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Category » Emotions

Black and white image of the Golden Gate Bridge enveloped in fog, with the text 'Social Connection & Shame: Navigating Emotional Challenges. Blog by Sonja Spanger, LSW' in blue and green lettering. The Council for Relationships logo is at the bottom right corner.

Social Connection & Shame: Navigating Emotional Challenges

June 11, 2024

I once heard humans described as “exquisitely social” creatures. We have a remarkable ability to pay close attention to the people around us. While engaging in conversation, another part of our brain manages how others see us, ensuring we are acceptable in their eyes. Social connection plays a crucial role in this dynamic. The Role…

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Collage image titled 'Dealing with Painful Emotions' featuring tips and insights by Sonja Spangler, LSW, Council for Relationships. Includes various black-and-white photos depicting emotional expressions.

Dealing with Painful Emotions: Insights & Tips

May 28, 2024

In “Dealing with Painful Emotions,” CFR Staff Therapist Sonja Spangler, LSW, explores the inevitability of emotional pain and offers practical strategies for managing it. Through mindfulness, cognitive reframes, and self-awareness, you can learn to navigate your feelings with compassion, transforming suffering into opportunities for growth and healing. New Perspectives on Painful Emotions The Buddhists say,…

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An illustration for a mental health nonprofit featuring a stylized, circular composition with a silhouette of a contemplative pregnant figure at its center. Soft waves and plant motifs in a palette of greyscale, purples, pale blues, and light greens create a serene background. The title "Ambivalence During Pregnancy: Navigating the Unspoken" is placed prominently at the bottom with the author's name "Sonja Spangler, LSW" just below it. The organization's name "Council for Relationships" is subtly placed at the top. The overall design conveys a sense of calm and introspection.

Ambivalence During Pregnancy: Navigating the Unspoken

March 27, 2024

Pregnancy is often portrayed as a time of joy and anticipation, but for many, it’s a period marked by complex emotions. Ambivalence during pregnancy, a state of having mixed feelings about the impending arrival of one’s baby, is a common yet seldom discussed phenomenon. This silence fosters a sense of isolation, shame, and fear, leading…

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An artistic blog feature image in grayscale with an abstract design representing growth. A stylized plant with broad leaves sprouts from a central path that meanders toward the viewer, bordered by swirling, smoke-like patterns. At the top, "SEED OF CHANGE" is written in large, bold letters, with the subtitle "Pathways to Personal and Spiritual Growth" just below in a smaller font. The author's name, "Rev. Dr. Dolores Littleton, LMFT," is positioned at the bottom, and the text "COUNCIL FOR RELATIONSHIPS" appears in the lower corner, suggesting a sponsoring organization. The monochrome palette gives the image a serene and contemplative mood.

Seed of Change: Pathways to Personal and Spiritual Growth

Embarking on a transformation journey begins with the “Seed of Change.” This blog explores how embracing shifts in our lives, inspired by faith and Jesus’ teachings, can lead to profound personal and spiritual growth, guiding us through darkness into the light of new beginnings. The Seed of Change: Understanding Personal Growth When I was a…

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Artistic cover image for a blog titled 'Identity Shift in Motherhood – Navigating New Challenges & Rediscovering Yourself', by Sonja Spangler, LSW. The illustration features a woman's profile made of swirling, leafy patterns in a harmonious blend of purple and green hues, symbolizing growth and transformation. Butterflies and soft, floating elements signify change and rebirth. The bottom of the image includes the 'Council for Relationships' logo, emphasizing the theme of personal development within motherhood.

Identity Shift in Motherhood: Navigating New Challenges & Rediscovering Yourself

March 19, 2024

Embarking on the journey of motherhood introduces a profound “identity shift in motherhood” that many are unprepared for. This transformative phase brings various challenges, from the loss of personal identity to the struggle to find joy amidst the chaos of parenting. This blog delves into the heart of these experiences, offering insights and practical advice…

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An illustration for a blog post titled "NAVIGATING SELF-CARE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA". The image shows a grayscale room filled with plants, books, candles, and cozy furniture, with a person sitting cross-legged in meditation pose facing a window that reveals a colorful outdoor scene. At the bottom, the text reads "COUNCIL FOR RELATIONSHIPS" and "By Bianca Williams, MFT".

Navigating Self-Care in the Age of Social Media

March 13, 2024

This blog delves into the evolution of social networks, the challenges and opportunities they present, and practical strategies for fostering self-care and compassion in our digital interactions. It aims to offer insights into maintaining a healthy equilibrium between our digital personas and real-life selves, emphasizing the significance of authentic connections. We invite you to continue…

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How To Let Go of Guilt

January 29, 2024

People feeling guilty about various situations frequently come to my small office. This includes a teenager dealing with their parent’s divorce and a client regretting not expressing themselves in their friendships. After sharing their stories, clients ask me one or both of the following questions (both of which relate to how to let go of…

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Seasonal Affective Disorder Questions Answered!

