Tag Archives: breakup

The Journey of Personal Transformation

moving-on-from-a-cheating-partnerPersonal transformation is probably the single most challenging and rewarding activity we as humans can ever take on. If you’ve ever found yourself riding the high of freedom from a lifelong concern, only to wake up the next day in the midst of an emotional crisis, then you will have some idea of what I’m talking about.

 

People wind up on the path of personal transformation for different reasons. Some can no longer stand to live with the pain of childhood trauma. Others live for many years with an inkling there is more to life than what meets the eye. Just like everyone, those “on the path” of transformation are motivated by the desire to live happier, more empowered and meaningful lives. However, those who walk the path of personal transformation have consciously chosen to acknowledge the inner obstacles to happiness. They have chosen to turn their relationships with themselves upside down until they’ve come to peace with every last part – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

During the process of personal transformation, step-by-step we trade the old, outworn cocoon of the personality we inherited from our parents, siblings, babysitters, teachers, authority figures etc. for our unique and irresistible authentic selves. As the process unfolds we experience a continual stream of new possibilities for meeting the challenges and opportunities of life, which are accompanied by a rush of excitement and renewed sense of purpose. We begin to catch glimpses of peace, joy, and bliss more alluring and gratifying than any we’ve ever experienced, and as time goes on we experience these states more and more.

Sounds amazing, right? It is, except for all the personality traits that make up our old cocoons. Make no mistake. We have invested a lot of energy and time – several decades in some cases – in pumping up these parts of ourselves in order to get by in life. We have become so reliant on these parts or our personality that whenever they want something we bend over backwards to give it to them. And since our relationship to these parts is more intimate than any other, they know how to hit us where it hurts the most every time.

The good news is, we are free to choose change in every moment, no matter how slowly it seems to occur sometimes. And by surrounding ourselves with an environment that supports us on the path of transformation, the old parts of us can gradually come to see that they no longer have to work so hard to ensure our security. In the meantime, it helps to remind yourself of the wise adage “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself”. And give yourself permission to sit back and enjoy the ride.

By: Kelly Pritchard

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10 Relationship Issues That Can Benefit From Professional Counselling

toronto-couples-relationship-counselling.jpgHave you been having relationship problems with your partner, family, friends or someone important in your life lately? In life, complications between the people we love arise and there are ways to solve those complications through many different ways. There are healthy and appropriate ways to solve those complications and two of the options are through counselling or psychotherapy.

Sometimes we ask ourselves, “Am I the only one having problems with the people around me?” Everyone has different circumstances throughout life, and its common for most people to go through rough patches as well as periods of joy throughout their life. It is important for us to recognize that no healthy relationship can avoid conflicts! Issues are created while having interaction with people but that shouldn’t stop us from having relationships with others.

There are many different reasons to why we may not be getting along with the people around us. Have you gone through any of the following lately?

1. Trust Issues
2. Difficulty Communicating
3. Personality Differences
4. Money Problems
5. Life Transitions (Minor or Major)
6. Overcoming Grief and Loss
7. Dating/Lack of Intimacy/Ending of a Relationship
8. Parenting/Controlling or Needy Partners
9. Coping with Each Other’s Extended Family/Blended Family
10. Household Responsibilities/Toxic or Judgemental Household Climate

Sometimes, all we need is to chat things over with a friend or family member, or even have some time to think on our own about the issue. Other times, therapy is a great option to explore why we’re having relationship issues and work out skills and coping strategies so we don’t end up in the situation again.

In Counselling and Therapy, we learn to:
1. Recognize the problem, treat it and become stable (emotionally and mentally)
2. Develop skills to work out obstacles in a lively and appropriate way
3. Learn to listen, process, and understand others
4. Establish skills to say what you want in a assertive way without being disoriented by emotions such as anger or resentment
5. Develop full capability to realize how the other person feels and what they want

At KMA Therapy we offer different types of services for Relationship Issues, such as:

– Counselling for Relationships
– Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
– Relationship Therapy
– Relationship Management Counselling

If you’re interested in any of these services, please contact us and we’ll be thrilled to help. Have a great day!

By: Kimberly Moffit

Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Mental Health Professional

Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Mental Health Professional

 

6 Things to Keep in Mind During a Breakup

heart-broken-purple-loveBreakups can be a terribly painful experience. If you are currently going through one, my heart goes out to you. It’s the worst. Our thoughts and feelings can often turn into a chaotic mess of negativity and ice cream doesn’t always help us feel better.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re breaking up:

1. We need to accept our feelings

After feeling sadness, anger and other negative emotions for longer than we feel we should, it can sometimes be easy to turn the negative feelings towards ourselves. Try to accept that your feelings are normal and try not to beat yourself up for feeling a certain way. Give yourself credit for investing yourself in someone else and giving enough that the feelings of loss are painful. It means that you truly tried and know how to give a relationship a real effort. This is good news for your future relationship(s).

