- A written overview of life topics to compliment the counseling process.
- The views and expressions are based upon my own observations and experiences unless stated otherwise.
|Posted on January 15, 2015 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
Every January of a new year is a good time to do personal house cleaning for the Mind -Body-Spirit. This month can be reflective as you look back on the past year and assess what you have accomplished or would like to accomplish, and what you are struggling with. For many years I have given clients a short questionnaire to fill out, to contemplate what they deemed was successful from the past year, what they can improve on in upcoming year, what they would like to accomplish, strive for, or try in the upcoming year, and what they would like to say goodbye to from the previous year (their glad it’s over with). This method keeps the person on track. Having everything written down and posting it in an area where they can look at throughout the year, in some cases clients have put a reminder in their cell phone on month 6 to access their written plan
Even if January passes by this exercise can still take place.
|Posted on December 3, 2014 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
Based upon your past, your brain can register negative thoughts that leads to negative behaviors. With the upcoming holiday season ahead, it is not unusual that past memories can make you feel upset and sad. For some, the feeling of being perpetually “stuck” with negative thoughts may lead to diagnosed depression,co-dependent or dysfunctional relationship choices, amongst other psychological ailments.
The following list is considered “Happy Homework”. Read the statements, find one or two that fits you, and practice saying them daily until it becomes part of your thinking. (Note: Many years ago I was given this list with no known authors name, it has been given to my clients in counseling and used with great success)
1. I am a one of a kind, precious human being, always doing the best I can, always growing in love and wisdom.
2. It’s my life and so I am in charge of it.
3. My number 1 responsibility is my own growth and well-being. The more I love me the more I will love others.
4. I make my own decisions and I also assume responsibility for any mistakes. However I refuse to feel shame or guilt about those mistakes.
5. I respect the rights of others to have opinions or attitudes different than mine, but I refuse to be put down by those opinions.
6. I am not my actions. I am the actor. My actions may be good or bad, but that doesn’t make me good or bad.
7. I am not free in regards to things that happen to me in life, but I am 100% free as to the attitude I take toward those things. My personal well-being or my sufferings depend on my attitude.
8. I do not have to prove myself as a person to anyone. I need only express myself as honestly and effectively as I am capable with the knowledge there is no way everybody will accept me. I accept me.
9. I am ever striving to be kind and gentle towards me, to be free of animosity towards others, and to care about them.
10. I do not try to accomplish too many things in one day. I divide my list of “things to be done” into three categories, the “gottas”, the “it would be nice to” and the “the heck withs”.
11. I am patient and serene because I have the rest of my life in which to grow, a day at a time, doing first things first.
12. Every experience I have in my life, including the unpleasant ones, contributes to my learning and growth.
13. The only real “failure” is “failing to try”, so when I make a mistake, that does not make me a louse or a “crum”. It only proves that I am FHB (fallible human being), that is human, and there’s not a darn thing wrong with being human.
14. Once I have reconciled to God (as I see Him/Her), and to my neighbor, I am totally free of guilt or remorse.
15. I will continue today to pursue excellence in everything I do, but always cognizant of the fact that I can never become “Patti Perfect” or ‘Freddie Faultness”, there’s no such thing.
|Posted on November 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
How quickly the season has changed since I wrote the May blog discussing spring! It’s still warm and even sunny out in the North Eastern part of the United States, but limited day light and sun will soon be upon us. When the dreary days of winter seem to stretch I will reminisce using my mental snap shot of a beautiful scene from this past season. In my office I use spectrum lighting in order to “fake my brain” or mimic natural daylight and sunshine. There is quite a lot of research that discusses the effects of a human’s mood due to limited sunshine. There are many ways to improve your mood during these long days, including the use of mental techniques. I just mentioned one, taking a mental snap shot of a place or event that is considered to be tranquil. Even if you have never visited your ideal location you can use the beauty of your imagination and with the help of the internet you can choose any scenery you wish. Here is a method to try: 1. Sit down in a relaxed pose (no crossed legs or arms). 2. Close your eyes and begin to fixate on the scenery choice. 3. Use your 5 senses as you enter this scenery, what do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch? 4. Slowly breathe in through your nose, then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Repeat a times. Open your eyes when you’re ready. Notice how you feel, become connected with what your body and mind are telling you. Are you more relaxed, calm? This was an example of a cognitive behavioral therapy process called mindfulness. Practice this through the winter months. For those days where sunlight does appear, stand or sit facing it with your eyes closed, notice the warmth you feel and return to your own mental snap shot.
