Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘therapy’

I Hate Therapy – Continued. . .

why waitWould we say that people who work out must be sick or they wouldn’t need it? Hell no. But we still hold on to this antiquated idea that you must be crazy if you go to therapy. Attitudes like the one shown in the Huff Po article are only perpetuating the medical model of therapy – that you go to therapy to treat an illness. In fact, therapy is just as useful in the wellness model of getting healthy, achieving potential, and making a good life better.

In the vein of the wellness model, here are more reasons to try therapy:

You want to love and accept yourself – Many people have difficulty with this, and they’re not necessarily depressed or afflicted with another mental disorder. Therapy can help you explore roadblocks to self-esteem and teach you practical ways to make your happiness a priority.

You want to make a good marriage great – Many relationships are functional, but are no longer fun. Couples counseling can help improve communication and strategize ways to return passion and excitement to a marriage.

You want to thrive in your career – You say you’re unhappy where you are, why aren’t you striving for something different? Is fear, hard work, or interpersonal conflict holding you back? Therapy can be the catalyst for healthy change in your career.

You want to understand your purpose in life – Many therapists love to dive in and help you find out who you are on a deep level, helping you uncover the passions buried under the busyness of life. A desire for this time to self-reflect may mean that…

You want one hour each week to focus completely on yourself – Therapy is a course where you are the subject matter. You can explore yourself, go deeper into your current thoughts and feelings, or just sit and “be” for a while. This vital practice has become a forgotten art in our world today.

You want to let go and forgive – Holding a grudge isn’t a diagnosable condition, but it does have serious physical, emotional, and relational consequences. Through therapy you can learn to resolve these issues for yourself and move on.

You want a place to practice assertiveness, expressing emotion, or anything else – Therapy is a laboratory for you to explore, experiment, and practice behaviors that are scary in the rest of life. Shy people can practice confrontation. Detached people can experiment with expressing emotion. When you’ve tried this out a few times in session, you may be ready to take it out into the world. (more tips for clients in therapy here)

There probably are a few dozen other helpful reasons, however Ryan hopes you get the point: therapy is helpful for treating serious problems, but it offers much more. If we can move past the medical model myopia that contributes to therapy stigma, perhaps many more people will come to understand therapy’s benefits first hand.

(Source: Ryan Howes, PhD)

I hate therapy

Therapists“I hate therapy- it’s only for sick people, and I’m not sick!”” is what many people say when first thinking about coming in. So, why go to therapy? The Huffington Post recently published an article titled “8 Signs You Should See a Therapist.” Huff Po (the specific author isn’t clear) points out that “while one in five American adults suffer from some form of mental illness, only about 46-65 percent with moderate-to-severe impairment are in treatment.” They noted that some problems that don’t qualify as severe mental illness can benefit from treatment and illuminated the symptoms that may warrant psychotherapy:

  • Everything you feel is intense
  • You’ve suffered a trauma and you can’t stop thinking about it
  • You have unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a run down immune system
  • You’re using a substance to cope
  • You’re getting bad feedback at work
  • You feel disconnected from previously beloved activities
  • Your relationships are strained
  • Your friends have told you they’re concerned

If you’re experiencing anything on that list, therapy may be a good choice for you.

However, the author goes on to explain that he doesn’t fully agree with this post:

We generally don’t end up doing things we “should” do; we do things we want to. Consult anyone who ever made a New Year’s Resolution for an example. You’ll have a better experience in therapy (and probably better results) if you go because you want to learn, grow, and heal, not because someone else thinks you should.

Another reason therapy is important is that therapy is effective for helping painful experiences become tolerable, and a proven method for changing harmful thinking, relational, and behavioral patterns. But it’s also used to make good lives great.

For comparison, look at two ways you manage your physical health: a visit to your MD versus working out at the gym. You go to a physician to treat a medical problem: You feel symptoms and seek treatment to return to your “normal” state. By contrast, you go to the gym to get healthy, achieve a higher physical potential, and generally make a good life better. Two different approaches to health, one focused on illness and the other wellness. Therapy is unique in that it acts as the psychological equivalent of both the MD and the gym. We go to therapy to treat problems as well as improve an already decent life.

Read next weeks post to find out more about why therapy is a good thing!
(Source: Ryan Howes, PhD)

Book of The Month

Slay Your Own Dragons: How Women Can Overcome Self-Sabotage in Love and Work – Nancy Good

This book focuses on the unconscious emotional inner conflicts that prevent women from experiencing happiness and success in their personal relationships and careers. Emphasis is on eliminating thoughts of self-blame and finding the root of these “dragons” through self-observation. Psychotherapist Good provides various cases of women sabotaging themselves, suggests strategies that each woman might take to overcome self-sabotage, and discusses actions chosen by the women to help themselves. Recognizing the uniqueness and the role of each individual, Good presents a realistic view of overcoming self-sabotage and offers a flexible ten-point plan to help women “slay the dragons.” Good writes engagingly and realistically on a serious hidden problem among women.

