Relationships

FIGHT THE NEW DRUG SALE!!!

Fight the New Drug is a group of “passionate and innovative problem-solvers who want to make a difference in the world… [their] mission is to raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography…using only science, facts, and personal accounts”.
 
For anyone who has struggled with porn/sex addiction or has been effected by a loved one’s addiction, then you know first hand the devastating impact of it. Compulsive/addictive pornography use truly robs an individual and their partners of one of life’s most beautiful experiences…honest, genuine, and faithful love.
 
Join other fighters around the world and share the message that “Porn Kills Love”. Fight the New Drug is offering 15% off everything in their store through today!!! Use the code: 15FIGHTERGEAR. FIGHT THE NEW DRUG
 
Also, if you are struggling with porn and/or sex addiction, many have found sexual sobriety through therapy as well as support through the following group:  
 
If you are the loved one/partner of someone struggling with porn and/or sex addiction, I would be happy to connect with you and discuss how I can support you along your recovery journey. In addition, you too can find healing through the following support group:
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HIGHER POWER

During a session last week, a client and I began exploring her previous relationship with a HigherPower/God and how she lost that connection. As we talked about how she drifted from this source of support, she shared all the ways in which life had increasingly become more difficult to navigate, emotions seemed insurmountable, unhealthy dynamics in her marriage intensified, and she felt so alone.  However, we started to talk about the benefit of this type of relationship and the love and support that is waiting for her. She discussed her beliefs and desire to reconnect and ways to recultivate this relationship that was once a larger part of her life.

The very next session I asked her how her past week had been and she said, “I’ve been thanking you almost everyday” as she was so grateful I had initiated the conversation about her spiritual beliefs. What happened next was so incredible and heart warming to witness…her face lit up as she shared that she has been more intentional about staying in communication with her Higher Power and started to experience peace, clarity, and a greater ability to acknowledge and work through core triggers.

This is just a small reminder of the power of believing in something bigger than ourselves and the beauty of knowing we are not alone…EVER. There is something greater working for us and through us if we can get out of our own way.

There is no need to try and will your way through difficulties, there is always support available if you look up, reach out to a friend or family member, listen to your own intuition, are working with professionals, etc. Your Higher Power is ready and willing to give you what you need when you need it, if you can believe you are worth receiving it.

CURRENT GROUP: Healing Co-Dependent & Destructive Relationship Patterns

I’m currently facilitating a women’s group through Julieann Myers’ Center for Healthy Change in Del Mar. This group provides support for women struggling with codependent and destructive relationships patterns who want to learn how to better take care of themselves and foster healthy connections with others.  The women I’ve had the honor of working with are wonderful and it is incredible to witness their ability to challenge themselves and support one another through the process.  This particular group runs for 12 weeks and is limited to 6 women to help create a greater sense of safety and intimacy.  Below is a more in depth description for the group and subsequent details:

     Do you find yourself in relationships where your primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, confidante, or enabler of someone else’s dysfunction? Do you place a lower priority on your needs while being preoccupied with the needs of others? Are your most important relationships more about meeting other’s needs before meeting your own? Join Dr. Mary Spease, relationship therapist, to learn how to change co-dependent/enmeshed relationship patterns into interdependent/healthy relationships where you can get your needs met too!

     Learn how to take care of your own needs and develop a healthier relationship with yourself and other important people in your life. This small group format allows women to share and learn in a supportive, safe environment. Space is limited to six women. The group will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. in Del Mar.  

     Cost per group is 75.00 for individuals committing to a three month participation period up-front. For those electing to attend on a month to month basis, cost is $90.00 per session.  If you’re interested in joining, please feel free to contact me at Mary@CenterForHealthyChange.com or call 760-634-1704.

Dr. Mary Spease Women’s Group: Healing Co-Dependent & Destructive Relationship Patterns

Full Interview for PsychCentral Article on Couples and Stonewalling

Last year, I was interviewed by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., an Associate Editor at PsychCentral in order to help provide information for her article on couples and stonewalling.  In my previous post, I shared the link to the published article in which you can see quotes from our interview.  However, I thought I’d share the full interview for those that might be interested in a deeper look at my thoughts about stonewalling, how it impacts relationships, and what to do when it occurs.

