“You Do Not Have to be Good……” Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.                                                                                                                               You do not have to walk on your knees                                                                                                         for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.                                                                                You only have to let the soft animal of your body                                                                                    love what it loves……                                                                                                                                            Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,                                                                                                    the world offers itself to your imagination,                                                                                                calls to you like the wild geese,                                                                                                                          harsh and exciting-                                                                                                                                              over and over announcing your place                                                                                                         in the family of things.                                                                                                                            Mary Oliver

 

Our time together is about building an emotional connection between you and I but also between all the parts of yourself.  Even the dark, grieving, fearful or angry parts.  Those are also sacred strands that make up the whole of you.  But you don’t have to dig deeply and quickly into these places to heal.  This is a gradual process and that process opens to possibility.  New possibility and surprise.  We all have a place in the family of things.  We all long to find a sense of belonging and connection in our lives.  Our time together is about hope.  Our time together is about the creation of meaning.

So if you are feeling disconnected, alone, separate from others, or if you can’t seem to find your place, I hope you will allow me to create a partnership that will help a new part of you emerge.

Read more about Life Transitions Counseling.

“It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found.” Donald Winnicott

It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found”

                                                               Donald Winnicott

At first glance, this statement might not seem to make sense.  However, if we look a bit more closely, we can see the deep truth found here.  Feeling alone, isolated or unknown is not unusual and quite a painful experience.  And yet, as we sit in our “aloneness”, we wait for that moment, that person to look at us or say something that will break through and give us that beautiful juicy moment of being seen.

As a psychotherapist who holds a deep belief and trust in the healing power of relationship, I have been witness to these heart opening moments.  And I’ve been blessed to be a part of them.

So how do they come about?   The relationship develops gradually and over time.  I listen carefully to the quiet places inside, underneath the words.  I call it “the place before words.”  Eugene Ghendlin calls it the “felt sense.”  The place that is sometimes hard to find, hear or understand.  We gently reach for that place inside you, together.  And from there can come those wonderful moments of opening, emergence and forward movement.  It is through this process that clients has said, “This is a spiritual place for me.  I come here for that.” or “I realize now that there is something to living.”  Or a spontaneous moment of sudden laughter and “Oh, you just got me.”

I hope you will give yourself the opportunity to allow for  these moments in your life.

Read more about Couples Counseling.

“Where you stumble, there your treasure lies.” Joseph Campbell

“Where you stumble, there your treasure lies.”

                                                   Joseph Campbell

We all stumble.  We are all in possession of those deeper places of fear, doubt, what seems unbearable or unsayable.  It is our innate instinct to protect ourselves from these feelings.  To distract ourselves or push them away to be replaced with better feelings.  Our brains are programmed to do exactly that.

Joseph Campbell offers an interesting and exciting invitation to us all.  To stop and take notice of those places where we stumble.  To slow down and visit with them instead of running past.  To get to know them, spend some time.  Because it is in those places that promise to hold our greatest treasures.

This can feel like a daunting task,  to say the least.  But I believe these parts are trying to communicate to us some greatness within ourselves.  In therapy, through partnership and a unique connectedness,  we work together to deepen your inner life, make what seems unbearable, bearable, or what feels unsayable, sayable.  We get to know  those treasures that lay within.

Read more about Anxiety Therapy.

“I would love to live like a river, carried by the surprise of its’ own unfolding.” John O’Donohue

“I would love to live like a river, carried by the surprise of its’ own unfolding.”

                                                     John O’Donohue

Whom among us has not felt a sense of being stuck in life.  Whether about career, relationship, life direction or a deep inner sense of not moving forward or being open.  At certain times in our lives this is bound to occur.  And in varying degrees from slight to more intense.  Most often this tends to occur because of old self judgements that only serve to put us between a rock and a hard place.  How harsh we can be on ourselves!

And what a wonderful image is a flowing river! Continuous fluid movement, endlessly unfolding.  We humans are endlessly unfolding beings.  There is always more to emerge of the deep complexity that is us.  My approach to therapy is grounded in this belief.  Appreciating the complexities of who we are, and touching into these nuances lightly, with curiosity.  In this way we can be that river that flows, allowing ourselves to be carried, to live peacefully and fully in the moment, whatever that moment is, while creating an open channel to all that is possible in our unfolding.

Read more about Life Transitions Counseling.

“I believe that one must finally take hold of one’s life.” Arthur Miller

“I believe that one must finally take hold of one’s life.”

                                                                     Arthur Miller

 

We have all experienced fear, anxiety, a  sense of feeling lost, hopeless or helpless as to where or how to move.  You can feel stuck or shut down.  But somewhere deep inside is an inner longing to feel better and move forward into life.

Each one of us is made up of many parts.  Some we may consider  ‘dark’, others ‘light’.  And still others may fall in the space between these two.  Trying to rid ourselves of these darker parts never leads us to find light.  Attempting to cut them away or separate ourselves from them never seems effective.  But by inviting in all of these parts of which we are comprised, by welcoming them and shining a gentle light on them with an attitude of openness, and non judgment we get to know them differently.  And by knowing them with compassion comes the movement in the direction of self love and a sense of wholeness.

You might say that therapy is a way of taking hold of your life.  You create a new kind of attitude towards self exploration and self awareness.  An attitude of excitement for all there is to know, of empathy for the hurt and pain, of love for the truth of ourselves and of possibility for all there is to emerge from within as we move along on this journey.

Read more about Anxiety Therapy.

Mourning a Broken Relationship? These Tips Can Help

Seven ways to manage the pain

It doesn’t matter how long you were together.
It doesn’t matter who actually said the final goodbye.
It’s over. It’s harsh. It hurts.

Right now, your spot under the covers seems a safe shelter from loneliness, rejection, and relentless relationship reminders. Right now, singing sad song karaoke, while curled up in the dark absolutely seems like the best place to be.

