Counseling

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Anais Nin

My counseling practice is currently full. If you would like information about my waiting list, which is 4-5 months long, you can do so using the Contact form above. However, the fastest way to receive support from me is through my 30 day programs and e-courses

 

Most people find me because they're experiencing intense anxiety around normal life transitions. But they quickly learn that the anxiety is an opportunity into a profound level of healing that they never knew possible. In other words, relationship anxiety actually has little to do with one's partner but is an opportunity to heal deep-seated false beliefs about love, marriage, and self-worth. As such, my counseling practice has grown over the last fourteen years from a specific focus on the marriage transition to a wide lens approach to helping people transform their anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, and lack of fulfillment to serenity, aliveness, and joy.

Transitions are doorways to healing. Imagine that when you're in transition you're holding up a sieve to your psyche: the healthy, clear water easily flows through and what remains in the sieve are nuggets of your core issues, shining in the sun. You can view these issues as irritations and try to ignore them, or you can learn the tools you need to begin to heal them. The core issues typically center around the following areas:

  • Self-doubt
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intolerance
  • Perfectionism
  • Need to control
  • If I'm not my (work, mother, success) identity, who am I?
  • Childhood issues

I rely on many tools in my counseling practice. At the core of my work is a profound respect for the mysteries of the human psyche and the struggles inherent to life. My expertise in the field of transitions informs the work, as does my training in Jungian psychology, journaling, and mindfulness.

To pay for counseling sessions, click below:

 

To pay for the telephone support group, click below:

 

34 comments to Counseling

  • Laurie

    Hi Sheryl,
    I am going through a very rough time right now with anxiety and depression. I have been with my boyfriend for two years and lived with him for one. The past five years in general have been very difficult as I’ve watched my mother suffer through chronic illness and my grandma die of Lou Gehrig’s disease last summer. I want to get married for many reasons. I love him and want a family with him. I want my mom to be able to be at my wedding (I’m scared that she may die if it’s put off for years). I want to know that he is committed to me and that I’m not giving him everything without that promise. I know for many people in today’s society marriage doesn’t mean anything. But for me–it has always meant everything. I don’t care about a fancy wedding. I just want to feel secure in my bond. The problem is–he says he wants to marry me but doesn’t see why it has to be in the near future. This hurts me to my core and as a result makes me act angrily towards him. It’s so messed up that the root of me wanting marriage is love–but that my pain makes me act anything but loving and pushes him away. Can you please provide some insight? I don’t know how much longer I can go on feeling this way. I want the respect of being a wife, not a girlfriend.

    • It sounds like a very painful situation, and I’m guessing that there are deeper underpinnings at play in your dynamic with your boyfriend. Please email me directly using the contact form above so we can talk about this further.

  • Kristin

    I’ve been wanting to write to you for awhile. Everything I’ve read that acknowledges the transition of a bride (the tough stuff) is usually about her identity in becoming a wife (in regard to having the husband). Well, my case seems so unique… I can’t seem to even look it up on the internet.

    My fiance and I became engaged in December 2010. Right away, I thought I had to ask a bridal party (he had asked his “Best Men” BEFORE he had even proposed to me. Well, I asked 5 girls right away: 3 friends and my cousin… and one of my friend’s daughters to be the flower girl (later to ask his sister). They became distant, unreachable, yet controlling behind the scenes immediately to the point where anxiety over their control had me sleepless, losing weight, and sick. I didn’t realize I was getting sick over them at first. I thought I was just depressed which led me to looking up depression during engagement on the internet which led me to your book. The two girls I had asked to be my MOH’s became BEST FRIENDS (to the point where they even had the same birthday), hanging out with each other often on their own, the friend who I asked to be a bridesmaid was sending me e-mails telling me that they weren’t really my friends but that she was my “real and true” friend… only to find out, weeks later, that when I was trying to discuss this with them that that girl, too, was jealous she wasn’t the MOH and talking angrily about me.

    I cut off ties with the three of them. I then felt because there was so much “drama” that I don’t want to discuss it with anyone. I just wanted it to end but the sequence of unexpected events just wracked my mind. It’s much better now that they’re gone… but it was a big eye opener… what the HECK was that?!?! I now realize I have to be very selective in my choice of friends in our marriage. Perhaps that was the lesson… but wow… life has a way of throwing some curveballs!

    Benefits of what happened: I can help other young girls with my unique situation (though I really would love to hear from others who can relate), my relationship with my mom mended (she was locationally and emotionally distant), I’m more aware and discerning of character/who to let “close”

    Negative: I don’t think they knew how I felt or that they understand what they did… I received no apologies… I’m also having a challenging time separating the situation from being a big “event” I will remember as part of the engagement period… it’s like I was finally happy and they wanted to take my happiness… a little jaded. My fiance also doesn’t fully understand what happened.

