Friday, January 15, 2016

Free Relationship Patterns Workshop on Monday Night



A lot of us are interested in better understanding our dating patterns and why our relationships tend to work out the way they do.

On Monday, January 18th at 7pm, I'm hosting a workshop and discussion where we can gather, converse, and gain insight into personal dating & relationship patterns.

This is a free workshop/discussion where women can meet each other and discuss an area of common interest. It will be a light and conversational night while also offering inspiration, empowerment, and an opportunity for personal growth!

You will also get an opportunity to meet me and learn more about the 6-week group that is starting in February.

PLEASE RSVP for exact location: melissa@myheartdances.com 

Please come out! I look forward to meeting you!


Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
myheartdances.com
917-689-6530

Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

Other posts you might like:

Facing Problem After Problem: Thoughts on Coping

The Difficulty in "Following Your Heart"

PMS and Winter Blues: An Alternative View for Women

My Body... Finally.

14 Days Closer to Love

What Our Painful Stories Say About Us

One Small Question About My Big Butt

Cliché Dating Advice? Here's My Response

My Journey with Bulimia

Things People Said that Changed My Life

Sign-up to receive these posts via e-mail: Simply Flaw-thentic

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Exploring Dating Relationship Patterns: Women's Therapy Group


This group is designed to explore and understand your dating and relationship patterns. The group experience will also facilitate healing and movement toward healthier partners and experiences. Additionally, there will be opportunities for feedback from myself and others in the group.

This group is ideal for individuals in their 20's, 30s, and 40's who desire to meet a long-term partner and to increase opportunities for a relationship to succeed.

This group will be 6 weeks with the option to continue for 6 additional weeks.

I meet with each individual interested in the group to make sure the group will be a good fit. I also prioritize making sure members are well-matched and likely to benefit from each others' contribution in the group.

To inquire about the group or individual therapy, please contact me at 917-689-6530 or melissa@myheartdances.com

 About Group Therapy

Groups offer a unique opportunity to learn about ourselves and our relationships, especially for those who need healing from current or past relationships or relational patterns (romantic, familial, social). Personal healing and insight often takes place more quickly as life experiences are shared and reflected among the members. As a therapist, I am very active in facilitating a thought provoking experience within the group, allowing space for self-exploration, relationship building, and opportunities to gain clarity and insight into social experiences within the group that represent aspects of life outside the group.

When?

Group will meet weekly for 6 weeks with the option of continuing for 6 additional weeks. Meetings are 90 minutes. Date and time will be determined prior to first session based on the scheduling needs of participants. I am interviewing participants in January and the group is expected to begin in February.

Where? 

141 E. 35th St. between Lexington and 3rd

How Many Participants?

To facilitate intimate discussion and personal growth, the group will be limited to 8 participants.

Cost?

Group is $45 per session or $250 when paying for the entire 6 weeks prior to the first meeting.

How Do I Sign Up or Learn More?

I meet with each individual interested in the group to make sure the group will be a good fit. I also make a priority of ensuring that members are well-matched and likely to benefit from each others' contributions in the group.

I will be meeting with interested individuals throughout the month of January. Please call or email to schedule an appointment or ask for more information melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530. There is no charge for this one-on-one meeting and no obligation to commit to the group. It is an opportunity to meet me and explore whether the group is a good fit for your personal needs.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Melissa

Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
myheartdances.com
917-689-6530

Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

Other posts you might like:

Facing Problem After Problem: Thoughts on Coping

The Difficulty in "Following Your Heart"

PMS and Winter Blues: An Alternative View for Women

My Body... Finally.

14 Days Closer to Love

What Our Painful Stories Say About Us

One Small Question About My Big Butt

Cliché Dating Advice? Here's My Response

My Journey with Bulimia

Things People Said that Changed My Life

Sign-up to receive these posts via e-mail: Simply Flaw-thentic

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Healing & Affirming Therapy Group for Gay/Bi Men of Christian Faith


This is a gay/bi affirming group for men who come from a Christian faith background to explore and heal around experiences of rejection within the church due to having a homosexual orientation and to experience a safe and positive space to explore sexual development, desire, singleness, dating, and relationships.

