8 Reasons to Go to Counseling

 
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There are many reasons people seek out counseling. Some use counseling to process relationship issues or to heal after a painful divorce or breakup. Some start counseling when they’re experiencing anxiety that’s interfering with their job or challenging relationships. Many people go when their self-esteem is low and they wish to get to a more confident place, while others turn to counseling when they are stressed and overwhelmed or are working through grief after a significant loss.

Struggles and rough patches in life are inevitable, and there are times where seeking the help of a licensed counselor can help you through a difficult time. We’ve talked about some of the life events that lead people to seek help, but how do you know it’s time to make a counseling appointment?

Here are a few reasons you might seek counseling.

1) You feel stuck

Oh, that dreaded stuck feeling! When you feel stuck, it can feel hopeless... like no matter what you try, it will never change, and things will never get better. Or there may be times you’re “stuck” and know what you need to do, but you’re having a hard time motivating yourself or staying accountable.

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2) You feel disconnected from others around you

Humans are social creatures that are hardwired to be in relationship with others, which is why isolation and feeling disconnected can take a toll on our overall wellbeing. This might also show up as a lack of interest in hanging with friends or no longer enjoying the activities you typically like.

3) You’ve been talking a problem in circles with your family and friends

The support of close family and friends is a huge benefit, and it’s important to have a support system you can lean on when you need it. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a neutral party, like a skilled counselor, help you through the difficult times of life.

4) People in your life like to tell you what you should do

We love a good support system! But sometimes it can be difficult for our loved ones to watch us struggle through a rough patch. People have a natural inclination to show they care by minimizing pain and trying to fix it or make it better. While full of good intentions, this unsolicited advice can be unhelpful to our own process.

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5) It feels like you’re not measuring up

In the world of Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, social comparison is hard to avoid, and it can be easy to slip into an unhealthy pattern. Counseling is a good place to process what this brings up for you to help you keep a healthy mindset to get you where you want to be.

6) Your self-talk is critical and negative

Take a minute to check in with the voice in your head. What are you saying to yourself? How does this voice sound? Oftentimes our internal critics can be much harder on us than we would ever be on someone else. Sometimes working with a counselor to explore and change your negative and critical self-talk is the first step towards growth.

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7) You’re experiencing unexplained physical symptoms like headaches, stomach problems, or sleep difficulties

More and more, we’re understanding the connection between our emotions and our bodies. Emotional stress can manifest in a number of ways, and sometimes this can include physical ailments. When something doesn’t feel right in your body, and you’ve ruled out a medical condition, it might be time to check in on your emotional stress levels.

8) You’re self-medicating with alcohol or drugs

When times get tough, we might notice an increase in substance use. If you’re turning to drugs or alcohol to numb emotional pain or issues, counseling can help you find healthier ways to cope.


What are some of the reasons you’ve found yourself in counseling?


 

Creating Your 2018 Holiday Vision

 
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The holiday season has officially begun! It seems like most people experience the month of December as a wild and crazy marathon of events, sometimes full of stress or anxiety. Many people are wrapping up their year at work, making appearances at holiday parties, and traveling near and far to visit friends or family. We do our best to navigate this busy time, but it’s easy to get lost in the hustle bustle! Oftentimes, we end up feeling burnt out and like we didn’t get what we wanted or needed from the holidays.

With another week of celebration ahead of us, there’s still time! It can be helpful to take some time to think about what the holiday season means to you and what you wish to treasure and value about this time of year.

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Decide on the values that support your vision for the holidays

A value is something that feels personally important to the way you live and work. We’re able to choose our values by exploring what makes us happy and helps us feel satisfied with our life. When what we do is well matched with our values, we’re typically content.

So what are your holiday values? It’s different for everyone, but it’s helpful to get clear on what they are for you. Below is a list of common values to get you thinking. Check them out and decide which are most important to you.

