The Couples Corner Trauma Relationships

Susanne Mealer – The Impact of Trauma on Relationships

Susanne R. Mealer, LCSW, CHT is a licensed psychotherapist, trauma expert and certified clinical hypnotherapist. Susanne is in private practice in Davie, Florida and owner of South FL Center for Growth & Healing where she primarily works with clients who are suffering from symptoms related to trauma, PTSD, dissociation (including dissociative identity disorder or DID), physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse, loss, anxiety, depression and issues related to first responders and military.

The Couples Corner Trauma RelationshipsIn addition, Susanne holds advanced and trainer certifications in Rapid Reduction Technique® and Incorporation Therapy, she is a clinical supervisor, best-selling author, international speaker and presenter and proud volunteer with Give an Hour to Veterans and their families.

Susanne independently immigrated from Denmark to the United States at the age of 20. Her choice of specialties has been influenced by her own personal experiences and also by her role as spouse of a law enforcement officer. When she is not working, Susanne spends her time with their two rambunctious and energetic dogs and she is an avid runner and workout enthusiast.

You can watch Susanne’s interview on The Couples Corner below!

 

 

The Couples Corner Counseling Addiction

Luna Medina-Wolf – Loving Someone with Addiction

Luna Medina-Wolf is a licensed mental health counselor, a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and a Master Certified Addiction Professional. She completed her B.A. in Psychology at Florida Atlantic University and continued there in receiving Dual Masters of Education in Mental Health Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling. Luna is fluent in English, Spanish and Hebrew. Luna continues her professional development with the American Counseling Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Psychology Association, and Florida Counseling Association in order to bring the best and most current practices to her clients.

The Couples Corner Counseling AddictionLuna has a strong background in working with individuals who are struggling with substance abuse, who have experienced trauma, and those with disabilities. Luna enjoys helping clients both in an individual and in a group setting. Luna’s approach to counseling pulls from several theories. She incorporates motivational approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as solution focus and positive psychology. Luna believes that change is possible and that each client has the power and can learn the skills needed to better their lives.

Check out Luna’s interview on The Couples Corner below!

 

 

 

Relationship Counseling

Make Peace with Lost Loved Ones

There are moments in everyone’s life which become the basis for how that individual sees the world. Similarly, there are moments or events that shape an entire generation, a zeitgeist, or sign of the times.

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Next year, there will be a whole generation of high school Freshman who were not alive for this event.

Relationship CounselingReflecting on September 11th undoubtedly brings to mind the details of where you were when you first heard the news. For me, I remember it was the one day I did not have my cell phone with me and therefore could not immediately call my family. For others, especially those who lost loved ones that day, the details may vary and yet the feeling is universal: loss.

How do we grieve the loss of loved ones, particularly the loss of a spouse?

Many suggest going through the popular five stages of grief identified by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her work was mainly for the dying not the grieving, but many people have adopted these 5 stages to understand grief.  The Dougy Model, offers and suggests 3 phases of grieving. Others seek comfort in religious or spiritual services and guidance. There are numerous ways to mourn and no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a loved one, unless how you grieve is putting your life or health at risk.

 

In my practice, I’ve found that individuals who find a way to honor the relationship and keep a small part of it alive report less distressing feelings during the mourning and grieving processes. An example might be someone who purchases an extra lottery ticket in honor of a spouse who enjoyed playing the lottery.

Even though our loved one may not be here physically with us, we continue to have a relationship with him or her; the relationship is simply transformed. In thinking about how the relationship has changed, I like to reference a song from the Broadway Musical of The Lion King “He Lives In You”. There is peace in knowing that our loved ones continue to live on in our memories and our actions. This theme is echoed throughout literature and art, as we frequently see scenes in movies or TV where a character visits another’s grave to engage in a lengthy conversation, perhaps about a recent change or to make a difficult decision.

Why would we engage in behavior like this, a one sided conversation with someone not physically present? For the same reasons that some individuals engage in prayer; it helps us. The connection between our minds and our bodies is strong and anyone who’s ever attempted to change something in his or her life will undoubtedly tell you it all begins in your mind. Change your mind and change your world.