This group is ideal for men who desire to find a new way to embrace their Christian faith while also having an opportunity to discuss and gain empowerment around healthy sexual development, dating, and relationships in an affirming space.

If you think this group might be a good fit for your needs or you are simply interested in learning more about this group, please contact me at melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530

About Group Therapy

Groups offer a unique opportunity to learn about ourselves and our relationships, especially for those who need healing from current or past relationships or relational patterns (romantic, familial, social). Personal healing and insight often takes place more quickly as life experiences are shared and reflected among the members. As a therapist, I am very active in facilitating a thought provoking experience within the group, allowing space for self-exploration, relationship building, and opportunities to gain clarity and insight into social experiences within the group that represent aspects of life outside the group.

When?

Group will meet weekly for 6 weeks with the option of continuing for 6 additional weeks. Meetings are 90 minutes. Date and time will be determined prior to first session based on the scheduling needs of participants. I am interviewing participants in January and the group is expected to begin in February.

Where?

141 E. 35th St., between Lexington and 3rd 

How Many Participants?

To facilitate intimate discussion and personal growth, the group will be limited to 8 participants.

Cost?

Group is $45 per session or $250 when paying for the entire 6 weeks prior to the first meeting.

How Do I Sign Up or Learn More?

I meet with each individual interested in the group to make sure the group will be a good fit. I also make a priority of ensuring that members are well-matched and likely to benefit from each others' contributions in the group.

I will be meeting with interested individuals throughout the month of January. Please call or email to schedule an appointment or ask for more information melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530. There is no charge for this one-on-one meeting and no obligation to commit to the group. It is an opportunity to meet me and explore whether the group is a good fit for your personal needs.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Melissa

A Bit About Me: Melissa King is a psychotherapist who deeply values creating space for clients struggling with Christian faith to explore faith authentically at their own pace, to understand themselves and the value of their questions and experiences, and to come to their own decisions about how to define and cultivate their relationship with faith, possibly in a redefined way. Melissa has a special interest in working with clients who have experienced stigma and shame, particularly related to sex and sexuality. Melissa also enjoys working with clients who desire to find a partner or want to better understand their relationship patterns.

Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
myheartdances.com
917-689-6530

Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

Other posts you might like:

Facing Problem After Problem: Thoughts on Coping

The Difficulty in "Following Your Heart"

PMS and Winter Blues: An Alternative View for Women

My Body... Finally.

14 Days Closer to Love

What Our Painful Stories Say About Us

One Small Question About My Big Butt

Cliché Dating Advice? Here's My Response

My Journey with Bulimia

Things People Said that Changed My Life

Sign-up to receive these posts via e-mail: Simply Flaw-thentic

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Faith In Question: When You No Longer Feel Certain About Your Spiritual Faith

Spiritual faith is an important if not foundational part of many people’s lives. It can also be a source of internal conflict and sadness, especially if you come from a tradition that doesn’t allow much space for questioning or difference--and you happen to be questioning or different. While this can happen in any spiritual tradition, my personal experience has largely been with the struggle of individuals who come from a conservative, evangelical Christian background. This is an area of special interest for me, and I’m quite aware of and sensitive to the loneliness and alienation that Christians can experience if they go through a period of questioning faith or questioning the way in which their communities interpret how faith should be lived out. This experience of loneliness and alienation is also often true for those who have been silenced, hurt, or rejected by their church communities because of difference, such as having an LGBT identity.

It can be a really difficult and scary experience to question in a way that is not welcomed or shared by your faith community. The church often serves as a space for deep connection, valued relationships, identity, belonging, safety, and spiritual fulfillment. The loss that comes with having to decide between being authentic or keeping quiet and “going along” is distressing. Individuals who go through this often struggle to find others who they can safely talk with about their experiences and thoughts on faith. Friends who don’t come from the same faith background may not be able to understand or value the deep meanings and attachments that still feel important. Your sense of identity might even feel threatened, and you may wonder what it will mean for you if you don’t continue in your faith exactly as you were taught.

