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Relationship Help and How to Become Intimate Again

Over time, relationships can change, and a lack of affection may cause intimacy issues. There are ways to rekindle the intimacy that was once there. Intimacy is a profound closeness with another person that can be restored.

Getting back on track with your partner starts with the willingness to want to rebuild and rekindle the intimacy that has faded over time. Being open-minded and willing to listen to what your partner’s needs are, creates that bridge that connects you.

General Relationship Help

Communication is a critical factor in strengthening the bond between two people. This factor, along with empathy and understanding, as well as compassion, are must-haves for a strong foundation of the relationship itself.

Often, without knowing it, we bring expectations to relationships without expressing them to our partner. We end up expecting what we previously had the chance to learn, and we then make assumptions based on our relationship history.

Listening to your partner, not only with an open mind but also with empathy will reinforce the feeling that you care enough to take their thoughts and feelings seriously. Instead of focusing on how their words are affecting you, change your focus to them and their emotions, which will create a welcome atmosphere to help your relationship strengthen.

Intimacy fades for many reasons, but to rebuild it, besides communication, empathy, understanding, and compassion that we give to our partner, we must also work on not holding on to grudges and playing the “blame game” which only drives intimacy farther away from us.

Couple embracing at sunset

Talk Therapy and Sessions for Affection Issues

A very healthy way to help with all these components is through talk therapy and sessions with a therapist that can help couples connect the dots easier than if they were to try and do this on their own. Having a third-party professional assisting your relationship in a safe and supportive environment can help strengthen communication and emotional bonds.

Finding help for relationship intimacy issues can be done by utilizing qualified methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. With these powerful tools, intimacy issues can be worked through by addressing recurring patterns of behavior.

CBT works with the conscious part of the mind, and NLP works with the unconscious part, so utilizing both forms of therapy together helps create a balanced and complete treatment. While CBT focuses on the issues in the present, NLP helps to change the underlying patterns so the problems do not reappear. Both CBT and NLP believe our thoughts influence our emotions and behavior, so working directly with our innermost thoughts can help our behavioral affection issues.

Lack of affection in relationships may occur if a person doesn’t want to show love out of fear of rejection. This fear might stem from a particular memory as far back as childhood. Working through those fears by talking in therapy sessions will help alleviate and put those fears to rest, which further helps the relationship for both partners involved.

On the other hand, there are also those that don’t respond well to receiving affection which may stem from previous life experiences around rejection, or from deeper issues around childhood trauma, so being loved may trigger memories of painful childhood experiences.

Affection issues arise from a multitude of causes, and one of the key ways to work through these issues is to seek help, either with your primary care physician or with your therapist. A therapist can help your relationship, its ups and downs, and provide guidance, and tools, for both you and your partner to thrive.

Approaching Deeper Intimacy Issues Including PE

When approaching deeper intimacy issues, including premature ejaculation (PE), having a trained professional on hand, is imperative. As with all potentially medical issues, we strongly advise you to consult with your primary care physician in conjunction with your therapy sessions to help uncover any underlying health causes. Discussing deeper feelings and getting PE treatment involves dealing with potential anxiety issues as anxiety is a common feature of PE.

Anxiety creates a more excitable nervous system, thus making PE more prone to occur. A therapist will help shed light on the core causes of the anxiety that is causing the PE to occur. These core issues in the relationship can be addressed and resolved, which will lead to a freer and healthier sexual experience for both partners to enjoy.

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we offer a variety of solutions to help relationships repair and rekindle the intimacy that was once there. Take the first step and reignite the flame that has diminished over time. Let us help give you the tools needed to transform your relationship, and deepen your emotional bond by booking an appointment today!

Mom and son having fun blowing rainbow bubbles

Divorce Counseling for Kids & Family Counseling After Divorce

Going through a divorce can be devastating for both parents and their children. Divorce means the end of a relationship and the beginning of a new life, which can be scary for many people to deal with, and strong feelings can occur that may lead to anger and irrational behavior. It’s normal to seek counseling for your family and your kids individually during and after divorce.

Divorce counseling helps teach coping skills that couples need when working toward making a new life on their own. Counseling provides a safe place to share thoughts and feelings, which is imperative when making a life-changing transition more manageable and less emotionally draining.

Divorce counseling helps the couple uncover the cause of any anger and resentment. Counseling is done in a neutral environment so the couple can freely express themselves in non-threatening exchanges.

Transitioning from married life to single life can be difficult for both parties, but especially for their kids. Having family counseling will help all family members during and after divorce.

Family Counseling During a Divorce

A divorce takes an emotional toll on all parties including children who may feel they need to choose a parent to side with or be loyal to, and other feelings can include confusion, guilt, anger, pain, and loss. Children may also blame themselves for the divorce, causing them to react in anger or retreat into their rooms.

