Written by: Pella Weisman
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (CA MFT #86517) and Dating Coach
When I work with a new client, one of the first things I help them determine is their attachment style. Your attachment style is determined by your relationship with your early caregivers, and it affects your relationships as an adult. In particular, your attachment style affects your love relationships and dating style. Knowing your attachment style is priceless when it comes to making changes in how you approach dating and relationships. It's also super helpful to learn about the attachment style of the person you are involved with, if you are dating someone or in a relationship.
Your attachment style is not something that you consciously choose, it’s how you adapted to your childhood. Attachment styles are a huge area of research, but I’ll do my best to give a brief summary here:
-------> If your caregivers were consistently available for you, you most likely have a Secure Attachment Style. Those who were lucky enough to develop Secure Attachment find it easy to give and receive love. You may need some help getting clear on what you want in a partner, or recovering from a past relationship, or maybe you need help developing your dating skills. Once you find someone who is a good match, you will be able to have clear boundaries balanced by an open heart.
-------> If your caregivers were inconsistent in their availability, you might have developed an Ambivalent/Anxious Attachment Style. Those with an Ambivalent/Anxious Attachment Style find it hard to trust that love will stick around, and can be chronically dissatisfied in relationships. You may find yourself dating unavailable partners over and over again, getting stuck in a loop of longing and disappointment. It is easy for you to really want someone and to focus all your energy on them very quickly. It’s important for you to keep your options open until the relationship is clearly moving forward, to set good boundaries with your dates, and to learn to allow into your life only potential partners who are actually available.
-------> If your caregivers were emotionally unavailable, insensitive, or abusive, you may have developed an Avoidant Attachment Style. Those who have an Avoidant Attachment Style find it hard to feel their emotions and connect with others. When it comes to dating, you may find that it’s hard to hold on to your desire to have a partner, and it’s probably a challenge to consistently put energy into dating. You may feel smothered and fearful when someone tries to get ‘too close’ or wants to move ‘too fast’ in the relationship.You may already have an idea of your attachment style from reading the descriptions above.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, I’ve got two great resources to recommend:
1) Here is a short quiz on attachment styles by Dr. Amir Levin and Rachel Heller. They have both a quiz you can take about yourself and a quiz you can take about the person you are involved with (if you are dating someone). You can take it for free on their website by following this link: http://www.attachedthebook.com/compatibility-quiz/
2) I recommend this book to both clients and friends, and everyone comes back and raves about it. It’s called Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find-And Keep-Love. It is also available in audio form: http://www.attachedthebook.com/
Whatever you learn about yourself and your attachment style, don’t despair! We are always growing and changing, and you are not doomed to stay stuck in old patterns.
You can change your attachment style with healthy adult relationships - with close friends, a good therapist, or a healthy partnership. All secure attachments are going to help you develop new ways of being in relationship, and you can increase your ability to thrive and relax into loving partnership (if that is your goal).
Connect directly to Pella, the author here: https://www.7cups.com/@PellaWeismanLMFT
Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Who provides help for anxiety in this day and age?
7 Cups of Tea (7cups.com): 7 Cups of Tea was founded in July of 2013 by Glen Moriarty, a licensed psychologist. As of 2017, 7 Cups of Tea provides ordinary people from over 150 countries and 130 languages a safe, supportive atmosphere to talk either one on one with a trained listener. 7 Cups specializes in many different topics related to Mental Health, of which is Anxiety.
Learn to Live (learntolive.com): Learn to Live offers customized online programs based on the proven principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The programs are confidential, accessible anywhere, and based on years of research showing online CBT programs to be as effective as face-to-face therapy.
