Adult Entertainment…..

…….no, not that kind, perhaps a future blog post. The adult entertainment I am thinking about has to do with how many adults seem to have a problem with the idea of Play. We associate play with kids, in fact play is one of the ways kids learn, but then after childhood the concept of Play seems to go away. We must be “grown up” at all times as if Play is childish rather than childlike which means that there is fantasy and imagination, sort of an adult recess. We Americans take great pride in saying “I work hard and play hard” when they have twisted an ankle after not exercising for years or are suffering a hangover because it is a holiday or a weekend which gives us permission to Play. “ Yay! I get to suffer for my play…..because I have worked hard.” This doesn’t make sense does it? I propose a balance, a blend if you will. Play needs to be a part of life the way work, paying your bills or brushing your teeth is. Even child and pet responsibilities, those groups are dependent on us, can be incorporated into the idea of putting aside time … Continue reading

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Narcissism-put on your oxygen mask first…..

… what the flight attendant says at the beginning of each flight. The internet has lots of articles about the analogy of the oxygen mask in terms of self care but what happens that so many people feel like they simply can’t do it? “I don’t know it just seems selfish or narcissistic.” Since when is saving your own life narcissistic? There is a lot in the media about President Trump meeting the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Look up code 301.81 in the DSM5 and decide for yourself but don’t for heavens sake conclude that self care is a form of narcissism. The words narcissist and narcissistic are already very loaded down with negativity, criticism and misunderstanding. Healthy narcissism means to possess good self esteem with the ability to have positive emotional experiences with others which requires empathy. Please remember that there is healthy narcissism. To engage in self care is healthy narcissism. One of the criterion of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is lack of empathy. The Presidents’ supporters see the behaviors which scare or offend his non-supporters as confident, take charge and “it’s about time that a president stood up to…..” and his non-supporters see him as lacking empathy … Continue reading

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Stress Reduction-A Household Activity?

I recently opened the email newsletter from my home warranty company American Home Shield and saw along with tips about air conditioner maintenance and weed removal there was the headline Household Activities to Relieve Stress. What followed was one of the most comprehensive lists of stress reducing activities that I have seen. None of these notions were new to me but the fact that these were made so accessible to people in such a unique way was very appealing. The opening line was “Home is the last place you want to feel stressed”. I know as a therapist that HOME is one of the major sources of stress and we are not just talking about an overflowing toilet on Thanksgiving. Home can be a place of great comfort and a source of great dis-ease. The list covered the importance of the deep cleansing breath, eating well, good sleep and a relaxing shower or bath among other pretty basic things. All things which we can control by taking an action. The stressors which can bring us to our emotional, and sometimes actual knees, are the ones we have no control over but take acres of energy trying to control to no … Continue reading

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Why A Psychotherapy Blog?

I have been on a blogging binge for my website and have promised myself that I will continue until I have a library of pieces for when the urge to blog binge abates. It has made me think about the concept of blogging about therapy in general and in particular why I do it. I started doing it when a number of my patients said “I want to write that down” after exploring something I had said to them in their therapy session that day. I keep paper for them to use, writing makes it real. Or a patient will say “you ought to write about that” once again when we have been talking about something in their therapy work. I want to be clear that my posts come almost completely from my work as a therapist listening to people over time hearing consistent themes, their personal and intimate stories and seeking to provide psychotherapeutic treatment and care. My thoughts and feelings about therapy come from my experience of being a therapist, from what people bring to the consultation room as well as my training and continuous learning. Certainly my blog content is informed by how I personally navigate the … Continue reading

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Celebrate Your Independence

Congratulations! You have made it through the first six months of what can only be described as a tumultuous year…politically, socially and psychologically and Fourth of July is here. It is the quintessential American holiday whose formal name is Independence Day. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence which declared the separation of the United States from Great Britain. My family members in England find this odd…why wouldn’t we want the fabulous Queen Elizabeth and scones with clotted cream? In psychotherapy terms we understand that the need to separate and be independent creates growth. The “terrible twos” and the teen years are examples of becoming independent….for better or worse. When patients leave my office around the July 4th holiday I sometimes say “celebrate your independence” and they often chuckle or grimace depending on what is going on in their lives. We Americans very much prize our personal independence and get it confused with healthy dependence and interdependence. The American idea that asking for help is a sign of lack of resolve or weakness and may even signify low character gets us in trouble….all the time. My comment to patients about the act of celebrating ones independence has to do with the … Continue reading

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