 

Self-Sabotage. . . Continued

Recognizing self-defeating thoughts and behavior is the first step to change. Many experts agree that to change the behavior, people must change their thinking. Therefore, the first step is to observe ourselves and our thoughts.

The next step is to take full responsibility for our thoughts and behavior-so that we control them and they stop controlling us. If we accept that we are doing this to ourselves, we can also understand that we have the power to change.

Self-observation is a powerful tool against the behaviors that defeat us. For example, Stan could take his son fishing and be careful to be positive and to stay silent when he feels a
criticism rising in his throat. To do this, he would first have to decide that a good relationship with his son was more important that being “right.”

Setting a goal is the next step. Without blame or shame, choose one behavior to change. For example, Patricia could decide not to be late anymore. To do this, she would have to decide that something was more important than being late-a job she loves, for example. One tactic might be to write a positive affirmation each night in a journal, or set her clock an hour early, or enlist a friend to call her for a week, reminding her to walk out the door. After a while, the rewards of being on time could become greater than the self-defeating cycle of being late.

It’s not easy to change patterns of self-sabotage, but with time and practice-and a good dose of self-love-it is possible to end a self-defeating cycle and live the life we truly want. (AFC 2012)

The Sky’s the Limit

October in Albuquerque means balloons- one of the greatest events of the year is our Annual Balloon Fiesta. Seeing the sky full of colorful globes gives me a lift- and so does my latest news! AFC has expanded into the West side/Rio Rancho with a second location- another office to serve the metro area. We are really excited about our latest growth- helping couples and individuals to better their relationships and make positive changes in their lives. So, the offices are now AFC East and AFC West– watch out in the next few weeks for our grand opening!

The Place Nobody Wants To Be: Limboland

Limboland- we’ve all heard the phrase “I’m in limbo”. But what exactly does it mean? Limbo is frequently used to describe a temporary state- a lack of movement either forwards or backwards. In life, and in relationships, one thing is certain- being in limbo is darn uncomfortable.

We can feel like we are in limbo for many reasons- life transitions, family issues, the instability of a relationship. As humans we prosper with a certain degree of routine and structure, so being in limbo is an unnatural state of being. We need direction, goals and action to feel that our lives have meaning, but what can we do if the decision of “what happens next” resides with someone or something else? Our internal guidance system wants to resist the lack of movement by trying to force ourselves out of the state, usually by making impulsive decisions or thoughtless actions. Of course, this usually ends up making things worse.

One of the worst things about being in limbo is fear. Fear of the future, fear of the unknown and fear of outcomes can immobilize our thoughts and actions. This can cause depression, stress and anxiety. Fear is that constant voice in our heads that keeps us from taking risks- risks that might enrich our life or hold us back from doing some things we need to do. Want to experience something new and exciting? Or accomplish something really great? Fear says, “No, you can’t.”

 Please watch for next weeks post for tips to keep things in control. . .

Holiday Tips for Blended Families

The holidays are stressful for many people, but can be especially so for blended families. Unique families require unique solutions to their problems, so here are some tips to help navigate the holiday season and still have some good cheer.

  • Communication and planning- think of the entire holiday season, not just a couple of days. That will give you the opportunity to spread out the events so that all family members can participate. Consider that the days leading up to and after the holiday can be a part of the festivities.
  • Communicate with all family members well before the holiday, to try and avoid any last minute changes. Families and children get along better when they know what to expect, as much as possible. Be flexible on time but strict on communications.
  • Start your own traditions and rituals, blending some of the old with new. Have each child bring one idea that was meaningful to them, into the new family. Make time for all the children’s ideas to be a part of the new family tradition.
  • Put aside your ill feelings towards your ex and model some good behavior for your own children- adhere to the custody agreements, help your children with picking out gifts for their other parents and decorations for the other house. This will help them feel more in control of the situation, and give them a sense of belonging.
  • Do something different from the usual- try having appetizers and finger food instead of a full sit down dinner, open presents three days before Christmas, plan a craft or game instead of the usual movie. Being different will create a sense of fun and energy.

And if things seem to be falling apart, remember two things:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff- life is not perfect and the holiday won’t be either, so try and relax
  • It will get easier with time- as the years pass you will have more traditions that you can count on.

Have a good Christmas!

Kelly Chicas 2011

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