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.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Mistakes

Sometimes the professionals we rely on don't get it right

Have you ever had a physician make a mistake with you?  I have.  It isn't something you forget or get over easily. 
One example that happened to me is that I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and urgently pushed into outpatient surgery.  A lot of tissue was removed and it was not only a physical ordeal but also emotionally, a frightening thing to go through.  But, I trusted the doctor and went rushing forward.  Later I found out from a specialist in these type of skin cancers, at Stanford in San Francisco, that I had been misdiagnosed (did you know that slides of these medical events are kept?) and I actually had something harmless called a spindle cell spitz nevus which is supposedly often mistaken for a melanoma.  To finish this story, I later had a scar revision done by a plastic surgeon-also, not fun- but something far in the past for me now from which I am fully recovered.  The point is, the doctor I relied on made a mistake.

One example.  But these things have happened to me more than once.  And to people I know.  I know one person, for example, who had the opposite happen-a cancer that the doctor didn't think was anything.  Sadly, it was ignored and grew and now he is in big trouble.  So, back to our "imperfect therapists" (  If doctors, the professionals who, at least in this country, are elevated almost to royalty, can make mistakes, so can therapists.  And we do.

So, the point is, as the psychotherapy patient, don't be afraid to say, "I don't think so", or "that doesn't seem quite right," or-after true consideration-"I just don't think that fits me."  A solid therapist should be able to take that correction and keep moving along with you.

~You are the final authority in your therapy.  
You must look within to discover whether or not an intervention, a piece of feedback, a direction, resonates with you---or not.  
Ultimately, only you can know.~

On the other hand, in giving you this advice I have to warn against the other side where you are too guarded and skeptical in your therapy.  That will work against you.
  •  Your therapist may, indeed, be able to point out a blind spot.  And, if you are open, you should  be able to acknowledge it, once it's highlighted.  
  • Your therapist may be able to foresee trouble in a direction you are moving in, in your life, and you would be wise to consider the possibility when it's presented.  
  • Your therapist may have a clearer view of the larger picture, which you hadn't realized due to being immersed in it, and that is beneficial to you.  
  • By listening carefully and remembering salient points, a therapist may be able to draw together 2 disparate pieces of your communication and present a hypothesis; this can be enlightening for you.  
  • A therapist, by attending, may be able to point out a contradiction; this may serve to illuminate a new perspective for you.
There's a lot a therapist can offer, due to training, due to experience, and due to the fact that when you are there, they put other concerns aside and focus entirely on you.

Nonetheless, they can occasionally be wrong, or slightly off.  (Remember the recent Fallen Angels post---no body's perfect).

Even the most splendid, lovely, accomplished, that you adore, therapist, cannot be flawless.
But!  What I have found---and, this is difficult to explain but it is a real experience,--- is, that if I stay open (as a patient) in a session, consider everything that comes up, whatever and all that is offered, I usually find something in it.  Weird, but true.  So, in my own sessions, I do correct sometimes but, mostly I just try to stay in the flow.

Food for thought I hope.

What comes up for you in reading this?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Warm Welcome

I have the pleasure today of recognizing our newest member

So glad to see that you joined, ncamyamy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Caught My Eye

A brief quote that reflects part of my intention here
Lynn Fishman R.N.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fear of Fear and Seredipitious Happenings

Finding Pema Chodron's post in my e-mail saying the very same thing I had said to a client a few hours earlier

A couple of days ago, I was talking  to a client about the opportunity inherent in bringing the dark side out into the light.  In this case, she had said she realized that a cluster of behaviors that she does habitually were serving the purpose of keeping her anxiety at bay.  In other words, if  she stopped doing these things, she would feel anxious. 

An example of this kind of complex is one person who won't let another be alone, ostensibly so he, the other, won't  be something---afraid, confused, lonely, whatever.  But, really it's to keep person A from worrying or facing his own issues.  Another example would be the person who always plans all the parties; it's a lot of work.  But, he doesn't have to wonder if he will be invited!  There are lots of ways that people do this.  Maybe you can recognize this type of a pattern in yourself.
What I was telling the client was that when you purposely cease the binding behavior, you get to see what your anxiety really is---how does it feel, is it intermittent or prolonged, what is it like-is it in your mind or your body or both.  When I was laying this out, she made a good joke saying, "Oh, what fun, I can hardly wait!"  It was cute.
The thing about what I proposed is that you can either avoid the scary thing or face it and stare it down or, even just go through it.  This last will show you that you can survive anxiety.  "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger.", someone once said.

According to Carl Jung's theory, we all have a shadow side, as he called it.  It means that we have parts of us that we hide away, even from ourselves.  We don't want to see it; we don't want to experience it; we don't want others to see it.
The more you have stuffed away in your shadow, the less you have in consciousness.  The more that is hidden from yourself and others, the less you have access to your full self.  Therapy is a way to bring yourself to more consciousness. 

As I write about this complex and, sometimes for some, hard to think about topic, I am reminded of the children's book, Where The Wild Things Are. 
>The shadow items can also pop up when a person is under great stress or pressure or emotional tension.  Even someone who has done a lot of work with themselves can experience this.  The thing to do is be on the lookout for it.<
An example from my own life is that a few months ago I and a person I had a very close and caring relationship with, had to say good-bye.  Instead of staying with the difficult feelings engendered by this situation, he suddenly shifted into a very cold and distant mode toward me, treating me like a number instead of a thou.  Had he been able to catch himself, we could still have had a meaningful, loving good-bye.  As it is, this has become one of those relationships that goes into memory as torn off.
Perhaps you can begin to see the advantage---in the long run---of increasing your awareness of yourself.  In the short run, it's difficult, yes.  But, as we all know, some things get worse before they get better.  And, if you have a solid therapist to hang in with you on the way, it is very reassuring.
Here is Pema Chodron's version of what I said to my patient:

October 3, 2012
When you refrain from habitual thoughts and behavior, the uncomfortable feelings will still be there. They don’t magically disappear. Over the years, I’ve come to call resting with the discomfort “the detox period,” because when you don’t act on your habitual patterns, it’s like giving up an addiction. You’re left with the feelings you were trying to escape. The practice is to make a wholehearted relationship with that. 

Does this post bring to light for you some of your own unconscious behaviors?  If that happens and it makes you feel a little uneasy, don't run.  Maybe try reading the book mentioned above (it is by Maurice Sendak) or, if you are in therapy, bring it up in your next session.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We Have Our 25th Follower!

Purple Dreamer is here

Like many of our Followers, Purple Dreamer also has a blog.  I encourage all of you to check out one another's blogs---you may find some like-minded people.
Welcome, Purple Dreamer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why Will You Do It

A Moment of Introspection for You

 The Dalai Lama has a message and he is able to express that same message in many ways.

"The quality of everything we do: our physical actions, our verbal actions, and even our mental actions, depends on our motivation. That's why it's important for us to examine our motivation in our day to day life. If we cultivate respect for others and our motivation is sincere, if we develop a genuine concern for others’ well-being, then all our actions will be positive."  The Dalai Lama

This seems like an important thought to me, does it to you?