Posts Tagged ‘psychotherapy’

Considerations When Drafting a Will


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Considerations When Drafting a Will

This isn’t an easy blog post. Considering what a parents death could mean to a young child is painful, and a subject most people would rather avoid. However it is important that parents make a plan so if a parent (or two) were to pass away the child’s physical and emotional needs are met. While there are many things to consider, I am going to list two that will directly impact your will and child’s emotional needs.

ONE: If there is a need to transfer primary responsibility to someone else, who will be the best caretaker for your child? Here are two things to consider when drafting a will and things to question about a possible caregiver:

1. Their age and current state of health. Sometimes an older individual who is healthy will be a great caregiver, but other people might not feel up to taking on the responsibility later in life. The same can be true for a younger person.

2. Their financial means. If you have concerns about their ability to meet your child’s financial needs then consider a change to your life insurance policy.

3. What kind of experience your family member/friend has with children. Maybe they are inexperienced, but have demonstrated the kindness and ability to play that your child will need to grow.

4. If they already have children and how this could impact your child. For some children moving into a household where they now have brothers or sisters may be too overwhelming, but for others it might be helpful.

TIP: Don’t worry about hurting your family members feelings by not picking them or going outside of the family to choose your child’s guardian. What is important is your child’s health. There are ways for family members to take an active role in a child’s life besides having the primary responsibilities.

TWO: Another thing to keep in mind is what steps you can you take now to help your child grieve. A child will need to be supported in their grieving process if they are to have relationships and trust people in their future. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Have a discussion about burial plans with your partner. Do you both want the same thing? Do want to be buried or cremated? Do you want to be buried where you currently live or somewhere else? Do you want your ashes saved or scattered?

2. Consider how your burial choice will affect your child’s need to connect to you after you pass. Traditionally people go to grave sites or memorials to remember their loved ones and to feel the connection they once knew. Your child will need this experience, especially when they are in the process of understanding you are gone and are saying goodbye.

3. If you decide to be buried in a location away from your child or to have your ashes scattered, make a plan so your child will have some place special they can go to remember you. Maybe a tree is planted in a certain area, or maybe there is an alter dedicated to you.

4. Speak to your partner or decided caregiver and write down the plan in your will to help ensure it is followed. When someone dies things can get chaotic, creating this structure now will help your child in the future.

TIP: When your child is old enough and starts asking questions about death, it is important to reassure your child that if anything should happen to you that there is a plan.


Overview of Mindful Parenting


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Setting Limits With Your Teenager


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Fathers Can Struggle Too: Dads and Postpartum Depression


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Dads Postpartum Depression

Over the years, more and more, focus is being placed on the mental well being of fathers. In the past, the parenting struggles of fathers have been largely ignored as the role of fathers has been mainly of financial provider, rather than primary nurturer. As part of the psychology of parenting (POP) services, I provide support to fathers individually, and in couples therapy.

Recent research shows that men can experience depression and anxiety during and after the birth of their child. The exact biological reasons are still unknown. It is hypothesized that men can experience chemical brain changes during the bonding process, and that sometimes this increases feelings of sadness or excessive worry. However, environmentally, it is generally agreed that lack of sleep, the extra worry the father carries during the birthing process, the pressure to support the mother and child in the early months, and the shift in household duties, all contribute to the depression of dads.

In addition, fathers are often expected to balance their primary breadwinner duties with caregiver tasks. As a result, the father often feels pulled between the demands and expectations of their employer and the new requirements of home. Not only can this increase depression and anxiety in the father, but it can often cause fathers to feel an increase in isolation, as lack of time infringes on the support network they previously created.

Since advice gathering and problem sharing is not a typical part of male communication, fathers can often feel insecure over their parenting skills and what their role should be at home. Most often, fathers in the current generation did not have stay-at-home male role models. Their fathers worked long hours and left the primary care duties to the mom. Things have shifted, and sometimes the father is now the person who stays at home. Whether it’s a full time care-giver job, or a part-time one, dads can feel lost and alone. They have no picture or memory to connect to in order to help guide them as they create their identity as a father.

I know many men feel hesitant to access help. I can help you feel like your life is back in balance, by guiding you while you formulate the identity you want to as a father, and support you through times of transition.


Transitional Women and Men – Your 20s and 30s


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Transitional Women and Men

Many women and men enter a significant time of transition in their 20s and 30s. This is the phase of life where differentiation happens. Differentiation occurs when a person is able to view him or herself as an individual, distinct from their family of origin, and assert these differences. During their twenties and thirties, women typically leave home and transition out of the educational system. Suddenly they are on their own, removed from the shelter their parents or college once afforded them. This makes differentiation more important, but it is far from easy. It comes with pressure to chose a career and make a living, redefine relationships with parents and siblings, and commit to a primary romantic relationship. It is a time when women are supposed to solidify their individuality…That’s a pretty tall order, especially when society and family are inadvertently insisting that you conform to the status quo.

Contemplating a different life than what is considered “normal” can be very stressful. Every decision can feel like it is a HUGE mistake with dire consequences. What are the next steps I should take with my career and degree? There are things I like about my relationship but there are things that bother me. Is this the right relationship for me? How will my history affect my ability to be happy in a relationship and to have the family I have always desired? Where do I want to settle down? Is Los Angeles the right place for me?

This phase forces us to engage in the process of differentiation like no other period of our life. During differentiation, a person separates out their expectations of themselves from the expectations placed upon them by family members. This process can be very difficult as people around us do not always like this change and may judge our decisions or be less supportive than we had hoped.

When we push ourselves to differentiate we are creating our own individuality. Being in therapy for transitional women and men is very powerful. Therapy can give a person the guidance and support they need to break free of the expectations placed upon on them, to develop a strong sense of self, and to take the pressure off of what you “should” be and make room for who you truly are.


About me


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Practice & Approach


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Patricia O’Laughlin, licensed therapist and Art Therapist, providing EMDR and therapy to individuals, couples, teens, and adults. Silver Lake/Los Feliz, Los Angeles. therapy@patriciaolaughlin.com or (323)761-2221.