by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghSeptember 27, 2021 addiction recovery, Sobriety0 comments
National Recovery month is observed in September every year. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate Sober life, break down stigmas and bring awareness to addiction. The month serves as a celebration of the steps taking to improve access, information, and treatment.
You can observe National Sober Month by spending it Sober. While that may seem simple enough, it may come as a challenge to some. We’re here to help! Read on for 7 Sober Activities to Do in Pittsburgh.
- Visit a Museum. Pittsburgh has so many great museums. Visit the Heinz History Center, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the National Aviary, or the Andy Warhol Museum.
- Physical activity. Physical activity is a great Sober activity. Get outside and enjoy a bike ride. Or if you prefer the indoors, climb the wall at Lawrenceville’s climbing gym, Iron City Boulders.
- Enjoy the Scenery. If physical exercise isn’t your bag, but you want to enjoy the outdoors, take the Duquesne Incline up to Mount Washington and take in the views. You can capture amazing photos of the skyline, simply enjoy the view or if you’re artisticly-inclined, paint the city.
- Bubble Tea with a Friend. Spending time with a friend is a great way to celebrate National Recovery Month. Hit up a local coffee shop, juice bar or bubble tea shop. Our favorites are: Adda for coffee; Live Fresh for juice & smoothies; and Kung Fu Tea in The Strip District for bubble tea.
- Make a Fall-Inspired Mocktail.
Sparkling Apple Cider
2 cups apple cider
1 cup seltzer
fresh whole cranberries (optional)
fresh apple slices (optional)Instructions
Mix together the apple cider and seltzer.
Garnish with fresh cranberries and/or fresh apple slices.
- Spend Time with Animals. Time spent with animals is never wasted. Luckily, Pittsburgh has some great options for hanging out with our feline friends. Book an appointment at Garfield’s Black Cat Market where you can cuddle up with adoptable kitties.
- Pranayama. Sitali Pranayama, known as “the cooling breath,” can help calm your nervous system. Here’s how to practice:
Curl your tongue and extend it just past the lips.
Inhale through the tunnel of the tongue as if drinking through a straw.
Release the tongue, close the mouth and exhale out through the nose.
Practice for 2-5 minutes.You can still practice if you can’t curl your tongue. Just stick it out!
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghSeptember 16, 2021 healthy relationships, marriage, marriage counseling, marriage counseling near me, marriage counseling pittsburgh, marriage counseling south hills, marriage counseling wexford, meaning of rituals0 comments
Creating a love that lasts takes time and commitment. One of the keys to this kind of love is intentionality. Intentionality is acting in a deliberate manner that shows your partner that you love them. It might look like cooking a nice meal for your partner, or getting them a special coffee, or maybe another gift like flowers. Being intentional is a necessity to maintain romance and foster a fun and exciting atmosphere in your relationship! As a couple it is important to foster a sense of intentionally, not just toward your partner, but toward your relationship as a whole. Taking time to create Rituals of Connection is one of the best pieces of relationship advice which intentionally fosters love and intimacy. Rituals of Connection are specific times of interaction, both informal and formal, that help couples come together and build intimacy. Building rituals of connection is a way to deepen your connection and create shared meaning in your relationship.
Rituals of connection can be simple and informal, like sharing meals together, the way you leave for work, coming home from work, working out together, and even rituals before bed. They can also be more formal and scheduled, such as planned relationship check-in’s, weekly dates, scheduling times for intimacy and romance, and routine times to release stress. Rituals of Connection also include how you as a couple celebrate achievements, anniversaries, and even hosting friends in your home.
Why is it important?
Rituals of connection create a sense of healthy anticipation and expectation for emotional intimacy. They provide ways for you as a couple to connect emotionally in a manner that is personally meaningful. You might be thinking that having this type of structure in your relationship would kill spontaneity, but it actually does the opposite! Planned out Rituals of Connection build intimacy and a sense of oneness in the relationship, and this actually increases that likelihood that you will go off the cuff and do something spontaneous. Having a planned ritual is not a structure that holds you back. It is a strong foundation that empowers your relationship to explore the world around you and grow as a couple.
