survive-infidelity
Can a Relationship Survive after Infidelity?

There is life after infidelity. It is not always an easy journey, but you can repair a relationship after an affair. In the first part of this guide, we discussed the stages of cheating in a relationship. Now we will look at what happens after infidelity so you can choose the right path for your life.

Should We Stay Together after Infidelity?

Once the affair is uncovered, the non-cheating party will go through a range of emotions. Betrayal, hurt, anger, confusion, blame, depression – it’s a mental roller coaster. Along the way, one question will continuously resonate: “Should I stay or should I leave?”

The answer is completely personal. It will depend on the circumstances surrounding the affair and how the affair impacted each person. There will be trust issues, but you can work through those. There will be questions, but you can answer those as they arise. Life will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean the new version is a bad one. You must determine if the relationship is worth the work.

Working Together to Rebuild Your Relationship

After infidelity, we highly recommend going through couples counseling. This may sound biased coming from a therapist office, but counseling works. In couples counseling, you have an unbiased third party there to guide your discussion. Your therapist will help you identify the underlying issues that led to the cheating, and then you can find solutions for those issues.

Therapy is not a blame game. It’s not about making the person who cheated feel bad about the affair. He or she already feels regret and remorse. Couples counseling is designed to help both parties see where they have room for improvement. Improve communication, resolve conflicts, bring closure to past traumas and move forward with positive support – that is what therapy is all about.

If you want to rebuild your relationship after infidelity, our team is here to help. We will match you with the best couples therapist near you to address the specific struggles you’re facing. We have multiple therapist offices in Michigan, with specialists in divorce prevention, marriage counseling, anger management, addiction recovery, and a range of other services. Contact us at (734) 454-3560 to schedule a confidential consultation with a couples therapist.

Stages of Cheating in a Relationship

Cheating is often associated with physical, intimate acts. However, a large portion of cheating partners never physically interact with their person of interest. There are layers to infidelity, and they can all cause damage for a relationship. In this discussion, we will explore various stages of cheating in a relationship and what to do in the aftermath.

Before the Cheating Occurs

Before someone cheats in a relationship, he or she becomes mentally detached from the relationship. This may happen consciously or subconsciously. The person may not be getting something out of the current relationship, so he or she seeks that missing element in someone else. Even if the act of infidelity happens unexpectedly, there is an underlying issue that causes the person to “check out.”

Types of Infidelity – It’s Not Always Physical

Infidelity does not have to involve a sexual encounter. That may be the end-result, but there are stages of cheating that occur well before a physical interaction. Here are some different types of infidelity:

  • Emotional Infidelity: One partner becomes emotionally intimate with someone outside of the relationship. This could be a friend, a coworker, a stranger on the internet, etc. Emotional infidelity is often more powerful than physical infidelity because it involves a deep connection, not just lust.
  • Micro-cheating: This involves small acts that may potentially cross the line of what’s faithful and what is not faithful. For instance, having secret flirtatious conversations with someone on social media could be considered micro-cheating. If these become persistent, they could also lead to emotional infidelity. Many forms of micro-cheating seem harmless at first glance, but they can lead to problems in the relationship.
  • Habitual Infidelity: For some people, cheating in a relationship becomes a habit. It may stem from a condition, such as sex addiction, or it may be learned behavior. Habitual infidelity can also come from a more complex underlying issue – self-destruction, adrenaline seeking, low self-esteem, etc.
  • Digital Infidelity: In this case, the acts of infidelity happen entirely online and through messages. Some forms of emotional infidelity are also digital infidelity. The conversations happen purely through texts and social media, but they do not involve sexual acts. In other instances, a person may interact with someone else through phone or video chat, but still never see the other person in real life.
  • Physical Infidelity: This is what most people consider cheating. There is a physical interaction with a person outside of the relationship. Physical infidelity is complex on its own, ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse.

As you can see, the types of infidelity often overlap. What is defined as micro-cheating or emotional infidelity for one couple may not be the same for another couple. At the core though, all forms of infidelity involve interacting with someone outside of the relationship in a secretive or subjectively inappropriate manner.

The Progression of Infidelity

Much like the stages of grief, the stages of infidelity are not always linear. For one person, it may be micro-cheating that turns into emotional infidelity, followed by physical infidelity. For another, digital infidelity may turn into physical infidelity. Someone who habitually cheats may go through different stages with each partner outside of the relationship. No matter what, an underlying issue sparks with the person or the relationship triggers a cycle of behaviors.

