Lean in the Opposite Direction


In my Atlanta counseling practice I've helped people who have all sorts of personalities. From the rigid to the disorganized, from the serious to the silly, from the extremely anxious to the overconfident, everyone has a unique combination of traits. One of the opportunities of a therapist is to help people develop some of the underdeveloped parts of their personalities.

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You're Not Upset

This essay is partly a companion piece to one of my previous posts titled “You’re Not Fine”.  Both caution against using words or concepts that seem to carry specific meanings but which actually lack the ability to foster productive communication.  And when it comes to emotionally charged discussions the words we use can make the difference between a productive or detrimental outcome.    From this perspective, using the word “upset” seldom helps any situation.

Fueled By or Ruled By?

Do you know the difference between something that inspires you and something that controls you? Can you tell the difference between motivation and compulsion? It's not always easy to tell the difference.

Time Trip Tips

Living 'here and now' is not easy to do for any significant length of time. We are constantly being swept back into our remembered past or forward into our imagined future.

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Ten Will Get You Fifty

People obviously seek psychotherapy or counseling to make changes in some part of their lives, and nobody wants to engage in a lot of effort for only minimal benefit.  I sometimes use the phrase "ten will get you fifty" to describe situations in which a small effort can yield a large reward.

Make Your Bed

It’s difficult to know exactly what each day will bring for you to face: if life shows us anything it’s that uncertainties abound and challenges may spring up when least expected or desired.  Sometimes it may seem like every minute is filled with a task to accomplish…..a need to meet…..a fire to put out.
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Wisdom Quote: It's Never a Straight Line

"It's never a straight line."  -Geri Larkin

We think the shortest path between two points is a straight line. While this may be true in physics it is seldom the case in personal growth. You don't go from your starting point to your destination without detours, obstacles, curves, roadblocks, false starts, setbacks and other barriers to your goal. That's just how a hero's journey unfolds (and in case you've forgotten or have never been told, that's what your life is about).

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Everybody's Weird

I had a client recently who said "I just want to feel normal." I certainly understand the sentiment and yet my reaction when I hear this fairly common goal is mixed. Generally I find that the underlying desire for "normal" is a need to feel OK in your own skin, to feel accepted and acceptable. At the root is some combination of shame and exhaustion: shame (the wellspring of most dysfunction) at feeling somehow defective and exhaustion at trying so hard to achieve an elusive peace of mind.

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Two Types of Power

Many years ago I read a little book called "The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How To Recognize It And How To Respond", by Patricia Evans. I still recommend this book (despite its unfortunate tendency toward anti-male bias) for its admirable job of highlighting the many types of verbal abuse. These include many subtle forms that may slip by unnoticed, such as discounting ("Oh, that's nothing"), blocking ("I don't want to talk about it"), diverting ("That's not the real issue, this is"),and trivializing ("Whatever"), all of which reinforce an unbalanced power dynamic.

Confusion Equals Progress

Recently I thought I heard someone say these words: "confusion is progress."

Maybe that's not, in fact, what the person actually said, but that's what the words sounded like to me. As I pondered these words I became more confused about what they meant, so I spent a few moments in a state of reflection while smiling that I found myself confused about a statement about confusion!

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