The Forbidden Five: Five Of The Worst Things To Say To Your Partner

The Forbidden Five: Five Of The Worst Things To Say To Your Partner

If you are in a long-term relationship, chances are, you’ve said some things you wish you could take back. We all have. In the heat of an argument, it can be extremely difficult to hold back, especially if your partner really knows how to push your buttons. However, no matter how heated things get, the absolute worst things to say to your partner are these five forbidden phrases.

 

1. I Hate You

 

Hate is a very strong word, and by telling your partner that you hate him, you are saying that you hate his whole being, not just something that he did. I don’t know if anyone has ever told you that he or she hates you, but, trust me, it’s not something that is easily forgotten. You can hate war, poverty, or childhood illnesses, but, it’s just not a word that should be used on your partner.

 

2. You Never…

 

If you tell your partner that she never listens to you, you are probably taking one instance and generalizing her behavior from there. This kind of generalization feels very unfair, and, again, focuses on your partner as a person, rather than something that she did. In my work with couples, I find that people rarely do the same things ALL the time, so telling your partner that she NEVER does something is probably just not true. Try to stick to the moment at hand rather than bringing up every past transgression.

 

3. You Always…

 

Similar to “you never,” “you always” is another generalizing term. If you tell your significant other that he always makes a fool of himself in public, he is likely to get defensive and try to find examples of times that he acted like a perfect gentleman. Since he’ll be so busy pointing out times when this wasn’t a fool, he’ll probably miss the point of what you are trying to tell him, while needlessly angering the two of you in the meantime.

 

4. I Don’t Need You

 

This is a particularly hurtful statement to make to your partner because we all want to feel needed by the ones that we love. Telling your significant other that you don’t need her could even trigger feelings of abandonment because we often fear that if we are no longer needed, we will be left, or replaced with someone new.

 

5. You Are Worthless

 

Of course, any insult, like stupid, ridiculous, or weak could be hurtful, but, worthless, in my opinion, is one of the worst insults that you can hurl at your SO. This is because calling someone worthless not only puts down who they are as a person but it also calls into question their whole purpose in life. You don’t want to crush your partner’s soul, do you?

 

Okay, maybe if you are angry, you might be down for a little soul-crushing, but, deep down, (like, way deep), I know that’s not what you really want!

 

If you’d like to talk more about what to avoid saying to your partner, and what to say instead, contact me. I am here to help.

 

The Real Reasons (That Nobody Tells You) About Why Therapists Don’t Accept Insurance

The Real Reasons (That Nobody Tells You) About Why Therapists Don’t Accept Insurance

Should I Use My Insurance Plan To Pay For Therapy?

 

Deciding to start therapy is a huge milestone in life. I’d even say it’s as big as getting married or starting a new job. I mean, think about it. What could be more important than committing to work on yourself and become the best version of you? Who you are and who you become influences every part of your life.

 

That’s why choosing the right therapist is SO important. It’s essential you and your therapist are a good fit and that the person you choose has the experience and expertise to get you to the next level in life, whether you’re working on career goals, relationships, self-exploration or all of the above.

 

One of the considerations you might take into account when looking for a therapist is whether that therapist accepts your insurance. For many people, this is a deciding factor when choosing someone.

 

After all, you’re paying a premium every month for your insurance so why wouldn’t you want to use it? It can save you money on your session costs and it can help you narrow down your search by ruling out therapists who don’t accept your plan. You use your insurance for all other doctors so why not do the same for therapy, right?

 

New therapy seekers with this belief are often confused and frustrated by the number of therapists they find that do not accept insurance. It can be really difficult to find someone that specializes in your area of need, is close to home, fits your personality, and accepts your insurance.

 

But why is it so hard? Why are there so many therapists out there that don’t accept insurance?

 

Many consumers don’t realize that there are several downsides for both therapists and clients when using insurance to pay for therapy.

 

So what do private pay clients who are shelling out big bucks for therapy know that you don’t?

 

 

Here are 4 reasons why you should not use insurance to pay for therapy:

 

1. Less Confidentiality

 

Everyone knows that what happens in therapy stays in therapy. Your therapist is required to keep everything you say confidential no matter what, right? Wrong! When you use insurance to pay for therapy, your therapist is required to provide your diagnosis and treatment notes to your insurance company in order to get paid. This undermines the basic premise of therapy and also gives a lot more people access to private health information about you. If this is news to you, you’re not alone. It’s all written into the HIPAA document you get when you start therapy (or go to any doctor’s office) but most people don’t read all the fine print.

 

2. Higher Insurance Premiums

 

Even if you’re okay with your information being shared with your insurance company from a confidentiality standpoint, you probably didn’t realize that sharing this information can have unintended consequences in the future.