What to Do If You’ve Cheated or Been Cheated on

If you have cheated or been cheated on, there is still hope for your relationship. Continue to Part 2 to learn more about life after infidelity.

caffeine-anxiety
How Caffeine Affects Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that caffeine may worsen anxiety and depression symptoms? That innocent cup of coffee you drink every morning may not be helping your mental health. In this discussion, we will explore how caffeine affects anxiety and depression, along with tips to reduce your caffeine intake.

Caffeine Interrupts Your Natural Sleep Patterns

Your body has all of the chemicals necessary to help you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. The more caffeine you drink, the less your body wants to work. The natural energy levels you would normally get are now being replaced with caffeine. Thus when you go to bed at night, your body doesn’t know what to do.

This is especially true for people who drink caffeine all throughout the day. If you are going to drink it, try to use it as a morning pick-me-up. Avoid caffeine during the evening hours, as it may keep you up later than you want to be.

What does this have to do with anxiety and depression? Well, your body needs sleep to process emotions. This is the time when your brain files all of your memories into various compartments so you can be prepared for the next day. If you aren’t sleeping well, your mind can’t be refreshed. This worsens your anxiety and depression, and it prevents you from feeling productive.

Caffeine Is Addictive

Caffeine is highly addictive, and as with any addiction, it comes with side effects. Your body gets used to a certain level of caffeine, and then it needs more to feel the same effects. Caffeine may become a coping mechanism of sorts. “I need this to get through the day.” By finding a healthier, more effective coping mechanism, you can improve your anxiety or depression from the core.

Caffeine Triggers Panic

That burst of energy you get from caffeine may trigger your panic responses. When you get startled, your heart races. When you drink caffeine, your heart races again. This persistent panic feeling may keep you on-edge, which could heighten your anxiety symptoms.

How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Since caffeine is an addictive substance, it is best to taper your intake down gradually. If you are a coffee drinker, you may switch to half-caf, then decaf. You could also drink tea instead of coffee, moving from black tea to green tea or non-caffeinated herbal teas. If you drink energy drinks, reduce the number of drinks you consume per day until you have phased them out of your diet completely.

You may experience some withdrawal symptoms at each stage of the process. This may include headaches, grogginess, shakiness, or fatigue. These symptoms will pass as your body gets used to having less caffeine, and your natural energy levels will start to rise again. Drink plenty of water along the way to keep your body hydrated and flush toxins from your system.

Other Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Depression Symptoms

Reducing your caffeine levels may help your anxiety or depression, but that’s not the only solution available. Ideally, you should find the root cause of your depression so you can overcome it. This may mean bringing closure to a past trauma or rebuilding self-esteem after an abusive relationship. Whatever the circumstances may be, our multidisciplinary team is here to help.

Heron Ridge Associates offers personalized anxiety counseling and depression counseling in Michigan. We have several therapist offices to serve you, and we match each client with the best therapist for them. In therapy, you can discover specific solutions that work for your life, your experiences, and your symptoms. Best of all, you get dependable support from a therapist you can trust.

Contact us at (734) 454-3560 to schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist.

tidying-up
Could Tidying Up Reduce Your Stress?

The new Netflix hit Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has sparked a surge of decluttering across the country. Thrift stores say they’ve been overwhelmed with donations since the show aired – even more so than the usual New Year decluttering season. This brings up an important question: could tidying up reduce your stress and anxiety? Let’s explore the topic a little further…

Physical Clutter Can Cause Stress

It’s true, living in a cluttered environment can bring about stress. The objects may remind you of incomplete tasks you need to tackle. It’s as if you have an ongoing to-do list, but instead of words on a page, you see objects in their place. Thus having a cleaner environment could relieve some stress and anxiety.

Not All Clutter Is Bad Clutter

Every person has a unique perspective on clutter. You may have objects you want to put on display, like collectibles or family photos. These items make you feel happy, content and safe. There is nothing wrong with keeping them around.

One of the core concepts in Tidying Up is keeping items that “spark joy” for you. It’s not about getting rid of everything. It’s about focusing on the objects that add value to your life. If clearing out unneeded items would bring you closer to the items you care about, that could indeed help you de-stress.

Tidying Up May Feel Stressful

Having less clutter could reduce your stress, but the process of decluttering may be a stress trigger in its own right. This is particularly true for sentimental items you may not be ready to part with. Don’t set out with a goal of removing a certain number or volume of items. Instead, focus on finding the items you no longer want or need, and find new value in the objects you love.

Clutter May Not Be Your Primary Source of Stress

Decluttering may provide immense stress relief for some. That doesn’t mean it will be effective for you. Sure, we can all benefit from having a cleaner home, but you should also think about what your primary stressor is. Are you struggling to keep up with work? Do you feel your time is stretched too thin? Do you need to re-adjust your finances? Find the solutions that will help you the most.

