All Articles Tagged "couples therapy"
We are currently in the age of retreats. Quests meant to aid us in self-discovery. While most are used to girls’ trips or excursions with loved ones, many people are now opting to sign up for solo trips where they spend time loving on themselves, maybe doing yoga, or trying to deal with some demons that have been holding them back. The retreat is how many of us are healing and growing. I know that was the case for me and my future husband.
Still, I didn’t know what to expect when I initially signed up for the opportunity to go on an IntimacyMoon for about four nights in Barbados. What is an IntimacyMoon? According to the web site, for couples, it’s “all about relationship building skills for engaged, newlyweds and married couples looking to make their ‘I-Do’s’ stand the test of time.” It’s also for singles “on a mission to learn how to love courageously, and date with intention and authenticity from the inside out.” Sounds good, right? And it’s led by licensed marriage, family and sex therapist Marissa Nelson, LMFT, CST.
I brought my fiancé along with me and prepared myself for what I expected to be fancier version of the premarital counseling we had been doing in church. But this form of counseling would involve workshops, guided experiences, some pampering, and the opportunity to do it all with Barbados as our backdrop (and The Crane Resort as our lodging). What I walked away with was some incredible insight into myself, how my childhood has impacted by adulthood, and what I really want in a marriage.
But before we get to the serious stuff, I have to laud the much lighter moments, and there were many meant to bring me and my fiancé closer. For one, we were set up in the lap of luxury with a suite at The Crane in St. Philip Parish. While we had just about everything we needed in the gorgeous resort (including a private plunge pool, a view of the beach, a complete kitchen, and a Jacuzzi tub), we also were able to wander off of the resort to mix and mingle with locals (and get macaroni pie and roti).
We also had the chance to get a couple’s massage, take a tour of the island as a whole (shout out to Glyne!), and go on a catamaran cruise (big ups to Cool Runnings!) where we snorkeled with sea turtles, checked out shipwrecked boats, ate a sumptuous feast that came with free drinks, and danced in the sun with the colorful crew. I even had the chance to learn wukking at a bar, which I was pretty good at, if I do say so myself. And did I mention that I got my hair retwisted for $35?
Still, what I treasure most from that trip, aside from the chance to relax on the beach with my love, was the opportunity to get to the root of certain issues that we didn’t realize were affecting our relationship. With Nelson’s help and knowledge, I learned that our childhood and what we go through in it truly informs how we behave as adults. Watching certain types of dysfunction in my household and the way we didn’t deal with it as a family caused me to assume the worst of my partner even when he wasn’t doing anything wrong. We also came to terms with the fact that a lack of emotional sensitivity growing up played into how we both dealt with our emotions. And yet, the things we liked and disliked about our parents was what we sought out in one another.
We were able to work on our communication, figure out the things we needed to let go of in order to move forward as happy and healthy people, and we even created a manifesto of what we want for our marriage. The latter activity allowed us to talk about things that many couples don’t discuss before saying “I do.” From the expectations when it comes to kids to how we will manage our money and even how we plan to deal with possible interference from our loved ones in our relationship. I shed a lot of tears, and in the process, shed a lot of baggage and gained a better understanding of the both of us as individuals and as a team.
I must admit that while I’ve loved my premarital counseling sessions at my church home, what I gained from Nelson was what I needed to hear for a very long time. Sometimes it takes more than telling someone to “pray” and “communicate” to deal with wounds that have been festering since you were a kid.
What I came with were high expectations for a good time on the beach with my fiancé, the chance to eat some delicious food, and maybe gain some tools to make my marriage work. What I left with was an invaluable experience, marked by a stronger comprehension of the man I love, a better way to converse with him, and a different perspective on everything from sex and my body, to my self-esteem and my friend circle. Whether you’re preparing to tie the knot or you’re a single who wants to do some self-reflection to get back to happy, you would be greatly enriched by going on an IntimacyMoon and working under the tutelage of Nelson.
If you’re interested, singles or couples, you can book an upcoming spot in her next retreat for April 2017 on the IntimacyMoon site. Upcoming retreats are set to offer a little bit extra, including a class on how to give a massage to your partner, sunset yoga and meditation, a tour, tasting and mixology class courtesy of Mount Gay Rum, and much, much more. It’s sure to be an adventure you will never forget.
