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Valeria Vilar Psychotherapy Articles

Valeria Vilar Psychotherapy Articles (34)

Crazy about you

By Valeria Vilar, MA, BEd, LMHC


 Achieving balance in a couple’s relationship is no easy task. It requires effort and commitment from both parts. And even though it’s hard, it is very desirable, and yes, it is accomplishable.

Relationship unbalance can be caused by various circumstances. I would like to focus today on those couples that stay together even though both of them feel unsatisfied, burdened, drowned and even maintain self-destructive actions.

I’ve often heard from my patients expressions like: “I feel suffocated in this relationship”, “nothing seems to satisfy him”, “she is always trying to control me”, “he’s extremely jealous”, “She’s constantly asking where I’m at, who I’m with, what time I’ll be back, who’s that e-mail from, etc.” They feel constantly pursued and watched by their partners. Let’s explore this situation:

I’ve noticed how this type of person wants to exert control over their significant other. They need to know of their every move, and even their every thought. They demand to spend more time together, and require constant attention. It never seems to be enough for them. They typically relate to a specific type of person and develop what we call a relation of emotional dependence.

In emotional dependent relationships we find people with low self-esteem, with permanent feelings of loneliness, and an insatiable need of affection. Those symptoms are often accompanied by depression, anxiety, hostile attitudes, and feelings of failure.

They can’t get out of the relationship even though it doesn’t satisfy them. Their behavior can be compared to that of a gambler.  A gambling addict can spend all his money and even go into debt, because of an uncontrollable need to keep playing.

At least one person in the couple is in desperate need of affection and approval from the other. To attain this, they struggle to please the other to an extreme that hurts their own pride and dignity and their expectations regarding the relationship. They generate a sense of burden and asphyxiation in their partner. They don’t mean to abuse or own the other one, but come to these extremes prompted by their excessive need of affection. 

This kind of relationship can be also compared to a drug addiction. Because people that suffer either of these conditions go through the same feelings of craving, dependency and abstinence.   

Among the emotional dependents, or emotional addicts, we find:

·      An irresistible need, a craving, to have a partner and to spend time with them.

·     A tendency to put their partner before anything else in their lives.

·     A constant necessity to keep in contact with their partner when they are not present.

·     Devastating pain when the relationship is interrupted or ended.

In a dependence relationship, both parts are unsatisfied, but they can’t get out of a constantly repeating behavior pattern. Conscious of the lack of harmony in their relationship, they make endless efforts to change it, but end up frustrated when they don’t get any significant results.

These couples could achieve balance and harmony in their relationships by identifying the right ways to break the cycle. Ideally, they would need to create awareness of their situation and recognize which specific behaviors are adding up to the pattern of dependency they are going through. By developing this ability, these couples would be able to develop the loving, functional relationship they want, one in which both of them would be happy.


Valeria Vilar, MA, BEd, LMHC, is the Clinical Director of Open Mind Psychotherapy &Wellness Center. The center is located at the Weston Town Center since 1998.  Additional information, can be reached at (954) 385-9550, and or by visiting 

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Planning your vacation with your child with ADHD

ADHD, ADD, psychotherapy, weston, florida, children psychotherapist, education, Anxiety, Fears, Phobias, Kids, Children, Psychotherapist, Counseling

Planning your vacation with your child with ADHD

psychotherapy, weston, florida, children psychotherapist, education, Anxiety, Fears, Phobias, Kids, Children, Psychotherapist, Counseling

By Valeria Vilar, MA, LMHC, BEd


We all look forward with great eagerness to our family vacation. Some families plan trips to new destinations, others choose a quiet destination to relax, or end up choosing to visit their family or home country. This eagerness associated to vacation time is generally linked to the desire of having a great time and storing happy memories of the time spent with the loved ones forever. We all know that every new situation, regardless of how pleasant, generates stress both in adults and children.

This is especially true for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I have often heard my patients or friends talking about their vacations with a hint of disappointment. Some said that their children had behaved worse than they usually do during the year. For instance, they complained about their children being much more anxious, annoying other members of the family, consistently disobeying, being disrespectful to their parents, being rude, etc. These behaviors caused conflicts, arguments and unpleasant situations among parents and siblings, and of course, generated a great deal of frustration and disappointment. I thought it would be useful to draw on these experiences to give you a couple of tips that would help prevent this kind of situations.

  • Let your child know about the type of trip you are planning. It is not a good idea to surprise your child with the trip without having given him or her time to elaborate on it in advance. Mark the date of the trip on a calendar and daily check with your child the number of days left before the trip. Show your child the place you will be visiting on a map.
  • Talk to him or her about the people you will meet, what the weather will be like there, the activities you are planning on doing, etc. In this way, you and your child can create a guidebook with drawings and pictures. This will make your child feel at ease since he won’t be dealing with surprises.
  • Get children involved in planning the trip. Make them feel they are helping in the planning process. Encourage them to share ideas about activities and games
  • Take their favorite objects or toys along on the trip. This helps them feel reassured and safe in unfamiliar places, and this will be extremely helpful at bedtime.
  • Tell your child in advance that the same rules and consequences that apply during the year will also apply during the vacations. Children often assume that they don’t have to follow rules during vacations. Talking to them in advance will help prevent misunderstandings and unwanted behaviors.
  • Encourage your child to behave at all times. Children with ADHD are often absent-minded or react impulsively and behave as if they had never been taught formal social habits.
  • If your child is on any medication, ask your doctor about the need to adjust the medication schedule to your vacation schedule. You may be traveling into a different time zone, or sometimes families simply change their schedules while on vacations. Your doctor will give you all the information you need to adjust the medication to the new schedule.
  • Finally, do not put too much strain on your child or allow him to become fatigued. If bedtime is extended more than usual, encourage him or her to take a nap during the afternoon to control the additional fatigue. Children with ADHD have more “episodes” of hyperactivity when they feel exhausted. Arranging and planning your vacation in advance will allow your child and the rest of the family members to relax and share some quality time together. I sincerely wish you enjoy your next vacation with your child with ADHD, and that these happy moments remain in your family’s memories forever.

Valeria Vilar, MA, BEd, LMHC, is the Clinical Director of Open Psychotherapy & Wellness Center. The center is located at the Weston Town Center since 1998.  Additional information, can be reached at (954) 385-9550, and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by visiting



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