This September 11th, as we remember all those whose lives were lost, let’s also remember to think of those whose lives were changed forever and those who lost a loved one. If you find yourself struggling with how to make peace with a change in your relationship, you can always reach me at katie@familyandcouplescounseling.com or (954) 401-9011. Your life and relationships, are worth it.

Coral Springs Couples Counseling Yoga

How Yoga Can Make Your Relationship Superior

It’s a great idea and fun to celebrate, random monthly holidays. What better way to brighten your (or your partner’s) day than by celebrating Happy Cat Month by looking at pictures of happy cats everyday for the month? (Not for you? There’s always Adopt-A-Dog month).  Speaking of Adopt-A-Dog that’s exactly what we just did.  We added to our family.  We adopted a 1 year old rescue from the humane society.  

September holds numerous monthly holidays (Happy Cat Month is one of them) but it’s also National Yoga Month and “Superior” Relationship Month. That got me thinking: what makes a relationship “superior”? Could every couples make their relationship superior? And could this been done through yoga?

Coral Springs Couples Counseling YogaI spend most of my time thinking about how couples can improve their relationships and find satisfaction in their lives together. While superiority holds a rather negative connotation, I’m reminded of the Ernest Hemingway quote, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” This month, I want to encourage couples to try and become superior to their former selves.

 

 

Where does yoga fit into all this? Yoga can be an incredibly transformative practice, for individuals and couples alike. Through yoga practice we find inner strength and peace, an ability to calm our mind, a way of letting go of judgement and living in the present. When couples practice yoga together, the experience is eye opening. Poses specific to couples yoga require clear communication as the couple moves from one pose to another, using each other’s bodies to stretch deeper into a position and really becoming in sync with one another.  I have done both couples yoga and flying yoga, so much fun.  What a GREAT way to enhance communication, create connection, and build trust with your partner.  

There is no superiority in yoga practice and each individual honors where he or she in that moment of their practice. Why would we turn to yoga for superiority, if it appears to go against the basic tenets of the practice? Let’s return to the Ernest Hemingway quote, about being superior to our former selves.

Everyday is another day in our lives with opportunities to change the parts of ourselves we feel unhappy with or find cause us distress. The same goes for our relationships. There is nothing to hold back couples from starting today to become a superior couple, a healthy and loving couple, a successful couple.

A daunting task for most individuals and couples, one that doesn’t just start by taking a yoga class or two with your partner. Rather, the path to a superior relationship starts the way most yoga classes start: with an intention. You set your intention for your practice, whether it’s to try that headstand or stay in downward dog, why not set an intention for your relationship. The intention can be to express more gratitude towards your partner for completing a small chore, leaving a little love note, or even a quick phone call to check in on a lunch break.

Once you’ve set your intention, work towards reaching your intention each day with your partner. Encourage your partner to set an intention with you, not necessarily related to you, maybe related to a work related stress or personal goal your partner is working towards. There’s no right or wrong intention for you or your partner (unless of course that intention is spiteful in nature, that’s not the type of intention you want to set).

It takes time, effort, energy, and intention to achieve our goals in life and the same holds true for transforming your relationship into the type of relationship you want it to be. I’m always here to lend a guiding hand or a listening ear if you find yourself struggling in your relationship and can’t quite get it to the next level. I can be reached at katie@familyandcouplescounseling.com or (954) 401-9011; remember, your relationship is worth it!

Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Maria Davis-Pierre – Multicultural Couples

Maria Davis-Pierre is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who owns her own practice Day by Day Therapeutic Services in Boynton Beach, FL. Maria has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and couples dealing with issues of grief and loss. Maria also specializes in multicultural couples and family therapy.

Couples Counseling Coral SpringsMaria’s general philosophy of counseling is that each individual has a life journey, where no two journeys are the same. And that we each have our own path that we travel. Maria uses a strength’s based approach to provide support and feedback to help clients in developing solutions that are needed to make the change they want in their lives. Maria graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and went on to obtain a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Maria is currently working on her Ph.D. in Family Therapy from Nova.

Watch Maria Davis-Pierre discuss multicultural couples in the video below!

