Forced Consent is Not Authentic Consent.

You can’t touch this….
Touch.
Hands on attention.
Something that is so needed,
so human, so intimate and connective.
 
Yes touch is something beautiful.
Unless it is not wanted.
Unless it is given when it is not appropriate.
Unless it is out of one’s boundaries or it is forced upon someone.
 
And it is this final statement that I want to address today.
As a woman who has experienced her fair share of trauma,
and speak about the healing process,
the psychological issue around and how to best prevent further trauma in life,
It has come to my attention over the last week the power of touch, yet again.
 
The same touch that can show love can also trigger fear.
Our hands and fingers can open in a hug and give one with deep care and no desire to harm another,
these same hands and fingers can penetrate another person with fear and trigger old wounds as well as cause new ones with the same action of a hug.
 
How can that be?
How is it possible?
Does that mean that we should just not touch anyone?
Yet here we are a touch deprived society.
Hungry for touch and the fact that we are so deprived has us uncertain as to what is healthy and what is not,
because we are deprived and not taught proper respect and boundaries,
permissions and body language signs,
because we want what we want and tend to overlook another person’s feelings or obvious gestures of not wanting to be touched,
we push ourselves onto others with great disregard to what we may actually be triggering in them or re-anchoring from a past wound.
 
Touch can be healing,
but it can also be harming.
 
Outside of the harmful touch of physical abuse which is what you may think when you read the words of touch can be harmful,
it can still be harmful with a loving, caring, even playful touch.
 
I will bring to the attention what our society is being taught.
 
Recently in America we have dealt with the conversation of touch with our very president being captured stating:
 
“Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
 
This is an extreme statement about touch.
About taking what you want with disregard to another human being. And I see the fall out of this statement in many relationship scenarios from parenting to lovers,
from friends to colleagues.
 
Every time we ask our child for a hug or a kiss and they say “no” and we respond with,
“Come on, mommy/daddy need’s a hug.”
” Give me hug and then you can go.”
“I will give you this if you give me a hug or a kiss.”
 
We are disrespecting our child’s space and answer.
We are teaching our child that it is okay to ignore a “no” and to even try and bribe, guilt or push further for what you want with total disrespect to another’s desire, boundary or need.
 
This then translates to adults who believe that it is okay to push for what they want with a spouse or partner.
 
It translates to adults who do not respect the space, time or feelings of another in any relationship situation.
 
It translates to adults who do not take responsibility for their actions, as they feel that they are doing what they are doing out of a “good” place or a “just or deserving” place, as though they have the right when in fact they do not,
and that no matter how good or right our actions may be,
if they are harming toward another’s boundaries or desires then we need to pause and respect what we are being told or what we are witnessing in energy,
body language coming from another person.
 
Touch.
It is so very powerful.
And our boundaries around it can ebb and flow within any relationship and moment by moment in our lives.
A touch that felt good yesterday may very well close us down to connection the next.
 
And the thing to remember about touch is that it extends past the physical.
 
Touch is about how we touch another person.
 
We can touch another person with our physical body,
we can touch them with our words,
we can touch them with the look from our eye’s,
the expression on our face.
We touch other’s all the time.
How you touch them is the question that I encourage you to review in your life today?
 
Are you honoring and respectful?
Do you listen to their body language as well as their words?
Can you hear their truth and accept it just as that,
without needing approval from them or needing a reason as to why they think, feel or need what they need?
 
Or are you operating from a place of self-centeredness?
A place of need and hunger?
 
When you are in relationship with anyone,
no matter the intimacy level or actual label on the relationship,
do you give…
do you touch…
do you speak…
do you act…
out of the place of unconditional respect and love or are you wanting something and wanting to feel a certain way,
with the belief that if this other person “supports” (gives) you what you are wanting by allowing you to act, speak, give, touch, etc… the way that you deem good in that moment,
that this is what “should” happen and it is “okay” because that is just the way that you want it to be?
 
We are all guilty of ignoring another and insisting that they feel or think a way that we want them too instead of how they may actually be feeling or thinking.
 
We are all guilty of wanting something from another at times.
We are all guilty of missing ques in body language or tones, even not hearing words fully and crossing over boundaries.
We are all guilty of being self-centered.
 