    Do you know others who have LOST friends during this time?

    • It’s actually quite common to lose friends during a wedding – or any – transition. Transitions are times when we weed out aspects of ourselves and our friendships that are no longer serving us. It’s another area of grief that needs to be acknowledged and expressed. And it’s usually a signal that it’s time to find new friendships that reflect your current stage of growth.

  • [...] was going to be able to sustain me. It wasn’t filling me up. It was at the point that I found Inner Bonding®, went to a workshop and Intensive, and everything [...]

  • [...] now one of my greatest joys to help others work through their fear voices and learn to choose love. When clients email me their daily dialogues, I analyze them line by [...]

  • [...] I mean and I’m preaching to the choir. But for the women and men who I work with every day in counseling, it’s a crushing moment when the infatuation drug wears off and they’re left to begin [...]

  • [...] is how Rebecca (not her real name) described it in a recent session with [...]

  • [...] not only how to stay calm at the altar but also how to have a truly joyous wedding day. After counseling thousands of women over the last 14 years through their engagements, I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty [...]

  • Chrissy

    Hi Sheryl.
    I read one of your articles on a site. And I’ve been going through a rough time within my relationship. When my boyfriend and I first got together, we were so happy. I’ve had abandonment issues though, and multiple other problems, but he knew that before we began dating. This is a long distance relationship as of currently. But we visit each other when possible. The last time he visited though, he broke up with me. Due to arguments and such. But, I couldn’t let him go. I had finally trusted him at that point before the breakup. And we got back together, and now I feel like I’m back at square one. And I don’t know what to do. I want to run, but I fought so hard to be with him. And I feel he’s The One. I can’t give up now. What should I do?

  • Kathryn

    Hey Sheryl,I am a young woman in a relationship that has been good for 3 years, with a very loving man. The only problem we have ever had with each other was my anxiety about us. Someone in my family once speculated I didn’t SEEM to love my partner very much and it has haunted me ever since. I consistently worry I am not happy with him at all and when I’m worried this way I can’t be happy. When I am worried it’s like I cannot remember how I feel around him at all. I was initially very infatuated with him and now this feeling is gone. I used to ache for his presence but now I am fine with being alone as well, even sometimes appreciate it. And when we’re together I’m not lovesick for him, I am just comfortable. When I get worried this way, it is so devestating I just can’t even sleep and hardly eat. I’m terrified I do not truly love and enjoy my partner, and want to resolve this anxiety and just get back to normal and know that I do love my partner.

    • Hi Kathryn: You’ve found your way to the right place! Many people on my site and forum struggle with anxiety brought on my similar comments, and, with the right tools and information, you can work through the anxiety that is trying to protect you from the risk of loving. Since you’ve posted on my counseling page, I’ll email you information about my sessions.

    • sasha kirsch

      hi kathryn. i read your post on the counseling page…and wow everything you said is EXACTLY how i am feeling. I would love to talk to you about your post.
      If you can email me that would be great! my email is sashalkirsch@gmail.com
      thanks again,
      sasha

  • [...] clients and e-course members often ask me, “If love isn’t only a feeling, how do I know I love [...]

  • [...] clients and e-course members often ask me, “If love isn’t only a feeling, how do I know I love [...]

  • [...] clients and e-course members often ask me, “If love isn’t only a feeling, how do I know I love [...]

  • [...] I could crystallize my work with clients who are scared to take the next step in their relationships, it would be this sentence: [...]

  • [...] expected run opposite a shade of your mind during your engagement. The many common that we see in my practice [...]

  • [...] My clients come to me with a host of erroneous beliefs that inform their anxiety and confusion regarding their upcoming marriages. I’ve discussed several of these beliefs in recent articles, such as thinking they’re supposed to feel more in love during their engagement than ever and wondering ifthoughts about an ex mean they’re not supposed to get married. But there is one belief that is talked about even less than the others: that at the wedding day, the relationship itself is supposed to be at its height of ease, love, and workability. [...]

  • [...] My clients come to me with a host of erroneous beliefs that inform their anxiety and confusion regarding their upcoming marriages. I’ve discussed several of these beliefs in recent articles, such as thinking they’re supposed to feel more in love during their engagement than ever and wondering if thoughts about an ex mean they’re not supposed to get married. But there is one belief that is talked about even less than the others: that at the wedding day, the relationship itself is supposed to be at its height of ease, love, and workability. [...]

