Archive for the ‘Relationship Issues’ Category

Building Healthy Relationships: Trends in Couples Therapy

October 23, 2010

Today I attended a workshop on “Trends in Couples Therapy” presented by the internationally renowned psychologist, Dr.  F. W. Kaslow.  She remarked that “more remarried couples…bring residual backage from prior  marriages.”                      

In my practice, I try to cut this off at the pass, by working with divorcing individuals to encourage them to engage in building healthy relationships with their spouse.  they get divorced with less emotional turmoil – notably less anger and depression. 

In marriage counseling, I tell the couple that I will help them bring more stability and happiness to the marriage and less angst.  Then after a given period, perhaps six months, they can decide whether to remain together or get divorced.  If they choose divorce, they are less likely to bring the emotional baggage to the next relationship.

Irving M. Nadler, Ph.D., Boca Raton Psychologist, working at building healthy relationships.        Tel:  561-361-0711

Building Healthy Relationships: Economic Stress Causing You Relationship Woes

October 8, 2010

As I was cleaning my desk, I came across a reprint of a blog by Dr. Goodstone about my ideas of how to build healthy realtionships during stressful economic times.     This was in May 2009, but the suggestions are valid today.                                                                                                                                 1.   Accept your spouse or significant other “as is” “in their attitude toward financial matters and having a non-judgmental discussion about change”.                                                                                                                                                      2.  “Find “stuff” to do to enhance the relationship and reduce stress”. …”make dates to go to free concerts, walk along the beach, or spend time in a local park.”                                                                                                                                             3.  “Become more sensual and sexual…hold hands.”                                                                                                                                                          4.  “Try giving your spouse a movie star kiss unexpectedly”.

I did the last and my wife of 40 years said “What did you do?”  I told her I was only taking the advice of a famous psychologist and showed her the internet article.

Suggestion – use the above for building healthy relationships.

Irving Nadler, PhD    Tel:  561-361-0711

Building Healthy Relationships: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk

August 1, 2010

Dr. Ken Pope notified me of an article “Social Relationships and Mortality Risk”  that recently appeared in PLOS Medicine.  In a meta-analysis, 300,000+ individuals studied for an average of 7.5 years had a 50% greater likelihood of survival if they had adequate social relationships as opposed to insufficient social relationships.  This effect on mortality was comparable to quitting smoking and better than weight loss.  Despite living in the communication era, people are far less likely to have a confidant and more likely to feel socially isolated.

What does this mean for psychotherapy?  Building healthy relationships can be a goal of treatment that will improve health risk.  Of course, building healthy relationships is a challenge for those who had them historically, but extraordinarily difficult for those who never had them.

Irving Nadler, PhD    Tel:  561-361-0711

Building Healthy Relationships: Pre-empting Marital Strife III

July 11, 2010

In the aforementioned article, there was a discussion of “acceptance therapy”, which focuses on recognizing and accepting the partners’ flaws.  When partners received this type of couple therapy, after two years, this therapy was superior to others in a study by Christenson and Jacobson; after five years, half the marriages were significantly improved. 

This type of treatment reminds me of the philosophy of the late Albert Ellis – “Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human”

In couples therapy.  I suggest that the partners accept each other as is, but they may in a gentle, non-punitive way point out how change may positively affect the marriage.  Of course, people work at different speeds in changing and so there is no agreement on a comparable time frame for the partners.  The person that changes, enhances his/her relationship.  Thus, accepting “as is”  is a crucial aspect of building healthy relationships.

Building Healthy Relationships: Pre-empting Marital Strife II

July 9, 2010

The article cited in the previous blog suggests a “marital checkup” on a yearly basis to pre-empt marital strife and build healthy relationships.  In general, we have a dental exam, medical exam, check and rebalance our financial portfolio, and have automobile maintenance on at least a yearly basis. 

Why not visit a psychologist for couple therapy and make improvements in one to several sessions for healthy marriages.  What can be discussed?  A whole range of topics – children, in-laws, out-laws, finances, sexuality, arguments,  how to fight fair, etc. – are grist for the mill.  Working with couples in this way can prevent unhappiness or irreconcilable differences which may lead to divorce.  By the way, my wife and I just celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary so we must be doing something right!   Building healthy relationships is a dynamic issue for couples to work on.