No one wants to feel rejected.
No one wants to feel like they have hurt someone that they care for.
 
The reality is that when in relationship,
we will hurt those we care for.
We will not always be present with them.
And we will have hidden expectations if nothing else that we are not aware of that may cause issues along the path.
 
But if we want to act out of love,
if we want to be emotionally mature,
and trustworthy,
if we want to expand and deepen a relationship,
then each of us MUST take responsibility for how we choose to touch those around us.
 
With our words.
With our physical bodies.
With our looks.
With our expectations.
And assumptions.
 
And we must learn to respect the “No” without question of why.
 
Because no one owes you an explanation of why they are feeling any way,
just like you do not owe anyone an explanation as to why you think or feel any particular way either.
 
But to push your will on another,
is a breaking of truth,
it is dishonoring to the relationship and to both parties in relationship,
and it shows the desperation of one’s need and lack of actual care for another.
Making it detrimental to the relationship.
 
Pay attention to what you are seeing,
to what you feel coming from another person,
not not what you want to feel or see.
 
Realize that your truth about any particular thing may not be the same as another’s and if you are interacting with another person you NEED their consent to involve them.
 
How are you toughing those in your life today?
 
And as always,
Stop Existing & Start Living
“Coaching for Grown A*s Believers”
 
Let’s get you to your desired F-ck YES! NOW.
Applications for 1:1 available for a limited time. Message me for application.

Hope & Commitment: PRICELESS

Average cost of a divorce: $15,000 to $30,000

Average child support payment for one child: $430

Average alimony support percentage of highest earning spouse: 30% of income for up to 50% of time of marriage

Saving your relationship and working through your shit: PRICELESS

Remember the old commercial?
Well I sure do.

And this topic is near and dear to me in recent times.
But more importantly,
It is a possible reality to many of my couples clients.
Or potential couples clients.

The sad truth is that quiet often people go looking for help.
They sit in my office,
Wrenching their hands together,
Butterflies in their stomach,
Wanting to be heard.
To be understood.
And to be given hope.

They look at their spouse,
And they hope that they too have a sincere desire to heal the wounds of years gone by.
They hope that their partner is feeling at ease and will be open to the possibilities of getting help.

Often, tears are shed in my office by one or both parties as they recognize the pain,
They see the situation of their marriage clearer,
And they feel the tingle of hope spreading its wings inside them.

There they sit.
HOPEFUL.

They share intimacies within this safe container,
Baring their truths of bitterness, of loss of desire, of financial pains, of feeling left behind and under appreciated.

They share their sins.
From adultery to drug usage to porn and anger.

They share their longing.
Their longing to reconnect.
To heal.
To love and be loved.

And so they walk away from me,
Feeling lighter.
Feeling connection and understanding.
Feeling non-judgment.
Feeling as if they can recover.
They feel HOPE.

And then….
It is inevitable my follow up email with all my recommendations and observations comes into their inbox.
It asks them for their,
COMMITMENT.

Many stand up to the plate.
But many steer away in fear.

They lean on objections.
From price to time.
They say they need to wait.
They say they think they can do it on their own.
They say this
And they say that.

But none of it matters.
They CHOOSE to not commit
And thus they choose to remain in their suffering and in the harsh reality that separation most likely will knock soon at their door.

But they feel like they cannot change the outcome.
Because it just is.
So they settle into victim mode.
And they loose HOPE.

How much does it cost to sacrifice your HOPE?
How much is it worth to step into COMMITMENT ?

It is priceless.
Thats what it is.
On both sides it is PRICELESS.

The only question
I ask these souls who choose to say goodbye is,
Are you happy?

At the end of any decision.
You must ask yourself.
Are you happy?

Here you will learn your truth.
Here you will learn about your fear.
Your regrets.
Your desires.
And if you made the right choice.

No one can answer this for any of us.
It is between us and soul.

And it is PRICELESS.

As always,
Stop Existing and Start Living

Now accepting 1+1 Couples Coaching Clients.
No matter where you are in this big world you can get the private coaching to recover the intimacy and connection you desire in your marriage.
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Pull Your F-cking Head Out of Your Ass and Get a Life of Your F-cking Own Syndrome

It has been a VERY long day.
One where I have spent the entire day avoiding my hormones,
avoiding my desire to just scream,
and cry, and bitch about everything.
 
