Shrinkcast Episode 7: Food to Body Relationship | Interview with Amy McCann

Everyone has a relationship with food. Whether or not you feel like you have a healthy relationship with food or an unhealthy one, there are still complicated dynamics that affect our view of food and ourselves. This podcast explores those dynamics that affect our relationship with food and how to work towards more health and awareness around your relationship with food.

In Defense Of Boring Sex

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The beginning of February is upon us, and with the start of the new month, businesses and advertisers have lost no time in reminding us that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Originating from stories of martyrdom and religious feast days, Valentine’s Day (or “Singles Awareness Day” to many of us who view it less favorably) has developed into an annual celebration of love and romance, commemorated with the exchange of cards, flowers, and chocolate. Every year, romantic partners flock to various date locations to express their affection for one another, and the world is momentarily adorned in various shades of red and pink. I, however, want to talk for a moment about what happens after the dinners, and the couple’s massages, and the flowers and chocolate. For where there are demonstrations of romance, sex is usually not far behind.

Working with sexuality in a clinical capacity, I often hear stories of sexual thrill-seeking and the search for partners who inspire electricity, chemistry, and passion. These stories are appropriate and understandable; sex can be fun, exciting, and passionate, and in a lot of ways, many of our sociological influences orient us, in one or another, toward the pursuit of really great sex. Media outlets display quests for sexual fulfillment, industries thrive on the marketing toward “spicing up” sex lives, and even religions that teach abstinence before marriage often do so with the promise of “mind-blowing” intercourse post-wedlock. While sex can be mind-blowing, spicy, and fulfilling some of the time, however, it can also be complicated, awkward, routine, and quite frankly, unremarkable at others.

Now, I am not a person you will ever hear demonize partners’ attempts to keep things interesting. Quite the opposite, in fact. If everyone’s full, non-pressured consent is involved and nobody is in danger, have at it. I would say, however, that those experiences are only ever part of a sexual relationship. Sex is sometimes boring, especially if you’re having it with the same person over a long period of time, and especially if you’re having it with only that person. Sometimes it’s a little lackluster rather than mind-blowing, and sometimes in the pursuit of really great sex, you wind up having really mediocre, ordinary sex, instead.

That being said, I would propose for your consideration, dear reader, that in every sexual relationship, there is a place for mediocre, ordinary sex, too; that boring sex can, in and of itself, still be really great sex. Author Lauren F. Winner suggests that many of the elements that can be

“important about sex {are} nurtured when we allow sex to be ordinary… Sex needs to be clumsy. It should at times feel awkward. It should be an act we engage in for comfort. It should also be allowed to hold any number of anxieties – the sorts of anxieties, for instance, we might feel about our child’s progress in school, or our ability to provide sustenance for our family. Sex becomes another way for two people to realistically engage the strengths and foibles of each other… If we allow sex to be ordinary, we might better understand that human love is forged in, say, time spent cooking together, or in picking up our loved one’s laundry, or in calming our children’s fears. Through sexual practice, we come to find each other fallible, and we come to love each other for the way we see each other creating very human lives out of those very fallibilities.”*

As we approach a holiday that commemorates romantic love, it seems important to also acknowledge the atmosphere in which this type of longstanding love grows. If you are cultivating a committed, long-term relationship with your partner, it is likely built upon a foundation of shared experiences that are fairly mundane, and the relational components that must be nurtured for a lasting, successful relationship are often the very same components that strip away some of the thrill. The type of intimacy that truly sees and knows another person in all of their beauty and flaw usually develops through the unsexy day-to-day moments of paying bills, getting groceries, and doing the dishes. Developing a secure attachment to a partner means less of the titillating, risky, and anxiety-producing energy that gathers around the uncertainty if they will call you again or not, if they’ll become “clingy” afterward, or if you’ll still like them once you know the history of mental illness in their family and in which direction they replace the toilet paper roll. The more openly and effectively you communicate with your partner, moreover, the less racy cultural taboo and unspoken sexual tension sex and sexuality will carry in your relationship.

Like much else in our Western world, sex has not remained untouched by our culture of consumerism. Many of us are fortunate enough to have the option of seeking personal fulfillment, new experiences, and low investment entertainment, and there is always a wide array of option for us to do so. We purchase items that provide a variety of personal benefits, and if an upgrade comes along, we can trade in the familiar version for something new and innovative. Relationships, however, often require a different mindset of us. Relationships demand more giveback, malfunction, familiarity, and repair, and in the midst of our cultural pursuit of ease and comfort, push us into difficult and uncomfortable spaces. When sex becomes about more than infatuation, consumption, and intensity, some of the thrill and passion gives way to make space for deeper connection, comfort, and intimacy.

