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The Surprising Thing Authentic People Do (That You Probably Don’t)

Amongst people at dinner parties, networking events, and behind the closed door of my office, I hear, “I don’t want drama. I want honesty. I dislike fakey-fake.” Then invariably I hear this declaration from one of the people I just described, in response to some interpersonal issue they are having: “You know what the problem is? I’m just too nice!”  My response to this statement depends on the audience. If you have the misfortune of being my friend, I drop a (loving) truth bomb on you. Otherwise, I make my point a little more gently and in time. If you’re my blog reader, I’ll tell you like this: No, you are definitely not too nice. You can’t be too nice. What you are actually talking about is being dishonest, cowardly, and part of the problem you say you want to avoid.      . . . read more

Love, Process, and Letting Go: What I Learned as My Daughter Made Valentines

“It will take one hundred years!” I said a bit (okay, a lot) immaturely to my 5 year-old daughter mimicking her usual phrase. She wanted to trace, cut out, decorate, and write names on 19 homemade heart-shaped valentines for her nursery school classmates. Wanting to avoid the time, imagined tears of frustration (hers and mine!), and perceived stress, I proposed I at least cut them out. I pictured hearts made with nice smooth scissor edges. That proposal was shot down. I hung out cleaning the kitchen instead, until it was painfully obvious I was not needed at all. Sometime later that afternoon, I was proven totally wrong. Those 19 valentines were done. My heart felt so full seeing them on the table after watching her plug away undaunted by the task at hand. These pieces of paper, which I doubt     . . . read more

New Approaches Welcomes Leah Ottow, LCSW

Big news: We are pleased to welcome Leah Ottow, LCSW to New Approaches! Kind, compassionate, insightful, and intelligent, Leah is an excellent therapist and we are thrilled to have her on board. Some words from Leah: My style is collaborative and based on the belief that a trusting relationship is the foundation for therapeutic growth and change.  My approach is integrative and includes elements of humanistic, cognitive, family systems, and mind-body theories, with treatment tailored to a client’s individual needs. Areas of interest include anxiety, relationships, perfectionism, identity, depression, mindfulness, trauma, stress management, loneliness, pregnancy/post-partum. . I’ve worked with adults, adolescents and children in Southern and Mid-Coast Maine since 2007.  A Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Maine, I hold a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College. She joins Hannah Curtis, LCSW     . . . read more

Do You Need to Be Right?

The motivation is clear: it can feel so good, so powerful to be “right.” But is it really worth it? What do you gain? The truth is: you can pursue being right but at the cost of being unhappy. Basically, if you approach conversations, dialogue, or arguments with the intention to “win” or “be right” you are playing a lonely game. How we interact with others is not a sport. You can’t win, but you can certainly lose the relationship. Every interaction is a chance to connect or disconnect, to step towards understanding or discord. If you treat your interactions as a chance to “one up” another person, you are fundamentally missing the point. You will continue to create disconnection- even if you feel you have “won.” You have to decide what’s actually important- do you want to be right or     . . . read more

5 Ways Speaking Up Makes Our Lives Better

Yesterday I had the opportunity to co-facilitate a discussion on the theme “Dare to Speak Up and Be Heard” with the organization, Women Standing Together. It was a great group of interesting, competent, accomplished women. Still, most agreed on one thing: it’s too easy to hold back and not say things we want and need to say. Speaking up can be hard and scary. Too often, with women in particular, there is a fear that speaking up and saying things in a direct manner will produce negative emotional reactions in others and make us vulnerable to being seen as mean, defensive, stupid, or incompetent. My observations about effectively speaking up are different. I think the common outcomes of thoughtfully sharing our observations is a positive one. Here are some surprising and very real benefits of saying (skillfully) what’s on our     . . . read more

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