January 9, 2024

Do you find that the winter months are, at best, icy for your mental health? Or perhaps instead of being excited to go to the beach, the start of summer puts you in a sunburnt mood? Maybe you are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). You can find what seems like endless information about SAD on…

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How to Manage Stress During the Holidays

December 21, 2023

Ask any AI chatbot about how to manage stress during the holidays, and you’re bound to find out that there is a lot of stress management advice out there. Council for Relationships is here to clear a path through the clutter. We asked Matthew McCrickard, the Associate Director of CFR’s Postgraduate Certificate Program, for his top…

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Emotional Regulation: Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Relationships

Many of us struggle with regulating (or managing) emotions. Looking inward and taking stock of our emotional regulation skills is critical to maintaining healthy adult relationships. Often, the source of conflict and struggle in relationships can be traced back to poor regulation of emotions by those in the relationship. Improving your relationships, though, takes more…

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Disenfranchised Grief: How the Passing of My Cat Made Me a Better Therapist

October 18, 2023

We all grieve at some point in our lives. Some of us have had too many opportunities to grieve while others may have experienced grief once or twice. The sources of our grief are as varied as the personalities of humans and how we grieve varies just as much. Sometimes, however, we experience disenfranchised grief when…

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In My Feelings: Experiencing & Understanding Emotions

July 18, 2023

Raise your hand if you have ever been in your feelings. Have you ever stopped and thought about what being “in my feelings” really means? Experiencing our emotions, and understanding what those feelings mean, is a critical aspect of any mental health journey. Read on for answers to the following questions: What are emotions? Where…

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A Lesson from Buddhism (and the Seasons)

April 21, 2022

It’s that time of year when, if you squint your eyes, you can see little green buds on the tips of the trees. What looks like a green haze on the treetops serves as a reminder that we have once again emerged from a seemingly endless winter. As we suffered through the cold of the…

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Now More Than Ever, We Need to Empty Our Emotional Jugs

February 3, 2022

The past two years of the pandemic have flooded many of us with more feelings than we have capacity for, which has led to a lot of feelings spilling out. We have all experienced the spillage of those emotions. Maybe our fuses feel shorter, or we are crying more, or maybe we are drinking more…

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Toxic Positivity: It’s Ok to Not Be Ok All of The Time

July 15, 2021

“Good vibes only.” “Never give up.” “Just keep smiling.” “Look on the bright side.” We’ve heard these phrases time and time again. In times of difficulty, we may be told to “stay positive” and to “count our blessings.” We may tell ourselves that, comparatively, “others have it worse” and that “everything happens for a reason.”…

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I Have No Excuse to Feel This Bad!

How many times over the past year have you heard (or uttered to yourself) something along the lines of “I know other people have it so much worse than me, so I really have no excuse to feel this bad?” Or maybe you’ve thought, “I’ve been so lucky, but I still can’t deal with this. What would I do…

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5 Ways to Say Goodbye to 2020

December 24, 2020

When Twitter recently asked folks to describe 2020 in one word, the responses flooded in. Here are some of the words that stood out to me: Restless. Pain. Sourdough. Masks. Ouch. Skip. Tired. Damaged. Delete. While I was scrolling through the responses, I could feel the collective sigh over the pain folks have experienced this…

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Shifting Perspectives: Confusion as The New Norm Part II – Being Open to Experience and Self-Regulation

Ann Masten, a renowned professor and researcher on resilience, has written volumes on this topic. She documented Post-Traumatic Growth and the reality that some people actually improve their functioning after traumatic and challenging experiences. There is something about engaging in responding to adversity that seems to mobilize some individuals, and they come away feeling stronger…

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Shifting Perspectives: Confusion as The New Norm Part I – Tragic Optimism, Post-Traumatic Growth, and Grief

In conversations with clients, friends, and colleagues, and in the materials I have read from numerous mental health sources, the word “surreal” is often used to describe the feeling of this time when we are living through the COVID-19 pandemic. At times, it feels as if we are living someone else’s life – in someone…

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The Family – And Now the Nation – That Howls Together

August 27, 2020

On April 23, while watching the PBS News Hour’s coverage of – what else – our nation’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, I received a delightful surprise at the close of the program. The scene moved to Missoula, Montana, where they filmed local residents on their front porches, all howling in unison. Some families even…

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Understanding Post-Partum Depression

July 30, 2019

Dr. Jane Summers is the Medical Director at Council for Relationships, and founding Director of Women’s Psychological Health Services. Having specialized in women’s behavioral health throughout her career, Dr. Summers’ approach prioritizes understanding the unique issues that effect the emotional health of women such as reproductive health and hormonal changes over the lifespan and challenges…

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