It can be difficult for kids to share their feelings with their parents, so getting divorce counseling for kids can help children develop tools to express their thoughts and feelings openly and in a safe and supportive environment.

During a divorce, both parents may find themselves arguing over finances, custody, and living situations. When parents argue, it can hinder children’s adjustment, so counseling is critical in creating a peaceful co-parenting situation.

Family Counseling After a Divorce

Research has shown that the first two years after a divorce are the most rocky for the majority of families, which is why divorce counseling for kids is vital for their emotional wellbeing. Once the divorce is final, children spend time with their parents separately and may lose that daily interaction they once had with both parents. This decreased contact affects the bond between parent and child, which can be rebuilt during family counseling.

Engaging in family counseling creates that unity for the kids that they once had and helps to maintain an emotional connection together as one family unit. Since family counseling is done in a safe and supportive environment, kids can then feel at ease and are more apt to open up about their innermost thoughts and feelings.

Family Counseling Components

Family counseling consists of therapy sessions that allow the broken emotional connections to be restored so that amicable communication can take place. Co-parenting counseling provides both parents the tools to peacefully coexist by looking forward rather than backward so they can address issues involving their children.

Other forms of psychotherapeutic techniques that may be utilized in divorce counseling for kids include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. These highly effective non-invasive techniques can be monumental in helping all parties deal with emotional issues such as divorce.

CBT works with the conscious part of the mind, and NLP works with the unconscious part. Both CBT and NLP are based on thoughts influencing our emotions and behaviors. The difference is that CBT helps to make sense of the issues experienced in the present moment, and NLP helps to change the underlying patterns, so the problems do not reappear.

NLP also helps to regulate emotions, control impulses, and improve relationships with others. NLP relates thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior which were learned through prior experience that created a specific outcome. NLP produces fast and lasting results.

CBT helps show how to replace the habitual patterns that do not work well with techniques that do work, which gives family members a feeling of having more control over their lives.

Behavioral therapies such as CBT and NLP give each partner a set of tools to assist them in managing the relationship moving forward. By thinking differently, our thoughts are no longer exaggerated, distorted or unrealistic, and a more positive approach can be achieved.

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we offer a variety of therapies, including divorce counseling for kids. Our therapies can be utilized together to further assist in mending emotional scars that can occur during and after divorce.

By integrating treatments such as CBT, NLP, and Hypnotherapy, you will receive a complete form of emotional and mental support in a safe and supportive environment. Take that first step in making a positive change for you and your family by contacting us today.

Woman sitting relaxed by the ocean meditating

Find Peace Instead of Panic: 5 Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

Anxiety is stress dialed up to 100, and it is a condition that everyone faces — when it seems impossible to shake off that stress and anxiety, it may be time to consider reaching out to a professional for help, and finding practices that help soothe your mind. Coping with stress can be done with a few relaxation tips that will leave you feeling at peace instead of filled with panic.

There are various breathing exercises along with mindfulness meditation that are powerful relaxation techniques for anxiety relief. But first, we need to understand how the breathing process works and how it affects our bodies.

How the Quality of Your Breath Affects Your Central Nervous System

Breathing is vital for life, and it has a powerful influence over the functions in our body. Breathing in a specific way can be a calming technique for the body, but can also contribute to elevated stress levels, some of which may or may not be beneficial.

Our nervous system consists of two opposing systems, the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

Parasympathetic. This is the heart rate modifier and is the “brake” which slows down our system through the Vagus nerve. The PSNS is triggered when we exhale, especially when we breathe out through our mouths.

When you exhale, blood goes back to your body from the lungs. Your heart rate slows down as the PSNS “brake” kicks in and calms the system down. This is why sighing feels so good.

Sympathetic: This is the “gas” which revs up our system and is triggered with each inhale. Have you ever found when you do cardio exercise, that you tend to want to gasp in air through your mouth? When you inhale, blood is taken from your heart and put into your lungs which takes it away from the rest of your body. “Gasping” or inhaling rapidly through your mouth is your body’s stress response manifesting.

The heart compensates by increasing in rate to pump more blood to the rest of the body. This triggers a stress response in the body. While not always bad, the shortened breath encountered during an episode of anxiety is largely caused by this process.

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we strive to offer you the tools to find balance between both of these natural states. Here are a few breathing and relaxation techniques for anxiety that can help achieve this calmer state of mind.

Technique #1: Easy Counted Breath

This exercise is a powerful calming technique for the body that allows the heart rate to slow because the emphasis is on the exhale instead of the inhale.

  1. Inhale from the nose for a count of four.
  2. Exhale from the nose for a count of six. See if you can relax your jaw and notice any tensing in your abdominal muscles. If there are, soften that effort.
  3. Repeat six times before returning to your normal, everyday breath.

After a week or two of practicing this breath, try to increase the increments, without strain.

