Insights from Atlanta Counselor Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT

Bill Herring photo

Over the years I've enjoyed writing little essays and observations about a variety of topics related to personal growth, emotional development, relationship enhancenment and other topics I find meaningful and interesting. I hope you enjoy them! 

You can read small snippets of each blog post below: click the title of any that interest you to read the entire post.  Each entry has also been loosely grouped into categories which can help guide your viewing.

Intentional vs. Invitational

This is another entry in my ever-increasing collection of "therapeutic distinctions", pairs of words that relate to each other while containing subtle but important differences in meaning. Since I pay very close attention to words I'm constantly on the alert for distinctions that can open up new choices in how to think about a situation. More choices equal more possibilities, and that's where the greatest fun is . (If you want proof of that statement just get a 64-color box of crayons.)

Places and Paces

First and second place ribbons

When I'm providing couples counseling it is inevitable that each person will be a slightly different "place" in the change process. To begin with, it's not unusual for one person to initially be more interested in being in a counseling office than the other. It's probably fair to say that in some fundamental way each partner in a relationship is in a different "place" than the other. Healthy partners don't need to be at the same place as each other all the time in order to function well.

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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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70 Plus 70 Equals 100

The idea that a relationship between two people is a 50-50 proposition seems both obvious and fair.  If both people pull their fair share, the partnership will stay balanced and healthy, right? It seems only logical that to achieve a fulfilling relationship both parties must uphold their half of the bargain. But relationships are too important to "meet in the middle".

When I am counseling a couple to improve some troubling aspect of their life together, sometimes it is very easy to determine who owns most of the responsibility for change.  For example, if one person has an affair it's not appropriate to say that his or her partner is somehow "to blame" for the infidelity.  There are better ways than infidelity to handle dissatisfaction.

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Pigs and Chickens (Part One)

Once upon a time a poor villager lived in a small and crowded hut along with his wife, his children and a large number of relatives. His days were filled with toil and drudgery and at night he lay awake on his hard mat feeling very unhappy.

Finally the poor fellow sought the guidance of the wisest man in the village, who considered the  villager's plight for several minutes and then solemnly told him that he must herd all of his pigs and chickens into his hut, and then return after the next moon.

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10 Steps To Better Emotional Health

Picture of man climbing steps

The hectic pace of life can present a real challenge to the maintenance of good emotional health on a day-to-day basis. It’s no wonder that many of the most-prescribed medications treat symptoms related to stress that arises from “lifestyle” problems such as insomnia, high blood pressure and cholesterol, depression, sexual dysfunction….. the list goes on and on. But a few simple steps can help preserve emotional balance in the face of all the challenges and demands of modern life. Here are ten suggestions to help you insure the maintenance of good emotional health in your daily life:

Now or Later?

True conscious growth is often difficult to achieve. Whether it's exercising regularly to grow stronger physically, studying a difficult subject to gain deeper knowledge, facing deep fears to transform to develop greater courage, going through the discomfort of withdrawal to break free of addiction or working through an emotional conflict to improve a relationship with a person you care about, there is generally a lot of pain on the front end. The first push-ups are the hardest.

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"No" Is a Complete Sentence

The word "No"I recently heard a phrase that is brilliant in its simplicity:"No" is a complete sentence.

Some people don't seem to have any trouble saying "no", but for those of us who can struggle with temporary surges of codependency, this simple word can be a challenge to utter. Instead, it's tempting to give a lot of explanations when declining an offer or request, instead of simply saying "no".

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Reasons vs. Excuses

This is another in a series of what I call "therapeutic distinctions", pairs of words that initilly seem to be similar but which actually have subtle but important differences in meaning that are often helpful to consider. One such example is the relationship between "reasons" and "excuses".

Did You Make Your Bed today?

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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