Originally, I was going to write about starting your day with orgasm, and how wonderful that is. I thought that would be a wonderful share as I had a great night of some good sexing and woke up this morning turned on and even masturbated.
 
So orgasm was strong in my body.
However, my day quickly turned gears.
I found myself battling for the space to just write in my daily journal for about 4 hours.
 
The distractions came from everyone in my life.
My period not helping me hold back my frustration.
I felt on edge ALL stinking day.
 
Keeping in mind the wise parenting advice that I have held near and dear for 23 years of being a mom,
 
” Pick your battles.”
 
So here I am at midnight,
after a day of picking my battles and getting distracted.
 
Here I am FINALLY writing this brief tid bit of rawness.
 
And what am I sharing on this evening?
I am sharing on an extremely important topic.
One that I believe is one of the BIGGEST issues in relationship today.
 
My day has been a day that was filled with it.
Multiple sources brought it to me.
I had to breathe through it many times today.
As I was focused on , “picking my battles.”
 
This though is an on going battle in my home and life and perhaps for you it may be in your’s as well.
 
I AM NOT AND CANNOT BE YOUR EVERYTHING.
NOR DO I WANT TO.
 
Yes here ya go folks.
Here is my share.
 
Do you feel like your partner,
your lover,
your friend,
your sibling,
or any other relationship
 
needs to be your everything?
 
Maybe you are on the same side as me on this topic and you feel like you are being expected to be someone’s everything.
 
It’s f-cking exhausting isn’t it?
There is no freaking’ way that any of us can do this for another.
 
yet so often this is the issue in our relationships.
We get into a relationship with someone,
and we make them our everything.
we loose our individuality.
we stop going out alone or with others,
we dedicate our every breath to this other person,
and when they don’t reciprocate,
we get pissed.
we feel hurt.
we wonder why we are not good enough, ‘or why they don’t care.
After all we have done so much for them,
why can’t they just see that and appreciate it?
 
why can’t they just let go of everything else in their world and make us their #1?
 
It’s just not fair.
It’s always us getting hurt.
 
In steps JEALOUSY.
In steps our need to control.
We have to control this situation, or we will not feel loved,
seen, appreciated.
 
We have to point to all those things that are taking our desired relationship away from us.
 
Making it hard for us to connect.
Making it hard for them to see us.
 
So we push a little harder.
We beg a little more.
We stomp our feet, slam doors, and act like we are three again.
We retract our love to show them what they are missing.
We wave our pissed off flag around,
hoping that they will notice,
 
But they just seem to carry on without us.
Or they cave and let our juvenile ways win for now.
 
So they smile.
So they say sweet things.
So they comfort us one more time,
putting our fears of loosing them to the side temporarily.
 
But then God dang it.
They turn right back around,
like nothing happened.
Like our pain was never there,
and MOTHER F-CKER.
 
They go back out with those other people.
They laugh and enjoy life on their own,
They just keep moving through their day,
as though we are not here.
 
JEALOUSY.
The sad truth in this tale is that the fear of loosing the relationship is most certainly going to happen when someone keeps pushing and suffocating another like this.
 
The truth is, that any relationship needs to be based in authentic desire to be in relationship with us.
 
It needs to be based on individuals who are not needy to the point of suffocating each other.
Have lives of their own, and come together to support and compliment each other in life.
 
If you are loosing yourself in a relationship.
if you are feeling needy to the point of jealousy.
If you are pissed off at the other individual for being just that, an individual.
If you are pissed off at the other individual for not making you their #1 in everything, or dropping other relationships for you.
 
Then you may be suffering from , ” Pull Your F-cking Head Out of Your Ass and Get a Life of Your F-cking Own Syndrome.”
 
This syndrome has some key symptoms:
* You cannot let the other person be alone without you for more than 10 minutes.
* You always make your opinion supportive to what the other’s is or might be.
*You try to hard to please the other person ALL THE TIME.
* You are fearful of being yourself or stating your truth to the other.
* You will change who you are to make sure you don’t loose the relationship.
* You get upset about the person having or doing things with others, even though you smile and tell them its okay.
* You cannot go and do much of anything without the other person, and you don’t want to.
 
