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sharon

Sharon Coulter MA, PPS; MA, LMFT offers therapy and counseling services to children, adults, and families in Hermosa Beach, California. She holds two Master’s Degrees – one in Counseling from the Loyola Marymount School of Education and one in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. To make an appointment, please call 310.871.4845

Ghosting – a cruel 21st-century phenomenon

Written by sharon on . Posted in Blog

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Ghosting is one of the sad phenomena that has evolved out of our 21st-century technology. I’m sure some of you reading this are regrettably acquainted with it. For those who aren’t, essentially, if I’m ghosted by someone — without any explanation he/she shuts down all form of communication. The ultimate “silent treatment,” it’s as though I no longer exist. As a psychotherapist, I find myself working with a number of clients experiencing being ghosted—usually but not always in the context of romantic relationships. Client statements include: “The pain is tangible and overwhelming. I feel discarded. It’s hard to trust my judgment of people after this.”

Sadly, “ghosting” has become a trending passive-aggressive and emotionally abusive tactic to avoid sitting face-to-face with someone or even speaking with them by telephone to end a friendship or romantic relationship. In a society that is increasingly pain phobic, by refusing the other party a chance to express emotion and to be heard we have found yet another way to avoid discomfort.

Since today so many relationships are dependent on technology via texting, phone, and social media, to find oneself blocked from contact from a person one deeply cares for can be devastating. Imagine if you showed up as usual at your place of employment and the doors were locked, your entry card no longer functioned, and your boss wouldn’t talk to you or give you an explanation as to why you were fired. The powerlessness, humiliation, fear, grief, and outrage you would feel is understandable. Ghosting someone isn’t much different from that.

Ghosting vs. Boundaries

I’d like to make clear that I’m all for having good boundaries. If someone is treating us in a way that feels abusive, overwhelming, or causes us to fear for our safety, and we feel that the only way to set a boundary is to prevent them from communicating with us, such action is reasonable and justifiable and I don’t believe falls into the definition of ghosting.

Why it Hurts so Much

Essentially, the victim of ghosting most frequently is left to work through a psychological grieving process similar to how we experience the death of a loved one. If they are not supported to process their experience, the “loss” can leave victims with emotional scars, injured self-esteem, and may affect them in future relationships. Clients I see state they feel disrespected, shamed, powerless, and a sense of having being abandoned.

How to recover from being Ghosted

People’s actions are always a reflection of their own emotional scars. Someone who ghosts is afraid of emotions—theirs and yours; furthermore, either they don’t understand how their behavior impacts you or they just don’t care. Whichever it is, know that the ghoster doesn’t have the ability to have a mature healthy relationship and nothing you do can change that. Find help to support yourself as you navigate the difficult task of letting that person go and learn more about yourself from the experience. Most importantly, don’t let someone’s poor treatment of you rob you of your vulnerability and desire for loving connection. Focus on things that make you happy and recognize you may feel angry, sad, and afraid – all normal reflections of mourning. Keep your heart open, surround yourself with people you trust to care about you, and know you have a respect and integrity that person did not. Most importantly, as you move forward in life, be mindful that the conversations required to end relationships will always be difficult and may provoke considerable anxiety. However, speaking our truth builds important strengths that we as human beings can nurture—honor, self-respect, kindness, and courage—values we need now more than at any time in our history.

 

Tapping into the Power of the Mind – Clinical Hypnosis

Written by sharon on . Posted in Blog

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Can Hypnosis help you?

The first thing I tell clients who are interested in clinical hypnosis, commonly referred to as hypnotherapy, is: keep in mind it bears no resemblance to stage hypnosis. The therapist doesn’t have control over you, you’re not asleep, and you’ll remember everything that transpires with great clarity.

We experience hypnotic or trance states daily, as we move between high and low levels of alertness. For example, have you ever driven your car home and on arrival realized your mind was focused elsewhere and not on your driving or the cars around you? Or perhaps you’ve been in a movie theater and realized your entire attention has been absorbed by the experience for a few minutes to the exclusion of everything else? These are just a couple of many trance states we experience in daily life.

Clinical hypnosis fosters a naturalistic trance state that allows for a calm sense of focused awareness that should leave one feeling relaxed, peaceful, and optimistic. Hypnosis allows one to use the creative and intuitive parts of the mind and helps the body experience something new by tapping into inner resources and innate wisdom often sabotaged by the conscious mind. In a state of naturally induced relaxation, mind and body instinctively work as one to promote healing and new learning.

Hypnotherapy can focus on and be highly effective in a number of areas. If you’re experiencing difficulty with any of the following, it may be something for you to research and consider:

  • Anxiety
  • Low self esteem
  • Fertility/Childbirth
  • Unhealthy habits
  • Pain
  • Grief
  • Preparation for Surgical Procedures
  • Insomnia

For more information or to set up an appointment, please visit www.sharoncoulter.com

The American Psychological Association states, “Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders.”

The British Psychological Society commissioned a working group to survey the evidence and write a formal report on hypnotherapy in 2001. They found, “Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy.”