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Stepping Back

One of the things I love about summer is that the pace of life slows down. There are more opportunities for recreation and leisure. It just feels right to sit on the porch in the evening, as if that counts as an activity. There is a little more room to breathe. I think summer is a good time for therapy. There is room in this season to sit back and reflect. Therapy is an opportunity to get a small time-out from regular life. It can be the pause button in an otherwise hectic schedule. Maybe it is not as fun as a relaxed summer vacation, but it can function as a little oasis for the self. We all need some time and emotional distance to survey our life. We benefit from having some time to see ourselves as reflected by     . . . read more

I Do What I Say, And I Say What I Mean…As Much As Possible

In a memorable moment in graduate school, my professor said, “A good social worker needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” I knew instantly that it was true. It is helpful and necessary in my job to say things, make suggestions, offer observations, provide encouragement, and form recommendations. However, it’s not enough. I believe that a really great therapist needs to be willing to do the very things he or she endorses. It’s a worthwhile endeavor that I’m trying for, and maybe sometimes achieving. While I certainly do not want to dominate therapy with talking about myself, I do want to at least acknowledge that I’m a human too. I have things I work on in life. I’m a fellow traveler in this journey through a complicated human existence. As much as possible, I’m trying to do     . . . read more

The Worthiness Crisis

Okay, so this topic is bigger than a blog post can contain, but it’s a start. I’m so worried about this problem, I need to start talking about it every place I can. The problem: many people, and most notably young people, feel that their worth is in question. They (or really “we”) feel that worth is tied to things like GPA, salary, position, social class, appearance, romantic success, productivity, cleanliness, organization, keeping up with milestones, how cool you look on Facebook…pretty much everything. It’s always at stake. “Am I good enough?” is the question plaguing so many wonderful, lovely people everywhere. The interesting thing for me is that many people who look like they are succeeding on many of these measures are the ones who feel the worst. I think it’s because when you are acutely aware of what     . . . 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

Making Breakthroughs in Therapy

I get excited when clients make breakthroughs. They are also really excited, and so we both feel terrific. This week, a client pointed out that not every session contains a breakthrough. “That’s true,” I admitted. It got me thinking about the importance of having a breakthrough- a sudden “click” or an “ah-ha” moment. Should I be trying to get people to have one at every session? As motivating and energizing as a sudden advancement in knowledge or awareness can be, a breakthrough is just one aspect of therapy. That is the answer that came to me in the place where I have most of my breakthroughs: the gym. Having come off yet another small winter illness, it felt like a feat just to show up. That was my breakthrough. Just showing up is the real work of any long-term commitment     . . . read more