Dr. Goschi's Blog

Tending to Your Relationship

Tending to Your Relationship

Over time the luster of your relationship may dwindle. Keeping passion alive in your marriage requires some effort. This advice sometimes sounds counter intuitive especially if the couple have been together for a long time. It makes sense to tend to your marriage whether together one year of fifty.

I remind my clients that even though they’ve been together a long time that personal needs and desires can and often do change. In fact, adjustments in personal needs can profoundly impact the tenor of a relationship. Couples counseling helps the couple learn how to express their evolving needs, feelings, hopes and dreams.

Couples talks can lead to arguments. Many couples fight repeatedly over the same issues. Couples counseling can help disrupt dysfunctional marital patterns. How a couple argues may contribute to the conflict. New skills acquired in therapy help the couple stop the destructive cycle.

Busy working couples find it extremely hard to make time for themselves let alone each other. Sometimes attending couple’s therapy is the only time couples make for each other. There’s just something wrong with this picture. Rather, schedule time to nurture your relationship. I often ask couples to institute a date night to help move things along.

Couples counseling helps get at the underlying issues that add to your marriage’s negative spiral. Counseling teaches each person how to listen and communicate better about what really matters rather than fighting over issues that tend to tear the relationship down. Sex can even start happening on a regular basis when the other conflicts are being taken care of.

It’s never too late to attempt to fix your marriage. Your relationship deserves your utmost attention. Put your marriage on equal par with your parenting and/or your career plans. Yes, it’s that important! As always I’m here to help. Call Dr. Goschi today at (312)595-12787 or email me at barbara@drgoschi.com

Opioid Crisis and Children

The Opioid Crisis and Children

This month’s American Psychological Association’s journal “Monitor on Psychology” has an interesting article written by Lorna Collier on the population that is perhaps most profoundly affected by the opioid addiction in our country. Very often kids who grow up in families with one or both parents addicted to opioids often end up in foster homes. “Parental substance use was cited as a factor in about 32% of all foster placements, a rise of 10% from 2005” (Monitor on Psychology, January 2018).

Foster homes although sounding like a safe place for kids lead to further problems for children. These children often move through the system for years. Going from one home to another. The children in foster care may also be separated from their siblings. The “lucky” children stay in one home with foster parents who actually look after their interests and are willing to keep siblings together.

“Lucky” children from addicted households end up with families that grow to love them and eventually want to adopt the child(ren) if parents don’t recover. However, foster homes are not created equal. Some foster homes provide excellent care while others offer the bare minimum. I’ve heard and witnessed so many incidents with foster care children where they feel lost, abandoned and even abused setting them up for life long struggles.

How do we change this problem? Of course, we have to have better treatment for the opioid epidemic in our country. The article in “Monitor on Psychology” has some good ideas. They talk about how a child does far better when they stay with their parents even when those situations are highly dysfunctional. Instead, we should look for ways to provide the families counseling. Perhaps more active participation in the home through home visits and expecting parents to be engaged in active treatment. Children always do better when they stay with their family. Kids advance in life if they learn how to cope with the difficulties facing them at an early age through individual and family counseling. We should be providing them with empathy and warm, nurturing place to talk about their issues while teaching them how to self-advocate. Individual therapy can help these children grow into successful adults.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an opioid crisis please call Dr. Goschi for addictions counseling, individual counseling or family therapy at (312)595-1787. I’m here to help!

Keeping Our 2018 Resolutions

Keeping Our 2018 Resolutions

Every year many of us set resolutions on New Year’s Eve only to be broken within the first three weeks. What’s happening? Can it be that so many of us have absolutely no resolve to meet the goals that we set for ourselves? Are we just all quitters?

Hardly! Many of us set unrealistic goals that are impossible to meet. Rather we should look at setting more attainable objectives for ourselves. Also, celebrating small achievements that lead to ultimately getting us closer to our targets becomes ever more significant.

So, what to do? Look at the goals that we set. Make sure they aren’t “pie in the sky” ideas. Our desired destination should be attainable. For example, when it comes to weight loss look at what is realistic for you. Not so glamorous but far more reasonable. Let’s say that losing a pound a week can be a highly attainable goal. This would include making some healthy changes to your diet without the severe deprivation that some diets require.

Individual therapy can help you identify what changes need to be made in your life in order to realize your dreams. Whether it’s finding a new job, more balance in your life, to increasing your social contacts. Individual counseling can help you attain these goals by looking at the desired result and work backwards from there (Covey, 1990). Divide the process in to smaller attainable objectives which ideally get you closer to your bigger objective.

