Feb 22, 2018 2:28 PM
My brief take on using avoidance in therapy. Avoidance is not always a problem in therapy and even when using it becomes problematic for the client, the client's efforts to protect him/herself should be honored and respected. And sometimes, avoidance is exactly what healing entails!
Jan 3, 2018 12:08 AM
"Fragile" is an adjective that not many of us like to use to describe ourselves. We like to think of ourselves a strong and durable and we are! We have withstood the pressures and injuries in life to be here today so of course we are strong and durable! But aren't we also delicate at times and meant to be handled with tenderness even when we are strong and durable? What if you were only durable and as a result, you were only handled with carelessness? I mean, it's fine! You won't break! What would it be like to honor your fragility and invite the opportunity to be handled with tenderness?
Jan 2, 2018 11:54 PM
Most of the time the new year brings new hope. Can you enjoy that experience while also honoring some of the disappointments and grief in 2017?
Oct 25, 2017 7:39 AM
There are many articles on the internet with the heading that Jim Carrey has Bipolar Disorder. When I read them, they only point out his depression but I have not read about any mania which is THE factor that makes a diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder instead of depression. All that being said, if he does have Bipolar Disorder, he has found an amazing way to channel that energy. I tell my clients with the diagnosis to protect themselves and their loved ones while in a manic episode by giving the car keys and credit cards to someone they trust, enlist loved ones to help stay away from drugs and alcohol, maintain their therapy and psychiatry appts, remember that they can't fly even if mania tries to convince them otherwise, and get the help of their psychiatrist for sleep. When that is all in place, use the mania as a tool to have safe fun and accomplish great things!!! One reason why the depression that follows the mania is so bad is because of the guilt about the dangerous, expensive, and hurtful things the person does while manic. By preplanning for safety and using mania as a tool to accomplish great things, you give yourself the opportunity to have a more mild case of depression following mania. If Jim Carrey does have bipolar disorder, this may be how he creates the amazing art in this video. I've read that he is completely off meds now and relies on his faith and his art that includes his comedy to help him cope. I am always truly amazed at people's abilities despite their inner demons. Sometimes IN spite of them. I wish more people knew just how strong and courageous they really are!!!!
Oct 21, 2017 5:16 PM
Did you ever insist that you were not jealous even though you did feel jealous? Jealousy gets a bad rap but it has its utility in relationships! Watch to see how.
Oct 8, 2017 1:56 PM
In this video, I briefly share how you can eliminate the thoughts in your head that contribute to confusion in your life. Be well.
Oct 4, 2017 3:14 PM
Two common immediate reactions following a tragedy are feeling as if a prior loss or traumatic experience is happening again and re-evaluation of priorities. While the first immediate reaction is generally very emotionally and sometimes even physically painful, the second reaction can be helpful. It is so easy to get lost in the overwhelm of the current crisis and despair has a way of taking over if we are not intentionally fending it off. It is during the immediate aftermath of tragedy when we should find ways to be self-caring, determine our own values, and identify at least one behavior we can do now that align with our values. In doing so, we allow ourselves to continue to heal our older wounds and begin to heal the newest wounds. So, how can you be self-caring right now? What do you promise yourself to do today to take care of you? What do you value TODAY and HOW COME? Is it because you’ve been told you should value it while wondering if you truly do? Is it because you had a life experience that either instilled or reinforced that value? Is it because it’s just been a habit to value it; something you’ve always done without really giving it much thought? Can you imagine cleaning the closet out? Can you dump all the values, opinions, shoulds, shouldn’ts into a pile and sort through them, deciding what you want to toss, what you want to give back to its rightful owner, and what you want to hold onto and place neatly back in the closet? After you’ve done that, can you take it one step forward and do one thing today that aligns with the values that you have decided are yours to keep?
Sep 24, 2017 3:05 PM
Many clients and even therapists believe that if something is therapeutic, it means it feels good. The truth is that sometimes it feels good and other times, it feels shitty. If something is therapeutic, it means that it aids in healing and sometimes that hurts! Have you ever heard of a bone needing to be “rebroken” so it can heal properly? Have you ever had stitches or surgery? Healing fucking hurts!!!
A lot of people think that their loved ones in therapy with me are spending an hour and good money to be complimented, to be told about how right they are and how wrong their loved ones are, or to talk to me while I sit passively nodding my head with smiles and “mm hmm’s.”
Here is a reality check for you. If your loved one is in therapy with me, they have one of the most confrontational and challenging therapists I know. It is true that my clients feel safe in their therapy. Feeling safe is my ultimate concern for my clients. I tell my clients often that while they should always feel safe, they will often feel uncomfortable. I also tell them that if we work together long enough and if they and I are doing our jobs right, I will probably piss them off. My clients hear me say things like,
- What do you need today?
