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

Why You Should Consider Group Therapy / Fall Groups Announced

Check out this video about why I think you should consider group therapy--at least once in your life!



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


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 and discussing the book Femmevangelical as part of our conversation. More details here...




Befriending Your Childhood Self: Exploring Child and Adolescent Experiences
A Therapy Group for Gay and Bisexual Men

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 the book Blue Boy as part of our conversation. More details here...



Shyness and Social Anxiety: Encounter and Engage Others with Greater Ease
A Skill-Building Group

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. More details here...



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.

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.



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.


What to Expect: 15-Min Phone Consultation


What to Expect: First Counseling Session


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Genital Herpes, Blue Boy, and other Good Stuff

As some of you know, I have been Facebook-free for a little over 1 month now. I have to say it's pretty awesome! I really don't miss it and don't feel less connected to the people in my life. Mostly, I feel like I have time back.

Time with which I'm doing some more fulfilling stuff, like reading Blue Boy by Rakesh Satyal. I actually finished this book about 2 weeks ago and it was such a great read. Combine terrific, intelligent, creative writing with the kind of story that is not often told, and you get a book that is NOT the same old, boring, cliched narrative. Blue Boy is about a young boy growing up in Cincinnati and trying make sense out of his experience being part of multiple marginalized groups (Indian, Hindu, non-heterosexual). The book is fun and adventurous and tells this boy's story in an organic and beautiful way. I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend, especially for those of you who struggled to fit in while growing up.

In other news, something else really cool happened two weeks ago, and it's the reason I included "genital herpes" as part of a list of "good stuff."  One of my focuses as a therapist is in the area of sexual health, and this includes leading a private support group for women with herpes. Herpes is more stigmatized and misunderstood than most other STDs. However, it is actually very common; many people contract it from monogamous partners who were unaware of their infection; condoms only reduce the risk of transmission by 1/3; and most people have no idea that individuals with a history of cold sores can transmit herpes to another person's genitals through oral sex.

https://ellacydawson.wordpress.com/
Because of the stigma, many people live with unnecessary shame. But last week someone finally came out publicly about her experience with herpes. Putting a face to herpes is one step toward combating the stigma. I love this woman's bold action! And she speaks for so many people: normal men and women, just like her, who happen to have herpes. Check out her article and photos in Women's Health Magazine.

And this great interview with her from Huffington Post Live.

By the way, although the CDC reports that 1 in 6 have type 2 genital herpes, it's important to remember that this number does not include all genital herpes infections. Type 1 (which we used to just think of as cold sores) causes many genital herpes infections. This means that many more than 1 in 6 have genital herpes.

My favorite resources for up-to-date, accurate information on herpes are

The American Sexual Health Association's Herpes Resource Center

and

The (Free) Updated Herpes Handbook from Westover Heights Clinic

Know someone who might be interested in my support group? Details are below. Individual therapy is also available.

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 also works with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provides 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.

-----
Other posts you might like:

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

Support for Women with Genital Herpes


When: Group meets 2 Sundays every month
What time: 5-6:30pm
Cost: $100 for 4 sessions (which translates to $100 every 2 months).

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?

This is a private support group facilitated by me. I hold a master's degree in mental health counseling and am a certified holistic health coach. I have over 10 years of experience leading women's groups and working with women who are looking for support with 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. I also occasionally have guest speakers who come and share about their current relationships and how they told their partner or how they have handled dating since being diagnosed.

The women who attend my groups are professionals, typically in their 20s and 30s. They are women who never thought this would happen to them. Some of them even got herpes from a boyfriend who didn't know he had it.

If you are interested in talking with me about possibly attending the group, please email me back. You will have to reserve your seat in order to attend because there is limited space.

Please don't hesitate to email me with any questions. Individual therapy is also available.

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 also works with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provides 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.

-----
Other posts you might like:

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 4, 2014

The Difficulty in "Following Your Heart"

I often encounter clients who tell me they feel lost. They say they are not passionate about anything
and don’t have any particular interests that drive them. This sometimes leaves them feeling uncertain about next steps in their lives and wondering how to make their lives meaningful.

This post is not intended to be the answer to this problem. There are many different reasons people end up with these feelings. I want to talk about just one of them: What it means to follow your heart and why it’s so difficult for many of us.

Photo: Camdiluv ♥
What Does it Mean to Follow Your Heart?

You may already have your own answer to this question. It's something I think about often, and since "MyHeartDances" is the term I've used for years to represent my work, I want to share more about what I believe it means.

Some believe that following your heart means to let your feelings lead you. If you’re tired of something, let it go. If you want something, go after it. Stop letting things (or people) get in the way. Just do what makes you happy.