Written by: TheThomas
Written by 7 Cups Therapist: Kelly Lawrence
Made popular by mindfulness teacher and author Tara Brach, RAIN is a meditation technique used to deal with difficult emotions. It stands for the four steps of the practice; Recognise, Allow, Investigate, and Non-identification. To practice RAIN, focus your attention on whatever thoughts or feelings are arising in the moment, and recognise them for what they are, for example, anxiety. Rather than struggling with the feeling, just allow it to be, accepting that it is there. This is a technique used in many mindfulness meditations and encourages acceptance and the ability to be in the present moment. Investigate refers to asking yourself – always with an attitude of kindness and self-compassion – where the feeling or thought comes from. What sensations arise in the body? What images come to mind? What other thoughts or feelings arise as a result? You might learn a lot. It may also tap into underlying negative core beliefs or emotions such as shame and guilt, which is why the self-compassion is crucial. The final step in the process, non-identifying, refers to keeping an attitude of knowing that though these feelings and thoughts exist you are not them, and they do not mean you are inherently 'bad'. We all have these. When we realise we are more than our thoughts and feelings, they stop having such an effect on us.
The STOP technique, based in ancient Buddhist practices was developed by Elisha Goldstein and used as part of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. It is a short practice designed to bring mindfulness into the moment, into daily life. It can be practiced at any time and is a great stress reliever. The letters stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe what is happening, and Proceed. To practice, pause in the moment, take a few deep breaths and 'tune in' to what you are thinking and feeling in the moment. You can then proceed with what you are doing, but feeling more centred and peaceful.
Techniques such as these are useful in CBT'based therapy as they help clients become aware of their thoughts and feelings and detach from them. Meditation in general also lowers stress levels and releases serotonin and endorphins, thereby easing low mood states and promoting happy and calm feelings. And we could all use some more of those!
Kelly Palmer is a CBT and Mindfulness therapist specialising in trauma, confidence, pregnancy and birth, and addictions.
Valentine’s day is here! If you’re not in relationship, this can bring up a lot of fear, loneliness and sadness. It can also trigger past memories of relationships that have ended. February 14th doesn’t have to be a total bummer. Here are the top five tips that I share with my online therapy clients on 7 Cups to help them manage their feelings on Valentine’s day:
1. Love is Universal.
Valentine’s day (if it’s a holiday you choose to acknowledge) isn’t just about being in a couple. It’s about the celebration of love: universal love and the love we feel towards friends, pets and family members. Some ways to celebrate love:
Send a card or flowers to someone in your life who makes you feel special.
Buy your best friend some candy hearts.
Buy flowers to have in your room to bring in some loving vibes .
Give your dog a heart shaped treat and an extra belly rub.
Spread positive, loving messages on social media.
Smile at a stranger on the street.
2. ♥Are you ready for love, really?
A surefire way to attract an unhealthy partner is through the emotions of desperation and loneliness. If you’re feeling down or like you ‘just don’t want to be alone,’ it’s possible to find yourself in an unhealthy relationship or connecting with a past partner who wasn’t good for you. You’ve heard it many times before because it’s important to put into action: take care of and love yourself first. When you keep your side of the street clean, you’re creating a path for someone to walk with, hand-in-hand.
3. If you’re ready and looking for love…
Valentine’s day is the perfect day to set intentions for the partner who you’re looking to bring into your life. I encourage my clients to create a list in their journal or 7 cups therapy chat room with all of the traits they’re looking for. Perhaps you want someone who understands what it’s like to struggle with anxiety? Maybe you’re looking for a partner who also plays World of Warcraft, or someone who looks at you like your magic? Create a full list and be unapologetic about the things you add to it. Consider lighting a candle in honor of the special person who is living their own life and finding their way to you, just as you are finding your way to them. Trust that they will show up at the exact right moment for you.
4. Keep it in perspective.
Valentine’s day, as it is known now, is mostly a construct of consumerism. So many of the ads you see and messages on social media can make you feel lonely and like you’re supposed to be in a couple. The truth? It’s just another day. Many happy couples choose not to honor the holiday due to the fact that it’s consumer-driven and focuses on the fact that there is one day to express love more than other days. When you think about it like this, it seems awfully silly, doesn’t it? You don’t have to hate Valentine’s day to not participate in it, either. Just remind yourself that tomorrow is February 15th and move on.
