Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Questions from the first Girl Talk

Last night was the first "Girl Talk" WOW, it was great. Thanks to the fabulous ladies who showed up, participated and critique this event. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next one.

Girl Talk is an event where a group of women get together and discuss whatever issues are impacting their lives and I do my best to offer a mental health, clinical perspective. Actually, it is my effort to support people, in this case women, to offer hope and healing for the pain we all face at one time or another.

So, I promised the girls last night I would address some of the anonymous questions submitted last night. They are such good questions, I will do my best to offer up some hope and healing for the situations these questions embody.

Let me preface this by saying. There are no black and white answers to these questions. What I offer is my own academic, spiritual, and experiential thoughts.

Here we go.
Question #1
My husband and his sister aren't getting along - do I stay out of it or butt in - and if so how?

Yep this one comes up a lot, and I am just talking about my own life.

It is so difficult to watch two people you know and often love, miscommunicate, or, well, fight and tear each other down. Any descent person would feel like they needed to do something to help. Makes sense. The thing is it does not, I repeat, DOES NOT work that way. It does not work when one person, with good intentions, tries to mediate two people they are in a close relationship with. Friends or family, it doesn't matter. The ironic thing is the person with the good intentions, will not be able to help and will most likely damage, maybe even destroy the relationship with the two people he or she is trying to help. Harsh, I know, but pretty much true. Here is why. With communication, every time another individual is added into the communication loop, it becomes more complicated. Makes sense right?

That said, back to the question. If two people are not getting along, aka - communicating, adding a third will not make things better, it will make things more complicated. That part is pretty straight forward, what comes next is the difficult part. If you are the 3rd party in this communication loop, you have a challenging role - remain neutral. Neutral is code for - stay out of it, don't pick sides. Next, you, the 3rd party, must support both parties from a neutral position. This requires a great amount of restraint and maturity. There are 60 year olds who are not mature enough to conquer this challenge. Having this knowledge about the dynamics of communication may help you and save you years of frustration and pain.

So to the person who asked the question, try to remain neutral and supportive to both parties. Pray for them to work it out. It may be difficult, but trying to help will not give you the outcome you are hoping for. Making a decision to not try to help may actually help. Just so you know, there are no guarantees in relationships. Your husband and your sister-in-law may or may not work it out. When people do work out communication issues, it usually takes longer than anyone is comfortable with. Modeling maturity and patience is the greatest gift anyone can offer to the ones they love.

Let me know what you think. If you have experienced a similar situation, share your positive thoughts.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Girls only

Girl Talk 
AT 6:30 PM 

1155 Ocean Shore Blvd., Ormond Beach, FL 32176 
Surfside North Condominium 


This night is all about you. 
 This is your opportunity to talk with a counselor and 
other women about the topics that are most important in your life. 
Your questions will fuel the conversation. You can submit a question at 
 the event or submit a question by email now at 
Bring a friend! 

ROBI LIPSCOMB, 615-456-3083 

This time is for you to talk about what is going on in your life with other women and 
Robi Lipscomb, mental health counselor intern for Ormond Beach Counseling Center. 
*Surfside is on the beachside across from the Kangaroo Express/ Citgo. 
If you pass the Publix, you have gone too far.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Intimacy in Marriage

My parents have been married for over 65 years. I am blessed to have a model of marriage that has stood the test of time. Now 84 and 87 I am witness to the core of what makes a marriage last. My parents know their time together is coming to an end. My dad kisses my mother goodbye even if he is just leaving for a few minutes. She is still slightly jealous of female friends who bring in a meal made more for my dad’s dietary needs than hers. He tears up as we drive past the dinner theater where they loved to enjoy a night out together. By the time I was in high school, more of my friend’s parents were divorced than married. Friends always remarked what a cute couple my parents were. They held hands, they looked into each other’s eyes when they spoke, they put each other first no matter what was going on around them. I know life and marriage were not always easy for them, certainly it is not easy now as one spouse watches the other slowly fade away, so it is not just mushy emotions that have secured the bonds of marriage.

It is a commitment they made to one another. It is a decision to stand firm in that commitment even when it is no longer fun, or romantic or exciting. It is holding on to that commitment when there seems to be nothing left of the marriage but the commitment. It is knowing that as they near the end of life, that commitment has ultimately created an everlasting bond of deep love.

An intimate marriage takes work. To still be attracted to each other when you are in your 80's means you have kept the focus on each other and remained intentional about the relationship all along the way. Focus does not have to mean you spend hours reading books on marriage, although it is good to read one or more books on marriage a year, it means doing something daily to focus on each other.

