5 Reasons Marriage Counseling Builds Relationships that Last

Pyramid Online Counseling      Relationships  
Marriage Counseling Helps Relationships Last

Marriage counseling is simple in premise and powerful in effect: it offers therapy that helps couples speak openly and honestly about everyday life, existing conflict and general relationship dynamics.

Often, marriage counseling therapists follow a fairly similar pattern when it comes to the first few sessions. Spouses or significant others will sit down together with a licensed counselor, where all clients are provided with an open, non-judgmental atmosphere that can help resolve issues. Couples often discover that deep relational growth can result after even a few marriage counseling sessions.

Looking to dive into even more information about specific benefits to marriage counseling? We’ve outlined a few of the top benefits to this type of therapy below, for your convenience.

1. Set priorities and goals, together as a couple

Marriage counseling enables you and your spouse to identify both priorities and goals you’d like to see become a reality. These goals could be short-term actions, perhaps a list of items you’d like to accomplish along with your spouse in the next week or month. Your goals could also be long-term goals, aspirations you’re looking to achieve even if they appear to only be on the horizon. What’s important is that you arrive at both new goals and new priorities together, to promote open communication, unity and cohesion.

And of course, whenever you learn about your spouse or significant other through marriage counseling, you will also learn about yourself. 

2. Fortify your feelings toward your spouse

Marriage counseling helps you fortify any feelings you have toward your spouse. How? Here’s one way: through open, honest conversation, you can begin to draw parallels between how your spouse feels about you, and all of the ways they show you they care on a daily basis. You’ll begin to notice the subtle ways your spouse tries to make your day and your life better; there are likely things your spouse does for you that you aren’t even aware of!

So often, couples find themselves in marriage counseling simply because over time, they’ve found that they have drifted apart. And they’re looking to marriage counseling as a way to rekindle the love they experienced early on in their relationship, when the marriage itself felt effortless and new. And while marriage counseling certainly can’t help you turn back time, it does offer you definitive steps to reintroduce romance, spend quality time together and enhance feelings toward your spouse.

3. Heal unresolved issues

Marriage counseling is a proven method for effective problem solving within a relationship, especially when it comes to conflict that might be lingering or unresolved. Within the context of marriage, the goal is always to resolve conflict and tension before it builds. When issues go unresolved, they can lead to escalating tension, misunderstandings and more, undermining the relationship along the way.

Here’s the good news: marriage counselors can help you and your spouse together work through any issues that have come between you. Through concrete conflict resolution techniques that help you reshape the way you view conflict, marriage counseling can help to unite you and your spouse against conflict, instead of against one another. And you’ll also learn how to deal with your own emotions, as well as the emotions of your spouse, in an appropriate manner to prevent emotion from evolving into conflict.

4. Learn to hold productive conversations

Many couples pursue marriage counseling because they know it can help them improve communication. Many spouses actually reach a point where they feel as though they are not being heard by their significant other, further leading to a breakdown in regular conversation. Marriage counseling offers practical therapy techniques that help you truly listen to the other individual, processing their thoughts and feelings instead of preparing a response.

Marriage counseling works well to help both members in the marriage feel heard and valued. Healthy communication may feel elusive in a marriage, but it’s truly only a few steps away once you’re both connected with the right therapist.

5. Become more effective parents

Your family will change forever once you welcome children. Parenting is a privilege and a joy, but it obviously comes with unique challenges along the way. Marriage counseling can help outfit you and your spouse with the resources and tools you need to implement effective parenting strategies.

When your marriage thrives, your relationship with your children is also going to thrive. Learn how to foster a stable home and a loving environment for children, when you take the time to fortify the framework of your marriage through counseling.

