• tree and snow image for blog post 1 26 16Therapy is a process. Change takes time. Trust, relationship building and skill acquisition. These three components help to create a healing environment in which connection, growth, healing and change can occur. There may be stuck moments, repair and reconnection may occur and at times it may feel like things won’t get better. It is at these times when a person must practice self-care, stay in connection and have hope in the process. Trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in your ability to heal. Trust in someone else despite a past filled with hurt and abandonment. Trust that the process of therapy and your desire to create change can and will create help you fulfill your goals. Expressive arts are often a constructive avenue to explore themes such as trust between sessions. What has “come up” for you as you read this post? Where will you let it take you? I look forward to hearing from you.
   CHANGE IS NOT  JUST FOR THE LEAVES

 CHANGING.                                    It’s not just for the leaves.               

We have all heard that change is inevitable. We know that we are told that the only thing certain is change. We have also heard that change is good. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” What does change really look like? Are we always certain that we have the ability to change? Ability to change? Are these skills innate, learned or more like a combination, mixture or hodgepodge of experiences that we breathe, live and absorb? What will my relationship look like if I change? What if I don’t change?  Will they change too? Kindness, patience, skill building, communication, the dance of disconnection and repair, believing in ourselves, believing in the resilience of our relationships are all essential ingredients when contemplating or taking action to make a change.

Some questions to help you explore your relationship with change:

Q: What did you learn about yourself the last time you were faced with making a change?

Q: What happened the last time you were faced with a change you had no control over?

blog image child hands in dirt with plant

What we tell ourselves about ourselves is critical to the way that we are in the world. Our self concept, our self-esteem; that Mojo we talk about is the byproduct of a cultivated bed of thoughts, belief systems and stories. Who we tell ourselves we are helps to determine what we grow into. Our inner dialogue can vary and it has most likely evolved as you have grown up, experienced life and engaged in relationships. Our storybook begins with the seeds of thought planted by our caregivers and the environment we live in. Some are familiar flowers we replant year after year. Some become outdated and we update our self concept as we phase out a certain belief or thought about ourselves. Usually this occurs when we are provided with conflicting information and we begin to see ourselves a bit differently. A new varietal can emerge. Hopefully one that can help us to continue to grow, weather the storms that come our way and adapt to our changing needs. At times we also need to tend to our garden. We must weed out, transplant, nurture and feed our inner landscape.

I welcome you to take a stroll through your inner world. For today, pay attention to the words you tell yourself as you move through out your day. Try to view yourself through a lens that is non-judgmental so you are able to examine, explore and make changes from a place of love. Many flowers rely on the sun to open. Be your own sun!

rainbow ribbon of connection blog post july 22 2015

What image would represent your most intimate relationship? How do you manage the ebb and flow of connection and disconnection? What gets in the way?  Questions like these are a great way to check in with the current weather report for your most intimate relationships. You can journal on your own. How about a dialogue with your partner? Take a moment to check in with yourself. What is currently needed to improve the quality and level of connection between you and a special someone? It is often helpful to seek the counsel of a professional like a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist who can assist you in achieving the highest level of relational health.

Remember; we all need warmth, attention, intention and connection in order to always be growing…growing…growing…

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments, suggestions!

family therapy child seedling picture

It takes a village. Most of us have heard this phrase before. But what does it really mean? And what is this “village” that is mentioned. Well, I believe that the village can be as wide or as small as we make it. Our village can include our family, grandparents, best friends, a babysitter, a coach, teachers, professionals who are enlisted to help with bumps along the road, social media, and our neighbor next door.  Reaching out in order to meet needs, balance stress and collaboratively arrive at solutions.