In the same way that we don’t linger over courses or experiment with new, exotic recipes for every meal, our sexual appetites are sometimes best fulfilled with the comforting, the plain, or the on the go. Sometimes we simply need the connective sustenance to keep our relationship healthy and strong. So, if you are planning an elaborate dinner and spicing things up this Valentine’s day, linger and enjoy. If it fits better for your relationship right now to order takeout, watch Netflix, have vanilla sex, and go to bed early, then celebrate the work you’ve put into your relationship that’s allowed your sex to get occasionally vanilla in the first place. If you’ve taken the time and put in the effort to cultivate a deep intimacy, communication, and comfort, you may just find that your boring sex is the best you’ve ever had.     

*Lauren F. Winner, Real Sex: the Naked Truth about Chastity (Grand Rapids, Brazos Press, 2005), 81-82.

About the Author:

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Zach Verwey, MA, LPC, NCC holds a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from a CACREP accredited program and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Colorado. In his clinical practice, Zach has worked extensively with LGBTQ+ concerns, eating disorders, holistic sexual health, values and identity, and grief and loss, and he is Prepare/Enrich certified in working with couples. He is especially passionate about addressing the ways in which body image difficulties impact the LGBTQ+ community and regularly works with clients and provides education through writing and public speaking on this topic. Zach believes deeply in the power of interpersonal and intrapersonal relationship work in the therapeutic process, and offers a holistic and integrative approach that honors the mind, body, and spirit. In his spare time, Zach enjoys reading the memoirs of comedians who also happen to be women, experimenting with new bread recipes, and exploring Denver’s latest hot spots with a friend or two. 

Shrinkcast Episode 5: I Am That Already

Today, we are going to take a new, exciting, and experiential approach to Shrinkcast Episode 5. We started this podcast because we want to create these kinds of positive or healing experiences through these audio waves that you can access anywhere, anytime, for free.


So, this fifth episode is, in a way, a starting place for The Shrinkcast in this new year. Isn’t that often how it goes in the New Year as we create resolutions, intentions, theme, goals, words, phrases to guide us as we end 2018 and begin 2019. We start and then we find ourselves rewriting a second, third, or fifth draft, starting anew... [listen to this 20-minute episode hear and experience more]

8 Ways To Be Generous With Your Mental Health

8 Ways To Be Generous With Your Mental Health

The holiday season can be the best of times and the worst of times. We form memories and we’re jolted by memories. It’s extra important to be generous with our mental health during this season. [526 more words]

Shrinkcast Episode 4: Why Insurance Can't Fix the Mental Health Crisis

Insurance works for a few but not most. The greatest barrier to mental health care is cost, or belief that insurance won't cover the cost of care. In today's episode, we discuss why insurance can't (not won't) solve the mental health crisis.

Eating with the Dead

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“Día de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is approaching and for some people this may be a difficult time of the year due to the lack of a proper resolution regarding the departure of their love ones from this world. It can be challenging and painful for some to remember that their family members are not here anymore. Some individuals may still have the need to grieve and mourn their love ones especially if they did not have the opportunity to attend their funerals. Anxiety and depression may be experienced by some. On the other hand, other people may see this celebration as an opportunity to come to a peace about their losses.

Growing up in Mexico City, “Día de los Muertos” was an exciting holiday (on November 1st deceased children are remembered, and the following day is adults turn) because we used to carve pumpkins, placed a candle inside of them, and went into the neighborhood to ask for money, “un veinte a la calavera”(a coin for the skull) is what we  used to say (the equivalent to trick or treat). Besides that and the special treats including “pan de muerto” (special bread), and “calaveritas de dulce y chocolate” (small skulls made of candy and chocolate) was all children cared for. Children were not fully aware of their parent’s or relatives’ emotional pain and distress.    

Many Mexican people express their love, respect, and honor to their deceased family by preparing their favorite food and drinks, and by putting them on tables along with flowers, candles, and pictures; this is a way to keep them alive in their minds. Some of them go to the cemetery and on the tombs, they put deceased’s favorite food, alcoholic drinks, flowers, candles, and even some bring a mariachi band to sing their dead’s favorite songs. They talk to them as if they were right there listening. For some, this celebration may signify a way to be in peace with their deceased specially if they did not have the opportunity to do so when they were alive. In some cases, people may be afraid of the unknown or the death itself, and may also believe that through following this rituals and celebration, they can save their love ones from eternal punishment.

Día de los Muertos also offers individuals the opportunity to openly process their losses without feeling criticized or rejected; expressing unresolved emotions are encouraged and understood, thus a sense of relief may be experienced. By  remembering their love ones people may feel a sense of connection, however, going through a process of grieving and mourning with the help of professional therapists is encouraged for those who have experienced not only traumatic losses, but those who feel distressed and depressed for the departure of their love ones.

