Professional Marriage Counseling Can Help

Professional Marriage Counseling Can Help

Marriage can be the best or worst part of our life.

When things are good in our relationship there is nothing better. When it’s not good it cast a cloud over everything else.  You want your marriage to make your life

better. You want to be happy. It doesn’t sound like too much to ask, but sometimes it seems so hard to grasp.

So many things can go wrong in marriage

The path to a lasting and rewarding marriage seems so narrow and hard to find. With so many marriages failing and couples struggling to like each other it makes one wonder if lasting happiness is possible.

  • We never thought we’d fall out of love when we exchanged our vows on our wedding day. Yet real life has a way of grinding away at our love for each other.
  • It seemed impossible that an affair could come between us and crush our heart.
  • There so much we didn’t know about our self back when we got married, maybe we just weren’t ready to get married.
  • There so much I didn’t know about my spouse, I feel tricked and trapped by a bait and switch scheme.
  • My spouse changed so much. We used to be passionate lovers, now I don’t even think their attracted to me.
  • Selfishness seems to dominate the relationship, it’s all about them and what they want.
  • We can’t even talk without fighting. We don’t know how to communicate.
  • Silent. Cold.
  • Awesome roommates, but not much else. We work well as a team taking care of the kids, but haven’t been lovers in a long time.
  • Everything gets swept under the rug. We don’t talk about anything that matters. We avoid conflict at all cost, and it’s killing us.

I don’t want to keep living like this

You don’t want to get divorced. You also don’t want to keep living like this. The burning question is “Can it get better?”

It’s hard to have hope when you’ve tried everything you know to do and it just keeps getting worse. Maybe we both make promises after it explodes and it gets better for a little while. It doesn’t take long, months-days-hours, before it goes right back the way it was before. Why should I believe that it will ever change?

You are not unique.

People have been flirting, coupling, and getting married for literally thousands of years. There is nothing new under the sun. I promise your problems aren’t unique. Lot’s of couples experience the same difficulties that you do. The reason that fact should encourage you is:

Professional marriage counselors spend THOUSANDS of hours doing marriage counseling every year helping couples just like you.

We know can overcome your struggles and have the marriage you have always wanted.

It IS hopeless.

There’s no reason to believe it will ever get better, IF you keep doing the same things you’ve always done.

Try something new.

Professional Marriage Counseling

Professional marriage counseling is different than listening to your mother or asking your friends what they did. Professional marriage counselors spend A LOT of time working with all sorts of people and every sort of marital difficulty. Their experience with complicated and easy cases gives them a vantage point that no one else has.

Here’s what you can expect from a professional marriage counselor:

Confidentiality.

Nobody wants their business spread all around town. Professional marriage counselors are held to legal and ethical standards that protect your confidentiality. Non-professionals aren’t held to the same standard.

Compassionate empathy.

Counselors get into the helping profession because we care about people. It’s not just a job for us, it’s our calling.

Professional listening.

Professional counselors are trained to listen intently to what is being said and what’s not being said. Our training and experience helps us know what to listen for so we can thoroughly understand you and your situation.

Best practices.

Professional training equips counselors to use the best evidence based, researched supported methods for helping people. This training combined with thousands of hours of experience enables us to be competent help to you.

Your marriage is so important, it just makes sense to entrust it to some one who is equipped to help.

MyCounselor.Online has a marriage professional near you that can be on your team, helping you fight for your marriage.

Testimonial

We had tried everything we knew. It seemed hopeless. We tried professional marriage counseling as a last ditch effort before divorce. We are SO glad we did. Our marriage is actually better now that it ever has been.
Jan and Frank, Nixa Missouri

Marriage Counseling has a VERY high success rate with committed couples.

Research on emotionally-focused couples counseling shows that 3 out of 4 couples (~73%) who engage professional relationship counseling reach a place of satisfaction with their relationship. At MyCounselor.Online we have NEVER (yes, I’m using the word never and I mean it) had a case where both spouses were committed to the marriage and both spouses engaged counseling and their relationship did not improve.

