August 2, 2017

During my initial assessment with a new client, I ask the question of whether or not they have ever had thoughts of hurting themselves or others. Most often the answer is some variation of "Not exactly, but I want things to end." While exploring this further, I discover that really the person is feeling down or depressed and they want that feeling to go away. Other feelings are identified as well: frustration, lack of appreciation, helplessness, etc. 

This is actually very common and I look at it more as wanting to escape feelings or situations rather than having anything to do with actually harming one's self. Things can become so overwhelming that we just want a break, a break from the negative feelings or situation. 

Often there are small changes we can make to improve the situation and feel better. It can feel like the other person (spouse, partner, etc) needs to change and to some degree that might be true but we only have control over ourselves. Small changes we make can make a big...

May 15, 2017

Sometimes we get caught up with the idea that we must have a good reason for saying No to someone and maybe we feel like we can't say No unless we have a good reason. I have a really good reason to say No, because you don't want to! There are of course exceptions to this. My grandmother used to ask for help by saying "who wants to help with the dishes?" I didn't actually want to do dishes but I wanted to help my grandmother, so I did dishes. 

There are definitely times to say yes, and there are times to say No. To the person who always asks for help but is unavailable to help you when you need it, just say No. There are people who are just takers and setting boundaries in those relationships is very important to decrease your own anger and or resentment and or feeling less than because they don't offer up more in the relationship. 

No does not require an explanation. It can feel like it does, but it doesn't. Someone says, hey, can you help me with this, the answer can be simply...

April 28, 2017

So many clients talk about worrying about what others think about them or what they did wrong to cause someone to treat them a certain way etc. But so often other people's behavior towards us has nothing to do with us but is about them. An example I use often is about passing a coworker in a hallway and them not acknowledging you. This can hurt and make us wonder what we did that damaged the relationship. But it is more likely that it had nothing to do with us but is a reflection of them being in their own head either about a work issue or their home life. I know I've done this, where I'm so focused I don't even realize there is another person present. It has nothing to do with the other person.

There is such a sense of freedom when we internalize this: "The way people treat you, is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you." And sometimes it is only a statement about who they are in that moment.

So often we take things personally that aren't at all...

April 17, 2017

I talked with someone today. She is considering breaking up with her boyfriend. She described her life as being bad for the past year and a half and she has been with this guy for that length of time. Towards the end of the conversation she stated that she has tried to break up with him before. I asked what happened and she said that he started calling her a slut, on Facebook, by text etc. We discussed the block feature that is available on Facebook and on many phone plans or sometimes it might be necessary to change ones number. She understood.

What struck me though was the the implication that what got them back together was him calling her a slut. This is a very red flag in my opinion, name calling. It could be the start of an abusive relationship, or it could just be substance use in that moment, so bad judgement. Regardless, no one deserves that.

Sometimes it seems like it is just easier to stay with someone or to go back, but if it isn't the right relationship, it won't likely ever...

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