Relationship Tips from Top Psychologist and Relationship Expert

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

Get Relationship Tips from Jacksonville’s Top Psychologist and Relationship Expert, Dr. Justin D’Arienzo. He was featured in North Florida’s Health Source Magazine’s February 2015 edition. The article, This is Your Brain on Love, begins on page 22 and describes the importance of having a secure attachment in your relationship which translates into having a healthy relationship. Dr. D’Arienzo also speaks about the reasons people experience pain and agony…or feelings of withdraw when a relationship ends.  There are also relationship advice tips listed in a table adjacent to the article. We do hope you will consider browsing the magazine and reading the Love article on page 22. The article was expertly written by Caren Burmeister. Dr. D’Arienzo was honored to contribute.

If you are looking marriage counseling or couples therapy in Jacksonville, Florida, please consider contacting us at D’Arienzo Psychological Group. We have several relationship experts available to assist you in saving your marriage or relationship. We can help you improve your relationship today with a few simple steps. Get relationship tips or advice or couples therapy. Contact us as 904-379-8094.

Article is below authored by Caren Burmeister: This is Your Brain On Love

Science is proving that matters of the heart affect our whole being and there may be evidence that it’s all in our heads.

Science is proving that matters of the heart affect our whole being and there may be evidence that it’s all in our heads. Recent brain research shows we’re cognitively wired to be in loving relationships and that a disruption in that connection, such as when a child is abandoned by his parents or the break-up of a marriage or long-term partnership, reduces brain activity, learning ability and causes profound depression. With the help of medical imaging, researchers find that when a person falls in love the brain releases euphoria-inducing chemicals that can profoundly affect cognitive functions. On the flip side, new science shows that children reared in orphanages without a loving surrogate actually had smaller brains and less brain activity than children raised in loving homes.

We finally have hard data to prove this is occurring in the brain,” says Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, a Jacksonville-based psychologist and relationship expert. “We’re definitely wired to connect.” It comes as no surprise to social scientists who have long known the value of a loving, committed relationship with an emotionally responsive person. “We are social beings,” D’Arienzo says. “Our main need is to connect and bond with other humans. Our species evolved above any other species because of this bonding and connection.” For many abandoned children, that evolution – specifically brain development – may be seriously harmed. A 2012 study on hundreds of orphans reared in Romanian institutions showed many of them had “disturbingly low levels of brain activity,” which could explain odd emotional behavior, delayed language and a range of other symptoms. The study, conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure electrical activity in the orphans’ brains. Additional imaging with an MRI, as the children grew older, showed their brains were physically smaller. Without a bond with the mother, or another loving, emotionally responsive adult, the brain’s wiring goes awry, D’Arienzo says. This is particularly true in the first two years of life, “when the brain is in a period of budding and pruning. We can rewire the brain if a loving adult is in the picture.” This sets the foundation for children as they become adults and develop long-term relationships. When we meet someone we’re attracted to and fall in love a dozen areas of the brain collaborate to release euphoria-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopression, according to a 2010 study, “The Neuroimaging of Love.” The feeling affects sophisticated cognitive functions, such as mental representation, metaphors and body image, according to the study by Stephanie Ortigue, a professor of psychology and neurology at Syracuse University. These relationships can help calm and regulate our emotions when the world feels like a dangerous place, D’Arienzo says. The findings have serious mental health implications because when these relationships don’t work out, we’re “expecting the same reward and not getting the same kick anymore. “People are like drugs to us,” he said. “We’re literally going through withdrawal.”

These are some of D’Arienzo’s tips to help our relationships flourish:

-Solid relationships require emotional engagement, responsiveness and empathy. To be present for the other person we need to put down the cell phone and validate what they’re saying to us. It helps to repeat back to them what they’ve said to us.

-We’re not only providing safety and security for each other in tough times, we also need to be available in times of joy.

’ -Don’t forget the importance of touch and cuddling. People need physical touch to strengthen their attachment.

’-Be aware that there may be unspoken needs that aren’t being met. In a safe, secure relationship people talk about their feelings, such as fear or rejection, and can meet each other’s needs.

-’ Recognize that other people’s issues are their own. While you don’t need to take it personally, you do need to be aware of it and process it.

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