Finding a Balance That Fits Your Life

No one leads a perfect life. There will always be areas of your life that could use improvement, and that’s OK! The key is to find happiness and balance. Surround yourself with positivity, and work on your goals little-by-little. Declutter when you need to. Take a break when you need it. Respect your limitations, and celebrate the small triumphs.

If you would like personalized advice for how to reduce stress and anxiety, therapy is a great option. You can speak with a licensed therapist and learn techniques that fit your lifestyle. Heron Ridge Associates offers anxiety counseling, depression counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling, and a number of other counseling services. Give us a call at (734) 454-3560 to find a therapist near you.

after-therapy-appointment
What to Do after Your First Therapy Appointment

Continued from “What to Expect during Your First Therapy Appointment

After your first therapy appointment, there are some steps you can take to prepare for the next session. None of these tasks are hard, but they will set you on the best course for mental health recovery. Read on to learn what to do after your first therapy session, courtesy of Heron Ridge Associates.

Keep a Log of Questions

Your first therapy session may have your mind working overtime. As you reflect on the appointment and events you may want to discussion, write down questions that arise. You can do this on a piece of paper or on your phone if you prefer. This list will serve as a jumping off point for your next therapy session.

Complete Your “Homework”

Your therapist may have assigned some “homework” for you to complete, such as a writing in a journal or thinking about an experience from your past. Follow-through with that suggestion and complete the task at hand. It may seem silly at first, but it’s an important part of the process. Your therapist will recommend steps for you to take based on your unique situation.

Schedule Your Next Therapy Session

You will most likely schedule your next therapy appointment at the end of the first one. You can do this when you check out. However, if you did not schedule an appointment, make sure you call to do so. Your therapist may recommend the frequency of your therapy sessions – once a week, twice a month, once a month, etc. All you have to do is find an appointment time that suits your personal schedule.

Should I Tell People I Am in Therapy?

You decide whether or not to disclose this to friends and family members. Many of our clients will wait to discuss therapy until they have completed a few sessions. You may not need to share this information at all. If you require time off work for therapy appointments, you may need to discuss this privately with your employer. Ultimately, you decide what feels right for your circumstances.

If you would like more information about how therapy works, contact Heron Ridge Associates at (734) 454-3560. We will gladly answer any questions you have, or we can schedule an appointment with a therapist near you. We have multiple counseling centers in Michigan here to serve you.

first-therapy-appointment
What to Expect from Your First Therapy Appointment

Any new experience can feel intimidating, including therapy. If you are worried about your first counseling session, this information may ease your concerns. Here’s a look at what to expect from your first therapy appointment.

Before the Appointment – Paperwork

You will most likely to be asked to come in 15 minutes before your first therapy appointment. This gives you time to fill out paperwork for the office. You will be able to review the counseling center’s privacy policy and other documents pertaining to your service. The paperwork will ask for insurance information, some health and family history, emergency contact information, etc. You only have to complete this once, and your information is protected.

Meeting Your Therapist

When you scheduled your appointment, you may have been asked a few questions about your goals and circumstances. This was so you could be paired with the best therapist for your needs. During the first therapy appointment, you will meet your counselor and establish a relationship with him or her.

Talking about Your Concerns and Goals

Your first therapy appointment is mostly a get-to-know-you opportunity. Your therapist may ask questions to prompt the discussion, or you may start talking on your own. You will discuss the experiences or events that led you to therapy, along with elements of your life you want to change or improve. This overview provides a backstory that your therapist can use to personalize your treatment.

When Does Treatment Start?

The first therapy appointment creates a foundation for your treatment. As you progress through therapy, your therapist can recommend ways to improve your life. It may take several sessions to uncover the root cause of your struggles, or it may take time to find the right treatment options for you. Nevertheless, your therapist will be there to support you through the journey and guide you to an ideal solution.

After Your First Therapy Appointment – Homework

Your therapist may assign you a bit of “homework” to do before your next therapy session. This could be writing out a list of questions, starting a daily journal, thinking of an important event that shaped your life, or any number of tasks. This homework will help your therapist gain more insight into your life so he or she can customize your treatment plan.

To learn more, check out What to Do after Your First Therapy Appointment.

holiday-depression
Holiday Stress vs. Holiday Depression

The holidays are stressful for everyone, but for some, they can also mark a depressing time of year. If you are struggling with stress or depression, there are some treatments to look into. In this guide, we will explore the difference between holiday stress and holiday depression, along with solutions for both.