The Top 5 Rituals of Connection to Create in Your Relationship
- The Daily Stress-Reducing Conversation – a Stress Reducing Conversation is a great ritual of connection to introduce into your day to day routine. A stress reducing conversation is a conversation where you simply take some time to listen to each other. It is a conversation where you simply take turns listening to each other about things that are stressing you out that don’t have to do with your relationship. This is a great time to decompress and reduce stress from work or hectic to-do lists. It is a time to listen to your partner without trying to problem solve, or correct, but just to hear them out, and understand the stressors that they are experiencing in life.
- The Weekly “State of the Union” conversation – The weekly State of the Union conversation is a weekly conversation in which you and your partner review your week in terms of your relationship. It is a time to talk about the things that went right in your relationship that week, to show appreciation for each other, to process or discuss any problems or difficulties that may have occurred, and finally to ask each other, “What can I do next week to make you feel loved?” The State of the Union conversation is a great way to stay up to date on your own relationship, set goals, and ensure that you are on the same page with your partner.
- The Weekly Date – Don’t underestimate the importance of having a weekly date! It doesn’t always have to be fancy or extravagant even having a coffee date, or maybe simply going on a walk is a great way to build your relationship. Having a weekly date is a great way to maintain a sense of adventure and fun in your relationship. Often times it can be overwhelming to plan a date, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Just do something! The weekly date ensures time to build emotional intimacy and check in with each other.
- Daily Cuddle Time – Couples need to be physically connected as well. Taking time each day to cuddle, hug, hold hands and kiss is a great way to connect and let your partner know you love them. Whether it is while reading, watching a movie, sharing a glass of wine or a cup of tea, being physically close to your partner builds connection and shows affection.
- Rituals about Sex – For many people talking about sex is uncomfortable, but discussing sexual needs and desires is a key component in creating a more satisfying sex life and expressing your love and connection to your partner. In love that lasts, sex is built on a foundation of friendship. Having conversations about how you would like to initiate sex and love making is crucial! Another crucial aspect of this ritual of connection is to discover a way to say “no” to sex, that works for you as a couple. It is important to be able to communicate needs to each other without ending emotional connection.
Discovering how to integrate these essential Rituals of Connection into your relationship strengthens and illuminates that bond that you share with your partner. These five rituals of connection are just a few of the many ways that you can work to establish a strong lasting relationship with your partner. Take some time this week to talk to your partner to see how you can integrate a few of them into your weekly routine!
Interested in Couples Therapy or Marriage Counseling?
If you’re interested in further strengthening your relationship through marriage counseling or couples therapy, you can reach us at 412-322-2129 or email us at email@example.com to get started. Or contact us here.
Doherty, W. J. (1997). The intentional family: How to build family ties in our modern world. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (2018). The seven principles for making marriage work. London: Cassell Illustrated.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghSeptember 13, 2021 borderline personality disorder, couples communication, couples counseling, couples therapy, dating, jealously, jealousy, marriage counseling, marriage counseling near me0 comments
Jealousy is an important and useful emotion. It can indicate that something is amiss in our relationship. It can help us act in a way that brings greater closeness and security to our connections when we respond to the signals of this emotion in a supportive and relationship-supporting way.
Yet jealousy can also reign down on our relationship, it can pull apart the integrity of a connection and cause a caring partner to turn away from an otherwise healthy union. The difference is often in how the person who exhibits jealousy manifests the emotion into communication and behavior.
We should also differentiate between rational and irrational jealousy, and pathological and non-pathological forms of this emotion. For instance if you are cheating on a partner or behaving in ways that challenge the commitment that you have made, it is obvious that your partner will have a rational response of jealousy. If there has NOT been infidelity in your relationship and your partner is often or sometimes jealous, they may be experiencing irrational jealously.
Irrational jealousy is either pathological, meaning related to a perceptual, biological, or mental health related diagnosis such as borderline or narcissistic personality disorder. Non-pathological, rational, and irrational jealousy can generally be helped by a partner by following some of the below stated ways of helping a jealous partner. As an aside, if you suspect that your partner has irrational and pathological jealousy, meaning not related to a real cause, and in extreme or even dangerous outbursts, you should exercise caution as some people have even escalated to highly aggressive and dangerous level of anger over jealousy.