Avoiding the questions or pretending you’re someone you’re not usually doesn’t work that well, especially if your faith is meaningful to you. And I’ve come to believe that honesty with yourself is the only way through this difficult path, and for many, this makes the way for a deepening of faith.

I really value offering a safe space where faith can be explored and integrated into your therapy goals at your own pace and in a way that allows you to both embrace your faith and your questions. Questioning is a vulnerable experience and finding a place to talk and fully explore the questions can be really helpful and healing.

Some books that many on this journey have found beneficial are

A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
Femmevangelical by Jennifer Crumpton
Torn by Justin Lee (for LGBT from a conservative Christian background)

Melissa

Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
myheartdances.com
917-689-6530

Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

Other posts you might like:

Facing Problem After Problem: Thoughts on Coping

The Difficulty in "Following Your Heart"

PMS and Winter Blues: An Alternative View for Women

My Body... Finally.

14 Days Closer to Love

What Our Painful Stories Say About Us

One Small Question About My Big Butt

Cliché Dating Advice? Here's My Response

My Journey with Bulimia

Things People Said that Changed My Life

Sign-up to receive these posts via e-mail: Simply Flaw-thentic

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Facing Problem after Problem? Thoughts on Coping.

The cold, gray winter is quickly approaching and this seasonal change tends to correspond with periodic or persistent low mood for many. Problems and worries can really feel heavier. It might be hard to believe, but this experience can have value. It can become a time of wrestling with our humanity, connecting to what’s meaningful in our lives, and increasing our awareness and sensitivity to the reality of struggle for others.

As you move through adulthood, you might begin to feel like life is rarely free of problems, and this can be disillusioning. Most of us are taught that if we work hard and do all the right things, life will work out well for us, and we won’t suffer the problems that others face. So when you continue to have struggle after struggle, you might start to feel like something is wrong with you, that you really screwed up or made the wrong decision somewhere along the line, that maybe you should've listened to (fill in the blank), or maybe the world or God just has it in for you.

Image by Robert Weis via Wikipedia Commons http://bit.ly/1MUtQRG

The good news is that it really is not just you. Life is hard--for most of us. We might have brief reprieves from carrying around a problem that has to be tackled, but some problems will stick around or come back, and while we may solve others, we’re likely to find a new one lurking not too far away.

But if you just keep focusing on problem after problem, thinking life will be okay once you've crossed this final hurdle, you may soon find yourself exhausted and lose hope for a good future. What can be more helpful is to step back for a second and work on coming to a place of acceptance--that this is part of being human--and focus on growing your ability to cope with the problem of facing problems. The challenge is less about the individual issues and more about learning to come to terms with being a human who must deal with problems, some quite painful, throughout life.

I know it can be very difficult when facing your particular challenges, to look around you and perceive that others seem to have it so much easier, to be more successful, or to have the resources to handle their problems easier. Often this is just our perception. A friend once said to me, "People’s outsides often look better than their insides." This is so true. But it’s also true that, while no life will be free of painful problems, some lives face greater and/or more frequent challenges than others. And this can certainly add feelings of grief to our own personal experience and questions about our lot in life.

There are ways of finding more peace and increasing your coping skills. Below is a list of some tools people use to begin this journey:
    1. Faith and Spirituality
    2. Meditation Practices
    3. Actively seeking community and authentic relationships
    4. Group Therapy--a great way to work on problems, connect with others, and better understand your own relationship dynamics (I'll be posting new groups for 2016 soon).
    5. Psychotherapy
    6. Reading others’ stories: Memoirs, biographies
    7. Changing your thoughts about what you’re going through.
    8. Practicing self-compassion
    9. Including meaningful activities, when possible, even while coping with the problems. Actively practice making sure your life goes on.

    A few books some of my clients are raving about that have been helpful:
    I always welcome your thoughts, reactions, and ponderings about topics written on this blog. Just leave a comment or send me a private message.

    Receive new blog posts via email: Enter your email address in the box at the upper right hand corner of the blog site.

    Individual and couples therapy are available at my office in Midtown, Manhattan. Call or send an email to set up a free phone consultation. 

