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I’m Excited

I’m excited. This has been a very common statement towards the end of sessions lately. I work primarily with people in transition. I’ve gotten a lot of energy and joy in helping people find their way through the big stuff: breakups, new relationships, new jobs, long-distance moves, new babies, marriages, divorces, you name it. People come into session overwhelmed, stressed, and feeling stuck. It’s understandable. In time, and with some expert guidance on new skills and perspectives, we can move through the tough stuff. By the end of the session, new thoughts and feelings emerge. Transition is a time of opportunity. Yes, there is stress, confusion, and even chaos. At the same (hectic) time, there is all kinds of room for new patterns, habits, attitudes, connections. Did you realize that out of struggle comes knowledge, self-confidence, and resilience? Yeah, I     . . . read more

Dominant Emotional States

A few weeks ago, I wrote to Rudy Skowronski, LCSW, who is a brilliant trauma therapist in practice in Saco, Maine (you can see his full bio at the end of this post). I asked Rudy to talk about his work with Dominant Emotional States as part of the the New Perspectives Series. Rudy’s letter back to us illustrates the deep and profound work that can be done when you worked with a highly skilled therapist. Making lasting emotional changes is possible with the proper understanding and guidance. Many thanks to Rudy for this contribution. Hi All, Here is the explanation that I use to convey  my ideas around Dominant Emotional States (DES).  After the description I will write briefly about the way I use my ideas around DES in therapy with individuals couples and families. Dominant Emotional States are     . . . read more

The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

Overreactions

Know what’s really cute and hilarious? That Reasons My Son Is Crying blog. When kids’ overreact, it can be quite adorable, given it’s not your kid and that you are only subjected to a still photo and not the live version. You know what’s neither cute nor hilarious? When a full grown person yells and swears and gives you the finger because they were inconvenienced that you slowed them down by (god forbid) driving the speed limit. In my estimation, the age where overreactions of any kind are no longer cute is about 2.75 years. If you are older than that, please keep reading. If you are not, you are a very smart young person with a bright future. Overreactions aren’t pretty, and yet they happen repeatedly. Why? Because overreactions are always about something else, not the situation at hand.     . . . read more

Is Being In Touch with Your Feelings BS?

Look, I can handle it. I know that a lot of people out there think that it is just not that important to spend any time or energy on their emotional lives. If you’ve ever read this blog before you know that I respectfully but firmly disagree. Is it that I enjoy being the champion of unpopular ideas? No, in fact I’m much happier vehemently defending non-controversial statements (ice cream is delicious, damn it!). It’s because you don’t get to have a quality life if you turn your back on emotions. It’s not possible. And I want you to have a satisfying life, I really do. If you don’t understand your own emotions, you are probably a landmine of bad reactions. If we don’t understand where our feelings come from, we attribute them to the wrong things, for the wrong     . . . read more