Technique #2: The 3-Part Breath

This breath moves your breath from the belly, through the diaphragm, and into the upper chest, gently and incrementally, to help you find ease and increase your capacity for deeper breathing.

Part 1

  • Start by either lying on your back, or you can be seated in a comfortable cross-legged position.
  • Relax your face and body. Notice the state of your thoughts, and see if you can focus a little more on the quality of your normal breath
  • On the inhalation, fill the belly area like a balloon.
  • On the exhalation, see if you can expel all of the air from your lungs slowly, noticing how your navel and core muscles draw inward in this process.
  • Repeat five times.

Part 2

  • In this part, you will add a little more air by including the rib cage area as well as the belly area.
  • On the inhalation, fill the belly and then include a little more air expanding into the rib cage area.
  • On the exhalation, let the air leave the rib cage area followed by the belly area last.
  • Repeat five times.

Part 3

  • In this part, you will add a little more air by including the upper chest area.
  • On the inhalation, fill the belly, then the rib cage, and finally the upper chest to the collarbone which will cause the area around the heart to expand and rise.
  • On the exhalation, let the air leave the upper chest, then the rib cage and finally the belly.
  • Repeat ten times.

This type of breathing is a great relaxation technique for anxiety and can be done anywhere.

Technique #3: Mindfulness Meditation

When it comes to relaxation techniques for the body, mindfulness meditation is high on the list. This form of meditation encourages focused breathing while keeping your attention in the present moment.

  • Find a comfortable position, either lying down or seated.
  • Begin doing any breathing type exercise including those mentioned above.
  • Staying mindful is merely observing the breath without trying to change it which will keep you aware of the present moment.
  • If your attention starts to wander, bring it back to the breath itself.
  • Different thoughts, including anxious and nervous ones, can occur. This is normal! Notice them for what they are, take a feel-good sigh, and see if you can refocus.
  • This process helps you to learn how to notice what causes your anxiety to rise before it escalates and can help you get closer to finding balance.

These types of breathing exercises are other calming techniques for anxiety that can be done at home or work and will help ease daily stressors.

When practicing any breathing technique to soothe or manage your anxiety, it is always a good idea to work with a professional to guide you. Therapy that can be utilized to help navigate your anxiety, using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a modality based around that our thoughts create our behaviors, and if we change our thoughts, we can change the outcome of our actions. Each thought creates a feeling, and that feeling then creates our emotional response through our behavior. Working with our therapists in this way teaches you a personalized coping plan so you can understand and work with your individual stressors.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Neuro-Linguistic Programming works the actions of our mind that are previously learned behaviors and helps us build new patterns of thought that are healthier. These new behaviors can be learned to help the patient develop new patterns of thought and provide tools to work with negative thought patterns moving forward.

If you or a loved one needs help finding a little more ease in life, consider reaching out to our primary practitioner, Anna Marchenko (LMHC, M.A. Ed.M) to take the first step toward feeling better. For more information on relaxation techniques for anxiety, contact us today.

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What Is Holotropic Breathwork?

Breathing: The Gateway to the Unconscious Mind

Therapists are continuously looking for new and effective ways to help their clients recover from trauma while minimizing the amount of emotional pain experienced in the process. One tool that has been reviewed in literature as a possible approach in counseling and therapy is holotropic breathing.

What is the goal of holotropic breathwork? The idea of using altered breathing patterns or breathwork in therapy can allow the clients to tap into parts of the brain and central nervous system that are usually inaccessible. In fact, altered breathing (such as that experienced during sleep cycles) can even change the speed of our brain waves!

Sleep States and Psycho-Emotional Healing

What is holotropic breathwork’s relationship to sleep and healing? Consider this example: Have you ever felt anxious, upset, or indecisive about something in the evening and then woken up with a new sense of clarity in the morning? This may have to do with altered states of consciousness and processes that take place in our neurons during sleep.

A mouse study out of John Hopkins University explored the behavior of synapses (connections) in the brain during sleep in a group of mice. What they found was that during sleep, around 80% of the synapses in the brains of the normal mouse group shrunk during sleep, with the strongest synapses remaining unchanged. This study suggested that the altered brain-wave activity (and state of consciousness) during sleep helps us to integrate new experiences and forget information and memories that we no longer need.

Sleep States and Altered Breathing

What is the relevance of holotropic breathwork to this sleep study? In the context of psycho-emotional therapy, using an altered, dream-like state during therapy sessions could help clients integrate and heal from traumatic experiences more easily.

Dr. Stanislav Grof and Holotropic Breathwork™

One of the researchers who explored this possibility in depth is the Czech psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof. In the 1960s, Dr. Grof set about studying the potential for trauma healing during trances induced by the psychedelic substance LSD. However, wanting to find a safer way to achieve a trance-like state without the negative side-effects, he started using altered breathing patterns (known as breathwork) to induce these trance-like states instead. Eventually, Dr. Grof, together with his wife Christina, developed what is known as Holotropic Breathwork™.