It has never been this simple for me. If we only let our feelings lead us, few of us would achieve anything that brings deep joy, pride, or purpose.

To me, living from your heart takes a lot of courage, hard work, and the willingness to make tough decisions. Sometimes it means sacrificing one kind of happiness for another kind of happiness, immediate pleasure for something more meaningful, and comfort for integrity. And although I think it means to stop living to please others, I don’t believe it is synonymous with abandoning the people we care about.

Living from your heart means having integrity, being real with yourself and others, and taking action when something needs to happen to achieve a goal. It means not making commitments that can’t be kept and honoring the one’s made--with few exceptions.

Living from your heart starts with being self-aware so that you know what you are feeling in reaction to what’s happening in your life. It means getting clear on what your personal values are so that when the storm comes, you have a set of directions and tools to get you through and help you find your way. Living from your heart means asking whether you are being honest with yourself and the world around you about what’s really going on inside of you. 

It means cultivating skills and talents that are important to you. It means paying attention to what you are avoiding because of your fear of failure, fear of conflict, or fear of the hard work ahead. It might mean taking on an extra part-time job in order to get yourself out of debt so that you can finally go to college, take those scuba lessons, or make that big move. It might mean being honest about how annoyed you are that the guy you’re dating is giving you just enough attention to string you along and how mad you are that you keep sticking around. It means having difficult conversations and not running away from important relationships--because intimacy requires being real and the only way to find out if you can have intimacy with someone else is to risk being vulnerable.

No one can decide the right direction for you. And sometimes we have to choose between two things that are important to us. But one thing that I know, pretending and avoiding only put us on a path to becoming invisible, invisible to others and invisible to ourselves. That is one way we get lost.

But the story of our hearts doesn’t have to end there. Getting lost and trying to find our way out is an opportunity to make meaningful change.

People find their way out in different ways. Some seek support from therapy or a support group (wink wink - I’m putting a women’s therapy group together, check it out). Some try to remember something they really loved or felt connected to at one time (dance, art, a sport, roller skating, spending time in nature, etc.) and begin engaging in the activity again to see what they can learn about themselves through it. Some finally face that fear, difficult conversation, or hard task they’ve been avoiding.

This journey takes time. Don’t give up. And no matter what, remember to have some self-compassion as you find your way.

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


-----
**INDIVIDUAL AND COUPLES COUNSELING: I am now offering individual and couples counseling in Midtown, Manhattan. For more details: http://www.myheartdances.com/p/psychotherapy.html
-----

Melissa King  holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. Prior to offering therapy, 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 also works with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at the NYC Department of Health, where she provides counseling to individuals with a range of concerns, including Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Insecurity in Social Situations, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual Assault, Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Sex Addiction, Alcohol and other Substance Use Concerns, 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. More information can be found at myheartdances.com.

-----
Other posts you might like:

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


Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's in Your Emotional First-Aid Kit?

In last week’s Monday night women’s group, we talked about coping with uncertainty. Uncertainty can affect us in a range of ways. Depending on the nature of the problem and our disposition, we may only feel a little anxious when uncertainty arises. At other times, we may feel in limbo and have difficulty planning or making decisions. And in some cases, uncertainty can cause us to become paralyzed and consumed by the problem and what will happen next.

For the most part, uncertainty is not very comfortable and not something we would choose. And once resolved, we’re almost guaranteed to soon confront another event that presents us with feelings of uncertainty again. Uncertainty in life is not going to go away.

So, having a strategy to deal with uncertainty makes sense. Yet, most of us aren’t exactly prepared for it. Some of us have tools in our daily routines that help us cope, such as exercise or having a good network of people who can be there for us. But what about when these things aren’t enough or aren’t available to us?

In the Monday night group, we talked about creating an Uncertainty First-Aid Kit. First-aid kits are typically used to help patch up physical injuries. But what about our emotional lives? Most of us do not have a kit to patch up or nurture our mental health when it is in need.

When we feel uncertain and worried, we sometimes aren’t sure what to do with ourselves and everything may feel like an effort. So, what if you had one place to go to that already had some tools prepared for you to utilize? If you can imagine being able to go to a emotional first-aid kit for support, what might you like to find in it?

Some suggestions on Monday night were:
  • a playlist of uplifting and empowering music or a favorite CD
  • selected poems and/or prayers to read
  • a journal
  • a cash stash to spend on a yoga class, movie, or other activity
  • a scented candle
  • a favorite DVD
  • a good book
  • colored pens/pencils or other art supplies
  • pictures that make you feel good (could be art, places you've been, people who love you)
  • lotion
  • bubble bath
  • a list of things to do
  • a list of people to call
On Monday night we spoke specifically about uncertainty. But you can make a mental health first-aid kit for a number of different areas that might be important to you (self-esteem first aid, break-up first aid, loneliness first aid, etc.). An actual kit in the form of a box is certainly nice, but if that's too big of a project, you can also simply make a list of things that would help you during times of distress.