Khesed Wellness profoundly understands people’s emotional struggles, and offers affordable professional counseling services for those who are dealing not only with grief and loss, but trauma, anxiety, depression, addictions, and more. Our therapists are more than happy to help you with kindness, love, and respect. Please visit our website at khesedwellness.com for more information and locations near you.  Spanish speaking services are also now available.

Comiendo con los Muertos

El Día de los Muertos se acerca y para algunas personas ésto puede ser un tiempo difícil debido a la falta de un proceso apropiado de resolución con respecto a la partida de sus seres queridos de éste mundo. Para algunas personas puede ser desafiente y doloroso el saber que sus seres queridos ya no estan aquí. Algunos individuos pueden tener todavia la necesidad de pasar por el procesos de duelo especialmente si no tuvieron la oportunidad de asistir al funeral de sus familiares. Algunos pudieran estar experimentando ansiedad y depresión. Por otro lado, otras personas pudieran ver esta celebración como una oportunidad para ponerse en paz con la pérdida de sus familiares.

Habiendo crecido en la Ciudad de México, el Día de los Muertos era una festividad con mucha emoción (el 1o. de Noviembre los niños que han muerto son recordados y el siguiente día es el turno de los adultos) porque le dabamos figura a nuestra calabaza, le colocabamos una vela adentro y nos ibamos a las casa de los vecinos a pedirles un veinte a la calavera. A los niños lo único que nos importaba era ir a pedir dinero con nuestra calavera y la comida, incluyendo el pan de muerto y las calaveritas de dulce y chocolate. Los niños no estan completamente conscientes de la agonía y dolor emocional de sus papás o familiares por la pérdida de sus seres queridos.  

Muchos mexicanos expresan su amor, respeto, y honor hacia sus familiares muertos al preparar su comida y bebidas favoritas, y colocando flores y fotos; esta es una manera de mantenerlos vivos en su mente. Algunas personas van al cementerio y colocan sobre la tumba de sus seres queridos su comida favorita, bebidas alcholicas, flores, e inlcuso algunos llevan un mariachi para que canten las canciones que le gustaban al difunto. Le hablan a sus muertos como si estuvieran ahí escuchando. Para algunos, esta celebración puede significar una manera de estar en paz con el difunto especialmente si no tuvieron la oportunidad de hacerlo en vida. En algunos casos, la gente puede tener temor a los desconocido o a la muerte misma, y creen que al hacer estos rituales y celebraciones pueden salvar a sus seres queridos del castigo eterno.

El Día de los Muertos es una oportunidad para algunas personas de procesar abiertamente sus pérdidas sin sentirse criticados o rechazados; también son animados a expresar las emociones no resueltas de tal manera que puedan experimentar alivio. Al recordar a sus seres queridos, las personas pudieran sentir una sensación de conección con ellos, sin embargo, para aquellos que han experimentado una pérdida traumatica, o para aquellos que se sienten atormentados o depresivos por la partida de sus seres queridos es muy recomedable que pasen por un proceso de duelo con la ayuda de terapistas profesionales.    

Khesed Wellness entiende profundamente las luchas emocionales que las personas experiementan, y ofrece servicios profesionales de consejería accesible para aquellos que no solo estan sufriendo con el luto y la pérdida, sino también con trauma, ansiedad, depression, adicciones, y otras cosas más. Nuestros terapistas estan más que felices en ayudarte con amabilidad, amor, y respeto. Para más información y localidades por favor visita nuestra página de internet en khesedwellnes.com

About the Author:

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Francisca Alvarez

Francisca Alvarez RP, Apprentice is earning her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Denver Seminary. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Economy from Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico, City. She is Prepare/Enrich certified in working with couples to heal and strengthen their relationship. Francisca is passionate in helping people to become healthy in a holistic way and is willing to incorporate faith into sessions if clients bring this subject up. She is open in serving the Hispanic community including teenagers, young adults, adults, and couples. Francisca was born and raised in Mexico State and moved to Colorado two decades ago. She spends some of her free time traveling with her husband and their teenage daughter, and also enjoys watching movies, and eating Mexican and Italian food with family and friends. 


SPECIAL EDITION: Video Interview w/ Jennifer Knapp - Grammy Nominee

SPECIAL EDITION: Video Interview w/ Jennifer Knapp - Grammy Nominee

Get a taste of what’s to come at our Fall Event, “What Connects Us” on Friday, October 19th! Hear from Grammy Nominee, singer/songwriter, and social advocate —Jennifer Knapp—as she talks with our Founder about connection, especially in our world more aware than ever of all that disconnects us.