‘A good time to have sex is when you feel safe’

Good Health Choices - - Ask the expert -

My part­ner and I can’t re­solve our prob­lems, and we’re both be­com­ing an­gry and resentful. How do I deal with it be­fore it destroys our re­la­tion­ship?

AS­tart by mak­ing sure you know the cause of the prob­lem. Many cou­ples as­sume they both un­der­stand what the issue is, but they ac­tu­ally don’t. For ex­am­ple, you might think your part­ner’s re­cent inat­ten­tive­ness is be­cause he’s los­ing in­ter­est in you, when in fact it’s be­cause of work-re­lated stress. When re­solv­ing prob­lems, make sure you con­sider all the op­tions be­fore choos­ing a so­lu­tion. Ask your part­ner for ideas and lis­ten to his con­cerns. It’s im­por­tant that you work to­gether. You need to have a sense of shared own­er­ship in the process and shared re­spon­si­bil­ity for the out­come.

I’m afraid of birds, in par­tic­u­lar their flap­ping wings. I can’t en­joy be­ing out­doors with my fam­ily and friends and am al­most house­bound. What can I do?

ACog­ni­tive be­hav­iour ther­apy (CBT) is a treat­ment used to treat pho­bias of all sorts of things, in­clud­ing spi­ders, snakes, and small an­i­mals like mice, rats and birds. CBT will help you con­front your fears and re­place un­help­ful think­ing with a more re­al­is­tic view. With the help of a ther­a­pist, you’ll grad­u­ally be ex­posed to your fear and given re­lax­ation tech­niques to use when your anx­i­ety rises. Speak to your GP about get­ting a re­fer­ral to a ther­a­pist who spe­cialises in treat­ing pho­bias.

For the first time in my life, I feel stuck. I’ve lost con­fi­dence. How do I get my life mov­ing again?

AFeel­ing ‘stuck’ can stem from our own lim­it­ing thoughts. To get your life mov­ing, start by turn­ing off this neg­a­tive self-talk by ques­tion­ing your be­liefs. For ex­am­ple, stop and ask, ‘Is it a fact that at 50 I can never find a part­ner or get a new and in­ter­est­ing job?’ If there isn’t any ev­i­dence for your be­lief, let it go and come back to be­ing present in the mo­ment. Take con­trol of your life by de­vel­op­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. Put to­gether a plan of ac­tion that in­cludes lots of de­ter­mi­na­tion to make things hap­pen.

CBT will help you to re­place un­help­ful think­ing

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