  • [...] My clients come to me with a host of erroneous beliefs that inform their anxiety and confusion regarding their upcoming marriages. I’ve discussed several of these beliefs in recent articles, such as thinking they’re supposed to feel more in love during their engagement than ever and wondering ifthoughts about an ex mean they’re not supposed to get married. But there is one belief that is talked about even less than the others: that at the wedding day, the relationship itself is supposed to be at its height of ease, love, and workability. [...]

  • Amy

    Hi Sheryl

    I’m happy to have stumbled apon your site. I have only VERY recently had the realization that most of the issues in my new marriage (3 months) and prior to marriage seven year relationship, are being caused by ME and my thoughts. It’s quite overwhelming to even think about since I’ve heavily convinced myself our problems are rooted with him. I have struggled with almost constant negative thoughts, especially in the year of engagement but not limited to that, that my now husband is either cheating, lying to me, setteled for me, I may not really love him … ect. The thoughts have gotten so bad recently that they have started to consume our life and our relationship and our marriage is hanging on by only the memomries of what we used to be and, very rarely, a clearing of negativity – where we’re what we once were. My husband is of course human and not without flaws but I seemed to have zoned in on him and I’m constantly complaining, negative and accusing. Much without prompt or logic. It’s strange, as I know most of it is irrational but I’m not sure how to break the pattern. Even though my mind convinces me he’s cheating or lying or I deserve better or want different, my heart and soul have never been fully convinced. For this I’m grateful but I’m on the verge of loosing my marriage if I can’t make some stride towards stoping this negative behaviour. I need to stop it for myself and for my husband – he deserves credit for being a faithful and loving partner.

  • [...] often, my clients and e-course members who are in the midst of the marriage transitions cut right to the core and [...]

  • [...] often, my clients and e-course members who are in the midst of the marriage transitions cut right to the core and [...]

  • Kendal

    Hi Sheryl,
    I am generally a happy person, but I feel I could be MUCH happier. I feel like my moments of true happiness and calm are short-lived, there is always a dark cloud hanging over me, threatening to engulf me. It’s like I can’t allow myself to be happy, it’s torture. Anytime I am feeling blissful, like I am finally surrounded by light, that black cloud comes down almost immediately and fills me up with anxiety, grief, and self-doubt, which I try to ignore or stifle only causing it all to come out as frustration and anger, it puts me on the verge of tears no matter where I am, or what I’m doing. Along with these bad feelings come constant flashbacks of painful memories, I try so hard to block them out but it seems to only make it worse. This happens so often and so intensely that it makes it extremely difficult to live in the present, to concentrate on present tasks, and to feel alive and connected with myself and my partner. It feels like my mind is stuck in the past and that is NOT where I want to be. This constant cycle of happy-sad worries my fiance and I know she feels the tension and the distance I put between us. I love her so much, I know we’re right for each other, she is my dream come true, everything I’ve ever wanted, and I want to give her all of myself and my love, I SHOULD be so happy, I want to be, but it feels like a constant struggle.
    To give you a bit of a back story, I grew up in a small town surrounded by the same people for 18 years, I graduated from the high school there and moved away but remained friends with the same people, and had an alright family life. When I turned 19 I met who I truly believe is my soul mate, we’ve been together ever since the day we met, but since she is also a woman and we’re considered “gay” my very Catholic family were and have been against our being together since the beginning. We try our best to get along with them but it definitely takes a toll on my mentality and our relationship. I tried to introduce her to my friends but for some reason they pushed me away, I don’t know if it’s because they don’t accept us either, or they never really liked me to begin with, or they don’t like the person I’ve become with her or WHAT! But I lost all of them too. My whole life and everything I knew is gone or changed. When I turned 21 we got engaged, and I feel great about it! But like I said there’s this big black cloud in my way of true happiness and freedom. I know these things happen, I know with life changing transitions comes loss of friends, family, and identity. I don’t want my old life back, I feel that all these changes have been really good for me, but I think the shifts and emotions happened so fast all at once that I wasn’t able to really process them and now I’m all mixed up and anxious and I want to feel cleared, I want to let go! I don’t want to remember I want to live NOW. I want to be young and in love and put my all into us and our marriage and walk happily, surely, and bravely up the path ahead, I want to feel free of the chains that hold me back. I just don’t know how.
    Thank you for your time and love and your amazing website :)

  • chelsea

    Hi Sheryl, I look forward to participating in your counseling group in the future as I’m not able to at this time. The work you do is so uplifting an a blessing, you truly our blessed with the work you do :) . It’s an amazing feeling to know that there’s a reason behind my doubts an it’s not my partner. It’s also kind of neat to know that the one thing that hurts an tears me down so much right now is a lesson to be learned and something to grow from. Your work has giving me a breath of fresh air, when you talk to people now a days an tell them your having doubts about your partner they’ll just tell you to leave an that hurts worse than anything to hear. So thank you for all you do an I look forward to your sessions :)