Dealing with Holiday Stress

Holiday stress can be brought on for a variety of reasons. Preparing for a big meal, traveling to see family, buying presents for your children, taking time off work – there are many factors that go into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other winter holidays. This stress may cause you to lose sleep, change your eating habits, become forgetful, or feel irritable. However, those feelings will subside once the holidays have passed.

This is one of the key differences between holiday stress and holiday depression. Stress is fleeting and situational. Depression has deeper roots and thus requires different treatment methods.

The Solution: You may not be able to fully eliminate holiday stress, but you can work to reduce it. Start by taking some pressure off yourself. You don’t have to make everything perfect. Just do the best you can. If you are hosting dinner, ask other people to bring the side dishes. Then all you have to worry about is the protein. If you have guests coming, focus on cleaning the main areas they will interact with. If you have a messy master bedroom or basement, chances are they won’t notice.

Most importantly, remember that this stress will go away. It has in the past, and it will again.

Dealing with Holiday Depression

Holiday depression has some of the same symptoms as holiday stress, but the cause is different. In many cases, holiday depression is the result of grief. A person may become depressed thinking about a loved one who will no longer be around for the holidays. Alternatively, holiday depression may be a heightened form of general depression. Feelings of sadness, loneliness and helplessness are intensified during the holidays.

There is also a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This occurs in the late fall, transitioning into the winter. Less frequently, SAD may occur in the spring and summer. The exact cause of seasonal affective disorder is unclear, but it most likely comes from a lack of sun exposure, combined with stress from the holidays and gloomier weather in the winter.

The Solution: Holiday depression and seasonal affective disorder are best treated through therapy. You can work with a therapist one-on-one to discuss the root cause of your depression. Did you experience a traumatic event that is affecting you in the present? Are there unresolved emotions you need to work through? Moreover, what can you do to reverse negative thought patterns and improve your quality of life? Your therapist will help you find personalized solutions that fit your lifestyle.

Connect with a Therapist near You

If you would like to talk to a therapist, contact Heron Ridge Associates at (734) 454-3560. We have counselors who specialize in stress management, depression treatment, anxiety treatment, couples counseling, and more. You will be matched with the best therapist for your personal needs. Get support and guidance from a licensed therapist who truly cares about your wellbeing.

work-related-anxiety
How to Treat Work-Related Anxiety Symptoms

Most people dread going to work, but for some, their place of employment is a major source of anxiety. If your anxiety greatly increases with the thought of going to work, there are solutions available for you. Read on to learn how to treat work-related anxiety symptoms.

Identify Your Anxiety Triggers

What part of your job brings about your anxiety? Is it the weight of the workload? Is there a specific coworker that causes you stress? Pinpointing the source of your anxiety will guide you toward a better solution.

This is a primary focus in anxiety counseling. As you discuss your thoughts, feelings and experiences, your therapist will help you determine the root cause of your anxiety. From there, he or she will provide personalized advice to best handle your anxiety triggers.

Address the Issues Causing You Anxiety

Once you determine which element of work is causing anxiety, you can find a way to address it. For instance, if you feel uncomfortable with a certain coworker, you can speak to the person about the issue you’re having. You could also talk to your supervisor or human resources representative about the matter.

Your anxiety source may not even be the job itself. Does the traffic going to work cause you anxiety? If so, you could find an alternate route or leave for work at an earlier time. Your therapist can help you come up with solutions that best fit your lifestyle and your circumstances.

Reduce Stress in Other Areas of Your Life

If you feel overwhelmed in your personal life, that stress will bleed into your work life. Stress is a source of anxiety, and it can heighten work-related anxiety symptoms. Find ways to reduce stress in all areas of your life. If you feel overburdened by responsibilities, get help from someone you trust. If your current schedule is not healthy for you, make adjustments to provide more free time. Again, your therapist can guide you through this process to give you the best quality of life.

How to Find an Anxiety Therapist

Heron Ridge Associates provides confidential anxiety counseling in Michigan. We have several therapist offices to serve you, and we offer night and weekend therapy appointments. We will match you with the best therapist for your needs, and we can schedule appointments that fit your busy schedule. Contact us at (734) 454-3560 and learn how you can overcome work-related anxiety.

 

gambling-addiction
Compulsive Gambling Treatment – Do I Have a Gambling Addiction?

Compulsive gambling, also known as gambling addiction or gambling disorder, is a condition that affects approximately 10 million Americans. It can form for any form of gambling, from poker to sports betting to slot machines and more. If you believe you have a gambling addiction, there are treatments available for you. Let’s take a look at what compulsive gambling is and how gambling addiction treatment works.