 

 

 

Couples Corner Chris Bruce Divorce

Christopher Bruce – Creating Your Ideal Life After Divorce

Christopher R. Bruce is a divorce lawyer and appellate lawyer for divorce cases and has been for nearly all of his legal career. His practice is predominately limited to representing his South Florida clients in divorce and child custody matters. He is the author of The Best Divorce, a book explaining common-sense strategies for resolving divorce matters on fair terms, as soon as possible.

Couples Corner Chris Bruce DivorceChris has long enjoyed the pleasure of practicing in partnership with Matthew S. Nugent and Adam M. Zborowski. Their law firm, Nugent Zborowski & Bruce, is a four lawyer firm located in North Palm Beach, Florida, with a practice limited to representing clients in divorce and child custody cases.

Chris is a native of Palm Beach County, Florida, and a graduate of Palm Beach Gardens High School. Outside of the office, and spending time with his family, his passion is saltwater fishing and marine conservation. Chris enjoys participating in South Florida billfish tournaments and being part of the Florida Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association.

 

 

Check out Chris’s episode of The Couples Corner below!

Couples Counseling LGBTQ

Know Your Rights as an LGBTQ Parent

We had the pleasure of meeting with Radoyka “Roe” Minaya, Family Law Attorney of Minaya Law Offices on The Couples Corner recently and discussing parental rights within the LGBT community. As a reminder, all the information Roe provided on The Couples Corner is specific to Florida state laws and if you have a specific question it’s always best to consult a Family Law Attorney in the state you reside.

Although, marriage equality has been federal law since 2015, Florida has taken a little while to catch up. While same-sex couples who married in other states had their marriage recognized in the state Florida, couples with children who did not do a second or step-parent adoption in their home state faced difficulties if they later chose to divorce as they may not be considered a legal parent.

Couples Counseling LGBTQEven issuing proper birth certificates is something Florida continues to struggle with as the state catches up to federal law. New birth certificates were to be issued that would say “Parent 1” “Parent 2” “Mother” “Father” or “Other Parent” but because these new birth certificates were not issued, the non-birth parents were not allowed to be listed on the birth certificate up until mid-2016. Around May/June of this year, same sex parents were allowed to list their name under the opposite sex parent line. Same sex couple’s parental right still are a bit unclear in the state of Florida. Roe suggests that anyone relocating to Florida immediately contact an attorney to learn what might be needed in order to maintain parental rights of their children.

Most couples will need to do something extra, although it doesn’t always mean that the couple will need to do a second parent or step-parent adoption; there are other shorter and less costly options for parents to explore, due in large part to the inconsistency in Florida law.

One suggestion Roe has for parents or couples who are planning to relocate to Florida is to contact an attorney prior to doing anything, in order to make sure they’re protected regarding any decisions they make surrounding their parental rights and their family. It’s difficult to navigate current LGBTQ laws and rights and it’s hard to predict what future effects will be felt for parents in this community.

If a same sex couple is planning on having a child, Roe recommends that, the couple get married. While everyone should have the right to have a child, regardless of marital status, Roe feels that as things are sorted out, children born of a legal marriage will most likely be treated that same as any other child. Another recommendation she makes is to use a sperm bank or fertility clinic for an anonymous donor, as these organizations have very strict rules and regulations regarding future contact with children further protecting rights of parents. If using a known donor, Roe recommends speaking with attorney and foregoing trying to navigate the legal process on your own. It may be tempting to find a cheaper route in the beginning but Roe warns shirking costs in the beginning can result in great costs, both financial and emotional, in the long run.

The steps a couple would take in a second parent adoption, when the couple is not married, are a background check, a home study, an attorney to assist in the process, and a final judgement on the adoption. This can be distressing to some parents who may feel that they brought this child into the relationship and should not have to have a decision made on whether or not they can adopt their child.

If you want to know about your rights as an LGBTQ parent in Florida, Roe can be reached at minayalaw.com and will provide a free consultation.

Couples Corner Jason Wasser

Jason Wasser – Are You Allergic to Your Partner?

