Moderation: Building a Healthy Lifestyle

By | Mental Health Providers Frisco TX | No Comments

Moderation: Building a Healthy Lifestyle
As a therapist, you get asked all sorts of questions: Are video games healthy for my son? I joined a yoga, lyra, and kickboxing class, is that healthy? When I am bored, I am constantly over at a friend’s house, girlfriend’s apartment, this week I’ve never been home. Am I handling my depression? My follow up question for each would be, “What seems to be troubling you?” Each one of these scenarios is coping skills. However, ask yourself how much time are you spending with each activity. Moderation is finding a healthy balance in all aspects of life and not going into excess. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. For example, everything needs water. 60% of the human body is made up of water. To much water, however, can drown a person and flood an entire city.

If we look at moderation we need to examine four aspects of life: Community, Health, Motivation, and Goals.

1) Community- Community is important because it is a source of support and gives us a place where we develop friendships. To little of community gives us a feeling of being alone and isolated. If isolation continues it can cause low self-esteem, loneliness, and social anxiety in crowds. As humans we crave a sense of belonging, to engage in friendships, and have a place where we feel supported. Social interaction increases positivity and gives a person a sense of acceptance. However, there are negative effects of too much social interaction. You can become exhausted and emotionally drained by socializing with too many people. Too much exposure can cause you to be irritable, and crave isolation while being in socially crowded areas. Everybody needs there downtime, whether its watching bad TV, reading a book, or going fishing by yourself.

2) Health- Go on to any website and they will tell you so many diets or different exercise routines to live a healthy lifestyle. Even at an early age we were told to eat our vegetables, go to bed at a reasonable time, exercise, etc. But as people we have not been able to follow those examples due to stress, time, and circumstances in life. Eating healthy is great, if you are currently on a diet I commend you on wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. However, being too strict to eat healthy, can be too much for people which causes a loss in motivation to continue to dieting. In this case, it’s ok to have 1 cheat meal per week. By doing so will cause you to be energized. If you are like me I love pizza, fried chicken, cheese fries: with bacon, sour cream, brisket, and a side of ranch. But if I say to myself, “I will never eat like that again” is impossible. It may be bad for your body but it is good for the soul. Since you are taking steps to eat healthier, it’s important to reward yourself. By doing so you can continue to push yourself forward and accomplish dietary goals. Exercise is very important whether it is taking a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood, or training for a marathon. However, too much exercise can have negative effects. For example, too much running can cause you to lose muscles and wear out your knees. Lifting too much weight does not increase muscle mass. Instead it ruins your progress and causes too much stress in your joints/tendons. Your body will not handle the stress which results in muscle tears. Start out with lighter weights instead, and focus on form. Focusing on form will help you strengthen muscle groups and less injury is like to occur. It is important to remember to find a balance between cardio and weightlifting. Set particular days for cardio and weightlifting. On days of cardio/weightlifting change things up frequently, Day 1: Indoor/Outdoor Swimming, Day 2: Arms/Chest, Day 3: Stair Stepping/Back, Day 4: Legs/Glutes, Day 5: Elliptical Machine/Running. Take at least two days off for your body to recover and build muscle. I am not a personal trainer/nutritionist, for guided instruction please consult one at your local gym.

3) Motivation- Ask yourself what is the one thing you love to do on your time off? For me I love days by the lake. I love swimming or anything by water. Swimming is at the top of the list for me, however toward the end of the summer I am starting to get bored with swimming, in which I have to do other things that I find enjoyable. Too much of a good thing can cause boredom. Plus, if you only have one thing to enjoy, it is important to find other avenues of activity. It could be volunteering at the local homeless shelter, dancing, hunting, hiking, fishing, playing sports, scrapbooking, etc. Anything that you say to yourself: “I had a stressful day, I need to do something fun tonight.” Motivation is important because it recharges other aspects of moderation such as: Community, Health, and Goals. However too much motivation can cause negative motivation to manifest, which results in Community, Health and Goals to suffer. Let’s think about this for a minute, how could motivation can be negative? Sounds improbable, right? Actually no, an example would be using anxiety to motivate you to do your work. “If I don’t do my work on time, I am going to get fired. My wife will leave me and start dating the tattoo covered personal trainer. My kids will think their old man is a loser. And I will lose everything I have built. I need to push myself harder.” This results in self-hate, which depression and anxiety develops. Motivation is good but Negative Motivation can lead you to push yourself too hard. Motivation is important in life and will push your forward toward bigger dreams. The trick is not let Negative Motivation shame you, Motivate yourself.

