Valentine’s Day, by Erin A. Alexander, LPC

 

 

The first few weeks in February is when there is a gradual period and build-up of excitement in anticipation of that special day in the middle of the month…St. Valentine’s Day. This day was first associated with romantic love back in the Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love was popular. By the 18th century in England, the tradition eventually evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed love by giving gifts of flowers, candy, and cards that are now know as valentines. The symbol typical symbols associated with Valentine’s Day are now Cupids, hearts, doves, and roses; the colors connected with this occasion are pink, white, and red.

 

How is it celebrated all over the world? In Italy, people people have romantic dinners and exchange gifts. In France, restaurants do roaring trades, and Valentine’s Day is a popular day for marriage proposals. In England, Valentine’s cards are still sent anonymously, which is an old tradition. In Saudi Arabia, the holiday is banned because it encourages immoral relations between unmarried people. In Estonia, it is called Friends Day, so that single people are not left out.

 

So, now that we have a brief history of Valentine’s Day, how does one have a healthy Valentine’s Day however you choose to celebrate it ?

 

  • Open communication

  • Forgiveness

  • Good humor

  • Have fun

  • Mutual respect

 

Have a great one!!

 

 

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Support Groups for Relationship Issues, Support, Self-Improvement, and Healthy Living (from the Gazette)

Most communities have support/self-help groups on various topics. These informal meetings can be invaluable resources and extensions of services that are provided by health and mental health professionals. This is also a way for interns to obtain their required clinical hours towards licensure…by facilitating these types of psycho-educational groups.

 

For a full list of upcoming health events visit www.gazettenet.com/living/health/

CODEPENDENCE — A Codependence Anonymous meeting for adults recovering from codependence and learning to develop healthy relationships meets every Sunday night, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran Church, 867 N. Pleasant St., Amherst.

 

Transition to the Holiday Week

Greetings to everyone:

Today is the last day I will be in the office and/or available to respond to any work-related emails/messages. I have clients scheduled from 1pm to 6pm then I am done for the week. My auto-reply will go on early tomorrow morning. (erin.brighterfuture4u@gmail.com)

Please note that our address will change by the time you return for your next appointment. We will be in the same complex, just in building III, suite 200. Phone numbers are the same.

Also note that I can do video counseling. I have been qualified by Breakthrough Behavioral Health so that it is H.I.P.A.A. compliant. Go to their site to schedule an appointment. They handle all of the scheduling and billing with your insurance company.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday! I will reply to messages for the rest of today, then again on Monday. Take care, Erin

Erin A. Alexander, LPC-S

Brighter Future E-Counseling

Mailing/Billing address: 7113 San Pedro Ave. #266, San Antonio, TX 78216

NEW Physical address: 5825 Callaghan Rd. #200 Summit III bldg San Antonio, TX 78228
Phone 210-521-4833 Fax (210)521-8561

https://healthyrelationships2013.wordpress.com

http://lpcsupervision.wordpress.com/

My profile: http://alexander.breakthrough.com (I can do VIDEO counseling here)

Carolyn Hax: A single woman wants to keep the nosy questions at bay during weddings

I was at a wedding recently where family members kept coming up to me and asking me why I wasn’t married and if I had a boyfriend. I’m a 34-year-old single woman and these relatives hadn’t seen me in a few years. I was really uncomfortable with the incessant questioning.

What is a good response when people ask intrusive questions regarding your relationship status? I am really still angry at how rude and insensitive the relatives were and I don’t really plan to go to another family wedding because of this. Am I being too sensitive/overreacting? I see no excuse — I have never gone up to a married couple and asked them why they didn’t have children or something similar, so I don’t see how this behavior is excusable and why I should have to put up with it.

Single at a Wedding

It isn’t excusable and you shouldn’t put up with it, but I hope you won’t keep yourself from occasions you might otherwise enjoy because of it. These people exist whether you stay home or not; think carefully before you hand them any controls over your life.

The truth gives you a range of options when you’re faced with intrusive questions. Take advantage of that from now on whenever people start prying: “You’re the 14th person to ask me that today,” for example, is an important non-answer that gives people a glimpse of the cumulative effect of what they assume is a cute or innocent query. An incredulous, “People still ask that?” gets to the truth of how dated this whole line of questioning is. “I was quizzed so mercilessly on my romantic life at the last wedding that I almost didn’t come to this one” is another truth in need of airing. Then there’s always the Miss Manners staple, “Why do you ask?”