Celebration

Charity

Commitment

Connection

Hope

Hospitality

Enjoyment

Faith

Family

Friendship

Fun

Gratitude

Generosity

Joy

Love

Loyalty

Legacy

Play

Purpose

Tradition

Togetherness

Sacrifice

Service

Serenity

Thoughtfulness

Reflection

Relaxation

Responsibility

Ritual

Worship

Can you narrow it down to three main values?

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What words would you use to describe your ideal holiday?

Now that you’ve narrowed down your values, come up with some descriptive feeling words that help convey what you hope to feel rather than what you want to do. For example, I want to feel relaxed, festive, present, warm, accepted, recharged, and purposeful. What are the things you look forward to around the holidays? When you think of them, how do they make you feel?

Write these words down.

Decide on the feelings you want to experience, and work to find them.

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Examine your “wants” and “shoulds,” a.k.a. desires and obligations

The holidays are a balancing act of financial strain, family expectations, and the pressure to keep it all together. In and effort to please and keep the peace, many people manage this by overplanning and cramming it all in.

Take a moment to make two lists. On the desires list, write down of all the things you want to do. On the obligations list, write down all the things you feel you should do. For example, the amount of presents you should gift, the types of meals you should cook, or who you should spend New Year’s Eve with.

Examine what you came up with. How does each thing match up with your values? How does this list compare to the words you wrote down about how you want to feel?

When you’re planning your holiday, remember the values and feelings you wrote down. Unmet expectations can lead to huge let downs and disappointment, causing undue stress during the holiday season. You have the opportunity to start the conversation with your friends and family, to find out what they want out of the holidays, and to create your own holiday vision!


-Cat


 

6 Reasons to Give Couples Counseling a Try

 
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1) You want to set your relationship or marriage up for success

Couples counseling isn’t just for married couples. You can go to couples counseling to help improve your relationship at any stage. In fact, it’s a great way to potentially prevent future problems. Whether you’re in a dating relationship, you’re engaged and want to participate in premarital counseling, or you’re in the early stages of your marriage, couples counseling can help set your relationship up for success.

2) You need help communicating calmly

All couples have conflict. It’s normal, natural, and it can be functional. The idea is not to have zero conflict at all, but it’s about communicating through conflict in a way that you can each be heard and hear one another. Couples counselors will be able to help you identify areas where you’re getting stuck, potentially leading to escalation, and offer you tools for working through conflict differently to de-escalate and have more productive conversations.

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3) Your sex life could use a boost

Sex is an important part of any romantic relationship. When there’s a disconnect in the bedroom, it may result in one or both partners feeling dissatisfied or even cause conflict. Going to couples counseling for sexual issues can help you each move from a place of disconnection, anxiety, and/or hurt to a place of healing, connection, and intimacy.

4) You have frequent arguments about the same topic

Finding yourselves in a place where you argue about the same things over and over again can be exhausting and frustrating. Having these arguments about the same problems typically means you need to create a dialogue with one another and eventually come to a compromise that honors each of your needs. There may be a deeper meaning behind each person’s position on the issue that needs to be explored.

5) You’re aren’t connecting with your partner day-to-day

Over time, you may feel that you’re growing apart or have a lack of meaningful connection. Couples counseling can help you explore the reasons behind this. You’ll be able to identify and discuss needs that are important to each of you, meanings behind certain gestures, and explore ways of implementing regular practices to help strengthen your friendship and connection.

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6) You’re having trouble understanding one another

Learning to see one another’s perspectives when there’s a disagreement is a huge component of couples counseling. Working to understand one another can be difficult, so it can be helpful to have some guidelines or outside perspective to help you communicate this understanding and offer empathy and validation to one another.


Feeling like your relationship could use a little TLC? Contact our couples counselors here or request an appointment here.


 

Nervous About Starting Individual Counseling? Here’s What to Expect

 
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So you’re thinking about starting individual counseling...

If you’ve never experienced a counseling session before, you might be a bit apprehensive.

