Thursday, November 22, 2012

Marriage and Family Therapist or Psychologist?

Someone looking for a therapist recently asked me, "What's the difference if we see a marriage and family therapist or a psychologist?" This person wants to work on her marriage, yet didn't really know how to find a good therapist or what would be best for her.  I observed how stressful and overwhelming this process could be for a new client. At first I stumbled trying to answer her question, and then I got into it.  

Think of it this way, I said, "When a couple begins therapy with a MFT, most likely the relationship will be the focus of conversation.  But, the therapist will also want to know about the broader influences on the couple as well.  They will probably look for patterns, and effects, and solutions.  They will try to see life from each person's perspective. This therapist will probably use collaborative language, and honor that you are the expert on your life.  

From what I understand, a psychologist will also be interested in talking about the relationship, but at some point may begin to focus on each individual. They may look to see what is negatively affecting the relationship, what each person could 'fix' about themselves, and often end the sessions with a diagnosis signifying a sort of 'character flaw'.  You may leave feeling as though this therapist knows better than you want you need.  It may seem that the therapist is privileged to information you don't have and will be an expert on how to change your life".      

Neither approach is good, bad, or better. There are some really great therapists from both orientations.  I just think it's really important to be an informed consumer. I'm so glad she asked this question.
Dr Corinne Scholtz, LMFT

Monday, November 19, 2012

Passionate Therapists!

What is a passionate therapist?

Our community is overwhelmed by mental health providers today from marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, life coaches and more. It can be so challenging as a client to figure out who to call and the right questions to ask.  Beyond a therapist's credentials, their schooling and the number of years in practice exists an often overlooked essential quality for excellent therapy. You want your therapist, a person you are inviting into your most intimate life, to be passionate about her work.  When you are around her, your energy lifts and you feel more centered, you sense her love for her work, she is connected and contributes to her community and provides you with the safest environment so you can explore the issues that brought you into therapy.

Dr. Corinne Scholtz, LMFT
The Center of Connected Living - Fl

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What I Mean By 'Connected Living'

I decided upon the name for my practice, The Center of Connected Living -Fl, because I've observed and experienced how easy it is to feel disconnected from myself and others around me.  Emotional, mental and spiritual connection creates a quality of life that is hard to obtain on your own.  No one is an island in and of spite of the fact that Western culture wants you to believe independence, self-sufficiency and the pursuit of individual goals is the path to happiness.  What 'they' forget is that no one gets to where they are going without the help and support of others. 

We don't have to all of a sudden become social 'butterflies' but we are social creatures and need to feel connected to something in our lives - whether a pet, mate, family, sport, group...

The Center of Connected Living-Fl reflects the value of relationship and seeks through the therapeutic relationship ways to create, strengthen, appreciate and build upon the connections in your life.  So many of our ailments in life come from a sense of disconnection and disharmony in our lives.  The distinctions below summarize these thoughts pretty well:

Emotional Isolation: the "response to the absence of...a close, indeed intimate, attachment" (what the rest of us call a partner). The second, Social Isolation, he explains with an image: "It's like a child home sick from school: Everybody else goes off, the neighborhood is suddenly empty, there's nobody to do anything with." People suffering from this kind of loneliness lack a sense of community—a healthy network of friends, acquaintances, or coworkers. Weiss says, "Theirs is a problem of maintaining a sense of being meaningful or mattering to other people." 

I think that at one time or another we will all feel degrees of emotional and or social isolation. And that's ok and probably normal.  What isn't normal is settling for this state and telling yourself 'this is just the way it is'.  It does not have to be this way!!
Dr Corinne Scholtz, LMFT

Monday, November 12, 2012

The therapist's therapist!!

I think one of the best things about therapy is being able to talk about what’s really happening in my life.  All those thoughts and experiences that I tend to keep to myself.   I’ve been to some pretty odd therapists, some have had good intentions but poor delivery, and some that didn’t fit for me at all.  I knew these things because during one point in my life I had a really good therapist.  This therapist treated me with compassion, wasn’t uncomfortable when I cried, talked with a calm, confident and soothing voice.  She also challenged my beliefs by frequently asking me to question what I thought was the truth.  She introduced me to spirituality and the idea that there is a bigger purpose to the events and experiences we each have.  She had an amazing effect on my life, my emotional and mental development, and I often think about how things would have been different for me without her. In fact, my experience with her led me to explore becoming a therapist.In retrospect, these conversations were very important for me to have, but the real lasting influence in my life was the relationship we shared.  I knew nothing about how therapy was supposed to work, and she could have probably said so many other things.  The therapy was successful because the relationship we established.
Dr Corinne Scholtz, LMFT

Friday, November 9, 2012


In helping people to overcome anxiety, I’ve noticed some commonalities. Whether it’s what doctors call a specific or a generalized anxiety, internal dialogue is either the trigger or what keeps the pattern going.

Try this simple way of shifting out of your mind.

Start by picking a spot or focal point to stare at. Slowly begin to expand your peripheral vision to include all the space around the spot. Expand it even more, allowing your visual field to open so that you can imagine almost becoming aware of the space behind you.

This might feel strange at first but after practicing three or four times you will notice a general calm come over your mind and body as you realize your internal dialogue has stopped.

This is what Carlos Castaneda called “stopping the world.” I teach it to my clients who have anxiety because it allows them to move awareness from the inside, out. The great thing about peripheral vision is that it can be done anywhere, anytime and with practice, becomes another way of being in the world.

Tiers, Melissa (2012-01-29). The Anti-Anxiety Toolkit (pp. 18-19).  . Kindle Edition.

The Center of Connected Living-Fl
Dr Corinne Scholtz, LMFT
2425 E Commercial Blvd, Ste 400, Ft Lauderdale, Fl 33308

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


There is an inherit "problem" with the approach most people take
to self-improvement of any kind. There is a presupposition that
there is something wrong that needs fixing. Perhaps it is true
that there are areas in their lives that they wish to change.
However, the mindset with which they approach transformation
will very often NEGATE any positive results they might have.
Why? Because all of their focus is on the PROBLEM they are
trying to solve, rather than their vision for what their life
will be like on without the alleged problem.

Author Unknown

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Donkey In The Well

Donkey in the well

A parable about life.

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old, the well needed to be covered anyway and that it just wasn't worth retrieving the donkey. So he invited all his neighbours to come over and help him.

They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.  At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.  Then, to everyone's amazement, he quietened down.  A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.  As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.  Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.

Author Unknown

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marriage or Divorce?

I've recently seen several married couples seek therapy where one person wants in, and one person thinks they want out.  These are complex situations, and a therapist can not assume that just because a client says they want out of a marriage at a certain time means the client is willing and ready to act on it.    It can take many sessions to create enough clarity to know whether to take steps toward divorce, or steps to heal and grow the marriage.