Personal Therapy Articles

“How Does That Make You Feel?” — The Therapy Cliche

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

images-1People love to make fun of the stereotyped therapy party line: “How does that make you feel?” Yes, it’s one of the biggest cliches in the therapy field, however what this question stands for still remains an important piece of psychotherapy.

When people come in for therapy, it’s generally because they aren’t happy with the way they are feeling, in one way or another. Whether it’s about relationships, depression, anxiety, stress, jobs, career, or any other areas of life, the reasons people start therapy is both to help the concrete, external situations, but overall it’s how these situations makes someone feel that matters most. Basically, if you’re feeling good about something, then you probably wouldn’t seek emotional help with it.


The Value of Therapy: Opening the Past…to Create Change and Happiness in the Present

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

imagesIt can be difficult to appreciate who we are. There’s so much each of us has to offer to each other, and so much to offer the world. It would be nice if everyone could look at themselves and realize the power they possess within themselves.

Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy. We feel the pain, hurt, and rejection  more than we feel the happiness, satisfaction, achievements, general positives, and so on. As a result, we end up with depression, anxiety, addiction, repeated unhealthy relationships, and more.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just let the negatives roll off of our backs, rather than holding onto them to the point of emotional injury? Obviously, it’s not a conscious decision. We don’t desire to hold onto the negatives, but when the hits are painful and repeated, eventually we’re going to get hurt. I imagine it more along the lines of rug burn. At first, it’s not such a big deal, but if you experience it repeatedly, it becomes raw and painful.


8 Ways to Be a Better Partner in 2014

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

images-1As the new year approaches, people often take the opportunity to re-evaluate who they are and consider the changes they’d like to make in their lives. This is something people would benefit from doing the whole year round — reflecting on the choices we make, the way we treat others and ourselves, our commitment to self-care, etc.

One of the mistakes people often make in their relationships is attempting to change their partner. Eventually, they end up realizing that the more they push their partner to change, the more resistant their partner becomes to changing in the direction they were hoping to see. One of the secrets of a successful relationship is for each partner to continue to improve themselves, both as a person and as a partner. If each person does their due diligence to be a good partner, the relationship takes care of itself. You each focus on taking care of each other in the relationship, rather than worrying about how the other should take care of you.


How to Change a Struggling Relationship Into a Healthy Relationship

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

UnknownThis is the “part 2″ to the article “10 Signs You May Be in an Unhealthy Relationship“.

It was brought to my attention that in the first article I made points of the things to keep an eye on, however I made few suggestions of how to handle those ten points. So this article is to address how to handle the ten signs of an unhealthy relationship that were listed in the previous article.


Self-Relationship: 10 Ways to Create a Happy Moment

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

imagesNo, this isn’t meant to be a cure for depression, but we all deserve a good moment. A happy moment can both break a string of negative moods, and it can also pave the way for more positive moments. Here are ten suggestions for putting ourselves in a good mood:

1) Listen to, or watch something funny. Laughter has a way of completely wiping out a negative mood.

2) Compliment people you don’t know. It’s amazing how a bit of genuine positive energy towards others can in turn make us feels good, too.


Relationships and Social Anxiety: Who Are We Really Hiding From?

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

686178444_1357090354People often prefer to believe that it’s possible to hide pieces of ourselves that we don’t want people to see, often exaggerating certain qualities in order to conceal others:

Some may try to act in an overly nice manner in order to avoid being seen with anger or hostility; some may try to speak with perfect grammar and vocabulary, so they aren’t seen as uneducated or immature; some may act more aggressively and tough in order to hide perceived weaknesses, such as caring, empathic, and loving qualities; some may be overly accommodating in order to cover up tendencies toward rigidity; some may try to appear more “businesslike” in an attempt to conceal a less organized and less adult version of themselves; some may show excessive happiness and heightened energy level while trying to prevent people from seeing internal feelings of sadness and emptiness; etc.


Depression: Unrealistic Expectations for Happiness?

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Depression-in-Women-in-the-MoviesIn working with people who struggle with depression, there has been a noticeable pattern of how people tend to approach the idea of happiness. The fantasized expectation is that a person becomes happy, and then stays this way…forever. If, at any point, the happiness goes away, then it means they’ve become depressed again and have failed in their quest to maintain happiness, and are therefore “not happy.”

Sound reasonable? It isn’t. It’s a perfectionistic belief that is bound to cause defeat — which is what generally happens with fantasies of perfection. Though depression isn’t as simple as a product of a distorted perception of happiness, the mindset that people “become happy” and fully leave sadness behind can make it tougher to fight against depression.


Why Relationships Break Up

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

304638-3217-2There are many perspectives on why relationships don’t always last, and more than one theory has validity to it. I’m going to present a theory I call the “broken mirror” theory.

Attraction has many levels to it, as well as a deep psychology underlying what draws us to certain people. But one general concept seems to have more influence in attraction than others: the people we are attracted to are mirrors of ourselves and our histories.


Hiding Behind Technology To Be Mean

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Typing-ComputerHave you ever heard anyone use the phrase “hiding behind your computer?” It’s something that’s become increasingly common in the world of technology. People somehow feel safer and stronger to be mean, breakup, or communicate other negative emotions to others when they do it through email, text, IM, etc.

Why is this easier? It may not be the answer you think.

The obvious answer is that it’s less threatening to be mean — or disappointing in other ways — to a person when not face-to-face, or voice-to-voice over the phone. Some will say that they don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, or face the consequences of irritating or disappointing them — such as seeing their facial expression change, or risk being yelled at, or some other notable and visible reaction.


Grudges: Who Really Suffers?

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

UnknownHow many times have you been on the receiving end of a grudge? It’s not an easy place to be. Generally when someone has a grudge against you, anger, blame, contempt, and other forms of hostility and aggression are being projected. Often, grudges are done in silence (passive-aggressive). For some people, being on the receiving end can be a stressful position to be in, especially if what people think of them tends to be a worry.  Some people, however, are just able to move on living their lives and let go of people who tend to hold grudges towards them.

While the relationship suffers for everyone who’s involved, what grudge-holders don’t always understand is how much strain on themselves holding a grudge causes. It takes a significant amount of mental and emotional energy to keep the steady stream of hostility and aggression (or passive-aggression) that supports a grudge. This kind of cognitive-emotional process is commonly seen in people who aren’t able to ‘let go’ of, or resolve issues that present in relationships.


 

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Recent Comments
  • Adhi: Thanks. Worth Reading. All couples should read this.
  • ohmusicalone: Maybe a good list for mild sadness but not true depression. Not helpful to me at all.
  • ohmusicalone: Agreed, is pretty much a list of things that make it worse for me. It all has to wait til the cloud...
  • Lisa Keith, Psy.D.: This is good, basic information. But, actually, I’ve done most all of the items listed. I...
  • Franziska: Hello Nathan, I must say, you have saved my day. Your Article is wonderfully and thoroughly written,...
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