 
This syndrome causes relationship breakup when you try to take over a non-codependent person’s life with it.
 
If you are like me,
then this sort of syndrome makes you want to run the other direction.
 
Drop the person like a hot potato.
And count your blessings that you caught it in time.
 
In my personal opinion there is not much more unattractive then this syndrome.
 
If you are a person suffering from this syndrome,
well I am sorry.
 
Truly I am.
It is time to put on your BIG KID panties and realize that healthy relationships DO NOT operate like this.
 
It is time for you sweet soul, to learn who you are.
Get right with JUST BEING YOU.
Learn to love you.
And start to enjoy life,
which means to have more than JUST ONE in your life.
 
We are human beings and we are built for community.
We need relationships.
 
Multiple relationships.
We need to get our needs met in many ways and by multiple sources ( people).
 
NO ONE CAN BE SOMEONE ELSE’S EVERYTHING!!!!
This is putting an unrealistic and unhealthy expectation on the relationship and on the person.
 
If you claim to care about the relationship
about the other person,
about you,
 
Then go get your shit in order.
get a life of your own,
and STOP EXPECTING anything from anyone.
 
ESPECIALLY THAT THEY ARE YOUR EVERYTHING.
 

And as always,

Stop Existing & Start Living

For more coaching, truth shares and awakened education join me for 1+1 coaching via phone, zoom or in person. Or follow me on Facebook for my morning FREE Conscious Coffee Broadcasts where I share truth bombs and alignment asskickery.

Graceful Guidelines for Sexual Healing

manupsidedown“Most people in the “recovery” or “therapy” process yearn for sexual healing. I make this statement as a therapist and as a human being who has facilitated myself and many others on the journey.”Michael Picucci PhD, MAC, SEP

Sexual healing is the shame-free revisiting of complex sexual histories, limitations and perceptions combined with new awareness, understanding, and compassion. In the process of this rejuvenation, we learn how to merge our spiritual and sexual energies. The “sexual-spiritual split” is a culturally induced, deep psychic schism that haunts relationships and precludes emotional fulfillment. Resolving this powerful inner conflict is necessary for true body, mind and spirit connections.

These guidelines can be used to illuminate and focus a core healing journey that is central to having life mastery, which is the awareness of aliveness, sensual pleasure and contentment.

FIVE GRACEFUL GUIDELINES FOR SEXUAL HEALING:

1. Increase body awareness 

2. Share sexual history 

3. Dialogue in relationship

4. Create Fusion Exercises

5. Rediscover adolescent awkwardness

1. Body Awareness. Introduce yourself to the possibility of bringing full body awareness and energy to your sexual regions. Some of us have depleted energy levels and a diminished sense of aliveness in our pelvic area and a fullness of energy in the our heart region. Others feel constricted with their heart energy while having an intense pelvic charge. This is particularly evident in early intimacy and bonding. Because of this culturally fragmented energy disbursement in the body, sexual motivation usually has more to do with feelings like neediness, escape from other feelings, and proving one’s self-worth, than feelings of pure pleasure and the normal desire for interconnectedness.

For many, pleasure can only be realized in highly charged scenarios. Often they are avoided because they are dangerous and/or self-destructive. Some of us are just fearfully frozen. Others become frustrated at a perceived lack of ability to negotiate the complexities. Many repeat unfulfilling patterns again and again. Whatever one’s history may be, the following exercises have proven helpful in energizing and awakening sexual aliveness.

In Latin and most Eastern and metaphysical philosophies, the word “breath” is synonymous with “spirit.” Conscious breathing brings energy (and spirit) into the body. This exercise will help improve anyone’s ability to breathe and improve sexual aliveness. First, do conscious, deep breathing exercises focused in the groin. Imagine that you can take your breath all the way down to the perineum, that lowermost part of the crotch between the vagina and the rectum or the scrotum and rectum. In reality, most feel they can’t breathe into their perineum, yet imagination can produce surprising results. This exercise can be done while brushing your teeth, riding in a car, or for a few minutes before or after sleeping. While the results may not be immediate, with a little practice and patience, deeper breathing of this sort will help lead to spiritual-genital integration.