Are you and your partner going to a couple’s counselor, hoping to resolve your issues? Or, perhaps, you’re just going preemptively? Either way, no one is ever prepared for what they encounter in this unique experience. Here’s what nobody tells you about couple’s therapy.
Believe it or not, but some celebrity couples put time and effort into improving their marriages. Not everyone (well, for the most part) is interested in heading to divorce court so that they can seek out the next fame-boosting affair. These celebrity couples tried couples counseling, and it worked for most of them.
If we are honest with ourselves, many of us have to admit that it is hard not to envy the life of the rich and famous. But don’t be too envious, because they are people just like the rest of us who also experience relationship drama from time to time. Take a look at the couples, past and present, who we think would be great on the next season of “Couples Therapy.” It most likely won’t happen, but hey, you never know. And even though some of these couples have already bitten the dust, it’s never too late to make things work!
Welcome to our weekly column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.
When was the last time you touched your spouse, partner, or child? Forget about intimacy. Let’s talk about holding hands, hugging and kissing.
We live in an anti-touch culture. There is a growing trend called touch deprivation where married couples are not having sex much less canoodling with one another. According to The New York Times, “It’s estimated that about 15 percent of married couples have not had sex with their spouse in the last six months to one year.”
Versandra Kennebrew, chief leader at VKI International, a certified holistic health coach says, “Touch deprivation is defined as suffering from poor, inadequate or loveless physical contact. This debilitating condition affects millions of Americans each day. Typical negative emotional effects that you may see in a person devoid of touch: irritability; anti-social behavior; aggression; depression; anxiety; and violent behavior.” Kennebrew recently released a free eBook, Art of Touch, where she teaches couples how to reconnect by allowing the blood, love and intimacy to flow.
I recently spoke with Versandra Kennebrew about how couples can press RESET and get re-connected.
MadameNoire: What was the turning point in your life that led you to your passion?
Versandra Kennebrew: I was a massage therapist, with a thriving company. However, after 9/11, many companies downsized and my services were no longer needed. I did not prepare for a rainy day, had a fancy office, a staff, no savings in the bank, no place to live and eventually became homeless.
MN: Where did you go?
VK: I was resourceful. I moved into a hotel that was in need of a certified massage therapist. I stayed there for 11 months, free of charge, and provided massage services for the hotel guests. My accommodations were not fancy, however, it gave me a roof, a life lesson in touch deprivation and a new mission.
MN: What do you mean by a life lesson in touch deprivation?
VK: I learned that people regardless of socio-economics, have challenges with touching self. It can be due to religion, family, media and so forth. When left untreated, it festers, takes shape in relationships and how we relate to people in life and love.
MN: Why are we hearing more about touch deprivation now?
VK: Well, we now live in a microwave society. Children, have never seen their parents hug, kiss, laugh and they grow up not knowing how to give or receive touch. It starts at home – if a baby does not receive love, they will die; if a toddler does not receive love, they will have mental and growth issues. If an adult does not receive love, they become aloof and violent. I teach that touching and being touched is la matter of life and death.
MN: How do you help couples press RESET?
VK: I empower my clients to sit and write down their stressors. Next, we get introspective and find out about the person, then the couple. We talk about everything from childhood, diet, medication and career, to state of mind. Then we focus on meditation, creating a healthy and whole state and teach them how to incorporate the principles of touch by creating their own touch mastery.
MN: What do you teach couples through the Art of Touch?
VK: For the past 10 years, I have facilitated Art of Touch workshops at conferences, retreats, churches and home gatherings as a tool for couples and singles in search of practical ways to enhance bonding, communication and intimacy. It starts simply by teaching couples how to talk to each other in a responsive and loving tone. The Art of Touch teaches baby steps for life long intimacy.
Versandra Kennebrew’s Art of Touch Reset: Spouses who enjoys intimacy with one another live happier healthier lives! It is imperative that we stay committed to building healthy relationships to encourage optimal health.
