by Kevin Hales, LPC
“What’s wrong with you?”
Has anyone ever said this to you? Have you ever said this to anyone you know?
We typically make this statement when something happens that goes beyond our current logical understanding and comprehension about what we deem as “normal and acceptable.” Someone said or did something that we deem stupid, irrational, illogical or just plain “wrong.”
As a society and people, we need to understand some things that surround this statement and why it is ultimately unhelpful at best and psychologically harmful at worst. Continue reading
by Sarah Miller
In light of the recent tragedy in Pittsburgh I have been reflecting on why this shooting, and this event, has impacted me more than others in the past. I have come to this conclusion: the world is a much scarier place now that I have a daughter living in it.
As someone who identifies as Jewish, anti-semitism has been a part of my story and experience. I have heard the jokes, seen the movies, and have directly been on the receiving end of anti-semitic remarks. I never considered the possibility that I would have a child go through similar experiences, and honestly, it terrifies me.
How do I explain to my daughter that there will be people in the world who hate her, solely because she exists? Because half of her is Jewish—the half I passed down to her.
I have come to the realization that these conversations are unavoidable because the history of our people is filled with times of adversity and challenges. However, they are also filled with stories of resilience and community. Continue reading
by Allie Quade
Attachment Styles: a Key to Understanding Your Relationships
Attachment is a buzz word you may have heard before, perhaps in Psych 101 class or mentioned in parenting books. But did you know that discovering what your and your partner’s attachment styles are can unlock the key to a greater understanding of your needs and theirs? Continue reading
By Sarah Miller
When one works in the addiction field, it is common to be asked, “are you in recovery?” I remember the first time I was asked this; I felt flustered by the question because it didn’t feel like a simple “yes or no” to me, it was more of a “no, but…” or “yes, and….”
However, I’ve learned that when people ask this question, they are really asking: “Will you judge me?” or “Will you be able to understand me?” — because at the end of it all they’re just hoping to find someone who will listen and genuinely care.
by Lisa Rosen
Waking Up Feeling Down
I woke up feeling down. I burned my breakfast (part of a new, flavorless diet), and I was just crabby. I drove to the gym, seemingly hitting every red light. I walked into the group fitness room, late and water bottle-less.
This day was not off to a good start.
Rediscovering Inner Strength
Then, Melissa, our instructor, made eye contact with me. Her eyes seemed to say, “yes, you can.” That sounds like a small thing, but it stirred something inside of me. My lost confidence started coming back. The class started, and I felt everyone’s energy around me. For the next hour, we were all in this together. Continue reading
By Jessica Downs
Many of us walk through this world, lost in a hustle—we are exhausted, worn out, and often unsure of why we are where we are. With the ever-growing, ever looming presence of social media, and the pressure from our cultural values to perform and perfect, it’s hard to catch a break from all the things we are not, and that can work to create uncertainty and anxiety.
- There are not enough jobs for me to find one that will make me happy.
- I’ll never have the time to be the parent I want to be.
- I’m not making enough money
- My house is dated. My wardrobe is dated. My face is looking older—I’m dated!
- I’ll never be as good-looking, fit, well-liked, successful, talented or witty as “so-and-so.”
And so we hustle. We pin, and we post, and we self-loathe because we are just not keeping up. Continue reading
Photo by Fernando Puente on Unsplash
By Kevin Hales, LPC
The Word that Shall Not Be Named
Failure is word that many of us don’t like to talk about. It typically taps into the inner shame that many of us feel when we have “failed.” Nobody wants to be a failure, no one wants to fail at anything they engage in. It is often our fear of failure that prevents us from engaging in new activities, careers and fields of study. Clearly the idea of failure has a powerful effect on all of us, whether or not we actually “fail” at a given task.
In my work as a therapist, I work with brave individuals who have mustered up the courage to call me up, walk through my door and to ask for help with whatever is currently getting in the way of his/her happiness and well-being. Sometimes it’s an individual struggling with addictive behavior of some sort. Perhaps it is a couple struggling in their relationship with one another. One way or another, these people often feel that they are failing in some way with their marriage or with their individual lives. They are stumbling and falling and coming up short, failing over and over again to “succeed.”
A Work in Progress
I believe it is time to rethink the idea of failure. Continue reading
Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash
What do you do when the person you rely on for shelter in life is no longer there? How do you deal with the tsunami of emotions that come with a break-up, a divorce, a death? When that person is no longer there, we feel sadness, anger, hurt, fear—sometimes all at the same time. Sue Johnson, author of Love Sense and originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) says that “we are wired for connection.” The anxiety and deep sadness we feel when we lose a loved one is not because we are “co-dependent” or “needy”, but because our partners matter to us. They impact our own need to feel accepted and loved. When a relationship ends, it is a loss. We are suddenly alone.
How do we make it through?
Saying sorry is not that hard. Not when you’re pulling out your carry-on from the overhead compartment and you bump that unsuspecting passenger. Or when your colleague has been waiting for that email from you since yesterday morning. Not even when you’ve just cut off someone because you were in a hurry and they make sure to let their horn tell you how they feel.
But when it comes to those who live and interact with us more intimately, apologizing is one of the hardest things to do, much less do effectively. There is a price to letting others into the limited confines of our heart space—we will bump into each other. Given the inevitably of these collisions, I’d like to speak to a few principles outlined by Harriet Lerner, PhD, that can help in making effective apologies. The following principles are taken from her interview with Brene Brown. Continue reading
Photo by Simon Wijers on Unsplash
Your Personal Drill Sergeant
We have all had some exposure, likely through Hollywood movies, to the overbearing drill sergeant yelling at a group of soldiers:
- “You’re a maggot!”
- “You smell like failure!”
- “You’re worthless! . . . Drop and give me twenty!”
The drill sergeant’s objective is not to provide care and compassion, but to yell, push, and criticize in order to prepare the soldiers for threats. It may be hard to identify at first, but if you slow down and notice some of messages you tell yourself, you may find that a voice similar to the overbearing drill sergeant has taken place in your mind. This is called the “inner critic.” Continue reading