Take the first step towards a better tomorrow, today.

Start Your Journey

Learn about how our counseling services work and how to get started.

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Free Sex Therapy Help

Professional counseling is a big investment with a big benefits. It will cost you: time, energy, and money. In return you can…

  • Find healing for the hurting parts of your life
  • Enjoy more satisfying relationships
  • Learn how to better enjoy the sexual part of your life
  • Break destructive cycles
  • Better understand who you are as a sexual being
  • Gain the skills to be the best you possible

These Free Sex Therapy Resources – Recommendations can help you get the most out of your professional counseling experience.

 Helpful Sex Therapy Links

  • HealthySex.com / Wendy Maltz

    -Wendy Maltz is a field recognized expert in sex therapy. She addresses issues of sexual healing and freedom from pornography & sexual addiction. Though Wendy does not teach from an explicitly Christian perspective, many of her resources are intensely helpful.

  • Bethesda Workshops

    -Marnie Ferree and the team at Bethesda Workshops have put together a world class 4 day intensive treatment program for men and women who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction. The program is extremely effective and affordable. This program is Biblically Christian and clinically solid. Highly recommended.

  • Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (ISSI)

    Mark Yarhouse and the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity are the leading authorities on sexual identity issues including same-sex attraction and gender identity confusion. Their model for helping people with distressing same-sex attractions or gay, lesbian, bi-sexual issues (Sexual Identity Therapy) is cutting edge and completely compatible with the Christian faith.

  • The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

    The Sexual Healing Journey helps survivors to:

    • identify the sexual effects of abuse
    • create a positive meaning for sex
    • develop a healthy sexual self-concept
    • gain control over upsetting automatic reactions to touch and sex
    • stop negative sexual behaviors
    • improve intimacy with a partner
    • learn a new approach to touch and sex
    • resolve sexual functioning concerns
  • A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds

    – NOT JUST FOR NEWLYWEDS. This is a guide to enjoying God’s gift of married sexual pleasure. A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds answers specific, often unasked questions about sexual topics, and presents newly-married couples with detailed techniques and behavioral skills for learning sexual pleasure and intimate companionship. This book offers invaluable information in a professional yet sensitive style. If you have sex, or will be having sex, or hope to someday have sex ~ This book will help you! It maybe the best $10 you spend this year.

  • Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction

    – Dr. Mark Laaser is the leading Christian expert in sexual addiction. He and his wife (author of Shattered Vows) are founders of the ministry Faithful and True that helps thousands who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction through resources and workshops.

  • When Lost Men Come Home

    – This book offers a Christ-centered application of the powerful 12 steps, developed and popularized by the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous for those who struggle with pornography and sexual addiction. Dave Zailer has created a new, unique handbook for the journey, marrying the biblical context to the proven spiritual 12 steps program.

  • Shattered Vows: Hope and Healing for Women Who Have Been Sexually Betrayed

    – This sensitive and practical guide offers proven tools that help women struggling with sexual betrayal make wise and empowering decisions. Shattered Vows is inspired by the author’s personal journey through betrayal, her extensive work with hundreds of hurting women, and her intimate marriage two decades after the disclosure of her husband’s infidelity.

  • Sexual Identity: A Guide to Living in the Time Between the Times

    – Most people who attempt to change their homosexual attractions and behaviors experience only partial success despite their best efforts. Written for Christians whose beliefs and values support their work towards chastity, this book offers a unique look at how they can manage and develop their sexual identity through a number of practical strategies.

  • The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

    – You may think you don’t know anyone who has been sexually abused, especially if most of your friends and acquaintances are Christians. But the statistics indicate otherwise. The Wounded Heart is an intensely personal and specific look at this most “soul deadening” form of abuse. Personal because it may be affecting you, your spouse, a close friend or neighbor, or someone you know well at church; and specific because it goes well beyond the general issues and solutions discussed in other books. Dr. Allender’s book reaches deep into the wounded heart of someone you know, exploring the secret lament of the soul damaged by sexual abuse and laying hold of the hope buried there by the One whose unstained image we all bear.

