Play Therapy Open House – June 28, 2013 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Children by POC Administrator on June 19, 2013

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Play Therapy Open House

Friday, June 28 at 11 am to 1 pm

Positive Outlook Counseling

16610 North Dallas Parkway, Ste 2100

Dallas, Texas 75248

Join us to meet our play therapist, see our playroom

and learn about how play therapy can help your child

with behavioral, emotional and social difficulties.

Questions?  Call 972-733-3988 and ask for

Lora Kingsley, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC

Supervised by Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NCC

 

“Honey, We Need to Talk” – Six Communication Spoilers

Marriage Counseling by POC Administrator on June 19, 2013

How many times have you started a conversation with your partner with good intentions, only to have it turn into an ugly, door-slamming mess?  How do you communicate what you want and need from your spouse without it erupting into defensiveness and anger?  You just need to know how.  Avoid these communication pitfalls to encourage positive dialogue:

1)     Bad timing.  Conversations need to start off on the right foot.   Making sure your conversation is at a convenient time for both you and your partner increases your chance of having their full attention.  Requests work best if they stay simple.  For example, “I’d like to talk about this kids’ schedule. When is a good time for you?” or “Things got really ugly between us yesterday.  I want to talk it out.  Will tonight work for you, maybe after dinner?”

2)     Harsh startup.  Another way conversations go south, fast, is starting harshly.  Avoid starting your conversation with a critique or blame, “You haven’t been doing anything to help with the kids recently.”  These harsh startups set your partner on the defensive.  In these first few moments your partner may feel attacked and ready their weapons, taking a stance against you instead of for you or with you.  Make an effort to begin your conversation with something you appreciate about your partner, “You really made my week easier last month when you took the kids to their after school activities.”

3)     Criticism.  Words like “never” and “always” are dead-giveaways for this communication spoiler.  Critical remarks are those that suggest your partner is somehow flawed.  Or, that your partner is completely to blame.  For example, “You never help with the kids; I don’t know why you insist on being so lazy” and “What is wrong with you?”  Replace criticism with complaints.  Complaints are short and stick only to one present incident.  It sounds like, “The garbage is still in the garage, and you said you would take it out last night.”

4)     Contempt.  This communication spoiler is often seen and not heard.  It is a way of communicating to your partner that you are better than them.  Many times this is shown through eye-rolling, sneering, giggling, huffing, etc.  Contemptuous remarks are an attempt to show your partner superiority, “I would never treat you the way you treat me.”  Instead, focus solely on your own feelings, making it easier for your partner to hear you.

5)     Defensiveness.  Defensiveness is probably the most common communication spoiler.  “Yes you did!” “No I didn’t!” or “Yeah maybe I did, but you do it all the time.”  If your partner lets you know you’ve hurt them the best thing to do is apologize before you begin to share your experience.

6)     Failing to take a timeout.  Don’t assume that just because you started a conversation, you both have to finish it.  Many people keep trying to fight an uphill battle much after they should have simply called a “time out.”  There is no shame in saying, “Hey we’re right back to where we were, let’s cool off and try again later.”  Find an activity that soothes you, or relaxes you during your break.

7)     Missing the repair attempts.  Repair attempts are an effort to decrease the intensity of a conflict and reconnect.  They are unique to each couple.  Maybe tickling, a kiss, or a cheesy smile during a heated discussion.  It’s your partner waiving the white flag, saying, “Remember me? I love you! Let’s stop this nonsense and get back to us!” Take time to think of how your partner makes repair attempts, sometimes they are subtle, and look for them in your next conflict to help reduce intensity and remind yourself this person is with you not against you.

The most successful, long-lasting relationships have a “we against the world” attitude, not “me against you” attitude.  Excellent communication takes practice!  Use each conversation with your partner as a chance to do some research.  Do you both commit these communication spoilers?  If so, which ones?  When are they more likely to come out?  If you replace them with the more effective techniques, what changes do you notice in how your partner responds to you?  What changes do you notice in your feelings towards your partner and the topic you discussed?

Feeling like you have to wait for your partners to fix themselves before you can be truly happy is exhausting and impossible!  But feeling like you can start making changes to better your relationship today can be extremely powerful and fill your relationship with hope!

These tips are based on the marital research of Dr. John Gottman.  Marriage counselors at Positive Outlook Counseling use these strategies and much more to help their clients heal old wounds in their relationships and build stronger, healthier connections that last a lifetime.

If you have communication issues preventing you and your loved ones from getting the most out of life  and would like to schedule an appointment with one our therapists, please call us at 972-733-3988 or schedule a confidential appointment online at   Click Here To Book An Appointment Online  

Positive Outlook Counseling
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

Check our website for the full ranges of services we provide for individuals ranging in age from toddlers to senior adults, families and couples. www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Child A Budding Bully?

