Creating Stronger Bonds in Blended Families

BbunchBlendedFamilyBlended families have become commonplace in today’s society. Parents are merging families together to create new stepfamilies. While parents may be excited about this shift and creating a future together, it can be more difficult on children. They may not understand exactly what is occurring or be prepared to accept new siblings or a new parent into their life. It often involves many changes and adjustments, and this can seem overwhelming. However, there are numerous ways that parents can help to ease these transitions and build stronger bonds in their blended family.

Be patient. Trying to rush things can cause more stress and complications. Implementing many changes at once can result in confusion and resistance. Recognize that these things take time and everyone may not be the best of friends from the first day. Give it time as both children and parents adjust to their new surroundings and routines. Work through challenges together and be supportive of one another.

Get to know each other. Spend time together learning about each other and what everyone likes and dislikes. Find common bonds and interests to build upon. Plan time with each child to get to know them more personally and allow them to get to know you. Make sure that you and your spouse agree on basic parenting styles so that children know what to expect and what is expected. There may be struggles at first, but remember that everyone is learning to adapt and making compromises.

Make decisions together. Get everyone involved in making decisions, especially major ones. Let children help decide how their room will be decorated, or what to have for dinner. Start new traditions that are special to your blended family. Children can still keep traditions with their other parent, but they will also have new ones to look forward to. Discuss rules and expectations so that everyone is on the same page. Give children a chance to voice their opinion and make sure to validate their concerns.

Build a respectful environment. A key element in creating stronger blended families is establishing respect. As a step-parent, you are not necessarily taking the place of a biological parent. You are a new addition to the child’s life. Refrain from speaking negatively about other family members, especially parents. Treat each other with respect and politeness. Cultivate an environment where children feel comfortable opening up and expressing themselves. This can help to facilitate stronger relationships. Help them to adjust to their new role within the family.

Consider counseling. There are many changes that occur when blending two families together. To help everyone learn to appreciate and respect one another and develop realistic expectations, counseling can prove beneficial. A counselor is a neutral third party and can work with families to recognize and accept their differences. They can help with overcoming challenges, working through difficult situations, and establishing strategies to build relationships.

You can arrange for family counseling as well as couples or individual sessions. Some children may adjust more quickly than others, but counseling can help them to work through their feelings and cope with the changes occurring in their life. At Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, we work with individuals, couples, and families depending on their needs and situation. If you are struggling to find balance and build connections with your blended family, contact us today at 1-800-305-2089 or by visiting to find out more about how our experienced team of professionals can help.

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Dealing with Divorce: Could Your Child Benefit from Counseling?

divorceDivorce can be a difficult situation for the entire family to deal with. It involves many changes and means adjusting to new routines and lifestyles. Children may have trouble understanding what is going on and why things are changing. There is a period of adjustment for everyone as they figure out how to move on. Not only are parents coping with their own feelings and changes in routine, they are trying to help their children cope as well.

Many children go through a range of emotions as they come to terms with the divorce. Over time, they often adjust and settle back into their activities and routines. With continuous love, support, and reassurance from their parents they realize that although some things have changed, many have still stayed the same.

However, some children have a more difficult time adjusting. Safe Harbor Christian Counseling recognizes that sometimes children need more support and guidance to work through their feelings and accept changes. Counseling can be a very beneficial way for parents to help their child cope and build valuable skills. Recognizing that your child may need counseling is the first step. Here are some signs that may indicate a problem:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Getting into trouble
  • Withdrawing
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble with separation
  • Poor performance in school
  • Sleeping or eating problems
  • Acting out
  • Engaging in obsessive or compulsive habits

These are just a few signs that more intervention is necessary to help your child get back on track and deal with their emotions and the changes occurring in a healthier way. Counseling could benefit your child in a multitude of ways:

Get in touch with their emotions. A counselor can help your child to better identify the emotions that they are feeling. Your child may not understand exactly what is going on or why they feel the way they do. By recognizing their emotions, they can also learn how to express them in a more effective way.