Take the first step towards a better tomorrow, today.

Start Your Journey

Learn about how our counseling services work and how to get started.

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Emotional Safety in Marriage

Emotional Safety in Marriage

Steps to Emotional Safety

Emotionally safety is a key part of a healthy relationship. It conveys to each other that “you matter to me therefor I care about how my words and actions effect you”. Without safety emotional intimacy is impossible, or at least unwise.

1) Respect Walls

No one likes relational walls. They prevent us from feeling close to others. We want to destroy walls so we can get through to the person on the other side. However, walls serve a purpose. Walls are always built by people who feel threatened. Attempting to tear down or through a wall only serves to confirm the original need for the wall. So do walls help relationships? No, not really. At some point, if a relationship is going to flourish, the wall has to come down. So what can one do to help take down a wall brick-by-brick?

  1. First, the person with the wall needs to know that you understand the wall is there for a reason and that you accept its presence. The person needs to know that his or her well-being is the most important thing to you; therefore, the wall can stay as long as it is needed.
  2. Second, let the person know that you’re not going to require him or her to be open with you or break down the wall until he or she feels safe. Your job is to give the other person every reason in the world to feel safe, while still honoring the right and responsibility of that person to take care of himself or herself.

2) Love

A second step to safety is learning to love the other person. Love, in the Biblical sense of the word, is about accurately seeing the immense value of someone made in God’s image. God created each one of us as a one-of-a-kind person, with unique gifts and personality. He sees us as precious and valuable, so much so Jesus was willing to give His very life to preserve ours. When we see and treat others as God does, we recognize and affirm their value. To love means to value, and to refuse to do, say, or act in ways that devalue. When we love, it helps create a safe environment that encourages relationships to grow.

3) Suspend Judgment

Compassion and understanding create a tremendous amount of safety. When a person refuses to judge motives, but instead tries to understand why a person acts in a particular way, that person’s compassion encourages the one on the receiving end to open up and relationships can grow. Judgment results in defensiveness and closes down relationships, while curiosity results in openness and safety, giving life to relationships. Judgment writes people off suggesting “I already know everything I need to in order to render my verdict.” Curiosity says something quite different. It says “I don’t know enough yet to render a verdict, so I’ll forget about sentencing for a while. It’s true I don’t like what has happened. But I still need to open the door to discovery.”

4) Value Differences

A fourth step to safety is learning how to deal with differences. When two people are in conflict, they often point to their differences as the problem. But that’s simply not true. Differences are actually a blessing if you know how to deal with them and capitalize on them. By valuing differences instead of resenting them we can grow in ways impossible on our own. If a relationship is going to be safe, it must make room for all of both people. If certain parts of your spouse are not welcome in the relationship, then there is no longer room for them to be who they are. There’s nothing safe about that. Instead a person is forced to put up walls or use energy to pretend to be someone they’re not. Intimacy is impossible in such circumstances because now we’re not even being real anymore.

5) Be Trustworthy

When we recognize the value of our spouse we refuse to act carelessly with them, but instead commit to being trustworthy. When we treat someone in a way that shows we recognize both their incredible value and their vulnerability, we demonstrate our trustworthiness. You need to be trustworthy with both others and yourself. We’ve already defined being trustworthy with others.

Being trustworthy with yourself means whenever you let someone have access to the most sensitive part of you and they start getting careless, you must take back that part of yourself and think, Excuse me. Apparently, you’ve lost track of how valuable and how vulnerable I am. But I haven’t, and I can’t let that happen. All relationships involve choice.

When people treat you badly, you can choose to be trustworthy in a couple ways. You may need to build a wall and shut the person out, at least for a time. That can be very appropriate. Some people have no clue and are not likely to get a clue anytime soon. Therefore you can treat them cordially, but you don’t need to give them access to the most vulnerable part of you. They can shout over your walls, but that’s it. Putting up walls can be effective, but they do have their drawbacks. Walls prevent us from being able to connect with people.