Oftentimes, the uncertainty of going to counseling is more about the fear of the unknown and not knowing what to expect than anything else. When you’re more familiar with the process of counseling, it  can help alleviate some of the pre-session anxiety and help you feel more comfortable during the first few sessions. Your experience will differ depending on the counselor or the practice you choose, but here are a few things you can expect from a first counseling session.

Once you’ve found a counselor you want to work with, it can be a good idea to prepare for the experience. On our website, we’ve included a specific page to help our clients know what to expect, from how to go about scheduling an appointment to what to do when you arrive for the first counseling session. Check out your counselor’s website to see if they provide this information. If they don’t, you can always call and ask.

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There can be a lot of nerves involved with finding your counselor’s office, arriving on time, and waiting for your first session to begin. When you arrive, give yourself some time to settle in to the space and take some deep breaths. Some counseling offices have a receptionists who will guide you through the process, but many counselors simply share an office and waiting area with other providers. If there is no one there to check in with, take a seat and make yourself comfortable. Many waiting rooms will have refreshments like coffee, tea, or water so you can help yourself. Sit back and relax! Your counselor will meet you when it’s time for your appointment.

Client paperwork can vary, and each counselor has their own way of doing things, but one thing you can be sure of is for your counselor to review their informed consent document. This document informs you of your counselor’s credentials, how they approach the counseling process, limits to confidentiality, and other important info your counselor might want you to know. Take the time to read over this document and note any questions you might have. You’ll review it verbally at the start of your first session and will have a chance to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

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After reviewing informed consent and taking care of any other housekeeping items, it’s time to dive in. The purpose of the first counseling session is really about making sure it’s the right fit for you and to get to know one another. The counselor will typically lead by asking you questions about your life, who you are, and what you like. You’re building a new relationship with your counselor, and it’ll take some time to get to know one another. Your counselor will likely also want to talk about why you’re seeking counseling and what you hope to gain from the experience.

You may have some fear about feeling overcome with emotion or crying. Try not to worry too much about this, your counselor is comfortable with tears and wants to create a safe place to express any painful emotions you’re experiencing. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it can be a release to let out a build-up of emotions. Your counselor is there to help you learn to navigate and become more comfortable with vulnerability.

Don’t forget, you can always reach out to your counselor beforehand to ask any questions you may have. Each counseling practice is different and has it’s own way of doing things, but we want you to know that it’s not as scary as it may seem.


 

3 Ways to Invest in Your Relationship This October

 
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It’s fall, y’all! The changing weather forces us to slow down and spend a little more time inside. Fall is a time for family, a time for friends, and also a time to reflect. To reflect on ourselves and on the state of our relationships. Though couples counseling is a great way to invest in your partnership, it isn’t the only way. Instead, you may choose to schedule a routine date night to keep your friendship strong, or you could attend an event meant for couples, like our Creating Connection Couples Retreat.

Investing in your relationship is about evaluating what you need and making these relationship needs a priority. How are things with you and your partner? Are you feeling connected and on the same page? Are you paying enough attention to your relationship to keep it sound?

Slowing down during the fall provides a great opportunity to refocus and increase your connection with your partner. Here are 3 ways you can invest in your relationship this October.

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1) Plan for the holidays

Now is a good time to pre-plan for the holidays. This time of year can be a fun time with friends and family, but it can also be pretty stressful. Take some time to sit down with your partner and discuss the logistics of what you’ll be doing for each holiday. It’s important to show your partner you care by prioritizing time spent with your own side of the family as well as your partner’s side. Discuss whose family you’ll spend time with, when you’ll be going, and agree to be a support system for one another. Sometimes our families can really stress us out! You may choose to put your plans on a shared calendar that each of you has access to so there won’t be any confusion. Planning ahead of time can save you a lot of headache as you get closer to the holidays by allowing you to prepare as a couple, coordinate with each of your families ahead of time, and prevent you from having last minute arguments about your plans.