4) Goals- When there are goals in life that you want to achieve make sure they follow this acronym. S.M.A.R.T which means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely. This provides a map by which you are able to achieve your goals, provides motivation, which builds self-esteem. This acronym helps eliminate unrealistic goals. An unrealistic goal would be: “I will never drink again.” “I will stop eating fried foods, and just eat grilled meats and vegetables only.” Instead try the acronym: Specific- “I am not happy with my current weight. I plan to join the paleo diet and create a meal plan based on its philosophy for eating healthy.” Measurable- “Since it is Wednesday, I want to start my diet next Monday. I will create a meal plan from Monday to Sunday.” Attainable-“If I try this diet and I don’t like it I will research other diets while I am on it after work. I will see the diet through toward the end of the week and have a cheat meal on Sunday night. Ribs from Spring Creek sound good.” Reasonable- “My plan is reasonable and I have 7 days to decide I want to keep the diet or not. And while I am on the diet I can explore other options.” Timely- I feel that 7 days is good enough to decide. I can like or dislike the meal plan. I can find something else. When it comes to moderation focus on one goal at a time. Too many will cause you to lose focus in which you won’t be able to set out what you want to achieve. Remember slow and steady wins the race.
So how do we live a life in moderation? By examining the four areas and most importantly being honest with yourself. Once again thank you for reading and I hope the tools I provided are beneficial to you. Have a great day .

Understanding “Co-Dependence”

By | Couples Counseling Frisco TX | No Comments

Understanding Co-DependenceFor those of you who have ever been in a relationship where you believed yourself or your partner to be “co-dependent,” it is far more likely that your relationship problems were/are due to something else. “Dependent Personality Disorder,” as it is labeled in the DSM-V is extremely rare, occurring in only 0.49% of the population. So, chances are neither you or your partner would likely meet the criteria for the diagnosis, but that’s not to say you and/or your partner didn’t both experience the struggle of negotiating separateness and togetherness.  There is such a thing as a health dependence in intimate relationships.

Establishing boundaries is a normal part of every relationship and is often most difficult early on, however, if conflict continues to arise each time a person wishes to spend time separately, there may be something deeper to examine in the relationship, and you may be surprised how much taking this deeper look at the relationship patterns can truly help.

So before you write off another “doomed relationship,” consider the potential gains you might experience by gaining a deeper understanding of yours and other’s non-co-dependent attachment styles. If you are interested in learning more about your relationship patterns or personal attachment style call 214-250-7808.

Betrayal Trauma Counseling in Frisco, TX: LifeSTAR Dallas

By | Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TX | No Comments

Sex addiction counseling is not just for the sex addict.  A spouse who discovers her spouse has had secret sexual behaviors can be very overwhelmed.  One spouse described her discovery as like being broad-sided in an auto-accident.  She was in shock, unsure of the damage, but felt numb with this information.  Experts in Betrayal have listed the 11 common symptoms of betrayal trauma below:

  1. Overwhelming emotions
  2. Unusual/uncharacteristic behaviors
  3. Sleep difficulties– too much/too little
  4. ‘Brain fog’– inability to think clearly, memory loss, getting lost easily
  5. Eating problems– inability to eat/overeating
  6. Anxiety/panic attacks
  7. Depression
  8. Rumination/obsessive thoughts and intrusive images/flashbacks
  9. Difficulty caring for self or others
  10. Isolation
  11. Obsessive need to check the internet history, GPS, email accounts, text message history, etc. for signs that the danger is still present

Contact the Center for Marriage and Family Counseling for Betrayal Trauma Counseling in Frisco, TX

If you suspect your spouse has a sex addiction, contact the Center For Marriage and Family Counseling for sex addiction counseling in Frisco, TX at 214-250-7808.

