Alcohol has become part of the lifestyle of being an Expat in Singapore. For many people, it is not unusual to enjoy a bottle of wine with the meals, it’s a must to add some fun to the parties, and it’s something to do to de-stress and unwind at the end of a hard day. What some people don’t realize is that they have crossed the line from being a social drinker to having alcohol problems. Many people have this stereotypical picture of an alcoholic being someone who needs a drink every day, drinks from the moment they open their eyes, can’t go to work, sleep on the street, etc. What they don’t realize, addiction is defined by control: who has the control? You or the alcohol?
The arrival of a child or children marked a new stage in a couple’s journey. Embarking in Parenthood is definitely a huge transition – priorities shift, roles are redefined, and the balance between freedom and responsibility undergoes a massive overhaul. All these are necessary to ensure that the child(ren) received the best care possible. Some couples described this stage as shifting sands where each day present new challenges and they have to decide and redefine.
For some couples, after this initial stage of transition, romance starts working its way back into their lives and they start gravitating towards each other again. However, for others, they slowly wander off onto 2 separate paths of estrangement. This is why many couples identify “having children” as the point when their relationship starts to fall apart when they show up for couple therapy.
Why are some couples able to find their way back to each other while others can’t? Obviously a lot of that have to do with the pre-child(ren) relationship of the couple but let’s look at some of the challenges parenthood brings and what couples need to do to overcome that:
“I’ve fallen out of love, is there any hope for the marriage?” or “I was never in love with my wife in the first place, I can’t see how I can start now.” These are common comments that I hear in my work with couples in therapy. Couples often react in surprise when they learnt that they can rekindle their love for their partner, or, for those who was never in love in the first place, they can grow to love their partner.
As therapists in our work with clients, if we are doing real therapy instead of managing a current crisis, we would often uncover stories of pain, suffering and trauma. It never ceases to amaze us the strength of the human spirit in overcoming such adversity and part of our joy in our work is to be witness and part of the process of bringing to blossom this strength within a person.
One trauma that is usually a deep secret that is rarely told until the process of therapy is that of sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual abuse often carry a lot of shame which should not be theirs, but nonetheless became deeply embedded within them. Dealing with shame and absolving them of blame are important steps they need to take to transform from survivor to victor. So how can you do that?
When parents meet with the school for consultation regarding their child’s progress, some parents may have received recommendation to send their child for psychological assessment. This may cause some anxiety and questions such as “Is there something wrong with my child?” Let's look at some of the basics so as to help parents make informed decisions about psychological assessment.
All of us have our own ideas of what love is. These ideas may be shaped by examples from our parents, friends, books, magazines, and especially Hollywood romance movies! A large number of couple ended up in my counseling room fearing the doom of their relationship because they no longer feel “love”. “Not feeling ‘love’” for their partner is one of the many excuses for people to justify their affairs and/or decide to end their relationship. Couples tend not to understand that a love relationship is not just a “state”, it is a process of never-ending opportunity to love once again, forgive once again, to commit to one another and to the relationship, over and over, again and again.
Let’s look at the stages of development in a love relationship and where potential point of “divorce” or leaving the relationship for couple who couldn’t successfully transit to the next stage:
We all worry at times about actual or potential problems. Why do we worry? Worrying is our brain’s way to prepare and anticipate for bad things happening. Moderate amount of worry is positive in that it helps us take precaution and avoid risky behaviours. Worrying becomes a problem when it distracts us from focusing on the solution or built our anxiety so high that it paralyzes us from taking actions. Worry that is too intense, too frequent, and too unrelenting can definitely cut down on our happiness and enjoyment of life. It can even impact our physical health.
As parents, we are often frustrated by our children’s misbehaviors and our inabilities to deal with them. This is especially true when parenting young children who have yet to acquire language skills. Many parents are surprised to learn that there are purposes behind misbehaviors. Understanding these purposes would make us more effective parents. Here are the 4 common goals of children’s misbehaviors and some pointers on how to deal with them:
Are you often frustrated in your attempts to get your love messages across to your partner? Or conversely, are you having difficulties relating to your partner’s expression of love? If so, it may be that both of you are speaking different love languages.
Most people are unaware that there are 5 different love languages and that each individual has a primary love language by which he or she expresses and receives love. If you express love in a way your partner doesn’t understand, he or she won’t realize you’ve expressed your love at all! It is as if you are communicating to each other in a foreign language. So what are the 5 love languages?
Ms Ho Shee Wai