Tag Archive | "MARRIAGE"

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Being thankful and grateful

Posted on 21 November 2019 by LeslieM

It’s November and that means many of us will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Many folks will gather with family members and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. For others, it means the onset of “holiday blues” or feelings of sadness and depression.

Being thankful or grateful are ways we express feelings of appreciation. The difference between thankful and grateful is that thankful is an inward expression and grateful is an outward one.

Major benefits of being thankful and grateful:

Makes one happy

Opens door to more relationships

Improves physical and mental health

Strengthens one’s self esteem

Sleeping habits improve

Makes one optimistic

Enhances empathy

Two topic related patient stories follow, and, after reading them, I ask that you reflect upon what you are thankful and grateful for in your life.

Mary’s story

Mary is a psychotherapy patient of mine that initially contacted me because she found out that she was unable to become pregnant. She and her husband had numerous medical tests to diagnose her inability to conceive. After this news, Mary quickly became withdrawn from her husband and believed that she was depressed.

Mary told me that she always dreamed of getting married and having lots of children. With the current news, she was convinced that her husband would leave her in order to find a new partner who could conceive and give him children.

After a few months of therapy sessions, the couple acknowledged the reality, the sadness and the potential possibilities of their situation. Mary and her husband are currently investigating adoption programs in order to have the large family they want. Mary and her husband are thankfulthat they have the option to consider adopting children and they are grateful that psychotherapy allows them to have the space to express their feelings about each other, adopting children and parenting.

Tim’s story

Tim was a 17 year-old senior at a local Boca Raton High School. He was accepted to a prestigious college along with a tennis scholarship. Tim has a great family, was a stellar high school student, an athlete, enjoyed his social life and had a healthy approach to eating food, and was physically active.

Tim was also complaining of right knee pain and had an examination with his primary care physician. Tim was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIP). He had severe inflammation and joint damage in his right knee.

Tim took this news poorly and became depressed. Tim’s parents asked him to meet with me for his depression. He agreed, and the first thing he said to me when we met at my office was “My life is over! I am disappointing so many people because I have a damaged knee.”

Tim and I discussed many facets of his life during therapy sessions. We defined the new limits of his right knee and discussed acceptance of JIP, swimming as an alternative to playing tennis, his family and personal relationships, managing depression and his overall connection to his thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Fast forward: Tim graduated from college and is now in medical school. He teaches tennis lessons to children and speaks regularly for the Arthritis Foundation on JIP. Tim is thankfulthat knowledgeable, supportive, caring and loving people helped him through his diagnosis of JIP and grateful for having a better understanding that life is a wonderful journey worth living that includes unexpected experiences. Tim demonstrates that change is possible.

Dr. Julia Breur is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. Her website is www.drjuliabreur.com. For more information, e-mail info@drjuliabreur.com or call 561-512-8545.

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Therapeutic Tattoos

Posted on 15 August 2019 by LeslieM

Tattoos have exploded in popularity over the past decade and have become an artistic way for people to express themselves. What do tattoos mean? Before we address the meaning of various tattoos, let’s take a brief look at the history of tattoos.

We can go back almost 12,000 years where tools for tattooing were found in France, Portugal and Scandinavia. The oldest surviving tattoos were found on a mummy in the Otzi Valley in the Alps from the fifth to fourth millennium BC. Ancient Egypt and India used tattoos as methods of religious worship and healing. Ancient Romans, Greeks and Chinese tattooed their slaves and criminals to be able to identify them if they escaped.

The Jewish world has a longstanding aversion to tattoos. The taboo against body ink remains powerful among largely secular Jews. The objection relates to Leviticus 19.28 “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourself.” Some liberal Jews have taken a fresh look at tattoos, but many still overwhelmingly see tattoos as inconsistent with the teachings of Jewish tradition.

Most people get tattoos to tell a story, to highlight pain, triumph and obstacles they have faced in their lives. Tattoos can also be therapeutic to some. Below are a few types of therapeutic tattoos:

Mastectomy Tattoo Movement: Following Breast Cancer treatment, some women opt to get artistic tattoos to cover mastectomy scars and to reclaim their bodies. An organization P.ink (Personal ink) refers Breast Cancer survivors to tattoo artists with mastectomy tattoo experience.

Recovery from Addiction Tattoo: It takes amazing strength to address and recover from addiction. It helps to have motivational reminders to stay on track, and a tattoo can inspire and celebrate recovery. A patient of mine has “one day at a time” tattooed on the inside of her wrist. If she feels anxious, she reads her tattoo and that reminds her to slow down, breath, realize she can make it through today sober and contact her sponsor for support.

Memorializing a Loss Tattoo: Sarah, a former psychotherapy patient of mine lost her father to suicide. Sarah had a tattoo behind her left ear — a semicolon. She explained that she searched for a tattoo that would honor her father and increase awareness of mental health problems. She stumbled upon “Project Semicolon.” This organization is dedicated to preventing suicide. Sarah has taken a positive step in her healing process and told me she likes to talk to others who have experienced devastating loss in their lives and wants to promote positive ways to discuss mental health issues.

A 60-year-old female patient told me that for years she thought anyone getting a tattoo did not realize the consequences, such as not liking it after a few years, and the time and pain involved to have it removed. Then, she pointed out a hummingbird tattoo on her right shoulder. She decided to get this tattoo because it represented her daughter who had died of Brain Cancer. This tattoo brought her peace. Here was a woman who was anti-tattoos for years and, at the age of 60, decided there was a very good reason, the memory of her daughter, to get a tattoo. Yes, change is possible!