Of course, your friends disagree. They want you to move on.
But all you want is to call your ex’s voicemail. Just to hear his or her voice.
Your family wants to introduce you to someone new.
You just want to scour Facebook for any inkling that your ex is missing you too.
The pain is real, the longing is genuine, and “getting over it” is much easier said than done.

So, how are you going to do this? How are you going to move on?

Decide to Heal.

You are much more than someone’s ex.

That relationship does not “complete” you.

You are a whole person with a broken heart.

To repair that heart, you have to get out of bed and get to work.

Accept, Reset, Rebuild.

1. Grieve

Grief is the healthy process of letting go. Productive grief looks for meaning and life lessons but ultimately resolves to move forward. Accept your whole relationship, the good and the bad, and then allow it to die.

2. Prime your mind, body, and spirit for complete recovery

Self-medicating is not moving forward. Over-eating won’t fill your emotional void. Alcohol won’t numb the pain for long. Don’t allow your former partner’s rejection to become your depression. Healthy food, restful sleep, and exercise are musts. Prayer, meditation, or deep breathing can calm and reassure you.

3. Put away the past

Temporarily “unlike” Facebook, tie down your texting thumbs, and box up up relationship mementos. Resist the urge to obsess over relationship “what ifs” and “could’ve beens.” Press the reset button.

4. Beware: “Friendship” is not the current course of action

Don’t fool yourself into a relationship relapse. Your ex is not your friend. Not now. Don’t let fear or insecurity send you running back to the familiar. You may have held on to a bad relationship too long because you feared failing at love. You may have begged your ex to come back because you feared being alone. You may be afraid now. That’s ok. Feel it and press on.

5. The friends you really need are waiting by the phone

Reach out to your supporters and biggest fans. Those are the people who know your many facets and unique qualities. Let them remind you that you are loved and appreciated. Your friends and family are the perfect antidote to any isolating anxiety or feelings of unworthiness threatening to take you down.

6. What really matters? Get outside yourself.

Become a part of something bigger. Give your time and energy to a worthy cause or a neighbor in need. Soon, the hole in your heart will fill with the grace and gratitude that accompany a clearer view of the big picture.

7. Rebuild your confidence.

Growth is good. Take classes or trips you hesitated to take when you were busy managing a relationship. Explore new music. Master a skill. Learn to do something unconventional, or even a little uncharacteristic. Remember, your future is waiting for you. Surprise yourself.

Enjoy Life Again.

Be brave. Pull back the covers. Make up the bed.

Your broken relationship is an opportunity for a breakthrough.

Find out what’s next in life and, in time, what’s next in love.

Read more about Loss & Grief Therapy.

5 Signs of Postpartum Depression, “The Baby Blues”

What to look for when the baby’s finally here, but you’re just not happy about it

The happy activity buzzing around you feels more like a TV dream sequence.

The baby, your baby, wriggles in your arms.

Though your friends and family are cooing and smiling over your shoulder, tears well up for you–again.

You can barely manage a smile or a word. You’re so tired.

You’re irritated by all the baby talk, so drained by all the pressure.

Staring again at your “bundle of joy”, you realize you feel nothing like joy at all. You feel like this is all just one big mistake.

You also know this can’t be right.

What is happening to you?

First, you should know that your feelings might actually have a name: Postpartum depression (PPD).

Second, give yourself a break. You’re not making it up, you’re not crazy, and you are not to blame.

Postpartum depression is significantly more physically intense and emotionally taxing than a few days of the “baby blues”.

In fact, “the blues” doesn’t even seem to describe the dark and maddening symptoms that can overwhelm the weeks and months after a woman gives birth.

If you are unsure whether PPD is the real barrier between you and your baby, examine these five most common and exhausting symptoms:

1. Do you feel physically out of order?

Insomnia. There are no naps when the baby sleeps. There is no rest when you mom comes to help. You may feel that sleep is so far out of reach that you’ll never close your eyes again.

Loss of appetite. Nothing looks good or tastes good. In fact, food hasn’t even crossed your mind.

Overpowering Fatigue. You can’t believe how tired you are. You don’t have enough energy to get dressed, let alone change diapers, or bathe your baby.

2. Has a fog settled over your life?

Lack of focus. Decisions and concentration are beyond you right now. Conversations are hard to engage, books are hard to read, and names are hard to recall.

Disconnection. The whole world seems somehow “out there”. You feel like you can’t connect with your baby, spouse, and loved ones the way you want to.

3. Is emotional numbness plaguing your relationships?

Baby bond trouble. You keep waiting for a wave of maternal love and protectiveness to wash over you, but it still hasn’t come.

Withdrawal. Your response to your partner and loved ones has ebbed to almost nothing. You’re not interested in their lives and share very little of yourself with them.

4. Are you constantly swinging between emotional extremes?

Anger. Do you lash out at your family? Do you resent your baby?

Sadness. Do you feel crushed or immobilized? Is your crying out of control?

Hopelessness. Do feelings of failure or being trapped consume you? Have you seriously contemplated escape?

5. Have anxiety and panic become constant companions?

Panic. Sudden attacks of inadequacy and worry overcome you. You actually have a physical response to the fear, possibly hyperventilating or becoming nauseous.

Fear factors. You worry all the time that you could hurt your baby. You’re afraid to be left in charge. You call the doctor repeatedly for reassurance, but never feel better.

Please understand, postpartum depression is not merely a sad period of adjustment. If you recognize a need for help, don’t be afraid to reach out right away to ensure your own safety and that of your child.

Talk to your partner, someone you trust, or an experienced therapist and reclaim your happiness. Find your true self again.

Rediscover your bundle of joy.

Read more about Depression Therapy.