Try this. It only takes 15 minutes to change, grow and strengthen your marriage.
Formula for Intimacy 
15 minutes per day
To connect emotionally: look into each other's eyes (which raises the oxytocin: trust hormone); share a positive thought or feeling and an affirmation to each other.
To connect spiritually: share an inspirational reading and prayer.
To connect physically: hug for 20 seconds (raises the oxytocin: trust hormone); kiss passionately for 5-30 seconds without leading to sex (raises the dopamine: passion hormone).
(Penner & Penner, 

Robert and Polly celebrating Valentines Day 2011
Married June 1, 1946

Monday, January 16, 2012


There are people around us that feel alone and abandon; maybe you are one of them. You have probably heard someone say, “I feel so alone.” When someone says they feel so alone, it rings with a note of unhappiness in it. Did you know unhappiness is preventable? No there is no shot, or vitamin to protect you from it. The prevention for unhappiness is just what Dr. Martin Luther King prescribed. When we seek happiness for others we experience a shift deep inside, off of ourselves and on to others. It is difficult to focus on yourself and your own pain or loneliness if you are focused on others. Just by shifting your focus, there is relief. The bonus is you are no longer all alone with yourself and your unhappiness. As you focus on giving the gift of happiness to others, you receive the gift of feeling good about yourself. You feel good, you feel a part of something, and you feel happy.

 (Sometimes unhappiness that lingers can turn into depression. If that sounds like you, meet with a counselor in your area to receive support and additional tools to help you reach the place where you can experience happiness and pass it on to others. or

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year, what new about it?

Happy New Year, what is new about it?
A new year is the perfect time to leave behind the things that no longer serve you and pick up something new that improves your life, your relationships, your life and the lives of those around you. Whether it is the decision to leave behind a few pounds, admitting you are struggling with an addiction, deciding depression is better left behind or making a plan to finish a home project that lurks on your to-do list there is one secret you need to know. Actually, it is no big secret, it is connection. It is how we, as humans are wired, we are wired for connection. Ask people about connection and they will tell you about disconnection. Is there something about me, that if other people know or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection; this is the basic definition of shame. It is the, “I’m not thin enough, smart enough, …” fill in the blank. It is shame that causes us to disconnect from people. The key to connection is vulnerability and a feeling of personal worthiness. People who connect and allow themselves to be vulnerable have courage, compassion and authenticity. Courage is fear that doesn’t give up and allows you to do something flaws and all. Compassion means, as an imperfect person I can relate to others and allow their imperfection. Authenticity is, being the person you truly are, as oppose to trying to be whoever someone else wants or expects you to be. So, it turns out, embracing shame and allowing vulnerability, lead to connection, which leads to joy. Connections. Connections improve your life, your relationships, your life and the lives of others. Don’t make resolutions; make connections. If you want to lose weight, find some friends to walk with on a regular basis and to hold each other accountable about what you eat. To get honest about an addiction, start with a twelve-step meeting, all of which are based on connection with others. The founders of the twelve-step program discovered that helping another addict get sober was not just nice; it was necessary.  Depression thrives on loneliness and isolation. To fight depression, make connections with people. Want to finish that unfinished home improvement project? Invite a few friends to help you get it done. If you are in a place where shame and disconnection have stopped you cold in your tracks and connections seem impossible, consider starting with counseling (, meeting with a pastor or friend to share how shame is keeping you from leaving behind things that no longer serve you. 

Thoughts for this blog are a combination of my own experience, the observation of the experience of addicts in recovery, and a youtube video by Dr. Brene Brown (which I love to watch)

Monday, January 2, 2012


I'm Robi.
I am starting a new career at almost 50. My husband passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2009, which was a catalyst for a whole bunch of changes in my life as I am sure you can imagine. Not to be too dramatic, but I was standing at a gas pump, filling the tank on my car, crying, anticipating the death of my husband of 25 years. I was thinking, "What am I going to do now?" Something inside me said, "You know  what to do. Do what you have always planned to do, become a counselor." This was true. It is a long story, but the short version is I knew it was exactly what I needed to do. So I did. Six months after my husband died, I took my first counseling class. Two years later, I have my Masters of Arts in Counseling, 1000 hours of unpaid internship and I work in a private practice as Registered Florida Mental Health Counselor intern.
This blog is for you. It is a place to find information about marriage, sex, parenting, depression, addiction, and a number of other topics. Some blogs will be deep and serious, others will be light and funny - just to give you a giggle for the day.
Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope it brings you encouragement, information and hope.