A second alternative is more like drawing a line in the sand. You say, “Hey, I’m safeguarding that part of me because I can’t trust you with it right now. But I want you to know that I want this relationship with you. Therefore, I will give you repeated opportunities to try again. But I need you to know that the next time I let you in, and every single time thereafter, I’ll be requiring the same thing: that you show me, through word and deed, that you understand how valuable and vulnerable I am and that you act accordingly. To the degree that you do this, let’s be friends. But when you forget, I need you to know that I will protect myself.” Creating these sort of boundaries allow a person to engage freely in relationship.

Take the first step towards a better tomorrow, today.

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Raising the Kids Without Losing the Passion

Life can be tough on a love affair. Yet God intends the passionate, fun, and emotionally intimate relationship we have with our spouse to reveal the kind of relationship He wants to have with all people. So how do we keep the love alive while surviving the daily grind of raising kids, work, and every curve ball challenge life throws at us?

Let’s take a quick look at the Time Starved Marriage, Love Languages, Overcoming Communication Challenges, and God’s thoughts about Sex. Each of these subjects could easily fill a whole article. We’re going to take a brief look at each here and I’ll highlight some resources you can dig into to learn more on each.

Time Starved Marriage Resources

Your Time-Starved Marriage: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life by Les and Leslie Parrott
Your Time-Starved Marriage: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life
by Les and Leslie Parrott
Link: http://a.co/7fe31hg
 –

Your Time-Starved Marriage Workbook for Women: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life by Les Parrott et al.
Your Time-Starved Marriage Workbook for Women: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life
by Les Parrott et al.
Link: http://a.co/3lnWSVL
 –
Your Time-Starved Marriage Workbook for Men: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life by Les Parrott et al.
Your Time-Starved Marriage Workbook for Men: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life
by Les Parrott et al.
Link: http://a.co/hGdOgtZ

 Love Languages Resources

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary ChapmanThe 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
by Gary Chapman
Link: http://a.co/aPjyZO3
 –
The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great by Gary D Chapman et al.
The 5 Love Languages for Men: Tools for Making a Good Relationship Great
by Gary D Chapman et al.
Link:http://a.co/j8iPaIn
Love Talk Starters: 275 Questions to Get Your Conversations Going by Les Parrott et al.
Love Talk Starters: 275 Questions to Get Your Conversations Going
by Les Parrott et al.
Link: http://a.co/bm3UVJi

Overcoming Communication Challenges Resources

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition (Business Books) by Kerry Patterson et al.
Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition (Business Books)
by Kerry Patterson et al.
Link: http://a.co/8IwkFyL

God’s thoughts about Sex Resources

Amazing Intimacy: Create A Spectacular Marriage In and Out of the Bedroom by Doug Gustafson et al.
Amazing Intimacy: Create A Spectacular Marriage In and Out of the Bedroom
by Doug Gustafson et al.
Link: http://a.co/bm02KXH

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How to Make Your Wife Cry | a Christian Man’s Guide to Sex

LOVE PASSION SEX MARRIAGESex is God’s idea, true enough. Most of us, however, did not get a very good education about sex from the church or our dad’s for that matter. Our ideas about sex came from every where but the Bible. We were lead to believe that sex was great fun, but like all things that are great fun were also dirty, nasty, sinful, and wrong. Which makes you wonder why we are supposed to save it for the one we love.

If sex is so great and it’s God’s idea, why are Christians so quiet on the matter?

This article is far from comprehensive, but it’s a good start to a quality, accurate, and Biblical guide to sex for Christian Men. The resources referenced go into a lot more detail and I highly recommend you pick up a copy. I don’t care how old you are, you’ll learn something and it will make your love life better (even if it’s already great).

(You have to watch/listen to the video to get the title.)