The word holotropic comes from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “trepein” (moving in the direction of something). Put together, we can understand “Holotropic” as meaning “moving toward wholeness.”

What Is the Process Used in Holotropic Breathwork?

In a holotropic breathwork session, a group of participants close their eyes, lie down, and alternate a series of quick breaths with a series of long breaths for periods of time between one to three hours while listening to evocative, rhythmic music.

What is the Goal of Holotropic Breathwork According to Grof?

According to Dr. Grof, holotropic breathwork enables the participant to access unconscious experiences that include their conception, gestation, and birth. By experiencing the perinatal period more fully, the subject is said to be able to experience a birth-death-rebirth experience and achieve inner transformation faster as a result. Due to the focus on reliving these early experiences, holotropic breathwork is also known in some circles as “rebirthing” and “transformational breathing.”

What Is the Benefit of Holotropic Breathwork?

Professional opinions on holotropic breathwork are still somewhat divided. However, research indicates that it could have benefits for reducing death anxiety and increased self-esteem. The practice may also reduce avoidance behaviors that prevent people from facing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and overcoming trauma.

What Is the Safety of Holotropic Breathwork?

The primary concerns about holotropic breathwork relate mainly to its similarity to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation occurs when the amount of C02 in the blood drops too low due to rapid and uneven breathing and the person can begin to feel sick.

While holotropic breathing does alter the levels of C02 and oxygen in the bloodstream, it does not seem to present the same dangers as hyperventilation or hyperventilation syndrome—as long as the breather keeps their inhales and exhales even.

What is the suitability of holotropic breathwork for people with asthma? Clients with asthma or another respiratory condition should only attempt holotropic breathwork under the supervision of a trained practitioner. Those with heart or retina problems are advised not to attempt this kind of breathing. Please consult with your primary care physician before introducing breathwork therapy into your lifestyle if you have a history of respiratory issues.

Discover the Benefits of Holotropic Breathwork at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy

If holotropic breathwork sounds like a tool that could help you experience a personal breakthrough, our primary practitioner Anna Marchenko can guide you through the process in a safe and professional setting.

Anna is a professional counselor and Holotropic Breathwork™ practitioner with experience helping clients through clinical hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Contact us to book a consultation today.

A little girl in a garden blowing the fluff off a dandelion

On Managing Trauma & PTSD With Age Regression Therapy

Traumatic experiences can happen to any of us, and they affect each person differently. In particular, traumatic events in which severe physical harm or death was imminent or occurred can trigger feelings of stress and panic that last for weeks, months, even years afterward.

When the aftershocks of the trauma continue to cause distress, pain, and anxiety for more than one month following the incident, the phenomenon is referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD symptoms can include flashbacks, disturbed sleep, panic attacks, and emotional numbness, as well as strong feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, and even guilt.

What Is Regression in Psychology?

Age regression therapy is an approach that aims to change the way that the painful or traumatic memories are recalled. Under the guidance of a professional therapist, the client is placed into a state of hypnosis and is taken back mentally to the age at which the trauma occurred so that they can change their perception around the events that transpired and experience healing.

The Aim of Age Regression Therapy

What is the purpose of regression in psychology? The goal of revisiting earlier ages and time periods in the client’s life is to uncover the root thoughts and feelings that are causing dysfunction in the client’s life now.

The way these earlier stages are experienced and the level of emotional intensity felt by the client depend on the level of hypnosis used in the age regression therapy session:

  • Light Level or “Revivification”

The client is placed into a state of light hypnosis that is somewhat similar to relaxation or meditation. While in this relaxed state, the client uses their memory to recall events from the past and may find that they remember more details than they would have in a state of full consciousness. While they remember the past, the client is still aware of their adult life and the fact that they are in an age regression therapy situation.

  • Medium Level or “Pseudo-Regression”

While in a very relaxed state of consciousness, the client is taken back to a younger age and relives events from that time as if they were viewing a videotape of themselves. The experience can be more intense at this level with the client remembering details like the tastes and smells that accompanied the event. However, as in the light level, they are still aware of their life after that age and are in full control of their “pseudo-regression” experience.

  • Deep Level or Complete “Age Regression”

What is complete regression in psychology? The deepest level of age regression therapy is much more physical and emotional than the other two levels. In a complete age regression, the client is able to dissociate completely with the therapy situation and all of their adult life after the age to which they are regressing. They experience the event again as if it were actually happening, along with the accompanying movements and emotions. Only some clients are capable of this level of dissociation.

This level of age regression therapy can be the most confronting for the client but is also the most powerful for being able to reframe the event and transform the way the memory is recalled.