 

As mentioned above, your therapist has to provide your insurance company with your diagnosis to get paid. But what if you don’t have a mental illness? After all, many people seek therapy for personal growth and exploration, not because they are depressed or anxious or have a serious mental illness.

 

In the eyes of your insurance company, these are not valid reasons for seeking therapy on their dime. If you don’t have an actual diagnosis, they aren’t interested in paying for your sessions and will not continue to authorize future sessions.

 

This puts your therapist in an awkward and ethically challenging position if you don’t meet criteria for a mental illness. He or she is left with choosing between 3 options.

 

  1.  Assign a diagnosis you don’t meet criteria for so that your insurance company will continue authorizing sessions.
  2.  Discontinue therapy.
  3.  Continue to work with you without assigning a diagnosis but risk having claims denied and not getting paid for the work.

 

At this point, you are probably starting to understand why so many therapists don’t accept insurance.

 

Ok, so you might be wondering how this all relates to increased premiums for you.

 

Let’s say your therapist opts for option 1 and assigns you a diagnosis so that your insurance company will authorize future sessions. Maybe you meet criteria for a diagnosis, maybe you don’t. Either way, you now have a diagnosis on record with your insurance company.

 

When it comes time to renew your insurance or switch plans, your premiums could rise as a result of your “pre-existing condition.” In addition, you may be required to share your diagnosis in future job interviews, which is awkward, to say the least.

 

3. Insurance-Driven Treatment Plan

 

When therapists take insurance, they are required to use treatment methods that are covered by your plan. This means they have less say in how to treat you based on your specific and individual needs. Ironically, the people who work in your insurance company and decide which methods of therapy can be used, are usually not even therapists! And they certainly haven’t met and assessed you personally like your therapist has.

 

This leads me to my next point…

Psychiatric Help 5 cents!

 

4. Questionable Quality

 

Let me preface this by saying that there are some fantastic therapists who take insurance. Sometimes highly skilled therapists accept a few insurance clients on their caseload to fill less desirable times slots or sometimes they do it as a way to “give back” to society and offer high-quality services to those that wouldn’t be able to afford it any other way. If you don’t know anything about insurance payouts (and why would you if you’re not a therapist or a doctor?), this last statement probably doesn’t make sense. Bear with me while I help clear that up and give you some rarely discussed insider info from the therapist’s perspective.

 

The going rate for a great therapist in most major cities is between $150-$350 per session. Most insurance companies pay therapists between $40-$90 per session. This is a fraction of what therapists receive from private pay clients and it requires a lot more paperwork and time to get paid by insurance companies. Submitting insurance claims is time-consuming and confusing as is getting approved to be on insurance panels in the first place. Many therapists have to hire a billing professional to help them manage insurance claims and make sure they actually get paid.

 

So why would any therapist ever take insurance if they get paid less and have to jump through paperwork hoops to get paid?

 

The answer is because they have to.

 

Again, something that is rarely discussed with consumers is the fact that insurance companies provide a steady flow of referrals to therapists. Let’s take a moment to think about who might need a steady flow of referrals to their practice and would be willing to take a major pay cut for said referrals.

 

  • New therapists just starting a private practice. Therapists who just graduated usually have some serious student loans to pay off and they need to start making money fast. It can take time to build up a positive reputation in a community so getting referrals from insurance panels (even if it means making significantly less per client) is a great way to get started. Often, therapists who opt for this route will start phasing out insurance clients as their reputation grows and they start getting more organic referrals from satisfied customers.
  • Therapists in low-income areas. If there are very few clients that can pay full price for sessions in the area, therapists in private practice will have to accept insurance or move to a community where there are more affluent people. For this reason, lower income communities do not have a lot of therapists in private practice but they do have more government subsidized community treatment centers where people can get help.
  • Therapists who do not have a lot of satisfied customers. As a therapist myself, this is a delicate situation for me to discuss and I suspect it will upset many of my colleagues. That said, the ones it offends are probably the ones who fall into this category. Many therapists who accept insurance do so because they are not good enough at what they do to facilitate referrals and command a higher fee.

 

Yep, I said it.

 

Satisfied customers talk. They leave positive reviews online. They tell their friends and family how happy they are with their therapist and they refer the people they love. They build their therapist’s practice for them by becoming walking billboards. Their friends and family start to notice positive changes in their personality and ask them what they are doing…and they tell them about their therapist.

 

Not only do satisfied customers refer to skilled therapists, other professionals do too. Medical doctors hear from their patients that they got great results working with a therapist and they send more patients. Other therapists who get asked by friends and family for referrals, send them to other skilled therapists in the community.

