Therapy That Works...

How To Turn Her On, Part 3 - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

By Dr. Sylvia Gearing

We've covered the basics of how to be more physically attractive to a woman. However, personality is the essential spark for female attraction -- bar none. It boils down to several essential characteristics:

Good Sense of Humor:

Women who describe their guys as more witty report higher rates of satisfaction. A sense of humor indicates empathy and understanding. But it also indicates intelligence and social skills. Some researchers argue that a good sense of humor is literally the most effective tactic for attracting women. Literally, guys - laughter will make women like you.

Confidence Versus Cockiness:

A guy who knows what he is doing, is commanding with others, is poised and decisive are incredible attributes for attraction. Self-confidence is also a sign that he can protect and provide which are characteristics that are attractive to many women. But be careful -- self-confidence is different from cockiness, which indicates false pride and is very unattractive to women.

Character and Emotional Intelligence:

The presence of integrity and honesty are unbeatable combinations for men who are interested in attracting a long-term mate. While they may not help a man in the initial attraction dance, these characteristics are essential for long-term relationships. Women love to be understood and having an emotionally self-aware guy is a huge allure.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss

Dr. Sylvia Gearing On CW33 - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 02, 2010

Here's the CW 33 story Dr. Sylvia Gearing was featured on over the weekend!

Watch or read it here:,0,5381269.story

How To Turn Her On, Part 2 - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 02, 2010

By Dr. Sylvia Gearing

Guys – are you ready to turn up the heat?

Then, buckle up and get ready to take notes. Here are a few physical ways to turn her on:

Smell of Attraction:

The smell of a man is vitally important to women when it comes to basic sexual attraction. Indeed, smell is the number one sense tied to memory – the better the smell, the more fondly she’ll think of you. In addition, a woman’s sense of smell reaches its peak during ovulation when she's more sexually responsive -- just keep that in mind.

It’s All in the Kiss:

Men who are good kissers have a distinct advantage with women. Good kissing awakens a woman’s erotic interest and many women think great kissing is a clue to how you are in bed.

Familiar Face:

Repeated contact with someone can increase the odds of attraction exponentially. Literally, showing up and making an appearance can swing attraction in your favor. Women begin to trust and like guys they see over time.

Eye Gazing:

Mutual and intense eye gazing is key for women in becoming attracted to a man. Men who sweep their eyes (respectfully) over women can be arousing. Studies have found that continuous “eye lock” can lead to attraction -- even with total strangers!

The Exotic Becomes Erotic:

Although we like the guy next door who is available as a potential long-term choice, our pulses are “revved up” when we encounter the mysterious, unavailable and handsome guy. That guy who swaggers, has little to say and is unavailable will catch our attention. Women simply love a mysterious man.

Height Advantage:

Many women love tall men and studies reveal that women consider tall men to be more attractive, more masculine and commanding. However, shorter men can achieve great presence by dressing correctly and by projecting a sense of self-confidence.

Get To The Gym!:

Women are drawn to a specific male body type. They love broad shoulders, slender hips and well-developed, toned muscles. Men with a high shoulder to hip ratio are especially valued since they are regarded as more athletic and better in the bedroom.

Lower Voice, Higher Attraction:

A resonant male voice with a deeper tone and pitch is incredibly attractive to women. At some level, women associate a deep baritone with good health, good genes, and the ability to protect her. Think John Wayne versus Jay Leno.

Something in the Way He Moves:

Male movement indicates age, health, and energy levels. Guys - to improve your attractiveness, you need to watch those dance moves, how you walk, how you sit down, and how you gesture. Larger, more sweeping movements are seen as dominant and attractive. But don’t take it too far – you don’t want to be seen as the weird guy waving his hands around.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss

How To Turn Her On, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Sunday, August 01, 2010

What exactly attracts a woman to a man?

This mystery has been an elusive question for millions of men for thousands of years. Here are a few things to keep in mind about female attraction:

Complex Attraction:

A woman’s attraction to a man is much more complex than we ever thought possible. Universally, the number one reason men are attracted to women is beauty. In contrast, women seem to consider many more factors in whether or not they like a guy. Such factors explain why there are some couples that, on the surface, seem highly dissimilar -- think beauty and the geek.

It’s All In Her Head:

Since the brain is the primary generator of female sexual attraction, psychological factors are the “ballgame" in female attraction. A woman not only has to be in the “mood” physically, she must also “think” herself into the “mood.” Guys, if you’re hoping for something to happen – try to make her day a little better. Take the kids for a little while, do a load of laundry, or cook her a sumptuous dinner. You may find that your luck has changed.