Criticisms of Age Regression Therapy

What is the risk of regression in psychology? There are two main dangers in the practice of age regression therapy. One of these is the accidental introduction of false memories by the therapist while the client is in a hypnotized state or trance. The other risk is that emotional harm can be caused when the client is forced to regress to childlike behaviors that are too confronting for them.

In both cases, problems in age regression therapy can be avoided by choosing a professional, qualified therapist who is highly skilled and sensitive to each client’s needs.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A black woman in an orange dress, sitting in a window box and looking pensive

In cases of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), age regression therapy is not the only way to help the client manage their symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be used to help the client increase their resilience and gain a new perspective.

What is CBT, compared to regression in psychology? As a solution-focused approach, CBT aims to identify dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to modify them so that the client can experience and respond to events in their life in a healthier way.

In the case of PTSD, there are three main strategies used in CBT for helping the client with their past trauma:

  • Exposure Therapy

In contrast to age regression therapy, this strategy involves being exposed to the past event in a safe and controlled way through writing, mental imagery, or visiting the place where the incident took place. The therapist can observe the client’s beliefs and feelings in connection with the event and help the client to modify those that are causing them distress.

  • Cognitive Restructuring

With cognitive restructuring, the therapist helps the client to gain more perspective about a past event and make sense of the client’s experience. In contrast to age regression therapy, this technique is used while in a state of full awareness. For example, many clients feel guilt and shame about aspects of the incident that were not under their control. Cognitive restructuring can help to relieve the client of these unnecessary feelings of responsibility.

  • Stress Inoculation Training

Through step-by-step exercises, the therapist teaches the client to feel less anxious in the face of stressful situations. This strategy can also help the client to view their experiences more positively and feel more empowered and in control. After all, what is regression in psychology or CBT for if not to put the client back in control of their thoughts, emotions, and life?

Face the Past Safely at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy

If you would like to face past trauma and find relief from post-traumatic stress disorder with cognitive behavioral therapy or age regression therapy, it is essential to choose a qualified and experienced therapist to help you. Anna Marchenko—the primary practitioner at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy—is a board-licensed hypnotist and counselor. As a highly trained therapist, Anna has a number of research-based therapy tools that can help you to make a breakthrough in a shorter period of time.

Take the first step by calling us to book an appointment. With the right help, a new outlook on life really is possible!

Picture of healthy fruit with heart cut outs

How to Change Your Relationship with Food Mindfully

Food and our relationship to it shapes how we live our daily lives. Sometimes, it’s easy, and we look forward to meals, can balance our diet, and use food to support a balanced lifestyle. Sometimes, we disconnect, form habits around food that may or may not be healthy, and turn to food as a treatment for deeper underlying issues. This disconnect is a mind-body disconnect and a lack of mindfulness. The severity of the latter can be what leads or has lead to eating disorders.

When you or a loved one are struggling with eating disorders and you’re wondering how to change your relationship with food, read on here to understand more about yourself and your eating habits. Remember to reach out to your primary care provider and/or primary psychologist if you feel that you or your loved one is at risk.

Our Entanglements with Food

For many, food is used for so much more than just refueling. You may be approaching it for solace, celebration, obligation, or a number of other reasons. Even your mood can affect what and when you eat. In fact, depending on the day, how much you eat varies drastically. You could be overeating, undereating, or simply eating unwisely because of all these external factors. How to change your relationship with food starts with understanding your food triggers.

Observe Your Hunger & When You Feel Hungry

Notice when you feel hungry. Whether you’re eating because the clock says so or you’re suppressing your appetite because you’re too busy, it’s time to be more mindful of what your body is telling you. Take your daily situations out of the equation and pay attention to when you’re actually feeling hunger. Consider starting a journal to note the fluctuations of your mood and how that may relate to when you feel the need to eat when it’s not a mealtime.

Habits Around Cravings & Comfort Food

For most of us, fast food and junk have made their insidious ways into our diet, ensuring we crave them many times a week. It’s called “comfort food” for a reason! In an attempt to avoid these, many people turn to dieting. While diets will tell you what to eat, they’re often restrictive, and it’s easy to fall into a cycle of eating too much or too little

So, how do we change your relationship with food? It’s time to step out of this pattern and reconnect with your body.

When you release yourself from judgement and guilt, you have a chance to actually taste the food you’re eating. And while yes, ice cream tastes really good, you may realize that you actually enjoy nourishing choices like fruits, vegetables, and even quinoa.

Food as Reward and Punishment

Relationship with Food Mindfully
It’s not a surprise that many adults use food as the carrot or the stick in their daily lives. Food has long been a well-known reward system or a punishment system, either as sweets for dinner or a reprimand for not eating all your food as part of the “clean plate club.” Is it possible to change such a deep seated association? We think so. If you really want to learn how to change your relationship with food, this is crucial.

