Device overload item – could it be happening to you?

When the average American looks at his or her smartphone between 90 and 165 times per day, this average American is doing much more than practicing highly questionable personal hygiene.A spate of recent studies suggests that people constantly looking at their smartphones — or, even scarier, simply sitting near their smartphones — have lower rates of the following things: cognition, problem solving, creativity, attention span, sound sleep, affinity, trust and empathy. Basically, we are making ourselves demonstrably dumber and less happy.

Source: Hansen: We are slaves to our smartphones. We are the Facebook Zombie Army. We are the Walking and Tweeting Dead | Matthew Hansen |

from Pam Feldman, LIMHP

Is cell phone addiction really a “thing”? If everybody’s doing it, how can it be so bad?

Matthew Hansen’s article in a recent edition of the Omaha World-Herald, is a great example of how our children are becoming affected.

A recent issue of the Family Therapy Networker challenges therapists to address the effects of being constantly connected to cell phones, addicted to gaming, laptops, tablets and watches. Are we losing ourselves without recognizing it?

Next time you’re on your device, ask Siri how cell phones use is affecting children, marriages and other relationships. She’ll plug you in.


How Smart People Handle Difficult People

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus — an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success — when stress gets out of co

Source: How Smart People Handle Difficult People

Chances are that you’ve encountered challenges in your work relationships, or elsewhere. The research evidence suggests that it quickly can take a toll on us. Sound familiar? We can help. 402-334-1122

Talking To Kids About Fear And Violence

Kids Get Worried

With everything that happens in the world, your kids will — potentially — get the idea that the world is a dangerous place. They will ask questions. So, you’ll want to be ready to talk about it with them calmly.

“Parents can help children gain a sense of personal control by talking openly about  violence and personal safety.” Recent acts of violence in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin schools have stunned the nation. Children, in particular, may experience anxiety, fear, and a sense of personal risk. They may also sense anxiety and tension in those around them — friends, family members, loved ones, caregivers and other adults who have a direct impact on the well-being of children.

Source: Talking To Kids About Fear And Violence | Mental Health America


Angst Over Food

It's not about the food!
It’s not about the food!

With the holidays fast approaching, there’s always angst over food. Whether you suffer a food allergy, an eating disorder, obesity, or are just trying to stay reasonably healthy, this is a difficult time of year. Lunch rooms get crowded with baked goods, every event seems to be focused on food, and families plan and prepare for feasts that result in food comas that sometimes end up in napping rather than enjoying one another’s company.


To be honest, we all probably have a few favorite foods that only come out at holiday time and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that fully. But maybe it’s time to take into account that there are lots of other ways to celebrate and new traditions that engage more than our taste buds. If you are interested in considering making some changes, I’d like to offer a few ideas with the recognition that there may be some resistance and change happens gradually for most of us.

First of all, the holiday itself need not be the central part of the celebration. In many large and busy families, there are just too many places to go on one day. Consider enjoying an activity other than a meal. Locally, there are numerous free or low cost events that allow families to enjoy music, lights, and spiritual aspects of the season. familyConsult the local newspaper and magazines that are full of ideas such as the lighting downtown starting on Thanksgiving evening, and concerts at the museums, churches and other venues. A walk at the Lauritzen Gardens or a nearby lake or park is a way to bring the family together for some exercise. Game nights, making crafts and setting up friendly competitions can become something everyone remembers fondly. Building gingerbread houses, having snowball fights, or caroling can be ways to get at least some of the family involved in a new tradition. Volunteering around the holidays is a special way to generate comradery. Donating to charity by weeding out toys and coats and unused items is another family project that sets the holidays in motion. Just looking at Christmas lights is a fun way to spend an evening.

Keep It Simple

In our family, we try to keep it simple. After years of excessive, exhausting, albeit elaborate Holiday dinners, we now opt for a more people-focused approach. For example, Christmas eve will be at one home with a light meal and gift exchange. Christmas morning will be an egg casserole and sweet rolls at another home to enjoy the children and their Santa presents. We’ll end up at my house after a family traipse through the nearby trails, have soups and sandwiches, play games and tell stories and piece together a jigsaw puzzle. No one need be stressed out or bloated or secretly upset about over indulging. Don’t get me wrong, there will be candy and baked goods. But this year, we decided to forego the heavy meal on top of all that.

A final thought . . .

whatever your holiday includes, pay attention to what you really want to set your focus on. Who needs you to listen? When did you last read a book to a child? Is there an elderly person who would appreciate your attention? Have you connected with your spouse, your children, parents? How does nature, movement or music play a role in your holiday plans? The options are endless. Just let your imagination go.

Like I said, your family may have some awesome, creative holiday traditions. Share!



Setting the Stage for More Sex

How To Increase Your Chances of Having More Sex

“My wife and I haven’t been intimate for 8 years.”

I have people coming in with relationship problems.  They’re not getting along, they’re not communicating and they’re not having sex.  They might mention they miss having sex, then I know desire is there.

I take note of this because desire for sex is really a positive thing, it shows zest for life.  If it’s been a long time, though, starting up again can be awkward.