- Your presence matters. Your absence matters. What you do matters. What you say matters. You matter.
- What do you need right now?
- I’m feeling protective of you right now.
- What do you need from me?
- When you allow yourself to show your hurt in here, you help me to understand how hurt you are.
- What do you need? (Are you noticing a pattern here?)
- I hate that you are hurting so much.
- I am pissed that that happened to you.
- Even if you smile or laugh in here, I promise I won’t forget how much you are suffering.
- What is preventing you from getting your needs met?
- Trust in your process, be patient with your timeline, be kind to yourself.
- Can you work to get your needs met in here?
My clients also hear me say things like,
- What gives you the right to tell other people how to feel?
- You don’t get to decide how _____ does life.
- It is none of your business what they are saying about you.
- How do you expect to get your needs met when you haven’t made them clear to anyone?
- ______ is not responsible for your emotions; you are.
- ______ is entitled to his experiences even if you don’t agree with or understand them.
- I am beginning to resent your frequent tardiness to your sessions.
- What are you avoiding?
- What are you doing right now?
- How does what you are saying have anything to do with what I just asked you?
- Talk to me about your anger with me right now.
Despite what stigma has taught society, THERAPY IS NOT FOR THE WEAK! My clients are so strong and brave! When I was leaving the clinic and had my clients meet their new therapists, what I heard my clients say the most to their new therapists were things like, "I need you to call me out on my shit like Nicki does," "Don't let me stay comfortable," "Push me out of my comfort zone like Nicki does." Therapy with me is rough at times. It is often uncomfortable, confrontational, challenging, brutally honest, and incredibly therapeutic.
Sep 10, 2017 9:54 PM
What is defensive communication? Why do we engage in it? Is it useful? How can we avoid using it to have healthier discussions with our loved ones?
Sep 5, 2017 10:39 AM
A dear friend of mine is in pain, especially this week, as she grapples with the 19th anniversary of her brother's suicide. As a therapist and also someone who has been a very active EMT for 19 years of my life, I have heard a lot of people contemplate suicide and idealize suicide and I have seen a lot of suicide attempts and some suicide completions. How do I cope with that? I compartmentalize. As an EMT responding to a suicide call, I needed to in order to do the job at hand. As a therapist, I have to compartmentalize JUST ENOUGH to stay focused but not so much that I am unfeeling. While compartmentalization (which is a defense mechanism used to sort of stuff or numb pain) enables us to go about our day without having a melt-down, it also inhibits empathy. It is sometimes hard for me to imagine the enormity of the pain a person must have felt to have decided that suicide is THE answer. It is sometimes hard for me to imagine the amount of pain the survivors of a person who has suicided feels. I thank my friend for putting her pain out there so that I can be reminded of the pain people feel and my responsibilities to my fellow humans!
I had the fortunate opportunity to watch Kevin Hines speak at a conference. He is an amazing man who survived a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to end his life. He opened his speech up with this: "'How are you? Is there anything you need? Can I help?' If anyone had said any of those things to me, I would not have tried to end my life that day."
As he states in this video, it is okay not to be okay and recovery happens!!! It is NOT okay to NOT ask for someone to back you up. If you are contemplating suicide and someone asks you how you are, even if they are just making small talk, tell them you are not okay and ask them to help you to not end your life today. I know that you don't want to go to the hospital but remember that it is part of the healing process and that you CAN feel better! HOW YOU FEEL TODAY IS NOT HOW YOU WILL ALWAYS FEEL EVEN IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THAT NOW! THIS IS NOT HOW YOUR STORY ENDS should you choose to keep writing it!
Aug 31, 2017 9:37 AM
My hope is that by watching this video and others like it, you have a baseline understanding of what Trauma Therapy (or "Trauma Work") is, why we might decide to do Trauma Work, what we hope happens as a result of the work, and what you might expect during the work if you work with me. I use Ego State therapy with Gestalt and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions when I work with my clients to address their past experiences and it is important to know that this video only explains how that therapy with ME would look. I do not speak for other therapists although most would agree with the main tenants of the work. I hope you find this helpful!
Aug 31, 2017 9:29 AM
A quick video to help determine if you are acting in a way that is caring for yourself or if you acting in a way that is selfish as this is a frequent topic in therapy. Hope it helps!
May 13, 2017 12:13 PM
People often wonder how I, as a therapist, manage my own feelings that result from therapy sessions with my clients.
May 13, 2017 12:09 PM
When we misuse words, we are less understood and can feel worse about our situations. In this video, I'm giving attention to the use of the word "literally" and how it can literally make is feel worse.
May 13, 2017 12:02 PM
May 12, 2017 4:55 PM