Body Image:

The more a woman judges herself to be attractive, the more likely she's ready to head to the bedroom. Again, such self-appraisal does not have to be objective—she has to like the way she looks.

Unfortunately, 55% of American women express dissatisfaction with their bodies. Guys, try complimenting her or buying her something to make her feel sexy, but most of all do NOT criticize her weight, body, or age.

A Good Man is Hard to Find:

Ten different women will have ten different opinions about a man’s attractiveness. This phenomenon explains why a beautiful woman is often attracted to the less attractive, but charismatic man.

So, what can a guy or woman do to increase attraction? While you can never create that sexual chemistry on your own, you need to reconsider how you are thinking. Remember that for women, attraction is highly psychological -- it's all in her head.

Research shows that a lot of women are attracted to the “bad boys” who are dashing, handsome and potentially unfaithful. Don’t fret though, guys -- these same women outgrow bad boys over time due to bad experiences like getting dumped, getting cheated on, or putting up with a male diva.

Follow The Love Map:

We all have a unique template of what we find attractive called our "love map." This “map” accounts for some of the choices we make that may seem illogical such as why we like guys with brown hair versus blonde. However, we may choose against “type” when we meet someone we enjoy and who seems to understand us.

Weighted Values:

Ladies, write a list of attributes that you want your man to have and assign them values (one to ten etc.). Rate what is most important to least important. For example, if you want a guy who makes a lot of money or is close to his family -- rank those a 10. Think long and hard about what you want in a partner long term. For example, while he may not have the self-confidence and swagger of some more dashing men, he may have a great sense of humor that will keep you laughing through the night for the next fifty years.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss

Predictive Factors of Divorce - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

The stunning announcement that the Gores were ending their forty year old marriage raises new questions about the longevity of long term marriages.

We do know that the Gores, as with many couples of that generation, had several risks factors for divorce:

Higher Divorce Rate for Older Marriages: According to research, marriages which originated in the 1960s and 1970s have higher divorce rates. Couples who married in the 1970s have a 47% divorce rate after thirty years.

Young Age at Marriage: The age when you marry is highly significant. Couples who married in their late teens or early twenties in the 70s are especially at risk.

Decades to Go: The Gores are still relatively young, affluent and well connected. In their early sixties, there are many years to come and many boomers long for an emotional connection they may not have realized in their earlier marriage.

While older couples may be splitting more, overall the marital stability rates seem to be improving with each decade and with female education. Among female college graduates, the ten year divorce rate for those married in the 1990s is just 16%. The divorce rate for the same demographic from the 1970s is 23%.

In addition, the increased education, economic self sufficiency and empowerment of today’s young twentysomething females lead to delayed marriage.

The average age for first marriages is 26 for females and 28 for men. With more education, the ages bump up anywhere from two to four years.

Older people just seem to make better marital decisions. They know themselves better, have a clearer understanding of the spousal attributes they are seeking and have the ability to assess a relationship without financial factors being so central. They can really engineer a wonderful beginning to the marriage since they are more mature in their careers and behavior. The marriage enjoys a profound kick start with older twentysomethings and thirtysomethings who invest enormous time cultivating and deepening the marital regard in the early years. Such investments create a sturdy and resilient marriage that will last a lifetime for many of them.


Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History

Tara Parker Pope, For Better, The Science of a Good Marriage.

How To Detect Domestic Violence - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

by Dr. Sylvia Gearing

The tragic death of University Virginia athlete, Yeardley Love, has raised the question once again of domestic violence in young couples.

Here’s what the latest statistics tell us about this frightening phenomenon:

  • Just under 45% of this age group have experienced violence in a relationship either before or during college.
  • Relationship violence seems to peak prior to college for most kids with 53% of women and 27% of men reporting victimization.
  • Emotional violence was the most common type of violence at all ages but is more common in high school.
  • Both sexual and emotional violence increase in college, if not addressed properly.