Naughty By Nature rapper Treach And his girlfriend Cicely Evans are slated to appear on the next season of “Couple’s Therapy” and the pair didn’t hesitate to tell us exactly why they signed up for the VH1 reality show. Although the parents of two kids together never used to fight, after eight years together, the couple told us they found themselves constantly arguing and, thanks to the therapists they encountered, both were able to get to the root of their individual troubles. Cicely said she realized she had some serious trust issues which we’ll see play out on the show and Treach, like fellow rapper DMX who appeared on a previous season, had serious abandonment and anger issues. Were the two able to get past those roadblocks and move toward spending their lives together happily ever after? Check out what they had to say about their “Couple’s Therapy” experience and their plans for walking down the aisle in the video above.
During my undergraduate tenure at Florida State, I had the fortune of being taught by one of the most important black psychologists in the country, Dr. Naim Akbar. Dr. Akbar, while discussing the psychological state of black people in America, said “every negro living in America needs some form of therapy. When you think about what’s been done to us and our history in this country, America is lucky that it isn’t overrun with a bunch of crazy n*****.”
When asked what it would take to get men, specifically black men, to attend a therapy session, I thought of 1,000 different reasons it wouldn’t happen. When I say “therapy,” I’m making specific reference to sessions which include couches, a licensed psychologist discussing a patient’s feelings, and daily/weekly visits. Discussing black men’s aversion to therapy without talking about the barriers would be pointless, so I’ll start there. Afterward, I’ll discuss how those barriers can be broken.
Men “being men” isn’t the answer
Firstly, we need to understand how the stereotype of men’s emotional disposition can prevent them from seeking therapy. Society says men are supposed to be strong, unemotional, and silent. If a woman needs help, she has an almost endless amount of resources to choose from. The stereotype of the man being strong and silent works against men, especially black men, because we aren’t allowed to verbalize what is wrong with us without being seen as weak. This is particularly destructive for black men because carrying the burden of being one of the most oppressed groups in the United States has been a direct cause of so many young black men ending up in the prison system. The rules need to be rewritten to show black men that talking about problems and dealing with them head on in a safe environment is an example of strength, too.
It starts with the parents
A discussion of how the stigma of mental health and how it’s viewed in the black community needs to be addressed. What I’ve found in my previous experience as a mental health counselor for “at risk” youth is that parents have a hard time understanding the problems at hand so they’re either perplexed on what to do or believe the problem to be temporary. Instead of parents admitting there might be something wrong, parents simply say “there’s nothing wrong” or the kids are “just acting up.” That attitude is carried for those same children when they turn into adults. Rather than concede there is an issue, black boys grow up to be black men who think “there’s nothing wrong” or that whatever is bothering them will simply go away. A refusal of their parents to acknowledge a little black boy’s actions not being “normal,” turns into black men who can’t own up to the notion of something not being quite right with them and to then seek help.
Therapy ain’t cheap, or just for white people
The last barrier I wanted to touch on are the costs associated with seeking treatment. A cursory glance on your favorite search engine will give you a wide array of prices on therapeutic services. The price can range from $60 an hour all the way up to $250+ an hour. Certainly nothing to sneeze at. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a large portion of the black community believes therapy, on the whole, is “for white or crazy people.” Ignorant? Absolutely, but I’ve seen it and heard it a hundred times over so I know this line of thought exists.
We know the problems, what are some solutions?
So how do we combat all of this? These solutions are available, but I’ll admit they’re not as easy to do as they are to write about. For starters, there would need to be a paradigm shift in the way men are treated in society. We need black men to realize that seeking help to deal with certain issues is perfectly acceptable. Being able to ask for help, instead of carrying the entire world on their shoulders, needs to be seen as a sign of strength. Not the other way around.
Secondly, the stigma of seeing a therapist needs to be reduced. Building up more support in the black community about the benefits of attending therapy sessions, black parents being able to admit they may need some outside assistance in finding out what’s wrong with their child, and newfound respect for the work mental health professionals can help tremendously.
Finally, though therapy costs can be costly, I’ve noticed that there are insurance policies available that can cut the costs down. If that’s not an option, black men can look for other resources that provide an open and safe place for them to share their burdens. Whether it’s group therapy, counseling sessions at whichever college they attend, or simply talking to someone else about what’s going on, there are alternatives to traditional forms of counseling and resources for those who can’t afford to pay the full cost. One just has to look for them.