Building Healthy Relationships: Pre-empting Marital Strife

July 4, 2010

This past week’s Science Times section of the NY Times had an article -“Seeking to Pre-empt Marital Strife”.  There were three interesting  aspects of the article –

1.  Nearly two-thirds of divorcing couples never sought couple therapy.

2.  Yearly check-ups of one’s marital state are important for building healthy relationships.

3.  “Acceptance therapy” consists of better understanding a partner’s flaws.

I will focus on failure to seek couple therapy in this blog and address the other two issues in future blogs.  Some couples do not wish to avail themselves of couple therapy because that means they have failed in their relationship.   In my practice, I state in the first session that my goal for the couple is to build a healthier relationship and subsequently to decide whether they wish to remain married.  It has seemed to me that the couples find this a reasonable goal and are more willing to work toward that outcome.  They can be successful and still get divorced. The divorce will be more amicable and life after divorce will be much healthier emotionally.  Although I believe that gender of the therapist is a preference and is not one of the major variables related to outcome in any form of psychotherapy, some men can be reluctant to engage in couple therapy with a female counselor (that makes it two against one). They are more agreeable to work with me, a gray-haired non-threatening male.  Thus, building healthy relationships via marital therapy can serve to pre-empt divorce.

Building Healthy Realtionships: Empathy

July 3, 2010

Last Sunday, the NY Times reported on a study by Dr. Sara Konrath.  She found that empathy was markedly reduced in college students compared to twenty years ago, but in particular since 2000.  Of considerable interest to me were her definitions of four aspects of “interpersonal sensitivity”:

1.  “Empathic concern , or sympathy over the misfortunes of others”;

2.  “perspective taking, an intellectual capacity to imagine other people’s points of view”;

3.  “fantasy or people’s tendency to identify imaginatively with fictional characters in books or movies”;

4.  “and personal distress, which refers to the anguish one feels during others’ misfortunes.”

I plan to distribute these definitions to some of my clients in individual psychotherapy and couple counseling.  Then, we can use the definitions to help in building healthy relationships.

Relationship Issues and Finances

August 6, 2009

In marriage counseling, communication is an important component.  Harmful communications such as yelling, blaming and degrading are certainly not helpful in resolving any relationship issue, especially relating to finances. Often, partners have different spending habits and ideas about saving.  Money Magazine recommends to “Make peace with your money” by sitting down for 45 minutes a week to discuss financial issues.  If you are unable to do this peacefully and effectively, it is advisable to seek marriage counseling.  Consultation with a psychologist will probably identify other significant relationship issues.

Economic stress causing you relationship woes? – Some simple solutions

May 21, 2009

At a recent meeting of the Mental Health Professionals of Boca Raton, a local clinical psychologist with 30+ years of experience, Irving Nadler, Ph.D., spoke about the impact of the financial crisis on the emotional well-being and health of the vast number of people affected.   Specializing in behavioral medicine, the treatment of medical issues using the principles of psychology, Dr. Nadler works with many clients suffering from chronic pain or attempting to change their health habits.

With an exceptionally tranquil demeanor and a wonderful sense of humor, Dr. Nadler can re-state your problems in clear and precise terms, assisting you to find eaay to understand solutions.  Since change is often difficult, he will work with you to meet the challenge of change.

Dr. Nadler offers some good, yet very simple solutions, for dealing with a downsizing of your economic situation.

*  Improve the relations with your spouse or significant other – by accepting them “as is” in their attitude toward financial matters and having a nonjudgmental discussion about change.

*  Find “stuff” to do to enhance the relationship and reduce stress.  he suggests finding activities and events that are inexpensive or totally free.  For example, make dates to go to free concerts, walk along the beach or spend time at a local park.

*  Become more sensual and sexual.  For example, hold hands and enjoy the beauty of nature, using all of your senses.  Try giving your spouse a movie star kiss unexpectedly.

For more information information contact  Boca Raton Licensed psychologist .Dr. Nadler provides a free 30-minute telephone consultation.