5. Begin a love affair with yourself.
Sometimes being in a relationship, even a healthy and supportive one, can be tedious. It’s fun to have time in your life to be single, selfish and in love with you. Take a long bath, eat your favorite meal, watch exactly what you want to, journal to get to know your own thoughts. If you don’t feel like spending time alone then connect with other single friends who are positive and uplifting. Everything happens for a reason. If you find yourself single right now it means you’re meant to have time to yourself to work on you and have fun on your own. Enjoy it!
Written By: Haley Night
Haley Neidich has been a psychotherapist for over 8 years, working exclusively with clients online. She focuses on helping individuals with anxiety and those who are going through a time of transition in their lives. Haley tends to focus on creative, eclectic and spiritual approaches in her work with clients to help them feel heard, supported and empower them to learn new patterns of being. Haley believes in the online therapy process having worked with hundreds of clients from all around the world. If you’d like to work with Haley on 7 cups she is currently accepting new patients and would love to talk with you.
Want to start therapy with Haley right now? It’s affordable, convenient, and anonymous.
Button: Start Therapy with Haley (https://www.7cups.com/@HaleyNeidich)
Therapy is a resource in high demand, and in today’s technological age many people are moving to cell phones and tablets. This makes current websites who offer active listening or therapy services to make the move to mobile.
So who offers therapy based listening in a mobile setting?
7 Cups of Tea (7cups.com): 7 Cups of Tea was founded in July of 2013 by Glen Moriarty, a licensed psychologist. As of 2017, 7 Cups of Tea provides ordinary people from over 150 countries and 130 languages a safe, supportive atmosphere to talk either one on one with a trained listener, or in a group setting with other people with similar stories. All of this for free. 7 Cups provides a website as well as an app for people to come together.
Big White Wall: Big White Wall is a community application where people suffering from various mental illnesses can come together and talk about their problems with support from trained therapists. The app features discussion boards, reference articles, and self-assessment tests. Users can also register for online therapy programs.
Optimism: Optimism is a mood-tracking app for people with depression and bipolar disorder, as well as those simply looking to brighten their days. Users regularly record their emotional state, along with other factors, including the amount of caffeine or alcohol they have consumed each day and the quantity and quality of their sleep and exercise. The app helps people visualize how various factors may interact to influence their mood. The app also allows users to record potential “triggers,” or occurrences that negatively affect their mental health. By constantly keeping tabs on their mood and environment, users may learn to recognize key triggers and head off bouts of depression or anxiety before they occur.
Written by 7 Cups listener: TheThomas
Written by 7 Cups Therapist, Brittany Malak, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
One of the most challenging parts of any relationship is keeping a balance with your partner. Dealing with the ebb and flows of relationships can be taxing on an individual. Sometimes in relationships, we just “feel” the other person starting to pull away from us, starting to disconnect. Many people feel out of control on how to get their partner back and re-ignite that flame that once was. It’s easy for us to start freaking out about the normal fear of losing your significant other and engaging in behaviors that often damage the relationship even more. Here are three things you can do to help create a healthy response to your partner’s emotional and/or physical disconnect.
1. Give Your Partner The Space That They Desire
Couples often become stuck in negative cycles that perpetuate unhealthy relationships. One person pulls aways, while the other person pushes more to connect, triggering the other person to pull away more. To put a wrench in this taxing dynamic, listen to the needs of your partner. Your partner may need individual time to process through their own thoughts and feelings before coming together to discuss these with you. It can be hard at times to not bug our partners to “open up” or spend time with us when we feel this rejection. While your feelings are valid, your partner’s feelings are also valid as well. Become mindful of their needs in the relationship and respect their desire for space.
2. Identify Your Own Needs and Wants in The Relationship
Take this time not only for your partner, but for you to discover your own needs and wants in the relationship. What are some things that you feel like you need in the relationship that may sometimes be missing? What are some individual goals in which you wish to achieve? This is valuable time for you to identify areas in your relationship and individual life that may need further nurturance. Take this time to develop your own voice and learn how to express your thoughts and feelings clearly. Perhaps this part is difficult for you. Perhaps fear and anxiety of losing your partner continues to plague your mind. Make this time to dedicate to your own self-exploration. Part of that exploration may be seeking your own individual therapy to process through these thoughts and feelings. Is your partner’s constant distance something that you can work through, or does it continually tear you up? You deserve to give yourself time as well to organize your thoughts and feelings.