Getting men to go to therapy, no matter the race, is a tall order. As a black man, I can attest that gender stereotypes, how mental health is viewed, and the costs associated with therapy are definite barriers to seeking help in this manner. Though I talked about some other solutions, I also want to take the time to say that black women can definitely play an integral part in pushing men to seek help as well. Author Charles W. Chestnutt once said “when it is said that it was done to please a woman, there ought to be enough said to explain anything; for what a man will not do to please a woman is yet to be discovered.” In other words, plenty of men out there will do anything to please their woman and if going to therapy is what would make her happy, he’d damn sure at least consider it.
We know you’re stuck on the mohawk right now, but try to move past it if you can.
VH1 just dropped a major sneak peek with the Couple’s Therapy Season 4 supertrailer and from what we see in this 4-minute video, it’s going to be a doozie.
You’re likely familiar with all the characters that will be featured on this round of the relationship therapy show. You have 43-year-old Wu Tang rapper Ghostface Killah and his 20-something girlfriend, Kelsey Nykole; Real Housewives of Beverly Hills‘ Taylor Armstrong and her new man ohn Bluher; Teen Mom Farrah Abraham; Whitney Mixter and Sada Bettencourt from The Real L Word; and Jon Gosselin minus Kate, plus his new lady Liz Janetta. If you’re confused why Farrah Abraham is on the show solo, you’re not alone. As we see in the trailer, she has no clue where her boyfriend is or why he didn’t show up for the show they agreed to participate in, which gives us just a glimpse of the relationship issues plaguing them.
From trust issues, to ex drama, to infidelity, this group of couples has some of everything going on and, bad as it may be to say, we can’t wait to watch these celebs work through all of their problems on the next season of Couple’s Therapy, which airs January 2 at 9pm on VH1.
Check out the trailer for the show in the video below. Will you watch?
Last month we told you that Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah would be joining the cast of VH1’s Couples Therapy along with his girlfriend, Kelsey Nykole. We weren’t really sure what to expect from Ghost and Kelsey, but this season’s newly released trailer definitely offers a tiny sample of what we’re in for. And let’s just say, things are going to get pretty real this season.
It’s a little difficult to tell exactly what Ghost and Kelsey are arguing about in the trailer, but the discussion gets fairly heated and Ghost proceeds to go off.
“You not the only chick I do that with!” Ghost yells in the 30-second clip.
Kelsey eventually decides she’s over the conversation, yells, “F**k this,” and storms out of the session. Only God knows what they’re fighting about, but we’ll be able to find out January 2nd when the new season premieres. Hopefully they’re able to survive the reality TV curse and use the show as an opportunity to work on their relationship.
Check out the trailer below.
Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah will be the next hip hop artist that we get to witness work through his tumultuous relationship on national television. It has just been announced by VH1 that the Staten Island native will be appearing on season four of Couples Therapy along with his significant other, Kelsey Nykole.
There isn’t much currently being said about Ghostface’s relationship with Kelsey as of yet, but we’re sure that we will be well educated on their issues once the show airs in January. In case you’re unfamiliar with VH1 Couples Therapy, its a show that is moderated by Dr. Jenn Berman, where celebrity couples seek to resolve their extreme relationship issues. A brief excerpt from the season four press release reads:
“These four-and-a-half couples, at a crossroads in their relationships, will join together for over 2 weeks as they undergo intensive relationship therapy. Under the guidance of Dr. Jenn Berman, a nationally renowned relationship therapist, the couples will participate in group and individual therapy along with relationship exercises out in the ‘real world’ to see if they can rekindle the love they used to have for one another — or if it’s simply time for them to move on.”
Joining Ghostface and Kelsey will be Taylor Armstrong & John Bluher, Teen Mom‘s Farrah Abraham, The Real L Word‘s Whitney Mixter & Sada Bettencourt and Jon & Kate‘s Jon Gosselin & Liz Janetta.
Are you a Couples Therapy fan? Do you think you’ll tune in to see Ghostface?