Children,Teens by POC Administrator on April 17, 2013

You’ve gotten the dreaded phone call from your child’s school.  He has hurt another child and is being suspended.  Or perhaps the daycare is calling to tell you that other parents have complained about your child’s aggressive acts and you have to find another daycare…now.

Bullying has received a lot of media attention these days.  Schools and daycares are instituting zero-tolerance policies.  All children should be kept safe from bullying and violence in school.  But if you are the parent of a child who acts out aggressively against other children, you are likely to face this challenge without help from teachers or administrators, scrambling to find care for your child and fearing for their educational future.

The truth is that aggressive behavior is normal in children.  As a child develops, they learn coping skills to deal with anger and other negative feelings without hitting, biting or kicking.   Most children cease aggressive behavior around the age of 5.  A child who is continually hurting others despite consistent efforts to redirect their behavior may be having difficulty learning how to cope with negative emotions.  They may be dealing with frustration due to learning difficulties or a lack of social skills.  If they have recently lost a loved one or have experienced divorce, a move, or other family disruption, they may be having difficulty processing their grief and sadness.

Play therapy has been shown to help children learn to manage their emotions and develop self-control.  In the play therapy room, the child is provided with specially chosen toys.  The play therapist provides a trusting and accepting environment in which the child can express themselves through their natural language of play.  The play therapist will partner with you to give you support and show you how to continue the therapeutic process at home.  Your child’s therapist can also communicate with teachers and school administrators to advocate for your child’s needs.

  • Ensure that your child is getting enough rest at night and is eating well.  Aggression can result from daytime crankiness from being tired or having low blood sugar.
  • Stay calm and redirect your child’s aggressive behavior when you witness it.  Model the kind of behavior you want to see in your child.
  • Help your child to identify their emotions.  When they tell you about their day, use reflective statements such as, “You were angry when Johnny took your toy.” or, “You’re sad that the other kids don’t want to play with you.”
  • Involving your child in sports and activities such as karate can help them learn self-control and healthy expression of aggression.
  • Let your child’s teacher or daycare provider know that you take their concerns seriously.  It’s easy to become defensive when they make your little angel sound like a monster, but try to understand the issue from their perspective.  Showing them that you are concerned and taking steps to correct the problem will make them more sympathetic to your child’s cause.
  • That having been said, you must advocate for your child’s education and care.  Ask questions about what disciplinary measures are used at school to correct the problem.  Ask if your child can be given extra monitoring.  Ensure that your child isn’t being labeled as a “bully” or “bad kid” by teachers.

For help with your child’s aggressive behavior, contact play therapist Lora Kingsley, LPC Intern at 972-733-3988 or schedule a confidential appointment online at   Click Here To Book An Appointment Online  

Positive Outlook Counseling
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

Check our website for the full ranges of services we provide for individuals ranging in age from toddlers to senior adults, families and couples. www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

Your Love Piggy Bank – Simple Ways to Daily Enrich Your Relationship

Couples Counseling,Marriage Counseling by POC Administrator on November 17, 2012

Any financial advisor may tell you that the recipe for wealth boils down to one simple ingredient.  Save more than you spend!  Put more in the piggy bank than you take out!  This same rule also applies to the intimacy, passion, commitment, and respect in your romantic relationships.  In fact, it can be applied to ALL of your relationships.   While knowing this simple rule is a step in the right direction, there is definitely increased success for those who study further.  For instance, how does one fill the piggy bank in first place: invest, invent, or sell?  And, which investments get you the most return on your money?  When conducting couples counseling in Dallas, Texas – I help my clients learn the simple tools to fill their piggy banks of love!

Relationships that demonstrate a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions have proven to be less likely to divorce.   For example, surprising your partner with a 5 minute massage just before bed probably deposits into to the piggy bank; while, ignoring your partner as they attempt to show you their new favorite song withdrawals from the piggy bank.  If you achieve a 5:1 ratio, not only is it likely that you will notice increased intimacy with your partner, it will sting less when you have conflict or feel unattended to.  Think of all the saved up deposits as a cushion or airbag to protect you when an accident occurs.  There are endless ways to positively interact with your partner (some take more energy than others); I have provided a more complete list below but here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

Ways to get rich!

1)       Build detailed love maps: That is, details about your partner’s life, experiences, and dreams.  What is their favorite food, music, game?  What are some of their most positive and negative memories as a child?  How do they order their hamburger? And, what would they buy if they won the lottery?  Spend time talking, without interruptions learning all of these details.  In session, I play a sort of newlywed’s game with my couples to test their love maps.  In many relationships couples exceed and immediately feel more proud and flattered that their partner has taken the time to know them so well!