|Posted on October 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM||comments (0)|
Boundaries can be physical or emotional. Physical boundaries define who can touch us, how someone can touch us, and how physically close another may approach us. Emotional boundaries define where our feelings end and another's begins. For example, do we take responsibility for our feelings and needs, and allow others to do the same? Or do we feel overly responsible for the feelings and needs of others and neglect our own? Are we able to say "no"? Can we ask for what we need? Are we compulsive people pleasers? Do we become upset simply because others are upset around us? Do we mimic the opinions of whomever we are around? The answers to these questions help define the "fence" of our emotional boundaries.
Lack of boundaries can create enmeshment, or no rules. This has occurred in families or with fellow friends, and even co- workers. An example of enmeshment could be, family members who know every detail of your personal and intimate life. There is no privacy, everyone knows what you did with so and so, even private information that should be kept between partners is known by everyone. This creates a dysfunction within relationships.
Boundaries can be too rigid. Those whose boundaries are too rigid will shut out everyone from their lives. They appear aloof and distant, and do not talk about feelings or show emotions. They exhibit extreme self-abilities, though never ask for help. They do not allow anyone to get physically or emotionally close to them. It is as if they live in a dynasty surrounded by a massive wall with no openings. No one is allowed in.
Those whose boundaries are too loose put their hands on strangers and let others touch them inappropriately. They may be sexually promiscuous, confuse sex and love, be driven to be in a sexual relationship, and get too close to others too fast. They may take on the feelings of others as their own, easily become emotionally overwhelmed, give too much, take too much, and be in constant need of reassurance. They may expect others to read their minds, think they can read the minds of others, say "yes" when they want to say "no," and feel responsible for the feelings of others. Those with loose boundaries often lead chaotic lives, full of drama, as if they lived in houses with no fences, gates, locks, or even doors.
Those with healthy boundaries are firm but flexible. They give support and accept it. They respect their feelings, needs, opinions, and rights, and those of others, but are clear about their separateness. They are responsible for their own happiness and allow others to be responsible for their happiness. They are assertive and respectful of the rights of others to be assertive. They are able to negotiate and compromise, have empathy for others, are able to make mistakes without damaging their self-esteem, and have an internal sense of personal identity. They respect diversity. Those with healthy boundaries are comfortable with themselves, and make others comfortable around them. They live in houses with fences and gates that allow access only to those who respect their boundaries.
Learning to set healthy boundaries can feel uncomfortable, even scary, because it may go against the grain of the survival skills learned in childhood - particularly if the caretakers were physically, sexually or emotionally abusive or inattentive to your needs. Attempting to set healthy boundaries may initially be accompanied by anxiety, but you can learn to work through these conditioned fears, and have healthy relationships. But this process of growth takes time. It is a learnable skill.
|Posted on September 7, 2014 at 8:30 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on August 11, 2014 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
It’s common that when new relationships begin it's like "the land of enchantment". Everything appears to be perfect, you are in unison. As the relationships grows and other variables including lack of time together, family member(s) involvement, work, social commitments, and children can turn the perfect "land of enchantment" into a game of dodge ball. To put it lightly, it is no longer a bed of roses. Often, individuals can get infused within the moment, from their perception of what they believe they heard from their partner such as “she just does not get it”, “he is watching TV while I talk to him”, “we talk more on our cells as we run our kids around and are too tired by the end of the day” “I am sick of dating someone who does not respect what I say”. This reality turns into frustration, anger, and a breakdown within the relationship or a pattern of broken relationships.