    Melissa

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Sex and Dating: Knowing and Valuing What Matters to You (Part 3)

    Part 1 and 2 in this series talked about the importance of knowing yourself and taking care of your mental and emotional needs when it comes to making decisions about sex. I also gave you some exercises to help you clarify what your needs and values are when it comes to sex and dating. This week, we’re going to talk about actually communicating these values/needs with a partner. Since this series was primarily written for individuals who tend to have sex before they’re ready (or when they don’t really want to), I’m going to use that scenario for this section of the series.

    Go Slow and Find Space to Reconnect with Yourself

    First, it’s important and okay to pace yourself. When relationships move fast at the beginning, we can easily lose touch with parts of who we are and it can be difficult to discern who your new person-of-interest really is as well. Don’t be afraid to take the time and space to notice how you are feeling as the relationship progresses. Take time to tune in to all of the things we’ve talked about in part 1 and part 2. Slowing down might mean taking a bit longer to respond to a phone call or text so that you can check in with yourself. It might mean spending some time alone or with friends in between dates. You can pace yourself while letting your new person know you’re really looking forward to talking or seeing them (if that’s how you really feel): “Hey! I’m not free tomorrow, but how about Friday? It was great to see you last night!” Pacing yourself can also help you notice if your new person-of-interest is not getting in touch with you enough and how this makes you feel--maybe you notice it’s a turn-off even if you are attracted to them.

    I’m not talking about playing games as a strategy to hook your partner’s interest (such as “playing hard to get”). Pacing yourself is about making time and space to reconnect with yourself so that you can make decisions about the relationship with a clear head.

    Talking to Your Partner

    Next, you’ve done a lot of work in parts 1 and 2 to get clear on what’s important to you about sex, so when it feels like it’s time to share this with your partner, share it in a way that is as genuine and authentic as you are able. I think it’s also best to assume that your new partner will value and respect what you are sharing. That way you’ll be more likely to communicate it in a caring way while also maintaining self-respect: “I really love how things are going between us. I want you to know that sex is important to me and that I’m excited about the idea of having sex with you but I decided awhile ago that I only want to have sex inside a committed relationship, and since we’re still just getting to know each other, I’m not ready to take that step yet.” Of course, you can fill in the words with whatever it is that you have learned is important to you.

    Also, be careful to keep the focus on who you are and what you need rather than basing your communication and decisions about sex on reassurances from your new partner. Saying something like, “I only want to have sex if you’re going to stick around,” usually comes from a place of being disempowered and disconnected from yourself. It’s also a sign that you don’t feel safe and secure emotionally. If that’s how you feel with this person, it might mean that you’re not ready to have sex with them no matter how many assurances they give.

    Give Your Person-of-Interest a Chance to Respond

    Once you’ve shared who you are from an authentic place and in a caring way, wait to see what your partner says. Give them a chance to think about it and respond. If your partner responds disrespectfully, this is valuable information about your potential partner and how they’ll behave in a relationship. If your partner’s needs are in conflict with yours, this is also good information to process and consider for whether your needs can be met with this partner. And if your partner’s needs are the same or your partner is okay with where you’re at, that’s great news. You may have found yourself closer to a great match!

    I’ve got some exciting posts planned for the coming months. I can’t wait to share them! I always welcome your thoughts, reactions, and ponderings about topics written on this blog. Just leave a comment or send me a private message.

    Melissa

    *Individual and couples therapy are available at my office in Midtown, Manhattan. Call or send an email to set up a free phone consultation.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    I'm on the Gary Hour Talking about Dating, Relationships, and Herpes!

    A few weeks ago I got to sit with Gary Levitt and Matt Kaplan in Queens, NY for The Gary Hour podcast. I had so much fun and you can hear the interview here. It's also available on iTunes and Stitcher. It's a long one, but worth it if you're interested in understanding your dating and relationship patterns. We also talk about how I started working with clients who have been diagnosed with herpes, a common STI that many people don't realize they're at risk of contracting.



    (If you can't see the recording, you can do so here.)

    I finally figured out why those of you receiving this via email or RSS feed can't see the videos/media I've been posting. Feedburner, the RSS/email service I use, does not support IFrames, which is the code I use to insert media into my blogs. You can always view media at the blog itself. Just click on the title of the blog and it will take you right there!