Share their concerns. Divorce can bring up many questions in the minds of children. Since it is something that they have not dealt with before, they may be unsure of how to process things. Knowing that their parents are separating, they may not feel comfortable bringing up the questions that they have or are unsure who to ask. A counselor is more removed from the situation and can help your child to open up about concerns that they may have. They can help your child to work through their thoughts about these issues and see things from a different perspective. Sometimes just having someone to talk to and being able to get things out in the open can provide some relief.

Learn new coping strategies. Change can be hard to deal with. Through counseling your child can learn healthier ways of coping with challenging situations. They can develop strategies for dealing with their emotions, expressing their thoughts and feelings, and adjusting to change. This can help them to communicate with you about what they are experiencing. Then together you can work through the situation and come up with a feasible solution or provide clarity and reassurance.

Building stronger bonds. Once your child understands that it is not their fault, both parents still love them very much, and everyone is working together to create safe, healthy environments, they can begin healing. Rather than placing blame on anyone or anything, they can focus on reconnecting and building stronger bonds within the family. They may find special activities that they like to do with each parent that helps them to feel closer and more connected.

Dealing with divorce takes time. Have patience and work with your children to better understand what is occurring. They are sure to have many questions, so you do your best to answer them honestly and with compassion. Seeking counseling for your children and yourself can help everyone to grow and become stronger individuals. Working through issues and learning to cope with change can help everyone to adjust to new routines.

Safe Harbor Christian Counseling offers a safe, comfortable atmosphere for your family to work through issues surrounding divorce. Our professional counseling services can be a valuable support for your children as they come to terms with their emotions and the changes occurring in their life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit or call 1-800-305-20891-800-305-2089.

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Different Ways to Handle Infidelity—and How They Could Change Your Relationship Forever


Betrayal hurts—especially when it happens within a romantic relationship or marriage. While there are many problems that can lead to poor communication and weakened connections between two people, infidelity is often an issue that stings the most. It can be difficult to face, whether you are on the receiving end of the disloyalty or the one who was unfaithful.

For the former group, it is important to respect your emotional limitations, but also to examine the many ways to handle infidelity—and how these approaches could change a relationship forever. If you are curious about how to face your partner who has been unfaithful, here are a few different ways to respond, as well as how these reactions can change your future for better or worse:

  • Ignore It

Although many will react to infidelity in an outburst, others respond to this deceitful act by choosing to ignore the problem. For example, a wife may suspect or know that her husband is keeping a mistress, but refrains from confronting the issue or seeking a resolution. In this scenario, one partner may continue to blame the infidelity on their own failures as a spouse, while the other will just continue to prove unfaithful.

How This Changes a Relationships: Ignoring infidelity may be the option for those aiming to keep their relationship as “normal” as possible—at least from the outside. However, knowingly avoiding the topic of infidelity and seeking a solution—such as through counseling—will likely only encourage the act, and drive more wedges between the couple. If you choose this route, you may experience mounting emotions that can trigger serious mental health challenges ranging from anger to depression; these challenges will likely make a marital relationship even harder to manage with integrity.

  • Seek Revenge

Individuals who respond to a partner’s infidelity with anger are those who are keen on protecting themselves from further pain. While it may be healthy to express these intense emotions that follow betrayal, quick reactions geared to “getting even” can spell trouble. Although the infidelity may be confronted between the couple, the cheated partner may continue to seek personal justice by being unfaithful him or herself or using the act of adultery as an excuse to leverage future arguments to always get his or her way.

How This Changes a Relationship: Infidelity is an act of distrust that is hard to repair, but when one partner responds with aggression and a plan to get revenge, there is likely to be even more mistrust within the relationship. Eventually, such intense anger could drive two people apart from one another—while separation may be a healthy option, choosing to leave in a heated state can leave both parties with emotional wounds that may never heal.