Sex Addiction Counseling in Frisco, TX: Recover Trust and Safety

By | Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TX | No Comments

Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TXWhy seek sex addiction counseling in Frisco, TX? Whatever the level of severity, sex addiction has the power to hurt you and those you love in a multitude of ways. Not only can it isolate you from your loved ones, but it can lead to increasingly self-destructive behaviors and feelings of shame. Over the past 10 years we have been helping sex addicts, partners of addicts, and marriages recover from sex addiction.   We often recommend couples give recovery 1 year to see if trust and safety can be rebuilt into the relationship.  Recovery works best with a mix of group therapy, individual and couples therapy.   LifeSTAR Dallas offers three phases of treatment with workbooks for addict and partner to guide you through the process

Sex Addiction Counseling in Frisco TX: Signs You May Have a Sex Addiction

By | Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TX | No Comments

Addiction is real, and those who believe they may have a sex addiction can seek help through sex addiction counseling in Frisco, TX. As people grow and learn more about themselves and the world around them, they are introduced to a variety of things that they will both like and dislike. Sometimes when people find something they enjoy, their love for this thing can turn into an addiction, but it is not always easy to tell when you have become addicted. Many like to think that they are strong and can avoid becoming an addict, but sometimes things like sex can start to take over your life before you have a chance to notice that something isn’t right. Signs You May Need Sex Addiction Counseling in Frisco, TX

With any addiction, there are signs and symptoms that you can look for to recognize whether you have a problem or not. The following are signs that you may have an addiction and should attend sex addiction counseling in Frisco, TX:

  • You recognize that you are spending more time viewing porn and/or you seek more graphic content.  You hide or lie about viewing porn.
  • When you are bored, stressed, lonely, anxious or experiencing any hard emotion or life situation you tend to use porn or seeking sexual relationship as a way to escape or numb.
  • You engage in multiple forms of sexual activity (i.e. phone sex, massage parlors, pornography, escorts or prostitutes).
  • You are preoccupied with thoughts of sex.
  • You neglect your responsibilities like work, school, or family to engage in viewing porn or other sexual acting out behaviors.

Addiction recovery will be one of the hardest things you ever do.  With education, support, and persistence you can reach 30 days sober, than 60 days, 90 days and then a year!  The sense of peace and accomplishment is worth the relapses and work along the way.  When you get to maintenance phase, your recovery will still require effort, but not hyper-focus.  You will have built both coping-skills and deeper connections with yourself, God/higher power and with those around you.

Experience tells us that when you have the courage to reach out for help and come out of hiding, Hope will replace despair and shame.  You are worth it.   Center for Marriage and Family Counseling is here to help. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (214) 250-7808.

Sex Addiction Counseling Frisco TX
Center For Marriage & Family Counseling
8380 Warren Parkway #604
Frisco, Texas 75034
(214) 250-7808

When Sex Becomes a Drug

By | Counseling for Sex Addiction Frisco TX | No Comments

Counseling For Sex Addiction Frisco TXAlthough some would argue that sex addiction does not exist (take the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 for example), many others argue that it does, and back their argument with strong neurobiological evidence. Research by Patrick Carnes and Donald Hilton, among others is beginning to show that sex addiction exists and needs to be effectively treated (more on their work later). Sex addiction is an addiction, and here’s why.

Sex addiction has all of the characteristics of an addiction. The American Society of Addiction Medication describes addiction as a disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and brain circuitry, and characterized by:

  1. Inability to consistently Abstain
  2. Impairment in Behavioral control
  3. Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences
  4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships; and
  5. A dysfunctional Emotional response. The American Society of Addiction Medication has recently described sex addiction as an addiction in 2011. Sex addiction meets all of the characteristics of addiction. An individual with a sex addiction:
  6. Has an inability to abstain from sexual stimulation
  7. Has an impairment in behavioral control: can’t control how often and how long he/she engages in sex
  8. Experiences cravings for sexual experiences: an addict has different triggers into acting out
  9. Diminished ability to recognize problems with his/her behaviors and in interpersonal relationships
  10. Has a dysfunctional emotional response: uses sex for reward/and or relief.

Sex addiction is a process addiction or behavioral addiction, meaning that an individual is addicted to the act of sex. Sex becomes the “drug” of choice for an addict.  Others prefer to use the term problematic sexual behavior or compulsive sexual behavior (Hentsch-Cowles & Brock, 2013). With sexual content constantly available, this “drug” can be free, always accessible, and an easy escape for an addict.

Although the “drug” in sex addiction is sex,  sex addiction is not about sex. It is about emotional mismanagement. It occurs when an individual uses sex to minimize pain and painful emotions or augment pleasure. Generally, a mix of genetics and traumatic experiences underlie sex addiction. When an individual with a sex addiction feels a difficult emotion, and he/she does not have healthy ways of coping with that emotion, he/she will often turn to sex. He/she will feel a “high” with sexual release, which is very short-lived, and only helps the individual “escape” temporarily. Then the individual often feels guilt and shame (two difficult emotions), and that can start the whole process over. The individual becomes caught in the the squirrel-cage of addiction.