2)       Reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went: Talk to your partner about how your day went.  Make sure to both get a turn.  This is a time when you talk about things or people happening in your life OUTSIDE of the relationship.  While gossiping (talking about other people) should be avoided in the workplace it can build intimacy between you and your partner.  It creates a sense of “we-ness” or “us against the world” attitude that is great for keeping relationships strong and alive.  (Watch for future blogs to describe in more detail the rules for these stress-reducing, end-of-the-day talks)

3)       Exercise together: Not only is exercise good for your body it can be good for your relationship.  It improves stamina, sleep, and mood.  All which positively impact your love connection.  Get creative and choose an activity that fits your personalities.  Maybe walk in the neighborhood, join a ballroom or country dance class, or make a game out of speed cleaning the house together.

Warning! Avoid keeping score of who has made the most deposits or withdrawals.  These activities are not about tit for tat.  Some people find it helpful to keep a log of their OWN deposits and withdrawals for a short period of time; this can be helpful to test your own contribution in the relationship.  But, keeping a log should be honest and short-term.  Avoid logging your partner’s contributions.

For more free marriage counseling information and for a detailed list of the marriage counseling services and more near Dallas, Texas and more that we provide you can visit our website at www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com.

*The tips included in this blog are based on the research and publications of Dr. John Gottman and his team at The Gottman Relationship Institute.

More ideas for how to get rich!

  1. Reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went.
  2. Make up a grocery list and go shopping.
  3. Cook dinner or bake.
  4. Clean house.
  5. Shop for gifts or clothes (for self, kids, or friends).
  6. Go out without the kids for brunch or dinner.
  7. Read the morning paper together.
  8. Help each other with self-improvement plans, such as a new class, weight loss, exercise, a new career.
  9. Plan and host a dinner party.
  10. Call and/or think about each other during the workday.
  11. Stay overnight at a romantic hideaway.
  12. Eat breakfast together during the work week.
  13. Go to a church, mosque, or synagogue together.
  14. Shovel the walk or do yard work, home repairs, or car maintenance.
  15. Volunteer in the community.
  16. Exercise together.
  17. Go on a picnic or drive.
  18. Spend everyday time with the kids – bedtime, baths, homework.
  19. Take the kids on outings (zoo, museum, dinner).
  20. Attend school functions such as teacher conferences.
  21. Spend time with kin parents, in-laws, siblings.
  22. Entertain out-of-town guests.
  23. Travel together.
  24. Watch TV or videos.
  25. Order take out.
  26. Double-date with friends.
  27. Attend sporting events.
  28. Go out and do a favorite activity, such as bowling, bicycling, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, camping, canoeing, sailing,      water-skiing, swimming.
  29. Talk or read together by an open fire.
  30. Listen to music.
  31. Go dancing or attend a concert, nightclub, jazz club, or theater.
  32. Host your child’s birthday party.
  33. Take your child to lessons.
  34. Attend your child’s sporting events or performance.
  35. Pay bills.
  36. Write letters or cards.
  37. Take kids to the doctor, dentist, or emergency room.
  38. Go to a community event, such as a church auction.
  39. Go to a party.
  40. Drive to or from work together.
  41. Celebrate milestones in your children’s lives such as  confirmation, graduation.
  42. Celebrate other milestones in your lives such as a promotion, retirement.
  43. Play computer games, surf the Internet.
  44. Supervise your children’s play dates.
  45. Plan vacations.
  46. Plan your future together. Dream.
  47. Walk the dog.
  48. Read aloud out together.
  49. Play a board game or a card game.
  50. Put on plays or skits together.
  51. Do errands together.
  52. Paint, sculpt, make music.
  53. Find time to talk without interruptions so you can truly listen to each other.
  54. Philosophize.
  55. Attend a funeral.
  56. Help out other people.
  57. Hunt for a new house or apartment.
  58. Test-drive new cars.
  59. Other ____________________.

If you find your Love Piggy Bank is getting low, or you have difficulty contributing to your loved one’s Love Piggy Bank and would like to schedule an appointment with one our therapists, please call us at 972-733-3988 or schedule a confidential appointment online at   Click Here To Book An Appointment Online  

Positive Outlook Counseling
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

Check our website for the full ranges of services we provide for individuals ranging in age from toddlers to senior adults, families and couples. www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

 

Stay Sane! 10 Tips for Living with the Narcissist in Your Life

Couples Counseling,Health,Marriage Counseling by POC Administrator on September 18, 2012

A recent story by Marci B. Stiles, licensed professional counselor and founder of Dallas-based Positive Outlook Counseling dealt with how to identify the narcissist in your life and gave specific criteria for determining if that person driving you crazy was a narcissist.