You are under no obligation to be the one who tells any of these truths, and staying home is your prerogative. However, even if staying home is exactly what you want and choose to do, the question will still probably find you anyway, so I suggest being prepared.

Your outrage is completely justified. Since it’s clearly no fun for you to continue harboring it, though, I think you will feel better if you prepare yourself to neutralize future interrogations. That sense of mastery can be the little bit of good that comes from this frustrating experience.

Re: Single:

About the Miss Manners staple, “Why do you ask?”: Lamentably, pushy folks don’t allow themselves to be shut up with gentle responses, and keep on pressing. How do you recommend people deal with those who won’t take the hint to let things go?

Anonymous

“Aren’t you . . .” sweet/funny/curious/determined/[your not-unkind word here], with a smile, and an “Excuse me, I need to rescue a friend.” They don’t have to know that, in this instance, you’re your own friend.

In other words, deflect and exit. You really truly absolutely don’t need to stand there and take it.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at http://bit.ly/haxpost.

Why the Holidays are Hazardous to Your Love Life, by Emily Shore

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Tis the season for bad relationship decisions, says a new survey from the dating site PlentyOfFish. Holidays are not only a time for good cheer and gift-giving, it’s also the time for hooking up with old flames and contemplating making out with your boss under the mistletoe.

A survey of 9,000 users ages 20 to 40 revealed that December is not the best month for creating stable, healthy relationships. Apparently, Santa’s sleigh travels down roads that are never, ever meant to be revisited. Amongst the most common poor choices, 26 percent say they have slept with exes over the holidays, and 40 percent say they would like to hook up with their high school sweetheart.

It’s not the combination of copious fruitcake and hearing Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” on loop that impairs people’s decision-making skills (though, let’s be honest, they probably do).

Sarah Gooding, who helped conduct the survey, hypothesizes these behaviors come from a desire for comfort during the holidays. She believes that the holiday season is “designed for people in relationships,” which can make singles feel worse, while also adding “a lot of pressure to feel happy.” Therefore, during the holiday season, it’s not uncommon for people “to revert to things that are comfortable.” For some, that’s eating an entire Yule log. For others, it’s making out with the guy who you de-tagged from all of your Facebook photos six months earlier.

There’s also the not-so-subtle nudges from family members. There are only so many times you can hear Aunt Estelle try to set you up with the grandsons of her Canasta buddies before you’re willing to hook up with your homecoming date who still lives in his parents’ basement.

By the way, singles aren’t the only ones whose loneliness (or fear of it) drive them to harmful relationship behavior. There’s a strong correlation between being willing to stay in bad relationships and a fear of loneliness, and this holds extra true around the holidays. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said that if they were in a bad relationship, they would have to time a break up either before December or stick it out until after New Year’s Eve.

Other than the forced sense of happiness that reminds you of your own flailing relationships or sense of deathly loneliness, the holidays are also a time for over-indulgence. “We’re overspending. We’re overeating,” says Gooding, and, of course, “it’s time with a lot of drinking.”

So often this overindulgence is with coworkers, which is a toxic cocktail for office embarrassment, especially for dudes. Thirty percent of men surveyed say they would hook up with their boss at a holiday party, and 25 percent think the best time to reveal secret romantic feelings to a coworker is at a holiday party.

Of course, the correct response to these acts is hell no! When everyone’s getting drunk fast on a well-drinks-only two-hour open bar, do not attempt to realize your Jim and Pam fantasy.

And while singles are more willing to engage in risky business over the holidays, couples just get more paranoid. Forty-six percent say when they’re away from the people they’re dating over the holidays, they monitor them by checking their Facebook profiles. Many others stalk their Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles, the latter of which seems completely ineffective unless they’re sleeping with a headhunter.

But while our end-of-the-year antics may sour our relationships, reopen old romantic wounds, and ruin work relationships, people seem to always bounce back the following year. Not for nothing does Gooding report a 20 percent spike in membership come January.

This article originally appeared in The Week.

