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What You Know About Emotions is Probably Wrong

A few years ago, a brand new client told me he thought therapy was probably useless. I’ll be honest, that’s not a great start. It got worse. A few minutes later the client described what was going on in his life and gave me a very clear job: help me figure out how to keep doing the same things but feel differently about them. The client was right: therapy is absolutely useless for making the same choices that clearly don’t work and expecting to feel different. He was unimpressed by my suggestion that pehaps it was the feelings that needed some attention. We didn’t get too far. Unfortunately, this person’s expectations of himself (and therapists) is very common. We have a culture of expecting ourselves to do things that we have feelings about, while ignoring those feelings. I saw a recent     . . . read more

Spring Workshops

We are excited to offer The Self-Assurance Series.  Get the motivation and toolkit you need for increased energy and confidence!   SAVE BIG with a Series Pass. Here are the details:  The Positive Power of “No” Wednesday, March 22 5:30-8:30pm 200 High Street, Portland, Maine Do you put yourself last, risking your success and depleting your joy? Does guilt prevent you from being honest and saying “no”? Are you ready to stop “working on it” and finally master saying “no” once and for all?  It’s time to learn exactly how to say “no” with confidence and without apology. This workshop is right for you if: You say “yes” to things that bog you down and end up feeling resentful. You’re afraid it’s not nice to say “no”. You need the language to say “no” in a clear, confident way. You would feel more     . . . read more

Mature Behavior in 10 Easy (okay…actually pretty difficult) Steps

Though I strive to be sensible and balance reason with carefully considered emotions, I have had to put myself in time-out several times recently. My kids drive me nuts because they are children and we are inside together a lot because it’s winter in Maine, and I want to lose my mind. “Those people” on the internet drive me nuts because, in case you have not observed, things are tense out there. It seems like no matter who you are, every emotional button is being pushed in the current climate. Keeping myself under control is not always easy. Perhaps you can relate. I find it facinating how we work so hard to teach our kids to behave appropriately, meanwhile often misbehaving ourselves. My daughter’s school is amazing. They have beautifully explained expectations for how people treat each other- in the classroom,     . . . read more

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond (And Make a Good Relationship Even Better)

It’s a new year, and there is likely a resolution you have forgotten: investing in your relationship. As a culture, the new year tends to signify a time for reflection and for commitment to betterment in some sense.  We make resolutions to improve ourselves individually. Sometimes we commit to taking action to improve the world or our community. We consider seeing friends more or spending more time with family.  Life gets busy, and it’s important to reflect on our priorities so we don’t lose sight of them in the flurry of day to day living. However, one area that tends to get overlooked, unless there is a glaring problem or a new and exciting milestone (like marriage, a new baby, a special anniversary), is our commitment to bettering, or strengthening, our long term romantic partnerships.  In the chaos of life,     . . . read more

Can Respectful Disagreement Bring Us Together?

Being a therapist has taught me that to disagree effectively is to build connection and unity. Talking in-depth for thousands of hours with dozens, if not hundreds, of people has had a profound impact on me. I am wiser, stronger, and happier than I would be otherwise, because I have connected with them and seen the world through their eyes. I also feel more clear that everyone makes sense in the context of their lives. Most people are coming from a good place most of the time. People make choices that reflect their life experience, what they were taught, and what they value. These things vary dramatically person to person, naturally. This seems obvious, but we see the world and speak from our own lens. Every single person has perspectives and internal narratives that are distorted, unhelpful, and just plain     . . . read more

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