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction

The symptoms of gambling addiction vary based on the severity of the addiction and the type of gambling a person is drawn to. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Persistently increasing the amount of time and money spent on gambling
  • Feeling irritable or restless when you are unable to gamble
  • Taking out loans or credit cards to pay for gambling
  • Skipping work or important events to gamble
  • Using gambling as a coping mechanism for depression or anxiety
  • Constantly finding new ways to get gambling money
  • Stealing money from others to gamble
  • Lying about your gambling habits
  • Gambling as a way to make up for previous gambling losses
  • Not paying bills to have gambling money

As the name suggests, compulsive gambling typically involves a “compulsion.” You feel an uncontrollable urge to go to the casino, contact a broker, play an online betting game, etc. With gambling addiction treatment, you can learn how to control those urges and stop this downward trajectory.

The Dangers of Compulsive Gambling

Most resources warn of the financial dangers of compulsive gambling, but there are also mental health issues to worry about. Addictive behaviors often lead to more addictive behaviors. Even if you can afford to gamble at your current pace, the addictive mentality could lead to drug or alcohol abuse.

Gambling addiction can quickly spiral out of control. The desire to gamble increases with every win, and the desire for revival grows with every loss. You may not realize you’re in the cycle until it is out of your hands. That is a primary danger of compulsive gambling – its unpredictable nature.

Finally, the symptoms of gambling addiction have a tendency to ruin relationships. Lies and financial stress can break even the strongest of couples apart. Friends may distance themselves from you if they notice a pattern of unhealthy behaviors. This will push you into social isolation, which will only make the gambling addiction more prevalent.

How to Find Gambling Addiction Treatment

Gambling addiction treatment is best completed through therapy. A licensed therapist will help you find the root cause of your gambling addiction, along with underlying issues that contribute to the behaviors. You may be dealing with depression, anxiety, stress management issues, other addictions, trauma recovery, or any number of conditions. Your therapist will help you uncover those issues and find solutions for every one of them.

For more information about compulsive gambling treatment or other addiction treatment services, contact Heron Ridge Associates at (734) 454-3560.

body-envy
Getting over Body Envy | Self-Esteem Building Tips

Are you constantly comparing your body to other people’s? Do you wish you had a larger chest, more toned arms, or a smaller waist? These are all symptoms of body envy, something that many Americans go through in their lives. Whether you’ve gone through this for a while or you’ve recently developed insecurities, we’re here to help you boost your self-esteem. Here are some tips to overcome body envy, courtesy of Heron Ridge Associates.

Body Trends Change All the Time

Society is constantly changing its mind about what looks good and what doesn’t. Slim builds, thick builds, curvy builds, muscular builds – these have all been considered beautiful or not beautiful at some point in time. You cannot get wrapped up in the current trend. Like a fad diet, it will pass. Instead, focus on embracing your body for how it is, regardless of where it fits with society.

You are not a trend. You’re timeless.

Remember: You Have Someone Else’s Ideal Body

You may think your body is far from perfect, but there are plenty of people who would love to look just like you! That person that you idolize for being a certain shape or stature – he or she probably has a dozen insecurities. We are all critical of ourselves in some way, but we are quick to appreciate the uniqueness in others. It’s time you realized just how beautiful your uniqueness is.

Find Clothes That Flatter You Now

Are you avoiding new clothes until you reach a certain weight or build? This mindset is damaging to your self-esteem. You don’t have to punish yourself in ill-fitting clothes until you reach a specific size. This only fuels your insecurities and adds to your depression. Instead, take time to find clothes that fit your body jut how it is right now. Play with different prints and silhouettes until you figure out what flatters you.

Don’t focus on the sizes too hard when you go into the dressing room. If you have to go a size up to better fit your body, go for it! No one will know about that number but you. Every store and every brand has a different way of sizing, and there are variations within the same line. Don’t be discouraged by a larger or smaller number on the tag. Just find clothes that you feel great in.

Find the True Source of Low Self-Esteem

There is an underlying reason for your body envy, one you may not even realize is there. It could be depression, anxiety, past trauma, addiction, or any number of other issues. For instance, you may have had a partner in the past who insulted your size or shape. This consistent belittling caused you to view your body with a different perspective. By getting to the root of your negative body image, you can learn how to revive it.

The best way to do this is through individual counseling. At Heron Ridge Associates, we have specialists in many areas of mental health. This includes depression treatment, anxiety treatment, addiction treatment, eating disorder treatment, stress management, anger management, and more. We will match you with the best therapist for your specific needs, and you can find personalized solutions for boosting your self-esteem.

Contact our main office at (734) 454-3560 to get matched with a therapist near you.

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