Myths vs. Facts

Myth:

People cheat in relationships because the other partner isn’t satisfying them in the bedroom.

Fact:

If only there was one simple answer to that question! As a therapist, I find that most monogamous (and there are plenty of people who do not believe in monogamy) people cheat for several reasons, however, these have been the biggest reasons I’ve seen in my 14 years of practice. 1. The person who cheats feels like he/she is not having their needs met (these can be emotional needs, physical needs, or financial needs). Now, this doesn’t mean that anyone in a committed relationship has the right to cheat if that happens, but instead signals a larger breakdown in the relationship (communication, individual depression or other emotional issues, life getting in the way) and is a very loud alert that something is wrong. 2. The person has already checked out of the relationship and is perhaps acting out in order to get out of the relationship.

Cheating can also sometimes be a cultural norm, and therefore can be a behavior modeled for that person growing up. The best preventative measures for this phenomenon in a relationship is to pay attention to it! Our relationships need to grow, change, and evolve, just as we do as individuals. When we can communicate effectively with our partner, then we have a better chance of catching problems as they come up instead of reactively dealing with the consequences of this act.

Don’t hesitate to get help! Marriage counseling is available to help you work with your partner on the problems that can lead up to this devastating problem.

 

Micah Hatchett, PhD., LPC,  has been practicing as a therapist for 14 years, and is the Clinical Director of Northshore Counseling and Wellness in Covington, LA.

How is Your Uniqueness a Strength?

Many people hate being different. But what if being different is exactly where all the opportunities for success and happiness start?

This is not a made up tease.

According to Gallup Research everyone has talent and some people have cultivated their talents into their STRENGTHS. People who use their strengths are happier and more satisfied with their life at work and at home.

How can you find out about YOUR strengths?

At Gallup’s website you can take a test. It’s only $9.99 and it will send you information immediately upon completing the test.

This test was based on research that encompassed over three million people. When you are done you will get your top 5 strengths and descriptions along with some additional information. There are 34 strengths, but only 1 in 33.3 million people will have the same exact five strengths in their top five.

The advantage of learning about your strengths is that it often confirms what we are good at and love to do. Many people are pushed to work on their weaknesses and end up feeling drained and unhappy. When you cultivate your talents you feel energized and in the zone! That place where time is lost and you feel completely absorbed.

If you haven’t been in the “zone” for a while, or never, don’t worry!

Talents may be dormant but they never go away. You just have to decide to use them!

Why should you learn more about your STRENGTHS?
1. It will help you rediscover or confirm your talents.
2. You will be more confident about communicating your strengths to others because you value your own uniqueness.
3. A greater appreciation for your own talents will help you recognize what is special about others.

This is just the start! Many organizations and businesses use strength-based training to develop teams, but it is also great for individuals and couples.

If you are interested in learning more about your strengths Northshore & Southshore Wellness is partnering with Wendy Hornung, a Gallup Certified Strength Coach. See our EVENTS section to find out about upcoming Strengths-based training events.

How is couples counseling for same-sex couples different from opposite-sex couples counseling?

For the most part it’s not. Same-sex couples deal with many of the same issues in couples therapy that opposite-sex couples do. Most couples come across the common issues of sex, finances, household duties, and family. The need to learn better communication skills, learn the art of conflict resolution and compromise, recognize and break dysfunctional patterns, and find ways to reconnect or stay connected are all common things dealt with in couples counseling for all couples.

Good communication is a two way street and the ultimate goal should be to better understand your partner.

That said, there are some issues that are unique to same-sex couples. Being a member of the LGBTQ community poses its own unique set of challenges that are bound to leak over into your relationships. As a same-sex couple, you may be faced with a lack of acceptance by family or friends, and on a larger scale, a lack of acceptance by society in general. Issues may arise in trying to navigate through the decision to come out to family and friends. Couples deal with feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration over not being allotted many of the same privileges that straight couples are granted. The desire to become a parent also presents its own unique set of obstacles for same-sex couples who wish to fulfill that desire.

  • Keys to a better same-sex relationship
    • learn better communication skills
    • learn conflict resolution
    • recognize dysfunctional patterns
    • reconnect in new ways

Even the happiest and healthiest of couples run across difficult times. All of these things, and many others, can be addressed in couples therapy so that you can gain the coping skills and strategies needed to deal with any common or unique issues that arise and pose a challenge to your relationship. When going through a difficult time in your relationship, one of the most effective ways to start the mending process is implementing basic healthy communication skills. The key to good communication is to really listen to what your partner is expressing to you and then attempt to understand their perspective. Often times we are so concerned with trying to get our point across, that we forget to take the time to hear what our partner is trying to communicate to us. Good communication is a two way street and the ultimate goal should be to better understand your partner. If you are both working to understand each other, real work can be done to better your relationship.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, NCC

Ready to get to work? Call us! 985-624-2942

Northshore & Southshore Counseling and Wellness offering Counseling and Therapy in Mandeville and Metairie

Northshore & Southshore Counseling and Wellness has a second location in Metairie to provide individual, family and group therapy for New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner and the surrounding areas. Our office on Metairie Road is easy to reach from Uptown, Downtown, or Metairie.

