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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Question For You?

A question for members and readers who are or, who have been, in therapy

Our newest member, Michal has introduced herself and asked a question. It is in the comment section, on the post, Michal Has Joined Us.  If you are in therapy now or have been before, you may have some suggestions for her.  Thanks!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Calling Cards of the Soul

How to activate your own transformation

 "Our medical and psychological problems, our complexes and relationship tangles, our accidents and synchronicities are the calling cards of our soul." 
 Ashok Bedi, M.D.

Part of healing and personal growth is dependent on listening to our own inner voice.  We will limit ourselves if we count entirely upon another human being-be it a doctor or a therapist-to do this for us, to us, or without our active participation.
Yet, it isn't always so easy to decipher that inner voice of guidance and wisdom.  So, to give ourselves the best opportunity at wellness and self-development, we have to listen for it.
~Paying attention to fleeting thoughts.  Those odd thoughts that  pass quickly through your mind at random moments that we tend to ignore, should not be ignored.  Instead, stop for just a minute and ask, why did I think that?

 ~When you are in the fortunate position of being with an attentive, sensitive therapist, let your feelings emerge, and put them together with your thoughts.

~If a relationship quandary comes up in your life, don't jump to conclusions; don't make assumptions about the other person and leave it at that.  Instead, ask yourself if there is something to be learned from the dilemma.

~An accident might be more than an accident.  Ever heard the phrase, 'accidentally-on-purpose'?  At the very least, an accident may have happened because you were preoccupied-so, what was so important that you didn't keep your eyes on the road, or forgot to pick up your child after school, sent a damning e-mail to the wrong person or any of many other accidents one can have.  When it happens, take just a moment to introspect, look into it.  Why did that happen?

~Synchronicity is a fascinating concept introduced by Carl Jung which identifies the coming together of three unrelated things (actions, object, people) which, when together at a particular moment in time, have meaning.  If that ever happens to you, don't cheat yourself.  If you shrug it off as a simple coincidence, you will have missed an opportunity.

There you have it,  5 ways that you can facilitate your own personal growth.
You can  search under the label, psychotherapy, for more about personal growth. 

Have you noticed any of these experiences or used any of these techniques where they have led to insight?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Michal Has Joined Us

About self-actualization

 When you join this blog,you are joining a group of people who regularly expose themselves to helpful, encouraging information.  Here can be found growth-provoking suggestions, guidance for new ways to cope with difficult things, and inspiration.  

Many readers have asked for a look at the inner workings of the therapist and I have responded to that and will if more interest is expressed.  Primarily though, the intention of this blog is to provide a place for self-reflection and, also, to augment the process for anyone who is currently in therapy.

Each of you, who is bent on improving yourself and your relationships, will naturally contribute to a better world.

"butterfly effect - the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, e.g., a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro might change the weather in Chicago"

 Welcome, Michal!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Our New Member, MiLo

Welcome to MiLo who came on board today

This is a  picture that I took of a display I saw in the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.  I chose it to illustrate MiLo's welcome post because of the eggs, so beautifully and painstakingly decorated.  
Eggs are some times seen as a symbol of potential or a container of possibility.  
This is what this blog is for all of us, a place to help each of us reach our potential, and a place to stimulate the possibilities for all of us.
Welcome MiLo!  I am so glad to have you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I want to recognize the contribution of those supporting this blog

~Your donations are appreciated.~
 At this point, there have been a number of donations by you, the readers and you the members of the blog.
I do this blog as a gift.  I feel I have been privileged to come from a family that encouraged education.  I feel honored by all the people who have come to my practice and trusted me with their most personal concerns.  Because of these 2 things (well, I also have done a lot of hard work for a long time---got to give myself credit!), I have a tremendous inner resource. 
Look at how much I have written---and, still going strong!

This blog is my offering but it is so heartwarming to me when I receive a donation.  I can do a whole lot on my own steam but I need encouragement just like anyone else.  So, thank you for your contributions.

This blog shows a lot of promise.

This is a user supported blog.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gladly Announcing a New Member to the Blog

 It's a pleasure to introduce our newest member.

Welcome, Sebastian!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Your Advice, Please

Looking for your thoughts and suggestions

Dear Readers,  Something has been coming up here on the blog and I would like your ideas about what to do.  The problem is that visitors are putting advertising for their business/product sales/websites on the comment sections.  This began happening about 6 months ago.  
What I have been doing is removing them if they are blatant or, if they are quiet and subtle enough, I leave them there.  Lately, I have had some with links put on (I don't even know how they did that...!) and some sell jobs that are repeated on 3, to as many as 6, posts.
If it were a member I would feel like helping out since I have been trying to create a friendly, generous venue here.  Even then though, I would wish that the offering would be in context.
What bothers me most about it is the work I put in here, only to have someone come along and hitch a free ride!  This is not in  line with my feeling and intention about doing this.  The other thing is that I have made a commitment, which I have also discussed with you, my readers, to write this blog with no advertising on it.  This was decided when I put up the donation button---some of you who have been following for some time may remember that.
So, you can see the the quandary there:  I have given up the subsidization that advertising might provide me in order to avoid compromising the integrity of the blog.   So, it kind of rubs me the wrong way to have advertising appearing anyway, advertising that doesn't benefit me.
I am in favor of sharing information and of helping; does this situation align with those efforts?  Or am I just being used and allowing an annoyance to effect my readers?  