Take the steps toward a better marriage today

One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage counseling concerns who is qualified to attend. You and your spouse don’t need to be experiencing deep marital issues in order to attend counseling. No matter the reason for attending, marriage counseling offers a variety of benefits that can help improve communication, increase your sense of self-worth, and help both spouses set supportive goals. Call (833) 525-3077 today, or fill out our quick contact form to learn even more about our secure, HIPAA-compliant online marriage counseling services.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Mental Health Nationwide

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
how covid 19 has impacted mental health

We’re all familiar with the effects that COVID-19 has imposed on the entire world. Social distancing, work-from-home environments, limited public gatherings and masked faces have quickly become the new normal. It’s likely that we’re all also familiar with the physical effects of this virus. Short-term COVID-19 symptoms can include fever, fatigue and shortness of breath, as well as headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and a loss of taste or smell. And while long-term effects of the virus are still being established, healthcare professionals estimate that some individuals who have overcome the virus could experience lasting hair loss, sleep issues, accelerated heartbeat, joint pain, and a lasting loss of taste or smell.

While the vast majority of the world is well aware of the health complications one can experience as a result of COVID-19, it’s also worth noting that the pandemic delivers an equally wide array of potential mental health challenges. And unlike the physical symptoms of the virus, mental health concerns regarding COVID-19 can affect individuals who haven’t even contracted the virus.

As you continually work to manage mental health challenges related to the pandemic, here are a few ways that COVID-19 has impacted mental wellness around the world.

Change in daily routine

Mental health is fortified when we adhere to a daily routine, one that includes regular sleep times, regular diets, regular tasks, etc. Among other negative effects, COVID-19 has disrupted the daily routines of so many individuals around the world.

Much of our mental health is rooted in regularity. Whether we realize it or not, we benefit from daily structure – from bedtimes to recipes, we trust the small things to provide order during the day. That’s why it’s so important to pursue a healthy diet and a productive sleep schedule where possible: not only are you doing your body a favor in promoting health, but eventually these healthy decisions will become automatic, healthy habits.

Unfortunately, if COVID-19 has done one thing, it has altered the way we fulfill our daily routines. Daily commutes have become walks to our home offices, and time spent with friends is now time spent on video calls. It’s harder to pursue healthy eating practices, when isolation and an increase in food delivery options can make it so easy to replace fresh vegetables with fried food. It’s harder to maintain consistent sleep schedules, when all it takes is a pair of sweatpants and an internet connection before you’re technically “at work.”

Ultimately, change in daily routine can yield considerable mental health effects. A lack of structure and the accompanying healthy practices can leave the door open for threats to your mental wellness, including substance use, stress and depression.

Making existing conditions more difficult to handle

It’s no secret that COVID-19 can make existing situations even more difficult to handle. Grocery shopping is made more difficult by the required social distancing measures. Socializing, meeting new people, getting to know neighbors, hanging out with coworkers and spending time with family is all made more difficult by limits of gatherings and the obvious health concerns. Even hobbies like outdoor sports and hiking are affected by the closing of public facilities. The fact that the pandemic has made our settings more difficult to enjoy has understandably fostered a wide variety of mental health challenges.

Of course, existing mental health issues are often made more difficult by COVID-19 as well. Individuals struggling with depression are learning to navigate new isolation and loneliness. Those learning to mitigate anxiety or stress are now forced to adapt to an environment that can sometimes make symptoms worse. And of course, grief and loss are prevalent emotions felt by so many during these difficult times. Circumstances have forced an increasing number of individuals to seek mental health treatment, in efforts to combat the effects that pandemic has delivered.

Increase dependency on substances

Substance use issues have also become prevalent during these times. With an increase in personal and work-related stress, as well as mounting financial pressures that can exist as byproducts of businesses closing, substance use has become an oft-use method for escape. Drug and alcohol use have led many into self-destructive patterns, adding to the list of issues to be overcome.

Address mental health challenges today

Here’s the good news: today can be the last day that you’re alone in dealing with any of the above mental health issues, or any mental health challenges you might be facing.  Learning to cope with the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic means adopting healthy, productive techniques that can help you reframe your perspective and pursue long-lasting mental well-being.

If you’re ready to take productive steps toward managing the mental health effects of COVID-19, we’re ready to help. Call us at (883) 525-3077, or reach out today to get started managing your own mental health concerns.