Celebrate each achievement you complete along the way. One mistake we often make is when we beat ourselves up for imperfect execution. Maybe we’ve not met one of the benchmarks that we’ve set up for ourselves. Thus, we end up devaluing ourselves as incapable of staying focused on the prize. Individual therapy teaches you to forgive yourself. Counseling helps you look at what interferes with your goal attainment and controls for that going forward. We sometimes learn the most about ourselves through examining our failures. Use your failures as moments for growth.

Good luck in the New Year and may you reach all of your goals. If you need help getting there or have discovered something about yourself that you would like to change don’t hesitate to call Dr. Goschi (312)595-1787 to schedule your individual counseling. I’m here to help!

Dealing with loss in the New Year

Dealing with loss in the New Year

Having lost someone in 2017 shapes the way we view the New Year.  We view everything through the lense of loss.  Rather than looking forward to upcoming events we see these functions as sorrowful, even meaningless.  “It’s the first celebration without them.”  Which, of course, diminishes the occasion. 

Feelings of sadness, anger, denial, isolation and sometimes guilt rule our days.  While experiencing these painful emotions can help us move through the grief process we need appropriate outlets so we don’t get stuck in any one of these stages (Kubler-Ross, 1969).  We want to eventually get to a place of acceptance so we can heal and once again tolerate positive emotions.  Guilt over feeling happy can interfere with our receptivity to love and support from others.  Try to open yourself to others kind works and gestures of love.

Normalizing your life helps you get beyond the grief.  Fill your life with plenty of positive activities.  Partaking in exercise, work, dinners with family move us forward.  Look for those situations that allow you to find balance between felling, self-expression and acceptance.  If we dwell only on the loss this keeps us stuck in the process of grieving.

Allow yourself to feel.  We move through various emotions while grieving.  Not surprisingly we feel sad one day and perhaps angry the next.  Embrace the fact that while grieving we feel many complex emotions which constantly fluctuate.

Don’t hesitate to call friends who can offer an empathic ear.  People worry that reaching out too often will burden their relationships.  True intimate relationships have a large capacity for love and empathy.  If you experience rejection when attempting to reach out then you probably need to assess the health of your friendships.

Lastly, be kind to yourself in 2018.   You will find your way out of the emotional fog.  Be patient it takes time to heal.  If you need more help don’t hesitate to call!  Dr. Goschi is here to help (312)595-1787.

The Death of Privacy

I attended a lecture on Social Privacy by Lori Andrews. She has a new book titled “I know who you are and saw what you did.” Basically, her book talks about how social networks have changed everything about privacy. Most of us, at least our children, have a facebook account that is active. Few understand how our participation in sites, like facebook, effect our personal privacy. In fact, we are reliquishing our privacy as a result of our online social activity.

How is this relevant in my practice with young adults, couples and families. Well, let me tell you what I have been seeing in my office. Schools are aggressively monitoring your child’s activities. Trust me, the high schools all know what a “red cup means.” It’s much better if your child has nothing in their hand because even a diet coke in a red cup will be perceived as a beer. The emotional devastation that occurs due to an expulsion or suspension is sometimes difficult to overcome and can follow the youth going forward.

Some employers use the same strategy to screen out applicants or keep tabs on current employees. The news covered a story on a teacher who took a picture of herself holding a beer while on a European vacation. Her job was terminated because of this posted picture.  Her boss told her that her  “drinking” was poor role-modeling for her students. Mind you, this picture was harmlessly taken while she was with her cohorts vacationing. Hardly, bad role-modeling since she was on her own time and within the legal age limit. The problem was that her students had access to her facebook page. Here is where the teacher should have shown better personal boundary practices.

Many couples end up on my couch after seeing their spouse with another individual on facebook. Not sure why you would post pictures of yourself cheating on your spouse. The trauma and crisis posting such pictures causes are limitless. Look at how it has ruined the political life of Weiner after he posted pictures of his genitals. Many individuals feel the need to post absolutely every aspect of their personal life. Boundary issues, inability to relate personally and a whole host of other pathologies become amplified over the internet.

If you are interested in finding out  more detailed ways in which our privacy has been compromised I strongly recommend that you read Lori Andrews book. She outlines the issues quite well. She also talks about the legal ramifications. Lori offers  eye opening insights for many who have now clue about how facebook and other mediums can be used against them. It’s a great read but be prepared to be scared.