“In many cases, the best strategy for dealing with a narcissist is to stay away and limit exposure,” notes Stiles. “But what if you are already married to a narcissist or the narcissist is a child, sibling or parent? In these cases, therapy and coping strategies can help.”

  1. Know your limits. Trust your judgment and separate yourself from the narcissist when you need to. Your feelings and sanity are important, too.
  2. Create financial limits. If your spouse is a reckless spender, make every purchase over a certain amount a joint decision. Have a discretionary fund for each of you and a mandatory joint savings plan that is off-limits. This helps insure that each spouse has a say and the narcissist doesn’t spend you into the poor house.
  3. Hold firm on reckless behavioral boundaries. If your loved one engages in behavior like drinking, promiscuous sex, drugs, gambling, etc., you need to set hard limits that are not negotiable. These are deal breakers and you need to walk away from the relationship if they are broken. Examples include: drinking and driving, no sex with others…or whatever your particular challenges and limits are.
  4. Insist on compromise and decision sharing. Most narcissists tend to dominate the relationship and like to have things their way – more like a dictatorship. This can be mitigated by compromise. You may be in charge of household purchases, he is in charge of auto problems and yard care – or all decisions are made 50-50. Whatever works best for the two of you.
  5. Negotiate. This is a critical skill with a narcissist and will make your life easier. “You want this, I want that, here’s what I propose…”
  6. Bolster your self-esteem. Don’t expect much from the narcissist unless she or he wants something from you. Most of the time they tear down the people around them. I work with my clients on how not to buy into the “tear-down,” and to rediscover what is worthy about themselves.
  7. Don’t believe a liar. Sounds simple, right? Narcissists are good at changing their stories and making you think you’re the crazy one. In therapy I work with clients to help chronicle these “gas lighting” events and to keep track of reality and trust their memories.
  8. Create your own support system. Narcissists like to isolate and control the people around them. It is important for you to have friends, family and a support system outside of the narcissist. A positive support system keeps you balanced and makes it easier to see the “crazy” through the trees.
  9. Command respect. Do not put up with disrespect or denigration…EVER. It will make you appear weak to the narcissist and make the behavior even worse the next time. Disrespect is unacceptable and you must immediately leave the narcissist to either change their behavior or have them misbehave by themselves. Protect yourself from abuse.
  10. Leave. If things get too bad, then you must get out. Most narcissists won’t admit they are a narcissist and will insist you are the problem. They’ve been allowed to run with their bad behavior for a long time. Sometimes setting boundaries and re-programming behavior with a “zero tolerance” program makes a huge difference and empowers the loved one. Other times, nothing will work and it is time to go…even though you may have children together, financial dependencies…in the end it doesn’t matter if you are being crushed in the relationship.

“These strategies are helpful for almost any relationship, but critical for a narcissistic one,” added Stiles. “The non-narcissist has to be strong and firm in every situation, all the time. It is a lot like dealing with a demanding toddler with the added anxiety of danger. It can be exhausting and not always rewarding. That’s why a positive support system is so important.”

If you have an important narcissist in your life and would like to schedule an appointment about protection and coping skills, contact Marci Stiles LPC at 972-733-3988 or book your appointment online at http://www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com/schedule-dallas-counseling-appointment/

Positive Outlook Counseling
Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services. Marci Stiles specializes in individual, family, marriage and troubled teen therapy.

Click Here To Book An Appointment Online

 

You’re Not Crazy! Ten Ways to Identify the Narcissists in Your Life

Couples Counseling,Marriage Counseling by POC Administrator on August 3, 2012
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and found yourself questioning your sanity afterwards? Is there a loved one or friend in your life who is causing you pain, but somehow it feels like it’s all your fault? You might be dealing with a Narcissist.

“Many people have told me over the years that they feel crazy or that someone in particular is making them crazy,” said Marci B. Stiles, licensed professional counselor and founder of Dallas-based Positive Outlook Counseling. “It is very painful for them because they either care about this person or are forced to work with them and don’t know what to do to mitigate the painful feelings.”

First, Stiles helps them identify exactly with whom they are dealing with. “Understanding is often the first step towards fixing or modifying the problem,” notes Stiles. “Narcissists can cause a lot of pain and it is important for people to know the attributes of a narcissist so they can protect themselves and develop coping strategies.”

A narcissist is someone who is so obsessively self-focused that they rarely feel empathy or concern for others around them. They see the world as revolving around them and have trouble imagining that others around them have lives or outside interests.

When your interests align with a narcissist, they can be very charismatic, charming, fun and interesting. When your interests diverge, they can be cold, demanding, rude and ruthless. They are both highly self-confident and very insecure. Anything that punctures the overly magnificent picture they have of themselves can cause them to fly into a rage or retreat into crying.

Stiles shares 10 common traits with her clients to help them identify the narcissists in their lives.