Things for a man to consider about sex:

  1. Competing, achieving, arriving, scoring, hunting, and winning are natural inclinations for men. Sex is not about conquering, achieving, or scoring; sex is about relating.
  2. Love, passion, and intimacy are not about winning or losing; they’re about how you play the game.
  3. Sex doesn’t just happen; you make it happen.
  4. Men connect and feel loved through sex; women desire sex as the consequence of feeling loved and connected.
  5. A wife is validated by her husband’s sexual interest if that is expressed through connection and affirmation rather than pursuit or expression of need.
  6. The combination of male constancy and ever-changing, complex femininity is the key to keeping sex alive in marriage.
  7. Couples who connect physically daily will have more frequent and more enjoyable sex.
  8. Time allotment formula for a successful marriage: 15 minutes per day + 1 evening per week + 1 day per month + 1 weekend per quarter= successful marriage
  9. Since a man’s need for connection is not felt like a woman’s, go her way. Accept your wife’s greater need for nurturing.
  10. When you genuinely attend to your wife, her heart will open to you, and her sexual attraction to you will increase.
  11. Sexually, a woman has both more complex body parts and more complex bodily responses.
  12. For a woman, both physical arousal and emotional readiness are necessary for her to proceed to intercourse and orgasm
  13. You both win when she learns to listen to her body and go after what she needs.

    Formula: The husband adores his wife, his affirmation ignites her passion, and she invites him sexually.

  14. KEY CONCEPT: Keep your pace lagging behind your wife’s pace in both activity and intensity.
  15. You can never know whether what worked last time will work this time.
  16. Marriage is a license to freedom without demand; marriage is not a license to possess and control.
  17. When you’re mentally outside looking in as you play in the game of sex, you will loose.
  18. The secret to stop spectatoring: Remove all demands for response and focus on the enjoyment of your bodies.
  19. Whenever sex becomes goal oriented, the body’s response will be affected negatively, and enjoyment will be stifled.

Cliff Penner, Ph.D. and Joyce Penner, M.N., R.N. (Penner & Penner) are some of the most trusted experts in Christian Sex Therapy. Many of the concepts in this article can be found and expounded on in Cliff’s book The Way to Love Your Wife | Creating Greater Love and Passion in the Bedroom.

Josh Spurlock is a sex therapist credentialed with the American Board of Christian Sex Therapists. He has trained under experts in sex therapy like Cliff and Joyce Penner, Doug Rosenau, Debra Taylor, and, Michael Systsma. He practices marriage counseling and sex therapy at MyCounselor.Online Josh writes and speaks on topics of sexuality such as Female Sexual Desire.

christian marriage therapyLooking for help? Join the 3,000+ families who have found the help they need by trusting the counselors of MyCounselor.Online. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $50-$155 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here for Christian Marriage Counseling

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Raising a Child with a Disability and Staying Happily Married

Family CounselingAugust, 23, 2011

This month’s SWAN meeting featured special guest speakers from the The Relationship Center Dr. Jared Pingleton and counselor Shaun Lotter, MA, LPC. Dr. Pingleton shared an inspirational message with couples encouraging them to recognize that the enemy is not each other, the problem is not the child – it’s the stress that is pulling a marriage apart that is the problem! He encouraged husbands to give wives a break, and to find ways to romance her…otherwise, “they’re going to be a mommy – and not a wife.”

He also encouraged wives to understand that men have an intense need to fix things, and that when they are unable to “fix” the problems, it can cause them to feel inadequate, which in turn can lead to withdrawal and avoidance. Counselor Shaun Lotter shared that in his counseling experience, one of the things that many families experience is guilt…wondering if they’ve done enough, or wondering if could they have done things differently. Counselor Lotter encouraged families to not feel guilty, but to seek help to find ways to cope with the guilt and stress.

Getting professional help to deal with the stress of raising a child with a disability is so important, there’s nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. Your children depend on you to take care of yourself so that you can in turn take care of them. Dr. Pingleton stressed the importance of finding ways to “recharge your battery” pointing out how difficult it is to give to your children or your spouse when you are empty and have nothing left to give.