The “rotation exercise” is an exercise that you can combine with the conscious pelvic breathing. Stand up straight, put your feet shoulder-length apart, relax (unlock) your knees, and rotate your hips in a circular motion, stretching out in all directions as far as is comfortable. Imagine that you are standing in the center of a mostly empty peanut butter jar, and you want to use your hip and pelvis, in a circular motion, to clean the peanut butter off the sides of the jar. Keep rotating, first in one direction, then the other. Lower and raise yourself to completely clean the inside of that jar. Attention to conscious breathing will be helpful. Take a moment or two to giddily and randomly move your pelvis, tuning into the energy and spontaneously moving and following your inner current. Just go with the flow for a few moments. You will begin, subtly at first, feeling a renewed aliveness in this region that is sensual, sexual, and centering – all at the same time.

These exercises are also excellent “warm-ups” for more pleasurable sexual experiences, alone or to be shared with a partner. (For additional information and exercises on all of the guidelines in this article see my books: “The Journey Toward Complete Recovery: Reclaiming Your Emotional and Spiritual & Sexual Wholeness” and “Ritual as Resource: Energy for Vibrant Living.”)

2. Sexual History. Begin a process of uncovering and sharing sexual secrets from your past with “safe” people. It is important to do this practice with those who are sensitive, understanding and compassionate listeners. These “secrets” are rightfully too sensitive to be exposed to individuals who will not afford them suitable respect. Along with these secrets there is a need to bring awareness to religious and other spiritually infused influences on your early sexual development and evolution.

I suggest writing a narrative history, or outline, to put one’s sexual development in a historical perspective. This begins with the first remembered “exposure” to sex, sexual energy, or sexual material. Then, as best you can remember, recreate your development with subsequent incidents. This exercise will help put your current sexual expression in an understandable and historical context. By sharing this history with a safe person, one can further heal the sexual-spiritual split.

After sharing “sexual histories in perspective” (in a shame-free setting), your psyche will gradually produce additional memories, further illuminating your history. Shared sexual histories provide a grounding and framework for your present experience while simultaneously creating a platform for new possibilities.

3. Dialogue in relationship. Encourage yourself to risk cultivating meaningful dialogue around sexual issues in dating situations and with significant partners. The deepest interpersonal healing takes place in relationship. Finding and cultivating a safe partner is, of course, pivotal. One can do a great deal of healing with therapists and within community. However, that healing will be limited by the appropriate professional and cultural boundaries of these relationships. To ultimately heal the sexual-spiritual split, we must explore relating to another human being while attempting to bring both polarized aspects of the split to this relationship without walls of shame arising. It is important to work through shameful aspects and feelings of inadequacy about sex with a partner. It is fine to move slowly. “Intention” and “willingness” are paramount.

4. Fusion Exercises. Consciously combine meditative, spiritual, or contemplative experiences with your own sexuality. Such experimentation is a very different and awkward experience for most people at first, but in time one feels a new and deeper connection with both pleasure and release. Sexual experiences often grow from being simply physical (with genital concentration), to becoming a full-body, kinesthetic event that can be powerful and rewarding.

Suggesting a combination of sexual and spiritual experimenting often brings laughter and confusion. People always ask, “How are we supposed to do that?” They often break out in further embarrassed laughter and disbelief when I suggest, “Try experimenting with masturbating (or self-loving) and praying at the same time!”

This laughter is a defense. Notice how foreign the suggestion feels, emphasizing the reality of an internal dichotomy! Think about this in relation to merging your core sexuality with a spiritual, loving union or relationship with yourself or another.

Create rituals with candlelight, mirrors and incense for sessions of self-loving and self-pleasuring. Slowly begin to make a “special time & place” in your life for, and begin to exalt in, your body (however you may perceive it), your sexuality, alone or with a companion, as an ecstatic all-encompassing manifestation of your humanity.

Use your intuitive creativity and responsible, courageous risk-taking abilities to create your own additional practices to merge sexual and spiritual energies. Like flowers growing toward the sun, as we humans experience this fusion in our psyche, our bodies and our defensive reflexes organically grow toward sexual and spiritual unity.