How can you detect if someone you know is being abused? Here are the signs:

  • Isolation: Abusive partners prefer that their victim remain isolated and unable to turn to others. In addition, victims isolate themselves from friends and family.
  • Increasing Anxiety and Depression: Domestic abuse victims show signs of anxiety and depression such as agitation, sadness, withdrawal, low energy, emotional mood swings, tearfulness and a decline in functioning at school.
  • Avoiding The Truth: People who are being abused are shell shocked. They are literally frozen by the stress. Many kids from good homes are naive about what abuse is, normalize the actions of the abusive partner and make excuses for the abuser until it is too late.
  • Social Shedding: Victims of emotional of sexual abuse by a partner seem to shed their former relationships—best friends, family connections, socializing patterns. They stop responding to others and deny they are being harassed.
  • Progressive Pain: Look for signs of increasing disconnection from others, less responsiveness and avoidant behavior. They are locked in a cage of agony and don’t know how to ask for help.

So what can you do to help?

Many family and friends prefer not to get involved out of respect of personal boundaries. However, this is one time that you need to speak up. Caring about this person now involves compassionate intervention. Please, do not turn your back.

Gather Evidence: Collect the observations you have had and organize them into a coherent conversation. Specify behaviors you have seen and conversations you may have overheard or read online or through texting.

Stand Your Ground: Domestic violence at this age is especially lethal since adolescent and young adult brains are often immature and impulsive. If you present your evidence and they are still resistant, go to their community of friends and ask them to help. For more serious cases, please seek out a psychologist. However difficult these steps are, they may very well save her life.

Sources: JAMA and Archives Journals (July 8, 2008) Relationship Violence Appears Common Among College Students

Katherine Bigelow's Big Night - By Chris Gearing

Monday, March 08, 2010

By Dr. Sylvia Gearing

I read an article on Huffington Post the other day (read it here) on “11 Women Who Are Changing The World.” Ms. Bigelow was added to the list after her big win at the Oscars this past weekend. Also on the list were:

  • Rachel Maddow, the fast-witted, openly gay Rhodes scholar on MSNBC News who is changing the way cable news is run.
  • Nujood Ali, a 10 year old middle-eastern girl, was married off to a man over twice her age. Somehow, she managed to find a lawyer who would take her case and she won her freedom back. You can read all about her struggles in her autobiography “I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.”
  • Waris Dirie, a Somali model who has confronted the world on the genital mutilation she and others have endured in her home country. She has started several foundations and is a prolific activist for women’s rights around the world.
  • Sheryl WuDunn, a Pulitzer Prize winner, co-authored the book “Half The Sky.” The book argues that the path to success in the developing world is paved with investments in the education and empowerment of women.
  • Somaly Mam was sold into sex slavery as a child in 1970’s Cambodia. After countless traumas and tragedies, she escaped and is now a worldwide leader dedicated to ending human trafficking and slavery.

Thirty years ago, all of these women would have been dismissed and marginalized. Today, they are celebrated. They are leaders of industry, politics, and the fight for human rights. Their example speaks to a worldwide phenomenon that is just beginning to manifest.

Women are realizing an unprecedented power. We are influencing society at every level. As a gender, it is essential to celebrate our brightest lights as evidenced in these shining examples of womanhood.

Please take a moment today to appreciate yourself as a woman and to applaud the women around you.

Dr. Sylvia

Menopausal Masters - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The American Psychological Association published a great article by Tori DeAngelis on menopause and how we think of this important passage of a woman’s life. Now, I believe that I have to inform you that I was quoted in this article - but regardless, it's a wonderful piece of writing and science. Take a look at it here.

Negative stereotypes of hot flashing menopausal women seem more plentiful than the graceful dignity of most of my post fifty friends. I personally believe that depicting older women negatively has been a reflection of our collective lack of social and economic power. Now that economic independence is an option for women, the true reality of our lives as we mature is just now getting the proper respect it deserves.

Older women are not only amazing, but they also hold the keys to pivotal parts of our societies—our family and community unity, our social conscience and our altruistic support of the younger generations. Valuing our mature, post-menopausal women is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing. They are generally at the top of their game, having spent a lifetime marinating in estrogen and now relieved of monthly cycles, and have become incredibly socially and emotionally intelligent.

For instance, take a look at the mastery of Meryl Streep in her latest film "It's Complicated." She plays an incredibly accomplished woman with a successful career and a happy family who is suddenly being pursued by two men! Woo! However fun and entertaining the movie is, take a look at Streep's performance and her life in the film. Or if you prefer reality to fiction, look at Mrs. Streep's career - 15 Oscar nominations, and 2 wins. Incredible. She's up again this Sunday for her incredible portrayal of Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" (if you haven't seen it yet, it's fantastic).

Where else can you find a mature, non-hormonal, gracious being who has a keen understanding of life and herself, and values other human beings unconditionally? The first place I would look for such a being is among post menopausal women.