Understanding My Postpartum Depression

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
Young mother playing with her child on the couch

New moms face so many challenges. You’re likely dealing with less sleep and more stress, while you learn everything from breastfeeding to the specifics of effective diaper-changing. All of these changes don’t begin to cover the new responsibilities and expectations that come with being a mom. And perhaps more importantly, these challenges don’t begin to cover the emotional toll that pregnancy can have on mothers.

Whether this is your first child or your fifth, mothers deal with physical and emotional pressure. The “perfect mother” simply doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t stop many new mothers from feeling as though they’ve fallen short of the non-existent stereotype. If you’re experiencing recurring emotional pain that began after childbirth and hasn’t let up in the weeks that have followed, you could very well be experiencing postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression – depression experienced by mothers after childbirth – is typically caused by a variety of factors. These include normal hormonal shifts that occur in a mother’s body after she gives birth, as well as general tiredness and lack of sleep, and the mental adjustment that must take place as motherhood becomes the norm. Postpartum depression is perhaps more common that you might imagine; one study indicates that as many as 1 in 7 moms experience some form of postpartum depression after giving birth.

From signs to symptoms to effective treatment techniques, we’ve outlined everything you might need to know about postpartum depression below.

Recognizing symptoms of postpartum depression

Postpartum depression can affect mothers of all demographics, even if you didn’t experience it during the birth of previous children. You can experience the onset of postpartum depression during any point over the first year after giving birth, though most commonly you’ll start to see postpartum depression set in within the first 3 weeks after childbirth.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms most commonly associated with postpartum depression:

  • You feel exhausted, but you can’t fall asleep
  • Your actions feel out of control
  • You have trouble making simple decisions
  • You feel like you need to escape the situation
  • You experience mood swings without your control
  • You can’t figure out why you feel upset or anxious
  • You feel like you have to keep your thoughts and feelings a secret, because you’re worried people will see you as a bad mother
  • You’ve lost interest in activities you once enjoyed

If you’ve experienced one of more of these symptoms, you might be experiencing the effects of postpartum depression. Don’t feel bad about reaching out and seeking the help you know you need. At Pyramid Online Counseling, we offer treatment and recovery services that help you handle life’s challenges as they come.

Why am I experiencing postpartum depression?

There are several causes of postpartum depression. Typically, both physical and emotional factors play a role in symptom length and severity.

While causes of postpartum depression vary from one woman to another, they typically include:

  • Drops or natural fluctuations in hormones that follow childbirth
  • Family members with depression
  • Existing stress or anxiety issues
  • Existing marriage, financial or substance use issues

Am I at risk to develop postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression doesn’t play favorites; it can affect any new mom, even if they had no problems with past problems. However, certain moms could be susceptible to increased postpartum depression risk, given a number of factors. These pre-existing risk factors include:

  • Family history of depression, even if it’s not during pregnancy
  • Existing bipolar disorder
  • Postpartum depression experienced after a previous pregnancy
  • Family history of postpartum depression
  • Family history of depression, anxiety or other mood disorders
  • Infants with health problems
  • Multiple births: twins, triplets, etc.
  • Existing marital or relationship issues with your partner

What can I do about my postpartum depression?

Even if you don’t have a history of postpartum depression or mood disorders, you’re at risk of developing postpartum depression after you give birth. And even if your doctor monitored symptoms closely before, during and after pregnancy, and you participated in postpartum checkups, you can still develop postpartum depression.

If you’re looking to properly address postpartum depression, licensed healthcare professionals are a great option. Therapists can point you in the direction of valuable postpartum depression resources, and provide expertise in managing your symptoms. At Pyramid Online Counseling, you can choose the healthcare professional that best suits your individual needs, after browsing hundreds of profiles. Call (833) 525-3077 today, or fill out our abbreviated online counseling contact form, to learn more about Pyramid Online Counseling and take your first steps toward recovery from postpartum depression.