5. Rediscover adolescent awkwardness. Become willing to enter a period of discovery which I call “adolescent awkwardness.” In dating or in a significant long-term relationship, a time comes when the healing of this internalized sexual-spiritual schism must be addressed for the relationship to grow. We must surrender preconceived concepts regarding sexuality and intimacy and join another person in authentic adolescent discovery. Many of us missed a healthy adolescence, and therefore cannot go further into intimacy without visiting this important building block. It is important to give yourself permission to feel adolescent and awkward with yourself and another. It is rich, fertile ground in which to plant seeds of new awareness. Very workable and pleasing possibilities will grow from these seeds.

Appreciate Resistance

Appreciation of our own resistance signals the most important awareness of healing. All of the above exercises will initially bring resistance to the fore. This is good: we want to bring resistance up out of the unconscious, where it has ominous rule, and expose it to a “process of resolution.” By connecting with the resistance, and moving through it, we have the opportunity to discern and untangle the diverse feelings and incidents that have formed themselves into walls of shame.

Whenever shame or blockage surfaces (often feeling like a wall) in a budding or long-term intimate relationship, the struggle to share it is also the process of healthy adolescent development. It is the joining of less mature and more mature aspects of ourselves together in a sensitive, growing relationship. In this process, there is great value in the shame. Shame flirts with us. It lures us while at the same time it tries to hide. As suggested by the author Max Scheler in “Shame and Pride,” “It is from in and under the shame that our shimmering magic emerges.”

HEALING IS POSSIBLE: BELIEF CREATES THE EXPERIENCE

Combining love with sexual expression is an act of higher consciousness. It is important to believe that when two human beings share love’s energy combined with erotic energies, a transcendent experience occurs, one that is often profoundly healing and enriching. This is a very sacred sharing and a goal of a fulfilling sexual experience. Reaching this goal is the result of a conscious give and take, a negotiation of the openhearted experience of interconnectedness. Accepting that this is awkward, we need to learn to communicate our needs, desires and fantasies. Under each of the three currents are powerful and subtle feelings and energies that want to be expressed.

Releasing these expressions help us grow holistically; they teach us about natural aggression and passivity, about our feminine and masculine energies, and about pleasuring and being pleasured. They help dissolve shame, insecurities, and to accept contradictions and complexities. It exposes the need to experience them fully for healing, growth and self-understanding.

Contrary to what some believe about healthy sexuality, we need to learn that healthy loving expression includes the expression of our more shadowy desires as well as our tenderness. The delicate opening up of our repressed sexual histories, variations, deviations, and fantasies is enriching as well as healing. True and spiritual lovemaking is the interweaving choreography of our higher and our shadow selves. A holistic experience involves bringing together aspects of higher and lower self — how beautiful, and so very intimate to do so with open hearts.

EVALUATING OUR PROGRESS

To evaluate your progress in healing the sexual-spiritual split, I encourage you to simply ask yourself: What motives do I bring to sexuality? What do I want from the sexual aspect of my nature?

You will know that the healing is progressing when the answers to these questions emphasize spiritual fulfillment, integrating aggression and passivity, power and surrender, femininity and masculinity, and the desire for personal and shared experiences of fulfillment, pleasure and higher consciousness.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE on Psychology Tomorrow Magazine

Why I Think All Men Need Therapy

Group-of-happy-men1vulnerableman-825x496

Let me preface this by saying I’m part of this group, too. Just because I’m a licensed therapist doesn’t mean I don’t need therapy. I have many, many things to work on, one of which is getting back into therapy.

Full disclosure: I haven‘t seen a therapist in years. I understand if you think that makes me a hypocrite, but it is my truth. I would rather be honest than pretend to be someone I am not.

Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle.

But here’s what I’ve learned from both my personal and professional experiences. Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle, something we must thread into our daily lives. And therapy can be the needle to guide that thread.

Yes, women need therapy too. But multiple studies and researchers have pointed to the fact that women make up nearly two-thirds of therapy patients, while men arguably benefit more from the process.

We have to let go of what we can’t control and just focus on our own shit.

I believe all men need therapy, including myself. Here are four of the most compelling reasons:

1. This generation doesn’t clearly define the male identity.

You might argue that this lack of definition is about the culture of 2015. Society had a strong definition of “the ideal man” in the ′20s, ′40s, ′50s, etc. But I believe it has to do with the fact that we live in a fatherless nation.

