Self Compassion

Why Secure-Functioning Matters in Partnerships

Why Secure-Functioning Matters in Partnerships

What does it mean to be in a secure-functioning relationship? And why should it matter to me? Secure-functioning relationships allow us to be the best we are individually. It does not mean that you will lose your identity or freedom.  In fact, you will have more, since trust is a guarantee you two make. Your relationship will become a place of support and love.  As well as a place to call home + restore life-energy. Are you in a secure functioning relationship? IF not, good news is you two CAN BE!

Your Coupleship: Year in Review 2017

Your Coupleship: Year in Review 2017

Coupleship: Year in Review 2017

Why would you and your partner want to do a “Year In Review”? This series of check in questions is designed to help you two invite structure, flow, play and connection into 2018.

After the wrapping paper is cleared away, but before you pull out the new year's noisemakers, I hope that you can make time for each other. Just being together and enjoying each other is great, but I have an invitation for you that will help make you stronger in the year to come...

In this space between the holidays as one year ends and another begins, I'd love to know that you’re strengthening your "coupleship bubble." Maybe you want to think of it as creating your own private snow globe where you sit together in the swirl of your past and present and plan out your future.

Season of Feelings

 Susan Stork, LCPC, NCC is a Relationship Therapist and founder Space Between Counseling Services in Baltimore City, Maryland.   Susan works with Type A’s ---> Creatives as they balance schedules, stress, and the modern challenges of coupleship.  Specializing in counseling for individuals and couples using Stan Tatkin’s PACT approach, Susan helps you move through the muck of life and into a life of purpose and connection.

Susan Stork, LCPC, NCC is a Relationship Therapist and founder Space Between Counseling Services in Baltimore City, Maryland. 

Susan works with Type A’s ---> Creatives as they balance schedules, stress, and the modern challenges of coupleship.

Specializing in counseling for individuals and couples using Stan Tatkin’s PACT approach, Susan helps you move through the muck of life and into a life of purpose and connection.

  It’s that time of year again. Holidays are in clear sight in all areas of life.   

It’s that time of year again. Holidays are in clear sight in all areas of life.

I get that this time of year is hard on many people.
Due to traumatic events, difficult family and/or events linked to this season - many people feel less than { Deep Gratitude, Joyful & Happy } in the days between November --> January.

#Holidays are a rough time of year for many people due to one reason or another.

So, what can we do it about it? Jaime Stacks @jamielstacks has a one formula to stop this “crazy train” that speeds through the holidays for some of us.

It starts with setting your intentions.

Using intentions {PLUS} the therapeutic idea of "Re-Storying" we can alter our current experiences in this “NOW” space of the season compared to the “THEN” space of previous sadness, harm and voids of previous seasons.


{F I V E}  Mindfulness tips to jump-start your Holiday Self-Care}

[ONE] Set intentions every morning
[TWO] Take 15-30 minutes everyday for yourself
[THREE] Take 15-30 minutes everyday for loved ones -- family + friends and mentors
[FOUR] Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
[FIVE] Gratitude Journal

Photo by Estée Janssens on @Unsplash


( Together )


“We can do hard things.”
This is a saying that I’ve been saying + hearing lately - in my head, in my sessions, as a business owner, and as a partner + parent.
Understanding that we only have so much control of certain situations but we always have control of our commitments, our responses, our pause and our compassion for ourselves + others.

Being aware of feelings & expressing them PROACTIVELY - helps when things get "hard". Acknowledging that life can be scary, raw, over-whelming & unpredictable --- helps us to realize that it is normal, and that WE don't always have control when "hard things" enter our days. However, these feeling are a {S I G N} that something is amiss.

If you OFTEN use fight (judgement + aggression) , freeze (indecision + prolonged delay) or flee (avoidance) when {hard things} come your way - you might need some more support? 

🖊Writing feelings out (journaling) and/or talking to others might help to identify difficult feelings.

📌Both help me personally to move forward with what I needed to do and not let anxious thoughts take over when "hard things" hit the fan.

🔸In addition, reaching out for help shares the load. I often reach out to my husband + colleagues + friends and ask for insight when "hard things" come my way.

What do you do to confront "hard things"❓

Who are your supports? ❓

Where do you go to reflect + recharge + reset❓

If you find that you often confront "hard things" with fight (aggression + judgement) freeze (prolonged delay + indecision) or flee (avoidance) - it might help to seek more support(s) to help process your feelings and responses to "hard things."

{HARD T H I N G S} do not have to be a way of life - you can share the load, redirect, and pivot when necessary.

Hope Dealer


I was inspired last week to think of my role as a therapist in a different light. Then in sessions, these words came out - #hopedealer 

It seems fitting.

Why Mindfulness? By: Susan Stork


In 1999 - I took a deep dive into {Mindfulness} unknowingly!

I was dealing LOTS of young adult angst {family, career, relationships, friends & next steps} and I needed an outlet for my anger & frustration - so I entered a yoga training for daily Hatha lessons and guided meditation for 6 months daily at 4 am!

