What is Ambiguous Loss?


Have you ever experienced a loss in your life, that wasn’t an actual death of a friend or loved one?  This feeling and experience is called Ambiguous Loss.  Ambiguous Loss is best described as a loss that isn’t concrete. Ambiguous Loss will often lead to you experiencing the Stages of Grief. The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and (eventually) Acceptance.  Some of the most common causes of Ambiguous Loss are job loss, divorces, miscarriages, illnesses, and trauma. Here are some examples of what Ambiguous Loss may look and feel like: A new client starts therapy because a loved one disappeared in a drowning accident.  The body of this loved one was never recovered.  However, the family is moving forward...

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How to Set Boundaries in a Relationship


What Are Boundaries? Boundaries exist so that we can teach others the expectations, rules, and limits we have.  Boundaries also communicate what our emotional needs are.  They exist to keep bad things out of our relationships and good things in. Boundaries allow us to say “I’m ok/not ok with that”.  They provide a layer of protection to a relationship.  If boundaries have never been discussed or established, there is a good chance that invisible lines have been crossed many times.  There may be a lot of hurt and conflict in the relationship, but very little understanding on how to resolve it. How many times have you said “Yes” to something and really meant “No”?  Boundaries help us to say “No”...

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Marriage: Are You Friends or Enemies?


All too often I see couples who come into my office with their marriage in trouble and on the verge of divorce.  They come to counseling in an attempt to save their marriage.  You can usually spot these couples from a mile away.  They sit on opposite sides of the couch (not touching AT ALL!), usually have their arms folded, and the moment they start talking, everything is the other person's fault. Somewhere along the way, they stopped being each other’s friend and instead started to view one another as enemies.  They no longer look at the marriage as a team effort.  Any positive feelings that they once had about their spouse are long gone.  How does a marriage get...

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Cheap and Free Date Nights


Date nights are a fun way to reconnect with your partner.  Often in sessions, I hear things like “We just don’t have time”, or “We can’t find a baby-sitter”, or “We don’t have the extra money”.  If you’ve ever said any of the above, please keep reading! I’m going to prove that date nights don’t have to be expensive.  The first thing I want you to try is to Google “Cheap date nights in (insert your city and state)”.  Just in Indy alone, there are dozens of websites with ideas for cheap date nights.  In addition to this, Groupon/Living Social are wonderful resources to get local deals on restaurants, shows, and activities...with huge discounts! Think outside of the box.  Dinner...

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Are Your Social Media Posts Hurting Others?

Social media

We live in a day and age where we post everything online.  The good, the bad, the in-between—it all gets posted!  However, what you may not realize is that your social media post, although posted with good intentions, could possibly be hurting your online friends.  Here are some things to consider: Infertility and Loss So you’re expecting—Congrats!  While it’s an exciting time for you, take a moment to think about the friends who may see your pregnancy announcement on social media.  1 in 8 couples experience infertility.  This means statistically there are many of your online friends who will see your post, and for them, it may instantly trigger grief.  I’m not saying don’t celebrate the good things in your...

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Anxiety about the First Counseling Appointment: What You Need to Know


It’s common to have anxiety and nervousness about your first counseling appointment.  Even if you’ve been to counseling before and you’re restarting again, there are still a lot of unknowns.  My goal is that this blog will help alleviate some of the anxiety, as well as answer some questions you may have. What can I expect when I walk through the door? My hope is that the moment you walk in the door, you instantly feel relaxed and can unwind.  Our waiting room is quiet, relaxing, and spa-like.  Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and find a magazine or book to read.  Your therapist will be out to greet you shortly. Please come prepared Make sure you’ve brought the...

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I Can Fix Anything in 4 Counseling Sessions


…Just kidding.  But I got your attention, didn’t I? We live in an instant gratification world.  When our phones act up and don’t load a web page instantly, we act like it’s the end of the world.  We can get anything we want on demand, anytime of the day.  Everything we do is fast, instantaneous, and has a deadline. A lot of people approach counseling this way.  They come into my office in a hurry, on a time crunch, wanting a quick fix.  They ask how many sessions it’s going to take before they’re “fixed” or feeling better.  The honest answer is, I don’t know.  And here’s why: I can’t fix everything in 4 sessions.  I can’t even guarantee that...

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Dear Younger Me: A Letter to Myself


Have you ever considered the advice you would give to your younger self?  I thought about this the other day while working with some teen girls.  The struggles they are experiencing nowadays seem to be very similar to what I went through many years ago!  If I could give some advice to younger teenage me, this is what I would say: Dear 16 year old Christy- I know you think the things you are going through right now are the end of the world.  You just went through a painful break-up, have body image issues, friend drama, and overall High School stress.  As hard as this is to believe, it does get better. The things that you think are so...

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The Power of Prayer in a Marriage


We pray when we are at church, before we eat, and at bedtime with children. Often we pray for direction and guidance for careers, our personal battles, and our enemies. We use prayer for healing, to change in the world, and to ask for miracles. But how often do we pray for our own spouse? In your day to day living, your spouse is the person you probably complain about the most, argue with the most, and the one that does the most things that drive you absolutely crazy. In addition to this, they are the ones that get taken for granted, in both your life and your prayer life. Imagine the transformation that could take place if you made...

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5 Ways to Find Purpose in Retirement

Finding Joy in Retirement

Recently I’ve seen an influx of clients who are experiencing a life transition so many of us dream about—they are retiring! Many of us long for the days when we don’t have to answer to anyone.  We can travel, play golf, spend more time with loved ones, and take up a new hobby. The possibilities are endless in retirement! However, I’ve recently realized there is a downfall to all that free time. Imagine living your life for 50, 60, 70 years with consistency and structure...then one day it all goes away. It may be great for a few weeks, but eventually reality sets in. Many retirees I meet are depressed and are struggling to find purpose. Purpose is so important....

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