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2) Celebrate Halloween together

Halloween… a wonderful time to let loose and dress up! One of my favorite things about halloween is coordinating costumes with my partner. For us, planning and shopping for all the pieces of our costumes is almost as much fun as dressing up. Need some couples costume ideas? Check out our Halloween Couples Costumes board on Pinterest. Some ideas are super cheesy, and some are really clever. Even cheesy can be fun though. Make it a family affair and include the kids too! Of course, you don’t have to actually coordinate your costumes to have a good time together. But it’s so much more fun when you have others to participate in the festivities with you.

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3) Attend a couples retreat together

One way to directly invest in your relationship is to go to a workshop or retreat specifically created to strengthen your bond as a couple. Couples retreats are a great way to reconnect with one another on a deeper level and explore the dynamics of your relationship. Our retreat, coming up on October 20th, is a time for you to learn about research-based practices to keep your relationship strong through the ups and downs of your lives together. It’s also a fun alternative to traditional premarital counseling. Join us for Creating Connection Couples Retreat to explore ways of nurturing your friendship, how to meet one another’s needs, improving communication and emotional understanding, and creating a shared vision for the future of your relationship. The couples retreat is set in the Texas Hill Country and is a great space to unplug and get away for the day.


Whatever you do, the point is to show your relationship some love. Make time for your partner and their family, do something fun together, and be an active participant in your life together. Nurture your relationship. Be silly together. Stay connected.

What are some of your favorite ways to spend time with your partner this season?


-Hannah


 

How Acupuncture Can Help Your Mental Health | with TK Largey

 

As mental health counselors, we’re always looking for effective methods to integrate mind-body wellness and supplement talk therapy. Acupuncture is one avenue we’ve found to be effective for many of our therapy clients struggling with depression, anxiety, and more. Meet our go-to Austin acupuncturist, TK Largey, of Teak Acupuncture.

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.

Hi! I’m an acupuncturist working in South Austin who specializes in working with anxiety, stress, trauma, and mood disorders.  

What are your passions and hobbies?

I am a giant young adult fiction fan! I can remember sitting in the young adult section of a bookstore when I was about fourteen, looking over at the adult book section, and panicking a little that I was going to have to stop reading YA books when I got a few years older. Then I just decided that I was going to keep reading YA literature no matter how old I got, and I have! I do read other things too, of course, but there’s something about that vulnerable and transformative time in a person's life that captivates and inspires me.

I think that’s the same thing that draws me to working with clients who are struggling with physical and emotional trauma. There’s such an amazing opportunity for growth and transformation at those junctures in our lives, and I’m always honored to accompany people as they go through that process of transformation and watch as a trauma, or pain, or fear, or sadness, or whatever becomes a springboard for change, growth, and a new beginning. That just never gets old.

Tell us about your journey as an acupuncturist.

I suffered from severe anxiety as a teen and young adult. At times in my life it really affected my ability to leave my home, interact with others, and have meaningful relationships. After trying just about everything else, I tried acupuncture. The relief I got was so dramatic and life-changing  that I decided to become an acupuncturist. I was living in Boston at the time and moved back to Austin, where I had attended UT. I enrolled at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, TX. Six weeks after graduating the four year program, while I was five months pregnant, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I had planned on opening a clinic with two other new graduates, but chemotherapy and the birth of a healthy baby girl brought this dream to a halt.  Eventually, between caring for a baby and recovering my health and strength, I took my board exams and got my license! I practiced out of my home for awhile and was eventually hired on as an acupuncturist at Wiseman Family Practice, which is a thriving integrative family practice in Austin, TX, where I got to work with a dedicated team of doctors and nurse practitioners. Earlier this year, I took the leap to finally realize my dream of having my own clinic and opened Teak Acupuncture. I am loving it!

What’s your favorite part about working in your field?

