Expressing Feelings in a Relationship

Date: April 3rd, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

Trusting one another and feeling comfortable expressing our feelings is an important part of a healthy relationship. Emotion is an integral part of being human, and expressing feelings appropriately can deepen and strengthen the relationship you have with your partner or spouse.

Share Positive Feelings Often

Positive feelings like love, appreciation, and happiness are what we all want from a relationship. Sharing these types of feelings with your partner can strengthen your relationship and increase the love and loyalty you feel for one another. Make a habit of sharing these types of emotions frequently. You can thank your partner for a particular nice thing they did, or just express gratitude for the good things they bring to your relationship. Learn to tell each other, “I love you” often. Share moments that make you happy and express how glad you are that you get to experience them together.

Share Negative Feelings Carefully

Of course, no relationship is a bed of roses all the time. Negative emotions will come up, and when they do it’s important that you are sensitive to your partner when you share them. If possible, try to let your emotions cool down a little before you give them expression. When you do have to express negative feelings, be specific, and try to phrase them as “I” statements. For example, rather than saying, “You always push me away when anything bad happens,” rephrase it as “I feel so isolated when things like this come up. When you don’t confide in me, I feel like you don’t trust me.” Although you’re expressing the same feelings, a “You” statement can sound accusatory and is likely to provoke a defensive reaction, while an “I” statement focuses on how you feel and invites your partner to respond openly and honestly.

While the benefits of expressing positive feelings are clear, negative feelings can also provide a great opportunity for the two of you to work through issues together. Although you may feel that expressing negative feelings will drive you apart, the truth is that appropriately expressing negative feelings can open the door for you and your partner to understand each other better. Once those feelings are out in the open, you can work together towards solving problems. By expressing positive emotions often and appropriately expressing negative feelings when needed, you and your partner can build each other up and grow in your relationship together.

Talking with Teens about Sex

Date: March 20th, 2019

Filed under: Relationships

As your child gets older and enters high school, it’s probably time to go beyond the birds and the bees talk. It’s natural for teenagers to have questions about their changing bodies, and about sex and sexuality. Although many teens receive sex education in school, it’s important to for parents and teens to communicate about sex at home too. Here are some things to keep in mind when talking with teens about sex.

Establish a good relationship

Your child is more likely to open up and respond to what you have to say if the two of you already have a good relationship. Many parent-child relationships experience some strain during the teenage years. Some of the best things you can do to encourage a strong relationship during this time are to express interest in your teen’s feelings and activities, encourage them to share their thoughts and emotions, and be accepting when they do.

Be open and honest

It’s normal to be a little embarrassed when talking about sex with teens, but when you treat this topic as normal and healthy, they learn that you’re okay talking about it, and they will feel safe talking with you about it in turn. Encourage them to ask questions, and answer them openly and honestly. Although you want to be accepting of your teen, it’s also okay to share your own beliefs and values about sex. If you believe it’s important to be a certain age, married, or in a committed relationship before having sex, share that with your teenager.

Encourage them to share their feelings

Sex isn’t just about facts—it also comes with a lot of emotion and feelings. Encourage your child to express the feelings they’re experiencing. This can help both of you to understand what they are feeling about the idea of sex (curiosity, pleasure, anxiety, etc.) and deal with those emotions effectively.

Help them come up with appropriate responses

Once you and your teen decide on appropriate boundaries, you can help them come up with responses to deal with sexual pressures. For example, if they aren’t comfortable having sex right now, or the two of you have decided it isn’t a good idea yet, you can help them decide how to say no to others if they find themselves in a sexual situation. If you and your teen are agreed that experimenting with sex is okay at this point, the two of you can learn together about safe sex (such as using condoms and birth control), and discuss what to do to minimize the possibility of STDs.

Whatever your family values and beliefs about sex, it’s important to talk about sex with your teen to strengthen your relationship, teach them to feel comfortable in their own body, and help them develop and mature in a safe and healthy way.

Dos and Don'ts of Helping a Grieving Friend

Date: March 7th, 2019

Filed under: Grief and Loss

Helping a grieving friend can be daunting. You want to support them, but you may worry that you won’t be sensitive enough, or that you’ll intrude or give offense. While your relationship with your friend will be your best guide, these do’s and don’ts may also be helpful as you determine how you can give support in a difficult time.

Do Reach Out

Even if you’re not sure what to say or do, let your friend know you’re thinking about them. There’s no need for a grandiose gesture—often reaching out frequently in small ways can be the best support you can give someone who has experienced a loss.

Do Validate Their Feelings

The pain of losing a loved one can be overwhelming at times. When your friend expresses their emotions to you, often what they need is a simple validation. It’s natural for them to feel deep sorrow, and it’s okay just to let them know that you’re so sorry they are having to go through so much pain.

Do Act on Your Impressions

If you think your friend might like a meal brought to them, someone to babysit the kids, or anything else, just do it. Grief can make it difficult to make decisions and arrangements, so rather than a “let me know if you need anything,” just tell them you’ll be dropping dinner by around 6:00.