As always, if you need help please call today. Dr. Goschi can be reached at 312-595-1787.

Senior Launching

When we use the term launching we are usually thinking about our children leaving their childhood home sometime after college.  It’s usually a sad time but also filled with hope and shiny potential.   This is not the launching of which I speak.  Rather, I’m talking about sending our elderly parents off to senior living.

I dare to say that launching our senior parents is equally as stressfull if not more.  The event can be even more painful if riddled with conflict.  If our parents didn’t make the effort to plan carefully for their retirment years then “we” their adult children are burdened with making the difficult choices.  I understand that no one wants to spend their final days fixed into a wheel chair parked in front of TV land shows.  I know that we want to believe that we will all exit as vital participants of our milieu.  However, with the very real statistic that 80% of individuals over 80 will suffer from dementia it is unrealistic to think that we will be capable of making the right choices for ourselves.  We will need our children to help make those decisions for us.

As children we are loathe to make those choices for our parents for fcar that they will never speak to us again.  It can also be financially crippling.  With our children living at home post college due to no jobs, the changing landscape for senior facilities, and having dwindling incomes it is a recipe for disaster.  So, some of us deal with the conflict by retreating from our parents.  Others, watch from a distance while waiting for some terrible event to happen.

I am never a fan of passivity.  Rather, I believe that a plan is always better and in doing so we are provided with a sense of hope and control.  I would suggest starting with your parents primary care physician.  He/she will usally give you an accurate sense of how quickly or severely your parents health is deteriorating.  Using that information as your guideline you can look for a social worker who specializes in helping families with senior parents to help lay out a plan of action.  These professionals are very good at knowing what rescources are available financially and emotionally.    Get as many family members on board as you can so that in fighting between concerned relatives doesn’t become unmanagable.

Also, take care of yourself physically and emotionally.  Therapy can help get you through the emotional turmoil and upcoming grief.  You may be suprised how much an empathic ear and supportive relationship can help.  Call Dr. Goschi today at (312)595-1787 or email at barbara@drgoschi.com.

Update on Sandusky

I must say that I was pleased with the verdict.  Too often “guilty” pedophiles’ judgments are too lenient.  This time I believe justice was served.  Or, was it?  Don’t get me wrong – I totally embrace the guilty verdict and 60 years in prison.  But, I suppose what I’m upset about is that the victims yet again had to stand up and speak publicly about the events with Sandusky.  This opened the victims up to cross examination, ridicule and emotional exposure.

We think women have a difficult time coming forward when they are abused well in my experience I’ve found it even more difficult for male victims.  This is tremendously unfortunate since neither women nor men “should” feel ashamed about the sexual abuse to them but they often do.

So, I just wanted to say how proud I am of those brave individuals who have come forward.  They have not only begun their own journey of healing and purging their souls but have protected how many more young boys from suffering the same fate.  Bravo to you all and as a therapist and a mother I applaud you all!

High Anxiety

Today I heard a new poll that stated women were more worried about their futures than were their male counterparts.  While this was disturbing to hear it didn’t surprise me at all.  It is true that women are worriers.  How many of us have had sleepless nights worrying about our children, our aging parents, our jobs, our husband, our boyfriends and the list can seem endless.

Women are tremendously prone to worry because we tend to be caretakers of everyone in our lives.  Sometimes,or might I say many times, we worry about everyone else to the detriment of ourselves.  Worry better known as anxiety can reek havoc on our physical and mental health.  Anxiety is one of those strange emotions that can help us do well on tests.  However, if we experience too much then it interferes with performance.  So, anxiety can get moving or can cripple our ability to function.  It’s a fine line and a hard one control.

However, I would encourage all the women in my life to at least try.  There are a few simple steps that can really help manage anxiety.  If it’s anxiety that’s caused by procrastination then I would encourage an individual to tackle the task one peice at a time.  If  the anxiety/worry is due to something we cannot control then I would encourage some different apporaches.

In an earlier post, I spoke of how we cannot be anxious if our bodies are relaxed.  Therefore, I would encourage you to engage in those activities which maximize relaxation.  For example, meditation/yoga are wonderful forms of deep relaxation.   Any form of work out can also lead to the alleviation of stress and the release of endorphins.  Lastly, I would encourage you to put the concerns out of your mind especially if your thoughts are destructive.