Dr. Julia Breur is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. For more information, call 561-512-8545, e-mail info@drjuliabreur.com or visit www.drjuliabreur.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: The miracle of matchmaking

Posted on 21 January 2016 by LeslieM

This week’s Torah portion Beshalach (Exodus 14:26 – 15:26) relates that dramatic moment when at the brink of being captured by the mighty Egyptian forces, the Red Sea parted before the Hebrews. The newly-born nation of Israel crossed to the other side and embarked on its journey to freedom.

Do we have anything in our lives today that could even remotely reflect that unparalleled and stupendous miracle? Yes, says the Talmud, and it is the miracle of a marriage that works. “To match couples together is as difficult as the splitting of the sea,” states this ancient Jewish text written around 1700 years ago. What is the meaning behind these words? Everybody knows that the process of finding a life’s partner and maintaining the relationship may at times be excruciatingly difficult. But why, from all extraordinary miracles described in the Bible, does the Talmud choose specifically the miracle of the splitting of the sea to depict marriage?

Do you remember your groom?

Before each of us was born, say the Kabbalists, we were shown, in heaven, the souls of our respective grooms and brides. Now, when you saw the soul of your future husband in the spiritual realms, you were ecstatic. You were witness to an extraordinary spirit, a towering beacon of light, a great personality. You thought to yourself: “For such a husband, I will do anything. I will be there for him in the deepest possible way. I am ready to ‘split’ for him any day.”

Similarly, when you encountered your future bride there in the sublime plane, you were just blown away. What a profound heart! Will I truly have the privilege of building a home with this human being? How will I ever be able to show enough gratitude for the joy of having a relationship with this woman?

Then, you were born. Twenty, 25, 30, 35, 45 years later, you feel an attraction to your spouse, to that soul that once so overwhelmed you. You take a look … But you do not recognize him or her.

Him? You want me to respect him?” many a woman says. “He is an obnoxious, egotistical, self-centered man.”

Her?” many a man exclaims. “You expect me to appreciate and honor her? A world-renowned needy and insecure kvetch?”

Many of us fail to recognize in the face and personality of our spouses what we once-upon-a-time saw in their souls. Marriage is the ability to recognize your true spouse, beneath the layers of “rubble” that may eclipse his or her true dignity and beauty. A good relationship stems from the understanding that life is a battlefield in which we often stumble and fail and that the beauty and profundity of human life consists not of a continuous stream of light and perfection, but rather of the light that emerges from amidst darkness, of the serenity that emerges from turmoil, and of the harmony that sprouts forth from strife.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches located at

4081 N. Federal Hwy., #100A, Pompano Beach, FL 33064. For all upcoming events please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Marriage musings

Posted on 03 October 2012 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



When a long-time young friend called me recently to announce that her 24-year marriage is over, I started to think (again) about marriage. I often think about marriage in the abstract. It is perhaps the most enduring social institution we have, and seems to exist in all cultures and since as long ago as Adam and Eve, who incidentally, probably never had “the (commitment) papers.”

And yet, statistics are showing that marriage is waning. A Google search on marriage discloses some amazing statistics on who is more likely to be divorced and at what point in the marriage. It’s no secret that we are stretching over the 50-50 mark for such enduring liaisons.

I have just celebrated 58 years in a state of matrimony. And without divulging any of the personal details, suffice it to say, it’s been good and not-so, which is probably a metaphor for all that life offers. And we’re still hangin’ in!

People experiencing what they call “love” in its earliest stages “are the luckiest people in the world,” to usurp a wellknown lyric. All the juices are flowing; the heart, indeed, pitter-patters, there is a measurably high happiness scale and the pure physicality of the emotion produces endorphins that heighten one’s sense of well-being. The condition has often been described as akin to taking an opiate. Folks who are living in that state of euphoria – and it can happen at any age cannot conceive of its ever ending or changing.

The truth is that the feeling does not last forever and lucky that it doesn’t, because it affects even the brain and one’s ability to focus. And thus, the good Lord giveth and taketh. Eventually, those affected by “the love bug” marry, cohabit or move on, as reality closes in on them. Married reality is laundry, bills, kids, exhaustion, in-laws, disagreements about watching football, whose turn it is to cook or babysit, being too often too tired for sex, the acceptance that one of you loves mountains and the other loves a penthouse in the city. And finally, the chance that one of you is more needy than the other, a condition that can be cementing or entrapping. And despite all the print dedicated to “25 ways to spark up your marriage,” for many, it becomes the “same old, same old” and most anything looks better than that.

And so it is that many people are ready to bale at the first glitch in their dream-bubble. Their expectations, although often reasonable, are, in actuality, not realistic and they, therefore, become disappointed, hurt, angry, enraged and so on down the line of toxic emotions, instead of learning to readjust their expectations.

We all see people in many states of coupling and uncoupling: married, or merely living together, or being together only at intervals, or commuting to be together, or living alone and loving it, or living alone and hating it, or contemplating one or a combination of the above. It is obvious that one size does not fit all. The world is in seismic transition in all areas of human commerce and I do wonder what marriage will look like in 2054 – my 100th anniversary.

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