Have you ever talked yourself into something that didn’t work the first time? I have! I’d be surprised if there isn’t some behavior I’m doing now that I haven’t told myself, “hey self, this didn’t work out so nicely last time.” But there’s also a lot I AM aware of now. I think it’s a bit of human nature to bump into the same issue more than once. For some it’s a whole thing, but for most people they might try drinking milk a number of times before realizing how lactose intolerant they truly are. For others, they may have tried a relationship with a so-called ex about a million times only to realize yet again that it didn’t work.
I think the main thing is noticing it. How do we notice what we don’t notice though? Or how do we not talk ourselves out of it once we have noticed? I am not sure how to know what we don’t know. I’d love to think that self-reflection through feeling in the body, thinking, writing, meditation, or sharing with trusted ones can mean more insight. I’d love to think that and certainly that’s been my experience, BUT I know there are still some areas I don’t even know I don’t know about. I hope that last bit makes sense. Therefore, I’m not sure exactly how to help someone notice a pattern they might not even know to bring up in therapy. However, once you know about it I surely can help you to not keep doing it.
In a non-shameful way I’d ask the person to explore when they first felt that way was and what was happening then. They might share a time when they were othered by a teacher and that they now feel this way with an ex and his friends. Or I might non-shamefully explore with them when the first time they felt that feeling in their body was. I’d support them to explore what they’d want to feel with that pattern instead, so with the othering example they might want an ex/friend/situationship lover to invite them in and not other them. When the time is right I’d explore with them how they feel about that discrepancy and if there’s anything they’d like to do differently about that. Now what I just said above might be uncovered in years of therapy or a 15 minute free consultation. I think it all just depends on the work someone is doing, therapeutic alliance, and types of therapy a therapist is doing. All in all, once you spot it I want to help you to:
Non-shamefully explore when you first felt this way.
Explore how you’d like to feel.
Notice this discrepency.
Notice how you feel about that discrepancy.
Explore of there’s something you want to do differently about what you’ve got and what you actually want.
So grateful to walk through this again and again with you. The coolest part of this hard work is that we get more space to welcome in what we want when we look at what’s not working. I believe we get to wake up to what we don’t want but keep doing and make more space for the ways we want to intentionally live. Well that’s all for now and looking forward to more uncovering with you next week!
Hi folks, just a super quick note today to let you know about our DECEMBER SALE!I have a few EMDR slots available at a sale package price for new clients.
Your first session will be 50% off and your remaining seven sessions will be 20% off.
This is a great way to focus in on something you’ve been needing to address and welcome in a more expansive feeling of enoughness. You are innately worthy and always have been.
I’ve seen EMDR therapy help people with everything from simple one time traumas to some pretty complicated, complex, long-standing traumas. EMDR therapy has helped people with everything from the oldest sibling do-it-all and be perfect wound to the recovering from years of self-blame to welcome in forgiveness and understanding toward oneself. EMDR therapy is even used for athletic performance and things you wouldn’t think of initially! The video below explains just how helpful EMDR therapy has been for people and gives you and idea of how it fits you.
Reach out today so we can get you started before by the time December rolls around.
Something I love supporting clients with are the different ways we listen. Asking the listener what they want can be helpful and knowing how you love to be listened to can be helpful. Here are four ways I see people preferring to be heard more frequently:
Some people prefer someone mirrors when they listen. When we mirror what we heard the speaker knows they’ve been heard or can provide correction or elaborate. This can be super helpful when someone feels they weren’t always heard or understood.
Others love when someone relates to what they said with their own stories. These folks may feel so seen when someone brings in their own experiences to relate to what the sharer stated. While they may feel loved and seen they may also feel like there’s less judgment if you’ve been through something similar or at least have some of the shared feelings.
Some people desire the person who is listening to nod along or give other body signal cues that they’re together on this conversation. Some folks may feel so understood with little cues like nodding along, leaning in or extending our body cues to indicate we’re here in this conversation together.
Others love quiet and no cross talk either verbally or from body cues. If folks have been judged or fear what might be said about their sharing they may like you to not say or do anything other than witness what you shared. They may also not want to rely on what you make of what they shared and benefit from being heard without feedback.
There are so many ways of witnessing one another’s experiences. I think one of the helpful things to notice is just how you want to be heard. I sometimes ask people how they want to be heard in this conversation because it can change for some people in the moment depending on who they’re speaking to, what they need, or how they feel. However you want to be heard is okay and I hope it’s welcomed somewhere.
