Language of Love

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner which means never ending advertisements to buy more chocolates, diamonds, roses, and expensive getaways to show the one you love how much you care.

Are these advertisements even factual? Is the only way to express your admiration by spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars? Psychology disagrees.

Gary Chapman, a leader in couple and relationship research, has founded one of the key factors to successful marriages and relationships around the world is to understand a person’s love language.

Just like each person is individual in their likes, dislikes, thinking patterns, habits, and cultural background, we also are unique in the way we best receive love.

Chapman identifies The 5 Love Languages that bring insight into the best way to approach emotional intimacy with our partner.

Words of Affirmation: Feeling wanted, valued, and positively praised in a relationship is a priority for a WOA partner.

  • If you love language is WOA, you probably enjoy when your partner compliments you and genuinely shares with their words how much they care through conversation, writing, notes, etc.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is words of affirmation, try purchasing a dry erase board specifically to write quick love notes back and forth in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Quality Time: Spending uninterrupted, engaged, and focused time with your partner. This does NOT include sitting in the same living room working simultaneously.

  • If your love language is Quality Time, you probably enjoy exploring new experiences with your partner, whether it’s taking a pottery class or going on a road trip, you know your partner cares when they take the time from their busy schedule to spend with you.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is quality time, try planning an adventurous date idea for V-day and surprise your partner. Participating in new experiences with your loved one is a wonderful way to increase your emotional connection.

Physical Touch: is not just about sex, but all forms of physical intimacy.

  • If your love language is physical touch, you feel loved when your partner shows their love physically by holding you hand, rubbing your scalp in bed, or massages your feet.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language in physical touch, try increasing the amount of playful touch during your date night to increase affection or plan a date that includes massage such as a luxurious spa day away from the kids.

Acts of Service: includes helping with any task that will take stress off of our partner such as taking out the trash, cooking dinner, paying a bill that is late etc.

  • If your primary love language is acts of service, you feel appreciated when your partner takes the time to notice you could use help and does the task at hand to support the family system continuing to function optimally.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is acts of service, try tackling a project that you struggle to get around too due to time to surprise your partner. The mental stress of the “to-do” list can many times get in the way of intimacy.

Gifts: includes receiving mementos that show genuine value and love towards the other person.

  • If your primary love language is acts of service, you feel appreciated when your partner brings a token or memento to show they were thinking about you.
  • TIP: If your lover’s primary love language is gifts, try picking up simple trinkets for your loved one when you travel for work without them to show you thought of them during your experience. The physical item will hold a feeling of gratitude for your partner, no matter the amount spent.

Many times the way we best show admiration, does not align with our partners authentic love language.

If you are struggling to increase intimacy in your relationship understanding your partner in a more in depth manner may be key!

Wishing you an abundance of loving energy Valentines Day!

Michelle Smith

LMHC, MS

(305) 204-6378

Buy 5 Love Languages on Amazon

Therapy Doesn’t Have to Be Scary: What to Know Before You Go

Many times fear of the unknown stops potential clients from making that first phone call to begin receiving treatment, but therapy doesn’t have to be scary!

Keep reading for some important information to help ease anxiety you may have about seeking mental health treatment.

Therapists Do Not Provide Advice

If you are new to understanding therapy, you may believe entering a clinician’s office you will be expected to spill your deepest darkest secrets in record time, only to have someone sitting across from you say, “Well all you need to do is…” Although this is a very common ideology, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Seeking mental health treatment is different than speaking to family and friends about your feelings because we are trained specifically NOT provide advice to clients. Therapists instead will ask questions to support unlocking the wisdom already inside.

A therapist’s intention across the couch is to support the clients treatment goal progress by providing psychoeducation, and debunking irrational fears and beliefs while building a trusting and safe relationship.

Sounds less horrific already right??

You Have Control of Your Treatment

Another fear many clients come to the initial session with is that the therapist will control and manipulate treatment. For example dictating what is talked about during each session, or pushing clients to talk of uncomfortable issues before they are ready.

