Category: <span>Couples & Relationship Therapy</span>

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

I have been working with survivors of Domestic Violence since early 2009. The term Domestic violence includes physical violence and often stalking by an intimate partner, however, it is a term used to convey a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors used by one person over another to gain power and control. This may include verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Although it is commonly thought of as something that occurs more often to females, there are over 25% male victims in the US alone. Although Domestic Violence (now known as intimate partner violence) implicates physical violence, anyone working with this population will most definitely come across a variety of interrelated issues that cannot be separated from the abuse itself. These issues range anywhere from addiction, codependency, trauma, self esteem, suicidality, anxiety and depression, to financial, social and other mental health matters.

There are so many overt and covert complications that come with abuse it’s almost baffling, even to a counselor who is trained and experienced.

Working through the layers, impact and devastation of domestic abuse is a gradual process that requires skill, sensitivity, and often a lot of time, because survivors do not realize the gravity of the damage or abuse until they begin unfolding the story. Many survivors may normalize the relationship, particularly if that’s all they are familiar with.They may not have resources to leave or fear leaving, and those who do leave, may be out of the relationship physically (removed) but can still be trauma bonded or experiencing flashbacks and after effects long after the partner is gone.

The biggest challenge in counselling survivors of intimate partner Violence is allowing the client to guide you into understanding what their version of abuse means as it may be so radically different from your own. It’s important that each individual have the space to speak freely and openly about sensitive topics without feeling threatened or judged. Once a strong rapport is established, only then a counselor can begin to intervene and correct distorted thoughts or make appropriate referrals.

The unique challenge this subject broaches is the priority of ensuring the client’s safety first and most of all (crisis intervention). A careful assessment of the individual’s physical safety takes priority in this case to ensure the well being of person/people involved, including any children and minors that may be residing in the household. That being said, sometimes these cases progress differently than other counseling cases in that services such as case management, housing, safety plans, and crisis intervention may be required as a preliminary service to the therapeutic process. Because each case is so unique, therapists working with intimate partner violence need to be adept in the scope of issues that may accompany this topic to recognize red flags and safety issues, and it’s imperative to have resources available to collaborate with.

During my early career, I managed a grant for domestic violence housing and worked for a non profit organization called No More Tears which provides shelter and respite for survivors. I served as an expert witness in court for individuals who faced deportation and other challenges as a result of domestic violence. I have been witness to countless stories of rape, sexual assault, human trafficking and inhumane brutality. The problem is there is no comprehensive data that fully details the different ways that individuals experience domestic violence. What I have learned is that this is a global phenomenon, and the depth and scope is so wide in nature. There are so many factors that contribute to abuse that include cultural differences, gender roles, power and control, self worth, transgenerational abuse and family history. The search for causes and solutions to end domestic violence remains a phenomenon worth fighting for.

By Taly Kadoch, LMHC

Taly Kadoch, LMHC, Lotus Counseling

I am dedicated to helping people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, shame or addiction as well as trauma and issues surrounding sex and sexuality. I also work with process disorders such as narcissistic abuse, co-dependency and recently, I have been doing a lot of work with shoplifting as these are highly underserved communities and specific treatment for these issues are rarely available or even recognized.

Premarital and Couples Counseling for LGBTQ Clients

Who do we counsel?

Lotus Counseling Center offers an array of services for a vastly diverse group of clientele, including relationship counseling for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and couples. Our team of highly skilled, competently trained mental health counselors, marriage therapists, and psychologists are exceptionally adept at treating many members from the LGBTQ community. Our practice has collective experience in conducting therapy with couples of various sexual orientations and gender identifications. As a Lotus Counseling Center client, you can rest assured that our mental health professionals will conduct identity affirmative therapy that is sensitive to your unique relationship needs.

 

How is therapy useful?