2. Sometimes we never completely get over a person

Each person we have a relationship has unique qualities that may be impossible to find in someone else. If you didn’t have a reason to dislike a feature in a person anymore those feelings may not change so easily. This isn’t saying to not try to let go of the failed relationship. We must learn to cope without it. However, we may need to learn to live without it rather than getting over it to the point that it no longer is meaningful. Sometimes relationships are so impactful that they leave a mark on our hearts forever. This is okay to accept and it is important to realize that these types of significant events become part of who we are.

3. It is okay to lean on others during grieving

Breakups are time when it is completely normal and healthy to lean on our friends and family. As much as it feels at time to shut the world out, try to allow in the people who want to be there for you. It can be very cathartic to talk about your breakup to your friends and family if you need to process what happened.

4. We do not have to listen to people telling you to “get over it”

While you are in a vulnerable state it is important to choose who you want support from. Occasionally, there are people will not be able to relate to your pain. They may not understand where you are coming from and tell you things like “just get over it” and “try to stop thinking about him/her”. It isn’t helpful when others tell you how you should feel and what you should do. Finding friends and family who accept your fragile state and can offer proper empathy, sensitivity and relatedness is key. Sometimes finding support from a therapist can provide hugely beneficial guidance as well.

5. There is only so much we can expect from others (our strength will ultimately come from within)

While we can definitely lean on others, it’s important to keep in mind that as much as they can listen and empathize, they cannot ultimately take the pain away. Our strength to be able to cope comes from within even it takes a while to show up. Try to remind yourself of your positive qualities everyday and tell yourself that you do not need others to validate those qualities.

6. Be a friend to yourself

After you have given too much love to someone else it’s possible to feel so empty that you feel as though you lost yourself. Remind yourself that you still have you. When you feel yourself fading from someone’s memory it can start to feel like you are disappearing. Remind yourself that you are still here and take care of yourself. Do things that you like and that make you happy. Find yourself again be there to comfort yourself during this time of grieving. It can also be therapeutic to channel our negative energy into something productive and or creative.

Grieving after a breakup is a normal process and it is not always a straightforward path. Temporary relapses may occur but time and space will dull the pain. If it seems as though there is no end in sight for your tears, the guidance of a therapist may help you process your situation and bring you back to feeling more like yourself again.

By: Danielle Taylor

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How To Know If Your Relationship Is On the Rocks

glass-heart-purple-loveHas your relationship just felt a little ‘off’ lately? Have you tried to pinpoint what’s wrong, and have trouble coming up with anything definitive?

Most couples experience hiccups over the course of their relationships. What determines the success in a relationship is often how the couple bounces back after adversity. By understanding when your relationship is going through a rough patch, you’ll be better able to sail through the choppy waters together, and find calm and peace at the end of it.

1. Have jokes gone from fun to uncomfortable?

Did you and your partner used to laugh and joke around with each other comfortably? Maybe this was even the reason you were attracted to them in the first place. Now – have the jokes been less about laughing with one another, and more directed at one of you? It’s one thing to make playful jokes at the other one’s expense, but it’s another when those jokes start feeling mean. It’s common for couples to use humor to deflect talking about serious issues. If your jokes seem to be hiding a hidden message, and chances are, not a good one… Then you might want to take a step back and look at where this is coming from.

2. When you start losing R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

It’s important to seek help for your relationship the second that the respect starts waning. Many couples seek relationship counseling AFTER they have lost respect for their partner. However, it’s important to look at your relationship in a critical light the second you notice this. Why? Even more important than the lack of respect is WHY you’ve started losing respect for your partner. Is it a behavior? A new pattern they’ve adopted? You need to start breaking the habits and patterns that lead to disrespect right when they begin, so as to not create a downward spiral.

3. When you start imagining a happier life without them

Have you started fantasizing about your life without your partner? Do you dream of meeting other partners in romantic situations? If so – this could be a significant sign that your relationship is in need of some TLC. While it can be normal to imagine about what your life may be like if you were single, or with someone else, it becomes problematic when these thoughts become frequent and positive. If when you imagine being without your partner frequently, and these fantasies are a source of happiness and escape for you, it’s time to examine your relationship.

Couples counseling is a wonderful option for partner’s whose relationship is in need of some repair. Although rare and difficult, it’s actually best to go to couples counseling before you think you need it. Once you desperately need it, the work you put into your therapy is going to be harder, and the estimated time spent in therapy together is likely to be longer. Go to couples counseling when you still think you can solve the problem on your own – it might help you and partner resolve issues before they become a major problem!

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey

4 Important Ways to Cultivate a Deeper Emotional Connection in your Relationship

Learning-disabilities-toronto-psychologistPerhaps you are enjoying the freshness of a new relationship. Everything seems so exciting and romantic. Maybe you want to start laying the foundation for something potentially more serious. Without leaving behind the fun and playfulness, how do we start connecting on a deeper emotional level? Everyone knows that communication is one of the primary ingredients of a successful relationship. How do you specifically utilize our communication skills to create a deeper bond? Here are some important ways to nourish your relationship and deepen your emotional connection.