More than ever, our fathers are either physically absent or emotionally unavailable. So, how does a son learn who he is as he crosses into manhood? He doesn’t. The shadow of a suggestion of an identity he struggles after is one learned through advertising, media, and coping.

I worked as a therapist in residential treatment for about six years. I treated teens struggling with addiction, and the vast majority of them had an absent father. The boys clung to me, desperate for a positive male role model. They wanted a guide, a mentor, a man to teach them about life — what all boys crave at that age. I know I did. When deprived of that, they try to fill the void in unhealthy ways.

Therapy is a safe space for men who grew up with absent dads (most of us) to process the loss we’ve suffered, whether we realize it or not, and to create a new, healthy definition of what it means to be a man.

2. Therapy helps you find tools that will exponentially improve your relationships.

Generally speaking, men tend to maneuver more on a logical plane and women on an emotional one. Many men struggle to express their feelings, eventually leaving their partner in the dark, resulting in the two being separated by the unspoken issue(s) between them. Eventually, they grow apart.

I see this all the time in the couples I coach: Men tend to go to “fix-it” mode instead of expressing themselves and holding a safe space for their partner. They struggle with using “I feel” statements and don’t practice building their communication muscles.

Since therapists are trained to help you explore and process feelings, seeing a therapist is like visiting an emotional gym and exercising these expression muscles. Once we have the ability to express ourselves, we can stop trying to fix it. Instead, we can be present, and create a safe space for our partner to talk to us. Then confrontations can turn into healthy conversations, creating closeness, trust, and stronger relationships.

Seeing a therapist doesn’t mean you have problems. It means you want to be a healthier version of yourself. It just means adding more tools to your toolbox. These tools will translate directly into your relationship.

Your partner will see the difference in you and may be inspired to go on his or her own journey. Now we have two pistons pumping. Translation: You’ve stopped the tug-of-war and started to move in the same direction. This is the only way to improve a relationship.

It’s never about the other person. It’s about you.

3. It’s the only way a lot of men ever learn to stop trying to fix everything.

Men tend to think they can do everything by themselves. Not necessarily because of ego. It’s a pressure we put on ourselves to take care of the people we care about. When it comes to relationships, sometimes we don’t realize that we are only 50 percent of the equation.

By thinking we can fix it, we can easily cross the line into controlling behavior without even knowing it. That means we have to let go of what we can’t control, and just focus on our own shit. This is what therapy is all about. Therapists are trained to keep the focus on the client so they can take ownership of their own issues and let go of other people’s.

I believe that with this mindset, the dynamic of the relationship will shift. There will be a lot less pressure and a lot more trust. Of course, women can do the same.

But from coaching hundreds of women, I’ve learned that the majority want their man to take the lead. It gives them hope and builds trust. Then they become inspired to work on anything they need to work on.

We get into a chess game with each other, subconsciously. We won’t change or work on ourselves unless the other person does too. But the only thing that grows in that dynamic is anger and resentment. It’s never about the other person. It’s about you, the kind of person you want to be, and what you want to bring to the relationship.

4. We have a responsibility to be better men than our fathers were.

I know it’s 2015, and much progress has been made. But men still tend to shy away or get embarrassed about seeing therapists. There’s a pervasive misconception that therapy is for people with “real problems.” So, men just talk to their friends, who are biased, and can’t advise them with the same experience, perspective, or authority. Men tend to associate “treatment” with weakness. I think we believe that if we see a therapist, we are admitting defeat. We are admitting we can’t fix it on our own. That last part is true. We can’t. But that’s okay.

Imagine if men went to therapy as much as they go to the gym. How many relationships would be saved? How many sons would have a healthier definition of manhood? And how many daughters would have higher self-esteem and a sharper radar when it came to boys? Imagine how much pain and destruction we could avoid. Then tell me it’s not a good idea.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE on Mind, Body Green

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Release Pelvic Pain, Sexual Dysfunctioncs, Trauma & More in 2-3 months with Pelvic Floor Release

pelvicfloor

Many evidence based studies prove that pelvic floor physical therapy is an effective treatment approach for men and women suffering from pelvic pain caused by tight muscles and restricted tissues.  The pelvic floor muscles, namely the levator ani, coccygeus and obturator internus can develop adhesions, tension or trigger points which restrict movement and cause pain.  Trigger points are palpable spasms/knots within muscle tissue and can occur in pelvic floor muscles.  Trigger points can lead to adhesions of fascia/connective tissue of the abdomen, groin, pelvic floor and even restrict the viscera (colon, uterus, bladder, prostate gland) within the pelvic bowl.

