I have never been a big fan of new “trendy” words used to describe things in therapy. Imposter syndrome, trigger, serial monogamy, etc. I prefer the less trendy childhood trauma, cause, relationship issues and questions to find the root of thoughts and behaviors.
Many people feel that their inability to be who they are started in their own minds and beliefs. In all the years I have been in mental health counseling, I have never, not even once, found that to be a true statement.
The thoughts and beliefs that people have about themselves started when someone else made them…
Sometimes we can be so tired in our mind and body that only a complete break from our everyday life will reset us. Earlier this year, I was able to have one of those resets.
My family and I went for four days to what is called the Missouri Breaks in Montana. It is several hours north of where we live. There are almost no people and definitely no Internet, cell, or television service of any kind. The land is a high prairie with pine trees, juniper bushes, and sagebrush.
The sky is magnificently big and seems to go on…
For many people, happiness is something they think happens due to outside forces. If I get the grades I want. If I have a job where I am successful. If I have a relationship. If I am thinner. If people are proud of me.
I call it the happiness hamper. The place where you go to dig through everything, hoping to find the one you think will make you happy. Trying on different ones to see which will make you happy at that moment. All of these kinds of happiness are dependent on someone or something else.
True happiness can…
Your brain will only believe what you tell it is true.
Your brain is not an artificial intelligence. It is a taught repeater. It does not make up things on its own.
The information that is taken into your brain is what your brain will put back out.
And anything that is put into your brain by either yourself or others with belief that it is true, your brain will believe it is true. It does not matter whether it is actually true or not. …
The sun is a vital component of all living things. It provides warmth, nourishment, and mental health boosters just to name a few things for humans.
As I have written about many times, vitamin D is essential to healthy mental health. In Montana where I live and practice, vitamin D deficiency is a very normal occurrence for people, and for some people, a complete lack of vitamin D is not uncommon.
Many studies have been done over the years that directly relate increased depression to a lack of vitamin D in the body. …
In Merriam Webster there are eight definitions of grace as a noun and two as a verb. For the purposes of this writing, grace is an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or mercy and/or the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful.
Most of us have been taught that we should give grace to others in all myriad of circumstances. We should be kind and courteous to others. We should show mercy, forgiveness, and tolerance to others. We should be considerate and thoughtful of other people’s feelings, sorrows, and tragedies.
How often do we extend grace to ourselves?
Margin. The possession of space in your mind, body, and spirit to take on life’s challenges and choices. For many people, especially in the past year, keeping margin has been in short supply.
Many times, we find ourselves pushed to the edge and beyond it emotionally and mentally, and yes physically. Pushed by those who expect us to help them or in some cases enable them to solve or avoid their own problems.
Children who come with presenting issues that they make seem like life or death and expect us to solve them immediately. Bosses who bring their own stress…
There are lots of difficult words in therapy. Trauma, abuse, grief, change are just a few of the hard words therapy causes to surface. However, there is one word that is more difficult than all the others for most of my clients:
There are three words—acknowledgment, acceptance, and change—on the road to recovery. Change cannot come without the other two.
However, it is the word and act of acceptance that most of my clients find the hardest to see, say, and do. Acceptance means that one has to accept fully that what has happened to them to this point…
When clients come to see me for the first time, they always say that they want to change their lives and change who they are in their lives.
However, when we start working on that change and they start to think about what that change is going to look like, their fear can sometimes keep them from making forward progress.
When we have trauma, we have developed responses to that trauma since the trauma started. With every subsequent trauma, we have more responses added.
All of these responses shape how we think, how we react, and how we live.
In the way you watch at the window waiting for me to arrive home
coming out to walk me in when the path is icy
flowers for no particular reason except that you love me
and my favorite wines that just appear
The special nickname reserved only for me
and I love you spoken many times over each day
letting me watch a series over and over without complaint
and finding tear-jerker movies for us to share
Reaching out to me with texts and calls throughout the day
and understanding my need for silence after stressful work
making sure I have all…