I am asking for your feedback.

Friday, May 3, 2013


How night dreams can help us

"Dreaming is a universal and well-documented human phenomenon.  It has now been proven conclusively that not only do we dream every night, but we must dream in order to maintain a healthy psychological equilibrium.  This fact did not escape the ancients, who devised sacred places, rituals, traditions and guides, all designed to employ dreams as one tool to foster a degree of healing for those suffering physically and mentally.  Most people are very familiar with those nocturnal nightmares that command our attention in a dramatic and disturbing manner.  Other dreams are less frightening, but no less perplexing.  What meaning do they carry for one's life?  How is one to understand their cryptic symbolic and often seemingly nonsensical language?  Can they really bring a sense of healing to someone who is hurting?  At the beginning of the twentieth century, with the advent of modern psychology, C.G. Jung was rediscovering the scientific and therapeutic value of dreams."  Howard Tyas, Jr., D. Min., PhD
I come to dream work with an assumption that dreams are good, that they are there to help us, that they can serve a positive function.  Dreaming is built into us; it is in everyone's sleeping experience (though some people are able to remember more than others), so I think they have been incorporated into our psyches to serve a purpose.  I think that the overall purpose is one of balancing or regulating our psychological functioning. 
One example of this is compensatory dreamsThis kind of dream occurs when, in some aspect of our life, the balance has dipped too heavily in one direction.  One simple example would be of a person who has committed to an overload of work dreaming that he is running freely on the beach.  
When a person is encumbered by a very dark problem in their life, they may have a dream of flying in a light-filled sky.  An investigator once interviewed nuns about their dreams and found them to have an abundance of dreams about sexual activity while living a chaste life.

These are examples of how our own unconscious is trying to balance out our outer life; I see it as an effort toward health.
                                                                                                                            Art piece at Montalvo Arts Center
We can learn about ourselves by examining our dreams.  My approach to dream interpretation is Jungian so I subscribe to his notion that archetypes can be expressed in dreams.  For example, if you are a woman and an important male figure appears in your dream, it may be an image portraying some aspect of your animus (your inner  masculine side).  Thus you can learn about a part of yourself that may ordinarily be difficult to see.  Ask yourself, what qualities does this character in your dream portray?  Maybe you need to  be more assertive in your life and this character shows you that you have it in you.
Sometimes dreams contain signs---I once had a dream that literally had a sign, posted by a road that had a message written on it!  Other times, the unconscious expresses itself, less directly, through symbolism (this is also used in Sand Tray work in therapy).  It's best not to look at some one's list of the meaning of symbols to help you interpret your dream.  While we all are subject to being led by archetypal patterns, at the same time, we have our own symbolic system.  Thus, it will be more fruitful if you were to ferret out for yourself the personal meaning of the symbols and actions that appear in your own dreams.
The meaning doesn't always come easily but it is still beneficial to put some attention on your dream.  In so doing you encourage and validate your own unconscious self.  You will learn to trust yourself more and enlarge your sense of self-acceptance.
You can do this by thinking about what you recall of the dream and uncovering your own personal associations to its contents, by drawing the images therein or, by noticing the feelings the dream provokes.  If you have the materials, you can fashion your own dream symbols in clay.  If you have a cooperative group of people, you can act out a dream.  I was once  in a training seminar, led by a therapist who used psychodrama in his work (Peter Morfin, MFT), where we did this with cases---the trainee would set up the scenario where he/she was stuck with the case; we would act it out and spontaneously develop the next step.  It was a remarkable experience!
You can have a dream journal or just put a little effort into trying to remember more of your dreams.  Working with your dreams can be elaborate or just the simple matter of pondering  them a little.  Either way, I think it is therapeutic.
Dreams are a rich, individual, and uniquely personal resource.  Dreams are a way to tap into your own wisdom.  This post is an introduction to the idea of working with yourself this way.  I talked about two parts of dream work, the balancing nature of some dreams and the ability of dreams to reveal to us, parts of ourselves.  There are more.
If you are interested in learning about Jung's approach to dream interpretation and his theoretical approach, Man and His Symbols is a wonderful book.  Full of illustrations, I would suggest you get the hardbound copy.

Do you work with your dreams?  Or, has this post make you think you might?  Has dreamwork been enlightening for you?