Category: <span>Individual Treatment</span>

Friendship day: 4 friends and vista

International Friendship Day: Maintaining Healthy Relationships

International Friendship Day:

Maintaining Healthy Friendships


At Lotus Counseling Center we understand the importance and effects of  maintaining healthy relationships.

When I was asked to write about International Friendship Day, the first thing that crossed my mind was to reach out to my childhood friends and ask them what friendship meant to them. The most common response was that friends are much more than family members. We can’t choose our family, but we can indeed choose our friends. Healthy relationships are sealed with a strong, invisible bond that keeps you close to a person regardless of the physical distance. Good friends give honest advice when needed and rejoice and celebrate our achievements, as they make our emotional burdens more bearable. Being part of a group of friends increases our sense of belonging, providing us emotional support and safety, as we cope with life setbacks and painful experiences. Quality time with friends reduces stress and increases overall happiness, impacting our physical and emotional health in many ways. But as we grow older life can get in our way. Oftentimes adult responsibilities can easily take over our lives, inadvertently neglecting our social circle as a consequence. For example, what happens when we are forced to move to other places and leave old friends behind?


Although exciting, I think most of us agree that moving to a new city can be extremely stressful. Picturing oneself at a new empty space, surrounded by boxes, dealing with change of address maybe in a different language, disconnecting and reconnecting services as we comply with family and professional responsibilities can be an overwhelming and emotionally draining process. Even if we patiently assume this challenge as a natural transition, it can still be extremely disruptive, especially if we have to face all this by ourselves. Developing a healthy social network in your new city could smooth down your process, facilitating your adaptation to a new life and help in maintaining healthy friendships.


As a start you could reach out to old acquaintances or family members. They could help you connect with people in your new city that would serve as a guide to clarify doubts and give you tips about your area. It is imperative that you face this process with a flexible and open mindset, accepting spontaneous invitations whenever they are extended to you. Cultivate your hobbies by joining the community center, gym or sport league in your area. The responsible use of social media platforms is also a good idea. Just make sure you assist the group events and not just hide yourself behind the screen! Use some time off to walk around your neighborhood and talk to neighbors. Extend invitations to colleagues, coworkers, or potential new friends to grab something to eat, go to the movies, or visit a cultural event. More is not necessarily better in this case… favor quality over quantity! Just a few real good friends can go a long way. Be persistent and do not give up! It is clear that nurturing old friendships as well as making new ones takes a lot of time and effort, nevertheless this will undoubtedly be the best investment you could make for your mental health and overall happiness!


If you’re interested in therapy, what constitutes as/and maintaining healthy friendships/relationships, or have issues with building intimacy, relationship issues or require counseling for conflict resolution, we are here to help. Reach out and schedule an assessment or meet our team of clinical psychologists, clinical social workers and therapists. We look forward to hearing from you. Read more on our blog!

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 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.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Emotional Regulation, by Leslee Gillette, LMHC

Leslee Gillette, LMHC, a Lotus Counseling psychotherapist, shares her blog on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Emotional Regulation:

Life is full of unpredictable ups and downs. Sometimes these experiences can be manageable but what happens if you feel out of control and unable to self-soothe, finding it difficult or impossible to return to your baseline. Emotion Regulation skills and other DBT skills can help you find your way back.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy was originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder however; research is showing that DBT can be used to effectively treat a wide range of behavioral and emotional problems including depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD and substance abuse. Whether you are struggling with intense, negative emotions, difficulty in relationships or impulsive behavior, DBT skills can help you learn how to self-soothe, manage your emotions in an adaptive and effective way, and learn how to get your needs met in your relationships. I have found DBT skills easy to teach and easy to learn as long as you are willing to consider new ways of approaching situations. I can help you create a life worth living, which encompasses decreasing problematic behaviors, while simultaneously accepting yourself and life circumstances in the present moment.



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