It’s Time to Get Help

If you’re struggling with your approach to food, we are here for you. At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we have years of experience working with those who suffer from eating disorders or anxiety and depression associated with food. Reach out today to learn how we can help. Take the first steps to transform your mind and mind-body connection!

woman at sunset by the beach

5 Tips for Creating Good Life Habits

Creating Healthy Habits

If you examine your daily habits, it’s probably obvious that you have some good ones and some bad ones. These habits develop through repetition and personal reinforcement, so changing any of them requires the same repetition to make them stick. While it’s good that you have healthy habits, there are probably a few that you want to change or add to your life to develop a healthy lifestyle routine. Ready to learn about creating good habits and clearing the not-so-good? Read on today for top tips and advice from the experts at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy.

Identifying Your Current Habits

The first step for creating healthy habits is identifying the ones you already have. You might want to keep a journal that tracks and monitors behavior that you’re proud of as well as behavior you might want to change. Tracking will help you understand why these patterns developed and help you spot deeper issues.

Many people want to exercise or sleep more, but they’re convinced they don’t have enough time. If you spend some time tracking your daily activity, it could help you identify places where your time is being sucked — perhaps on social media or other distractions? Do you want to stop biting your nails? Figuring out when exactly you do it could point to triggers that you can avoid.

Setting Goals for Creating Good Habits

A healthy lifestyle routine doesn’t just happen; you have to work at it like everything else. Set yourself some basic goals to help you slowly transform the habits you want to change. Your goals should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time sensitive. If they don’t meet all these criteria, you might lose motivation or feel overwhelmed trying to keep your goals.

Your goal might be to lose weight. How much weight do you want to lose? How do you plan to accomplish that? Perhaps set yourself a small goal — like losing five pounds — and then focus on how you’re going to develop good habits to make it happen. Maybe you swap out your daily sugary snack for fruit. Perhaps you add a 30 minute walk into your morning routine. Keep track of everything as you plan it out to help ensure you’re staying on track.

Creating a Strategy

Person writing down goals list at desk

After establishing which habit you want to change or add to your daily routine, you’ll need a plan to help you find all the resources and motivation you need to meet your goals. From free classes in your area to fitness groups and support meetings, do some research to stock up on the tools and people you want to help you make it happen.

Building Your Cheer Team

Once you’ve started involving others in reaching your goals, you suddenly also have the benefit of creating a support team to cheer you on when you accomplish a goal, keep you going when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and keep you accountable throughout every up and down. Creating good habits doesn’t have to happen alone. Whether you go to a therapist or to regular meetups with your workout group, there’s no reason to go solo.

Keeping Yourself Accountable

Support group hands in circle

You’ve started creating good habits, but every now and again, you let yourself slide or give yourself a free pass. We understand! Creating change in your life takes time. While sometimes you need a break, habits are dependant on repetition. Get right back up, and try again.

Keep yourself accountable by reporting obstacles and backsliding to your support system, or discussing why they might be happening with a CBT counselor. Perhaps you’ve overcome the initial reason behind your bad habit, but something new has developed that you have to face.

Miami Hypnosis & Therapy Can Help

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we’re all about creating good habits for healthy lifestyle routines that work for you. We offer life coaching, therapy for depression, anxiety, help with eating disorders, and even in improving athletic performance. We offer a number of flexible therapy options that put your needs first. Reach out to us today and discover how we can tailor a treatment plan specifically for you.

Man and woman standing by the sea holding hands at sunset

Benefits of Couples Counseling 101 and What to Expect

Couples counseling is remarkably beneficial to a relationship not only as a last ditch effort to save the relationship but also as a way to prevent a potential complete dissolution. By having couples counseling at the first sign of any damaging patterns can help prevent things from progressing to the point of no return.

Many couples are afraid to go to counseling because they are unsure of what happens or they may feel uncomfortable having a third party involved in their intimate lives. However, the knowledge gained in couples counseling brings wisdom and insight, thus resulting in a more stable and loving relationship in the end!

Benefits of Couples Counseling

  1. Helps Couples Understand Their Feelings. Having a third set of eyes and ears can help couples get in contact with their personal feelings regarding their partner and the relationship itself.
  2. Helps Dissolve Roadblocks. Every couple has disagreements and having a safe and controlled environment to air grievances can help prevent things from escalating and spiraling out of control.
  3. Helps to Deepen Intimacy and Communication. At the beginning stages of a relationship things are new and fun making it exciting for both partners but as time progresses things get into a routine, and the spark they initially felt goes away. By making a set “date” to attend couples counseling will benefit both partners as attention will now be given to the “relationship” itself.
  4. Helps Promote Self Awareness and Personal Growth. Even though your relationship is the main focus during your counseling session, how you interact with your partner may correlate with how you interact with your friends, coworkers, your family, and even yourself. You may find individual counseling sessions equally helpful in this process.
  5. Learn How to Resolve Conflicts in a Healthy Way – In couples counseling, you will learn how to effectively listen to your spouse as well as learn how to communicate better with each other.
  6. Learn How to Process and Work Through Unresolved Issues. Having a safe environment allows the freedom of expressing any unhappy thoughts felt as well as finding out if your spouse or partner is even willing to do the work necessary to make your relationship stronger.
  7. Learn More About Yourself and Your Spouse or Partner. Couples counseling benefits both parties together and as individuals to find out who each of you is deep down and if you should be together or not.