Sex addiction, like any other type of addiction, hijacks the reward pathways in the brain and damages brain circuits. Sex addiction, like all addictions, makes addicts lives become out of control and unmanageable. Sex addiction harms the addict’s ability to make choices and the addict’s ability to maintain loving relationships.  The severity of sex addiction and its consequences progresses if left unaddressed.

At Center for Marriage and Family Counseling (and LifeSTAR Dallas), we specialize in treatment for sex addiction. If you think that you have a sex addiction, schedule an appointment with us today. You are not alone. We can help!


American Society of Addiction Medication. (2011). Public policy statement: Definition of addiction. Retrieved from:”sex addiction”

Hentsch-Cowles, G., & Brock, L. J. (2013). A systemic review of the literature on the role of the partner of the sex addict, treatment models, and a call for research for systems theory model in treating the partner. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 20(4), 323-335. doi:10.1080/10720162.2013.845864

7 Communication Mistakes Every Parent Should Avoid

By | Family Relationship Frisco TX | No Comments

7 Communication Mistakes Parents Should AvoidYour child may be a miniature version of you — or not! — but children (ages 0-17) are not miniature adults, no matter how much they act or insist to you that they are, and no matter how much they actually believe that they are. Communication with your child will vary based on their age and stages of functioning; however, all children need you to avoid the following 7 things, in order to grow and develop in a healthy way.

  1. Do not be distracted when a child wants to talk to you. Give your individual attention. Do not try to multi-task. Do not read, watch T.V., doze off, or stay busy with other tasks. If you are too busy to talk, simply say so and make time for the child later. Otherwise, your distraction and/or impatience will be obvious to your child, causing your child’s desire to talk to you to decrease over time. Put your devices down, turn off the T.V., shut the door, etc. Let your nonverbal cues tell the child you are available.
  1. Do not say unkind words to your child. Unkind words tear children down and teach them that they are not good enough. Unkind words from parents (and other adults) cause children to have shame and low self-esteem, both of which are toxic. If you do make a mistake and say unkind words to a child, make sure that you tell them you are sorry as soon as you can and that you correct what you said. The truth is that children can be very frustrating and may make you want to say bad words all day. Take your frustrations and unkind words about your child to the Lord (if you believe in Him) or to an empty chair (if you do not) – but never take your frustrations to your child (Lund). Do share your love for your child.
  1. Do not assume children can talk openly about their feelings. If children don’t want to talk, that is okay. They will share their feelings when they feel safe.
  1. Try not to jump in with words or advice until the end of the conversation. Sometimes, talking out feelings and having someone listen is all a child really wants or needs. Once a child feels heard and understood, his/her original problem may shrink into a manageable perspective or even disappear.
  1. Do not always take a child’s questions and comments at face value (Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service). Look for nonverbal cues. Nonverbal behavior such as a hunched back or curled lip can put a child’s words into context. Sometimes children speak of hidden fears and ask for reassurance indirectly with questions (Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service).
  1. Do not encourage your child to take sides. They love both of their parents. They can become confused and torn because of their love and loyalty for both parents. Do not speak negatively about the other parent in front of a child. Reassure a child with a touch or a hug and an apology, if you make a mistake.
  1. Do not use children as a sounding board. Remember that children are just children. Look to other adults for advice when you need help with personal decisions.

These 7 things can be hard to avoid, as a parent. However, by working to avoid these negative communication behaviors with your child, you will help your child out. Improving your communication with your child will not only help your child develop more healthily, but it will also help you have a better relationship with your child. If you need help working on your communication with your child, schedule an appointment at Center for Marriage and Family Counseling today! You are not on your own.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. (n.d.). Communication. Retrieved from
Lund, J. (2004) How to Hug a Teenage Porcupine. Covenant Communication.

Marriage Counselors Frisco TX Help Couples Suffering Emotional Abuse

By | Marriage Counselors Frisco TX | No Comments

Marriage Counselors Frisco TXAn estimated 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce due to various reasons, but marriage counselors in Frisco TX can reduce this risk if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. Of course, it is important to note that you should seek immediate help if you feel unsafe or your life is being threatened. Using this guide, you will understand the signs of emotional abuse and learn how counselors can help you and your spouse.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

The signs of physical abuse are easy to see since they almost always leave bumps, bruises, or even broken bones. Unfortunately, the signs of emotional abuse are invisible and difficult to distinguish. If you are dealing with the following, you may be in an emotionally-abusive relationship:

  • Yelling – Constant yelling is an unhealthy means of communication.
  • Names, Putdowns, Degradation – Emotional abuse includes name-calling or degrading the other person.
  • Threats – Threats to physically, emotionally, or financially hurt you are considered a form of emotional abuse.
  • Control – Physical, emotional, and financial control is also a form of abuse.
  • One-Sided Opinions – An emotionally-abusive spouse will do most of the arguing without taking your side, thoughts, and opinions into consideration.