  • Get a Divorce

For many married couples, adultery is one of most paramount reasons for pursuing a divorce. While other issues in a marriage can be worked on, some may choose this option without considering alternatives first to protect the relationship. Through divorce settlements, individuals may not be able to save their marriage, but still feel that they got “what they deserved” for having to endure the hurt of infidelity.

How This Changes a Relationship: Divorce is often interpreted as a death—the death of a marriage. Circumstances for every divorce are different, especially if the marriage was a long one and there are many assets and personal factors that have to be addressed—such as who will gain child custody, who will own the house and how much alimony will be paid.

While divorce may be chosen by some who cannot work through these incidents of betrayal, counseling services are often encouraged to make sure that both individuals—and children—affected by the separation can move forward with emotional stability. Those who pursue counseling may discover that divorce is not necessary, and that a relationship can overcome the hazards of infidelity.

  • Marriage Counseling

Infidelity will always cause a wide range of intense emotions for those involved; however, these incidents do not always have to indicate the end of a relationship. Marriage counseling is a way for partners to assess every angle of infidelity, including the reasons why both parties feel it happened and how it impacted them both. Counseling can help two individuals who love each other reconnect and communicate about a very sensitive personal issue.

How This Can Change a Relationship: Couples counseling will typically bring about one of two results: eventual divorce or a repaired relationship. In the former scenario, a relationship is changed by disconnection, but may be achieved in the healthiest way possible to respect the feelings of both individuals. In the latter case, many relationships will recover—and may even improve. Couples who commit to counseling will often discover new ways to enjoy their partnership, develop greater trust and explore important aspects of communication.

Finding Help For Infidelity

Counseling is encouraged for any individual or couple that has been confronted with infidelity. For individuals who have been hurt by past betrayals and continue to carry on issues with depression, self-esteem or anxiety, counseling can help break down these barriers and rebuild personal confidence. For couples struggling with existing infidelity issues, couples counseling is highly recommended to fully explore the best course of action to treat the problem.

Safe Harbor Christian Counseling is committed to improving family relationships and romantic partnerships through diverse counseling options. Our couple’s intensives are designed to help partners reconnect and find strength in recovery from a myriad of relationship-oriented troubles, including infidelity. We also offer comprehensive one-on-one adult counseling to help individuals follow healthier paths after experiencing a toxic relationship or family conflict.

To learn more about our counseling services and how they can improve your relationship, please call us today at 1.800.305.2089.

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Find Personal Freedom with Counseling

EFT-PIC-1This July, most Americans will reflect upon the value of freedom, especially as we celebrate Independence Day. While this summer holiday season is rich with appreciation for our country—and our freedoms—it is also a time to encourage the ways that we can inspire more personal independence.

Despite the many freedoms we enjoy in the United States, there are many ways that people can restrict themselves from enjoying better mental and physical health. What most do not realize is that these health challenges can have severe consequences on our personal freedom and how we perceive life. Fortunately, counseling is a great option to better recognize the liberties you may be missing out on due to mental health barriers.

How Counseling Can Help Increase Your Freedom

Although many may be reluctant to seek counseling for a wide range of mental health challenges, we at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling believe that focusing on the benefits of this process can help many embrace it. Here are just some of the ways different counseling methods can improve your view of freedom:

Freedom From Abuse

Abuse is a major issue in mental health, and it can impact every facet of a person’s life. Whether afflicted by self-abuse, physical abuse, bullying or verbal abuse from a relative, these actions can really detract from one’s self-esteem and increase personal vulnerability. Abuse can leave lasting emotional and physical scars that prevent us from truly enjoying our lives.

Since many people will opt to keep abusive situations private, counseling is a safe way to encourage this discussion and discover solutions to end the abuse. Through family counseling, couples counseling, sex addiction tracks, eating disorder counseling and conflict resolution, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling is one secure resource to face and end abuse for greater personal freedom.

Freedom to Love More

Family relationships are complex and can often become weakened when home environments are disrupted or communication lapses. As a result of losing a connection with loved ones, many people may feel isolated in their relationships—either with their parents, siblings, children or partners. Counseling is designed to help friends and family better connect with one another to thoroughly address any problems that may have gotten in the way of a strong relationship.

