Winifred Ling Archives - Promises Healthcare
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Love in time of COVID: A Mothership SG interview recap

Love in time of COVID: A Mothership SG interview recap

Relationship Advice from Relationship Therapist & Coach, Winifred Ling

 

Chelsea, a stunning flight attendant and her partner, Clayton, have been experiencing the Covid lockdown blues. Being in the early stages of their relationship, they both confessed to feeling the effects of being apart from each other – while they were somewhat used to incompatible schedules, the loss of physical intimacy that was at least within reach before amplified the tattoo of each pining heart.

They shared how they were managing to stay sane and close throughout the lockdown – by making use of technological advances, utilising Zoom to keep each other apprised of the happenings in their lives. 

Winifred Ling, a Gottman Certified Relationship Therapist, featured in the Mothership vlog – gave this couple some tips on how to be “out of ‘touch’ but not out of love” and how to keep their relationships healthy. Love takes effort, and she relayed to her audience some suggestions that were remarkably common-sensical, like making sure to check in with your significant other with words of encouragement.

We are home to a few genuinely warm and empathetic relationship therapists. If you’re in a committed relationship, they’ll teach you valuable skills that you can employ to keep healthy and relationship strong. Additionally, even if you’re not quite sure of your chances of getting hitched but would like to learn more, there’s pre-marriage counselling available too.

Stay safe. Stay strong.

Reduce stigma by killing shame

Reduce stigma by killing shame

As we celebrate World Mental Health Day (10/10), I pause to remember the patients/clients whom I have worked with in the past 17 years. I want to recognize and honour their courage, resilience and grit in continue living even though it is so hard.

I am heartened that there are more open conversations on mental health compared to a decade ago. Earlier this year there was even the inaugural Singapore Mental Health Film Festival. More sufferers are willing to step forward courageously to share their stories to encourage and inspire fellow sufferers. All of these efforts are pointing in the right direction and we should persist.

What makes mental illness so painful is the shame that individuals feel; the fact that they are less than, inadequate, weak and worthless. Society has not arrived at a place where we can talk about it as openly as our physical health. At least, no one is hesitant to get a medical certificate from a general practitioner but one from Institute of Mental Health, no way!

How can we reduce the stigma of mental illness?

I have one suggestion that I like to propose and it is as follows:

we need to start sharing our “failure” or “screwed up” stories.

Every person undergoes challenges in life and experiences deep pain for various reasons. For someone who suffers from mental illness, the natural thought is that “I am alone in this. Everyone but I can deal with life.” He/she looks around and sees “successful” people who seem to have it all and feel demoralised.

We, the supposed “successful” people have in some way perpetuate the stigma of mental illness by keeping silent and not share our pain openly.

Recently, I shared with a client of my struggle with anxiety and she was surprised because outwardly I appear mostly calm and confident. I believe my story gave her hope that if my therapist can overcome and learn to manage her anxiety, so can I.

The challenge that I want to extend to everyone is this: share your struggles, not just your victory.

When something painful is a common experience, there isn’t a need to hide the secret any longer and we can better support one another. Truthfully, all of us has some form of dysfunction; it is only a matter of degree and how well we manage it.

I shall walk the talk and share the times when I felt like a failure.

·     After getting a scholarship to come to study at a top Junior College, I did so poorly for my promo exam that I was put on probation. That was my first taste of failure as I had been an excellent student up until that point. My self-esteem took a hit and I seriously considered quitting school and return to my hometown. I persisted.

·    Being diagnosed with Moya Moya Disease and suffering stroke where I lost the ability to read and write and my right visual field.

·     The first year of my marriage was really tough. It caught me by surprise as we had a wonderful courtship and seemed to get along really well. We went through several challenges, including my brain surgeries and stroke. I was left confused and disillusioned. The upside of it is that I started to learn more about what makes relationship work and I ended up discovering my call and passion.

·     Infertility. As we looked forward to expanding our family, we received bad news after bad news with each visit to different specialists. I seriously felt that perhaps something was wrong with me that I was not good enough to be a mother. After 4 years, we had wanted to give up when our miracle baby came along.

·     The years that I was a trailing wife, I lost my sense of identity and I watched my peers moving ahead in their career and life while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life at age 32. I couldn’t let go of the narrow definition of success. I was a nobody. It took me 3 years to re-calibrate and find my voice and I started my blog- Winifred & You, Flourishing Together.

The above wasn’t easy to write; it’s not what we usually do and it feels risky and uncomfortable.

That’s the challenge; are we ready to share and reveal the pain that we too keep in our hearts?

To de-stigmatize mental illness, we need to acknowledge and embrace authenticity and vulnerability. As long as we breathe, we hurt. We fall and we rise.

Let’s share our resilient stories so that everyone else will be inspired to do the same. In so doing, we kill shame because it no longer has a hold on us.

Will you join me? #killshame #resilientstory

Warning signs of an ailing relationship

Warning signs of an ailing relationship

Warning Signs of an Ailing Relationship

“How do I know when my relationship is ailing, and that intervention is needed”?

Most of us know that romantic relationships are hard work. We all have some understanding that, like flowers, relationships need nourishment to flourish. Yet, we’re sometimes woefully under prepared to identify, address and correct unhealthy or unproductive aspects of our relationships.

As a Certified Gottman Educator who is trained in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Winifred Ling lays out hard truths of an ailing relationship in dire need of intervention. In her blog post, she details warning signs that we would do well to take notice of, such as

  • Lack of physical intimacy and sex
  • A climate of contempt instead of kindness and respectfulness
  • Lack of awareness and interest in your partner
  • Feeling lonely in the relationship
  • Living parallel lives (no shared activities)
  • Waiting games
  • Keeping scores
  • Forgetting your shared dreams and ‘love story’

Read Winifred’s full blog post on her website for more insight on these warning signs, and how you can address them. It’s a pretty great webpage, full of clever observations and sobering thoughts, with a whole lot of great content.

What is a relationship tune-up?

What is a relationship tune-up?

Everyone who owns a car knows that it needs servicing periodically. We don’t wait till the car has broken down before we send it to the workshop. We do regular tune-up for the car so that we can ensure its smooth running and lifespan.

What does it mean when we apply the analogy to a relationship?

Relationships are just like cars, and they experience wear and tear. If we ignore the little things that go wrong, we may end up dealing with a major breakdown. Whilst relationship tune-up is not therapy, per se, it is a session with a relationship coach to evaluate your relationship and the intent is preventive.

Some questions that we look at are:
• How satisfied are you with your marriage?
• Where are the gaps that you’ll like to close?
• What’s the legacy that we are creating together?
• What’s the dream within the conflicts that we have?

Many are familiar with pre-marital counseling and we are also aware of marital counseling, which is usually assumed to be for troubled marriages. Relationship tune up is the in-between where most relationship lies and yes, you can seek help to enhance your marital life.

Contact Promises healthcare today if you are looking to tune up your relationship.

Written by: Winifred Ling – Psychologist, Couples Therapist and Relationship Coach, Promises Healthcare