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    Big changes in teen years – Does my kid need to see a therapist?

    By Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove

    Posted on 8/1/2023

    Have you been noticing your teen being:

    – Moody

    – Withdraw

    – Irritated

    – Hot-headed

    – Being on your face

    – Retrieved to their room

    – Hard to communicate with (They don’t want to talk about what’s going on).

    Well, there’s a good explanation (and a solution) for this situation.

    First of all, let’s talk about brain and independence development.

    At around age 14, ALL human brain goes through a process called pruning; which is a way the brain “cleans up” unused neurons/pathways, to give space to what’s coming: High school/ college/ adulting time. At that age, and forward for a couple of years, your teen’s brain will be less capable than you think.

    Have you ever heard a parent saying to their teen: “How you cannot understand it?– Are you stupid?” or “You did not think of the consequences?” – Well, in reality, they may have not been equipped with a good functioning brain at that time to process their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

    Second, that is the age teens start to develop independency – when they start to believe they have all the answers, they are “mature enough” to make decisions, and they definitely don’t need their parents to tell them what to do.

    In their daily schedule, teens could be impacted emotionally at home, at school, or at their outings. For example, a minor argument with their parent can make the whole day go sour. They might take offense when a colleague is passive-aggressive with a comment or bullying them, or they feel rejected when they are not invited to friends’ tables or weekend plans. They might not be feeling smart when the teacher calls on them or correct them.

    In fact, teens believe that their negative feelings will stick around forever. They have a hard time interpreting feedback and have no self-soothing tools.

    All this emotional turmoil can be also expressed through their behaviors and may be interfering with their sports and academics.

    SOLUTION: They need to learn techniques to navigate the highs and lows of life. These techniques can be learned and practiced in psychotherapy.

    If you notice your teen having a hard time with this life transition, please consult us at Tampa Therapy and Wellness (813) 530-5180 and our therapists will help them with proven techniques/skills to navigate their teen years.


    Emotional Dependency

    Emotional Dependency in Relationships

    By Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove

    Posted on 8/1/2023


    It’s normal to turn to your partner for his/her support. It’s normal to look for guidance and emotional support.

    Emotional dependency goes above the point of support. You should not depend on your partner to meet ALL your emotional needs. If you are doing that, you are risking your relationship – People tend to “wake up” and learn that THEIR needs are not being met and they are emotionally drained.

    What you should strive for is INTERDEPENDENT RELATIONSHIP – when you both meet in the middle or take turns to soothe and support each other.  In other words, it’s OK to need emotional support for SOME of your emotional needs – not all of them.

    Emotional dependency means that you are relying on your partner to soothe you when in distress BEFORE you try to exercise SELF-SOOTHING.

    If you feel that “You can’t live without your partner or their emotional support” it might mean that your relationship has become unbalanced and unhealthy.

    Here are some of the symptoms/signs of emotional dependency in a relationship:

    – You believe your partner is more emotionally balanced than you – and you idealize them

    – You believe you cannot be happy alone (“I don’t want to break up – do you?”

    – You believe your life will be nothing without them

    – You need constant reassurance “Do you love me?”

    – You feel anxious when alone

    – You have a fear of being alone

    – You have a fear of being rejected (“Am I bothering you?”)

    – You may be overly jealous and obsessed with the person

    – You might not even trust your partner has real feelings for you (“Do you REALLY want to spend time with me?”

    – You might be overlooking your emotional needs to prioritize your partner’s

    – You might have feelings o insecurity

    – You might have self-doubt

    – You might need approval to feel good about yourself

    – It all can be coming from a deep fear of abandonment

    – You might be trying to control your partner’s behaviors

    – You might have a pattern of failed relationships

    – You may feel high levels of stress and emotional distress (Changes in mood, bursts of crying, depression, anxiety, tension, headaches, stomach pain, etc.)

    – You might not be taking care of yourself as well

    How to overcome emotional dependency?

    A. First you need to come to terms that is a trait you have.

    B. Then you must start paying attention to your triggers – what makes you feel the need for emotional support?

    C. Then, look for help – either from a therapist or books. You can take action to address the issue, starting with:

    1. Identifying your emotions

    2. Identifying your emotional need

    3. Being comfortable with your emotions (remember that emotions come and go)

    4. Learn to show up for yourself – have a list of self-soothing techniques that helps you: deep breathing/meditation, warm bath, walking (in nature), spending time on your own (drawing, singing, cooking, etc.)

    5. Spending time with friends alone

    6. Self-care: Do what YOU enjoy doing for yourself

    7. Learn to relax – using breathing and relaxation techniques

    The goal to overcome emotional dependence is to increase self-esteem and self-confidence, develop self-compassion, and manage automatic negative thoughts (ANT’s).

    If you are dealing with emotional dependence, call us (813) 530-5180  at Tampa Therapy and Wellness and talk to one of our therapists.