What to Expect from Couples Counseling

Couples counseling helps couples recognize and resolve conflicts within their relationship. The counseling sessions are provided by licensed therapists who have graduate or postgraduate degrees and typically includes both partners, but sometimes one partner will choose to work individually with the therapist.

The only preparation required is to find a therapist that makes you feel at ease, and during your session, you can expect a few benefits of couples counseling to include:

  • Problem Solving Skills
  • How to Communicate Openly
  • How to Discuss Differences Rationally

A few things to keep in mind when choosing a therapist include:

  • You might have homework. There may be exercises your therapist gives to help improve communication at home and in your daily life together, using a combination of neuro-linguistic programming techniques learned in your sessions and other tools to help shift your habits and behaviors.
  • It may be difficult to discuss specific problems openly. Some issues can be more challenging than others to talk about so there may be times when there is complete silence. There may also be times when there is yelling but consider the therapist as your personal “referee” who is there to help you and your partner deal with any emotions that surface during your session.
  • You can attend therapy alone. It is more beneficial to have both parties attend couples counseling as the name implies but you can benefit from an individual session by learning more about your reactions and behaviors.
  • Couples counseling is often short-term. Some couples need more time than others, but for the most part, counseling for couples tends to be short-term in duration.

Signs it Might be Time for Couples Counseling

  • You keep having the same fight
  • You’re unhappy with your sex life
  • A significant life change has occurred
  • Your partner wants to go to couples counseling
  • You want to better your relationship

Relationships have ups and downs, and sometimes taking that first step and admitting you and your partner need counseling is the hardest thing to do, but thankfully there is a safety net you can feel secure in at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy.

Our principal practitioner is Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. who founded Miami Hypnosis & Therapy after attending graduate school at Columbia University, NY and worked in the mental health field in both New York City as well as Miami. Anna’s philosophy is to empower people to change and improve their lives.

The benefits of couples counseling start with you, so get started on transforming your relationship and book your appointment today!

Serious couple lying down considering relationship counseling

Unhappy Relationship Signs: 5 Reasons Why Relationships Break Down

Relationships can break down over time, but there is hope! Knowing what signs to look for allows you to be prepared and rectify situations before the complete dissolution occurs.

  1. Communication Breakdown. When communication starts breaking down, and what you say (or don’t say) to your partner is being misinterpreted, this is one of the red flags that there are deeper issues in the relationship. Two examples of this kind of communication disconnection include:

    • Misinterpreting Messages – Without a clear understanding of what is being said, misinterpreting can occur which will ultimately lead to arguments.

    • Refusing to Listen or Assuming – This usually happens when the person listening does not like what they are hearing and decides to tune their partner out or make assumptions as to what is being said.

    A breakdown of communication is a critical sign of an unhappy relationship and can be indicative of unresolved issues and suppressed emotions from childhood that manifest themselves through actions and behaviors toward their spouse or partner.

  2. Breakdown of Intimacy. Intimacy is not just physical, it is also emotional, and when one or both partners feel a lack of either, this can potentially cause conflict sooner than later.

    • Physical Intimacy – The physical aspect of intimacy is the driving force in a relationship and does not necessarily require emotional intimacy, but without it, it can feel like a betrayal.

    • Emotional Intimacy – The emotional component grows and deepens between two people in a relationship, and a healthy love relationship cannot exist without emotional intimacy.

    A healthy relationship requires both physical and emotional intimacy, which both contribute to creating a harmonious, balanced connection. Not having a balanced connection in this way is a big factor in contributing to the breakdown of a relationship or marriage.

  3. Breakdown of Trust. Another critical sign of an unhappy relationship is when a relationship loses the foundation on which all relationships are built: trust. It is because of trust in our relationships that we feel safe in them, comforted, and bonded. A breakdown of trust can occur due to many factors including:

    • Infidelity
      1. Physical/Sexual
      2. Emotional
    • Jealousy
    • Lack of Reliability or Dependability
    • Lack of Mutually Supportive Goals
    • Lack of Financial Compatibility

    Trust issues need to be addressed; if not, they will manifest and keep resurfacing causing the relationship or marriage to be at risk.