The people. Hands down. I love that, as an acupuncturist, I get to spend time with my patients and develop relationships with them. An initial visit is 1.5 hours, and 45 minutes of that is talking! After that, I usually see patients weekly or every other week for 8-10 visits for an hour at a time.  I really get to know them and care for them. It’s always a bittersweet time when patients are feeling better and don’t need to come as often, but it’s so wonderful to see them getting back to the things that bring them joy and to catch up when they come back occasionally for “tune-ups” or to work on something else that has sprung up.  

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How can people benefit from working with you?

I work with my clients to help them regain and maintain physical and emotional health. So, the benefits can be as varied as the people I see. Some of the ways I see patients benefit from acupuncture are by reducing or removing physical pain, calming an overactive mind, renewing energy for daily life, improving sleep, and more!

Why is it important to you to integrate acupuncture with mental health?

Traditional Chinese medicine does not separate the mind from the body. Many people find that they have physical pain or dysfunction that goes hand-in-hand with an emotional component. For example, many people notice they get a headache or upset stomach when under stress.  Acupuncture can help unwind the chain of imbalances that stress, physical trauma, and emotional trauma cause. Different people see this manifest in different ways, depending on their bodies’ natural disposition and its innate strengths and weaknesses. It might be digestive issues, back pain, headaches, trouble sleeping, shortness of breath, dizziness, anxiety, depression, or hypervigilance. Acupuncture can help heal damage and reset the body to its non-stress state, creating a place of stability for the deeper healing and understanding that comes with mental health therapy.  

What can people expect from working with you?

Treatment starts with a new patient visit, which lasts 1.5 hours and includes an extensive intake and a treatment session. At that time, we come up with a treatment plan. Acupuncture can actually change your brain and your body, but much like changing your muscles with a new exercise regime, this takes time. A general rule of thumb is that it takes about 10 weekly sessions to see real differences, although many people start to notice differences after just a few sessions. This varies from person to person. Some people see results more quickly and some people take a little longer. Once a desired effect is achieved patients begin coming less frequently, and then they may just come in for occasional “tune-ups” or when a new condition arises.

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How can people connect with you?

Check out my website, TeakAcupuncture.com! You’ll find a lot more information about what to expect at your first treatment and more about me. I’m always happy to answer any questions people may have about acupuncture and if it might be right for you. You may also feel free to e-mail me at tk@TeakAcupuncture.com.  

 

These 2 Articles Will Help Your Relationship | Tips From an Austin Marriage Counselor

 
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Here are 2 things you need to know about relationships this week, from the impacts of social media to the effects of certain emotions on physical health. Read on to find out more about how we, as marriage counselors, approach these topics.


Heads up! Social media use has major impacts on relationships

Here we are in the year of 2018, and social media is king. Social media provides entertainment and connection, but it can also cause problems in our relationships — from how much time you spend scrolling to what you’re posting to jealousy and snooping. This is a loaded topic.

This NY Times article profiles the major impact that social media has on romantic relationships and how to keep it from ruining yours! Social media is fairly new; therefore, it’s new and uncharted territory where the rules are being defined as we go.

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According to PEW, a 2014 research study, “45 percent of millennial respondents said their social media accounts had had a “major impact” on their relationships.”

According to Gillian McCallum, the CEO of a UK Matchmaking Company, the most common fight related to social media is the amount of time spent on Facebook or Instagram.  What’s happening is one partner is prioritizing scrolling through Instagram, leaving the other partner feeling second to the phone. The article pushes for couples to have at least 20 minutes of screen-free time together or taking it a step further where all meals are phone-free.

Another part of social media use is about what you post! Social media is public, and people can share some pretty intimate details about their lives. What’s your partners comfortability level with sharing personal details? Are they more private than you may be?

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“The volume of photographs of your relationship that you post on Facebook is not indicative of the success or warmth within that relationship.”

There’s great potential to hurt your partner with online behavior. The article suggests talking about issues that arise with social media in your relationship on a case-by-case basis. It’s important to take time to examine your reaction to understand why you’re upset, rather than just making it about the behavior.

Check out the full article for more thoughts on how to manage social media within your marriage or relationship.


