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What To Do About Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 08, 2010

How To Spot Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 05, 2010

Is Your Teen Ready For College? - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, November 04, 2010

As America’s teens are applying to college this fall, millions of parents are wondering if their children are ready for the transition to college. Do they have something to worry about?

Most neurophysiologists report now that the changes taking place in the teenage brain are profound. The teenage brain is like a house that’s being built—there is a steady building of neurological connections that create an often subtle but abrupt refinement in self-control and judgment. There can be a stark difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old. Their emotional maturity can consolidate and stabilize in just a few months.

Are parents putting too much pressure on kids when we ask them to commit to college, in some cases when they’re only sophomores and juniors in high school?

Without a doubt, we are putting a ton of pressure on kids when we ask them to make an adult commitment in the middle of adolescence. Again, we know that the emotional and cognitive development of the teenager is a complex and lengthy process. There are profound differences between fifteen and eighteen. Sophomores and juniors are being asked to make decisions that are literally, in adolescent development, life-changing.

Here are a few things I would recommend for parents:

Remain Involved: The main issue is what kind of input parents will have at such a profound and intense time of maturity.

Consequences For Life: We know that kids are extremely vulnerable to experiences—good and bad—during this pivotal time. What the child experiences is encoded much more intensely in late adolescence, and parents need to be very mindful of what they allow their teenagers to do.

Caution Around Substance Abuse: Be very cautious about what you enable your child to experience. For example, the teen years can be a devastating time for the brain to be exposed to drugs and alcohol since it is still developing. Parents, be very careful.

Parents, are you wondering if your child is ready for college?

Emotional maturity is a central factor in deciding college readiness for the child. You need to evaluate the following factors in your child:

  • Risk Aversion and Impulse Control
  • The Ability to Self Sooth Appropriately (with exercise, conversation, or distractions like music or movies)
  • The Ability to Self-Correct and to Remain Self-Aware
  • Skills in Self-Regulation such as time management, organization and persistence in task completion.
  • The Capacity to Identify Emotions In Others Accurately
  • The Ability to Understand the Complexity of Emotions and Motivations

The Continuing Trauma of Infidelity - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Why Women Shrug Off Lousy Sex - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Naked Truth: Why Women Shrug Off Lousy Sex

Does sexual satisfaction really matter to women? A new study from the University Texas says not so much—especially if you’re in a happy marriage!

So, are women just putting up with less desirable sex than they used to?

Accepting Apathy: I think there is an epidemic of low sex and no sex marriages in America and this study illustrates that a lot of women are just accepting unsatisfying sex or even no sex in their marriage.

Sexually Inhibited: According to research, inhibited sexual desire is the biggest sex problem facing couples and the number one reason they seek sexual therapy. One in three women and one in seven men report inhibited sexual desire and the lack of interest can be devastating for a marriage.

Critical For Marriage: Twenty percent of American marriages fall into the category of no sex marriages with another fifteen percent in the low sex category. The lack of sex can rob a marriage of up to 70% of its vitality and can shatter an otherwise good relationship.

Now, interest in sex is often difficult for women to sustain when they’re carting kids around and working a full time job. Women are commonly shown in films and on television as not enjoying or even outright avoiding sex. But do women really not care that much about sex anymore?

Sex Is Not Just For Men: I think women are much more sexually interested than anyone gives them credit for, but women define their interest in sex very differently than men. In my experience, men are much more regularly aroused and interested in sex, but women have a much higher capability for desire and euphoric pleasure! Both genders enjoy and want sex, but just in different ways.

Many Factors Motivate Women: This new study reminds us that sex is very contextual for a woman. Factors such as connection to her partner, body image, emotional openness, and even just how her day was, all contribute to her desire. This new study very strongly reinforces how much a woman cares about sex depends centrally on the state of her relationship.

Happy Relationships, Less Sex: If she’s happy, she’s not so concerned about sex since she’s still connecting to her partner in other, non sexual ways. So in relationships that have more trust and openness, sex doesn’t assume such a central place. However, as a longtime psychologist, I think sexually starved relationships, for whatever reason, are in danger. Sex is an essential part of both physical, emotional, and romantic intimacy – there’s no getting around it.

High Anxiety: For women who are very stressed out about the relationship—insecure, jealous, or just “not feeling the love”--sex is much more important. Sex is soothing to the woman since it allows her to achieve a connection and soothe her anxiety. However, this pattern isn’t entirely healthy either since sex is substituted for emotional intimacy and connection. You can have a hollow marriage but great sex.

Sex is a central part of any romantic relationship and is essential for both emotional and physical intimacy. However, many couples fall into a pattern of going without or even avoiding sex!

Once this pattern gets going, it is much harder to overcome. Couples begin to redefine the relationship as asexual and relegate their partner to a companion instead of a lover and a partner.