It was a wonderful session, full of great insight and helpful advice. The Relationship Center has trained staff equipped to help you and your spouse. Click on the link below to visit their website and find out more information. Don’t put off getting help if you need it. SWAN gives Dr. Pingleton and Counselor Lotter an

ENORMOUS thank you for taking the time to come visit with us and share such a wonderful presentation!

christian marriage therapyLooking for help? Join the 3,000+ families who have found the help they need by trusting the counselors of MyCounselor.Online. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $50-$155 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here for Christian Marriage Counseling

Five Types of Affairs

marital affair emotional affairsFew things in life hurt more than being betrayed by some one you love. When a spouse cheats either emotionally, physically with a sexual affair, or with infidelity through pornography the devastation is crushing.

Five Types of Affairs

  • Low rent rendezvous
    This is your typical one night stand and may be a one-time betrayal. These often occur in conjunction with drinking and anonymity. The core of the betrayal is based upon bad choices, poor boundaries, lack of integrity, and the opportunity to act. This exercise relational quiz can help you gain understanding about the destructive emotional dance you dance when fighting with your spouse.

    • An affair of convenience or opportunity. It is not something sought out, but rather occurs as the result of an opportunity that is presented.
    • The betrayer does not want to leave the marriage.
    • There is not an ongoing relationship.
    • Does not necessarily indicate more severe problems in the marriage.
  • Lonely hearts club
    Characterized by two individuals who believe they are “in love”. The betrayer believes he or she has “fallen in love” and feels powerless over powerful emotions. The betrayer may feel guilt, but feels they are unable to be happy in their marriage and therefore must / should / or deserves to be with the affair partner.

    • Unlike low rent rendezvous this type often does indicate a deeper problem in the marriage.
    • Betrayer wants out of the marriage.
    • Betrayer seems incapable of making decisions as to what they are going to do.
  • Looking for love in all the wrong places
    These affairs are committed by those with an ongoing patter of sexual betrayal such as frequenting topless bars and/or adult bookstores, viewing pornography, compulsive masturbation, prostitution, repetitive encounters with sexual partners, and other behaviors that are destructive to both the individual and to the marriage relationship. Interestingly, this category of affairs is not about the marriage, and often the betrayer will state they do not want their marriage to fail. Betrayers often feel hopelessly trapped by their behaviors.
    This type of betrayal is especially difficult for the spouse because their suffering is not just from the betrayal, but also from their inability to understand their mate’s behavior. What the addict has done seems so foreign the spouse cannot comprehend it. Or they are in shock when they discover the sheer magnitude of the compulsive behavior (like the man who visited more than 300 prostitutes).

    • It is common for the betrayer to have made past efforts to stop the behavior, and to have actually been successful for a season, only to relapse after they believed things were better.
    • Typically the betrayer wants to save their marriage, but has a compelling drive to look elsewhere to meet their needs.
    • Often these behaviors began before marriage, stopped after marriage, and then began again after the addict realized the marriage couldn’t meet the need met by the addictive behavior.
    • This article discusses the difference between porn-related sex and healthy sex
    • This article discusses the hazards of pornography
  • Having your cake and eating it too
    This is an affair where the betrayer is involved with a single person, but at the same time he or she does not want to leave their marriage. To them, the affair partner is a “soul mate”. These affairs frequently spring from relationships where two individuals share something in common they don’t share in common with their mate. It is as if this person develops two lives.

    • Individuals want to stay married
    • However, betrayers do not want to give up the affair partner
    • The betrayers life is divided into two very distinct parts; the relationship with the affair partner and their relationship with their spouse
    • You’re not my lover; you’re my friend
      This relationship is commonly referred to as the emotional affair. Although some would not consider an emotional entanglement an affair, this type of relationship can be just as devastating and destructive as a sexual affair. If a mate is closer to a friend than to their spouse, then it’s already an affair.

      • Boundary issues are a factor
      • Betrayer keeps secrets with their friend instead of their spouse
      • Betrayer wants to stay married but does not want to choose between the friend and their spouse

 

Adapted from Rick Reynolds 5 Types of Affairs.

