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(Not So) Great Expectations

I was invited to do my very first guest post on the fabulous another jennifer blog. Here it is: My daughter is a young toddler now. On a recent family outing around town, she decided to keep in her hand, through a few stores and the intervening car rides, an oversized red fork from a toy picnic set. Sometime after this outing, I got her a set of sand toys. She loved this set, but not for the reasons I’d imagined. She had a particular fondness for a small blue sand shovel. That night, she brought it with her to her highchair, right along with the big red fork. Suddenly, my perspective changed. That was not a sand shovel, it was the big fork’s long-lost spoon friend. What I love the most about children is how uniquely they see and     . . . 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

Building Self-Esteem, Moment by Moment

I enjoy going to what I refer to as “the jungle gym for grown-ups.” It reminds me of recess time. I think adults need that kind of physical recreation too. Last night I was working on my clean (its a weight lifting move) and making good progress. Some of the ladies I work out with noticed. Several were appropriately congratulatory about my personal record. I said to them, “I feel good about that.” As a therapist, those are the moments I help clients identify. It’s about finding times where you feel both physically and emotionally good about something you have done. Many people want to work on self-esteem and confidence. I think the key is to take note of these moments and to be able to direct your mind back to them again and again. Next time I’m at “recess”     . . . read more

See Options, Make Changes

Change. That’s what’s on my mind. This week I have been really inspired by stories of change all around me. People always presume that my job is kind of a drag. They think that all I hear about is stuff that would ordinarily bum anybody out. Honestly, it’s truly the opposite on most days. What’s really going on all day is people showing up in my office with a lot of will to have things go better in their lives. There are certainly ups and downs and rough situations that people have encountered. However, the majority of people stick with coming to see me and they succeed with their goals. That’s incredibly uplifting. My job is pretty awesome. In a recent post, I talked about how people have to decide to make changes. Then, with intention and attention, changes can     . . . read more

2011 Reflection/2012 Preview: Realizing Our Potential

I experienced a lot of change personally and professionally last year. My daughter was born last January. Being a first-time parent pretty much sums up the personal changes from the last year! Professionally, I continued my ongoing study of how people make positive, lasting changes. I fully believe everyone can make such changes. One theme from last year is that people have tremendous power to shape their emotional lives, but most fail to realize they have this potential. I am very impacted by the work of Brene Brown. She is a researcher who has studied important topics like shame and worthiness. Brown says that one of the keys to living a connected, “wholehearted” life (her term), is to believe in your own worthiness. Much pain and disconnection from others is caused by the mistaken belief that we are not good     . . . read more