Many people ask me what exactly do people do in family therapy. They wonder if “everyone” should come. Many individual “issues”, “problems”, “behaviors”, “events” create the need to reach out to call on someone in the village. All of this occurs within a social context (the family, community, school system etc). There are often creative and collaborative solutions which can be authored, re-authored individually, within the couple/partner, parental or sibling subsystem, or the entire family system as whole. The focus of the therapy, the configuration of the players involved is depended on the presenting issue or reason for seeking out services. I often assist parents to feel more equipped to address, manage and navigate through developmental phases and family life cycles stages. Yes, people often seek out a therapist when they need help with a crisis, time limited problem, or would like to explore their options regarding relationships, vocational aspirations or creative processes. What matters most is more complex than the reason for calling on the village. what matters is a desire to grow, change and experience a shift in perspective, affect or circumstance.

big aamft clinical member

meditation quote from elephant journal dec 2014

Hi. I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that struck me. I felt the words in my core. I found myself re-reading it and saying it out loud. I have let the words settle in me. They are someone else’s words. An appreciative shout out to Sarah McLean. I could have just gone on with my day. I could ignore the words seeping back into my consciousness. Could I really? I think I was done for when I was propelled to say the words out loud as I re-read it. I must share that I have a predisposition to be affected by words. I began my college adventure wanting to revive the Victorian novel. I dreamed to have my work reviewed in Ms.Magazine because Gloria Steinem herself was moved by my words. Back to that moment though.
“Give yourself time every day…”. Time; there doesn’t seem to be a lot of free time going around these days. Kids, work, home life and an attempt to gather with other adults to eat food that is warm in a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids menu is a true act of balance and patience. Ok. So I can see how I was drawn to this.
Let’s keep reading, digesting the words and letting them marinate, “…to be quiet and still with meditation.” Ahh, just reading it reminds me to take a better posture and breathe. Now for anyone that knows me I don’t have trouble being still. Being quiet outwardly and inwardly; now that is another story. A work in progress.
“Choose a simple practice…”. The word simple is not something used to describe me, my life or my inner world. Or is it? This part is tricky. Would my choice be familiar and therefore somewhat easier to accomplish? Nope. I decided to build on my love of the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I decided to allow myself to be motivated by Jamie’s blog about happiness and her real life example of finding a practice or more simply stated…wait for it…letting the practice find me. My current focus is on daily gratitude preceded by positive contemplation. I also include a picture. I will share my Gratitude calendar after 365 days. A shout out to Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler for the inspiration.
Now for the closer…”turn your attention inward and connect with this source of your intention”. This requires a loving attention that moves inward, past the critic and through to the true self. It is here that I am able to connect with myself on a level that knows no words.
What will you do when something strikes you?

I would love to hear from you.

Therapeutic relationships have the potential to create change. Change? What does that look like? Recovery? What does that look like? Getting some help. What does that look like?

Creating change. What exactly does that mean? Is it the same for everyone? Is there a quick fix?

Creating an atmosphere in which growth and change can occur? What does that mean? How exactly does that work?

Who creates these definitions? Who defines what heals?

If I stop ____________; am I healed?

How do I know what a healthy therapeutic relationship looks like?

Do I risk exposing myself?

Am I broken?

Am I perfect just the way I am?

Who creates these definitions?

Who defines what heals?

Does it occur in a therapy office? A gym? A spa? While meditating? In the midst of being mindful? While sitting in my therapist’s office? While taking a walk? In the moments before I fall asleep?

Who defines what heals?

How powerful are relationships?

How connected are you?

How in touch are you?

Do you need to be broken to be healed?

Can you find happiness?

Will it get better?

Will they finally understand?

Who creates these definitions?

Who?

You?

Storytelling. It is therapeutic. It’s that simple. Tell your story, a story, any story. In the space between the telling and the witnessing is a land of transformation, rejuvenation, creation an event! There may be pain that is unleashed or tapped into.  There may be moments when the pull to become silent is very loud. We hold within us the ability to heal. We do not need to see ourselves as broken to find happiness. The same stories that bind us can set us free. We can change the story we told ourselves. We can enliven a new way of being. Write another chapter. Heck, we can even revise a previously held notion about ourselves, others and even the world at large. If we open ourselves up to possibility we must be gentle and welcoming to what is revealed. A traumatic story may feel like the last chapter of your book or maybe even the title of a complete anthology. This can change. We can heal. We can overcome. We can work through it. We can be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We can push through. We can have hope for ourselves even when we feel so disconnected from who we are. Our stories.