Let’s talk more about getting some support on board. For some of us we’re in the middle of fall. I think getting more and more support on board during the changes of fall can be super helpful. One of the most annoying questions I often ask clients who feel like they’re doing too much and at the same time don’t have enough capacity to do the things they want to do is to concretely explore what they can cut out or add. Now this is annoying because once I extend compassion and understanding I also want to directly explore whether there’s anything on board that they could do without or anything they really want to add in and don’t know how to add.
For example, if a client told me they feel so tired after a work week, but feel they must see friend A, friend B AND friend C this weekend all while cooking and cleaning we might explore this in session. I’d see what they must do and what they can hold off on. For example, they might see with friend B and friend C they feel pretty drained. Or they may say they have the privilege of being in a partnership and could ask if their partner is available to clean while they cook over the weekend. They may feel stuck in committing to these social or household things. That’s okay too. It’s important to gently, non-forcefully explore what someone may want to make room for like a nap or unscheduled day or what they may want to cut out like the cleaning or three social hang outs in one weekend. If this example client is able to see what’s underneath them feeling they have to do it all (perhaps societal pressures, financial stress, or childhood trauma) that helps a lot too.
Perhaps the best protection for them now might be to go-go-go or do-do-do. Perhaps something that might be more helpful is to cut out on overly scheduled weekends and getting more sunlight or light lamps and vitamin D in during the fall. Perhaps what’s helpful for one person is not for another. It’s just important to look at what’s supportive for you right now.
Hey speaking of support I want to thank you! I’m now getting more and more readers on our little blog here and I’d love to know what you want out of this mental health blog. What would serve you? What topics do you want to see on our blog?
If you’ve done the work through years of therapy and supportive healing modalities and still feel there’s a sticky point or you just want to get to the point on an issue I hope you’ll consider that the weekly model of therapy doesn’t fit for everyone. For some, frequent 15 minute points of contact is more helpful and for others more intensive, deep dives into therapy can be helpful.
I’ve found great results from cutting down on time from the beginnings and endings of sessions by meeting for three hour chunks of very focused trauma healing in our Premium Packages. We cushion the time with lots of anchoring and self love before, during and after sessions. We also make sure folks are able to pinpoint or target just what they hope from and support them on getting closer to their goals and needs. I can’t speak highly enough of accommodating therapies to meet the person’s needs instead of just doing the same old 45-50 minute weekly sessions for all. One size shirt doesn’t fit all. One size therapy certainly doesn’t either!
Sign up in the next 2 weeks and get your EMDR Therapy Premium Package for 10% off! Connect today so we can get you set up for a free consultation to target what you need in a more focused way!
All hands on deck! Get your support plan in now before being with family. So there’s a lot about this because 1. Not everyone has the family they’d want and 2. Not everyone celebrates the holidays others in their country celebrates. As a therapist I so often get asked if business is bombing during the holidays because people visit with their families more during these times.
No! No matter what setting I’ve worked in the American/Christian holiday season during winter is always my slowest time. It’s not the easiest, just the slowest. Several clients have told me they’re doing things with loved ones and cancel appointments.
As a psychologist I try to make myself available clinically at these times because I don’t celebrate a lot of these holidays and can provide that and because I think we’ve created a lot of hype about this ideal, nuclear family that comes together like they do on commercials.
We know full well that people have meanies in their families, people’s families can be spread out physically or emotionally, people may not be close to relatives but are close to a chosen family and wonder if that’s okay, people may feel overwhelmed, and some families prefer to celebrate in different ways. For example, I like quiet and rest and other family members may love to come together with lots of talking and food. We often have a lot of unchecked expectations around holidays and birthdays and it can get hard or even conflictual. People’s unmet expectations can leave hurt, without anyone even knowing what happened or why.
These are some of the reasons I like to get clients a support or coping plan before they visit with chosen family and relatives. For some connecting with someone, taking breaks away from loved ones, speaking up about expectations, rest, play or anchoring/grounding strategies can help. For other people they may prefer to write out some of what’s coming up for them, get some movement in or even do something really enjoyable to them.
Even getting a daily practice of breathing in for three seconds, holding for three seconds, and then breathing out for three seconds can be helpful. If you are going to introduce something like 3-3-3 breathing I’d do it a few times at the same time everyday for at least a few weeks before hoping you could do it when your brain or body goes into fight/flight/freeze around loved ones during the holidays.
If there’s a grounding strategy you’d like to practice you might explore this now with your therapist before seeing family soon. I’d love to hear one thing you hope to engage in before or during time with loved ones.
