Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda: Three Places You Don’t Need to Go

Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.      ~ Maya Angelou

So, you’re going along in your therapy process and many light bulbs start to go off. You now realize so much more about what’s been happening around you that you never realized before, how your own well-intentioned actions have worked against you, or how your or your family’s version of “normal” was anything but healthy. All well and good.

BUT, you now start to beat yourself up about this. “I coulda spent these last 25 years living such a different life. It woulda been so much better for me. I shoulda known what to do. Why did I DO that?” Another wave of depression sets in as you contemplate what coulda been if you only knew then what you know now. Well, I’m here to tell you: You don’t need to go there! Continue reading

Seven Things I Learned During 21 Years in Corporate America

Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.                   ~ Tom Peters

The bad news is that it only took me 21 years to figure out that I didn’t really belong in Corporate America. The good news is that I can now apply many things I learned during that time to help me better do the work of a clinical psychologist today. Admittedly, Corporate America has its good, its bad, and its ugly, just like anything else. Here I focus on the good and how I incorporate that good into my practice so that you can benefit. Continue reading

Making 1 + 1 Equal More Than Two in a Relationship

There are two questions that we have to ask ourselves. The first is “Where am I going?” and the second is “Who will go with me?” If you ever get these questions in the wrong order, you are in trouble.                            ~ Howard Thurman

For all you romantics out there, the equation 1 + 1 = 1 probably sounds familiar to you. You’ve come together (or want to) with a special person who “completes” you. You and they become “as one.” And certainly “love is blind” at that point. This can feel incredible for the first part of your relationship, and you find yourself not wanting to spend any time apart. Often, this leads to “taking it to another level,” possibly even marriage, or some other intended lifetime commitment. Then, after a while, something happens. You wake up one morning and begin to ask yourself, “Where did I go?” If this is happening to you, let’s find out where you went and, more importantly, how to get you back. Continue reading

Ask Your Therapist If a Button-ectomy is Right for You!

You have to learn to get rid of the buttons instead of the button pushers.                 ~ Yogi Amrit Desai 

Our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends will continue to press every button we have, until we realize what it is that we don’t want to know about ourselves, yet. They will point us to our freedom every time.                                     ~ Byron Katie

I often talk to clients about getting rid of their hot buttons, rather than getting rid of the people who push those buttons. Imagine life without buttons, where nothing triggers your stress and you’re able to stay conscious and in your “thinking” brain rather than your “emotional” or “survival” brain. To some, this might seem unimaginable, boring, or unromantic. Whenever I am able to do this, however, I find it quite exhilarating and freeing. Try it on for size and see what you experience. Continue reading

I Am Only Here Because YOU Think There is a Problem

What would happen if you stopped looking for solutions and check to see if there was actually a problem?   ~ Jeff Foster

More and more, I have people coming to me believing that they have a problem when they only think they do. Maybe they’ve lived their life being told by others that they are not good enough, need to shape up or get with the program, are too sad, too anxious, too happy, too calm, too fast, too slow, too distracted, or whatever. What if they were actually doing a great job of being “perfectly themselves?” What if they’ve only been led to believe there is a problem by others who are different from them and therefore find fault in them? If everyone realized this, I’d be out of a job. So, shhh! Continue reading

Putting a Surgeon General’s Warning Label on Therapy

Surgeon General’s Warning: Engaging in therapy can substantially alter your perspective on yourself and the world and irreversibly change your relationships with significant others.

Are you in therapy right now, or considering it? Well, if so, get ready for a potentially life-changing experience. Be warned that, once you get into it, you may never look at yourself, the world, and other people in the same way again. Please be sure that this is what you want. Fairly quickly, you may pass a point of no return. Continue reading

When You Get Better, They Might Resent You

The degree to which we have not allowed ourselves to experience the reality of our true Self is represented by our resentment toward those who have actually done so.         ~ David Hawkins

Much like in a previous article, I provide here a warning that sets your expectations so you don’t start to believe you are doing something wrong or that you are not actually becoming healthier when you really are. Here I describe a phenomenon where certain people in your life, not everyone (hopefully), may actually resent the fact that you’re feeling better. Continue reading

The Heartbreak of Cognitive Dissonance: Is this terrible condition affecting someone you love?

When I learned about the gray existing between the black and white of absolute terms, I began to experience more peace. The more I expanded my gray areas (more than 50 shades), the more peace I experienced in my life.
~ David W. Earle

Do you know someone who is “black and white” on every issue? Do they refuse to be even the slightest bit flexible on an issue, even when you throw irrefutable proof of their errors right in their face? Do they continue to throw totally crazy or irrelevant arguments back at you? That someone might be suffering from (dramatic music) cognitive dissonance. Continue reading

On Being a Client

A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.                                                                                                 ~ A.A. Milne

I rarely have an original thought and almost always revert to re-using someone else’s thoughts. In that spirit, I have provided below a laundry list of quotations that, to me, represent the essence of what one learns (if willing) during the psychotherapy process. Yes, a couple of these come from me, so you’re witnessing a rare occasion. If you are a current or past client of mine, you might recognize some of these.

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Look, Ma, I’m Enlightened! Now What? Therapy with the Spiritually Awake

If your therapist is the Buddha, you’ll become enlightened in the process.                           ~ Ram Dass

 If their client is the Buddha, the therapist will become enlightened in the process.               ~ Reworking of Ram Dass quote by Dan Metevier

I have been working lately with an individual who reports to have (and, by all appearances, has) recently gone through what some call a “spiritual emergence” or “spiritual awakening.” Their perspective on life, the universe, and everything has shifted toward one where they seem to have a “knowing” (their word) that, in fact, the universe is perfect as it is and everything is just as it should be. This person is working with me to address what I have jokingly called “Post-Enlightenment Stress Disorder” and “Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Grandiose and Impatient Moods.” Rather than me saying more at this point, I’ll share with you something this person wrote recently and gave me permission to publish here and pass along to you with no strings attached. Continue reading