I encourage you to tell your story. Pick one. Anyone and begin. Your first audience can be a piece of paper. A blank word document. In our head as we are showering. Tell it. Feel it. Hear it. Heal it!!

Honor.
For those before us. Those we once knew. We heard about them from our family.
For us. For who we hope to be. In inspiration. For ourselves. Because we deserve it. If not us; then who?
How shall we take a realistic view?
Must we?
Can honoring another person change us?
Are there different rules when speaking of honoring ourselves?
Could the journeys inform one another?
Effect one another?
Deepen the impact both personally and inter-personally?
It is the space between the questions and the quest for an answer where honor is found, earned, strived after, witnessed…..

There are many types of adventures we can embark upon.

Some are chosen.

Others are given.

Some we stumble upon.

Others call to us until we answer.

This word can mean different things to different people. Does an adventure have to push your limits? Are challenges necessary? Is the unknown the exciting part? Is it the journey? The destination? Adventure. Can it occur within our own psyche? While dreaming? While making love? Does it involve a backpack? What must be added to constitute an adventure? Does something need to be set aside? Do you need to laugh along the way? Is the itinerary set? Remember; not all who wander are lost.  Have you ever had the experience of a good story being an adventure? Ever get lost in a book? Have you ever been carried away? What role does fear play? Does a past experience come into play? Adventure. This is different for everyone. How does it change when others are involved? Do you need a sidekick? An entourage? Where does your source of comfort, strength, and encouragement come from? How do you replenish when your reserves are low?

This writing exercise, this exploration could also be seen as an adventure.

The word means different things to different people.

What will your next adventure be?

I would love to hear about it.

There are many types of adventures we can embark upon.

Some are chosen.

Others are given.

Some we stumble upon.

Others call to us until we answer.

This word can mean different things to different people. Does an adventure have to push your limits? Are challenges necessary? Is the unknown the exciting part? Is it the journey? The destination? Adventure. Can it occur within our own psyche? While dreaming? While making love? Does it involve a backpack? What must be added to constitute an adventure? Does something need to be set aside? Do you need to laugh along the way? Is the itinerary set? Remember; not all who wander are lost.  Have you ever had the experience of a good story being an adventure? Ever get lost in a book? Have you ever been carried away? What role does fear play? Does a past experience come into play? Adventure. This is different for everyone. How does it change when others are involved? Do you need a sidekick? An entourage? Where does your source of comfort, strength, and encouragement come from? How do you replenish when your reserves are low?

This writing exercise, this exploration could also be seen as an adventure.

The word means different things to different people.

What will your next adventure be?

I would love to hear about it.

There are many types of adventures we can embark upon.

Some are chosen.

Others are given.

Some we stumble upon.

Others call to us until we answer.

This word can mean different things to different people. Does an adventure have to push your limits? Are challenges necessary? Is the unknown the exciting part? Is it the journey? The destination? Adventure. Can it occur within our own psyche? While dreaming? While making love? Does it involve a backpack? What must be added to constitute an adventure? Does something need to be set aside? Do you need to laugh along the way? Is the itinerary set? Remember; not all who wander are lost.  Have you ever had the experience of a good story being an adventure? Ever get lost in a book? Have you ever been carried away? What role does fear play? Does a past experience come into play? Adventure. This is different for everyone. How does it change when others are involved? Do you need a sidekick? An entourage? Where does your source of comfort, strength, and encouragement come from? How do you replenish when your reserves are low?

This writing exercise, this exploration could also be seen as an adventure.

The word means different things to different people.

What will your next adventure be?

I would love to hear about it.

 

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