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“It is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” __M. Scott Peck

“For one human to love another, that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” __Rainer Maria Rilke

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of of fear.” __Mark Twain

Author: Tracey L. Vazquez, M.S. in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

couples counseling falls church

Couples Get Creative

It’s easy to feel engaged and enthralled in a new relationship because you both have so much to learn about each other’s pasts, hopes, character, connections, etc. Once you’ve built a thorough love map of your partner, however, you may find yourself struggling to think of things to say/ask. Maybe you don’t feel like rehashing your day, maybe the day was uneventful, or maybe you spent the day together and there’s nothing to share that the other didn’t experience with you. When we run out of things to discuss with our partner, it is common for couples to then begin to feel as though the quality of the relationship is deteriorating. Or, you may feel that your partner isn’t as interested in you as they once were. Our invigorating dating conversations about how excitingly similar or different our past experiences are become a bland day-to-day tale that may focus more on defragging our stressors than on sharing laughter and fun with the person we love most. The key to breaking this monotony and enjoying quality time with your spouse is to get creative.

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emotional validation therapyMany people still don’t understand the power of therapy and tend to think:

  1. How can a stranger help me?
  2. What is the point of going and venting over and over?
  3. What can somebody see something I can’t see in my own life

But situations like the following make me realize the importance of one of the main concepts people learn and experience in therapy. Validation!

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Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do while at the same time one of the most needed in the world. There are plenty of people sick of anger, either toward others or to themselves. Forgiveness involves letting go and surrender of judgment and condemnation while engaging in a self-healing journey. It is not about the person that inflicted pain but about you. We need compassion in order to forgive others but we need even more to forgive ourselves. If we try to understand the human nature and to not take things personal, it would be easier to realize that bad things happen and that many times there is an explanation even for the most horrific scenarios. Now does understanding the reasons take the pain away? Probably not. But the human mind has an innate need to make sense of things and therefore, understanding things facilitates the process of forgiving. You can choose to move on with your life by refusing to continue to feel like a victim. In this way you will stop a person or event to continue damaging your life in the present.

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Falls Church relationships counseling

In this month when we celebrate love, I wonder what we are celebrating and what love is all about. Love…what’s love? That is the question. A word that causes the biggest happiness but can also cause the biggest misery in our lives, especially when we don’t know what it means, misuse it to achieve personal goals or to cover up personal deficiencies.

I see that everyday when people come to my office justifying their abusive, comfortable or unconscious behavior in the name of LOVE.

The answer to the question of what is love is one of the most difficult ones. Experts spend decades trying to answer it but the journey continues. “Love is an emotion,” is the most common definition and, even though nobody can argue it, we believe love is more than that. A mystical emotion opened to a universal definition. (Johnson, 2008)

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Every human being needs to get around satisfactory human relations, both in the family and other areas. Your emotional well-being will depend largely on the capacity you have to achieve this objective.
Understanding the feelings of others apart from being in touch with our own feelings, capacities and limitations is the key for a satisfactory coexistence among human beings. Unfortunately, this understanding is not born spontaneously, but from what we call empathy. So what is empathy? Empathy is the effort to recognize and understand the feelings and attitudes of people, as well as the circumstances that affect them at any given time.
We are certainly that, when we put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes we become together because we are being empathic. [continue reading…]

One of the biggest problems my clients complain about everyday is not that the person they love hurt them or did something wrong. It is the fact that the person didn’t apologize or the apology did not feel sincere. Let’s face it. We don’t really know how to apologize and the problem is that it has consequences. There are a lot of bad apologies these days. Some people start being “extra nice” by doing something the offended person like to obtain forgiveness; others behave “extra quiet” to not cause more damage, and others simple do not do anything at all, thinking that magic or time will sweep things away. The bad news is: it doesn’t work that way. As Randy Pausch, author of the Last Lecture states “apologies as one of the most important skills to learn in our lives”. When we do not apologize for things we have done wrong to people, Pausch compares it to an “infection” that festers in relationships. If you want to improve your relationships, it’s time to learn the art of apology.

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Psychotherapy: one of the best options for your life

This blog has been created to help people like you and me to better understand the role of psychology in our everyday lives. We don’t have to be mentally ill or be diagnosed with a “disorder” to benefit from it. Actually, it is the opposite. The people that tend to attend counseling at different times of need in their lives as well as a preventive measure, report benefiting more and more each time. Reliable research demonstrates that psychotherapy, or the guidance offered by mental health professionals, is neither unproven nor a luxury, but in fact a viable, empirically supported intervention. Who doesn’t deal with everyday struggles, doesn’t need to learn how to make the best of ourselves or to live life to the fullest?. We don’t longer want to survive, but to thrive! [continue reading…]