Through our couples intensives, parenting and conflict resolution programs, Safe Harbor has helped many families reconnect and stay strong to embrace a greater, more loving future. In much the same way, we offer counseling services to deal with grieving—such as in the event of divorce or loss of a loved one—to help survivors escape alienation and appreciate the loved ones in their lives.

Freedom to Make Decisions

When we are placed in situations that impact our ability to appreciate life, communicate with others and grow as individuals, it is quite common to feel stuck and unable to make decisions. In much the same way, those who are challenged with specific conditions—such as bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety—may not know how to move forward when held back by the chains of their mental health.

Through Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, our guests are afforded adaptable counseling services that will pinpoint specific elements of what prevents personal growth. Through coaching and other counseling programs, our professional team works to help people get thoughts off their chest, build confidence and recognize the importance of proper decision-making for a healthier lifestyle.

Seek Independence Through Christian Counseling

Whether you are considering counseling for yourself or a loved one, it is important to address the opportunity with an open mind. At Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, we aim to provide a comfortable atmosphere to face some of life’s most difficult challenges. While this experience is tough, our insightful, professional counseling practices can help clients break away and redefine the things that are preventing them from feeling independent.

To experience personal freedom in a new light, please visit for more information on our extensive counseling services and call 1.800.305.2089 to schedule an appointment.

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Why Summer is a Great Time for Counseling

395SunriseFamilyBeachWhile mental health and other social/behavioral issues can challenge lives all throughout the year, many make the excuse that they do not have time for counseling or other treatment options. Fortunately, as we celebrate the beginning of summer this June, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling encourages all individuals to revisit their mental health—and that of their loved ones—to see if this season is one that will be improved through counseling solutions.

If you have been considering counseling for yourself or a loved one, now is the time to explore these opportunities to healthily work through issues and identify possible mental health challenges. Here are a few reasons why:

The Kids Are Out of School

For most parents, summer means having to adjust schedules as kids depart from school activities until the fall. This time off presents a great opportunity for parents and children to spend more time together, whether doing things outdoors or going on family vacations.

Those who have been dealing with household conflict, particularly that impacts children, may find that the summer is an optimal time to pursue family counseling. Without the worries of school schedules and homework, children and parents can focus on counseling and truly apply the lessons they learn to restore stability in the home.

There is More Room to Focus on Partnerships

With children spending more time at home during summer break, it may seem that parents have less opportunity to focus on their personal relationship. However, with many kids attending day camp, going to overnight camp or taking vacations away from home with relatives—there is ample opportunity for parents to get back to basics with their marriage.

Although children play a major part of a marriage, couples counseling can prove more effective if each partner is afforded an opportunity to focus entirely on the other without distraction. If you have time away from work or your children, pursuing marriage counseling can be well worth the effort. Those who are unsure if they could benefit from couples counseling can use our Marriage Check Up tool as a frame of reference.

Summer Temptation is High

Summer can bring about many new emotions for both adolescents and children. Individuals who are experiencing more freedom this season—such as teens on summer break—may find that social activities lead to greater temptations when it comes to substance abuse. Prevention of substance abuse is a major step in helping children and adults stay clear of addiction risks; if you have noticed drug or alcohol dependency in your child or yourself, counseling can be a great resource.

Typically, the summer will bring about many outdoor activities and encourage individuals to dress down in more revealing outfits or swimsuits. Whether hanging out at the community pool or vacationing on the beach, individuals who lack self-confidence may begin to develop negative emotions about themselves in response to how others look.

Summer can be a time when many young individuals—as well as adults—can feel tempted to resort to an eating disorder in order to quell body image issues. Fortunately, there are many counseling options that can help individuals develop better self-appreciation and make their health a priority.

Start Counseling Today

If you are ready to learn more about counseling options for the summer and how they can benefit you or your family, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling offers many specialized tracks under the care of trained professionals.