Therapy for Emotionally Abusive Relationships

It is important to note that all married couples have differences and arguments, but constant name-calling, yelling, and threatening control are signs that you and your spouse need counseling.

Marriage counselors in Frisco TX offer treatment options to learn the causes of emotional abuse and the best course of action to save your marriage.

Individualized therapy is imperative for the abusive person in the marriage. After a few sessions, counselors are able to determine why the person is abusive to their spouse. In most cases, this abuse is a learned behavior, stemming from the abuser’s childhood. Individualized therapy will allow the abuser to work through their memories, helping them understand why they feel the need to abuse their own spouse.

Therapy is also necessary as a couple. Counselors will teach you and your spouse skills to communicate properly, without degradation, threats, or anger. Improving communication will reduce the emotionally abusive behavior, but the abuser must undergo their own individual therapy to cope and manage any anger or other emotional issues.

Therapy is an effective option for emotionally abusive relationships, but you and your spouse must work together to treat the issue and improve your marriage.

If you are dealing with an emotionally abusive spouse, contact The Center for Marriage and Family Counseling at (214) 250-7808 to meet with the caring marriage counselors in Frisco, TX.

After Shattered: Betrayal Trauma

By | Sex Addict | No Comments

Sex AddictPartners of addicts experience extensive emotional and relational pain. Often, partners feel intense difficult emotions, including anger, abandonment, rejection, loneliness, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, worry, shame, and/or guilt. They often feel “less than” and concerned about their body image, personality, and sex. Partners often feel like their hearts are shattered when they learn of their significant other’s sex addiction and feel betrayal trauma. Partners of sex addicts often consider themselves “victims of interpersonal relational trauma” (Corley, Schneider, & Hook, 2012).

Undoubtedly, a sex addict needs treatment. No partner of a sex addict would argue with this! But, often, partners of sex addicts are “the unrecognized persons in the spectrum of sex addiction recovery” (Tripodi, 2006). Partners need healing too, and can benefit from therapy. Therapy support is useful for partners in overcoming betrayal trauma (Pollard, Hook, Corley, & Schneider).

Counseling with a partner of a sex addict includes a safe environment where a partner can talk openly about her/his emotions and thoughts and have support. The ultimate goal of counseling with partners of addicts is for the counselor to be a support to the partner in a difficult time and for the partner to eventually get to a spot where the partner is emotionally healthy, not dependent on whether the addict has become emotionally healthy or unhealthy.

Partners of sex addicts need to go through three phases in counseling. The first phase is “Shock, Crisis, and Information Gathering” and focuses on processing emotions, developing healthy coping strategies, and learning about addiction and sex addiction in general. The second phase is “Normalization of the Reality: Focus Shifts from the Addict to the Self,” and focuses on the self, working through trauma. The third phase is “Advanced Recovery Issues Addressed,” where partners go deeper and explore their ways of thinking.

If you are a partner of a sex addict, you do not need to suffer alone. Set up an appointment immediately! We are here to help you. If you know someone who is a partner of a sex addict, send them the link to this article.

Sex Addict
Center For Marriage & Family Counseling
8380 Warren Parkway #604
Frisco, Texas 75034
(214) 250-7808

Let Our Marriage Counselors in Frisco, TX Help Heal Your Marriage

By | Marriage Counselors Frisco TX | No Comments

Marriage Counselors Frisco TXIf you’re sad because your happy marriage isn’t so happy anymore, then our marriage counselors in Frisco, TX can help you through whatever is happening. Sometimes stress and all the day-to-day life occurrences can take a toll on a marriage, but this is where the Center for Marriage and Family Counseling can assist in getting to the bottom of what’s happening.

The sooner you seek help from marriage counselors in Frisco, TX, the faster your relationship with your spouse can heal. Facing life’s little challenges together is always the best way to resolve any conflict or day-to-day stress. Call (214) 250-7808 to schedule an appointment.

Marriage Counselors Frisco TX
Center For Marriage & Family Counseling
8380 Warren Parkway #604
Frisco, Texas 75034
(214) 250-7808