The pudendal nerves and its branches, traveling from the sacrum (back of the pelvis) and running all through the pelvic floor region innervates the vaginal/penile and rectal areas. The nerves can become squeezed as it travels through tight muscles and fascia, which then decreases optimum pelvic floor function and increases pain.

The pelvic floor muscles are located INSIDE our bodies, in women the muscles are approximately 1-2 inches up from the vaginal/rectal region and in men, the muscles are approximately 1-2 inches up from the base of the penis/rectal region.

The pelvic floor muscles are key for four functions of the body:

1) lower back/core stabilization; 2)  normal urinary function; 3) good bowel function; 4) satisfying sexual function.

As a core stabilizer, the pelvic floor works with 3 other core muscles, the Transversus Abdominus (deepest stomach muscle), Multifidus- (deep low back extensor muscle), and deep fibers of the Iliopsoas (hip flexor muscle). These 4 muscles work together to keep our core strong, flexible and prevents lower back pain. If one of the 4 core stabilizer muscles becomes weak or injured, then the other 3 muscles have to work harder to compensate. Over time this puts great strain on the whole core, which leads to back pain/stiffness/weakness.

The pelvic floor muscles are directly involved with three bodily functions, urinary, bowel and sexual.

For functional urination, the pelvic floor muscles surround the urethral opening and should relax when you are voiding and maintain closure or tension when you are not voiding.   If the muscles are in spasm, urinary symptoms such as leaking,  or feeling a strong urge to void, or having to go to the bathroom multiple times a day (called urinary frequency) and/or being awoken at night to void more than once (called nocturia), can occur.   Women using public restrooms should not “hover” over the toilet, as this sustained half squat creates tension in the pelvis and does not allow full relaxation of the sphincters around the urethra to allow full urination. Best to use the protective toilet seat covers and sit comfortably.

For normal bowel movements, the pelvic floor muscles should be able to open and widen to allow the full passage of stool. When not having a BM, the pelvic floor maintains tension at the rectal opening to prevent leakage.  If the pelvic floor is weak, leakage can occur.  If the pelvic floor is tight, constipation resulting in sitting too long at the toilet, straining to defecate can occur. Toileting should take no longer than 5 minutes following the urge to void.  Even though you may not feel completely empty, it’s better to stand and leave the bathroom  versus continue to sit and strain. Constant straining can result in hemorrhoids and/or the development of a rectocele, which further impedes good function.

For satisfying sexual function, the toned and flexible pelvic floor allows for more intense orgasms in men and women.  A fully relaxed pelvic floor helps women experience pain free intercourse with their male partners.  Many patients who are experiencing sexual pain may experience difficulty with partner relationships or even avoid them due feeling of shame or inadequacy.

Pelvic pain due to restricted muscles can be released and return to normal function, no matter how long a person has been experiencing symptoms.

Physical therapists trained and mentored in pelvic floor work can:

  • apply targeted manual therapies to rid muscles of trigger points
  • utilize biofeedback therapy to help patients learn how to either downtrain (relax) their pelvic floor or to uptrain (strengthen) the pelvic floor
  • perform visceral mobilization to improve the mobility of organs lying within the pelvic bowl
  • mobilize and teach a patient self-connective tissue (skin rolling) techniques to abolish tight skin and fascia of the inner thighs and abdomen
  • teach patients gentle stretching techniques with foam rollers, tennis balls, knobbles, Theracane,  S –wands and dilators
  • educate in exercises for a strong core
  • teach diaphragmatic breathing and visualization to help lower tension of the pelvis and to increase oxygenation to the body and decreased stress
  • guidance in cardiovascular exercise to pump more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues
  • teach proper bladder and bowel techniques and habits

Most people start to feel better after 2 months of consistent, twice a week therapy which incorporates many of the above techniques. Some reach goals sooner; others may take up to 3 months.  By attending regular pelvic floor physical therapy and performing all the home exercises, faulty pattern are reversed and many people are pain free within 2-3 months.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE