Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Do you know to lead your Community out of Crisis?

Become a Certified Trained Crisis Responder!
School Shooting, Co-Worker Suicide, Bombing, Terrorist Attack, Hurricane, Tornado, Fire, Flood, Multiple Car or Bus Fatality or Airline Disaster - when you hear about a major crisis do you know what to do to help someone?
If a community shooting or disaster happened at your workplace, school, church or neighborhood would you know what to do?
Would you know what to say?
Would you know how to protect that person you cared about from developing PTSD?
Would you know what do to protect yourself or those you care about from secondary trauma?
This 2 day crisis certification course was designed by experts after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by the United States National Guard and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation as a rapid psychological response to community trauma. Continuing Education Credit is offered from the University of Maryland - Baltimore Campus and an official certificate showing your accomplishment is given for those who complete both days of this intensive crisis recovery training.
TCR prepares you to manage a major crisis and lead a critical incident stress debriefing session, (CISD) while keeping yourself and family safe from the psychological harm.
There are 8 TCR training modules offered over 2 days in this intensive certification class to equip you in dealing with community crisis events. You will learn the early warning signs of PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), how to prevent secondary psychological trauma while working as a first responder providing psychological first aid in real life scenarios.
This rapid crisis stabilization process is taught by Dwight Bain, a certified crisis response instructor who worked at Ground Zero in New York City after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and has equipped thousands with psychological survival skills to use until emergency management teams can arrive on the scene. Crisis events will come to Florida - are you going to be prepared to help or will you be a helpless bystander?

"Up to 35% of those exposed to traumatic events such as disasters and terrorism will develop significant posttraumatic psychological distress and perhaps PTSD." -U.S. National Guard
This course is for Pastors, Counselors, Nurses, Teachers, Lay Counselors, Administrators, Law Enforcement, Chaplains and Concerned Citizens interested in becoming a trained crisis responder to manage Community Crisis Events or the aftermath of Terrorist Attacks.
Space is limited.   Register now!
Two-Day Certification
March 12-13, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily
(must attend both days for full certification and Credit from ICISF and the University of Maryland/Baltimore Campus)
ICISF Instructor: Dwight Bain
Training Facility Location:
Florida Hospital Eustis,
Waterman Campus, Lake County, FL
Trained Crisis Responder Certification
Registration Form
March  12-13 2015   9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily
ICISF Certified Instructor Dwight Bain
Training facility: Florida Hospital Waterman Campus, Eustis, (Lake County), Florida
PLEASE PRINT your name clearly since it will be used for your Official TCR Certificate
Address   _____________________________________________________________                                    
Telephone: ___________________________________________________________
E-mail   ______________________________________________________________

  ______$89.00 - early bird registration (before March 1st)
 ______ $149.00 - later registration (after March 1st - only if space is still available)
  ______ Group Registration -  4th person FREE with 3 paid registrations, ($149.00 value)
 (Names of 3 registered __________________________________________
Payment Options:

Make check or money order payable to:     
The LifeWorks Group
1850 Lee Road, suite 250
Winter Park, FL 32789
You can email this registration form with your credit card information to Sola Thompson at info@lifeworksgroup.org or fax directly to:  407-647-8874
Credit card number_______________________________________________________

Expiration date ___________________  three digit CVV code on back of card, ____________

Zip code for billing address of credit card _______________    
Refund and cancellation policy: Full refund minus $25 processing fee if notice is given 10 days before workshop.
If later cancellation, fee can be applied to future TCR crisis certifications.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Love 365 Days a Year

By: Cara Griffin-Locker

What is Love? Is it an action? A thought? Or maybe just a feeling? According to the Bible, “Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast and is not proud.  Love does not dishonor others nor is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered or keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.  It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7) This is something to think about as we approach the famous Hallmark Holiday.  For most of us, Valentine’s Day is a big day that includes the red carpet treatment. From flowers to cards, chocolates and dinner it is the one day to go above and beyond to show the one you love that you truly care, right? Wrong. Many of us have the wrong impression of love.  Certainly it is nice to be showered with things on Valentine’s Day but what about the other 364 days? What about showing love without using material items? Now if you are a pessimist you will say that only people who lack Valentines will say such a thing.  However, love should be expressed every day of the year, not just on the one day where everything is more expensive and expectations are highest.

Loving someone 365 days a year is not easy but worth the challenge.  Expressing love can be exhilarating and a testament of how you feel about yourself.  Here are some helpful tips to show love all year long and without using words!

·         Make time despite how busy you may be.  It is easy to get wrapped up in our own lives so making time for the person you love or simply care about is vital even if it means just going for a cup of coffee or maybe even enjoying a walk in the park.

·         Listening is one of the simplest ways to show love without using words. Listening to each word they say even when it’s boring is pertinent in showing those you love that they are important and worthy.

·         Acts of kindness are a generous and thoughtful way to show someone how much you mean to them. Doing things such as the dishes, taking out trash or preparing a nice meal may seem small but sometimes it is the small things that count.

·         The warmth of a kiss or a hug is sometimes the best and a great way to express love without using words.

·         Supporting someone is vital in any relationship. Supporting doesn’t mean you always agree with them but it shows you are reliable, trustworthy and dependable during the good, bad and ugly.

  • Random surprises are always fun and a sweet gesture of affection. When you listen to everything a person says, you learn a lot about them. Getting someone their favorite food at the store or surprising them with a special activity shows you take note of what they like and enjoy.

As you go about your life this year, don’t limit the expression of your love to Valentine’s Day. Think about these helpful hints and be mindful of the various ways you can show love without using material items or even words.

Narcissist Sexual Abuse

By: Christine Hammond
Has sex become something you just do rather than enjoy? Do you feel pressured into having sex? Is it possible to be sexually abused in a marital relationship?

Sexual abuse can happen to both men and women in and out of a marital relationship. In a relationship with a narcissist, however, that abuse becomes magnified. For the narcissist, sexual abuse is used to control your behavior, elevate their feelings of superiority, reenact their fantasies (not yours), and paralyze you. Not all narcissists use sexual abuse as a means of domination. But if you are in a relationship with one, knowing even the subtle forms of sexual abuse can be freeing.

1.       The Early Stage. A narcissist begins the abuse by grooming you. They do a mildly abusive act to see if you acquiesce. For instance, they might fondle you in front of your mother or demand sexting while you are at work. These unwanted or embarrassing sexual acts are designed to catch you off-guard and create a feeling of trepidation. It is also a subtle message to others that you belong to them. Not in a comforting way, but one that leaves you feeling like a possession. Be warned, sometimes narcissists share your sexting photos with friends further adding humiliation. When you confront the narcissist, they minimize, deny, or blame you.

1.1.    Verbal Assaults. In the beginning, the verbal comments are amazingly flattering. You are the person of their dreams. You meet all of their sexual needs. But as soon as you begin to disagree with a sexual preference, you are accused of being manipulative and controlling.  You are openly criticized for your sexual desires or lack thereof. Then the comments turn vulgar. Sexual insults or debasing comments about your body become more common. You begin to feel not good enough, being called both a whore and a prude. Narcissists do not see partners as individuals with feelings and opinions. Rather they are pieces of meat. This is apparent in the general way they talk about the opposite sex.

1.2.    Jealousy Rages. The narcissist demands that you tell them everything about your previous sexual partners and encounters. Then they use the information to call you a slut or use your encounters as rationalization for their own indiscretions. When you become jealous, they claim you are being irrational and domineering. Some narcissists want you to cover up in public while others want you to wear provocative clothing beyond your comfort level. No matter what the outfit, you are accused of being attracted to others, flirting, flaunting your body, and cheating.  The narcissist will use these accusations as justification for further sexual abuse. “You deserve this,” or “You asked for this,” are typical narcissistic responses. They can also be jealous of children or pets, basically anything that takes your attention away from them.

1.3.    Coercion Tactics. To persuade you into having sex, the narcissist uses harassment, guilt, shame, blame, or rage. For them, this is not sexual abuse. Yet it is; any coerced sexual act is abusive. For example, they insist on sex after an argument to prove your commitment. Or they will play the victim card and compel you to have sex so they feel safe, secure, or validated. They nag and insult you, become angry and disruptive, refusing to allow you to leave or sleep until you concede. When you do finally give in, you disconnect emotionally and hurry up just to get it over. It is not satisfying for you but for them.

1.4.    Threatening Infidelity. The narcissist threatens infidelity if you don’t comply with their escalating sexual desires, change your appearance, or gain weight. They might dangle another female in front of you to bully you into doing sexual acts that you are uncomfortable performing. To isolate you from friends, they might openly talk or joke about being attracted to your friend. When verbal threats fail, the narcissist will be unfaithful to prove their point. 

2.       The Pushy Stage. It’s never enough. No frequency or style of sex is ever enough. Just when you believe that you have reached your boundaries, the narcissist pushes you further and further. When you object, you are ridiculed for your stance and all of the tactics in the early stage are condensed into one rant until you concede. Just to prove their dominance, they use your opposition as an excuse for pushing you even more.

2.1.    Inciting Fear. You begin submitting to unwanted sexual acts out of fear that the narcissist will hit you, leave you, humiliate you, punish you, betray you, or withhold money. To reinforce this fear, the narcissist will do these acts, blame you for “making me do it,” and then demand you have sex to prove your loyalty. The pressure to have sex is unrelenting and unforgiving regardless of your physical condition and sexual desires.

2.2.    Selfish Appeals. A classic example of selfish sex is unprotected sex. Because intercourse is all about how the narcissist feels, they refuse to use condoms and insist you take full responsibility for birth control or STD/STI protection. It is not uncommon for a narcissist to lie about having STD/STIs, refuse to be checked, and then blame you when you contract it. Your concerns over unprotected sex are belittled and minimized. It is all about them.

2.3.    Sexual Withdraw. Some narcissists completely withdraw all sex from the relationship. Any requests you make for sex are met with ridicule, rants about your performance, and excessive excuses for abstinence. You are to blame for their lack of desire, it is never their fault. They will also oscillate between excessive sex and complete withdraw to maintain control and manipulate you into doing whatever they ask.

2.4.    Ultimatums. For the narcissist, your body is theirs and their body is theirs. Therefore they feel entitled to give ultimatums about your body. You have to lose weight or exercise more or groom yourself in a certain way to keep them satisfied. You could be in the hospital sick and if the narcissist wants to have sex, you are required to meet their needs. You are forced into pregnancy or an abortion because it is what they want, not what you want. You are not allowed to breast feed your baby because they don’t like how your breasts look.

2.5.    Destroying Principles. Prior to meeting the narcissist, you had standards of what was acceptable sexually. For instance, participating in pornography, prostitution, having multiple partners at one time, or sex with animals was completely out of the question. But now, the narcissist’s argument for bending your principles seems compelling. You begin to believe the lie that if you will submit to the act just one time, then they will be satisfied and not require more of you. So they persuade you into have sex with someone else while they watch or have you watch them having sex with someone else. They might record you having sex without your knowledge and then beg you to watch it with them. But it is not enough. If you withhold sex out of disgust over bending your principles, they become angry, belligerent and sometimes violent.

3.       The Violent Stage. Once the narcissist reaches the violent stage, sex can no longer return to an expression of mutual love or commitment. They are not able to be excited by such menial emotions or simple intimate acts. It is now about intimidation, control, domination, power, torture, and terror. Not every narcissist escalates to this level; many just remain in the pushy stage fully content. But for those who do advance, these acts are often criminal. It is the act that is criminal not the nature of your relationship. You can be married and a victim of sexual crime.