  1. Cannot see another’s point of view. Life is either their way or the highway. The narcissist is always correct and others are stupid.
  2. Require constant validation. They love and seek admiration from everyone and cannot handle criticism. They expect you to admire and praise them often. You may spend a lot of time handling the narcissist’s ego and reaffirming their worldview.
  3. Big on window dressing. They are show-offs with a big house, fancy cars, motorcycles, trophy spouses, etc. They are big into status and status symbols.
  4. Look good to impress others. They are often obsessed with their appearance and the appearance of others. In addition, they look for other ways to impress people. “A narcissist might be a big tipper or appear very generous…if they are trying to impress you,” notes Stiles. “It may take a while to realize that their generosity is an act performed for admiration and not a positive character trait.”
  5. Special. The rules do not apply to narcissists. They often talk about stupid laws or stupid rules. Authority is lame and only for others. They expect special treatment at service establishments and won’t hesitate to inconvenience someone else.
  6. Easily offended, hurt or rejected. “This may seem odd given how arrogant a narcissist comes across, but they can’t stand even the smallest perceived slight or insult,” adds Stiles. “And they won’t keep their pain to themselves either. They’ll rage and pout or cry and pity themselves for hours.”
  7. Vain. Narcissists are proud of their bodies, their sexual prowess, their sports abilities, natural talents or business accomplishments – sometimes for no good reason. In their fantasy world, they are the best at everything that matters (to them, of course).
  8. Entitled. Not only are they special, but narcissists believe they deserve good things all the time. What is yours is theirs and their needs come first. If someone else wins an award or is recognized for achievement, narcissists are indignant that their talents, accomplishments, etc., haven’t been recognized.
  9. Lack of empathy. Narcissists think everything in some way is about them – even your personal tragedies or experiences. They have trouble seeing people outside of themselves as being real or important beyond what that person can do for them,” said Stiles. “They will be puzzled or annoyed by others feelings and find them an inconvenience at best. Don’t expect sympathy, generosity or kindness from a narcissist unless he is trying to impress you. If you confide in a narcissist about a problem, you may suddenly find yourself talking about them and their problems.”

10.  Poor relationships. Narcissists leave a trail of destruction and bad relationships behind them. “There can be plenty of charm, but very little connection,” notes Stiles. “One strong indicator of a narcissist is whether or not that person has close friendships and/or family relationships. If they don’t, it raises a flag.”

None of these traits in and of themselves means a person is a narcissist. Everyone has bad days, even weeks and months where they may act badly, say terrible things or behave like a complete jerk, explains Stiles.

“What you see with a narcissist is consistency. This is a pattern of behavior for that person. They rarely express remorse unless they want something from you. In their world, they are – to use the words of Mary Poppins – ‘Practically Perfect People’ who are never wrong and thus, never need to say they are sorry.”

Many narcissists are accomplished, charming, functioning members of society – movie stars, CEOs and artists often rate high on the narcissism scale – the problem comes when you do not share their worldview and yet still need to live with them or work with them.

If you suspect a narcissist in your life and would like to schedule an appointment about protection and coping skills, contact Marci Stiles LPC at 972-733-3988 or book your appointment online at http://www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com/schedule-dallas-counseling-appointment/.

 

 

Positive Outlook Counseling
Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

 

972-733-3988

www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services.  Marci Stiles specializes in individual, family, marriage and troubled teen therapy.

Click Here To Book An Appointment Online

 

Pot in your Teens room? Don’t Panic.

Teens by POC Administrator on June 29, 2012
Finding marijuana in your teen’s room is a shock and can quickly turn  into an explosive situation that spirals out of control. Anger,  betrayal, disappointment and fear for the child’s safety and future are  natural feelings. It is hard to look at the situation objectively or  constructively.

“Many parents are terrified and furious at the same time,” notes Marci B. Stiles, licensed professional counselor and founder Positive Outlook Counseling. “They lose sight of the big picture which is to help their teen stop using drugs.”

Stiles lists seven strategies for distressed parents to help manage the situation:

  1. Don’t Accuse. Kids become   defensive and shut down when they are accused, just like adults. Ask   your child to explain why he or she has a bag of pot in their drawer or a   bong in their closet in a calm manner. Remember, you are the adult and   your child feels safer when you are in control. Their health and  safety  are the biggest priority.
  2. Talk to not at. This   is not the time for lectures. Your teen knows drugs are illegal and is   well aware of your stand on taking them. Your goal is to open a  dialog.  Yelling, cursing, calling him or her names will cause your teen  to shut  down.
  3. Listen. You’ve asked your   child some questions. Now stop talking. During a natural pause, you can   feedback what you’ve heard to your teen. “You hate school and all your   friends use pot all the time.” You are not commenting – “That’s the   dumbest excuse ever!” – Or giving advice – “You just need to buckle   down!” This is about understanding and building trust with your teen.
  4. Ask Questions. Your teen is   going to be wary, probably scared and feeling guilty. They won’t say a   lot at first. Use your questions to find out more about your child   rather than to make them feel bad. Try to find out the extent of the   problem. Is it a one-time thing? A daily habit? Is your child selling it   to his or her friends? When does he or she smoke?
  5. Get Help. Depending on the   extent of the problem, your teen may need counseling or rehab. There  are  often underlying reasons your teen tried drugs in the first place.  They  may be feeling pressures you don’t know about.
  6. Be Honest. Build Trust. The   goal of your discussion with your teen is to stop the potentially   dangerous behavior and to reconnect with them. The best way to build   trust is to be honest and caring with them. You can love them and care   for them without condoning the behavior. Being calm and focused on your   child and their behavior will tell your teen they can trust you even   during a very stressful family situation. If you tried drugs as a teen,   this may give you insight into your child’s behavior. If relevant, talk   about why you started and why you stopped. Share your fears and  concerns  in a non-punishing way.
  7. Establish Natural Consequences. Your teen has   broken the rules – yours and society’s – and there are consequences for   this. You may be tempted to punish your child severely. A more  effective  strategy is to let them experience the natural consequences  of their  behavior. They have lost your trust and needs to rebuild it.  Would you  give a stoned person the keys to a car? Would you let a  potentially  stoned person go to a party where there might be drugs?  Most teens take  drugs with their friends. If your teen was smoking  after school, should  they be allowed to participate in after-school  activities? Are you going  to call their friends’ parents and warn them  that their teen might also  be smoking pot? In addition to establishing  consequences based on love  and concern for their safety, give your teen  a path to rebuilding trust.  Smoking pot was a mistake, but one from  which he can recover.

“One of the best ways to help your teen to not take drugs in the   first place is to keep an honest, open and non-judgmental line of   communication open,” notes Stiles. “That way, when they are stressed or   feeling down or overwhelmed, they will go to you, not the drugs or   alcohol.

Start where you are today and work to build trust. When you are calm,   try to remember yourself as a teenager with all its insecurities,   hormones, school and peer pressure. Your teen will make mistakes. As   their parent, you are there to help him learn and recover from them –   even something as serious as drugs and alcohol. I regularly see families   in my practice that become stronger after working through a crisis  like  this.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment about rebuilding  trust  after discovering drugs, contact Marci Stiles LPC at  972-733-3988 or  book your appointment online at http://www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com/schedule-dallas-counseling-appointment/

Positive Outlook Counseling
Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services.  Marci Stiles specializes in individual, family, marriage and troubled teen therapy.

Click Here To Book An Appointment Online

Eight Simple Steps to Affair-Proof Your Marriage

Couples Counseling,Marriage Counseling by POC Administrator on June 4, 2012

Eight Simple Steps to Affair-Proof Your Marriage

While the “good” news about affairs is that many couples can survive them and only about 20% of couples face them, no one wants to place that kind of test on their relationship.

Most betrayed partners are bewildered and ask themselves “What happened? How could this happen?” It seems inconceivable that their sweetie could stray…which is the first mistake if you want to avoid an affair in your marriage.

“Many couples become complacent with their partner,” notes Marci B. Stiles, licensed professional counselor and founder Positive Outlook Counseling. “They stop taking the necessary measures to affair-proof their relationship. Successful couples realize they must work on the relationship all the time – not just on special occasions or during a crisis.”

During her twelve years as a therapist, Dallas-based Stiles has helped many couples affair-proof their marriages. According to her, successful couples practice eight behaviors that keep the relationship centered on each other rather than outside partners:

  1. Communicate – Talk to each other, not at each other
  2. Listen actively
  3. Have fun adult time without kids
  4. Keep physical intimacy alive
  5. Balance work/home life
  6. Make them feel like the center of your universe
  7. Be sweet
  8. Work as a team

“These are the actions that made them fall in love in the first place,” adds Stiles. “The trick is to keep them up throughout the marriage. When they were courting, they actively listened to each other and reflected back what they heard. They talked to their loved one, not at them. They took plenty of time to be together and made the other person feel like the most special person on earth – that’s why they got married, because they wanted to be together forever.”

Having fun together with spontaneous activities, hobbies, or vacations, or working together as a team help strengthen the relationship when both partners remember to appreciate and admire their spouse along the way. Washing the car, leaving a kiss on the bathroom mirror, planning a date night, bringing home flowers; and other sweet gestures help the couple communicate their shared love and affection.