    Hope you're having a great week! My next post will follow-up on last week's article: Sex and Dating: Knowing and Valuing What Matters to You

    Melissa

    *Individual and couples therapy is also available at my office in Midtown, Manhattan. Call or send an email to set up a free phone consultation.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.


    Wednesday, September 30, 2015

    Sex and Dating: Knowing and Valuing What Matters to You (Part 2)

    Last week, in my post (and video) on Sex and Dating: Knowing What Matters to You and Speaking Up, I promised to share some tools this week for gaining clarity around what's important to you when it comes to sex so that you can honor yourself and communicate better in relationships.

    For the purpose of this exercise, let's think of sex broadly, not just as intercourse. 

    First, grab a sheet of paper and think for a moment about the influencers in your life.

    Important influencers can be things like:

    (If you can't see this image, click here.)

    What did these important influencers teach you about sex (positive and negative)? Make some columns and jot down notes. Remember, these could be unspoken lessons. For instance, if your parents never talked with you about sex and were not affectionate with each other, that probably taught you something about sex.

    NEXT: 

    Next, think about what you like and what you don't like about these various teachings. Notice whether there is any discrepancy between what you think about a particular lesson and what you feel about it. For instance, do you think some things are great ideas but they don't feel right for you? Are there any that you'd really like to hold onto? What about some you feel clear that you'd like to throw out?

    WHAT ARE YOUR PATTERNS?

    Now think about patterns in your life that involve sex. This might include patterns of communication, decisions to engage or not engage in sexual activity, feelings or experiences of rejection, feelings of safety and security, feelings that come up for you (positive or negative) before, during, or after a sexual activity. Do you feel this way with all the partners that you've had or just some? What experiences or decisions do you feel happy about? Which leave you feeling blah or unfulfilled?

    Also, notice whether you pressure yourself to live by any values or expectations that don't quite feel right for you. Which values are these? Do you feel compelled to please others or go along with things to avoid looking weird despite knowing you want something different?

    DEFINING WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU

    Now, spend some time reviewing the notes you've taken. Then summarize what you've learned about yourself in a few points. You can use some of the following sentence starters to help.

    1. I am...................
    2. I want................
    3. I don't want.....................
    4. ......................is very important to me.
    5. I need.......................
    6. I need..................... in order to be comfortable with..................
    7. ............................... leads to me feeling down (or angry, rejected, alone, etc.).
    8. .............................. makes me feel my best.
    9. .............................. makes me feel empowered.
    10. If I'm uncertain whether I want to proceed, I can.................................
    11. If someone doesn't respect what I've communicated, I can................................. 
    12. I'd like to learn............................
    13. A challenge I would feel positive about is............................



    The more you are able to define yourself, the better you will be able to communicate when the time comes. What's also great is that the more you are able to honor yourself and communicate about what doesn't work for you, the better prepared you'll be to communicate and ask for what you DO like and want.

    Next week I'll talk more about actually communicating this stuff!

    I welcome your thoughts, reactions, and ponderings about topics written on this blog. Just leave a comment or send me a private message.

    Melissa

    *Individual and couples therapy is also available at my office in Midtown, Manhattan. Call or send an email to set up a free phone consultation.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    Sex and Dating: Knowing What Matters to You and Speaking Up


    Sexual health is not just about physical health or knowing your STI status. Sexual health is also about mental and emotional health, knowing yourself, and being able to communicate with your partner(s). Many clients have talked with me about having sex before they're ready or engaging in sexual activities they're not comfortable with because they don't want to be rejected or because they're afraid of speaking up and looking weird.

    Getting clear on your personal values around sex and knowing how sex affects you is an important part of sexual health, and so is being able to honor what you are and aren't comfortable with. Sex is very personal and each of us has the right to define what sex means for us and how we want to engage or not engage in sex. It's also very important that your partner or potential partner respects what's important to you (whether they choose to stay or go).