Appointments are available for new clients as well as for the convenience of existing clients from our Mandeville location who work or are frequently in the Metro New Orleans area.

If you are a resident of the Greater New Orleans area seeking counseling for marriage, family, relationships, addiction, bipolor disorder, collaborative divorce, medication management, assessment for ADHD, ADD or PTSD, schedule an appointment by calling or contacting our therapy office today.

Northshore and Southshore Counseling & Wellness, Metairie Location:

433 Metairie Road
Suite 309
Metairie, LA 70005
(504) 717-4043
(map)

Dr Andre, What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a team-based process with the purpose of providing a non-litigious and efficient process for couples who are divorcing.  It is structured very differently than what most people think of in a traditional divorce process.  There are 6 team members trained in the process: two attorneys, two therapists who serve as coaches, a therapist who serves as a child specialist, and a financial planner.  These professionals are trained to guide each person in the couple through to a “win-win” resolution of all matters related to the divorce while avoiding any court involvement.

..a non-litigious and efficient process for couples who are divorcing

The couple is assisted in working out their own custody arrangements and financial outcomes within the legal constraints in Louisiana.  This allows them to keep control over their outcomes, as opposed to a judge making such decisions.  Additionally, the process allows the matter to remain private, which is often important to business people who don’t want their financials to become part of public record and available to others such a business competition.  Another benefit is that, because each person has a supported voice in the process, the agreements reached are ones that both people can live with for the long-term, which greatly decreases the likelihood of revisiting custody or other matters well after the divorce is final.

…a “win-win” resolution of all matters related to the divorce while avoiding any court involvement.  

Some people have questions about the cost of this process as compared to traditional divorces.  While there are more professionals involved in a Collaborative Divorce, this does not mean the cost is higher.  Less time is required of the attorneys, who typically have the highest fees.  Attorneys also are not spending time sitting in courts waiting for your case to be heard, which can be a large expense.  The coaches and financial professional spend the majority of the time with the couple in order to work prepare them for productively moving through the important decisions and minimizing attorney time.  Therefore, time is not lost in conflict, disagreements, or court time.  The team can flex the use of the professionals to the specific needs of the couple, thereby streamlining costs.

Clients of the Collaborative Divorce process experience an effective and productive working environment in which all parties are assisted to remain neutral and both people’s concerns are addressed.  This process helps take the “drama” out of divorce.

Want to know more about what is collaborative divorce? Call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

 

-Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

Social drinking question

Dr Andre,

When is it time to seek help with a social drinking question? I do not share the same opinion of my wine with dinner as other members of my family?

 

Since there is a conflict of opinion it would probably be helpful for both parties(all) to be fully heard. Often in a neutral setting each side can actually speak and be heard without interruptions. Sometimes this is the first time people actually truly listen to each other!  From there, a decision could be made by you for guidance, suppport, or general reassurance , or any other goals that may be discovered in session. If you would like more specific information regarding your family communication please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942.

 

-Dr. Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

Couple’s Communication 101

Dr Andre, Why can’t I communicate with my partner?

 

“We just can’t seem to communicate!” I hear this often in sessions with couples. Here are a few pointers that I always offer my clients who struggle with communication.

First of all, we need to understand the differences in the way men and women communicate. Men are generally far more concrete and linear in their thoughts and statements, whereas women are more abstract and detailed. For men, YES and NO are perfectly acceptable answers. Women, however, are more likely to respond with more information. For example, when a lady asks a man if she looks OK in a particular dress, a man believes he has answered her question when he responds with “yes” or “no”. Another female is more likely to respond to the same question with, “Well, I like the color of the dress, but…”

A gifted communicator knows how to listen.

Another communication challenge happens when a man asks a woman what is wrong and she answers “nothing”. He usually believes her! This does not mean he doesn’t care about her. Men are just not good mind readers. Ladies, they depend on you to tell them what you want or need. But, remember, we all get the best results when we speak in the “I” rather than “you”. Starting a statement with “you” tends to put the other person on the defensive because it has an accusatory tone. And, let’s not forget tone and timing are very important.