What happened to the days you were able to just talk? Remember just speaking freely and feeling you were heard? Did you have that with your partner? Do you want this?
There are numerous ways to explore and analyze what the other person is really trying to communicate. The hardest is following such sayings as: “I have two ears and one mouth", or “be present to what the person is saying to you". Relationships are not only about emotions, physical, and mental connections they are about listening, digesting what the other person says, and responding respectfully. I will write in future blogs about how a person’s response towards someone is often rooted by their past experiences and learned communication (or lack of it). For this blog, communication entails stepping back, taking a “time out” to really listen and respond for the betterment of your future relationship. Each person has their own responsibility to work on listening and being heard it is not for one person only to work on.
With couples, broken or misinterpreted communication is the foundation for other issues to surface, even the “little stuff”. Miscommunication within relationships create patterns and as years pass, this is when couples may just give up. If it’s a new relationship it quickly dissolves. If you are seeking a relationship, in a new in a relationship, at the midway point, have had failed relationships, are now aware of your relationships dysfunctional communication or want to learn how to create a stronger communication and partnership I am here to help. In therapy I share simple effective means to “get your point across" and generally "be heard".
|Posted on July 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
It has been a privilege to learn more about “life” through my explorations as a military spouse over the past 20 plus years, and as a counselor. One thing I have observed is inconceivable spirit within people and heart-broken spirits. I have been witness to some who are aware of their internal flicker of hope, though they dismiss it. The saying, “if you have too many lemons…make lemonade" is also inconceivable, as they feel they are the “pit within the cherry” and are stagnant. I previously watched the movies Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) and Maleficent (2014) where both portrayed situations regarding "giving in" and "giving up" as a possibility. What struck me the most were the characters sense of hope, inner drive, and determinant behaviors. I won’t give away any further details, though I understood the message within the films, part of humans unknown treasure is your spirit.
"Never give up".
|Posted on June 24, 2014 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
How long have human beings searched for their own life meaning? Is this even something that is actually thought about in the day to day race of living? Meaning is a form of connections, "webs", based upon a person’s experiences and interpretations to help direct them with planning and achievement. Knowing that life matters, and makes sense, not just for the day, but the next day, and in the future. Being grounded or balanced is the result of meaning. What fulfills one persons "meaning" may not fulfill the next person. It’s easy to be influenced by “what everyone is doing" and believe this is life meaning. With this occurring the “norm” or “normal” is developed. That’s where meaning begins to become warped. This is not a new phenomenon and some of you may be shaking your head in agreement. For many, meaning of life is superficial with what is seen but not felt.
I had the opportunity to live in Germany and travel throughout Europe. While in Rome, I went to the coliseum in the center of the city, and was told by locals that it was built to keep everyone entertained while destruction and corrupt politics occurred outside the walls. Everyone was so engrossed with the pleasure of entertainment by the time they realized what occurred Rome was no more. While living and traveling in Europe and other countries, I saw how modest they lived compared to the US. They did not have as much material “things” but I saw little deficiencies of life meaning including emotional, physically, and spiritual poorness. I also observed this while living in El Paso TX, as Juarez Mexico was literally right in front of me to observe daily. This has stuck with me and is easy to reflect on.
Are you looking for the meaning of your life? What I often observe as a counselor, are unncessary stresses often placed upon a person to create their meaning of life? "It’s the American way" to have it all, whatever it is? If you feel overwhelmed to keep up with “the norm”, this can lead to anxiety, depression and taking out our frustrations on others; mostly loved ones as the victims. In counseling sessions we can discuss what your meaning of life is and the process for your fulfillment. You may be surprised with your everlasting human need.
|Posted on May 26, 2014 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|