Erin A. Alexander, LPC Posted from WordPress for Android

About the Healthy Relationships Blog

This blog is a place where people can easily access information about how to have healthy relationships. The key to having healthy relationships on all levels, begins with knowing who you are and becoming a whole, healthy person yourself. I am a licensed professional counselor, whose theoretical orientation is primarily cognitive-behavioral, and solution-focused. I believe that a person must be willing to change his/her thought patterns, which will in turn facilitate changes in negative feelings and behaviors. This is important when one is working on “the self” and relationships. I hope that the articles that I write and the ones that I recommend from other professionals are useful tools on your self-discovery journey! I look forward to reading your posts.

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Erin A. Alexander, LPC Posted from WordPress for Android

Why I Appreciate Being Single, by Erin A. Alexander, LPC

IMG_0888Why do I value my own single lifestyle as much as I do? Well, this may sound strange, but in my profession, I do mostly couples and relationship counseling/coaching. When people ask me, “Are you married, or are you in a relationship?” I used to pause, and want to use the counseling cliché, “well, this isn’t about me, this is about you.” Now, I proudly say that I am happily single and that I have been married before. I have also had my share of various relationships.

So what do I mean when I say that I do the work that I do, and this work helps me to appreciate my single life more? What do I mean when I tell people that I am happily single? Am I truly happy?

First, let’s talk about what I do for a living. I am a psychotherapist. I primarily work with couples (straight, gay, lesbian, Christian, non-Christian, whatever), and I work with people who are dealing with other transitions in their lives, like divorce, grief/loss, career/education goals, break-ups, retirement, new relationships, etc.).  And since San Antonio is a military city, I do work a great deal with active duty military members who generally have a lot of transition going on in their lives. I love my work, and I believe that this is the career path that was chosen for me despite all of my efforts to do other things. I was initially on the pre-med path and changed my major to Psychology because I became fascinated with the study of human behavior; I later used my work in the criminal justice system as a presentence investigator and probation officer as a stepping stone to enhance my educational goals/internships; and I used my special education teaching certification to enhance my knowledge of behavior modification, which is crucial when one is a therapist.  I’ve worked with every population one can imagine, and that has prepared me for what I believe is my true calling…relationship counseling and coaching.

When people come to me about relationship issues, they generally come to me when the relationship is in crisis. For example, there has been the threat of a divorce, or break-up; or there has been a separation; or there has even been domestic violence.  I rarely have people come in at the beginning of a relationship for general guidance, and I rarely have people come in when they just want guidance on learning how to become a whole healthy person themselves.  Don’t get me wrong…it does happen, it’s just rare. And it is rather refreshing for people to be proactive rather than reactive.

Because I know all of the work/effort that is involved in maintaining a relationship (an intimate relationship), I know that an intimate relationship is not something that is right for me at this time. That does not mean that I’m not capable, it means that I am CHOOSING to be single and not engage in all of the things that are necessary to start/maintain what society deems an intimate relationship. I find fulfillment and happiness from all of the relationships that I have in my life…whatever they may be and on whatever level they exist. I am also happy being alone, but I do not feel lonely. I control who is in my life (or not), and to what degree. I am not concerned about “making anyone happy”, except myself because I already know that it is impossible to make someone else happy. I have already learned how stressful it is to try to please everyone else around me, so I don’t do that anymore. Everyone else is responsible for his/her own happiness. Learning that has been like a huge burden lifted from my shoulders, because I used to be a perfectionist, and I used to want to make sure everyone was “happy”.  Now, my philosophy is that the burden is now on their shoulders, not mine.

I know that all of this may sound cold and selfish to many people, and that’s OK. I am continuing to work on my own wholeness as a person, and I am enjoying the journey. I look at life’s challenges and see them as learning experiences. I appreciate and respect all of the various relationships that I do have in my life. I can honestly say that I am a happy person…I am happily single!

Choosing Singlehood Doesn’t Mean You are Lonely and Miserable, by Mary Jo Rapini

Life passages happen in order…usually. Kids grow up, go to school, graduate, go on to college or begin a job, find a partner, get married and have kids. These passages are dictated or expected by society. As society changes these passages may change, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Younger people are marrying later and later, and more and more are remaining single. If you’re a single woman or man over thirty, you may or may not want to marry, but one thing is for sure, you will be asked when you are going to marry. You will actually feel pressure to marry, especially if you are a woman.

 

I counsel many women who feel defeated, frustrated and judged due to their single status. Exploring their feelings further, it becomes apparent that it isn’t really their life they feel badly about, but the way others perceive them if they aren’t married. They can be the president of a corporation, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or an artist, but there is a nagging feeling in the back of their mind in regards to their not having a partner.

