When NFL Players Retire They Face a Potentially Debilitating Transition, Says Dr. Bonnie

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Family and relationship therapist, Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, is thrilled to hear the NFL is offering counseling to its players when they retire (http://usat.ly/JGzbrR). As the NFL mission evolves, as they integrate families more into their programs, and on the heels of the death of player Junior Seau, they are understanding what can be a brutal transition from football star, to average Joe.

Family and relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil is thrilled to hear the NFL is offering counseling to its players when they retire (http://usat.ly/JGzbrR). As the NFL mission evolves, as they integrate families more into their programs, and on the heels of the death of player Junior Seau, they are understanding what can be a brutal transition from football star, to average Joe.

Only 25 percent of current and retired players engage in league programs and counseling, and Dr. Bonnie feels players would benefit from "exit counseling" as a pre-requisite to retirement. "Within the game, counseling may not be looked at as 'manly' or macho," explains Dr. Bonnie, "but it's a critical part of the transition and should be a mandatory part of a player's exit."

"It can be similar to what soldiers experience when they come home from the front lines," explains Dr. Bonnie, "in that they aren't prepared for their transition back to normal life." According to USA Today, former players concur - it's easy for the positivity that comes with adrenaline to turn to depression once life off the field begins. And football players are expected to be tough, so they may not be likely to seek out help on their own Dr. Bonnie points out.

Which is why it's such a positive step for the NFL to begin offering mandatory counseling when players leave their team. In addition to working with a therapist, Dr. Bonnie suggests significant others and families check in with their football player on a variety of levels to ensure they stay connected. To this end, she teaches Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue.

"When couples or families engage in Smart Heart Skills, it should be a safe place," explains Dr. Bonnie who suggests families have a set time each week or each day where they check in with each other.

  • Wear an emotional "bullet proof vest" - each person in the family should feel comfortable being honest about what this life change means to them and how it affects them. "Each person should be conscientious of the others' feelings," notes Dr. Bonnie, "but the person who is sharing should feel free to be honest."
  • Don't ask "what's wrong." If the football player - or someone else in the family - doesn't feel like sharing, that's ok. "Don't push it," advises Dr. Bonnie. It's more likely that the person will just withdraw. Instead, give them space and let them know they can talk when they're comfortable.
  • Seal it with a kiss - or a hug. These actions provide oxytocin and dopamine - hormones that make people feel happy and bonded to their loved ones. It's especially important to take part in these gestures when the football player may be going through withdrawal from the constant adrenaline he's used to experiencing.

Dr. Bonnie also suggests players take part in career counseling. It can be an important part of sharing the pain or emptiness from losing football and leaving the game, but then transitioning to what's next in order to prevent feelings of loss and depression. This can be an important part of preventing familiar difficulties as well as thoughts of suicide. "Players should know that there are people around to help and to look forward to next part of life."

With their family and the NFL behind them, there's no way these players can lose!

To see Dr. Bonnie explaining how to engage in communication with a loved one, click here: http://youtu.be/9oP9R_LvStc

Text ADULTERY to 82257 to find out from Dr Bonnie if adultery or affairs may be looming in your relationship!

Interested in a few dating tips from internationally acclaimed relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil? Text DATINGTIPS to 82257 to receive Tips and Updates from Dr. Bonnie!

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil's best-selling book, Adultery the Forgivable Sin is being re-released under a new distributor and making its appearance available in eBook format and print on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Adultery-Forgivable-Bonnie-Eaker-Weil/dp/1587768151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321019076&sr=8-1). Adultery the Forgivable Sin was also made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Kate Jackson.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, is also author of the 2010 New York Times Reader’s Choice Award-winning book Make Up Don’t Break Up with accompanying DVD. Dr. Bonnie is a marriage counselor treating couples, singles, and step families. She works with those considering breaking up, people who have committed adultery, and couples who want to strengthen their relationships damaged by resentment or unresolved anger, teaching people to “fight” to increase passion, bring back magic and restore the sizzle.

As a marriage and family therapist, Dr. Bonnie teaches Smart Heart Dialogue along with intimacy, communication, and connection tools, and counsels families and children.

Named the Best Local New York Therapist by the US Commerce Association two years in a row (2011 and 2012) and known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of other books like Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity: Making Money Sexy.

Dr. Bonnie was named by NY Magazine as one of America's Best Therapists and is presently featured and available now on the Discovery Health/Oprah Winfrey Network documentary titled "Unfaithful" (http://bit.ly/GSP0KB) and A&E on addictions. The San Francisco Chronicle, which interviews Dr. Bonnie regularly, voted her one of their love experts.

Also find her on Good Morning America, on the Today Show's three-day series on infidelity, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, and a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN; and is often featured in USA Today and the New York Times. Visit Dr. Bonnie at http://www.DoctorBonnie.com.

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