Jason Wasser has an extensive background in working with youth and adults from all walks of life. His positions have included serving as a Student Life Coordinator at Princeton University, providing counseling services for the special needs population and their families through the Florida Medicaid Waiver program, and directing non-profit community educational and recreational programming. Over the years, Jason has been to speak at college campuses, retreats, and educational programs on topics including: spirituality, relationships, meditation/self-hypnosis, and group leadership. He has consulted with professional athletes including those in Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the US Tennis Association, as well as with talent in the television and music industry. Jason also provides a variety of other therapeutic services including life and executive coaching for the general population.

Couples Corner Jason WasserMr. Wasser graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Masters Degree in Marital & Family Therapy and a certificate in Sports & Fitness Psychology from California State University. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Addictions Professional (CAP), and Certified Hypnotherapist. Mr. Wasser is also a Certified Neuro- Emotional Technique (NET) practitioner, Certified Pre-Marital Counseling Provider for Dade and Broward counties and Florida Qualified Supervisor for Registered MFT and MHC Interns. As a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, he is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and has served as a past Board Member for the Broward Association for Marriage & Family Therapy.

Mr. Wasser works with children, couples, individuals and families and is the Founder and Clinical Director of The Family Room Psychotherapy Associates.

Watch our interview with Jason below!

Couples Corner LGBT Roe Minaya

Radoykay Minaya – Same-Sex Divorce and Separation: What are my Rights?

Attorney Radoyka J. Minaya received her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and thereafter received her law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Ms. Minaya began her legal career as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida and is now the founder of the Minaya Law Offices, PLLC. Her law practice centers almost exclusively in the area of family law, with a focus on LGBTQ-specific legal issues. The legal intricacies and complications in Florida surrounding same-sex unions, parenting, separation, and divorce can be overwhelming.

Couples Corner LGBT Roe MinayaAs not only an attorney, but a member of the LGBTQ community, and co-parent to two beautiful children, Ms. Minaya is not only professionally invested in ensuring that her LGBTQ clients have a clear and complete understanding of their legal rights and options, but also has a personal stake in these matters.

Ms. Minaya is also fluent in Spanish; a member of such organizations as legal Aid of Broward County and GLLN; and an avid foodie. She prides herself on dealing personally and warmly with each of her clients, and ensuring each is treated with individualized care and respect. She considers it a true privilege to be able to assist families in navigating their interpersonal relationships.

Read more about LGBTQ Parental Rights and Roe’s advice for couples considering divorce here and watch the episode below.

 

Couples Counseling Collaborative Divorce

Stop, Collaborate, and Divorce

We got the pleasure of interviewing South Florida Family Law Attorney, Carolann Mazza on Collaborative Divorce, a topic she is most passionate about. Unlike divorces that go through the courts, a collaborative divorce can prevent a family from fracturing under the stress and weight of divorce. Carolann shares that Stu Webb created the idea of the collaborative divorce in the 1980’s as an alternative to litigation.

Why would you select collaborative divorce? Collaborative divorce differs from a litigated divorce (the default option for divorce) in that all decisions are made by the judge, someone who is in essence, a stranger to the family and most importantly the children in the family. A litigated divorce goes through the court, whereas in a collaborative divorce, the couple agrees to stay out of the court by signing a participation agreement. This can be so empowering to the couple as they decide the way to move forward with their family’s best interests. Additionally, each individual and his or her lawyer sit down and work together to come to a mutual agreement about the future.Couples Counseling Collaborative Divorce

A big benefit of collaborative divorce is the level of autonomy afforded to couples, as the couple decides how to proceed with the divorce. Sometimes, laws can be limited, too general, and do not apply to every situation and it. A great way to honor the couple itself is to even consider including verbiage about choosing collaborative divorce in a prenuptial agreement (watch our episode on Prenuptial agreements). One thing Carolann recommends, whether you’re deciding to go through litigation or a collaborative divorce, is to make sure that you have a divorce lawyer and while it may be tempting to represent yourself and stay out of court, a lawyer will advocate for your best interests.

If you’d like to learn more about the collaborative divorce process, Carolann can be reached at www.collaborativenow.com. If you’re looking for a collaborative lawyer in a specific area, Carolann recommends the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and you can search for a professional in your area.  Remember to check with an attorney in your state for state specific laws, rules, and regulations around family law.