heart and blood vessels, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Gut Health

Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? It’s incredibly important to ensure your gut is healthy!

But chronic stress can wreak havoc on your gut as it changes the beneficial gut bacteria. And a change in this bacteria can negatively impact your mood. And when you’re already feeling stressed, the last thing you need is to also feel depressed.

Sexual Health

Both the male and female reproductive systems are influenced by the nervous system. When we are stressed, our sexual hormones can get out of balance and we can lose sexual desire. Men may find it hard to achieve and maintain an erection. Stress can also make it hard to conceive and affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.

As you can see, stress can really impact your physical health in a negative way. While we can’t stop the rain from falling or stress from entering our lives, we can practice healthy stress management. That means eating right, getting enough exercise, and quality sleep each night.


How to Talk to Your Young Child About the LGBTQIA+ Community

As a parent or caregiver, it can be difficult to know the right thing to say when kids question what we deem to be adult topics. Broaching topics of sexuality can be awkward for both parties, however, it is a necessary conversation to have.

When it comes to talking about homosexuality and transgender individuals, children should be given age-appropriate information so they can better understand and empathize with others. Regardless of whether or not your child is LGBTQIA+, having a conversation about LGBTQIA+ issues will help reduce prejudice while teaching compassion and empathy.

When to Talk

It’s never too late to start a conversation on issues of sexuality with your children. While there may be initial discomfort and reluctance from preadolescent children and older, ultimately having these discussions with your children will help them develop a sense of safety and security with you, while it teaches them tolerance and acceptance.

For young children, the age of 5 is a good time to begin discussing these topics by sharing some basic information with them.

What to Say

For young children, keep the conversation simple and focus on basic concepts. When talking about homosexuality, you can explain to your child that just as a man and a woman can fall in love, so can a man with a man, and a woman with a woman. When talking about transgender individuals, you can explain that how a person looks on the outside isn’t always how they feel on the inside. You can refer to the familiar adage about “not judging a book by its cover.”

Children should understand the basic concept that even though people may look different than us, they are people just like we are and equally deserving of love, acceptance, and respect.

You Don’t Have to Know Everything

Your child may have questions that you can’t answer. It’s okay to admit to your child when you don’t know the right answer. This could be a discussion point for later after you’ve done some research, or it could be a good opportunity for you to learn from your child.

Are you a parent in need of parenting advice and support? A trained, licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today, and we can set up an appointment to talk.


The Importance of Therapy for Caregivers

In the U.S., the number of people aged 65 or older is expected to more than double in the coming decades, from 46 million to 98 million. And all of these older people will at some point most likely face one or more health crises. From chronic disease to mobility issues, many of the aging population will need help with everyday tasks, taking medications, and staying as safe and healthy as possible.

While some of these people will get professional help from trained home health aides, a good majority of them will be helped by family members. Currently it is estimated that there are over 34 million unpaid caregivers providing support to their elderly loved ones. Many of these loved ones have their own family to support and work outside of the home. In other words, they already have their hands full and now have the extra “burden” of caring for their elderly parent.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

Caregiver burnout happens when a person has become physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from the stress and burden of caring for a sick or aging loved one. These people often feel completely alone, unsupported and unappreciated.

Being so busy raising their own family, working and taking care of others, they often have no time to give to their own needs. They don’t take care of themselves and find they often feel depressed, anxious, and have trouble eating and sleeping.

Most caregivers will experience caregiver burnout at some point. If this happens and the person does not find help, they can no longer provide good care to their loved ones.

It’s Important for Caregivers to Seek Help

Beyond showing themselves more kindness, compassion and care, it is important that caregivers seek mental and emotional help. A therapist can help caregivers navigate the overwhelming emotions that are a result of taking on someone else’s problems and emotional, physical pain.

The truth is, trying to do everything yourself is what got you into the state you find yourself in. Get someone in your corner and share your burden. This will help you breathe, feel better, and get your strength back.

If you are a caregiver experiencing burnout and would like to speak with someone, please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help you.



3 Reasons Why Men Should Try Therapy

Men have taken on a specific role in human development over the span of hundreds of thousands of years. While roles have very recently shifted somewhat, historically speaking, men have been the ones to fight the wars and build society. And if you think about it, it’s pretty hard to feel emotions, let alone process them, while on bloody battlefields and balancing atop giant skyscrapers.

You could say at this point in time, men have become hardwired to compartmentalize their feelings. They have them, just as much as women have feelings, they simply select to store them away and get to them later. For this reason, most men buck at the idea of going to therapy to communicate their feelings.

The reality is, it is for the very reasons I just stated that men can greatly benefit from therapy. Here are 3 reasons why men should at least give therapy a try:

Recover Your Sense of Identity

For many generations, there was a strong definition of, and acceptance of, masculinity. Today, we are given a mix of messages from the media about what it means to be a man and how destructive “toxic” masculinity is. Add to this the fact many men grew up in homes where the father was either fully absent or emotionally absent, and many men struggle with their own sense of identity. Therapy offers men a space to create a healthy definition of what it means to be a man.

Improve Your Relationships

Because men have a hard time communicating their feelings, their female partners can often feel abandoned and confused. This can cause real problems in the relationship.

Therapy allows men to become a healthier version of themselves, one that can connect better with their partner.

Deal with Grief and Pain

Grief, loss, trauma… these are sadly a part of life. Most people, especially men, have a very hard time navigating these mental health challenges. Therapy helps men explore their own emotional pain so they can heal and move on.

These are just a few reasons why men should seriously consider trying therapy. If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me.