Read more about the Menopause Makeover at

Check back soon for more posts and information, or leave a comment below!

Dr. Sylvia

Infidelity Trauma: Tiger & Elin Woods - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Infidelity Trauma: Tiger Woods Sex Scandal

TXA 21 News

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, February 18, 2010

After three months of silence, Tiger Woods finally discussed the sex scandal that has overshadowed his marriage to Swedish model Elin Nordegren. But many of us are now wondering if this is “too little too late.” Can Tiger once again win the confidence of his wife and his fans?

How has this scandal affected Tiger's wife, Elin?

Trauma is Lack of Power: Trauma is a condition of powerlessness and when it is inflicted within a marriage, it is especially devastating psychologically. Trauma is magnified exponentially when it inflicted by the spouse.

Life Rearranged: Infidelity “rearranges” life for the person who has been betrayed. When you are reeling from infidelity, previous formulas about life no longer apply. Trust is shot, the past and present are redefined and the future is an uncertain road that stretches on into oblivion. Your partner becomes someone “you no longer know.”

Isolated and Alone: Infidelity trauma is especially difficult especially when a celebrity is involved. The couple usually decides to withdraw into silence, as the affair is played out on the public stage. The betrayed partner is denied access to the social support of others and the secrecy deepens the feeling of disconnection and isolation.

Marital Crime: Infidelity is a marital “crime” and systematic concealment and falsification characterizes every affair. If you don’t lie, you can’t cheat. When you are the recipient of lying and infidelity, you have to go back and rewrite all of your past and present experiences. You begin to doubt your own perceptions since reality has now been redefined by these discoveries.

As mistress after mistress have come to light, one has to wonder - how bad can it get? Here are some factors that can make infidelity worse:

The impact on the betrayed partner depends on these factors:

  • How Long the Affair Lasted
  • The Number of People Involved (number of partners or the birth of a child)
  • Who was Involved (Best Friends versus Strangers)
  • The Level of Falsification and Concealment
  • How Long It Took to Discover (Affairs that involve incremental disclosure are much harder to handle. Such disclosures affect the basic feelings of control, safety and predictability in the offended partner. Overwhelming anxiety increases as the progressive discoveries are made.)

Who usually leaves after an affair (especially of this magnitude)?

Without a doubt, the one who is betrayed is more likely to ultimately leave the marriage. A profound discontent seems to disrupt their faith and allegiance to the partner and over time, they may become disillusioned. Although they often agree to stay in the marriage initially, they usually do not get the right treatment for trauma which sets them up to gradually detach from the marriage. The erosion of affection is a progression, not an event, and many people—including the spouse who has cheated-- are shocked when the betrayed partner finally calls it quits.

You are most likely wondering how Tiger's fans and family are supposed to ever forgive him.

Separate the Man from the Image: Celebrities are just people and it is important to understand that Tiger made a series of terrible decisions systematically. He was his own worst enemy and will ultimately pay heavily for his behavior.

Self-Indulgence Overran Good Judgment: Understand exactly what happened. The explanations for cheating can be complex but they always boil down to one basic reason—we cheat when our emotions overrun our better judgment. Tiger allowed his self-indulgence to define him repeatedly. He was responsible irregardless of any other issues such as addiction that may be present.

Deception is Hard to See: Although it is inexcusable, the entitlements and security of celebrities facilitates this kind of self-destructive behavior. The irresponsibly of the affair stands in stark contrast to every other part of that person’s public life. This was especially true of Tiger who was a public paragon of virtue and self-discipline.

Rules Don’t Apply to Me: Although it is no excuse, Tiger’s behavior reflects the social narcissism that defines us. We just don’t hold people to the same standards we used to observe. Affairs flourish in the current era of epidemic narcissism. We no longer value loyalty, sacrifice and duty as much as we did a generation ago. Tiger is the latest example of this erosion in values.

Finally, the ultimate question: How does Tiger win his wife back?

If the trauma has not been too severe and if the couple still possesses a deep affection for one another, it is wise to move forward. Marital outcomes can be positive in many of these cases. They need to hire the best team of psychologists who are specialists in trauma recovery to guides them through this process. They must not try to do it on their own. It is impossible to be objective in the wake of such strong emotions.

If you stay together, here are the initial steps you must take:

Reframe the Affair as Traumatic Event: The couple must view all aspects of infidelity as a distinct. The betrayed party may well be experiencing a posttraumatic stress disorder. The couple must reframe infidelity anxiety within a trauma model.