A gifted communicator knows how to listen. Men, by nature, are problem solvers. Women vent their feelings and problems to men who in turn have the urge to fix the problem. Great news, guys!  You don’t have to fix it – just listen. Listen without judgment. She just needs to get it off her chest.

Great news, guys!  You don’t have to fix it – just listen.

Finally, have you ever heard of QTIPS? It’s the acronym for Quit Taking It Personally, Silly. We all need to remember that not all problems are about us; so, let’s not assume he or she is angry at or disappointed with us. Your partner’s attitude or expression may be the result of something that happened at work or with someone else. Just ask, “You look upset. Is this about me?” When you respond with openness, your partner will feel safer to share with you. However, if the problem is about you, remember tone and timing. We can say almost anything when we say it with kindness and respect.

…remember tone and timing.

For more in-depth help with relationship and communication challenges, our therapists at Northshore Counseling and Wellness and always happy to help you be your best self. Please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

-Dr. Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

Contributed by Janis Caserta, LPC, LAC

 

 

How do I get my point across without sounding angry?

How do I get my point across without sounding angry?

 The best way to get another person to really hear what we are trying to say consists of two main actions.  

  1. Never try to get an important point across when either of you is angry, but especially when the other person is angry.  If you are angry, the person is going to be defensive because of your anger, and not really focus on what you are saying.  If they do hear what you are saying, they are likely to just dismiss it out of defensiveness.  If the other person is angry, they are too overwhelmed by their own cortisol levels (our stress hormone) for their brain to be able to receive any input anyway.  So the best course of action is to wait to discuss it until both of you are calmed down and able to remain calm when talking about it.
  2. When you do discuss your point, use what we call “I language.”  Talk about your feelings, your goals, and what is or is not working for you.  Talk about yourself, aka “I.”  So instead of saying, “Why do you always take the kids’ side?  You know that pisses me off”, you would say “When i hear you say that I am too harsh of a parent, I assume you are taking the kids’ side instead of finding a way to work with me on this.  Is this right?  I get really frustrated because it is important to me that we are united in our parenting.  I worry that we won’t be good at standing together in situations like this.”  Obviously, the second response is much easier the other person to hear and respond to.  It makes him/her much less defensive because you are not putting him/her on the hot seat.  Instead you are just explaining your concerns and inviting them to talk with you about it.

Try saying “I feel this way about…” instead of “Why do YOU always….”

Contributed by  Michelle Haeur

How can we make our marriage they way it used to be?

How can we stop fighting all the time, and get our marriage back how it used to be? All we have now is a lot of built up resentments.

Dr Andre,

How can we stop fighting all the time, and get our marriage back how it used to be? All we have now is a lot of built up resentments.Healthy communication is very important to developing and maintaining a good relationship.  Each person in the couple needs to learn the practice the skills of good communication.  Each person’s goals and needs in the relationship have to be validated in the relationship.  This doesn’t always mean needs to get met, but they are respected as important to each person.  Successful relationships are based on a win-win approach and allowing give and take to work together.  Resentments build after a person feels their needs have not been respected for a while.  Resentments are signs that the relationship is in true danger.  However, when two people make real effort to discuss and then release resentments, choosing instead to focus on meeting the desires of the other moving forward, resentments can be resolved.

In general, where there is a commitment, willingness for the marriage to thrive, honesty and trust, most couples can benefit from new ways to problem-solve, communicate, and develop healthier coping skills to replace old habitual responses.

Contributed by Jan Doty, North Shore Counseling & Wellness

…choosing instead to focus on meeting the desires of the other moving forward, resentments can be resolved.

Why do my great relationships sour over time?

“Hey Doctor, why are my relationships so great and happy in the beginning and then it goes bad once there is a level of comfort and security in the relationship? This seems to be a common problem in my life, could you give me some general advice?”

Depending on your particular situation, I would advise one or both of the following:

  1. The endorphins released and the chemical reactions that takes place in your brain at the begining of a relationship are similar to the “high” you would get from other types of drugs such as cocaine.  Because you are in an “altered state” you tend to overlook qualities that might send you away otherwise.  After this has worn off and your brain is no longer supplying the influx of chemicals, you are able to see the person for who they really are.  Some people who suffer from addiction will chase this “high” when it wears off in search of a new relationship or extra-marital affairs.
  2. Once comfortable in a relationship we tend to replay the dysfunction of our parent’s marriage due to what we witnessed in our parent’s relationship growing up.  We subconsciously pick the same type of relationship as our parents had in an effort to repair the past.

I hope this gives you some understanding of why this happens even in a general sense. If you would like more specific information regarding your happiness and healthy relationships, please call our office for an appointment. We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942

-Response from Therapist Dana Duet-Champagne