Let's Get High

by Julie Davis Thursday, December 4, 2014

Smoke a joint … Drink a shot of tequila … Eat a donut … Get angry … Worry … Run on a treadmill … Climb a mountain ... Hunt for a fashion bargain. 

You can get “high” by ingesting a substance, activating a thought, or moving the body in a way that triggers a chemical reaction leading to a feeling of “high.” 

Until you are comfortable NOT being “high” you will search and find how to get “high.” You might stop drinking alcohol but find yourself reaching for more sweets.  When you are unable to exercise you might become agitated, start shopping, drink alcohol, caffeine, or soda.

Do you think you have an addiction/motivation/discipline problem with alcohol, food, anger, worry, spending?  Are you are interested in eliminating unhealthy substances and processes that make you “high?”  Good!  However, until you are willing and able to be “NOT HIGH” you might find yourself seeking other forms of getting “high.”  

This week, I invite you to consider how you might feel “NOT HIGH:”       

Confused? Embarrassed? Out of control? Terrified? Lonely? Edgy? Depressed?  Anxious? Calm? Bored? Unimportant?

These are the experiences that might require understanding and attention before you stop thinking, “Let’s get high!”

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keeppeople stuck (www.juliedavismft.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service (text JULIETUESDAY to 22828). Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California, New York), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Anger | Animal Instinct | Anxiety | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Pet Therapy | Primitive Mind | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Trauma | Treatment Modalities | Wisdom

Aftermath of Suicide: How To Help Survivors

by Dennis Potter Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Three Universal Reactions to suicide: Guilt, Anger and Grief

Guilt is usually connected to thoughts survivors have about what they should/could/would have done differently. These are usually the result of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” where the person reinterprets their actions knowing the outcome. This is particularly true after a suicide or death of a colleague. It is very destructive and usually inaccurate. It helps to discuss that people are in pain and “wish” the suicide had not happened. There is no guarantee that had they done anything differently, it could have altered the outcome.

Anger is usually about wanting to blame someone or something for the suicide. If the anger is at the person who completed suicide, it is probably pretty healthy. Anger at God or spiritual traditions are most commonly referred back to their spiritual leadership for answers. We cannot address spiritual issues, except to validate them and state that they are common reactions. When anger is placed toward the work environment, ex’s, or family members it is generally unhealthy and unhelpful. We can acknowledge the loss of the person, and that we never really know how they might have interpreted accurately or inaccurately what others did or did not do. You might acknowledge it is too bad that the person did not confide more with others to see an alternative to suicide.

Grief after the loss of someone you care about is easy to understand. Suicide can trigger a variety of much more intangible losses. One most common is the loss of sense of personal safety. If this type of event can happen to the deceased, it can happen to me, or my family, or my friends etc. Suicides happen because we have no control over them. This temporary feeling of the loss of our illusions of control and safety can be profound. We can help people understand their multiple losses, and that grief is a process they will move through over the next few days or longer. Providing information on understanding they are grieving and things they can do to move through the grieving process is helpful.

Dennis Potter, LMSW, CAADC, ICCS, FAAETS, serves as Manager, Consultant Relations and Training for Crisis Care Network. He is a licensed social worker and certified addiction counselor. Dennis is recognized as a Fellow, by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. He was awarded the ICISF Excellence in Training and Educations Award at the ICISF 2011 World Congress.

Tags:

Advise | Mental Health | Social Work | Stress | Suicide Bereavement | Suicide Prevention | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Trauma | Wisdom

Seeking Wisdom

by Julie Davis Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seek wisdom before, during, and after a big decision, but remember not everyone has your best interest in mind!  People often filter advice through their own experience; depending on personal comfort levels:

It sounds reckless and dangerous!  Don’t do it!

It sounds adventurous!  Go for it! 

Others might benefit directly/indirectly from your decisions and advise accordingly. It’s common to guide to gain - with “enmeshed” and “codependent” relationships forming as a result:

Stay here (and keep me company) while you figure out what you want to do.

I should stay (you pay for rent and food) while I figure out what I want to do.

When advised from the two categories above, say “thank you” – without explaining, defending, arguing - and seek wisdom elsewhere; preferably from outside your circle of influence.  However, even counselors, coaches and pastors can have a “tint on their lens.”  Look for someone who has:

1.    Nothing to lose or gain from your decisions.

2.    Statistics (not opinions) about the risks/gains of each options.

3.    Insight into what’s in your best interest.

4.    Ability/willingness to be honest. 

Say “thank you” – without explaining, defending, arguing -- and for big decisions, seek advice from at least three wise sources –  and then move forward. Yes, move forward.  Even the wisest decision can end up in a tangle.  If you do a good job of seeking/receiving sound advice but struggle with moving forward, check back later for more on Fear of Failure!

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com) and coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Advise | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Wisdom

A New Language

by Julie Davis Tuesday, September 30, 2014

At the dinner table, we said, “Hey, pass the stew,” and “Give me the gravy when you’re done.”  We didn’t say “Please” and we didn’t say “Thank you.”  We talked over each other and cut each other off.  Conversations were loud and there was a lot of joking and making fun of each other. 