Please contact one of our representatives today at 1.800.305.2089 to find out how counseling can improve your life this summer and the seasons to follow.

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Counseling Should Not Be Overlooked for College Students

tiredThis time of year brings up a great deal of attention on the university life. Recent graduates are searching for jobs, high school seniors are enjoying their last summer before university and many young adults are returning to home life after a year at school. Needless to say, this period can be rife with transitional challenges, both for parents and their college-aged children.

While it is always important to make sure future, current and recent college students stay focused on their physical health, Safe Harbor Christian Counseling notes that it is especially important for these young adults to also tend to mental health. Counseling can really help students face a myriad of issues, find new solutions and ensure that they stay on the right track to building a strong academic lifestyle and grow into confident adults.

If you are a current, prospective or recent college student—or the parent of one—counseling can help with:

Discovering Independence

For recent high school grads, the entrance into college can be rife with transitional challenges. If they are moving to a dorm and leaving the comfort of their parent’s home, it means having to get used to life without reliance on mom and dad. Family counseling can be a great way to embrace this natural change with positivity and ensure that support is still there. Through counseling, new college freshman can reset their intentions and make sure that they continue to make wise decisions in the new university atmosphere.

For recent graduates, there is a whole different type of independence that may require therapeutic help. While these students may have grown used to making decisions on their own, leaving college means having to face a heap of new responsibilities—such as finding living arrangements, socializing, getting a job and maintaining financial independence. While independence can be a wonderful thing, it can be entirely stressful to juggle these newfound obligations. Counseling can help many recent grads acclimate to adulthood and discover ways to handle life’s problems without losing a grip on mental health.

Addiction Concerns

Parents—if you have yet to have the “drugs and alcohol talk” with your soon-to-be college freshman, now is the time do so. If your family has a history of alcoholism or substance abuse, it is important to explain that common college “experimentation” can come with its consequences. While young freshman may be faced with new opportunities to access drugs or alcohol, it is important for them to understand that such abuse—even if recreational—may not only interfere with academic performance, but also lead to addiction. If your high school student has already experienced problems with drinking or drug abuse, counseling can be a great way to remind them of how important sobriety in college is.

Students returning from college for the summer—or recent grads—may have discovered that the “party life” of college is no longer suitable outside of the campus atmosphere. Unfortunately, if they have become used to substance abuse, they may be leaving school with an addiction. If addiction is present, it is important to seek help immediately through recovery and counseling programs.

Mental Health Changes

The external factors of college can certainly impact a young adult’s mental health in both positive and negative ways. However, it is also essential to acknowledge that this period of a student’s life also brings upon important changes in the body that can also have an impact on mental health.

For instance, chemical changes in the body can lead to depression and anxiety. Many students may attribute symptoms of these conditions to the pressures of college and leaving home; however, there may be other reasons for the shift in mental health. Fortunately, counseling and medical attention can help students achieve balance in these situations.

In addition, this is a period in which parents and students should stay aware of other serious mental health issues that can develop in one’s 20s. For example, bipolar disorder commonly develops among individuals during this period of life. With proper medication and counseling, students can face bipolar disorder and other mental health issues with confidence and stay focused on school matters. It is important to discuss the potential for these issues, particularly if one has a family history of any mental health problems.

Get Counseling You Can Trust

While college students are in a period of life in which they must make many important decisions, they do not have to worry about finding a trustworthy source of counseling if they are experiencing any mental health issues, like those mentioned above.

Safe Harbor Christian Counseling offers a variety of counseling services for young adults—and parents—who may be experiencing any mental health or transitional challenges. Our qualified staff is ready to provide help for your situation—just give us a call today at 1-800-305-2089 to learn more about our services and schedule a counseling appointment.

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The Truth about Sex Addiction

What-is-sex-addictionCan a person be addicted to sex? The debate is one that has riddled professionals in the mental health community for years—and the argument is increasingly dividing the industry. At Safe Harbor Christian Counseling, we understand that the technical classification of this condition remains loose; however, we also recognize that those who struggle with an obsessive compulsion to have sex should be afforded an opportunity to seek thorough help in recovery.