I the anxiety isn’t helping you move forward then actively work at alleviating your anxiety.  Therapy and meds can be extremely helpful if you’ve been officially diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder.

Take charge of your life today and call Dr. Goschi because help is just a phone call away @ (312)595-1787.

Happy Holidays!

Don’t forget to make it a point to enjoy the Holiday season.

  •  Manage your stress by being organized, plan in 1 or 2 hour blocks of time so you succeed in getting things done.
  • Make special time to enjoy immediate family, extended family and friends.
  • Do something special for yourself.
  • Buy gift cards or things online if shopping is too stressful.
  • Leave time to exercise.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Make time to do something you love during the season.
  • Watch a good Holiday movie.
  • Resist being Wonder woman or Superman and share the chores.
  • Tell important people how much they mean to you and allow them to reciprocate.
  • Most of all have a wonderful, stress free Holiday Season and I’ll talk with you in the New Year!

If you need me help is just a phone call away. Call Dr. Goschi now at (312)595-1787 or email me at barbara@drgoschi.com

Sandusky and Penn State Controversy

Given the news this week I thought I would address the issue of sexual abuse of boys. This issue has exploded. It’s on every news channel and everyone has an opinion. The most common reaction, however, is one of disgust, sadness and appalled at how the behavior could have gone on for so many years seemingly unchecked.

I heard someone reporting last night that someone must have noticed that Sandusky was a weirdo and has to be different from the rest of us “normal people.” Well, I am here to tell you that pedophiles, that’s what Sanduscky should be labeled, can seem as “normal” as anyone else. This is the brutal reality that people don’t understand. How do I know this? Well, I used to do psychological testing on pedophiles and worked inpatient with them as well.

The one thing child sex abusers have in common is that you would never know their dirty little secret by looking at or having a regular conversation with them. They fit in our environment. Often, they are married with children and even their own wives had no clue what is going on. Often, they don’t target their own children instead they abuse all the neighborhood children or the children they coach. We just don’t want to believe this is true.

In fact, it is true that pedophiles as a group are usually categorized as being heterosexual and can successfully have what seems to be normal sexual relations with their partners. The pedophile frequently tells themselves that they are not doing anything wrong but instead just teaching the 10 year old about sexuality. They perceive it as mutual fun between themselves and the child. It is only when the jig is up and severely confronted that they admit that what they did was wrong.  This is how Sandusky can say without hesitation that he wasn’t abusing these boys, rather, he cared deeply for them.

Pedophilia also tends to run in families. I have treated abused individuals, who are now pedophiles themselves,  that were abused by their grandparents.  Following generations continue the sexual abuse patterns because it is what they have learned. In my own universe, I have never met a pedophile who hasn’t been sexually abused as a child.  However, that’s only my own experience but I bet if you looked at the research it would support this opinion.  So, it becomes a destructive pattern that continues on and on. I won’t bore you with the psychological details of such pathology but let me just emphasize that the problems run deep, are powerful and resistant to orthodox forms of psychotherapy.

So, as parents how can we possibly protect our children from exposure to such evil. Well, I believe that just as we inoculate our children against childhood diseases so must we against sexual predators. Begin early and have the conversation with your children often. You of course can gear the level of conversation based on the age of your children. After all, this is really what the stranger danger conversation is about.  But, we must take it further than this and talk to them about what is acceptable behavior from adults and what is not.  No adult other than mom or dad should be showering with your child.  This is just one example of how to help them understand appropriate boundaries. So, please, please, please, talk to your children about predators.

Make sure that all coaches and anyone who has regular access to your child knows that you’re an involved parent. Not only do predators look for opportunity but they also look for the child who seems to be isolated. If you are a full time working parent connect with at least one other child and their family at school or make sure the babysitter understands the importance of not allowing your child to have too much face time alone with any adult.  And, tell your child than they can tell you anything, you will not blame them and that you will listen. Boy victims, in particular, are ashamed that it happened to them. Even at an early age they feel that they should have prevented the abuse by fighting back. This is ridiculous for a sweet boy to think for a moment.  But, believe me they live with the guilt well into their adult lives. If they have been abused get them help immediatlely. Be a part of the healing process no matter how long or how painful it might be for everyone involved.

I know this is a terrible subject to talk, however, we should probably be talking more openly and honestly about this topic.

As always help is just a phone call away. Don’t struggle alone call Dr. Goschi today at (312)595-1787 or email for your appointment at barbara@drgoschi.com