  4. Breakdown of Finances. When money issues develop it can trigger some of our deepest psychological needs and fears including:

    • Security
    • Power
    • Control
    • Survival
    • Trust

    The longer a couple has been in a relationship, the higher the chances are of having financial issues arise which is yet another pivotal sign of an unhappy relationship.

  5. Breakdown Due to Growing Apart. Relationships go through ups and downs with time and growing apart can happen due to many reasons such as:

    • Change in Life Obligations: Work, school, having children, empty nest syndrome
    • Lack of Commitment
    • Lack of Compatibility
    • Different Expectations: Expectations are resentments in disguise, after all!

Early Warning Signs

  • Not having sex as often or it isn’t what it used to be
  • Not participating in activities together as much as before
  • Having recurring arguments over the same issues without any resolution
  • One partner spends more time on activities or interests that are outside the relationship.
  • One or both feel dissatisfied and unhappy

When a relationship grows apart, solidifying it back together can be a challenge, especially if it has been brewing for a while. Thankfully, there is hope for this and all the other signs of an unhappy relationship at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy where relationship difficulties can be resolved in a safe and supportive environment. We can also help you and your partner identify potential issues individually that may be contributing to upsets in your shared, daily life.

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal practitioner who completed her undergraduate degree at NYU as well as holding dual Masters degrees from Columbia University. Anna is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist who also did Post-graduate work at the International Institute for Interpersonal Hypnotherapy.

Knowing when to consider relationship counseling starts with the desire to take that first step in rekindling your relationship by deepening emotional bonds, addressing recurring negative patterns of behavior, and revitalizing the passion you once had. Take the first step today, together, and make an appointment for that positive relationship transformation you seek.

Man and woman on swing above the sea kissing

How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Mindful Co-Living

Cohabitating can be a delightful arrangement but if we are not mindful we can end up creating a not so compatible situation. Arguments can arise due to daily stressors that we bring home with us, but there are ways to work around them.

Mindfulness starts with being present in this moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future and paying attention without judgment. Being mindful has health benefits and can help make us healthier, happier and less stressed which will bring a calmer atmosphere to your living situation.

How to Strengthen Your Relationship at Home Mindfully

  1. Communicate Mindfully. When sharing thoughts the communication process should be mindful which means the communication should show sensitivity as well as being open to multiple points of view and be more open-minded to new viewpoints on various issues.

  2. Listen Mindfully. When our partners feel as though we are not paying attention to what they are saying, it can create resentments that lead to arguments. Mindful listening is a key skill to learn when considering how to live together. If you find your mind wandering which can happen quickly, here are a few tips to get back on the listening track, see if you can notice your wandering thoughts and try to refocus on the words your partner is saying.

  3. Take a Breath. We need to take care of ourselves before confronting issues with our partner. In this way, how you strengthen your relationship can start as simply as watching how your breath shortens right before a potential argument.

    Everyone argues at some point in time, and instead of escalating the argument, sometimes if you stop and take a breath you can help calm down and clear your mind. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold the breath for five seconds. Slowly release the breath out of your mouth. Consider other tools on mitigating anxiety, as well.

  4. Seek Couples Counseling. One of the best places to spend quality time together to help strengthen your relationship is couples counseling where both partners learn bonding techniques to help with better communication, learn how to resolve conflicts and challenges productively as well as resolving unwanted patterns of behavior.
  5. Change Negative Habits and Patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy and neuro-linguistic programming can help both partners work through what the mind may be blocking so that both partners can have the clear pathway needed to start feeling better together.

When people ask how to strengthen their relationship, creating a space where both people can thrive in should include being able to be productive, creative and relax with your partner in that space. Many relationship building activities utilize mindfulness which can help strengthen and unite one another, and the following is just one example.

  • Five Senses Exercise. Take your partner on a walk and explore nature together. While you are walking together, you will both utilize your five senses along the way.

    • See – Pick five things you see and challenge yourselves by picking out objects you wouldn’t usually pick such as a shadow or even a rock.

    • Feel – Pick four things you can touch and feel. Explore the texture and rigidity of the object.

    • Hear – Pick three things you can hear which could include birds chirping and leaves rustling.

    • Smell – Pick two things you can smell. Aromas of fresh cut grass or food cooking would be examples.

    • Taste – Pick one thing you can taste. Depending on where you are walking, it could include the air itself or a sip of water.

This exercise will bring you to a mindful state together and will also utilize communication and listening to help you further understand how to strengthen your relationship.

Learning how to live together can be a relationship strengthening process in and of itself, and at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, Anna Marchenko (LMHC, M.A., Ed.M.) works with you to create tailor-made sessions to address all of your concerns.

In addition to Anna’s exceptional knowledge, her hypnosis certification is from the only program in Florida certified by the Department of Education, so take that first step and learn how to strengthen your relationship at home and discover transformation today!

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