This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Night of Light

If you are in the area, this promises to be a wonderful event.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"I've Lost 38 pounds..."

How you can surprise yourself when working in therapy.

 "I've lost 38 pounds since I began seeing you!"  I heard this on Friday from a patient who's been attending weekly therapy sessions for a few years.  What's noteworthy about this happy report from her is that this was not the reason she entered therapy.  And this happens, more or less with most people.  That is, while they are focusing on one problem, another begins to change.  It's the magic of therapy.
Or, as a chiropractor once joked to me, "The hip bone's connected to the leg bone...", etc.  We are not a number of separate pieces enclosed in a container.  Not only do various parts of the body affect each other (in health or illness), not only is the body connected to the brain, but the various aspects of our psyches are interconnected also.
This woman came to therapy with a laundry list of complicated family problems in her immediate and extended family.  We've worked a lot on sorting out that laundry!  Also, we've begun looking at her own patterns of reaction to some of her long-standing interpersonal issues.
 As we continued on, at one point, we decided to make health a part of our focus.  For awhile, she had me check in regularly with her on her food choices, exercise routine and specific-to-her, medical concerns.  She began occasional meetings with a personal trainer.  So, some of this work is pretty close to the subject of 'dieting' but we never embarked on that kind of a program for her.  The weight loss occurred naturally; it is an outcome of the therapy we never aimed for.
It is a healthy change, in her case, because  her weight was over 200 pounds and she has high blood pressure.
But there are examples like this occurring all the time in therapy.  A man came in because of depression, never mentioned his fear of heights and one day, climbed a ladder and discovered---no fear!
A woman entered therapy over the loss of a relationship and, after 5 years in treatment---looking at many aspects of her present and past life during that time---found that a series of experiences she had as an adolescent were at the level of trauma.  These were events she had always shrugged off as, "...just something that happened." only to find that she was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  She is still in therapy, finding it beneficial at 7 years.

How much a person opens up to themselves, how much they value the work of therapy and, to an extent, how long they stay in the process affect how much this magic happens.  But I think it happens, to some degree in nearly every case:  Some people have a more discrete expectation when they enter therapy; they may have an acute problem and just want some objective feedback.  Or they subscribe to the idea that two heads are better than one; they just want someone outside of their personal sphere to help them think things through.  Even in that situation, there will be some experience of relief or psychological nourishment, just in having the opportunity to be heard out.
At each session, a therapist puts the outside world out, sets aside their own issues and pays thorough attention to the patient before them.  A therapist puts a lot of energy into focusing on a person who
participates weekly for an extended period of time.  So, we may sometimes, out of all that listening and observing, think of these extenuating aspects to the person or their life even if they don't. But, not always.
So, sometimes, we are both surprised.
That, I think, is the magic of therapy.

Have you surprised yourself in your therapy?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

From The Outside In

In a wish to grow, to develop, or to change, it is possible to work from the inside out or from the outside in. If we change our behaviors (outer), it effects our feelings (inner). If we change our mind about how we've been viewing something (inner), it will probably change what we do (outer). And, of course, it's possible to put effort in both directions.
Often, just following a new understanding of a conundrum they've been struggling with, a patient will say: "So now, what do I do about it?" They haven't realized yet that change will emerge naturally out of their new perspective. Insight leads to change.
Here's a woman who works from the outside to help people feel better about themselves. She writes: "The essence of authenticity is to live according to your own internal voice...Your appearance can enhance your sense of energy, vitality and vigor." That was written by Deborah Francesconi, R.N, (a former psychiatric nurse, now an aesthetic nurse specialist). In a nutshell, she says here what I have proposed in this entry.
She currently has a very practical list of how to take good care of your skin (for adult women and men too-children's care would be different). Putting a little attention on self-care contributes to our self-esteem. Here is her website:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saying A Lot With A Little

And, a third: "I have been turning myself into a pretzel trying to stay married to her."

Wise Words

                    A second quote from a patient: "We make our own happiness."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feeling Well

If you are interested in learning more about The Feldenkrais method, as mentioned in the entry titled, Not A Know-It-All, Lauren McLeod (teacher) recently introduced me to a nice book on the subject titled, Move Into Life by Anat Baniel.
I am just learning the ropes of blogging and ran into trouble when I tried to put a link for you to Lauren's website. However, you can easily find her yourself by searching her name. And, of course, there are many other teachers of this method for renewing your physical vitality.
Please share any book titles you know that might help us to learn about this subject.