It is especially important not to let work trample over family time – that’s when the lonely spouse starts to look for company. “Work/life balance is one of the hardest things we do as people, let alone a couple,” say Stiles. “We get so much reward from work well done and the money is naturally important. To keep the relationship affair-proof, the couple needs to work together as a team to make sure the marriage is the focus and priority, not the after-thought.”

In her practice, Stiles sees couples in all stages of a relationship. “Marriage counseling is a good idea for couples who aren’t in a crisis,” says Stiles. “An outside third party can help couples remember why they fell in love and to come up with strategies to keep that love engine chugging along despite job promotions, kids, pets and new responsibilities that might distract them from each other.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment about healing your important relationships, contact Marci Stiles LPC at  972-733-3988 or book your appointment online at http://www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com/schedule-dallas-counseling-appointment/

Click to View Our Couples Therapy Video

Positive Outlook Counseling
Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services.  Marci Stiles specializes in individual, family, marriage and troubled teen therapy.

Click Here To Book An Appointment Online

Suspect Your Spouse Is Having An Affair? How to Salvage Your Marriage

Couples Counseling,Marriage Counseling by POC Administrator on May 29, 2012

Your soul mate might be hiding something from you. No one likes to think it could happen in his or her marriage, but approximately 20% of us will be betrayed by a partner at least once according to surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center.

But that’s not the end of the story – or the relationship.

Despite most people’s impulse reaction of “I’ll leave!”, many marriages survive a cheating spouse.

“Of the couples that come into my offices, only about 20 percent break up because of the affair,” notes Marci B. Stiles, licensed professional counselor and founder Positive Outlook Counseling. “That means that 80 percent make it – some even better than before.”

During her 8 years as a marriage counselor in Dallas, Stiles has helped many couples move past the hurt and back into love again. According to her, successful couples share these seven attributes as they recover from the affair:

  1. Seek counseling
  2. Grieve
  3. Accept
  4. Ask questions
  5. Commit
  6. Communicate
  7. Work as a team

“Marriage counseling is a critical first step for couples,” says Stiles. “With all the emotions unleashed by the affair, a neutral third-party is very helpful in keeping the couple focused on their shared goal of saving the marriage. Even if the decision has been made to end the marriage, sometimes a counselor can help the couple negotiate child custody issues and soften the blow on the rest of the family.”

Grieve

The loss of trust, intimacy, joy and closeness from a betrayal this big causes huge feelings like a death. The wounded spouse must grieve before he or she can move on.

“Depending on the person, grieving a relationship can take weeks to a year or more,” says Stiles. “Some days everything’s OK and moving forward, and other days you cry and can’t stand small things like how your spouse eats.”

Accept

The relationship as they knew it is lost. The couple must give each other time to process it.

“Acceptance is an important and healing part of the grieving process. As long as one of the spouses is trying to hold on to the way the relationship used to be, they can’t move on as a couple,” adds Stiles. “We work together as a team to help both spouses accept the new reality.”

Ask Questions

The spouse who had the affair must be willing to answer the questions from and be patient with the other spouse.

“Some spouses will ask about every tiny detail, others won’t want to know anything. The unfaithful spouse should be willing to end the affair, accept the lion’s share of responsibility, and show remorse and sympathy when sharing the details.

On the other hand, the injured spouse needs to understand that once the questions are asked and answered, they should be dropped. To keep asking the same questions over and over keeps the affair alive and makes it impossible to move on.”

Commit

To recover, both spouses must have compelling personal reasons for staying in the marriage and a strong desire to make it work. Stiles has her clients write up and sign a contract with their personal relationship “rules” like “fight fair” and “no threats to break up or leave during the period of this contract.”

“I tell my clients “we’re all in or we’re out – none of this half-way stuff” at least for the term of the contract which is usually three-to-six months. They both have to agree to play fair and to sincerely communicate with each other.”

Communicate

“A relationship is a living thing that is in a very delicate state after an affair,” adds Stiles. “The injured spouse needs to be gentle with themselves and their spouse. It is natural to have revenge fantasies and to be furiously angry, but to act out these feelings can escalate the destruction of the marriage beyond repair.”

The other spouse has to be patient and sincere in his or her desire to fix the relationship – and very communicative. “They should be checking in with their spouse before he or she needs to check in with them. If the phone rings five times a day during work, they should answer it five times a day. If they are stuck in traffic, they should call immediately to keep the other spouse from worrying and doubting.”

Work as a Team

While it took one person to cheat, the rebuilding of a marriage, after an affair, requires teamwork. “The betrayed spouse should ask the unfaithful spouse how to help the other person from committing adultery again. The partner who cheated must also examine the personal reasons that spurred the behavior. By identifying the areas of marriage that need improvement, committing to make needed changes and spending time together, marriages can recover,” says Stiles.