There are two obstacles that stand in the way:

Motivation: The first one is motivation. Research shows that if the sexual disconnect does not clear up in six months, it is much less likely to ever resolve. Rediscover your partner and why you love them - reconnect emotionally to reconnect physically.

Anger: The next biggest factor is anger, especially for women. We have twice the emotional memory and we are renowned for holding onto grudges. Withholding sex or avoiding sex can be vengeful in a marriage and it is usually a female reaction. However, men have been known to avoid the bedroom if they are angry.

Sound familiar? Guys, here’s what you can do to physically reconnect with your partner today:

Take The Time: Sex is very emotionally based for women. She must connect to become vulnerable. Take the time to make her feel special and connected to you.

Conversation is Foreplay: Women love words and they love to talk so conversation is foreplay. I know it’s tough guys but even light conversation is good – ask her about her day or how her presentation went!

Emotional Intelligence Is Critical: Women want to be understood, engage in validation of their feelings, and create narratives about their lives. Most importantly, trust, safety, and understanding are central aphrodisiacs for a woman.

Try A Little Tenderness: When all else fails, try a little tenderness—in touch, words, and deeds. Life is hard and she wants you to be her “port in the storm.” Try holding her close and telling her that it’s all going to be OK.

Do Women Care About Lousy Sex Lives? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Watch my live appearance on CBS today discussing why many happily married women don't really care if they have a lousy sex life.

Watch It Here

Here's the link

What To Do About Post-Partum Depression - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 01, 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that pediatricians routinely screen all new mothers for depression. Every year more than 400,000 babies are born to depressed women and that's not just bad for moms, but can also harm their babies. Research shows babies with depressed mothers show developmental and social delays.

But how widespread is post partum depression in women?

Post-partum depression is much more common than psychologists once thought. Now we know that up to 80% of women are affected by post-partum. Around 30% of fathers also develop depression during the first year of the baby's birth. If left untreated, post partum can become worse over time and can eventually become life threatening. The results can be absolutely disastrous.

So, why is post-partum depression so often overlooked?

The baby blues, common tearfulness, and sadness are often overlooked because everyone is focusing on the baby. It is common to think that a joyous birth will bring only contentment and happiness. The biggest problem is that everyone usually underestimates what is happening. They may sense something is wrong but not guess what it is. Unfortunately, families, spouses and even doctors often mistake post-partum depression for normal baby blues that will pass.

The majority of women with post-partum suffer from this illness for more than 6 months and, if untreated, 25% of patients are still depressed a year later. This condition can get worse, and even lethal, over time if it is not treated with anti-depressants and therapy.

But how does a parent with post-partum affect the baby?

Unfortunately, the effects on the infant can be devastating. By age 9 months, the baby may either cry a lot or become listless and may perform below average on developmental tests--a pattern that can persist for years.

There are two broad patterns that we see in clinical practice:

Outright Neglect: The effects on the child are often much more lethal and traumatic. The child is virtually abandoned by the chronically depressed mother. Other people may not recognize the lonely toddler or elementary school child as being symptomatic or traumatized. But they cannot develop normally if their mother is incompetent and in the grip of depression.

Engulfed by Mom: The other pattern is the over involved mother who soothes her ongoing depression by fusing with the child. There are no appropriate boundaries and the child becomes a kind of “safety blanket” for a mother who is lost in depression. The child often begins to see the world as a fearful place and develops only a partial sense of self.

Now, why is post-partum so rampant?

Because no one is sleeping! The most important issue in clinical depression among new parents is the sleep problem, bar none. Fatigue breeds depression, and these young parents fail to realize that they can be so deeply affected by sleep loss. We know that discernable mood disturbances begin to emerge when someone has shortened their sleep by two hours over a five-day span. Sleepless people have 35 times the rates of depression!

Together, the couple spirals down into the downward depression cycle, and they fail to realize what is happening until the depression has severely compromised their relationship and their lives. Every one loses.

So first things first – get some sleep.

Here’s what I would recommend as a first step for coping with post-partum depression:

First, Having Direction: Getting the right diagnosis is the first step in overcoming this dreadful problem. Talk to your doctor about what you are feeling and ask for a referral to a psychologist for an evaluation.

Consider Medication: Anti-depressants are quite helpful in alleviating symptoms quickly. When combined with psychotherapy, the treatment outcomes are quite positive. But always talk to your doctor before starting any medication.

Get Dad Involved: We need the fathers to get involved. We need them to get involved in supporting both the baby AND mom. So often, they are the secret to alleviating the stress, helping mom sleep and taking turns with baby. Most importantly, fathers play a central role in helping the child unfold socially and cognitively—they are the preferred and best playmates to young, developing babies.

Post-partum depression is a very serious disorder. Please seek the help of a professional if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know.

Why Women Hold On To Trauma - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Advantages Of Having A Working Mom - By Chris Gearing

Friday, October 29, 2010

Are Working Mothers Bad For Their Children? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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