3.1.    Rape. The FBI defines rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This is a good time to take a break and reflect. You might have made excuses for the narcissist’s actions in the past but rape is rape no matter what the nature of your relationship is. Take a deep breath and have a good cry before reading on.

3.2.    Degrading Acts. Degradation is in the eye of the beholder. The narcissist would not view these acts as degrading but you might. You might even be okay with some of these acts or not. Without getting into too many specifics, here are a couple of examples: urinating on you, having sex while on the toilet, or sex in public places. Degrading acts are done to humiliate you and cause you to feel trapped in the relationship. The narcissist will say, “Who would want you but me after you have done this.”

3.3.    Sadistic Sex. There are two forms of sadistic sexual acts: mild (also known as S&M) and severe which can lead to death. Mild examples include: master-slave role playing, immobilizing you through drugs or alcohol, administering pain (whipping) during sex, confining you to a cage, typing you up, blindfolding you, or clamping your sexual organs. It is important to remember that any sexual act which is not consensual is considered rape. The severe examples include: physical beatings, psychological torture, burning, cutting, stabbing, vampirism, and murder before, during or after sex. A narcissistic sadist will not stop their behavior even when it is identified as such.

4.       The Exit Stage. You can choose to exit the relationship at any of the above stages, it is all sexual abuse. Understandably, some of these abusive acts you might not want to share with others as a reason for your departure. It can cause you unnecessary embarrassment, increase your humiliation, and prolong the healing process. You are not obligated to explain to anyone why you leave. But it is likely that you will need some professional help in order to heal. Sexual abuse leaves scars that frequently are not fully seen until you are in a healthy sexual relationship.

4.1.    Post-Relationship. Be warned, even after you have broken off the relationship with the narcissist, they do one of two extremes. Either you still belong to them (even after divorce) or they act as if you never existed. Since you are still theirs, they are entitled to continue to demand sex even if you are in a relationship with someone else. Or, they will wipe all memories or pictures of you out of their life pretending the relationship never happened. This is a narcissist phenomenon which can oscillate between the two extremes.

In the beginning, it is common for you to be in a state of shock and have intense fear about leaving. Just reading the information here may increase your anxiety or cause a panic attack. This is normal. You are coming out of the fog of abuse and it is a sign of health for you to react that way. Alternating mood swings of anger and depression are also typical as you begin to see your partner for the person they are rather than the image they have created. Just because a narcissist has an unrealistic image of themselves does not mean that you have to believe it.   

What If Your Valentine's Days Have Become Boring? Here's 3 Way to Fight it

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

We’ve all seen enough movies to have a glamorous view of the heights of romantic love. And many of us have had that experience of falling into the heady swoon of being caught up in love. But then, you get married. I’m kidding, although there is sort of a ring of truth in that as well, isn’t there?

There are all kinds of reasons for this change, some good and some not so good. Some of the reasons are just due to stages of life, like having children for instance, and some are surely due to outside factors and stress level. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes and then review how you can combat then.

1.      Life is really busy, and stressed filled and romance falls by the wayside, or I just don’t have the energy to pursue it.

2.      We have small kids. Duh! We can barely make it through it each day.

3.      There are resentments or disappointments between us.

4.      Circumstances that interfere, like losing a job, dealing with an addiction, needing to help an aging or ill relative, or health issues and lots more.

Fairly often more than one of these factors will be combined. Stress will certainly sap your energy. But if you have some unresolved relational resentment hanging around as well, then your motivation for romance will be shrunk to almost nothing. How about if you feel that your spouse is not meeting your needs, or they don’t understand you, or pay enough attention to you? There are things here that go beyond just stifling romance; they may be undermining your relationship and leading you to drift apart. Let me offer three categories that may be undermining romance and what you can do about it.

