Individual, Family, Couples, Adolescent, LGBTQ,
Grief & Loss,
Mood, Recovery And Chronic Illness
Issues and Challenges
Life with Hope, LLC logo

Life with Hope, LLC

Dr. Robin C. Campbell, LMFT
2430 Estancia Blvd., Suite 106

Clearwater, FL 33761-2607
Phone: 727-600-8081

Family Challenges

 Some of the major challenges facing today's families and which Dr. Campbell helps families work through include:


Abuse

     Abuse injures the body, mind, and spirit of the abused. Victims of abuse can seek help from their school counselors, trusted adults, spiritual leaders to guide them through the process of healing.


     The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment and reports of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Please use the links below to report a child or adult abuse.

    

     If you suspect or know of a child or vulnerable adult in immediate danger, call 911.  Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child's welfare is a mandatory reporter. § 39.201(1)(a), Florida Statutes. To report an allegation in Spanish or Creole, please call 1-800-962-2873, for TTY use 711 or 1-800-955-8771.  This toll free number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with counselors waiting to assist you.


Addiction

     Those who have suffered from addictive behaviors have found that their addiction affects all aspects of their life. But recovery is possible with the help of self-help programs and trained professionals. Addiction is a chronic and treatable disease. Using drugs repeatedly changes the brain, including the parts that help exert self-control. That’s why someone may not be able to stop using drugs, even if they know the drug is causing harm, or feel ready to stop. 

 
Communication Issues

     Our words and deeds should be filled with kindness, charity, and love. This is true not only for members of our families, but for everyone around us. But, as imperfect humans, we don't always get this right.  Learning how to say things to our family members is equally, if not more, important as what we say.

 
Divorce

   Divorce is a trial that affects the entire family. Those affected by divorce can receive strength and comfort from relying on their natural support systems (family, friends, trained professionals.  And, like a frustrated gardener, it just seems easier sometime to dig it all up and start over.  In families, this translates to separation, divorce and a disruptive change in the interactions of all members that changes our families forever...with the biggest impact on children.

 
Grief and Loss

     Grief is a part of mortality. Grief and loss come to us from many different life experiences.  So, the ways in which we experience and express the associated emotions are also very different for each of us.  Grief and loss are deeply personal experiences.  There is no 'right way' to do grief.  Likewise, there is no 'long enough' or time when you 'should be over it'.  We all process grief differently. What helps is to understand the emotions you are experiencing and why; to learn your unique pattern or rhythm of grief expression; and, to learn to 'surf' the waves of emotions when they come.


Parenting

     Building strong, healthy relationships requires awareness, intention and hard work! Unfortunately, until we learn how to do this, our family relationships just develop on their own.  All too often our family interactions begin to resemble an unattended garden; initially planted with love and care, but left to grow on its own becomes overtaken by weeds, dead plants, and unwanted pests.  Not very pretty; not healthy and difficult to restore so it prospers.

    

    Dr. Campbell can help you and your family learn and use healthy, new ways of interacting that can begin or keep your family garden healthy, happy and (mostly) 'weed' free. 

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 Pornography

     Pornography is a toxic counterfeit and misuse of human sexuality. Pornography negatively impacts our relationships with family, and ourselves. There are many mental effects of porn use. The most basic effect of watching too much internet porn or even gaming is to miss out on necessary sleep. People end up ‘wired and tired’ and unable to concentrate on work next day. Constant bingeing and seeking that dopamine reward hit, can lead to a deep habit that is hard to kick. It can also cause ‘pathological’ learning in the form of addiction. That is when we continue to seek a behavior or substance despite negative consequences. We experience negative feelings such as depression or feeling flat when we miss the habit. This drives us back to it again and again to try and restore feelings of pleasure. Addiction can start when trying to cope with stress but also causes us to feel stressed too. It is a vicious cycle.


     When our physical systems are out of balance, our rational brain tries to interpret what is going on based on past experience. Low dopamine and depletion of other related neurochemicals can produce unpleasant feelings. They include boredom, hunger, stress, tiredness, low energy, anger, craving, depression, loneliness and anxiety. How we ‘interpret’ our feelings affects our behavior. Nonetheless, peace and recovery are possible.

 
Same-Sex Attraction

     The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. While individuals do not choose such attractions, all individuals choose how to respond to them.


     Adolescence is the dawn of sexual attraction. It happens due to the hormonal changes of puberty. These changes involve both the body and the mind — so just thinking about someone attractive can cause physical arousal. These new feelings can be intense, confusing, sometimes even overwhelming. Teens are beginning to discover what it means to be attracted romantically and physically to others. And recognizing one's sexual orientation is part of that process.


What Is Sexual Orientation?

     The term sexual orientation refers to the gender (that is, male or female) to which a person is attracted. There are several types of sexual orientation that are commonly described: 


  • Heterosexual (straight). People who are heterosexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex:  
        males are attracted to females, and females are attracted to males. Heterosexuals are often called "straight."
  • Homosexual (gay or lesbian). People who are homosexual are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex: 
        females are attracted to other females; males are attracted to other males. Homosexuals (whether male or female) are often called
        "gay." Gay females are also called lesbian.
  • Bisexual. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes. 

Do We Choose Our Orientation?

Being straight, gay, or bisexual is not something that a person can choose or choose to change. In fact, people don't choose their sexual orientation any more than they choose their height or eye color. It is estimated that about 10% of people are gay. Gay people are represented in all walks of life, across all nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, and in all social and economic groups.