 

Therapists who don’t take insurance have to be really good in order to create a thriving practice. With therapy, you usually get what you pay for and if someone is charging a high fee, it’s usually because they are worth it.

 

Speaking of that price tag, I know it can feel scary to drop a couple hundred dollars on a therapy session, especially if you don’t have a ton of disposable income. However, what I’ve seen in my practice (and in many other settings besides therapy) is that those who pay the full fee and make a substantial investment, are actually more committed to doing the work than those who pay less.

 

Think about it. If you paid $20 for a meal or $200, would there be a difference in how you treated it? Would you rush through the $200 meal and then throw half of it away if you didn’t feel like eating anymore? I’m guessing not. You would savor that meal and ask to take anything you couldn’t eat home with you to enjoy later.

 

People who pay more for therapy are literally and figuratively more invested and it shows in their results. They make the most of every session, they do their homework, and they get great results. In my opinion, there is nothing worth more than your personal growth. If you take the work seriously, you will see your investment pay off in every area of your life. By the way, this is coming from someone who has spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal growth and I truly feel it’s been worth every penny.

 

Ok, but what if you literally CANNOT afford to pay the full fee but you also want to make sure you get a great therapist? Fortunately, there is sometimes an in-between option.

 

Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get reimbursed for out of network benefits, which can mean a savings of up to 40-60%. This is typically available with PPO plans. To find out, call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask how much your plan pays for out of network therapists.

 

Then, if you do have out of network benefits, ask your therapist if he/she can provide a superbill for you to submit to your insurance for reimbursement. You will pay your therapist for the sessions up front but your insurance company will reimburse you for some of the session fees. Not every insurance plan has this benefit but it’s definitely worth a phone call to ask!

 

The other option is that you can use your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for therapy. This allows you to save money because you are paying with pre-tax dollars.

 

So there you have it. That is the good, the bad and the ugly of using your insurance to pay for therapy as I see it. I’d love to hear from you. Have you used insurance to pay for therapy in the past? If so, how did it go for you? Let me know in the comments on this Facebook post.

Keeping Your Space Sacred: How To Maintain Your Sense of Self In a Relationship

Keeping Your Space Sacred: How To Maintain Your Sense of Self In a Relationship

When it comes to relationships, one of the hardest things to accomplish is that perfect balance between togetherness and time alone. Sometimes, when you are single, all you want is someone to hold your hand, go with you to movies, and lie in bed with you on rainy days. Yet, once you have that someone, you might start longing for independence, down-time, and the sweet sound of silence.

 

So, what’s a person to do? How can you maintain your sense of self while in a relationship?

 

The answer is by setting boundaries. We talked about boundaries in a previous post, but, as a reminder, they are those invisible lines between people that dictate how we treat each other. Boundaries are a wonderful tool to help you get the space and independence you need but sometimes, setting them can feel rude or hurtful. That’s why I’m here to help!

 

Let’s say that you are in a relationship with a person who falls on the needy side. This person relies on you for everything, including his or her self-esteem. He wants to hang out constantly, he doesn’t have many hobbies or interests outside of you and the relationship, and he doesn’t have many close supportive friendships so he relies on you for all of his emotional support. He doesn’t like doing things alone and always wants to come along with you when you hang out with your friends and family.

 

You love him and you love spending time with him but you also would love some alone time. How can you tell him that you need more space without hurting his feelings? Consider what will happen if you don’t say anything.

 

He will keep intruding on your space (unknowingly), and your resentment will grow until one day you might blow up at him and say what you have been thinking in a hurtful way. This is sure to end in him feeling hurt and you feeling guilty and I know neither of you wants that.

 

The other alternative is that you say nothing but start coming up with excuses for why he can’t come or maybe even lying about your plans to get some alone time. Eventually, he may get the feeling that you are hiding something or intentionally avoiding him. Without knowing the real reason for your evasiveness he’s likely to imagine the worst case scenario and this could lead to serious trust issues in your relationship.

 

By setting boundaries in a calm and compassionate manner, you are protecting his ego and the future of your relationship. Asserting your needs may seem selfish and hurtful at first but as you saw from these 2 possible outcomes, open communication is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship and lack of communication often leads to more serious issues that are harder to solve.

