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The Trump Effect

I have seen this among my own  clients so I am sure this is  happening  all over the country: People with a tendency for anxiety or depression have been triggered by Trump’s election and the chaos and disregard for the Constitution that has followed

You are more likely to be effected if you (1) are low income (obviously – you are more effected because Trump is doing nothing  to take care of the poor),  (2) if you were traumatized by abusive parents as a child, and (3) if it is bothering you that the Trump  agenda is to take away safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid, Affordable Health Care and other government sponsored assistance programs (including protection for the Environment, attacks against certain minority groups.etc.).  There is a great Resistance going on also, and although much of  the power is still with those that support Trump, the Affordable Care Act was not lost.

For those who have been abused as children this all feels like an abuser, again,  using his power to hurt without concern for who he is hurting.

I think the most empowering thing any of us can do, whether we were abused as children or not, is to participate in the Resistance in the way that bests suits you.  For those who were abused, remember  this abuse isn’t hidden and there are people fighting for you.

Practicing Mindfulness keeps your awareness of yourself and your immediate surroundings keen. Meditating on your breath, as Zen practitioners and others do, will increase your ability to focus your mind and your ability to make self awareness a habit.

Using The Observing Ego is a similar function although as you get more skilled, it can go deeper.  You can get adept  at knowing  about what your emotions are at any given time, by learning to read your own body energy.

Both of these functions encourage us to have a part of our awareness be located in the body where emotions reside and can be known: if you feel into a sensation in your body and keep your focus “smack dab” in the center of that sensation you will soon be able to identify what emotion that sensation represents. You can test your conclusion by making a simple statement and feeling what the energy does. For example – perhaps you notice a tightness  in your  throat and a heaviness in your solar plexus ( the area that is located just below your sternum).  You say to yourself or out loud “I’m sad about my job” and if nothing changes in your body energy you try “I’m sad about my dog”. When you say  the right thing, your energy will drop down and that is the affirmation that what you said is true.

I plan to continue to teach simple energy reading skills in the next few blogs. Stay tuned!

I have answered a number of questions on Quora; many from people asking specifically for my response.  A large percentage of them speak of  variations on the same theme. They are either blaming or at least doubting themselves about their discomfort with their  therapist or the  lack of success of the treatment.  In each situation, I saw reasons to believe the therapist was either inadequate or downright unscrupulous and unethical.

This is such a set up:  People go to therapy  because they feel uncertain about themselves  or their life in some way, and that in itself makes the them vulnerable and not confident in their ability to critique the therapist. Plus, everyone really wants the therapist to be wonderful and help, even to be a really trustworthy parent figure.  Unscrupulous therapists can turn this to their own advantage in a myriad of ways: from seeing the client longer than needed to make more money, having sex with their client, to using the client to be  their friend. Poor therapy can be very harmful or at a minimum waste the client’s time and money, and it may turn them off to therapy altogether.

Some people automatically give the therapist credence just because they have an office and are in business. Please don’t! Question the therapist and trust your intuition as much as possible. You are not supposed to trust this professional just because they have a degree. The therapist has to earn the client’s trust and you can let that take as long as it takes. It some situations, that trust isn’t fully felt until the end of a long bout of therapy. And that’s just fine.

If you are uncertain if your therapist is useful  to you, it’s fine to bring this up and evaluate the therapist’s response. It can also be helpful to ask another therapist about your situation.  The ‘second opinion’ therapist may want you to try and work the  out your dissatisfaction  with your current therapist – considering the possibility of negative transference – but if you have given that your best shot, it’s really OK to find someone who works well with you. If you repeatedly have the same dissatisfaction, then it may indeed be negative transference and you need to pick your best choice  of a competent therapist and hang in for the long haul.

I have other blog entries and short articles about How to Choose The Right Therapist, what you should get from a good therapist and how to decide if and when you should leave as well, as well  as blogs about transference. Check them out if it would be helpful to you. You  can also write and ask me for my opinion.

Z

I often have clients ask me “What is Transpersonal Therapy?” and I respond “It’s therapy that goes beyond the personal level – to the spiritual level.”  This article, written about me and published in Natural Awakenings Magazine, offers a nice explanation about the ways I offer Transpersonal Therapy to enhance traditional talk therapy. A link to the article is here.

Fear of Change

Sometimes clients tell me that they are afraid to change, even if the change they are talking about is something they have wanted for a long time, it’s still frightening to do.  I often say things like  “you don’t have to change until you are ready,” and then I tell this story:

Snakes live in the forest. They spend all day traveling over rough, uneven ground. They go over fallen branches with hard bark, sticks, rocky areas, sharp pebbles and all sorts of terrain.

Every spring the snake sheds her skin. The old skin loosens as she travels over the rough ground. The baby new skin beneath it has to get strong enough to handle the terrain before the old skin finally peels off.

It’s never the therapists job to pull the skin off a snake.

I see a lot of couples in my practice and have found there are many myths people believe about what you can have if only you had the perfect partner. Many have a lot of disatisfaction with their partner because he or she is not providing what they think a partner/ spouse should provide.  I’ll list a few of these myths to clarify what I’m speaking about.

1.You can’t demand intimacy from your partener, doing so will likely  create more distance and less intimacy.  You can  talk about how close or safe your partner  feels with you, and that could be productive. You can think about why your partner doesn’t feel open with you, what you might be doing that pushes your partner to back away from you.  It is also possible that your partner’s resistance to being sexual or emotionally close isn’t about you, it’s more about what they brought into the relationship from their past: their baggage. You could be very useful to them in changing their hesitancy about intimacy, or maybe a therapist could help. But demanding is useless and feels bad all around.

2 .Your partner can’t make you happy, you have to do that for yourself.  What your partner can do is keep you exquisite  company while you figure all that out for yourself. A good therapist can also help.

3.You can’t expect your partner to be a twin,  to be someone  who believes the same things you do and therefore makes you feel sure of yourself.  That’s another one of those things you have to do for yourself. ‘

People who are fully grownup have the best relationships. Those grownups have have taken it upon themselves to find meaning in their lives, to like themselves, to come to terms with their families of origin, all these tasks and more that are the work of growing up.  You can find meaning in sharing your life with another, but you still have to do the work of your own life to be a good partner and have a good relationship.  Try looking into this instead of  wanting your partner to complete you as a person. I think you will be happier with the results.