Friday, April 24, 2009

Career Online Counseling that Turned into a Small Business Advice

Sometimes through Online Counseling people don’t always “like” the advice they’re given.

This was the case recently with M., a 31 year old professional saleswoman who had a small high end sheep leather coats import company. M. had recently lost here dream contract in early 2008 doing ‘big business’ with a nationally known prestigious clothing store. Since that time she had moved around a bit job-wise and slowly gotten herself into debt.

At the time when I starting communicating with her she had reached the point where she was willing to work part time for others, in a commission only based job. She was currently four months behind on her rent and was exhibiting the beginning stages of clinical depression.

M. lived in New York City by herself, most of her friends and family lived overseas. She did have a few friends in the area but she hadn’t seen very much of them recently because in her own words: “What friends I do have here, I rarely see anymore as I have withdrawn into my apartment. A typical weekend for me will be to stay up all night Friday night only to sleep for the next two days consecutively until I have to return to work on Monday.”

Through our introductory Online Counseling session M. revealed that she was falling into a type of depression and having all sorts of strange dreams whilst sleeping (12-14 hours). She could not afford health care at this time and did not know what she was going to do financially. The weekend she had contacted me she had simply decided to discontinue eating and stated that she, “did not even feel that hungry anymore.” It was later revealed that she had also been engaging in other activities that pointed to sings of her depression. She showed signs of drinking binges beyond socially acceptable standards; there were also some concerns about promiscuity (with one of her potential client).

I assessed that M.’s life was spiraling out of control and the things that provided her with a feeling of self worth i.e. her job, her apartment, her standard of living in general - were all dropping significantly. She was trying to get past these difficult times and just reached the point where she did not know what to do.

Three Online Counseling sessions were needed in order to formulate my assessment and professional advice; generally speaking, I appreciate someone who is having a true awareness about him / herself and wants to take the right steps - and she falls into this group.

I had the feeling that M. is having 'an o.k. personality’ and therefore is capable of getting through the current situation, if major changes would occur in four domains:
A. Drinking should be a definite target for a change in her life.
B. Job and Business re-structuring: This economy has no room for many high end products; leather sheep coats are definitely within the heavily affected range. Use your sales ability, and move into another area. You are good in that line, so do high commission jobs.
C. Love / Sex / Relationships - no more and never again with clients or potential clients. Adopt therefore another mission: to look inward for your 'self assets' and thereafter outward, to find the right one.
D. New business location - no chance in NYC. Costs are too high and market trends are alarming. You are single, I told her, with no real supportive social circle around your location. Transform this “negative asset” into a big “plus” and move int to a growing areas, economy wise. Neither you nor I are going to produce miracles that would beat the economy trend. Since I'm not a magician, only a professional, I could see no reason to support an effort to swim against the stream when she could float on it instead.

So the strategy is:
- Look for another business and or job, elsewhere in the US.
- Establish a new 'you' - no drinking, financial responsibility and healthy relationships.

M. questioned me on the necessity to move out of New York; she was slightly agitated by my recommendation. Our Online Counseling work has ended; the Small Business Advice I could give her was left untouched.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Overactive Libido: Online Counseling Was Called For

A Case Summary: Overactive Libido

G. a recently married (for 7 months) young woman, approached my Online Counseling service since she was having issues dealing with her partner's constant desire for intimate companionship as well as his personal insecurities.

During our introductory session G. informed me that "He constantly badgers me about sex; we are intimate at least twice a week but it's not enough for him. He constantly sends me emails at work about wanting to see me naked or wanting to be intimate with me… when we're at home alone it's all he talks about." "It's gotten to the point where he can't even hug me without touching me in a sexual way and when I try to talk to him about it he takes it as rejection and just seems to shut down.
A different, very scary but related issue was then added: G told me that recently his adopted daughter had accused him of doing some 'horrible things' to her as a child. She was bothered and reflected that it definitely had affected their intimate relationship.

G. became very insecure and that was the underlying reason behind turning to seek a professional opinion: "I'm starting to wonder if what his daughter said is true…"

I started off by advising G. that a strong libido and continuous urge for frequent sex with a spouse does not necessarily indicate pathology or any other 'abnormal misbehavior'. Nevertheless, it clearly does create a lot of tension if the spouse's 'Tempos' are at different levels. Marriage Counseling therefore was called for, accompanied with individual sessions about personal and sexual issues. There was no "Quick Fix" type of a response for her since her issue involved both different value systems regarding affection and intimacy as well as unclear accusations regarding the past.

As a professional I could not comment on the adopted daughter's accusations, since there were no supportive information that I had an access to. Nevertheless, I did put my expertise to work there, informing her to be aware that things like that do happen, regardless of the male's intense sexual desire for his adult partner.

The Online Marriage Counseling process started to be effective in this case once we touched the issues that were causing the anxiety in their relationship: lack of proper communication, prior misinformed 'stories' about men and general inhibition regarding sexuality.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Online Counseling Processes for Troubled Marriage

This case study summarizes an example of individual and couple's marriage Online Counseling processes.

The process of Online Counseling starts with you, I informed J., my client; not with your husband. I was trying not to add to her sorrow, stress and anger by saying this and assured her that I was in no way implying that what she did for her "family's sake" was incorrect.

I simply advised that before she could set things right for her husband or family, J. needed to situate things right with herself first.

Through our first session it became obvious that J's anger and confusion over the memory of the event was still there. The story is about a loving mother and wife that recently discovered that her husband (of 33 years) had been unfaithful. In her own words: "For the family's sake, I accepted his apology and promise that it would never happen again." She therefore encouraged her daughters to give him a second chance. This had all occurred about two months ago and things seemed to be back to normal in her household. Except that J. just couldn't forget that he had cheated on her.

J. started her Online Counseling sessions since she was worried, over anxious and stressed about whether she could truly trust her husband again and was concerned about being hurt again. Another issue was her fear regarding setting a poor example of tolerance for her daughters to follow in.

My experience with situations like hers showed that a period of about 2-3 sessions of Online Counseling was normally enough for most clients to move into a new and better sustainable place for their relationship, as they start to reflect on their own behavior and take responsibility for their part of the marriage that brought the spouse to react as they did.
It was easy for me first to address HER concerns for her daughters during our first Online Counseling session. I decided to share with her MY concern: she focused on repairing her family relationship prior taking the time to begin her own personal healing. I let her know my feelings: she appeared to have been re-acting to her situation instead of dealing with it.

Psychologically speaking, I explained, it is easy to choose retaliation in time of stress, shame and anger. I did not hide my impression that she reacted to the situation by (unfortunately) making the mistake of pulling her children into the marital issues and therefore complicating things even more.

The Online Counseling process with J. confirmed the old wisdom that psychological processes do not erase memories; they heal them. This is being done by zooming in on the "WHY" and examining the fundamental deteriorating factors. Only thereafter the Online Counseling process can deal with the "WHAT NEXT" question, which was addressed via five sessions of Couple Online Counseling.

Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights. 204 W. Main St. Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 Tel: 717-943.0959 See for Online Counseling on Behavioral issues and for management and small business advice issues.

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