No one fully understands exactly what determines a person's sexual orientation, but it is likely explained by a variety of biological and genetic factors. Medical experts and organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychological Association (APA) view sexual orientation as part of someone's nature. Being gay is also not considered a mental disorder or abnormality.


Despite myths and misconceptions, there is no evidence that being gay is caused by early childhood experiences, parenting styles, or the way someone is raised.


Efforts to change gay people to straight (sometimes called "conversion therapy") have been proven to be ineffective and can be harmful. Health and mental health professionals caution against any efforts to change a person's sexual orientation.


At What Age Do Kids "Know"?

     Knowing one's sexual orientation — whether straight or gay — is often something that kids or teens recognize with little doubt from a very young age. Some gay teens say they had same-sex crushes in childhood, just as their heterosexual peers had opposite-sex crushes.


     By middle school, as they enter adolescence, many gay teens already recognize their sexual orientation, whether or not they have revealed it to anyone else. Those who didn't realize they were gay at first often say that they always felt different from their peers, but didn't exactly know why.


     Becoming aware of — and coming to terms with — one's sexual orientation can take some time. Thinking sexually about both the same sex and the opposite sex is quite common as teens sort through their emerging sexual feelings. Some teens may experiment with sexual experiences, including those with members of the same sex, as they explore their own sexuality. But these experiences, by themselves, do not necessarily mean that a teen is gay or straight. For many teens, these experiences are simply part of the process of sorting through their emerging sexuality. And despite gender stereotypes, masculine and feminine traits do not necessarily predict whether someone is straight or gay.  Once aware, some gay teens may be quite comfortable and accept their sexuality, while others might find it confusing or difficult to accept.


How Gay Teens Might Feel

     Like their straight peers, gay teens may stress about school, grades, college, sports, activities, friends, and fitting in. But in addition, gay and lesbian teens often deal with an extra layer of stress — like whether they have to hide who they are, whether they will be harassed about being gay, or whether they will face stereotypes or judgments if they are honest about who they are.

They often feel different from their friends when the heterosexual people around them start talking about romantic feelings, dating, and sex. For them, it can feel like everyone is expected to be straight. They may feel like they have to pretend to feel things that they don't in order to fit in. They might feel they need to deny who they are or hide an important part of themselves.


     Many gay teens worry about whether they will be accepted or rejected by their loved ones, or whether people will feel upset, angry, or disappointed in them. These fears of prejudice, discrimination, rejection, or violence, can lead some teens who aren't straight to keep their sexual orientation secret, even from friends and family who might be supportive.

    

     It can take time for gay teens to process how they feel and to accept this aspect of their own identity before they reveal their sexual orientation to others. Many decide to tell a few accepting, supportive friends and family members about their sexual orientation. This is called coming out.

 

     For most people, coming out takes courage. In some situations, teens who are openly gay may risk facing more harassment than those who haven't revealed their sexual orientation. But many lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens who come out to their friends and families are fully accepted by them and their communities. They feel comfortable and secure about being attracted to people of the same gender. In a recent survey, teens who had come out reported feeling happier and less stressed than those who hadn't.


How Parents Might Feel

     Adolescence is a time of transition not just for teens, but for their parents too. Many parents face their teen's emerging sexuality with a mix of confusion and worry. They may feel completely unprepared for this next stage of parenthood. And if their child is gay, it may bring a whole new set of questions and concerns.


     Some are surprised to learn the truth, always having thought their child was straight. Others wonder whether the news is really true and whether their teen is sure. They might wonder if they did something to cause their child to be gay — but they shouldn't. There is no evidence that being gay is the result of the way that someone was raised.


     Fortunately, many parents of gay teens understand and are accepting right from the start. They feel they have known all along, even before their teen came out to them. They often feel glad that their child chose to confide in them, and are proud of their child for having the courage to tell them.


     Other parents feel upset, disappointed, or unable to accept their teen's sexual orientation at first. They may be concerned or worried about whether their son or daughter will be bullied, mistreated, or marginalized. And they might feel protective, worrying that others might judge or reject their child. Some also struggle to reconcile their teen's sexual orientation with their religious or personal beliefs. Sadly, some react with anger, hostility, or rejection.


     But many parents find that they just need time to adjust to the news. That's where support groups and other organizations can help. It can be reassuring for them to learn about openly gay people who lead happy, successful lives.

With time, even parents who thought they couldn't possibly accept their teen's sexual orientation are surprised to find that they can reach a place of understanding.

 
Strengthening Marriage           

     Couples who have chosen to work through marital problems will find that an experienced trained professional will guide them on their journey. Dr. Campbell  specializes in  working with  couples  who  find  themselves  distressed  in their  relationships and want to identify issues that are creating that distress and learn how to break the cycle of conflict.  She  uses an  approach  known  as  Emotionally  Focused Therapy (EFT) in helping  these  couples  to  remove  the  blocks  to real connection


Suicide
     National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 


     If someone you know is struggling emotionally or having a hard time,  you can be the difference in getting them the help they need. It’s important to take care of yourself when you are supporting someone through a difficult time, as this may stir up difficult emotions. If it does, please reach out for support yourself.


Do They Need Your Help?

     Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline.


  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

How Can You Help Them?

     It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. It's hard to know how a suicidal crisis feels and how to act. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time for help if a friend is struggling.