My first dinner date with my future husband was almost the last (I found out years later…).

At his dinner table, they said, “Please, when you can, pass the stew.  Thank you.  Are you sure you are done?” and “Would you like more? Can I get you anything?  I’m fine.  Thank you.  Please take the last roll.”  They talked in turn and listened patiently.  Conversations were soft and light – usually about something outside of the room. 

My language was interpreted initially as rude and crude.  His language was boring and superficial to me.  It’s amazing we had a second date!

But we took the time to ask questions and discovered that the language was different but the intention the same.  We both wanted to be heard and understood and were interested in hearing and understanding each other.  So we created our own language.  He became bolder in expressing raw thoughts and feelings and I became softer and added “Please” and “Thank you” to my vocabulary.

What language is comfortable for you?  If you feel “in conflict” with someone (child, boss, spouse, employee, friend, etc) take a moment to consider:

This person isn’t purposefully rude/avoidant/loud/dismissive/disrespectful; he/she just speaks a different language.  Underneath this language is someone wanting to be heard and understood and accepted. 

If this person is interested (it takes two to communicate and grow closer) then initiate a discussion on how YOU can learn his/her language:

What do I say that makes you feel closer to/more distant from me?

What can I say that would make you feel closer to me?

Listen to the answers. Say “Thank-you.” Work together. Create a new language that works for both of you.

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Couples | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

Black and White Thinking

by Julie Davis Sunday, September 21, 2014

Believing “black and white” (always/never/all/nothing) thoughts about yourself and others can trigger feelings and actions that harm health, relationships, productivity, and emotional stability: 

Belief

Feeling

Action

I always screw up

Ashamed, angry, hopeless, defeated

Beat self up, medicate,   screw up more, quit,       isolate

He never helps around the house

Angry, resentful, helpless, victim,

Nag, control, complain,       fix, explain, defend, manipulate, fight

All the good jobs are taken

Hopeless, scared, angry

Give up, settle,         medicate, complain

There’s nothing I can do about it

Powerless, afraid, angry

Give in, quit, seethe,        hide,

Over time, black and white thinking can lead to depression, obsessions, addiction, panic, rage, and trauma.  Thus, it is important to “hold every thought captive!” This week, I invite you to catch your black/white thinking and reframe it in a way that leaves you feeling calm, open, flexible:

Absolute

Reframe

Feeling

Action

I always screw up

Sometimes I blow it. 

Humble, interested, motivated

Improve skills,     try again.

He never helps around the house

Sometimes he forgets/puts things off. 

Curious, collaborative

Ask for clarity; discuss and       set  boundaries.

All the good jobs are taken

Many good jobs are taken.   

Disappointed yet determined, creative

Keep looking.     Ask for help.

There’s nothing I can do about it

There is something I can do. 

Curious, creative, collaborative

Get wise advice. Ask for help. 

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

 

The Therapeutic Relationship and You

by Shelley Quinones Monday, September 8, 2014

The kids tell me what bugs them about each other, repeatedly. My spouse complains about work. Friends share about their current boyfriend. I listen to it all. But who listens, really listens to me? I try to speak up, but they talk over me, interrupt, or suddenly have to go do something.

What if there was someone who would give me undivided attention, be non-judgmental, and be on my side? Man that only exists in fairy tales.

No. That kind of relationship exists in real life. There are people, gifted people, trained to be therapists and counselors who are happy to come along side you and help you identify solutions to problems.

The therapeutic relationship is special, one based on teamwork where you share valuable memories and situations and the therapist provides wisdom and guidance. The relationship starts slow as you get to know each other then as you learn to trust your teammate, you share deeper and receive deeper insights. Before you know it, you feel better and are making choices to improve your life.

This relationship might seem one sided but you deserve to make an investment in yourself that will lead to an improved sense of value and contentment with your life.

Therapy doesn’t have to be forever. You can use it as a tool to help you over a difficult bump in the road or to spur you on to greatness. You can take the time you need to process your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. It also doesn’t have to be murky and dark. Some therapists infuse lightness and humor to help get through weighty topics while still offering respect and kindness.

Therapy is an important and valuable opportunity to gain healing and define your life in new ways. Your therapist is waiting to hear from you.

Shelley Quinones is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is a Christian Therapist and has been in the helping field for over 23 years and Licensed for 11 of those. She has helped many people sort through depression, anxiety, and traumatic situations to find a renewed sense of peace and joy.

Tags:

Healing | Intimacy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

It’s not about YOU

by Julie Davis Wednesday, August 20, 2014

 

 

You walk up to a guy and say, “Hi.”  He tilts his head back and roars with laughter.  You say, “Hey guy, what’s so funny?”  He looks you up and down, rolls his eyes and says, “You’re an idiot.”

 

What does all that have to say about YOU?

 

Nothing.

 

What does all that say about the guy? 

 

A lot!

 

But, you might have been taught (incorrectly) that thoughts, feelings, and opinions about you ARE YOU.  Someone laughs at you, looks a certain way at you, raises voice around you, does or expresses something hurtful to you and you think it’s about you.  Then you spend a lifetime trying to look and act better when It’s not – never has been – about you.