While the pain of infidelity is devastating it doesn’t have to equal divorce. It is possible not only to heal from an affair, but also to have a stronger marriage after than before.

christian marriage therapyLooking for help? Join the 3,000+ families who have found the help they need by trusting the counselors of MyCounselor.Online. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $50-$155 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here for Christian Marriage Counseling

Common Experiences for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

sexual abuse sexually abused

Common Experiences for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

  • Setting Limits/Boundaries
    • Because someone you trusted and depended on invaded your personal boundaries when you were young, you may have trouble understanding that you have the right to control what happens to you.
  • Memories/Flashbacks
    • Like many survivors, you may experience flashbacks.
  • Anger
    • This is often the most difficult emotion for an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse to get in touch with.
    • As a child your anger was powerless and had little to no effect on the actions of your abuser. For this reason you may not feel confident that you anger will be useful or helpful.
    • Anger may seem to be directed at innocent people in your life today or you may have a generalized since of anger about life.
    • Anger with God is very common and not something God can’t handle.
  • Grieving/Mourning
    • Being abused as a child means the loss of many things- childhood experiences, trust, innocence, normal relationship with family members (especially if the abuser was a family member).
    • You must be allowed to name those losses, grieve them, and then bury them.
  • Guilt, Shame, and Blame
    • You may carry a lot of guilt because you may have experienced pleasure or because you did not try to stop the abuse.
    • There may have been silence surrounding the abuse that led to feelings of shame.
    • It is important for you to understand that it was the adult who abused his/her position of authority and should be held accountable, not you.
  • Trust
    • Learning to trust again may be very difficult for you.
    • You may find that you go from one extreme to the other, not trusting at all to trusting too much.
    • You may find it difficult to forgive or understand the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • Coping Skills
    • You have undoubtedly developed skills in order to cope with the trauma.
    • Some of these skills are healthy (possibly separating yourself from family members, seeking out counseling, etc.)
    • Some are not (drinking or drug abuse, promiscuous sexual activity, eating disorders etc.)
  • Self-esteem/Isolation
    • Low self-esteem is a result of all of the negative messages you received and internalized from your abusers.
    • Because entering into an intimate relationship involves trust, respect, love, and the ability to share, you may flee from intimacy or hold on too tightly for fear of losing the relationship.
  • Sexuality
    • You likely have to deal with the fact that your first initiation into sex came as a result of sexual abuse.
    • You may experience the return of body memories while engaging in a sexual activity with another person. Such memories may interfere in your ability to engage in sexual relationships, which may leave you feeling frightened, frustrated, or ashamed.

christian marriage therapyLooking for help? Join the 3,000+ families who have found the help they need by trusting the counselors of MyCounselor.Online. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $50-$155 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here for Christian Marriage Counseling

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What should I do if I am sexually assaulted or raped?

sexual assault

  1. Find a safe environment – anywhere away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.
  2. Know that what happened was not your fault and that now you should do what is best for you.
  3. Report the attack to police by calling 911. If you want more information, a counselor on the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE can help you understand the process.
  4. To preserve evidence of the attack – don’t bathe or brush your teeth.
  5. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.
  6. Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
  7. To preserve forensic evidence, ask the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam.
  8. If you suspect you may have been drugged, ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample will need to be analyzed later on by a forensic lab.
  9. If you know that you will never report, there are some things you should still consider:
  10. Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
  11. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, for free, confidential counseling, 24 hours a day: 1-800-656-HOPE.
  12. Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need.
  13. Know that it’s never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the National Sexual Assault Hotline or the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.

How can I help a loved one who has been raped or sexually assaulted?