Catching Sex Addiction Before It Happens

As the public becomes more aware of sexual addiction and the many ways it can take form, more mental health professionals are working to highlight prevention efforts. Sex addiction can develop from a myriad of behaviors—all of which may have unique psychological roots. Here are just a few signs that sex addiction could trouble you or a loved one in the future:

A New Ability to Lie

Although many of us may tell “white lies” from time to time, lying can actually be very difficult—especially when deceiving an individual that has already gained our trust, such as a friend or family member. While you may not be lying about having sex with multiple partners, cheating or developing an attachment to pornography, it is important to recognize a new ability to lie. For instance, if you find yourself becoming comfortable in lying about financial indiscretions, feelings or other events—you could become more willing to be dishonest about sexual behaviors in the future.

Arousing the Senses

Yes, love, sex and flirtation are all part of being human—it is how we find our partners and express passionate emotions with those we care about most. But individuals can end up crossing the lines of “expression” that could be a gateway to sexual addiction. For instance, individuals who find themselves becoming addicted to porn may find that they are developing an insatiable desire to have sex.

Others may discover that their comfort level in flirting with other individuals—simply to arouse sexual thoughts or feelings—could suggest a future dependency on sex. This warning sign is particularly important to pay attention to if you are in a committed monogamous relationship and the flirtation is occurring with people other than your partner.

Recognizing these signs and a new preoccupation with sex—and the need for compassion—is essential and could help many prevent sexual addiction in its tracks. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs, it is worth exploring the many ways counseling can assist with the problem.

The Signs of Sexual Addiction

Like any addiction—sexual addiction does not discriminate; it can impact single people, married individuals, men and women. In addition, the symptoms and signs of sex addiction can vary depending on the individual circumstances of the individual. As such, if you have become concerned about your sexual behavior or noticed a change in your personal decisions, it is important to assess the possibility that sex addiction is present.

Cheating on a Partner or Engaging in Sex with Multiple Partners

Cheating on a partner does not necessarily mean that one is a sex addict; however, if the infidelity is defined by interactions with many partners there is a possibility the dependency exists. This is especially true if a partnered or single individual is engaging in sex with people he or she has no real personal connection to, when the goal is simply to have sex and not connect on any other level.

Indulging in Risky Behaviors

In terms of sound mental health, sexual relations should come about through a series of conscious decisions that both partners make. When these decisions are abandoned, it is important to acknowledge that addiction may be playing a role in illicit activities. For instance, individuals who engage in unprotected sex or abuse substances during these relations could be sexual addicts. Others who change the way they approach sex—such as by using violence or intensifying the sex—may also be defined as sexual addicts.

Hiding the Activity

In addiction, users will typically hide illicit activities as a result of feeling shame. If you or a loved one is lying about increasing sexual activities—or the extent of these relations—there could be a chance that you are no longer keeping the event “personal,” but rather hiding it for other reasons.

Avoiding Responsibilities

In sexual addiction, sufferers may find that the desire to engage in these relationships is all-consuming. As a result, those who are deep in sexual addiction will begin to put their work, home and social responsibilities to the side. If your attention to important life responsibilities has lapsed while engaging in increased sexual activity, it could be time to seek help for addiction.

Seeking Help for Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction can be a difficult problem for many to face—the personal nature of sex compounded by the growing stigma and disbelief of the problem can discourage many from seeking help. However, hiding sexual addiction is not a solution to the problem.

Safe Harbor offers many counseling options designed specifically to help those troubled with sex addiction, as well as those who are looking for ongoing guidance in their recovery. Our Sexual Addiction Track provides comprehensive counseling that can include individual therapy, support group counseling, intensives and couples counseling.

Please contact our qualified staff today at 1-800-305-2089 to learn more about these options and schedule a counseling appointment.

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