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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

Asking for Help is a Skill

There is a grocery item that I buy on a regular basis. It’s in a glass jar and it’s on the top shelf. Now if it were a box of cereal, I could easily give it a little poke and it would likely sway and bounce off the shelf and into my hands. I’m less than eager to try with a glass jar. My strategy instead is to wait for either a taller patron or staff person to come by. I ask politely for their help, thank them kindly, and go about my shopping. Pop quiz: What does this choice mean about me? Am I a failure because I’ve only grown to be 5’1″? Am I dependent on others? Is my lack of height shameful? Or am a resourceful thinker using the attributes of another to help me solve a     . . . read more

Surviving the Holidays Even When You Don’t Feel Festive

If life has been difficult, the holidays can be especially trying. For people who have been laid off of work, are struggling financially, dealing with a loss, or struggling with life changes, trying to find cheer during the holiday season is tough. The truth is that not every holiday season can be completely joyous. Grief, stress, anxiety and depression do not stop for the Christmas season. If anything, these feelings tend to intensify. We tend to compare the current holiday season with ones from the past. Much unhappiness comes from making these types of comparisons. Things change year to year. We will never re-create the exact same memories or situations. This does not represent a failure or a sign that things will never feel better. It is just a natural process of change. Most of us will not have abundance,     . . . read more

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

Very Curious

I know the saying about the cat, but really I’m interested in who killed curiosity. I could probably blame standardized testing or the ability to know all instantly with the internet. Regardless of the suspect(s), I would like to advocate for regaining some respect for this concept. For me, curiosity is a way of approaching the world. I believe it in our nature. We spend the first many years of life constantly wondering about the world, testing our theories, making careful observations. We drop food off of the high chair and observe the splatter. We figure out just the right ways to get our parents to react to us. Play is the primary way in which we find out about the world. Experimenting with everything and anything, we learn very quickly. Also noteworthy: play and curiosity are FUN. I regained     . . . read more