It Starts Early in the Day

Once you’ve made up your mind, get started.  You will want to connect in a positive way with your loved one.  Some people call it “simmering” and what they’re doing is showing affection toward their partner.

A husband walks in from getting the mail and touches her cheek. Just like that, out of the blue.

She extends her hand to him, touches his shoulder.

They have started something.

But neither will show their cards yet there’s no rush…

He helped clean the kitchen so she could go work out.  She prepared his favorite spicy chili for dinner.

What is happening is that they are on good terms and doing things to maintain those good terms.

A hot time in the bedroom at night starts in the morning.  It’s all the little steps during the day that makes the difference.

Is There Unresolved Conflict?

However, increasing affection might not lead to sex.  Then the question is, is there unresolved conflict?

In the past they had a major argument over him going out of town when she had to stay home and work.  She felt his trip was a financial drain.  It was since that time that sex had become nonexistent, only once every two months.

It might be helpful to ask yourself what has changed since you first noticed lack of a sex life?

Make a Date Time

Finally, it’s really helpful to look forward to getting together. Couples can set the stage for a good time.  Find a time when both have enough energy, are alert.  During courtship people prepare for a date and want to maximize their time together.  Making time to be intimate deserves the same kind of thoughtfulness.

What thoughts do you have about getting restarted with your sex life? If you are ready to talk it over, please give me a call.

Romance on a Shoestring

Romance on a Shoestring

Valentines Day is upon us! Couples are often stretched in terms of time and money. People often tell us that at the end of the day, they are daunted by multiple responsibilities, deadlines, and a personal or family budget that is stretched to the limit.

Ideas for you!

Our therapists are a creative group! As we were wrapping up a recent meeting, we put our heads together and came up with some ideas for making a wonderfully romantic date without spending a lot of money.

New experiences

One category for keeping spice in your relationship is trying new things. Have you ever tried these ideas?

  • have a daytime date The Joslyn Art Museum is free on Saturday mornings. Stroll through the galleries that interest you, and  strike up conversation about your favorite artworks. Take your time – no one says you have to see it all in one visit! Grab lunch or coffee – it’s much less expensive and can be more intimate than dinner. You’ll find plenty of ideas here for the Omaha area.
  • Pick a new recipe and cook together after the kids are in bed. Wear nice clothes, and listen to music while your meal cooks. Dance in the kitchen. Set a beautiful table.
  • Buy massage oil and give each other a neck and shoulder massage. Then light some candles and look at your old photo albums. Enjoy reminiscing about good times and each other.
  • Go on a picnic, even in the car, and take photographs. Exploring an area you’ve never been to before. Treat your hometown like a tourist would treat it. Whenever possible, turn off the social media notifications that typically draw your attention away from one another – use this time just for one another.

Shift focus to each other

  • Instead of buying flowers and chocolates, go to the Botanical Gardens or a plant nursery and take in the smells and colors. Then go home and make your own chocolate covered strawberries.
  • Or find the new restaurant or lounge and pretend to be meeting each other there for the first time. Take time to re-discover each other!
  • think about your best times when you were dating. Find ways to recreate those special feelings and closeness.

Beauty can be found all around us

sunset neighborhood

Nebraska has beautiful sunsets, even in February. Take a walk or a drive and find a spot to drink it all in. Remember, most men want to feel that they are important to their partners. Most women want to feel like a treasure to their partner. Find the way to focus on something you truly enjoy together and create that special environment for one another.

What have you tried? Please share in the comments section!


Relationship Malaise


I was surprised when a young woman walked into my office and said she didn’t care about her boyfriend.  She deserved to be treated better than he had treated her.  She had begun to enjoy dating other men and allowed herself to like them. I couldn’t imagine what had happened because she had been so in love with him for a long time.  Actually it had been a three-year disaster of a relationship.  She knew it was a disaster, too, but she couldn’t leave it.


I had to think back over several months of sessions to understand how she moved on.  Her stated comment about her boyfriend was that she loved him.  She knew all the negative things, that he consistently preferred to spend time with his friends on weekends rather than with her.  When they did go out he’d openly flirt with other females which was very hurtful to her.


What kept her in the relationship was that she avoided thinking about the negative things and instead had focused on how good looking he was and what a good job he had.  She had also blamed his poor treatment of her on herself.  She’d think if only I had not got angry that last night we went out we’d still be together.  This is a typical thought from someone who loves their boyfriend, they tend to blame it on their actions. At this point, I began thinking about the song by the Eagles, “Already Gone”.  Often people don’t realize they have the key to making things better.  If you haven’t heard the song in a while, here’s a live version.

That’s exactly what this young woman did.  She had taken steps to rebuild her self-esteem.  She set goals at work to complete projects successfully.  She built relationships with friends and found activities to enjoy with them on weekends.

Even more helpful, she blocked him from Facebook and  blocked her phone number so he couldn’t call her.

Is it time to let go of your unsatisfying relationship and move on?  It can be helpful to know there are other options besides resigning oneself to a negative relationship.