In reality, the therapeutic relationship (between the therapist and the client) is one of the most treasured and important parts of the process. Depending on your comfortability, it may take a few sessions before you are ready to begin diving into the content you came to seek a professional for… AND That’s OK!

While beginning treatment, your therapist will collaboratively work with you to identify your goals. Never feel pressured to share information you don’t feel comfortable with yet to try to get to results faster.

Let your therapist know how you are feeling. You will take an active part in treatment… after all, it is your life we’re talking about!

Confidentiality

Finally, and most importantly is the myths behind confidentiality which is the cornerstone of effective therapy. Confidentiality is simply, your right to privacy.

HIPPA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, ensures your medical records and personal health information, including psychotherapy and mental health information, remains private.

That means, without your written permission your therapist cannot legally share any personal information to your family, friends, boss, cousin, or partner. They actually can’t even disclose if you are even their client or not without a release of information…(talk about hush hush!)

Keep in mind, there are certain limitations to confidentiality, which your therapist should explain in detail during your initial session.

There are benefits to utilizing a private pay therapist, if confidentiality is a major importance to your treatment. If your therapist appears unclear or rushes through confidentiality and it’s limitations, be sure to ask questions such as:

    What types of communication with my therapist are confidential ( ie: in person, email, phone, text etc.)
    If I’m billing insurance or using EAP what information is shared to my insurance agency/ workplace?
    What is the benefit of private pay regarding confidentiality?
    What are the limitations of confidentiality?

As a therapist, I have the amazing privilege of sitting alongside my clients journey, as they take inventory of personal feelings, emotions, and mental status.

This Halloween don’t let fear stop you from creating a life worth living! Begin discovering yourself TODAY with Michelle Smith Counseling, located off Northlake Blvd in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Contact me at 405-323-1786 for more information on my therapeutic approach

Happy Halloween,

Michelle Smith

MS, RMHCI

michellesmith@discoveryourselftoday.com

405-323-1786

The Importance of Mothers (and Other Parental Figures)

This weekend we celebrated all the hard-working, dedicated, and loving mothers and mother figures for Mother’s Day. This week’s blog post is dedicated to all the wonderful mothers (and parental figures) out there!

Harry Harlow, a psychologist in the 1960’s understood the importance of parental figures to the social-emotional development of humans. Prior to his study with monkeys, many people believed babies and children depended on their mother’s due to their need for a food source and survival.

Harlow thought different, he felt the comfort provided by caretakers was also a factor to development, and he was right!

Harlow studied the effect of monkeys on two different types of “mother figures”. One “mother figure” made of wire only had the monkey food, the other had no monkey food but was covered in a comforting terry cloth. Harlow was fascinated when he noticed the monkeys would spend the majority of time with the terry cloth mother, running only to the wire mother just long enough to fill up on milk. Harlow founded the importance of love, compassion, and validation to our development thanks to this intriguing psychological study.

For humans, the same is true. It has been proven time and time again that children with secure attachments to their parental figures have the best chances at healthy physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development. Love, encouragement, and compassion given by parental figures is vital to effective growth and sends the message that our children can trust in us to meet their needs.

A recent study even linked parent-child communication to children’s successes. The study founded that quality conversations were a key factor in successful development. These imperative interactions foster connectedness to our families. Warm and positive communication with purpose help children more accurately understand family values, morals, appropriate communication skills, and increases confidence and self-esteem.

If you’re having trouble finding time to have conversations with your child, take the car ride to and from school or doctor’s appointments as an opportunity. Ask your child or teen open ended questions to get them talking about their feelings and day. Instead of “What did you do at school today?” Try something like “What was your favorite part of your day?” This question warrants a little more pondering and also cannot be answered with the overused “It was good, Mom!”. Not only will it help foster your child’s development, but it will increase the quality of your parent-child relationship and encourage healthy relationships in your child’s future.

Whether you are a mother, father, or parental figure you are appreciated! No one works longer, more strenuous hours, or a more important job than parents!

If you or someone you know is struggling with parent-child communication, self-care and work/life balance, or other mental health issues and would like to set up an appointment for psychotherapy please contact Michelle Smith, RMHCI, MS at 405-323-1786 for a FREE 15 phone consultation!