Therapy advice to put in your pocket and take with you.

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Living With a Rock Star and a Super Hero

Therapy in a Nutshell

I have always known life isn’t easy. From my own tough experiences but more importantly, from hearing every day the difficult things people experience when they share them with me in counseling, I have heard some doozies. And yet, through it all, I am repeatedly awed by the strength of the human spirit to persevere. I tell people all the time that they can handle so much more than they realize. They don’t think they can, but then when it happens, they do, they survive, they make it through.

I don’t think we worried we wouldn’t survive parenting a child with Down Syndrome. We knew we would be okay. But there was so much we didn’t know, it was scary. Parenting itself is already an adventure into the Great Unknown. It’s the most rewarding and the most powerless feeling anyone could have. Add to that parenting a child with special…

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You Don’t Know Me

An amazing admission… So many first responders suffer in silence in order to “stay strong” but over time the horror they see that no human should see takes its toll.

Great share here.

“Nothing Bad Will Happen…”

“Nothing Bad Will Happen…”.

Blind Faith

Blind Faith

She hid alone in the dark, in her closet and she cried. She prayed to God, Why Me? Haven’t I been through enough? I can’t handle it. I just can’t. It’s too much. But God was quiet.

She was angry. She was confused. Everything felt out of control. All that she had worked so hard for in her life seemed to be slipping through her fingers. She was always a survivor. She was tough. But she didn’t feel any of that today. Today she just felt tired. Physically and emotionally tired.

She had so many questions, there were so many unknowns. Truth be told, she was scared. And where God had been her guide in the past, she felt His absence now. Or did she? Was He here? Did this have a purpose? Was He trying to tell her something? She was reluctant because this would be her hardest journey yet. But she realized something.

If God asked her to bear this burden so her children didn’t have to, would she? Yes, of course, in a heartbeat. If God asked if He could use her as an instrument to teach others, to change the world one person at a time, would she help, even if it was hard? Yes, she would let God make her an instrument of His work. If God asked, do you trust Me, would she balk? She’d gulp. She’d take a long deep breath. She’d cry a little. But she’d say yes.

Because trusting God is the hardest when you don’t know what His plan is for you. Blind Faith is the deepest faith because it truly means letting go and letting Him be in charge. Letting Him lead you and trusting He is there, He’s got this. It is the truest test of faith, and the deepest love you can give Him.

She knows now that she can do this. Yep it’s going to be scary. And maybe painful. And there are going to be a lot of unknowns. But He knows. And she trusts Him.

You’ve Got This

This has been a rough week. Not for myself, but for many people I have come in contact with. Sadness, worry, stress, loss, change. And not just small issues either but major life-changing events. The transition from the known to the unknown can be scary because we don’t know what to expect and it gives a feeling of powerlessness. Feeling powerless and out of control can trigger anxiety and depression and make a person feel even worse. Then what do we do? (more…)

Why Bad Things Happen

I don’t know why bad things happen. I can tell you that one thing I have learned in counseling people for 22 years is that there is no justice, no logical reason why some people have to bear so much while others so little.

The most common question I am asked is how do I hear so many sad stories and not take it home. Usually I shrug and say I don’t know. Other times I try to explain how I keep my boundaries. But really the truth is I think this is just my calling. I don’t make a lot of money, but I get a lot of reward. I hear so often how I have helped someone. When other people are making big dough but getting no recognition, I know I am making a difference every day in what I do and I know I am supposed to be doing this.
In counseling school they say we are supposed to remain impartial and detached. But as I told my two interns today, first and foremost I have to be real. People don’t want a cold robot as a therapist. If I hear a sad story, I cry. Is therapy my place to air my issues and share my pain, no absolutely not. I am here for you not me. But if I am hearing a painful story and it moves me to tears, I’m not afraid to show that.
Today was one of those days. My first client was terminally ill and dealing with a shortened life expectancy. My second client buried two spouses. My third has a best friend who is dying of cancer, a colleague whose son died last week in a car accident and a daughter with a disability. My next client had a baby die years ago but is a nurse giving back, but now caring for a terminally ill 12 year old.
Today I heard a story of a woman whose daughter died in a car accident and then had the moment to hold someone else’s child as he died from a car accident. And discussed a story of a mother whose 9 year old son died of a brain tumor and her Christian gift to him was to wash his body before he was buried.
How do humans bear the pain and grief they are subjected to? You would think after all these years I’d have an answer for that. And yet I don’t. I continue to be in awe of the strength of the human spirit’s ability to cope.

Ahhh Turn It Off!

Colleagues, friends and I have been wondering what has been causing so many teens to turn to suicide lately.  People ask why teens have such a harder time dealing with bullying these days when bullying is not something new. We theorized that it has something to do with texting and Facebook, and how there is no break from the gossip. Technology keeps all of the drama right in their faces, 24/7.  Today I had an ah-ha moment that gave me some clarity on the subject.

Remember landline phones and busy signals? Remember having to pull over to a pay phone to call someone if you were on the road? Remember paper maps???  And when you went home from work (or school) you didn’t reconnect until the next day. Today, I have the “convenience” that my work voicemail will call my cell phone the minute I get a message.  I save money on business cards because I can text people their appointments, and they can communicate with me through text to make appointments. So convenient right?

Yesterday I chatted with a teen who has gotten in big trouble at school for using his phone during class.  We talked about being impulsive because he has ADHD, and he said “Yeah! I get a text and I cannot wait to see what it says! I can’t stop myself!”  Two seconds later his mom and I said “Me too!”  (And we’re not ADHD.)  Getting an email or a text immediately at my phone feels like the old days of getting a letter in the mail.  So exciting! Oh look, a package!  So where’s the downside?

There’s no escape. There’s no relief. There’s no break. There’s no downtime.  I realized this today when I was taking a day off, and my phone kept beeping.  I felt pressured to respond, and had to remind myself that I was not on duty.  But people on the other end didn’t know that so they kept messaging.  Ahhhh! Turn it off!

I recently went to dinner with family and my sister-in-law said everyone had to put their cell phones in the middle of the table and whomever picked their beeping phone up first had to pay for dinner!  Funny! But not so funny. What? I can’t check my phone? What will I do?

If I were a teenager in the middle of high school drama, and every time I checked my phone or the computer it was something negative or harassing, I’d never feel better. I’d never feel like I could escape from it.  To be an adult and not feel like I can turn off the job, to be a teen and not feel like I can turn off the hate… can be overwhelming.

Convenient is not always better. Who woulda thunk it.

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