 

1) How do you define stonewalling?
Stonewalling is when an individual emotionally and/or physically withdrawals from an interaction with their partner due to feeling psychologically or physiologically overwhelmed (i.e. hurt, angry, frustrated, self-protective, etc.).

2) What are examples of stonewalling?
Rather than staying connected with their partner and addressing any personal or couple issues that are present, someone who is stonewalling may remain unresponsive to any attempts made by their partner or therapist to reengage. They emotionally shut down and resist         discussing triggering emotions or topics as they struggle to tolerate discomfort. In addition, they may physically turn away, cease eye contact, cross their arms, or even leave the room. Typically, stonewalling can be described as an uncomfortable and hurtful silence.

​3) ​Why is stonewalling so damaging to relationships?
​The person who chooses to stonewall is no longer participating in self-reflection and subsequently personal growth. By doing so, they are no longer contributing to the health and well-being of their relationship as they have become a hindrance to moving forward. In addition, the partner that wishes to remain engaged and continue working on their dynamic may often become angry, frustrated, and resentful as their efforts are ignored. The partner may begin to feel disrespected, undervalued, and even begin to question if this is the type of behavior they are willing to tolerate in a loved one.

4) ​How can people stop stonewalling (in themselves)?
​Self-soothe. It is extremely valuable for anyone to continually practice self-soothing as we are the only ones that have control over our emotional state and behaviors. Often times, couples will look to one another to fix or soothe their emotions and make the situation better. However, it is our responsibility to do our own emotional work and behave with integrity in all our affairs. Therefore, if someone wants to have a deeper, more intimate relationship, they need to behave in ways that honor that desire. This means soothing your heart long enough to be honest and clear with yourself (as well as your partner) about what is coming up for you. You need to settle yourself so you can be be responsive, not reactive.

​5) ​How might readers prevent their partners from stonewalling (for instance, they might communicate more ​ ​compassionately or not yell or lose their temper, etc)?
​It is not your responsibility to prevent your partner from stonewalling nor do you have that ability. Although speaking to your loved one more compassionately may be the kind thing to do and make you feel good about your behavior, your partner has the choice to respond in any way he/she chooses. To believe that you have the power to make your partner behave in particular manner if you simply express something the ‘right way’ is dangerous. It can result in taking on more responsibility than is yours for the well-being of your relationship and can often leave you feeling angry or not good enough when they choose to shut down despite your loving approach. What you can do is take care of yourself. When you recognize that your partner is stonewalling, you can choose to loving detach and not enable or perpetuate an unhealthy dynamic. When you persist in getting your partner to engage when they are clearly don’t want to, you are teaching them that it is okay to behave in such a manner as you will tolerate it and try enough for the both of you.​ There is no motivation for them to change or do their emotional work when you are doing it for them. However, ​when a partner is in a healthy emotional state, they typically do not tolerate the intolerable ​. Therefore, detaching and setting a clear boundary sends the message that although they have a right to behave as they please, they cannot do so while in connection with you. By removing yourself from the situation, your partner is left with no-one to focus on (or blame) but themselves.

​6) ​Anything else you’d like readers to know about stonewalling? ​
Learning to self-sooth, detach, or set healthy boundaries can be challenging. Therefore, individual ​therapy ​in conjunction with couples ​work can be helpful in providing ​ the necessary​ ​awareness, insight, ​ ​and ​tools to help foster more adaptive ways of both expressing self and responding to your partner.

PsychCentral Article: “Stonewalling in Couples: When You or Your Partner Shuts Down”

Back in August of 2014, I along with my dear friend and colleague Dr. Heather Gaedt, were invited by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. to contribute to an article she was writing on stonewalling in couples.  She asked us a variety of questions including how we define stonewalling, what it looks like in our couples work, how it can impact relationships, and healthy ways to cope when it occurs.

After much anticipation, the article was published towards the end of last year and I was deeply honored to see my name  throughout the piece.

It is such an honor to be a part of an experience like this and I hope that this article provides some insight and helpful to tools to those who read it!