    It's true that communicating about who you are and what you want or don't want may lead to rejection. Rejection is a real risk we take in relationships. However, compromising something that's important to you doesn't usually make for a good relationship or good self-esteem. What you want and what your partner wants may not be in harmony, but this certainly doesn't make you weird or unworthy. Maybe your partner will deeply value what you shared. Maybe it won't work for them and they'll move on. Maybe they'll wish it was different but because they want to be with you, they'll choose to work with it. But by pretending you're okay with things and not communicating, you risk losing the opportunity for creating something healthy, mutually supportive, and fulfilling.

    When you put your real self out there, you're bound to find people who respect and honor you...not only because they're cool with your preferences but also because you chose to be honest and real! Honesty and authenticity are attractive qualities to healthy partners!

    Next week, I'll share some tools for you to gain clarity on what's important to you around sex as it relates to dating and relationships.

    Melissa

    **This is the last week to sign up for therapy groups starting this fall. More details here:
    ***Individual and couples therapy is also available at my office in Midtown, Manhattan.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Sunday, September 20, 2015

    Group for Women with Herpes

    Hello Ladies,

    I know that being diagnosed with herpes can be surprising and difficult. You might find it hard to imagine life feeling normal again or another person accepting you with this. By now you might already know how common herpes is. The CDC reports that 1 in 6 people have herpes type 2. That's a lot of people, and that number doesn't even include the many people who have type 1 genital herpes. So, the number of people with genital herpes higher than 1 in 6.

    Despite how common it is, we don't talk about it much in our society (outside of comedy). This contributes to misinformation that keeps stigma alive for the many people who are dealing with a diagnosis.

    But there is good news. Many women just like you are able to feel good about themselves again, find acceptance from others, and place herpes exactly where it should be---just one small part of the many characteristics that make up you.

    Check out my video below to find out more about the group.


    The group discussions are intimate and held in a comfortable, private space. The women get to know each other and look forward to seeing each other each session. It's a positive atmosphere that is a great fit for women who want to grow and move forward.

    When: Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month
    What time: 5-6:30pm
    Cost: $150 for 4 sessions There is no charge for your first visit. It's just an opportunity for you to see if you like it and if you connect with the other women.

    What will we talk about?

    The group is facilitated by me. I hold a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling and am a certified holistic health coach. I have over 10 years of experience leading women's groups and coaching women who are looking for support in achieving personal goals, improving self-esteem and body image, and increasing opportunities for more satisfying relationships (dating/family/friendships). In the group for women with herpes, we talk about many of the above topics that are familiar to most women, but we also discuss

    • The difference between HSV 1 and HSV 2
    • Accurate testing (many women are still not receiving the best tests, as a result, they are misinformed about their diagnosis) 
    • Managing symptoms 
    • Transmission and how to protect future partners 
    • How to tell a new partner 
    • Most importantly, you will get to hear the stories of other women who are like you.

    The group is limited to 8 women and is held on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

    How Do I Find Out More?

    Please email or call if you have an interest in the group or would simply like more information: melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530. You will have an opportunity to meet and talk with me in person, as well, before making a final decision about joining the group.

    Older related herpes posts:

    Learning About the 'H' Word. No. Not Hemorrhoids. 

    How I Came to Work with Women with Herpes


    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Struggling w/ Christian Faith: A Short Video about Upcoming Group for Women

    (Click here if you can't see this video about the upcoming group.)

    The Christian church starts out as a place of comfort and healing for many, but some individuals come to a point in their Christian journey where the answers they have been given to guide their faith don’t seem to be enough anymore. This can be scary and painful and create feelings of being disconnected from their community. Some also feel judged by their communities because of the questions they are asking or because they no longer fit into the mold they are expected to fit into.

    If you relate to any of this, you may also feel that you want to find a way to embrace faith in God but are uncertain how to do this while being honest about who you are and the questions you have.

    This is a 12-week group for women who want a safe space to wrestle with their doubts, engage in constructive dialogue around their questions, and heal from the injuries that may have resulted from their faith background.

    We’ll be reading the book Femmevangelical by Rev. Jennifer D. Crumpton as you navigate the challenges you experience with your faith and the church. Rev. Crumpton does an excellent job of educating women about church history, how the bible was canonized, and the ways in which culture and politics have influenced how scripture is interpreted and which texts were selected to be a part of what we now call the Christian bible.