So often someone will be diagnosed with depression or treated for anxiety and it may be more like trauma. There’s a few types of trauma and lots of reasons they show up, but I think people often think something is ADHD, depression or anxiety and not actually trauma. There’s lots of traumas like medical trauma, developmental trauma and so on and then the impacts of trauma show up acutely (or like quickly after the traumatic experience happened), chronic (longer), or complex (several types and for several times).
Several folks don’t know that they’ve experienced trauma and even several therapists don’t know something is trauma. Before I looked at my own I couldn’t see that someone’s persistent depression was better explained by traumatic experiences than depression. Once therapists are able to look at their own traumas and learn/do trauma recovery then I believe we can help others concerning their wounds too.
So if you’ve been in therapy for years and years and your anxiety or depression have no or little relief you might consider trauma. You might ask your therapist if there are impacts of losing someone or something, experiences of helplessness, or times where you felt in fight/flight/freeze in your life. You might explore whether you picked up on impacts of trauma by being around others experiencing trauma (such as what was known as vicarious trauma). You might even ask your therapist to explore intergenerational trauma or stuff sort of handed to you like being in a household with folks who have been through years of bombing, addictions, or medical traumas.
There are so many ways we can heal trauma so once we spot it that’s a huge part of the work. Once we name it what it is then we are well on our way to compassionate dialogue with ourselves about what’s going on inside. Hey, I’m really proud of you for even reading this far! I feel like dieting and shopping are so much more interesting than where all this stuff starts and how we can start to heal it, but I also know that the power of looking at something and calling it what it is can open a tremendous path to healing.
I’ve said a few things about curiosity, but I’d love to share one more story today. It was the beginning of the pandemic and we lived in an apartment complex with lots of children. A sweet child who often came to our door asking about injured birds and curiously asking about gender roles had an extra curious question for me at the trash cans this afternoon. I finished my sessions and went to do some household chores, one of which was taking the trash out to the cans or dumpster. I ran into our neighbor and her child. The child asked if I was pregnant. I wasn’t, but I had gained some weight. It was so funny because I knew just how to address this curious question.
Their mom was amazing in that she reintroduced us to her child months ago by announcing their pronouns and name rather than the dead name we once knew the child by. Mom cringed and kindly said her child shouldn’t ask this and tried to say why my belly wasn’t big. I actually took it a little differently. The child saw my body change and rather than do niceties or teach about “knowing your audience” I got to simply validate the changes they saw. I said became their height and I said, “you know what, you’re totally right, my body looks different now.” I said, “my belly is a different size than it use to be and I’m not pregnant.”
They then had cute questions about if I wanted a baby and other things, but for the sake of this article I’ll stick to the point of curiosity. Rather than scold our curious minds or redirect them onto a rigid and boring track we can note what’s there. We can embrace curiosity. Sure we can be kind, but the child had no unkind words for me. They simply noted a difference and shared their curiosity.
What if we were all 10% more curious and 10% less punishing? I know I’d benefit from a little more curiosity and a little less punishment. Wishing you a curious moment today and I’m looking forward to more discussions with you next week ❤
I’m going to talk about one of the most helpful components of growth for me, but also pretty complicated. I first learned this one from a therapist I saw. She asked me what would my life be like if and when I felt less heavy around a certain issue.
Not only did I love imagining what things will be like without this burden I now love working with people around what they’ll have space and time for if they no longer people please, practice perfectionism, or bend their limits for others. Perhaps they reflect on what they want to welcome in if and when they rely on patterns that no longer serve them. Maybe we get them to take a moment to imagine what it will feel like if they no longer talk with that eff boy or overextend to that person they don’t want to give to in that way anymore.
Getting someone to imagine what they’ll have room for without this people pleasing or whatever behavior that once protected themselves doesn’t mean they need to make changes now. I think we just get them to stretch what it will look and feel like for them. If they decide to put that clarity or lack of burden into action then cool. Just curiously supporting their unburdened self is such an honor. I know for me it’s becoming beyond what I could’ve imagined and I just keep getting to put this into practice more and more.
Good morning or hello from whenever and wherever you are in this moment. Sending you love today and just realized I haven’t shared my free meditations with you in a while. I’ll be posting a few trauma recovery focused meditations this week and wanted you to be able to access them for FREE! Here’s how:
Download the Insight Timer app for completely FREE
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Here’s one of my free meditations on one of my favorite topics like when we have big feelings.
Okay stay tuned tomorrow for another article on our wellness and mental health.