Stonewalling in Couples: When You or Your Partner Shuts Down

 

NEW GROUP FORMING: Healing Co-Dependent & Destructive Relationship Patterns

I am happy to announce that I am facilitating a NEW GROUP through Julieann Myers’ Center for Healthy Change in Del Mar. Given my passion for working with loved ones of addicts/alcoholics, we’ve created a broader group to provide support for women struggling with codependent and destructive relationships patterns. Below is a description for the group and subsequent details. Please feel free to contact me to register:

 

Do you find yourself in relationships where your primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, confidante, or enabler of someone else’s dysfunction? Do you place a lower priority on your needs while being preoccupied with the needs of others? Are your most important relationships more about meeting other’s needs before meeting your own? Join Dr. Mary Spease, relationship therapist, to learn how to change co-dependent/enmeshed relationship patterns into interdependent/healthy relationships where you can get your needs met too!

Learn how to take care of your own needs and develop a healthier relationship with yourself and other important people in your life. This small group format allows women to share and learn in a supportive, safe environment. Space is limited to six women. The group will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. in Del Mar.

Cost per group is 75.00 for individuals committing to a three month participation period up-front. For those electing to attend on a month to month basis, cost is $90.00 per session. Contact us at 760-634-1704 to schedule, or email Mary@CenterForHealthyChange.com

Dr. Mary Spease, New Group: Healing Co-Dependent & Destructive Relationship Patterns

Independent Contractor for Julieann Myers’ Center for Healthy Change:

Julieann and I have known one another for some time now and I have always admired and respected her, not only as a therapist but as a person. Throughout the past year, we have been exploring ways to work together and collaborate in our passion for helping others.

Recently, I have joined her lovely practice (Center for Healthy Change) as an independent contractor. I feel so blessed to be a part of the team as they have all be so welcoming! I’m looking forward to supporting her practice and serving new clients!

If you would like to know more about Center for Healthy Change and/or what services I will be providing, please feel free to view our website:

Center for Healthy Change

PsychCentral: Article on Couples

Submitted a piece today to PsychCentral along with Dr. Heather GaedtDr. Georgina Smith to contribute to an article about couples! Feeling grateful for this collaboration and excited to see the published article in September!!!

PsychCentral

Currently writing an article about couples for PsychCentral with Dr. Heather Gaedt! Stayed tuned to find out when it’s published on their site!!!

So You Love an Alcoholic

Alcoholism is a family disease meaning it not only effects the person who drinks, but also those they are in relationships with. Alcoholism does not discriminate, therefore, whether you are a co-worker, friend, significant other, or family member, you too may be effected. Yet those that are the closest to the alcoholic are usually the most deeply impacted as we find ourselves preoccupied by their emotions and behavior.

We may or may not be consciously aware of how we have been effected, yet often times we wind up reacting to their drinking and the behaviors that come along with it. We may feel anxious or angry when they drink, we might personalize things they say or do while intoxicated, we might began to avoid social gatherings due to fear of what the alcoholic might do, or we may try to control or stop the drinking.

However, regarding alcoholism, it is important to remember that we did NOT cause it, we CAN’T control it, and we CAN’T cure it. It is not our responsibility to fix, save, or rescue the alcoholic from their own emotional experiences, behaviors, or consequences. It is a fruitless effort that will often leave us feeling emotionally drained, helpless, hopeless, and inept. And often, our efforts to help actually perpetuate undesired behaviors as we shield the alcoholic from suffering the very consequences that may motivate them to change.

What we CAN do, is focus on what is within our control (ourselves) and learn how to best take care of our own well-being. Therapy and Al-Anon can be wonderful tools in which to learn how to focus on and honor our emotions and behavior, identify our role in the relationship, and see our ourselves and our circumstances more clearly. As a result, we can begin to explore various ways to approach our loved one and our situation in a more adaptive manner.

We CAN also learn how to love the alcoholic without necessarily loving their behavior. We do so by developing the ability to separate the person from the disease. As a result, we are then able to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful things we love about them as well as how to detach, disengage, or let go of what we don’t feel comfortable with. We don’t have to try and fix everything we don’t like about the alcoholic, we simply need to adjust how we respond to it.

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