How to Deal with Your Jealous Partner
It is never your job to fix another person but with all of this in mind, here are ways to interact best with your jealous partner.
- Offer reassurance, if your partner is feeling insecure, let them know that you are committed to them. It might take practice to respond with gentle support in the air of your own irritation but at the root of jealousy is the fear of loosing connection.
- Be consistent. Consistency trumps all and will offer the soothing balm to an uncertain love the salve that they need to feel confident in the love.
- Examine your own behavior.
- Recognize it for what it is
- Have boundaries!
Are you being flirty, are you crossing boundaries or eliciting responses in some people around you? Think about what you are really doing and imagine how your own behavior would make you feel if the tables were turned.
Jealousy is attachment insecurity and fear of disconnection. Label it as it is and help your partner process their concerns honestly and consciously.
Every relationship is about sacrifice and compromise but we also must have self awareness. Don’t give too much, if you think that your partners jealously is irrational, you might want to consider stepping away from the relationship and not end up sacrificing friends, activities, and important others to reduce their jealousy.
Dealing with Jealousy In Your Relationship?
If you’re dealing with jealousy in your relationship and are interested in marriage counseling or couples therapy, you can reach us at 412-322-2129 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. Or contact us here.
Additional Jealous Partner Resources
Stephanie Wijkstrom, Co-founder of the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh was interviewed about How to Deal with a Jealous Girlfriend. Read her tips (cited here) along with those of other relationship experts.Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghSeptember 10, 2021 suicide, suicide prevention, suicide warning signs0 comments
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the World Health Organization, over 700,000 people will die by suicide each year. We should think about the signs, symptoms, and behaviors of the people around us so that we can do our best in having awareness to prevent suicide.
Suicide is, unfortunately, still a taboo topic and product of dismal and ill mental health; major depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, and schizophrenia, are a few of the disorders which are typically associated with an increased risk for suicide.
For those who are closest to someone suffering from mental health disorders, the symptoms are very difficult to see for what they are. The thoughts, behaviors, and feelings of a depressed person are a set of treatable symptoms which are a produced by mental illness. Our science and psychology hold diagnostic labels but for the human beings who act out suicide, these symptoms are a daily life experience, they are much more than a label.
Mental illness is an often invisible disease causing people to suffer immensely, those who are in the depths of depression or other mental illness, often have not sought treatment with a therapist or mental health professional. A person may walk through life for many years, hollow and bleak, no longer able to experience the hope or purpose to continue living. They may become so overwhelmed that they can no longer imagine the purpose of surviving more days while struggling with their feelings of despair, sadness, conflict, and internal pain. Often the person who commits suicide is one whose self-esteem and thoughts have entered a place of such distortion that they imagine the people who survive them will be better off without them in their lives. Again, this kind of thinking is a product of the illness. Please spend a few moments looking over the suicide warning signs according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
- Isolating themselves.
- Not returning phone calls.
- Not showing up for family or friends invitations.
- Being withdrawn.
- Giving away possessions.
- Sleeping too much.
- Sleeping too little.
- Using substances to excess.
- Talking about suicide. *Especially sharing that they have a plan and a way to carry it out.
- Saying that friends and family would be better off without them.
- Feeling like a burden.
- Feeling hopeless.
- Feeling that there is no reason to live.
- Talking about deep feelings of depression or anxiety.
- Sudden increase in mood or energy
Environmental Risk Factors
- Relationship problems.
- Financial problems.
- Having access to lethal means such as pills or guns.
- Prolonged stress.
If this sounds like someone you know, or if you have been feeling these things recently, please seek help. Call your local crisis center, here is a number for a national suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK. Remember that the emotions are temporary and life’s situations which overwhelm us are solvable. Mental health help is around the corner. If your loved one has expressed these things to you, or is exhibiting some of the warning signs, stay with them, ask questions and let them talk about their worries and problems, your presence will help, listen with patience and compassion and be with them while calling the suicide prevention hotline or getting them to a local hospital.Learn More