There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been raped or sexually assaulted:

  • Pray. Ask God for help in this difficult time, and ask Him to give you wisdom about what steps to take.
  • Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual assault are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
  • If you are dealing with an issue involving your child, create a safe place by talking directly to them.
  • If you are the non-abusing parent in a case of incest, it is important to support your child and help them through this situation without blaming them. This is also true if you are not a parent but still an observer of incest.
  • If you’re loved one is considering suicide, follow-up with them on a regular basis.
  • Encourage your loved one to report the rape or sexual assault to law enforcement (call 911 in most areas). If your loved one has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, can help.
  • Let your loved one know that professional help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1.800.656.HOPE, the Victim Center Springfield Missouri 417.864.7233, and The Relationship Center 855.593.4357 (855.5WE.HELP) for ongoing recovery.
  • If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany him or her wherever s/he needs to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
  • Encourage him or her to contact help, but realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get help.

christian marriage therapyLooking for help? Join the 3,000+ families who have found the help they need by trusting the counselors of MyCounselor.Online. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $50-$155 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here for Christian Marriage Counseling

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Was I Raped?

was i rapedSexual wounds are often the deepest of all. They violate something inside us that is meant to be respected and delighted in. If you’re a survivor of rape, incest, or another form of sexual abuse, The Relationship Center is here to help you find healing.

 Was I Raped?

The exact definition of “rape”, “sexual assault”, “sexual abuse”, and similar terms differs by state. The wording can get confusing, since states often use different words to mean the same thing or use the same words to describe different things. So, for a precise legal definition, you need to check the law in your state. But here are some general guidelines based on the definitions used by the U.S. Justice Department. Please note that these definitions are a bit graphic, which is inevitable when describing crimes this violent.

  • Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.
  • Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling.

There are three main considerations in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual or legally considered a rape or sexual assault.

  1. Were the participants old enough to consent?
  2. Do the people have the capacity to consent?
  3. Did both participants agree to take part?

It’s important to remember that even if a sexual encounter is not legally considered a rape or sexual assault, it can still be very traumatic and have negative emotional consequences.

Common Rape Questions

  • I didn’t resist physically, does that mean it isn’t rape? People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape, in fact, many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent. Lack of consent can be express (saying no) or it can be implied from the circumstances (for example, if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect, or if you were afraid to object because the perpetrator threatened you with serious physical injury).
  • My body responded physically, does that mean it isn’t rape or that I wanted it? It’s not uncommon at all for a rape victim’s body to respond sexually to unwanted sexual contact. Our bodies are designed to respond to sexual stimuli. This can even be protective in that by your body responding normally to the sexual contact it may have prevented more serious physical damage. Just because your body responded sexually to the contact does not mean that it wasn’t rape or that you wanted it to happen.
  • I used to date or am married to the person who assaulted me, does that mean it isn’t rape?
    Rape can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship (sometimes called date rape, or “acquaintance rape”), or even when the offender is the victim’s spouse. It does not matter whether the other person is an ex-boyfriend or a complete stranger, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex in the past. If it is nonconsensual this time, it is rape.
  • I don’t remember the assault, does that mean it isn’t rape?
    Just because you don’t remember being assaulted doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen and that it wasn’t rape. Memory loss can result from the ingestion of GHB and other “rape drugs”, and from excessive alcohol consumption. That said, without clear memories or physical evidence, it may not be possible to pursue prosecution (talk to your local crisis center or local police for guidance).
  • I was asleep or unconscious when it happened, does that mean it isn’t rape?
    Rape can happen when the victim was unconscious or asleep. If you were asleep or unconscious, then you didn’t give consent. And if you didn’t give consent, then it is rape.
  • I was drunk or he was drunk, does that mean it isn’t rape?
    Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse, or an alibi. Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is nonconsensual, it is rape.
  • I thought “no” but didn’t say it. Is it still rape?
    Yes and it depends on the circumstances. Yes from the perspective of your experience of the event, maybe from a legal perspective. If you didn’t say no because you were legitimately scared for your life or safety, then it may be rape. Sometimes it isn’t safe to resist, physically or verbally, for example, when someone has a knife or gun to your head, or threatens you or your family if you say anything. Even if the event is not legally considered a rape, it can still be extremely damaging and hurtful.

christian marriage therapyLooking for help? Join the 3,000+ families who have found the help they need by trusting the counselors of MyCounselor.Online. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $50-$155 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here for Christian Marriage Counseling

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