1.      Expectations

Some of the causes we’ve looked at involve life change or stages of life. You may need to face that at least temporarily that this is the way life needs to be. If you had to take in a aging family member that prevents the freedom and space you use to have for connection and romance, then accepting this reality will be emotionally healthier for you. If you and your spouse have simply gotten older and your or their libido or physical abilities have changed, then accepting these realities will be emotionally healthier for you. The point is that romance through the life cycle doesn’t look the same as when we were 25 or even 35. And acceptance does not resignation or defeat. Acceptance means to realize our limitations and make adjustments to live within them, rather than fight it and try to hang on. When we make these adjustments in our outlook, we will be able to find and appreciate what is available to us in this new stage of life.  


2.      Stress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frankly, I’m trying right now to think of anyone I know who isn’t stressed in their life. Stress seems like the normal American condition these days. And I think that because of that we’ve simply learned to accept it. But that sets us up to not bother reevaluating things or seeking changes – meaning point two is the flip side to point one. If point one is about acceptance, then point two is about non acceptance. Don’t just accept the level of stress that you are under. I realize there can be times when we are under a deadline or in crisis when there are no other options but to plow ahead. But these really should be temporary.

You know this right – stressors build up. And the stuff you thought you could handle (and were handling at the beginning), are now just one of 8 or more bowling balls in your backpack. You betcha lugging that amount of stress around will affect you. That’s about all the stress hormones that your brain is dumping into your body. It will affect your ability to concentrate, to think clearly, your decision making, and your memory. I call it being cognitively compromised. And when you are compromised like this it will affect your energy and motivation for relationships as well as your state of mind and how you come across.

All that means that you need to make yourself take a step back. This is probably the hardest part, right? To get yourself to stop and collect yourself. You need this slow down period to give your brain a chance to get out of this mode so you will have the ability to think more clearly. Then, use it. Start thinking creatively, strategically, about trimming from your to do list, enlisting some help, delegating where possible, or shifting your expectations.  


3.      Resentments, hurts or misunderstandings

The third way we can become bored of romance is due to relational discord between the couple. And it doesn’t have to be over big stuff. We could simply be wounded by the fact that my spouse doesn’t pick up their dirty clothes or forgot to text me when they got held up and were going to home late. The reason for this is because these “little” things are really about how we interpret their meaning. When we perceive them as uncaring or rude or even intentional we are going to feel slighted or mistreated. And we will as a result be less motivated to give – to move towards that person. We may nurture an expectation that they need to shape up before we will feel okay about moving towards them (now we are talking about trust). Or we may end up resigning ourself to a conclusion that they don’t care enough about me or that they won’t change and so I give up.

The other side of all this are the things that either have been bigger offenses, or the situation where your spouse is doing hurtful things with intent. Maybe you’ve gotten into game playing in which you both have stored up resentments and take jabs at each other? Maybe it’s gone on so long that neither of you is aware of this dynamic operating? And so this is going on and yet you don’t get why you guys aren’t more affectionate and romantic towards one another. You see, sometimes we just bury this stuff. Oh, maybe we’re trying to be magnanimous and just move on. When in reality, I haven’t let go of it. Or maybe they keep doing it (whatever it is). And by the way, you are likely doing some “it”s as well.

In this case, what you guys need is some old fashion forgiveness. But that will require you both to dig around inside you first and figure out what you have been bothered about and then to come and express this to one another. But here’s the key. You have to change how you express it. Because you have been expressing, but often not in constructive ways. This time you need to express how you have felt without accusations or requirements for them to change, or threats or whining. Just simply – when this happens I’ve felt this way and thought this way. Here’s how I wish it would go. You get vulnerable. You express your longings. We can’t change other people, but we can invite people to know us and love us.

If you can adjust your expectations, lower your stress build up, and address your resentments, I bet you and your spouse will see an improvement in your connection to one another.

And that may just lead to a non-boring Valentine’s Day next year!


 For more articles visit my blog at www.counselingmatters.org

Come visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/counselingmatters