3. Invite Your Partner Back In a Welcoming Manner.
You’ve given your partner the space that they need, you’ve done some self-exploration and are ready to reconnect with your spouse again. During this phase, create and environment in which is allows your partner to reconnect at their own pace. Become attuned to your partner’s reactions. Are they beginning to feel overwhelmed again? Soften your startup. Express your feelings in a way that your partner can hear you. A partner who has disconnected from the relationship often feels personally attacked. Start off slowly by using “I” statements regarding how you feel and inquire on ways in which you can can support your partner during this time. They may not give you the answer that you’ve been wanting to hear. Be mindful of where your partner is at in their own journey. Keep that in mind as you gently let them know that you love and support them and are ready to take things at their own pace.
Keeping the balance of the relationship can be difficult to manage as the stress of life gets in the way. Being able to express yourself in a healthy, non-threatening manner can help create emotional safety in your relationship. Work with your partner on creating an environment in which thoughts and feelings are not attacked, but met with kindness, compassion, and space.
Conflict is a healthy, normal, and probably inevitable part of most relationships. When conflict is approached in a healthy way, it can strengthen relationships rather than harm them. It can foster a better understanding of your partner and add depth to the relationship. Rules for fair fighting give the parties the tools and techniques necessary to help generate positive results when conflicts arise.
Remain calm and respectful. Try not to overreact to difficult situations and you will find others will be more likely to consider your point of view.
Express feelings in words, not actions. Speak directly and honestly about how you feel, using ‘I feel’ statements. Instead of attacking someone and telling them what he or she is doing wrong tell them how it makes you feel. “I feel sad when you come home late.” Instead of “You are such a jerk for coming home late.”
If you start to feel so angry or upset that you feel you may lose control, take a ‘time out’. Be sure and let the other party know you are taking a break. Later, when you are both calm come back and discuss the situation.
Be specific about what is bothering you. The more specific the better; vagueness is restraining for people.
Use active listening and empathy. Do not interrupt the other person, and be willing to repeat back to them what you heard them say. Try to take time to put yourself in their shoes.
Each person should limit their turn to speak to no more than 3 minutes. Remember that everyone has limits to their attention span. After three minutes the listener will tune out what you are saying.
Only discuss one issue at a time. Fully discuss one issue until it is resolved, before your move onto other issues, preferably at a later time. Do not bring up old topics from the past. Only discuss the issue at hand. This minimizes the conflict. Bringing up old issues fuels the fire and makes the conflict worse.
Be real. Just stay with the facts and your honest feelings because exaggerating or inventing a complaint of feelings will prevent the real issues from being resolved.
Accept an apology. If one person apologizes for their behavior, be willing to accept it as genuine.
Avoid attacking or hitting below the belt. Attacking areas of personal sensitivity creates an atmosphere of distrust, anger, and vulnerability.
Avoid blaming. Talk about how someone’s actions made you feel rather than talking about what they did to you. If you are using the word ‘you’ more than the word ‘I’, you are probably engaging in blaming.
Avoid generalizing. Don’t use words like ‘never’ or ‘always’ since these words are used inaccurately and cause frustration.
No name-calling or labeling. For obvious reasons.
Avoid gunny sacking. Don’t store up minor grievances and dump them all at once. Deal with issues as they arise.
Avoid playing archaeologist. Don’t dig up issues from the remote past.
Avoid ‘dropping the bomb’. Don’t overreact to a situation and make idle threats or give ultimatums unless you are going to follow through.
Avoid character analysis or psycho-analyzing. Don’t tell the other person what they are thinking, feeling, or interpret why they acted as they did. This is mind reading. No one can mind read.
Avoid ‘round robin’ fights. Don’t continue with repetitive, stale arguments where no progress is being made toward conflict resolution.
Learning and adapting these rules of Fair Fighting in your life will promote healthier relationships in the home, socially, and in the workplace!
Written by 7 Cups Therapist, Melissa Muller, LMHC, https://www.7cups.com/@PositiveMelissa