    • chelsea

      You’ve given me a hope that somewhere deep down under all the fear an anxious mind there is hope, hope that I can love my partner without the fear an doubt an the way he deserves to be loved, hope that even though I don’t understand the reason for this at all right now someday I will an I will grow an learn from it. So thank-you for all of the work you do Sheryl :)

  • Chanel

    Hey Sheryl, I’m really glad I came across this page to read. I’m going through quite a struggle right now, as to whether I should stay with my long-term boyfriend or not. We have been together for 4.5 years and we have moved together to another state from my home state (so I gave up being close to my family & two jobs for his dream in another place and I was promised a great life out here, which isn’t happening in my opinion, I’m just working and there is no fun or passion in my life). We have lived together for almost 4 years now total. I feel like there are many emotional/mental issues that go on in our relationship that effect me negatively including how much I feel like I have to walk this line that he has established, how he is often not serious, how he complains about more things than is pleased, and how he tries to justify the things he does and says because he has a want to be in the right most of the time. I also notice some other physical traits he has that bother me which include: His need to have ‘proper’ things (a new couch, tv, coffee table, washer and dryer)which are things we cannot necessarily afford, his face being glued to his iphone on facebook (when we are at dinner, the movies, at home, driving in the car, and more), how he doesn’t have a car or a bank account (I drive him around and he gives me cash-money for utilities and rent so I feel like I am being used in a way), and how he never asks me about me dreams or goals in life. All of these things just leave me feeling down, depressed, and almost like he doesn’t even really know who I really am, and nor does he make an attempt to get to know me. I admit I have made mistakes in our relationship, including how I have almost left him twice now for other people (the first time because I was feeling incredibly used because he didn’t have a job and I ended up supporting him for almost a two years, and the second time just this last year as we moved to another state together and into a house with three of his guys friends and our relationship felt like it was dying because we had no alone time, we rarely ‘talk’ talked, we stopped doing regular dates and the house he had moved me into was literally falling apart and in a horrible neighborhood where you could hear gunshots). The second time I almost left him was after we left my home state, he promised me a brighter future and what he moved me into was the worst living situation I have ever been in. I felt lied to, and that my trust in him (I had entrusted him with my physical well-being) had been smashed to bits. And even to this day, even though we now are living alone together (just him and I in an apartment without his friends), all those mental/physical things are going on I listed above. He thinks our relationship is fine, and when I try to bring up issues to him like the ones I posted above, even a simpler one like having his face glued to his cell phone, we don’t have ‘talks’ about it, he will just say a snarky comment or two or three to put me in my place, or if it gets bad (into an argument), he just yells at me and I don’t get any words in edge wise. It’s like I can’t simply talk to him anymore, but then at the same time, I’m also on the flip-side afraid to talk to him because if I do, more often then not, I know it’s going to lead to me getting put down or me getting yelled at if it gets super bad. I need help. I really do, especially with how I feel right now, as new people (one man in particular) randomly floated into my life (as you said the world is constantly flowing and changing), and he is opposite of my boyfriend in most ways: very understanding, a listener, wants to know about my goals/dreams, and acts interested in the real ‘me’ (not just interested when I am prettied up or whether I have dressed nice, which is how I feel it is becoming with my boyfriend). This new man also I can have a conversation with as well. As we are just friends at the current moment, we can talk about so many different things and there is always a constant chatter between us. I don’t have that with my boyfriend at all. It is actually HARD to start a conversation with him, and when I do spike his interest which is seldom, I usually find myself wishing I hadn’t as he again, just chatters about things he is just displeased with mostly. I gets old listening to someone criticizing most things, and having a constant critical eye over you. I feel like I literally am being ‘watched’ most of the time. And what is even worse is I know if he read this, he would say plain as day that ‘I have it all wrong’ and that ‘I have no idea what I am talking about’, and would be concerned more of the fact that I am just making him out to be an asshole, when that certainly is not the case at him. By all means, he is not the villain,I am just simply seeking help. My boyfriend also has told me he doesn’t want anyone else in his life, and wants to have a family and marriage with me on down the road. That irks me horribly, because of everything that is going on. What do you think? Is it better to move on, not necessarily with someone else (as this new man just is making me realize that there are other people out there who are opposite of my boyfriend, since I feel like I had forgotten about how other men could be since I have been with my boyfriend so long), or is it better to stay with him understanding that we have been together a good chunk of time, but I can never really solve any issues I have with him, and also knowing we share no common goals (because he doesn’t even know mine)?