With the recent Supreme Court decision ruling in favor of same sex marriage, more LGBTQ couples may find themselves headed towards committed partnerships. Before embarking on this momentous life change, why not take the time to solidify your relationship through counseling? Counseling for LGBTQ individuals and couples at Lotus Counseling Center can benefit your partnership by addressing concerns that are unique to your relationship as well as those particular issues that are unique to the LGBTQ community. Some of the areas we can help you and your partner work on together may include:

• Reproduction, adoption, and parenting
• Sexual satisfaction
• Gender role expectations
• Inclusion in the LGBTQ community
• Acceptance by family and society
• Communication and intimacy
• HIV/AIDS
• Monogamy and polyamory
• Financial pressures
• Minority stress factors

If you do the work necessary to strengthen your relationship now, your partnership can reap many positive, long-lasting results throughout the future! Call Lotus Counseling today to learn more about the identity-affirmative mental health services we offer LGBTQ couples and how our supportive counseling approach can improve your partnership by enabling you to deftly navigate relationship challenges.

What’s Your Relationship Attachment Style?

Relationship attachment style, refers to how you relate to others, particularly to people you are in an intimate relationship with such as a partner, sibling, parent or close friend. We learn attachment as young children through the dynamics of our relationships with primary caregivers. Under the best circumstances, attachment teaches us how to manage and balance our competing needs for autonomy and dependence.
Learning about your relationship attachment style as an adult is useful because attachment influences your emotions and reactions to many life events including loss, abandonment, betrayal, intimacy, friendship, coupling, parenting, and separation. Ultimately, relationship attachment styles learned at a young age wield hefty influence over the health of adult relationships.To find out more about your attachment style, you can click here to complete the quiz.

Secure Attachment: Individuals who utilize a Secure Attachment style most likely had caregivers who provided them with a secure base as they were growing up. Caregivers encouraged them to explore the world while representing a safe place to return to where children could have their needs met such as being fed, cleaned, and given affection and support. As adults, these individuals are able to achieve stable and fulfilling relationships with others based on their ability to successfully balance autonomy with maintaining connection and closeness. They are generally comfortable with intimacy, communicate their feelings, and have little trouble asking for or providing support.

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment: Those who have learned an Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment style likely had inconsistent caregiving as children. Caregivers may have sometimes provided their child with a sense of warmth, love, and security but failed to do so at other times. Children who grow up with this dynamic never feel that the world is a safe place to navigate alone and tend to cling to others in adult relationships. Fear of abandonment and the possibility that they are unlovable are pervasive concerns for Anxious-Preoccupied individuals and they may invest a substantial amount of their time and energy into keeping their partner close by trying to limit her or his autonomy. Any indication of their partner’s independence from the relationship may be perceived as rejection, thus confirming the Anxious-Preoccupied person’s worst fears about their own potential to be loved and cared for. These individuals may seek out co-dependent or dependent relationships.

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: As with Anxious-Preoccupied individuals, Fearful-Avoidant individuals have learned attachment strategies in reaction to inconsistent caregiving. Fearful-Avoidant people, however, learn to both crave closeness and fear it. Also known as Insecure-Ambivalent attachment, this style is characterized by conflicted views and anxiety surrounding connection with others. On one hand, these individuals very deeply desire to have a secure, intimate relationship but they have also learned through years of recapitulating dynamics that depending on others can leave them feeling hurt and disappointed. Fearful-Avoidant individuals have not learned any organized strategy for maintaining intimate relationships and may try to bottle up their emotions, even positive ones, to avoid intimacy. They may be prone to changeable moods or explosive bouts of emotional caused by their ambivalence about wanting to express their feelings but also avoiding closeness. The relationships of Fearful-Avoidant individuals are often tumultuous, dramatic ones characterized by exaggerated highs and lows.

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment: This attachment style is often the result of caregiving characterized by abuse or neglect. Early life experiences may have taught the Dismissive-Avoidant person that total autonomy is the “safest” way to navigate the world because dependence on others is dangerous. As adults, these individuals tend to emotionally distance themselves in relationships and look inward for all of their needs. In relationships they are able to willfully close themselves off and detach quickly from others. They may also choose to socially isolate and avoid situations wherein they would need to depend on others.

You may identify with one or more of these attachment styles. While attachment style learned at a young age tends to carry into adulthood, styles are also characterized by flexibility and adaptation across relationships and over time. Gaining insight into your own attachment style is an important first step to improving your relationships because this enables you to identify what you need to change in order to maintain more stable and fulfilling relationships. Individuals can work towards developing a secure attachment style by challenging themselves to use better strategies in relationships, remaining self-aware, and by seeking out relationships with individuals capable of secure attachment.

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