Category Archives: Mental Health

When it’s over, pain-free solutions to moving on..(or not)


Some of the questions I encounter from clients, people I meet at parties (who happened to ask me what I do), students, and couples is: “What do you do when a relationship is over?”, “How quickly can you start dating someone else?”, “Is a new relationship really the best way to get over an old relationship?”, “What if there was cheating involved on the other parties’ side?”

I usually ponder my answers before giving any information, because I do not believe in a “One Size Fits All” approach to dealing with break-ups. But I do think that there are some steps that you can take (the order is up to you) that may help ease the pain. The title of this blog is misleading on purpose. There is no ‘pain-free’ way to get over a relationship, especially if you truly loved the person. Remember, the higher you soared when you were in love is how far you will have to fall. But this is a wonderful price to pay for the wonders of a great relationship. Over this week I want to talk about some things to consider:

Question 1: Are you REALLY through?

Some people say they are ready to move on, but they are not. Sometimes they are hoping that by ‘saying’ they are going to leave, that their partner will change. Sometimes, they really just wanted space, but did not think the other person would give it to them. Sometimes, deep down they want to give the relationship another shot, but they are playing a dangerous game of chicken to see who will crack first. All of these things mean, you are not done. Some people think that when they are really done, it will no longer hurt to leave. Not true. It will still hurt, you will still wonder if you did the right thing. You may also start fantasizing about all of the good times. You do ‘know in your heart’ when you are really through with your relationship. No one else can tell you when this is, only you know. When you are ready to leave (especially if you are the one doing the leaving)  make sure you observe break-up etiquette.

Do not keep contacting the person you have broken up with. If you initiated the break-up, you have to be the strong one and allow them time to heal. You will need to heal as well, but you don’t get to do that while dragging them through hope and hell. They may continue to call you and beg you to come back. If you are really done, you can tell them you love them and you are sorry (once), but after this, cut off communication. Many times, you may feel as if you are continuing to talk to them for their sake. Most often, it is to ease your guilt. You may be afraid that they may hate you, etc, etc. The best medicine for the pain a break-up brings is time and space. The longer the pain is avoided, the bigger the hole gets. You have to face the pain head on and alone, not holding the hand of a new person, or the old one. I do recommend that you seek counseling to help you through, it will also help you get to know you: out of a relationship.

Now, if you are reading this and feel you are the exception to this rule, you may be! Remember, I said it is not a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach. I don’t profess to know everything. I learn from everyone around me every day. What are your thoughts?

Next up: Why the best way to get over an old relationship is: Time Alone.

Why “It (Doesn’t) Get Better”


Recently, the ‘It Gets Better’ Campaign had been gaining steam throughout the media as many gay and lesbian celebrities provided YouTube videos for gay and lesbian teens experiencing bullying in schools. The primary purpose of the campaign is to tell those teens that it gets better as a tool to prevent suicide. Recent studies have found that lesbian teens are 7 times more likely to attempt suicide when compared to heterosexual teens. Gay teens are 3 to 4 times more likely to attempt suicide. So, why do I say ‘It ‘Doesn’t’ Get Better’. As a psychotherapist, professor, and professional school counselor in middle and high schools, I tend to have an alternate view to the campaigns of the moment. Developmentally, teens are very present oriented, poor decision makers, self-absorbed, and highly susceptible to the opinions and scrutiny of their peers. I have often heard adults (including teachers, school counselors, administrators, parents) telling these teens to just ‘hold on, it gets better’. However, these comments are often not accompanied by individual or group counseling, increased parental involvement, increased involvement in school and/or school activities and an all-around targeted approach to improve the teen’s social support. If we sit back, as adults, and think about what it was like for us when we were teens, how effective would it have been to hear a ‘grown-up’ tell us that it will ‘get better’? Especially when we feel like we are dying a little each day that we have to walk the halls of a school that could very likely be the bane of our existence? I remember being completely enveloped by my own pain as kids made fun of me for being the ‘new kid’. I want to clarify that I applaud celebrities for getting involved, however I am SCREAMING through the blogosphere that we ALL must do more to help our children make it through these hard times. Take your child’s complaints seriously. If you have made a formal complaint to the administration, made the teachers, school counselors, and even the school district aware of what is going on in school with your child, do not force your child to stay in a school that they perceive to be hell on earth. There are many different alternative methods of education. As a therapist, I feel strongly that victims of bullying should receive counseling to learn how to deal with these difficult situations. However, I do not believe that we should force our children to stay in an environment in which they are not receiving adequate support. We must move beyond just ‘telling’ our children that it will get better. We need to MAKE it happen.

From…The Top 3 Reasons You May Be Single Forever..and How to Avoid Them!

New Article by Seria Chatters, LMHC!!

Keep telling yourself you can’t, and you won’t

So you have a lot of work to do. You are extremely busy. Whether it be children that are keeping your days occupied, tons of work, tons of schoolwork, tons of housework, work, work, work, work!! So you know you need to take a break, but you won’t, you can’t so you  won’t. Ask yourself this line of questions: If your child asked you for something and it was reasonable, would you say no? If your boss asked you do to something, would you say no? If your professor, husband, wife, significant other asked you do to do something would you say no? However you say no to yourself over and over again. You can do a lot. You probably get quite a bit accomplished for others each day. You have gotten really good at neglecting yourself, leaving yourself for last. When someone says, ‘You should take a break.’ You say, ‘I can’t.’ So you won’t. How can you start to say yes to yourself? By saying yes. It is that simple. Say yes. Start with 10 minutes a day for yourself. Slowly increase it to an hour a day. You don’t have to exercise, you can sit and listen to music, watch your favorite show, talk to a friend. The only caveat is that you cannot simultaneously do something for someone else. Sometimes we make things harder than they are. The only way you can get better at saying yes to yourself is by doing it. Start right now, today. Say yes to yourself.

Unemployment and Relationships