Do you have trouble sleeping as you think about all the people you know who are sharing their bed with someone they feel safe with and love? Are you tired of the pitying look in your roommate’s eyes when you come home from yet another failed OKCupid date while they snuggle on the couch with their partner? Are you worried that the time for having children is quickly passing you by because a relationship seems so elusive?
You are NOT the only one!
These feelings are hard–gut wrenching even. Relationships are at the core of what makes our lives meaningful and if anxiety, depression or something even more elusive is stopping you from making these connections I want you to know you are not awake at night by yourself. I want you to know that you don’t have to suffer by yourself. Once you are stuck in this mire the world can look like it’s set up against you. Everyone seems to be coupled and your single friends look like they’re having a blast on Facebook while your Pinterest is filled with solo works. I’ve sat with many people–People of Color and people who are white, LGBTQ and straight folk–many who’ve talked about the deep fears and sadness they have of ultimately being alone while the world just keeps moving on.
I’ve met people who are embarrassed at every family event that they attend alone and people who wish they felt more at ease at parties. Do you wish just making friends were easier? Are you embarrassed that this is something you’re still struggling with at your age?
I’m letting you know: there is hope.
The Why’s and How’s of Relationship Counseling For One
I work in a relational style that is not looking to pathologize you or put you in a box. You may have had therapists in the past who were quick with a ‘diagnosis’ that made you feel that they understood Depression or Anxiety, but were not relating to who You were. As we get to know each other my office will become a space to safely and, without judgment, look at what gets in the way of your forming the kinds of relationships with others that you want. How we get there is going to be different for everyone, but I’ve got lots of tools in my toolbox to help you explore and find that the person you desperately want to be may have been inside you all the time. You can check out some testimonials from colleagues (I don’t solicit testimonials from clients–ever), but I can also give an example of how I work:
Frank came in one day because he felt that nothing was moving in his life–he was stuck and felt hopeless. He was still living with his parents, his friends were all moving on–or he had stopped talking to some of them for a variety of reasons that made sense at the time, but now he’s just alone. He looked ahead and nothing seemed hopeful.
We spent our first few session mining for that hope. Little by little Frank was able to remove some of the blocks that had kept him from seeing that there were little snippets of joy in his life and learned that these snippets could be expanded. We did this by looking at the ways he got to where he was, the choices that he had made along the way–and the many ways he thought he was trapped because, well, he had just been doing things one way for so long he didn’t realize there was any other way.
Frank’s story is a good example of what happens when we are so entrenched in our life that we miss what’s available. Reminds me of that old joke:
Two salmon are swimming along and they pass another fish who says–
“Morning, guys! How’s the water?”
The other two continue to swim until one asks the other–
“What the heck is water?”
In therapy we can challenge what we take for granted and once you know what you’re dealing with you can choose to be in control of your life.
How much more exciting swimming will be then!
But do I need a “therapist”???
I have people asking me this all the time. They tell me they go to yoga, they meditate, they vent to their dog–why pay someone? We’re not mentally ill–we don’t need a therapist!
I hear it a lot.
I also hear:
- “Why do I always end up dating the same kind of woman/guy?”
- “Why do friends always seem to turn on me?”
We, along with the other people in our life (and our pets), are so caught up IN our life that it can be tough for us to see the patterns and interactions they, and we, take for granted.
A therapist is in it and out of it at the same time.
One of the reasons we get stuck is because we don’t always prioritize our needs. Part of this journey together is you beginning to do just that. It can be easy to make a long list of reasons to not spend 45 minutes a week focusing on you. To make it more concrete–there’s more and more research every day about how depression, anxiety, anger and other strong emotions affect our bodies and how we can end up in our primary care doctor’s office paying who knows how much for something that cannot be ignored any more. Why keep ignoring all that now?
I Don’t Want Other People to Know
This is a good time to talk about confidentiality and privacy. Part of making the space safe for you to talk about yourself and your relationships is by making sure that you know that I won’t share what we talk about with anyone. This is also the law. I can’t do it and I don’t want to. This is your time. The only exception is when someone is in danger: then my job is to ensure safety.
Also it’s important to say that my colleagues and I have not done the best job hacking away at the stigma of going to see a therapist. It’s less of an issue in New York City, but it’s there. The best consolation I can give you is that many of the people you think will judge you are secretly worried about being judged for going to their own therapist.
Online sessions are also available! You can find more about that here, but in a nutshell–it’s counseling from wherever is easiest for you. As long as you can find a private space with internet access, we can work together from wherever you choose. Let me know if you have questions about online counseling.
I Have More Questions About Relationship Counseling For One…
Good. That makes sense. You’ve probably been struggling and suffering for a long time. I invite you to look around the site, check out some blog posts about relationship counseling for one. If you’re interested you can also download my e-book ‘Struggling to Connect: 6 Tips for Making Friends as an Adult’
If you’d like to talk more about relationship counseling for guys in my Brooklyn office feel free to get in touch with me for an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.