How you fight affects your physical health too

This short NY Times article outlines some impacts of certain emotions on physical health. According to a recent article in the journal, Emotion, experiencing intense emotions regularly in your marriage or relationship can have detrimental effects on your physical health.

What!?! Our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are?

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At Austin Relational Wellness, our therapists keep this mind-body connection in mind when doing any kind of counseling. In marriage counseling, this connection is evident in the stress responses of partners when they’re angry or stonewalling, or refusing to engage or cooperate. As stated in the article, when we’re angry, we become flushed and our heart rate rises. This also makes it impossible to think completely rationally and puts us into defense mode. Stonewalling usually results in muscular tension.

The study found that the physiological responses to emotions like anger and those associated with stonewalling set your body up for some pretty serious future health problems, like heart and muscular issues. The goal — tackle the root of the issue and learn to argue differently as a preventative measure to health problems… and to better your relationship of course!

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The concept of “fighting” in a calm way is central to our work with couples. In fact, we don’t really see this type of conflict management as “fighting” at all. In our work in marriage counseling, we help couples move from a place of defensive arguing to a place of discussion and understanding. The goal is for couples to deepen their understanding of one another’s points of view so that they can have more insight into their partner’s world, more compassion for each other, and eventually come to a compromise on the issue.

The article highlights the importance of learning to manage conflict in a healthy way, not only for your own mental and relational health, but also for your physical health.


Feel like your marriage could use some help with navigating social media use or managing conflict? We’re here to help. Head to our couples therapy page to learn more and to get in touch with a marriage counselor.


-Cat & Hannah


 

Not Just Sex | 3 Types of Intimacy to Consider in your Marriage

 
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What does the word intimacy mean to you? In the context of romantic relationships, intimacy is oftentimes associated with sex or physical closeness. In our couples therapy sessions and at our premarital couples retreats, we frequently ask couples what comes to mind when they hear the word intimacy. The most common thing we hear is, “Sex!” When pressed further, we hear things like closeness, connection, knowing one another, trust, openness, private, and sacred.

So what is this intimacy thing all about? The word may mean different things to different people, but it definitely goes beyond sex! Consider each of the following three dimensions of intimacy in relationships.

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Emotional Intimacy

This is the friendship part of your relationship. It’s things like how well you know your partner’s inner world, the time you spend together doing things you enjoy, or knowing each other’s dreams and fears. In Gottman Method Couples Therapy, you spend time building your love maps. The idea behind building love maps is, at its core, to improve emotional intimacy. Knowing the little things about your partner’s life creates a strong foundation for your friendship and is an important factor in a couple’s level of closeness. In couples therapy, you work with a therapist to build more a detailed love map of your partner’s world. The emotional intimacy of love maps prepares you to cope better when a stressful event or conflict arises.

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Spiritual Intimacy

The spiritual dimension of intimacy refers to shared values and spiritual beliefs in your relationship. This includes the shared vision of your relationship. In other words, it’s how connected you feel on things like, your philosophy of marriage and relationships, religious beliefs, parenting styles, and family values. While spiritual intimacy can relate to religion, the word spiritual in this sense really refers to your connection with the intangible forces that drive our relationships. This dimension looks very different for each couple based on what connects them. It’s based on what bonded them together in the first place and where they see their relationship going in the future. Creating this shared meaning is another focus of Gottman Method Couples Therapy, as the therapist helps the couple build and maintain a system of shared meaning. Couples who are spiritually intimate find purpose and meaning in their relationships.

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Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy extends beyond just sex. While sex is an important part of a relationship, this dimension also includes affection and physical touch like eye contact, kissing, cuddling, hand holding, hugs, and massages. Physical intimacy is an important way partners show their love for one another. People differ when it comes to how much physical affection they need to feel connected. It’s an important conversation to have with your partner, especially during certain life transitions such as moving in together or having children. Connecting with your partner on a physical level helps you each feel cared for.