    “These stories and meditations - mixed with theological exploration and a closer look at church history - are dedicated to those who have searched for themselves in the Greater Story and been forced to take on an ill-fitting and soul-killing role to be included.” 

    “Femmevangelical supports the risks, hope, and faith it takes to follow our instincts, create change, and find the God we know exists beyond what we've been taught; and to commit our lives to creating the world in which we were truly made to live.”


    What Else Should I Know? 

    The cost of the group is $45 per session and includes a copy of Femmevangelical by Jennifer D. Crumpton. The group will require a commitment for the full 12 sessions (this means that there is no refund for missed sessions). Individuals who would like to pay for the group in full before the 1st session will be given a discounted fee of $450. The group will be limited to 8 women.  

    How Do I Find Out More?
     

    Please email or call if you have an interest in the group or would simply like more information: melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530

    See a list of other groups happening this fall.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    Converting to Love--Healing Wounds Caused by Growing Up Evangelical: A Group for Women

    The Christian church starts out as a place of comfort and healing for many, but some individuals come to a point in their Christian journey where the answers they have been given to guide their faith don’t seem to be enough anymore. This can be scary and painful and create feelings of being disconnected from their community. Some also feel judged by their communities because of the questions they are asking or because they no longer fit into the mold they are expected to fit into.

    If you relate to any of this, you may also feel that you want to find a way to embrace faith in God but are uncertain how to do this while being honest about who you are and the questions you have.

    This is a 12-week group for women who want a safe space to wrestle with their doubts, engage in constructive dialogue around their questions, and heal from the injuries that may have resulted from their faith background.

    We’ll be reading the book Femmevangelical by Rev. Jennifer D. Crumpton as you navigate the challenges you experience with your faith and the church. Rev. Crumpton does an excellent job of educating women about church history, how the bible was canonized, and the ways in which culture and politics have influenced how scripture is interpreted and which texts were selected to be a part of what we now call the Christian bible.

    “These stories and meditations - mixed with theological exploration and a closer look at church history - are dedicated to those who have searched for themselves in the Greater Story and been forced to take on an ill-fitting and soul-killing role to be included.”

    “Femmevangelical supports the risks, hope, and faith it takes to follow our instincts, create change, and find the God we know exists beyond what we've been taught; and to commit our lives to creating the world in which we were truly made to live.”


    What Else Should I Know?

    The cost of the group is $45 per session and includes a copy of Femmevangelical by Jennifer D. Crumpton. The group will require a commitment for the full 12 sessions (this means that there is no refund for missed sessions). Individuals who would like to pay for the group in full before the 1st session will be given a discounted fee of $450. The group will be limited to 8 women. 

    How Do I Find Out More?
     

    Please email or call if you have an interest in the group or would simply like more information: melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530

    Return to list of fall groups.
     
    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Befriending Your Childhood Self: A Group for Gay and Bisexual Men

    Even in New York City, where there is a lot of support, many men who are attracted to men still struggle with difficult feelings surrounding their sexuality. Adult gay and bisexual men often find themselves trying to understand shame and guilt as they also seek to form healthy and strong relationships with others. Experiences in childhood, whether subtle or obvious, have a big impact on how we see ourselves as adults.

    This 12-week group is for gay and bisexual men to discuss the development of their sexuality, important experiences in childhood and adolescence, family relationships, and the challenges and excitement of discovering identity.

    We’ll be reading and discussing Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal as we navigate the personal stories of those in the group. Blue Boy is a refreshing and adventurous fictional story based on a character who finds joy in things that don’t fall within traditional expectations for a Hindu boy growing up in Cincinnati. The book is full of laughs while also taking on serious subjects such as bullying, self-expression, gender, and sexual orientation.

    This 12-week group will provide a safe space for exploring personal experiences and feelings in a non-sexualized environment. It will be an opportunity to connect with others, gain support, and heal.


    What Else Should I Know?