Making it easier for yourself ahead of time (being prepared) can make a difference when emotional crises occur. Knowing that you have this self-care first-aid kit may help you cope with those thoughts and feelings a little bit better than you might have otherwise.

What will you put in your self-care kit?

-----
**INDIVIDUAL AND COUPLES COUNSELING: I am now offering individual and couples counseling in Midtown, Manhattan on Sundays. For more details: http://www.myheartdances.com/p/psychotherapy.html
-----

Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Life Coach for Women * Dating / Relationships / Health
Specializing in helping women to honor their needs and values while developing practical solutions to life challenges. 

Other posts you might like:

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


Melissa King  holds an M.S.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. John's University. She has a limited permit to practice psychotherapy under the supervision of Charles Mayer, Psy.D. at his practice in Midtown Manhattan. She also works with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, providing counseling services for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In addition, Melissa is a certified holistic health coach, with over 10 years of experience working with women on weight loss, healthier eating, improving body image, dating and relationship concerns, and aligning goals with personal values.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

PMS and Winter Blues: An Alternative View for Women

You may have heard of Dr. Christiane Northrup. She is an integrative M.D. who has written a number of books on holistic healthcare for women. I have paid attention to her since my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2002, and although some of her opinions are a little far out for me, others have made an important difference in my view of women’s health.

Moodiness and PMS

Image: by anathea, some rights reserved 
One of her perspectives, which I love, resists the idea that the emotional experience of women around their menstrual period is nothing more than out-of-wack hormones. An alternative view, which makes a lot more sense to me given how women are socialized in our culture, is that the hormonal changes women experience actually force out issues that have not been dealt with during the rest of the month. In other words, the emotions are about real issues that need to be attended to and cared for.

Women often stuff certain feelings, especially those related to anger and their need for support. Resentment and pain can build up as a result. Dr. Northrup says that the change in our hormones at the time of our menstrual cycle serves as sort of a cleansing, a time to push out those emotions we’ve been holding in.

Unfortunately, many of us utilize poor communication skills when this happens. In addition, we continue to ignore what's really going on and just accept the societal view that we are crazy (a.k.a. hormonal). And once again, our anger, sadness, and needs go invalidated and neglected.

Learning to recognize our emotions and needs while building effective ways of communicating can make a difference in how we experience these hormonal shifts. Not to mention, it can also improve our relationships.

The Winter Blues

Speaking of cycles and their value in offering an opportunity to become attuned to our needs, holistic perspectives also consider the season's relationship with emotions. A friend of mine, Carla Savetsky, who is both an herbalist and a registered physician’s assistant in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, recently wrote about her history of seasonal depression. She shared it had been under control in recent years but that she was struck by it again during this especially challenging winter. She wrote how at first she found herself lost in the depressed feelings but eventually decided to take the risk of embracing them, “welcoming them to the table," so to speak, to find out what message they were trying to give her.

Winter is time when many organisms go into hibernation as the earth is nourished and prepares for new life (spring). Holistic practitioners often view life experience as running parallel to the cycle of seasons and that it is not entirely crazy to feel somewhat somber during the cold months of the year. As my friend remembered that winter can be an important time for self-reflection, she embraced the low feelings and tried to learn from them. Connecting to herself in this way helped the feelings to lift.

Now the thing with depression is that while there may be something valuable to glean from it, it can also send distorted information. It can make you think the message is that you are worthless or that life has no hope. I don’t think that was the message Carla was attempting to get at. Her point was that there may be something underlying, a loss that needs to be grieved, a boundary that needs to be set, a wrong that needs to be corrected, procrastination that needs to end, or a lack of human connection prompting the need to actively seek relationships.

As a coach, and now as a therapist, I have always derived some of my work from feminist theory, which says that emotion, whether related to an immediate hurt, PMS, or the winter blues, is often there for a reason, and it should be looked at and validated. When you can see it as real and what may be behind it, effective solutions are more likely to be found.

Psychoherapy in Midtown

Having someone to talk to who understands depression, winter blues, or hormonal shifts and their interaction with our emotions can really make a difference in helping us to heal. I am now offering counseling and therapy in Midtown Manhattan on Sundays. Check out more details below or at this link: http://www.myheartdances.com/p/psychotherapy.html 

-----

Melissa King, M.S.Ed. : Life Coach for Women * Dating / Relationships / Health
Specializing in helping women to honor their needs and values while developing practical solutions to life challenges. 