Consider these three types of intimacy and how they show up in your relationship. Take some time to talk with your partner about where you feel you are in each of the areas and where you’d like to see them change or improve. These are conversations that are helpful to have throughout your relationship. Take time to check in with your partner every now and then about the emotional, spiritual, and physical parts of your relationship to improve your marriage and strengthen your bond.

 

Where Soulful Women Find Their Tribe in Austin

 
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We are excited to feature Austin counselors and founders of Vibe Tribe ATX, Alyssa Cornett, LMFT and Sara Paules, LPC. Sara and Alyssa created Vibe Tribe ATX out of their shared passion for helping women build community.

 

“What our ancestors once depended on from many different people in their tribe, we now are expected to achieve on our own. Our brain is still wired for connection in this isolating new world of ours and wrecks havoc on our mental, emotional and physical health when we aren't connecting with each other. Loneliness is a signal that we need to connect with a tribe, and we want to help you find yours.”

 

Vibe Tribe ATX is reaching the community through a six-part workshop series called Soul Sunday. The workshops are a safe space for soulful women to come and experience authentic support and engage in insightful discussions about real life issues while building deep relationships with each other. The next Soul Sunday, Mindfulness + Self Compassion, is coming up next week, and the last two workshops for the year will explore healing from trauma/difficult life experiences, as well as creating boundaries and good communication skills with difficult people.  

Register for Mindfulness + Self Compassion here!

Keep reading to find out more about Sara and Alyssa's counseling and therapy practices and their work with Vibe Tribe ATX.

Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Alyssa: I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationship coaching and couples counseling. I help individuals and couples journey through their interpersonal and relational challenges to build healthier, happier, more fulfilling lifestyles and relationships. I find so much joy in helping others build confidence and competency to reach for the life they've envisioned!

Sara: I'm a mindfulness-based Licensed Professional Counselor & EMDR therapist, and I work primarily with women who are struggling with depression, body image, bipolar disorder, sexual trauma and suicidality. Clients tend to describe me as compassionate, kind, relatable, and direct in my approach... and a little bit goofy.

Alyssa & Sara of Vibe Tribe ATX

Alyssa & Sara of Vibe Tribe ATX

How can people benefit from what you offer?

Alyssa: Many people wait to come to counseling until they are in a space of heightened distress, but I encourage people to seek support at ANY time in their lives. My clients benefit from building a healthier sense of self and in turn strengthening the relationship with themselves, others and their passions!

Sara: Some of our life events & stories can be difficult to relive and talk about. I believe that each time we tell our stories to a compassionate listener, we take back a little more of our power & control.  I help women in therapy to heal past traumas so they can feel happier and more empowered in their lives.

What are your passions?

Alyssa: When I'm not in the therapy office, you can find me doing anything outside, hiking the greenbelt, enjoying some delicious yums on a patio, traveling and adventuring anywhere and everywhere I can (local and afar!), or sipping some coffee while reading a good book.

Sara: When I'm not in my therapist chair, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking new recipes, gardening, meditation, yoga, staying inside to read a good book, getting some more acupuncture in (one of my favorite self-care activities), smudging everything around me, finding new crystals at Nature's Treasures… and admittedly, watching a little bit of trashy reality TV on the DL from time to time.

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What’s been your favorite part so far about working in your field?

Alyssa: Watching my clients find the courage and strength to discover their most authentic selves is by far my favorite! The journey looks different for everyone, but getting to share in my clients personal experience with it is the best part of the therapeutic process!

Sara: Seeing my clients come in each week and work so hard to heal, even when they don't feel like it. I learn so much from my clients about the power of human resiliency and strength after going through difficult situations.

What can people expect from working with you?

Alyssa: I offer individual therapy, couples counseling, and relationship coaching for individuals and couples at any stage of their life and/or relationship. I focus on helping individuals and couples strengthen their connections, deepen their passion and enhance their lives in a more fulfilling and meaningful way! Our work together is goal-oriented and systems based - I help my clients establish a direction and encourage growth through exploration, attentiveness, and action! Together we identify and address challenges in order to establish a greater sense of fulfillment and transformation.