{{ Side-Note: At the time, I was an evening server, who got off work most evenings after midnight & never did a day of yoga in my life.}}

My yogi, never judged me for falling asleep during guided meditation (which I often did because at the time I didn't value MYSELF, sleep schedules & self care ) - instead my yogi pushed my awakening forward by suggesting "walking" meditations (she was slick).

For almost 18+ years - I think about this phase of life almost daily. I grew in ways - I never really appreciated it until later in adulthood.

For me: "Mindfulness" via walking meditation and permission / direction to "be in the moment" promoted my inner growth. Back in '99 - I wasn't aware enough (or mindful enough) to understand -- BUT... "I was where I needed to be to start the work".
I tell this story because it's never too late to gain control of your mind by harnessing your superpower and increasing your well-being.

{{ Yawning }} every creature that has a spine YAWNS

yawning cat.jpg

Yawning is a built-in repair circuit which triggers the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which calms everything down in your body.

We most associate yawning with boredom or being sleepy, but new research suggests it can be good for your health - by cooling down your brain.

Yawning is particularly useful when your body is stressed, injured, or ill. If you’ve got a headache, try yawn “surfing”– where you literally try to yawn over and over–in most situations, your headache will ease up.

Scientists at Princeton University found a big yawn can regulate the temperature of the brain and prevent over-heating. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which increase blood pressure. Yawning activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which attenuates the sympathetic nervous system, reduces stress, and lowers the risk for high blood pressure.

Because #yawning disturbs your current sympathetic tone and forces the parasympathetic nervous system to act in order to restore your body to a resting state because yawning discharges STREE from the body.

Feeling stressed or drained? Make an effort to yawn as a self-care strategy to help your blood pressure!

Be well and #bmore #aware#Baltimore!


📷: Borna Bevanda via: @unsplash @bbevanda

What is PACT? How can it help MY relationship?

Baltimore Couples:: Are you desiring a deeper understanding and connection? 
Well then... Let's get OFF the couch and get face-to-face via PACT. 

Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT) - Founder: Dr. Stan Tatkin

PACT teaches both #partners how to #soothe each other's brain during times of #stress. The result is two brains that are chemically wired together and a #securelyfunctioningrelationship . 

A PACT session is unlike any couple's therapy you may have experienced before.

** If you've been to standard couple's therapy, you may have left your session feeling worse than when you started. 

PACT sessions are 90 mins - 3 hours in length to ensure a positive result with each experience. 
Couples will face each other in rolling chairs, along with other postures as determined by the clinician while maintaining eye contact. Prolonged eye contact between partners allows defensive walls to come down, allowing the clinician to access core issues with less resistance.
In Baltimore & needing more information? Call Susan for a 15 minute complimentary phone consultation @ 443.527.2042

Finding Your Flow - Instead Up Swimming Upstream

Are YOU frantically swimming upstream, bucking the actual flow of life? 

In my therapy room a lot of this uphill swimming is due to trauma, stress, struggles with self and purpose. However sometimes what seems like stress can at times be ANXIETY. 

Everyone experiences anxiety in one form or another. However, there is a large difference between having an anxiety disorder and feeling anxious every now and then. For instance, it is pretty common and typical for someone to be anxious before they take an exam but becoming so anxious that they don't eat and decide to not show up to the exam at all could be a sign that that person has a disorder. 

Anxiety disorders themselves range from being mild to severe and it can also depend on what triggers a person's experiences and how often. In short, anxiety is a broad term that ultimately depends on the individual. 

It can be difficult to describe anxiety to someone who has never truly experienced it like the people who have disorders do. 

Social media is full of attempted explanations, but there are still those people who tell us to "get over it," "don't think about it so much," and "there's no reason to be anxious." 

One of the biggest misunderstandings about having anxiety is that most of the time we know that there isn't any real reason to be anxious, and that our minds are overreacting. The thing is though, it just feels impossible for us to turn it off and think logically in that moment. There's not a whole lot we can do.

As a therapist that specializes in ANXIETY - I get you. 

Anxiety is like swimming in the ocean with no land in sight: The mind has a keen way of magnetizing events of our lives. What can seem small and insignificant to one is massive in scale to another. Consider a 7ft man floating in an ocean 450ft deep. While he is large on land, the ocean proves a great challenge to his sense of size.  

Anxiety is diving deep underwater, then swimming back up to the surface, but the surface is farther away that it seemed so you suddenly feel as if you are about to drown.

Side-Note: Did you know that --> Swimming is a great way to drown-out stress and anxiety as you embrace every stroke? 

*** Swimming can significantly reduce symptoms like stress, anxiety and depression. Swimming triggers the release of endorphins, the natural feel-good hormone while stopping the secretion of fight-or-flight stress hormones. It also promotes the growth of new brain cells that atrophies under chronic stress and anxiety.


Photo Credit: Nikki McClure & Unknown Source