5 Tips That Can Help You Stop a Gambling Addiction

Pyramid Online Counseling      Addiction & Substance Use, Treatment & Therapy  
Poker chips on a table

Whether it’s horse racing or slot machines, poker or sporting events, gambling activities can quickly progress from a social activity into an active choice, quickly becoming a habit that takes time and serious effort to break. It’s best to take full control of the issue before you begin to notice it taking full control of you. Left unaddressed, a gambling addiction can quickly contribute to considerable financial harm, loss of friends and desperation to recoup debts.

Stopping a gambling problem can often feel like trying to slow down a train travelling 200 miles per hour. However, proven techniques can help you slowly take back control of your life from gambling issues; in time, you’ll gain the separation from gambling that you’re looking to achieve.

1. Admit that you have a problem

Sadly, so many individuals never progress past this initial step. Admitting to yourself that you have a gambling problem is brave in itself. You’re admitting to the issue, a problem that you’ve perhaps sidestepped or ignored to this point.

It also helps immensely to admit that you have a gambling problem in front of someone else that you trust. Whether it’s a friend, a beloved family member or a peer, let someone else know about the gambling issues that you’re struggling with. Not only will you find comfort and confidence in finally opening up about your issue, but you’ll also be creating an accountability partner, who can help you stay true to your resolve when you begin to distance yourself from self-destructive gambling practices.

2. Take steps to avoid gambling triggers

You know better than anyone what triggers your gambling habits. Immediately after taking steps to ensure that you receive the help you need, distance yourself from any triggers that could cause you to fall back into damaging gambling practices.

Sometimes, this means limiting your internet connection during certain times of the day, especially during times when you would otherwise be most likely to participate in online gambling. Other times, this means asking an accountability partner to check up on you during certain periods of the weekend, when you might otherwise be traveling to a casino or placing remote bets. Ultimately, you need to find ways to avoid the avenues that traditionally contributed to your gambling habits. If this means reevaluating the individuals you allow to influence your decisions, and adjusting your social group so that you spend more time with people who are going to build you up, that’s an adjustment you need to make.

3. Fill your time with productive activities

It’s not enough to remove negative influences from your life, most importantly those influences and activities that contributed to gambling habits. In addition, you’ll need to replace those gambling habits and self-destructive practices with productive activities, that help you foster self-confidence and build peace of mind.

These activities certainly don’t need to be complicated. You’re only trying to replace problematic habits with productive ones. Try taking advantage of the opportunities that gambling has taken away: go for a walk during the middle of the day. Sample a local restaurant’s menu. Spend time with old friends or neglected family members. Perhaps you could adopt a new habit, start a new television show or learn a new skill. No matter how you choose to spend your time in the wake of absent gambling habits, you’ll be taking a huge step forward in replacing degrading gambling issues with positive, new habits.

4. Persistence is key

When you’re trying to overcome a gambling addiction, it’s so important to maintain persistence. Setbacks are not final; victories do not mean struggles will not arise again. Instead, look to prioritize daily perseverance above all else. Through good days and bad, through the periods of self-confidence and self-doubt that are sure to follow, persistence is key. Stay persistent with your therapy or counseling sessions and persistent in the changes you’ve made to your daily life.

5. Don’t wait to get the support you need

Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle your gambling addiction on your own. There are so many resources at your fingertips that can help you take back the fight for your freedom. Make it a priority to source help professionally, from licensed therapists who can speak to the struggles you’re facing. Whether you receive that help through our counseling network at Pyramid Online Counseling or through another reputable counseling outlet, it’s critically important that you make your own health an immediate, lasting priority by getting the support you need as soon as possible.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a happier, healthier you, Pyramid Online Counseling is ready to help. Browse through a network of licensed, online counselors to find the perfect fit for you. You’ll be able to connect online through a HIPAA-compliant, encrypted online counseling platform, to receive the help you need without leaving the comfort of your own home. Fill out our easy-to-use counseling form today, and you’ll be paired with the therapist best qualified to help you distance yourself from life’s challenges.