 

What to Do If Your Partner is Needy

 

Now that you are clear on the need to be open and honest about your feelings and need for independence, let’s talk about some compassionate and loving ways to express these feelings. Try saying something like:

 

“Can I talk to you about something? I love how close we are and I love spending time with you. My friends and family love you too and it’s so fun to have you around when we are all hanging out. And, at the same time, I feel like I also need more time for myself to continue being the happiest and healthiest version of me. I read somewhere (bringing in the experts always helps) that it’s good for each person in a couple to have his or her own interests, alone time with friends, and time to be their individual self vs always being a couple. I think in my case it would help if I had more time to (insert personal need here). This doesn’t mean I don’t love you or that I am trying to pump the brakes on our relationship or anything like that. I’m actually telling you this because I want our relationship to last and I know for me to be happy long term, I need to have a balance of alone time, time with friends, and time with you. You are the most important person in the world to me and this is going to help me bring a better version of myself to our relationship.”

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Keep the focus on yourself and what you need and let him know that you are having this conversation with him because you care about him so much, not because you want to push him away. It’s very easy to feel very rejected during a conversation like this so holding your partner’s hand, maintaining eye contact, and speaking in a loving and compassionate tone are all important here.

 

 

 

What to Do If Your Partner Has Trust and Control Issues

Ok so that is how to deal with the need for more space but what if you have a partner with trust issues and you need to set a boundary regarding privacy? If you have given your partner good reason to mistrust you (i.e. you cheated or lied), it’s important to understand your partner’s need for reassurance and transparency and to work with them to formulate a plan that will help your partner feel more comfortable and rebuild trust. This plan might include checking in with your partner regularly when you are not together, accounting for your whereabouts at all times, and even showing your partner your phone and emails for some amount of time until he or she is able to trust you again.

 

However, let’s say your significant other has trust issues and you have not given them good reason to mistrust you. Maybe her ex cheated on her or she knows you cheated on your ex and out of fear, she did something that violated your boundaries. Then you might proceed as follows:

 

“I noticed that you went through my phone earlier. It’s not that I have anything to hide, but I do consider my phone to be private. If you would like to see something on my phone, you need to ask me first. That said, what are you worried about and how can I help reassure you?”

 

This approach sets a clear boundary without being angry or overly emotional but it also ends with a compassionate and collaborative question that shows you care about the relationship. Most trust issues come from a fear that the other person doesn’t value the relationship or their partner and (if not too pathological) can be resolved by reassurance and showing that you do view the relationship and your partner as a priority.

 

Some people may argue that if someone doesn’t share his or her personal passwords with you, he or she has something to hide. While I acknowledge at times, this is true, there is also a level of independence that many adults like to maintain whether or not they have something to hide. If you feel that you need complete access to every screen that he or she encounters to feel safe in your relationship, that is a great indicator that you are dealing with a bigger problem and should seek help from a therapist.

 

If you would like to learn more about building trust, setting boundaries, or relationships in general, feel free to contact me. I’d love to help!

 

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How to Set Healthy Boundaries In Your Relationship (Part 1)

How to Set Healthy Boundaries In Your Relationship (Part 1)

Chances are, if you’ve been to therapy, you’ve heard the word “boundaries.” We therapists LOVE to talk about boundaries and they are especially important in romantic relationships.

 

First, what exactly are boundaries? According to Google, who knows all, “Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards him or her and how he/she will respond when someone passes those limits.”

 

Okay, let’s look at a practical example. Let’s say you and your partner want to order carry-out from your favorite Chinese restaurant. Your partner asks you to make the phone call, but then hovers over you, reminding you of exactly what to order. “don’t forget the dumplings. Remember the egg drop soup.” Setting a boundary in this case would sound something like, “You asked me to order. I will handle it. Please don’t talk to me while I am on the phone.”

 

Simple, right?

 

Yes, but that doesn’t mean easy. Some of us have a hard time setting boundaries because we fear being rude, or hurting the other person’s feelings. What’s funny is, more feelings will get hurt if you don’t set any boundaries than if you do.

 

Take the couple above. What will happen if he never asks her not to talk while he’s on the phone? Chances are he will get annoyed and resentful toward her, and she won’t ever know what she did wrong. That’s not fair to either person in the relationship.

 

Now, let’s say he does ask her to give him space while he’s on the phone. What could happen there? Sure, she might still feel hurt, but it opens up the lines of communication so that the two of them can explore why she feels the need to control what he is doing. As for him, he may feel guilty at first, but the guilt will soon fade, and he will rest easy knowing he has been open and honest about what he needs.

boundaries-image

Some common boundary issues in relationships are:

  • Spending too much time together
  • Invading each other’s privacy (reading texts, emails, etc.)
  • Trying to control one another’s behavior
  • Forbidding your partner to attend social activities without you
  • Not having hobbies or interests of your own
  • Not having friends of your own that you spend time with without your partner
  • Putting your partner’s needs before your own on a consistent basis (yes, that is a problem!)