Don’t Compare

A person’s feelings at a time of grief are unique to them and should be respected. Even if you went through something similar, don’t tell them about it unless you’re invited to do so.

Don’t Diminish Their Feelings

It doesn’t matter if your friend lost their dad or a father figure, a friend they saw every day or someone they haven’t connected with since school. Your friend’s feelings of grief are valid, and diminishing their relationship or emotions in any way won’t help.

Don’t Avoid the Subject

If your friend has lost a loved one, they probably feel that their whole world has changed. Acknowledging what they’re going through doesn’t have to be awkward: a sincere, “I’m sorry,” in your own words is all that’s needed to let them know you have been thinking about them.

Helping someone through grief, while challenging, is a sign of a true friend. With consistence and compassion, you can help those you love to cope with one of the most difficult of life’s experiences.

Building Self-Esteem in a Child with a Learning Disorder

Date: February 20th, 2019

Filed under: Kids

Does your child have a learning disability? While it’s important to help a child with a learning disability to develop the basic skills taught in the classroom, what is equally important, and often overlooked, is helping that child to develop a healthy self-esteem in the face of this challenge. So how do you do that?

Talk to your child about the difference between learning disabilities and intelligence.

Recognize that many children with learning disabilities feel that they are not as smart as their peers. Help your child understand that a learning disability has nothing to do with how intelligent they are. By definition, a learning disability only affects a person’s ability to develop particular skills—it doesn’t change their IQ or overall intellectual ability.

Talk to your child’s teacher.

Work with your child’s teacher to develop a plan for helping your child succeed in the classroom. Children need to experience repeated successes to build self-esteem and confidence. Ask your child’s teacher to set their student up for success rather than failure. Any comparison should be with how much a child has progressed from past efforts, not how they measure up to their peers. And making sure to recognize achievements frequently can boost your child’s confidence and inspire them to keep trying.

Help your child find their talent.

Everyone has something they’re good at. Help your child to identify an area they excel in. It might be academic—perhaps they struggle with reading but math comes easily to them—but it doesn’t have to be. Talents like drawing or singing can help a child feel that they have something of value to offer. And be sure to point out not-so-obvious talents too: Maybe your child has a gift for making friends, is extra creative with Legos, or is a great helper at home.

Praise your child often.

Children are highly tuned to the emotions of their parents. Develop a positive attitude and give frequent, sincere praise for your child’s talents, successes, and efforts. This can go a long way toward boosting your child’s self-esteem and helping them to see how unique and valuable they are.

Tips for Wintertime Self-Care

Date: February 7th, 2019

Filed under: Mental Health

Mental and emotional health can be a challenge during the winter months. Without the natural benefits of warmth and light, it’s easy to feel unmotivated or even depressed. Try these four tips to take good care of yourself even when it’s chilly and gray outside.

Exercise

You don’t have to bundle up and go for a run in the sleet, and you don’t have to take out a gym membership either. The truly important thing for mental health is to engage your body. Yoga can be a great indoor exercise technique for when it’s too cold to venture out, and simply paying attention to your body as you stretch, breathe, and balance can be therapeutic. Of course, if you want to jog up and down the stairs or do jumping jacks in the living room, we won’t stop you!

Eat Healthy

Comfort food is great in the winter, and it’s fine to indulge occasionally, but you’ll feel much better if you include a good variety of veggies, grains, and lean proteins in your diet instead of going heavy on the dairy and empty carbs. Cold weather can be a great excuse to try whipping up some healthy meals and hearty soups in your own kitchen.

Get Enough Rest

Nobody can function at full capacity all the time—not even Mother Nature. Just as the earth takes a break from growing and producing during the winter, it can be rejuvenating to make time to relax, unwind, and recommit to those eight hours!

Embrace the Season

Rather than wait anxiously for your summer vacation, why not explore what winter has to offer? The cold months after the holidays are over can be the perfect time for candles, hot baths, and cozy evenings. Why not choose a new book, or try your hand at a craft or hobby?

Winter can be the perfect time to try something new, nurture your creative side, and take time out to practice some much-needed self-care. Done right, it may become your favorite time of year!

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Contact Oregon Counseling

To request an appointment please call us at 541-714-5620 for a free, confidential consult with our intake coordinator who will help you find the best therapist for your needs or fill out the form below.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please consider these emergency options:

  • Call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
  • Text HOME to 741741
  • call 911
  • Go to your nearest emergency room.

To request an appointment please call us at 541-714-5620 for a free, confidential consult with our intake coordinator who will help you find the best therapist for your needs or fill out the form below.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please consider the following resources:

  • Call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
  • Text HOME to 741741
  • Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room

To request an appointment please call us at 503-928-3998 for a free, confidential consult with our intake coordinator who will help you find the best therapist for your needs or fill out the form below.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please consider the following resources:

  • Call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
  • Text HOME to 741741
  • Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room

To request an appointment please call us at 514-868-2004 for a free, confidential consult with our intake coordinator who will help you find the best therapist for your needs or fill out the form below.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please consider the following resources:

  • Call the Whitebird Crisis Center at 541-687-4000
  • Call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
  • Text HOME to 741741
  • Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room
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