“Most people reading this article are probably in the 80 percent whose partner won’t cheat, but if it does happen to you and you love this person, take action! There’s a good chance the relationship can be saved by committing to a plan and learning how to communicate clearly and fairly.”

If you would like to schedule an appointment about healing your important relationships, contact Marci Stiles LPC at 972-733-3988 or book your appointment online at: http://www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com/schedule-dallas-counseling-appointment/

Click to View Our Couples Therapy Video

Positive Outlook Counseling
Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Suite 2100
Dallas TX 75248

972-733-3988

www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com

Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services. Marci Stiles specializes in individual, family, marriage and troubled teen therapy.

Click Here To Book An Appointment Online

 

New Year! New You!

Health by POC Administrator on February 7, 2012

 

NEW YEAR!    NEW YOU!

Well everyone 2012 is here.  Another New Year, and it’s going to be a GREAT one!

It’s going to be a year for POSITIVE changes.  But we are all need to be responsible for our own changes and start the New Year with good attitudes, healthy minds and healthy bodies.

I want to talk today about “taking care” of ourselves and what that entails.

I think it’s so important for each of us to start taking care of ourselves.  So many times we spend the majority of our days taking care of others and doing a good job at work.  But do we actually take the time to take care of ourselves?  The answer in most instances is “NO.”    But “How?” you ask.

Here are some examples of areas that many of us can improve on.   To help you get going, I have  included some specifics on places to go.

MIND, SOUL and BODY


JOURNALING
Journaling is inexpensive and you can do it anywhere.  You just need a journal or notebook.  It is so cathartic to get all of your thoughts that are cluttering your mind-or causing you worry, onto paper i.e. expressing sadness or grievances, to wishes and dreams.  For those of you that have  journaled in the past-you know how beneficial it is.  So get back to it!  For those of you who have never tried it-Now is the time.  New Year! New You!  There are no rules-just write!

MEDITATE FOR 10-15 MINUTES
Meditation is a  great way to increase your mind- body connection.  Also it’s a great way to really be “in tune” with your body and with your soul.  People ask me all the time” When you meditate-do you hear voices?  Do you see spirits?”  My answer to that is “No! Not for me personally.  For me it’s more of a calming and decluttering of my mind.  –Every person’s meditation journey is different.  But for the majority of my clients it is how they become better in tune with themselves, create calm and inner peace and clarity in their mind.  It is an opportunity to learn how to rest your mind from the barrage of information it processes every moment of every day.Another question I often get is “Is it hard to do?’No-there are many videos that can teach you how to meditate there are apps that can guide you.  If you are just starting out-I highly recommend a “guided meditation”.  With these you just sit back and listen.  They come in download form and there are apps for the smart phones.

One of my favorites is “Meditation Oasis (guided) meditations”.  They have an app.  I use this on my iphone.  It’s so convenient and can be used virtually anywhere and in most situations.  They have 10 minute meditations for anger, stress relief to 45 minute meditations for stress, forgiveness, grief.

I also offer sessions on meditation for those of you who want more one-on-one training.

REGULAR DENTAL CHECKUPS
Everyone, and I mean everyone, hates going to the dentist.  However, regular checkups and biannual cleanings are something you can do to prevent the need for more extensive dental work.

REGULAR VISITS TO YOUR CHIROPRACTOR
Getting back in alignment with your favorite chiropractor can keep you flexible and pain free.    This is an area where I fall short and need to start making appointments.I previously worked in Dr. Jade Malay, D.C.’s office.  Dr. Malay and her staff are great.  Getting adjusted and treated was a weekly thing for me.  It kept me healthy and out of the ER.(www.dallasnaturaldoctor.com).

REGULAR MASSAGES
Massages are such a great thing.  Not only do they help to relieve stress but they also help to release toxins from your body.  I have found a great place near my office in Addison and I just love going there weekly.  It really helps me to de-stress and relax after a tough week.  My favorite place is Elite Massage.  The owner is Sherry Conaway and she has an excellent staff.  They are very professional and not only really know what they are doing-but more importantly-really care about their clients and work hard to help them feel better. www.elitemassagedallas.com

DAILY EXERCISE
Get out there and move.  Our bodies were designed to MOVE, and not to sit 12-16 hours a day!  Exercise is a mood enhancer.  If you are down and feeling depressed, go for a walk, put on some music and dance, ride a bicycle, get on the treadmill…DO SOMETHING!   You WILL feel better.  Exercise is great for the mind and soul and an excellent way to reduce stress.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Despite having heard it time and time again, people continue to eat junk food and ignore the healthy food that has the ability to change their lives.  There is no excuse not to heat healthy, especially when you life depends on it.

Make 2012 the year YOU Decide to take care of YOU! 

Positive Outlook Counseling

Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC

Psychotherapist

Visit us at:  www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com