 

People who are codependent, or addicted to relationships, usually have the hardest time setting boundaries. You may be codependent if you:

  • Blame others for your feelings
  • Need to be with your partner at all times
  • Want to control your partner’s feelings
  • Try to control the outcome of many situations
  • Don’t feel whole without the other person
  • Lack self-love
  • Grew up with an addict in your family

 

They say that when a codependent person sets a boundary, the guilt that she feels is similar to the withdrawal symptoms that addicts experience when they give up their substance of choice. The good news is that over time, and with practice, this feeling goes away and gives rise to healthier feelings. If you think you might be co-dependent or just want some more help with setting healthy boundaries, a great book to read is Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie.

 

In the end, setting appropriate boundaries ends up being good for everyone in the relationship, because each partner knows exactly where he/she stands, is able to get the respect that he/she deserves, and knows how to make the other person happy.

 

So, the next time you are hesitant to ask for something that you need, remember that you are doing it for the good of your relationship.

 

If you would like to talk more about setting boundaries in relationships, contact me. I’m here to help!

 

P.S. Since boundary issues are so common in relationships and there is so much to talk about on this topic, I’ll be publishing another article on this topic next week. In that article, I’ll be covering the topics of trust, privacy, and the need for alone time in a relationship.

 

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Venting About Your Relationship: Helpful or Harmful?

Venting About Your Relationship: Helpful or Harmful?

One thing that makes female friendships different from male friendships is that females tend to talk about everything. While men are more likely to bond over watching sports or playing video-games, women bond by discussing thoughts, feelings, and actions we took in response to our thoughts or feelings.

 

So, given that women share the inner workings of their minds with each other, it’s only natural that relationship talk will become part of the conversation with close friends. The question is, how much relationship talk, if any, is healthy for your relationship?

 

On the one hand, it’s wonderful to have people to vent or gush to about your relationship, especially if you’ve been spending all of your time with your beau. Having an outside perspective when dealing with relationship issues can be extremely helpful, and since it’s your friend, she will probably have your back (read point #1 to see why that may not be a good thing). Still, there are dangers to spilling about your latest lover’s quarrel.

 

Here are 4 things to consider before venting to your friends about your partner:

 

1. The Jury Is Stacked

Your friends will probably be on your side regardless of what happened between you and your partner. While it is always nice to feel validated, that is not always the most helpful thing, especially if you are in the wrong. Sure, you probably have that one friend that always tells you the truth even when it’s hard to hear, but when you are angry, she’s probably not the one you’ll choose to vent to. Am I right? Instead, you’ll most likely opt for the friend who will tell you how horrible he is, and how angelic you are. While this is nice to hear, it might not be great for the future of your relationship.

 

2. The Plot Is Skewed

Without even realizing it, you will probably end up telling more of the bad stuff about your relationship to your friends than the good. Maybe you don’t want to feel like you are bragging or make them jealous by sharing all of his sweet gestures. Or perhaps you simply consider his loving texts and gestures private.

 

By sharing only negative tidbits, you are painting a skewed picture of your partner. This can make it hard for your friends to forgive him or see him in a positive light when the two of you make up. You may even find that your friends remember his flaws long after you’ve forgotten why you were fighting in the first place!

 

Unfortunately, this can lead to trouble between you and your friends down the road or awkward feelings between your friends and your partner. You want your friends to like your partner and they do too! So think twice before you tell them every negative and annoying quality he has.

3. Advice Is Easier Said Than Taken

Well-meaning friends want the best for you and they hate to see you hurt. As such, they might be quick to tell you to break-up with your love to avoid pain and heartache. Clearly, that’s easier said than done and they aren’t the ones that will have to deal with the consequences of that decision. Only you can decide what the best course of action is, and that’s best achieved when you have calmed down and had a rational discussion with your partner.

 

4. Is All Fair In Love And War?

Regardless of how angry you are with your partner right now, you still want to act in a way that you can be proud of in the morning. Will you be happy with yourself if you share all of his shortcomings with your friends? Would you be okay if he did the same to you? Part of being in an adult relationship means showing respect for your partner, even when you are angry with each other.

 

So what are you supposed to do? You have to talk to someone when you are fighting with your boo because how are you supposed to make any decisions without outside input? First and foremost, learn to look within and trust your intuition. You are the expert on you but sometimes you need some help turning up the volume on that little wise voice that resides within you. Second, there is someone that you can vent to with wild abandon without having to worry about the consequences…a therapist! Coincidentally, a therapist can also help you connect with your intuition. All the more reason to reach out to a skilled therapist today 😉

 

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