Experts agree that, especially for women, relationships are important. The key to happiness is not so much marriage, but rather the amount of significant relationships you have in your life. Men too are more and more affected by their relationships, especially after the age of thirty-five. Older men (over 40) tell me repeatedly that it is not the sex they crave, but the intimacy. You can maintain a single lifestyle and have healthy relationships and intimacy in your life.

Clients often ask what is it that causes others to judge their lifestyle as void of meaning just because they are single? This question is complicated because there are many reasons. Parents especially seem to experience a sense of relief when their children are married, because they believe their child will be taken care of and this affords them a sense of peace. Many older people look forward to grandchildren, and assume the next step that when their child is married they will have kids. Parents also may worry if their child is not able to be in a marriage or monogamous relationship with someone else, what it reflects about their own parenting skills.  Married friends want other friends to marry because it makes them more comfortable for going out, and enjoying one another during couple activities. There is nothing more threatening than inviting your single friend out with you and your spouse every weekend. Most of the reasons people pressure others to get married are self-serving, but single people being asked why they aren’t married or with someone don’t consider this. They instead judge and criticize themselves as to why they aren’t with someone.

If you opt for the single lifestyle, it is important that you fill your life with friends, relationships and interests or hobbies you love. Every happiness scale includes these three elements for happiness as well as several others. Below are ways you can choose singlehood and have a full, meaningful, and interesting life you love. Technology has changed the way we communicate, but the human heart continues to derive happiness the same as it always has. What we decide in our minds dictates how happy or unhappy our lives are whether single or with someone.

Your attitude and what you choose to believe is a key to living single. If you let others shame you or make you feel less than because you aren’t married, you will make a miserable single person. Build a life others envy instead of pity.

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

Live in the present as much as possible. Most single people are happiest when they leave their single status for the future to determine. Plan for your retirement as if you are going to remain single so you will have enough, but live very much in the present. Do each day what you value and love most. We are most attractive and content when we are happy.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed-door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

Give back and make someone else happy. Every happiness scale shows the importance of volunteer work. It helps people feel connected, needed and included. Being single, these feelings may be more difficult to make. Therefore, when you focus on helping or giving back to others you complete your need for relationships and inclusion.

Do something or act. Very often when people are asked what made them feel most alive or happy they responded that they took a risk, did something even if they regretted it, or had an adventure. When single people are asked what makes them feel like they are missing something they often say there is no one to do things with. If you are single you have to take adventures, and that can be scary. Join a travel group or singles group. Any group to get you out and do something will help you love your single life more.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”  Mark Twain

Be grateful. Your relationship status is never as important as your ability to be grateful for what you have. Others cannot resist grateful people. They find themselves wanting to give more, be more and live more. The single one ingredient for being happy single is to be grateful for your life.

No matter if you choose single or not, it will be forced upon you through life at some time. It may not happen until you are old, or it may happen unexpectedly, but it will happen. Knowing who you are, and what makes you happy and feeling good in your own skin, are keys to being happy.   You cannot be an effective partner for anyone until you are complete within yourself. Celebrate your singlehood; get to know yourself so when and if you join another, you will have two complete people instead of two halves. –Mary Jo Rapini

http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/23882552/2013/11/05/5-key-points-in-achieving-happiness

 

Psycho-educational Workshops, Erin A. Alexander, LPC

The primary focus of psycho-educational workshops are to educate about a psychological concept or topic. Psycho educational groups are in all kind of settings including businesses, hospitals, universities and governmental/social services agencies. I have participated in many types and conducted many types. They can be facilitated by mental health professionals, students, members of the community, experts on certain topics, or anyone.
My idea is to have more of them in local eating establishments, as I have already started doing.
Benefits?
  • people can order what they want and there is no cost to the person facilitating the group
  • the environment is casual, relaxed, non-clinical
  • this can help local businesses
  • this is a great way to network in the community
  • the workshops can be free of cost to those who attend
  • those doing internships can use these to count towards academic requirements (hours), just as they would at another location
  • the workshops can be 1-hour (breakfast time, lunch, or the dinner hour)
  • They are open to the public
  • the workshops are general and brief, focus on a single topic, not getting into anyone’s personal issues (not psychotherapy)
What are your thoughts on this?