Other posts you might like:

Join the weekly Women's Discussion Group

My Body... Finally. (Body image video released July 9th)

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

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is Trying to Achieve Balance Exhausting You?

I love the word balance. The idea of balance feels refreshing ... desirable ... healthy.

But is attempting to achieve balance always the right thing?

Two years ago I wrote about the Wheel of Life self-assessment as a way to set New Year's resolutions that would really matter to your life. When this exercise was first presented to me over 10 years ago, the instructions were to see where my life was out of balance (where I was spending too much energy vs. not enough energy) and then to think about how I could bring it back into balance.

But is "balance" always what we need?

I just completed my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. As some of you know, going to grad school full time as an adult while also working is very time consuming and challenging. Balance? Ha! Half of my wheel was being neglected.

The only way I got through the program was my passion for what I was learning and the goal I had my eyes set on. Shelving other areas of my life was a choice I made to pursue that passion. If I had tried to make my wheel balanced, I would not have had the energy to invest in something so important to me.

At various times in life, certain things become more important than others. And, that’s OK. It’s exciting to get into a zone for a period of time to achieve a goal. During these times, trying to achieve balance may just make you feel more exhausted. In fact, achieving goals often means making the hard choice to sacrifice--at least for a time--other things that often aren't so easy to give up.

So, does that mean the Wheel of Life isn’t valuable? No. The Wheel of Life is a great tool. The Wheel of Life can remind us of areas that are important to us but have been forgotten, areas that we are ready to invest more time in, areas where our next challenge might be.

As you think about your New Year, check out this post and video for a few ways to use the Wheel of Life. I recommend adding some of your own life areas to the circle as well. Some women might want to add an area called Body Image or Self-Acceptance, or to get more specific about the area titled Relationships (i.e., Relationship with Parents, Relationship with “Joe.”). Make it your own. The purpose is self-discovery and inspiration. Have fun with it.

I have two women's discussion groups and one women's weight management/body positive group that you can join in the new year to gain support while working toward your goals. See the respective links for more details.

Melissa

Melissa King : Life Coach for Women * Dating / Relationships / Health
Specializing in helping women to honor their needs and values while developing practical solutions to life challenges. 

Other posts you might like:

Join the weekly Women's Discussion Group

My Body... Finally. (Body image video released July 9th)

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


About Melissa:

Since 2002, I have been coaching women who are frustrated by common life challenges like dating, career direction, self-esteem, weight loss, and achieving life and health goals. Through private coaching, women's groups, workshops, and classes, I offer women tools to create strategies that allow them to move forward without compromising their personal values and needs.

My services are ideal for women who are interested in authenticity, improving self-esteem and self-respect, breaking unsuccessful dating/relationship patterns, and developing new habits that lead to better communication and improved intimacy with others.

Self-Acceptance vs. Weight Loss: Which Should You Choose? (Sunday Morning Weight Managementt Group)

Do you keep going back and forth between wanting to lose weight and feeling like you should just accept yourself as you are?

Do you wonder if you can you do both or have to give up one to do the other?
photo by Elmo Love

If you need to lose weight to improve your health, I believe you CAN do both.

Treat your body to healthy choices so that you feel great physically, and achieve health goals while working on self-acceptance and living fully in the body that you have now.

We'll be meeting on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30 for 10 weeks, beginning January 12th.

During the 10 weeks, we'll be discussing:
  • Healthy ways to achieve weight loss that work.
  • New research on being "overweight" but healthy and what it means for you.
  • Establishing a healthy lifestyle that is realistic and makes you feel good about yourself without torturing your body.
  • Developing goals to enjoy your body now rather than waiting to see a lower number on the scale.
By the 2nd session, you'll develop a concrete plan to achieve your weight management and body image goals, and you will be supported by the group throughout the 10 weeks.

When: Sundays, 9:30-10:30am
Where: UWS (W. 96th St.)
Cost: $250 for 10 weeks

If you are interested in the group, call or email me to schedule a consultation so we can see if the group is the right fit for you.

And don't worry, I won't make you do the activity seen in the photo above!

Melissa

Melissa King : Life Coach for Women * Dating / Relationships / Health
Specializing in helping women to honor their needs and values while developing practical solutions to life challenges.


Other posts you might like:

My Body... Finally. (Body image video released July 9th)

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


About Melissa:

Since 2002 I have been coaching women who are frustrated by common life challenges like dating, career direction, self-esteem, weight loss, and meeting health goals. Through private coaching, women's groups, workshops, and classes, I offer women tools to create strategies that allow them to move forward without compromising their personal values and needs.

My services are ideal for women who are interested in authenticity, improving self-esteem and self-respect, breaking unsuccessful dating/relationship patterns, and developing new habits that lead to better communication and improved intimacy with others.