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Mission in Progress

A couple of weeks ago, I posed the question: Does therapy need a makeover? Many people wrote back saying that while therapy is (or at least can be) great, people without first-hand experience tend to feel negatively towards it. Since then, I have been working on ideas to achieve my stated mission: to convey to people everywhere that working on your emotional life is a positive and useful endeavor that yields good results. I need help again. I’ve created a survey that is very short (only 2-4 minutes to complete) and anonymous, that will provide useful information for my project. Find the link here. Thank you to everyone who chooses to participate in my project. Please share the link to the survey, if you are so inclined. I will keep you updated as it (hopefully!) goes forward, or morphs, or whatever     . . . read more

Does Therapy Need a Makeover?

I’m on a mission to convey to people everywhere that working on your emotional life is a positive and useful endeavor that yields good results. I may have my work cut out for me. I have a deep concern that most people have negative associations with words like therapy or mental health. Essentially, I worry that people think they are healthy as long as they don’t “need” to go to therapy. Therapy is seen as evidence of illness, instead of a way to accomplish wellness. I love what I do. My day tends to be uplifting, fun, interesting, inspiring and motivating. The fabulous clients I work with do come for depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, and other issues. I listen, empathize, and validate feelings. The work, however, is focused on finding ways to make life feel better and more fulfilling. Through     . . . read more

Comfort Through Connection

It has been dreary here in Maine this October. It’s easy to feel down when the darkness, cold and rain are present, especially after a bright and beautiful summer. Naturally, we all want to find some comfort and warmth to ease the damp chill outside. I’ve noticed that many people think comfort is about numbing out or becoming detached. Activities that could promote mindlessness include watching TV, eating, drinking, getting lost in the internet, and looking at things to buy. I’m not saying that these activities are bad. They just aren’t likely to have a lasting positive impact on mood. In other words, they may not provide true comfort. Comfort really comes from tuning in: being connected to ourselves, our environment, and to others. There is comfort in providing a pleasant experience to our senses, that makes us keenly aware,     . . . read more

Feelings About Feelings

As a therapist, I find that the cause of many mental health issues is not the emotion one naturally feels about an event or situation, it is the reaction to this initial or primary emotion. Often for people experiencing panic, it is the fear or embarrassment of having the panic symptoms that becomes problematic. For depression, it may be the shame of feeling sad, which prompts even worse sadness and lowers self-esteem. The first step in therapy is most frequently addressing the reaction to our own natural, understandable feelings. In short, ineffective internal responses to feelings we have are the underlying issue in many mental health diagnoses. As a result, I think a lot about why we are so ineffective at accepting, managing, or feeling our emotions. Why do we feel shame, anger, fear, or guilt about having feelings? For     . . . read more

Taking the Fear Out of Change

Some of you might know that I’m really into helping my clients make changes. But I am also very aware that change can feel scary and overwhelming. If you are torn between wanting to make changes, but feeling like it’s just too big of a job, you are not alone. I often see people who are in the stage of wanting change but not sure if they can handle it. This is a perfectly fine place to be. I like seeing clients who want to explore what change might be like even if they are not convinced to make the change. Change is a process. Part of the process is thinking about and talking about making a change. We called this the contemplation stage. Having a therapist at this stage in the process can be very helpful. You can identify     . . . read more

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