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Connecting With Focus

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2014 at 6:52 am

I am my toughest critic.  It took me a lifetime to figure that out, but yet it still doesn’t stop me from continuing to be just that.  I am also quick to recognize self-critics in others, especially in my clients who are often given my own special diagnosis of “hard on yourself”.  I am fortunate because my clients are willing to be reflective with me, and work towards change and practical solutions. 

What about those out there who only add fuel to this inner fire?  I thought about this as I read another article about attachment parenting.  Another article about how parents are fixing everything for their kids so their young adult children are then lacking in coping skills and resiliency and consequently find that anxiety overwhelms them regularly.  Parents are providing so much these days:  Sports, lessons, tutors, electronic games and gadgets, transportation, spontaneous treats and anything else they can provide.  But are they providing quality time?

Ill never forget when, as a new mom, I read that young children only need 10-15 minutes a day of good quality time.  Whew, did I breathe a sigh of relief.  Because whether it’s the walk to school or the tucking in at night, or making time to sit and really talk (and listen!), ten to fifteen minutes was all I could find in my day.  I still strive to find that time.  Because driving them to practices or rushing around with other mundane chores does not build relationships.  But my closed laptop, phone-less, genuine listening, thoughtful guidance and focused attention are what shuts up my inner critic.  And if I can be that person for all my clients, I can certainly find 10-15 minutes a day for my sons. 

Connecting through Change

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Why would someone go to therapy?  Because of significant traumas, severe depression, a personality disorder (borderline, bipolar, schizophrenia)?  Or because of debilitating anxiety and panic attacks?  Perhaps it is more of a feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed, or a little sad and not sure why.  Maybe it’s grief or figuring out a big decision or developing executive functioning skills or digging out the buried self-motivation.  If I asked each of my clients that question, I think I would get that many different answers.  I used to try to simplify those answers under the big umbrella of “to make life better”.  While that may be true, at least on some levels, there are so many other reasons.  Some may say my (mom, dad, spouse) said it would help me.  Others did a whole lot of research and decided what kind of therapy they wanted (practical, cognitive behavioral therapy usually) and what specific goal they wanted to work on (depression, stress, anxiety, anger).  I think others would say they have a whole lot going on in their head and don’t want to burden their loved ones with all they deal with, so they use their therapy time to unload (one of my first blogs was titled “Empty Your Head”).  But in today’s consumer-driven world, combined with my own personal impatience, I think most of my clients are looking for some immediate change and success.  And as most of you know, change is not always driven by logic (because if it were, nobody would smoke, overeat or do drugs) but it requires emotion.  And to really make changes, the kind I can help you make, we need to do emotional work.  It is hard, but it is good.  We figure things out.  “Things” being strategies and insights.  We go deeper.  We figure out even more.  And then change happens.  And life gets better.  

 

Connecting with your Inner Voice

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm

You know that voice I am talking about. The one that never blames, criticizes and guilts… anyone but yourself. Oftentimes when I talk with clients about their inner voice, tears come immediately. Whether they are fifteen or fifty, they know exactly what I am talking about. Their harsh critic. Their unforgiving words. Their denial of good work. It is that voice that thanks publicly but chastises privately. So many people have this, but so many are unwilling to talk back to it.

I was reading a magazine article about questions we should be asking ourselves. The questions ranged from caring too much about what other people think, to asking am I strong enough, helpful enough, reflective enough, to how do I want to be remembered. While tough questions for most people, these can be torturous for others. Enough is a really tough word, and I admire those who ever feel “enough”.

I joke that a diagnosis in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) should be “hard on yourself”, because that is what afflicts many. It is said with a smile, but often felt with sadness. If that voice is spending an ordinate amount of time questioning and judging and criticizing yourself, then how can you make better use of your time? There is a difference between quieting that voice and actually confronting it. Can that same energy that is used to listen to that voice now be used to sing your own praises? Can it forgive, and finally say “yes… enough”?

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