Responsibility for the Affair: The full responsibility for the affair must be fully assumed by the betrayer. Although there may have been mitigating circumstances, the decision to cheat was ultimately made by the betrayer. Remorse must be repeatedly expressed and demonstrated.

Safety and Predictability: This is when the betrayer must step up. He must establish a sense of safety, predictability and emotional containment by pledging fidelity, openness to all questions and constant accountability. The ultimate responsibility for transparency is with the partner who inflicted the pain.

Story of The Affair: Together the partners must create a clear story of the events of the affair, the decisions that were made and how the affair or affairs were ended.

Mental Health Issues Addressed: Any sexual or chemical addictions or issues with mood disorders in the wandering partner must be addressed and resolved.

Reemergence as a New Couple: Redefining ourselves as stronger, wiser and more engaged with one another are all hallmark strengths of people who survive infidelity. There is an abiding ability to forgive and to remember the unique aspects of the marriage that are worth fighting for.


"Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence—From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror," by Judith Herman, 1997.

"Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptom Evaluation and Treatment" by John N. Briere and Catherine Scott, 2006

Optimistic Women and Heart Disease - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Optimistic Women And Heart Disease

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

TXA 21 News, Jan 21, 2010

Twice as many women die from cardiovascular disease as from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Now a new study from the American Heart Association shows that women with sunny outlooks may have better heart health and live longer.

But how does “seeing the glass half full” protect you from developing heart disease?

The Mind Controls the Body: This study illustrates once again the interrelationship of the mind, i.e. attitude and its direct effect on the body. Of the 97,000 women studied, optimistic women were 14% less likely to die over eight years than their pessimistic counterparts. They were 9% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 30% less likely to develop heart complications.

Well-Being and Optimism: Optimism infuses the mind and the body with a sense of well-being and self-esteem during the good times and serves as a buffer to disaster when adversity hits. Your body is not constantly bathing in stress hormones and your immune system remains hardier and unchallenged.

Better Health Habits: We also know that optimistic women have better health habits. They rest and exercise more, they eat better and they are less likely to smoke or to be obese. They have lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. An optimistic woman is simply less likely to stress herself out and develop these chronic health issues.

If you don’t think that a pessimistic outlook is a problem, you should reconsider:

Negative women pay a distinct price for their reactivity in their physical and psychological well-being. If you are stressing out all the time, you will slowly destroy your immune system and you will die at an earlier age. Women live close to their emotions and they affect all aspects of our lives. The more negative you become, the more depression and stress increases. Creativity disappears, problem solving slows and social relationships dwindle. Efforts to improve your circumstances decrease along with your physical and emotional health. Clearly, this study shows us that optimism is a disease prevention attitude.

Beyond these two groups, there is another more specialized population – “cynical hostility.”

The study found that women with “cynical hostility” (having negative, hostile thoughts toward others along with a general mistrust) were 16% more likely to die during the eight-year time span of the study. Other studies have shown that cynical women are 29% more likely to suffer a premature death and these findings hold even after classical risk factors are factored in (smoking, obesity, etc). The bottom line is that negative attitudes alienate other people and ruin your physical health in the long run. Strong social ties are a health prevention strategy, especially for women. People with high social involvement have the lowest mortality rates while isolated people have the highest rates.

Are you worried? Here’s how to change your outlook to avoid the penalties of pessimism and maximize your life!

There are a couple of major strategies you can implement immediately:

Inventory of Friends: Assess the negativity level of your friends. Emotions are contagious and one negative person in your life can be optimism “killer.” Toxic friends are bad for your health and they need to be either seen in measured doses or completely ushered from your life.

Increase Your Emotional Muscle: Emotionally resilient people tend to specialize in emotional self-control. They face adversity with optimism and don’t wallow in setbacks that are inevitable parts of life. Resilient people tend to do the following:

Permanence: They interpret good things as permanent and bad things as temporary.

Pervasive: When good things happen, they celebrate all of life and infuse themselves and other with good cheer. When adversity hits, they do not view their entire lives as difficult and defeated.

Personal: Well-adjusted people take responsibility for their mistakes but they are realistic in assessing self-blame. They do not blame themselves automatically when adversity hits, but focus on what they can do to change the outcome for the better.

For more information on Dr. Sylvia, please go to


"The Resilience Factor" by Dr. Karen Reivich and Dr. Andrew Shatte

"Mind Body Health" by Brent Hafen, Keith Karren, Kathryn Frandsen and N. Lee Smith

Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association

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