    The cost of the group is $45 per session and includes a copy of Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal. Sessions are 90 minutes in length and occur weekly. The group will require a commitment for the full 12 sessions (this means that there is no refund for missed sessions). Individuals who would like to pay for the group in full before the 1st session will be given a discounted fee of $450. The group will be limited to 8 men.

    How Do I Find Out More?

    Please email or call if you have an interest in the group or would simply like more information: melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530. You will have an opportunity to meet and talk with me in person, as well, before making a final decision about joining the group.

    Return to list of fall groups.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Shyness and Social Anxiety Social Skills Group

    Image by Brianna Baker at foxcrayon.com
    Social anxiety and shyness can lead not only to difficulty forming relationships but also with achieving personal goals. Sometimes it's difficult to even think about aspirations due to the social interactions that would be required to attain them. Feelings of meaningfulness in life are also often limited by ambivalence about venturing out of your comfort zone.

    This is a 12-week therapy group for individuals who want to decrease anxiety when encountering others. In the group, you will have the opportunity to build confidence through practicing skills that will prepare you to engage with others in familiar, unfamiliar, or unexpected circumstances. The group sessions will consist of activities and exercises designed to help you learn friendly and confident body language along with conversational skills. The group will also provide you with an opportunity to establish healthy ways to limit experiences that are uncomfortable.

    If you want to step out of your social comfort zone in a safe space, this group is for you.



    What Else Should I Know?

    The cost of the group is $45 per session. Sessions are 90 minutes in length and occur weekly. The group will require a commitment for the full 12 sessions (this means that there is no refund for missed sessions). Individuals who would like to pay for the group in full before the 1st session will be given a discounted fee of $450. The group will be limited to 8 participants.

    How Do I Find Out More?

    Please email or call if you have an interest in the group or would simply like more information: melissa@myheartdances.com or 917-689-6530. You will have an opportunity to meet and talk with me in person, as well, before making a final decision about joining the group.

    Return to list of fall groups.

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530

    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to working in the private practice of Charles Mayer, Psy.D., Melissa recently spent 18-months with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She is a National Certified Counselor and a New York State permit holder in mental health counseling.

    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Expanded Hours for Counseling in Midtown PLUS...

    I am sitting at home after having a root canal this morning (#WhatIAlwaysWanted) and updating my website. The root canal actually went well and I really liked the specialist my dentist sent me to. But the doctor said it might hurt for awhile after the Novocaine wore off.

    Yes, it is hurting.

    So...I think it's a good time to distract myself with positive vibes and send out an update on what's going on at MyHeartDances.

    First, I've expanded my hours for individual and couples counseling at my office in Midtown (141 E. 35th St., between Lexington and 3rd). I'm now offering weekday appointments, including early mornings and evenings Monday thru Wednesday. I also have availability on Sunday mornings and early afternoons.

    Monday: Early bird (before work), daytime, and evening appointments.

    Tuesday: Early bird (before work), daytime, and evening appointments.

    Wednesday: Early bird (before work), daytime, and evening appointments.

    Sunday: Mornings and early afternoons.

    If you're thinking about counseling, but not sure if it's right for you, I've created a few videos to help you know what to expect. I will continue to post new ones over the next month. Two are posted below. I hope they are helpful. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

    New Groups in September

    I'm also starting some exciting 12-week groups beginning in September. I can't wait! I'll be sending out more details early next week. To give you a sneak peak, they include a group for women who are seeking a safe space to discuss their faith and heal from wounds connected to the Christian church and God; a group for gay and bisexual men who are interested in exploring their childhood and adolescent development and how these early experiences have shaped them; and a group for individuals with shyness and social anxiety who want to build social skills.

    Okay. I think it might be time for some Advil.

    Let me know if you think the new videos are helpful!

    Melissa

    Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Psychotherapist
    myheartdances.com
    917-689-6530


    Prior to offering psychotherapy, Melissa spent over 10 years working as a wellness coach for women focusing on health, weight loss, self-esteem, and achieving personal goals. In addition to private practice, Melissa spent 18-months working with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provided counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, Sexual Health, Coping with a Herpes Diagnosis, HIV, and concerns related to Sexual Orientation. Melissa King is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (limited permit) working under the supervision of Charles Mayer, Psy.D.