 

People who are late, hurtful, loud, messy, reckless, avoidant, opinionated, or anxious do not determine who you are.  Their words and actions provide a lot of data about them – important for making wise decisions about who to hang out with; but has nothing to do with the essence of who you are. 

 

This week, consider the words and deeds of others as information about them.  Don’t judge that (it’s not your job).  But use that information to move with/around them wisely while you are repeating to yourself, “It’s not about me,” and enjoying your day.

 

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to:  julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Anxiety | Healing | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Primitive Mind | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Shame | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

The Story Behind The Story

by Julie Davis Monday, July 14, 2014

 

Consider this week that everything coming at you - anger, fear, judgment, criticism, avoidance - isn't personal; that it has a story behind it: 


-Spouse's anger might really be fear about his job.

-Child's resistance might actually be a natural development towards individuation.

-Boss's criticism might be rooted in his fear of being criticized by his boss. 

-Neighbor's avoidance of your "dog poop" letter might be he's busy taking care of sick grandma.

 

The only way to know is to ask.  This week - instead of getting defensive, offended, scared, angry - ask for the story behind the story.

 

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Anxiety | Couples | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

Healing After Sexual Trauma

by Gilbert Bliss Friday, July 4, 2014

I have had the privilege of working with patients who have had sexual trauma early in their lives, either as children or young adults.  As a result of this opportunity, I have come to believe that it can be important for some who have experienced such a terrible experience, either once or over time, to work with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser.  While I do not, in any way, believe that anyone should seek the advice of a therapist with whom they would experience immediate discomfort, I am of the deep conviction that a healing relationship with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser could help to lift the limitations a patient might feel with regard to letting themselves be available for a meaningful relationship with another person.

Such a venture is a very tender process, involving time and an openness of expression that could help a patient be liberated of old fears while becoming wise about how to best take care of themselves in situations that, after working through the trauma, might otherwise make them too anxious to allow involvement.  This is the process of moving from the position of victim to permission to thrive, perhaps on an even higher level than even the patient might have allowed themselves to consider.

As with any patient I see, my approach is collaborative.  If a patient is too uncomfortable with the work we are doing, I change my approach to take their feelings into account.  If the work just feels like it is "too much", we take a break.  No one should feel like a prisoner to the therapeutic endeavor.

I invite people who have had such difficult experiences to consider what, to some of my colleagues, seems a radical approach.  I would hope that the discovery would be that there is nothing to lose but some time.

Gil Bliss is a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) with a private psychotherapy practice in Towson, Maryland.  Gil has worked with a wide variety of patients, including individuals, couples and families, along with grief work with children.  His web site is www.gblisscounselor.com.

Tags:

Abuse | Anxiety | Couples | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | relationships, friendships | Sexual | Sexual Trauma | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Trauma | Treatment Modalities

How to "Shop" for Your Therapist

by Jake Jacobsen Monday, June 16, 2014

How can I "shop" for a therapist and what are the essential qualities of a good therapeutic relationship?

These questions go hand in hand, although they are different in content. First, ask yourself: Do you feel more comfortable talking with a male or female therapist? Is it important to you if the therapist is heterosexual or openly gay or lesbian? Do you need individual therapy, couples, family, or group therapy? Are you looking for a structured therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy where you are expected to do homework addressing your problems or do you want a therapy that uses a more relational method?

You should be clear about all of these questions when shopping for a therapist. If, however, you are not clear about what you need, that’s OK too. Start the ball rolling by going to a therapist that has some of what you want. For example someone might choose to work with an openly lesbian therapist that specializes in substance abuse. Once in therapy, the therapist can further assess if the client needs additional help, such as, weekly AA meetings or harm reduction as the main treatment method in the therapy. 

During the first session with a therapist, you will experience first hand how the therapist forms a good therapeutic relationship (or not) by how they interact with you. In that initial session, you can start by asking what the letters after their name signify, and what their training was in psychology. For example: an LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker that was trained in psychology, and psychotherapy techniques. An ATR is a registered art therapist that was trained in the psychology of imagery, psychotherapy, and the creative art process to help people express their emotions. If the therapist isn’t forth coming answering these questions or if the interactions feel too awkward or it just doesn’t feel like a good fit, then that therapist is probably not right for you. I often suggest clients initially come for three sessions to assess the fit. Usually, people know within the first or second session if it feels like a good fit. People are often anxious in the first session so it can be difficult to make an accurate assessment then.

The essential qualities for a good therapeutic relationship are a therapist’s compassionate warmth, professionalism, and transparency with how they are working with you. You want a therapist to be someone with whom you feel you can say whatever is on your mind without feeling judged or pathologized for expressing what you think and feel. A therapist is someone with whom you can feel heard, validated, and challenged by in a compassionately thoughtful way.

Jake H Jacobsen, ATR, LCSW works in Portland, Oregon specializing in working with the LGBTQ community, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Jake uses both online (Skype) therapy, and in-office therapy.  For more information visit http://jakehjacobsen.wix.com/therapyinportland

              

Tags:

Anxiety | Intimacy | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Stress | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Treatment Modalities

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