Actively Listen

Proper listening is at the heart of successful communication. Do you really listen when your partner talks to you? It is not only important to be focused and give your partner your full attention but the best communication comes from participating actively while listening. When your partner is speaking to you, practice active listening by:

· Watching your partner’s body language and gestures

· Making a conscious effort to hear the message your partner is communicating

· Paraphrase or restate what you hear so that you are able to confirm with him/her that you understand what he/she is saying.

Active listening will help you get to know you partner’s personality as a whole. The more you actively listen, the more you will understand and be able to strengthen the emotional connection.

Empathize

Empathy is the ability to recognize, share and understand the feelings of another person. Do you have an idea of how your partner is feeling most of the time? Practicing empathy leads to a better understanding of your partner’s perspective. This allows you to learn more about how your partner thinks and feels and what moods and patterns they experience therefore opening a door into their emotional tendencies. To share empathy with your partner it is necessary to share feelings and emotions associated with specific experiences. Sometimes open-ended questions are needed to explore unexpressed emotions:

· What was it like for you when….

· Tell me more about what was going on for you when….

· What were you experiencing when…

Empathy allows you to be present with your partner and actively show that you care. Empathy also lets you to be supportive when your partner is experiencing negative situations, thoughts and emotions.

Appreciate

Showing appreciation is a way of displaying affection verbally. This is just as important as showing affection physically. What do you value about your partner? Do you thank your partner for his or her positive qualities? It is an important part of communication to verbally show your appreciation. Small expressions of gratitude and politeness such as saying please and thank you go a long way. Frequent compliments and flirtation are nice ways to keep the spark in a relationship going too.

· Thank you for ….

· It means a lot to me that you….

· I love when you….

Self- Disclose

To have a good emotional connection in a relationship you must be able to self-disclose. This allows your partner into your world and lets him/her truly get to know the “real” you while gradually sharing your vulnerabilities.

Examples of this type of self-disclosure include:

· Telling stories and experiences from your childhood

· Sharing your dreams and passions

· Talking about the significant people in your life

· Explaining some of your fears

Proper communication has the power to create strong feelings of trust, love, bonding and satisfaction in your relationship.

Of course, for a relationship to be successful you should be receiving all of the above from your partner. If you find yourself practicing the above list without much in return, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship.

By: Danielle Taylor

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Improve Your Communication And Your Marriage In Three Simple Steps

glass-heart-purple-loveEvery marriage has conflict.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever worked with a single couple who has not said that communication is one of the problems they have in their relationship.  It can be frustrating at best, and heartbreaking at worst, to not be able to get your message through to the person you love.  When you’re saying one thing and he or she is hearing something else, even the most optimistic among us can get discouraged.

But there is hope.  With a few small changes to what you’re doing and saying, you’ll be amazed at how much better you can communicate with your partner.  Here are three of my best tips for improving your communication, in your marriage and with everyone else that you talk with.

Start by committing to only having discussions with your partner when you’re both calm.  I know, I know, this may seem totally unrealistic right now, but trust me, you can train yourselves to do it.  When we’re angry, we don’t think the same way that we do when we’re calm, and this is not a good thing if we’re in a discussion.  Take a time out if you need to – walk away for a few minutes, cool down, then come back with a clearer head.  You’ll need to decide well before you need to use a time out just how long it’s going to last (20-30 minutes is often enough time to calm down and be ready to discuss, not argue about, the issue).

Next, stay focused on the issue at hand.  Who hasn’t had a “kitchen sink” argument, where we start out talking about one issue, then drag in every single hurt or grievance, everything but the kitchen sink?  They never get us what we want.  Get into the habit of discussing – and ideally, resolving – one issue at a time.  If you bring something up to your partner, and he says something along the lines of, “Well, how do you think I feel when you [insert his issue with you here]?” don’t get flustered.  Remember the first tip: stay calm.  Take a deep breath and say, “I’m happy to talk with you about [his issue], but as I started this discussion with you to talk about [insert your issue here], I’d really like to focus on that first, if we could, so that we don’t get sidetracked by too many topics all at once.  I’d be happy to talk about whatever is on your mind at another time.”

And finally, remember, ultimately, you’re both on the same team.  Practice seeing the issue as something separate and outside the two of you.  Instead of defining the problem as, “You never pick up after yourself,” define it as, “The house isn’t always as tidy as it could be; how could we work together to fix that?”  This is a subtle shift, for sure, but it’s this kind of approach to problem-solving that keeps us from turning on each other and makes us more likely to be willing to compromise and have empathy for our partner’s point of view.  You’re in it together; don’t tell yourself that your partner is the enemy.  Stay calm, stay focused on the issue at hand, and stay the course until you can find a solution or compromise that leaves you both feeling good.

By: Andrea Ramsay Speers

Andrea Ramsay Speers