Therapy That Works...

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 Truth About Long Distance Relationships - By Chris Gearing

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adult Child Anxiety! Video - By Chris Gearing

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is Parental Alienation A Real Problem? Video - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Effect of Parental Alienation On Children - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Parental Alienation II:

The Effect of Parental Alienation on Children

Parental alienation—the relentless campaign of one estranged parent to destroy their child’ relationship with the other parent—is on the rise. It spans the range from careless hostile remarks to premeditated and systematic attempts to assassinate the character of the targeted parent.

If you are concerned if your child is a victim of parental alienation, be on the lookout for the following behaviors:

Brainwashed by Lies: These kids are basically brainwashed and now regard their targeted parent as the enemy or as a worthless afterthought. This kind of betrayal can occur even in the most tender and loving relationships. Tragically, I have seen such division lasting for years.

Contempt, Rejection and Disrespect: The child shows contempt, rejection, and disrespect for the targeted parent. These comments are often irrational, insulting and traumatizing to the parent who feels helpless and hopeless.

Rehearsed Answers: The child has been taught to orient to the controlling needs of the alienating parent at all costs. He is often unable to specify why he dislikes the targeted parent. In fact, he may exaggerate the faults of the parent to justify his rejection. His comments parrot the alienator’s words and feelings.

Long Term Damage: There is minimal data on the long-term effects of such alienation on kids. However, we do know that the earlier the separation from a parent, the more traumatic it is for the child. The basic tenants of loving relationships—trust, loyalty, and forgiveness are never learned and the child may struggle for a lifetime because of these experiences.

There are several steps you can take to preserve your relationship with your child:

Educate Yourself: Parental alienation can be an elusive phenomenon to prove especially in a highly intense forum such as child custody. There are several books with great resources that are “must reads” for parents (Please see the sources for this post).

Remain Calm: Understand that you have been systematically undermined and that you are taking every step to remediate the situation. Focus on what you can control and don’t stress about other factors. Do not lose your temper, reject your child or insult your ex in front of your child.

Work with Great Experts: Hire a psychologist and a lawyer who are proven experts in parental alienation. The therapist must acknowledge the massive psychological impact such alienation has on the child and targeted parent. Your attorney needs to possess a solid understanding of this type of emotional abuse and the substantial legal skills to protect your child and your interests.


"Divorce Poison," Dr. Richard Warshak

"The Custody Revolution" by Dr. Richard Warshak

"Divorce Casualties: Understanding Parental Alienation," Dr. Douglas Darnall

Is Parental Alienation A Real Problem? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Parental Alienation I:

Is Parental Alienation a Real Problem?

The term parental alienation first came into the public conversation during the bitter custody struggle between actors Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin. This widespread phenomenon has done tremendous harm to America’s families. Now psychologists are wrestling with whether parental alienation is a classifiable mental health syndrome.

So what is parental alienation and why is it becoming such a problem for American children?

Systematic Campaign of Alienation: Parental alienation is a systematic campaign of character assassination. It is not gender related or age related. One parent is determined to permanently alienate the child’s affections toward the other parent.

Spans the Range: Parental Alienation spans the range from careless, self serving comments that undermine the child’s view of the other parent to outright malicious intent, legal battles and reckless actions.

Emotional Abuse of Children: Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse of the child. As one expert said “ Bad mouth your ex and you simultaneously bad mouth your child.”

So why do parents set out the ruin the relationship of their ex with the child?

Revenge: Getting back and getting even is the number one reason parents assault their ex’s. Rebuffed or disappointed spouses get enormous secondary gain from inflicting pain on a spouse they believe has wronged them.

Child is Perceived as a Possession: For some parents, adequate boundaries with their children are absent. They child is an extension of themselves. The mind of the child becomes the battlefield for revenge. The parent attempts to banish the other parent so he can have the child to himself.

Compensating for Inadequacy and Guilt: Parents try to resolve the rejection or their sense of failure by convincing themselves that they are the best parent. Posturing as the superior parent makes them feel better even if it’s at the expense of their child. They have no conscience about the suffering of the child and the other parent.


"Divorce Poison," Dr. Richard Warshak

"The Custody Revolution" by Dr. Richard Warshak

"Divorce Casualties: Understanding Parental Alienation," Dr. Douglas Darnall

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