Sara: In my own practice, I offer individual therapy and EMDR for individuals struggling with trauma, depression, bipolar disorder, body image and suicidality.

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Tell us about your journey in creating Vibe Tribe ATX!

Alyssa: Sara and I were so connected by the idea of bringing together a community of empowered women. We wanted to reignite an excitement to create and connect with others while also diving deeper into a more genuine sense of self. We decided that we wanted to help women do this by creating a safe space for soulful, insightful, supportive and authentic discussions with others through Soul Sunday.

Sara: I just remember sitting in on so many empowering and enlightening consultation groups for therapists and thinking, "These soul-filling, nourishing conversations need to be had with other women who aren't in our field.” Alyssa and I both had a similar vision of providing a space for women to come together in community to discuss some of life's most difficult topics, such as self care, relationships, trauma, depression and boundaries.

Why is it important for you to cultivate a community like Vibe Tribe ATX?

Alyssa: There just aren't enough judgement free zones for women to create authentic conversations and connections. Vibe Tribe gives them the space and freedom to thrive!

Sara: Women are expected to look, act, and be perfect starting from birth. It's so important that women have these types of safe communities where they can openly talk about important conversations without judgment.

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How can people connect with you?

We love to connect! Coffee, questions, connections, let's do it!

Vibe Tribe ATX

Sara Paules, LPC

Alyssa Cornett, LMFT


 

Wedding Planning is Stressful, Premarital Counseling Doesn’t Have to Be!

 
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We know that you have many options for premarital counseling in Austin. There’s weekly premarital counseling with a couples counselor, programs offered through a church, and a few premarital workshops around town. But what if you could spend the day with your partner in a beautiful, retreat-like setting learning all kinds of ways to set your marriage up for success?

Coming up in October, Austin Relational Wellness is holding the Creating Connection Couples Retreat. The one-day retreat is held on Saturday, October 20th in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. The venue is just a short drive outside the city to southwest Austin. It’s an inviting, comfortable space with beautiful grounds. Throughout the day, you’ll be able to enjoy the area, dine on delicious food and snacks, and sip on ice cold beverages.

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What to expect from our premarital couples retreat

We’ll begin our day with a light breakfast and coffee as we introduce ourselves, give you a chance to get to know one another a bit through a couples game, and set our intentions for the day. Then we’ll dive into an exercise to help you get a sense of the strength and growth areas in your relationship. Next, we’ll teach you about many of the things that contribute to healthy, sound marriages and do some activities to figure out what that means for your own relationship.

During our break for lunch, you’ll have a chance to connect with your partner alone as you enjoy the grounds during a couples picnic… blankets and baskets included! After lunch, you’ll learn about a concept surrounding certain needs that we all have in relationships. We’ll help you figure out your own needs, as well as your partner’s, and do some activities to help you get a better understanding of what these look like for each of you.

Because every relationship has conflict, the next part of our day will focus on communication and conflict management. We’ll teach you some evidence-based techniques to help with communicating during conflict. We’ll incorporate all that we’ve learned about needs to help you each learn to ask for what you need in a positive way so that you can be the very best partners you can be to one another.

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Breaks will be built in throughout the day to give you a chance to enjoy the location, mingle with other couples, dine on snacks, play a few yard games, and just have some down-time. We’re also excited to offer a couples massage lesson. This portion of the day gets you out of your head and connected with your partner to teach you ways to increase closeness and affection. Our licensed massage therapist will give a group lesson on basic massage techniques that you can use to help meet your partner’s needs. Comfy clothes are a must for this part of our day!

We’ll wrap up by focusing on your vision for the future of your relationship, including pre-planning some future date night ideas. By creating this vision, you’ll be able to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your relationship going forward.

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If you’re looking for an alternative to premarital counseling in Austin, our couples retreat is a great fit for you! You can find more information and reserve your spot for our next retreat here.