  • Jason

    Hello Sheryl,

    I came across your website after I decided I want to overcome my relationship anxiety, once and for all, so I can be happy and stop sabotaging myself.

    I’ve always had OCD and Asperger’s, so it’s very difficult to not only understand others, but also to trust and have realistic expectations for them. I grew up very afraid of getting close to others, all the while enjoying people in general, and only in the last few years have I decided to leave my bubble and start making friends and dating.

    I’ve mostly had short flings over the last few years, but a couple of good relationships were ruined my my anxiety. I would always struggle immensely with self-doubt, future-tripping and obsessive thoughts upon becoming more official with someone, and would end up convincing myself that I’m either too crazy or overbearing to be with, eventually ending things myself.

    I’m very sick of this process. After many dates with a woman I really adore, we decided to go steady (as of a week or so ago). I’m very happy with this and excited, but I’m also extremely worried that something I do or say could chase her off, or that my anxiety will make me do something dumb.

    She’s never given me an actual reason to believe that any of my worries are true, by still, my mind races constantly; at work, at home, I’ve missed a lot of sleep. Even though we always have tons of fun when we see eachother and are getting more and more intimate and close, I’m haunted with thoughts of her trying to avoid talking with me, among other things.

    Unlike other women I’ve seen in the past, I feel a unique warmth and closeness to my girlfriend that I’ve never felt for anyone else. I really like her and want to spend more time with her, but I’m terrified of my own mind and my anxiety, and don’t want things to end because of getting all worked up and impulsive.

    It’s hard understanding my anxiety but being so scared of it :( is this sort of thing normal, even for someone without OCD, in relationships?

    Thanks so much for your time, and your blog. :)

  • Val

    Hi Sheryl,
    I’m so happy that I found your work. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. The first time I can remember feeling debilitating anxiety was when I went away to college. At that time I visited a counselor who helped me to overcome my anxious thoughts and worries. I am now experiencing the same feelings of anxiety except they are focused on my relationship. I met a wonderful man who loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. We have been together for 4 years and have lived together for close to 3. I can’t Imagine my life without him but these feelings of anxiety are overwhelming. I almost feel ashamed. I don’t want to talk to my friends about it because I’m afraid of what they will say. My biggest fear is that somebody will tell me to break up with him which is NOT what I want to do at all. However sometimes the anxiety is so bad I feel like that is my only option so that it goes away. Thanks for listening Sheryl, I’m very interested in your counseling sessions.
    Val

  • Emmanuel

    Hello Everyone,

    I would like to tell all of you that if you are suffering from relationship anxiety and there is no problem with your significant other then fight for it no matter what. I have experience this relationship anxiety because there are times (almost always) that i am nervous why i am continuing this relationship, i always feel like we need to split, but of course my mind doesnt want to but my feelings does, we always have short breakups with my gf then together back again. But now she feel tired and doesn’t want to be together again, of course she doesn’t know my situation although i try to explain it before. I always have this negative feeling in my chest (i mean literally physical annoyance in my chest). But now, we are not together, i have this heavy, choking feeling in my chest, now i know i love her, but she is gone. So my advice to everyone, don’t take things for granted, you will never know the importance of the person, especially if there is no problem with your significant other. I am the same Emmanuel who post last October 21. Maybe my gf is right that my ego have gone up (sorry if my grammar is wrong) and always thinking that the grass is greener than the other side. We are not yet married, gf bf relationship only and we have a good relationship for 7 mo then my infatuation ended then from 8 up to 11.5 mo are the times when are relationship went hell. I have no regrets in our breakup during that time, maybe because the break up is not OFFICIAL, but now it is all over. I am telling everyone that always give time and put effort to show you care, show them you care and make them feel secure, which i cannot show because of this relationship anxiety, do not escape from your FEAR, learn to eliminate the cause of it and you will live a healthy life. By the way before i knew the meaning of infatuation and everything else, because of my gf’s change on her physical appearance i started this anxiety thing, but after a few googling i saw this site then i know that my infatuation ended. That is where the hell begins. My lack of self love and appreciation makes me want to make my gf to be prettier, instead of making myself look good and feel good to my gf. Also laziness is opposite of love, i can tell you that, always show your appreciation before it is too late. To everyone, love your significant other even though they change physically, even if that infatuation is gone. Imagine life with out your partner, although i assure you you cant imagine it right now because of the fear wanting you to escape from the relationship, but please, dont lose to fear. My advice is do loving things for yourself, to your partner and to others. The love that God want you to do, to learn, not the love because of you emotion.

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