Therapeutic Strategy (Sadness, Depression, Pessimism):
Think about your favorite color.
I love colors in general but a favorite of mine is Red. Let's say yours is Yellow.
Now, tomorrow morning, wake up and make a note to yourself that you will look for your favorite color... yellow...throughout the day. It is factual that if you note this and keep it in mind, you will see more yellow than you would see if you did not note and stay aware of yellow.
Now associate yellow with HAPPY. So now you are going to wake up in the morning and look for HAPPY. As you look for more HAPPY, you will see more HAPPY. Additionally, now that you have associated a favorite color... you will probably see more of that color and you will think HAPPY when you see YELLOW.
Two principles are at work here:
1. The more we look for something, the more we will see that something.
2. Associations matter. Associations trigger thoughts and emotions so the more things you have in your mind that are associated with positive... the more positive you will be.
So... that is it! I hope this little therapeutic strategy will help your day be HAPPIER!
Take Care and PEACE!
This blog starts my series on counseling theories and methods. I am a therapist who subscribes to an ecclectic approach to therapeutic technique... with a psychodynamic root and certainly an application that is more than anything cognitive-behavioral simply because that is the nature of therapeutic intervention. When setting an appointment and looking for a particular therapeutic theoretical mode, this question is the one that is asked of me more than any other: "Do you do CBT?" (and particularly people inquire with the initials). In today's blog, I will try to put this question to rest once and for all by saying that it is my belief that nearly all mental health counselors do CBT.
Quite simply, CBT is an acronym for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, a therapeutic theory of practice advanced by several mental health professionals; but truly, I would challenge, CBT is always used by all (despite a historical psychological emphasis on conditioning and behavioral therapy). "Cognitive" is about cognitions or thoughts. "Behavioral" is about behaviors (of course). There are certainly counselors who primarily focus on behaviors. Personally, though I prefer a primarily cognitive focus as a root and I follow with a secondary behavioral focus; there are instances when I focus more on behaviors than on cognitions such as when working with very young children or individuals with developmental delays or with clients who manage Autism or Aspergers or with cognitive decline such as Dementia or Alzheimers. However, even in these situations, a counselor works with cognitions as well as with the identification of thoughts that motivate or influence mood. Otherwise, I would advance the idea that all mental health professionals involved in counseling work with thoughts and behaviors therefore I believe that all mental health professionals subscribe to cognitive-behavioral theoretical concepts and techniques ... that is, thoughts and behaviors!
This is the first in a series of blogs involving psychological education for the layperson. I welcome questions and/or concerns.
.... and now I will close with a helpful thought to motivate a helpful behavior:
Next time you condemn yourself for a less-than-perfect behavior, think, "What would I say to my best friend?" ... and say it to yourself ... because you are just as important as your best friend...aren't you? BE GOOD TO YOURSELF... as you would be good to a friend.
Take Care and PEACE!
Unhealthy behaviors and/or addictive behaviors are usually practiced either in isolation or in the presence of those who engage in similar behaviors.
One strategy to manage an unhealthy behavior and/or an addictive behavior is to watch the environment (the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE) of the behavior. Resist providing (the WHAT) for the behavior WHEN and/or WHERE you are alone or WHEN and/or WHERE you are with those WHO engage in similar behaviors… or if the behavior is truly destructive… determine to change the WHO’s whom you involve in your life.
Awareness and Strategies - the keys that when used work to create healthier living!
Health, Happiness, and PEACE!
Let's Hear it for Babies Who Suck!!!
Very possibly, from womb to grave, we as human beings whom God created as we are, engage in at least two observable reverting behaviors. Reverting is about going back to a more comfortable time; reverting behaviors are those behaviors that we may engage in to comfort us during times of stress.
One of these prominent behaviors is rocking. I have not seen the following theory actually published so it is my theory I suppose. I believe that, as mother’s walk about, babies experience rocking in her warm, cozy womb. The evidence I use to support this is that-- well all mothers know that when we are up and about while pregnant, the baby is still; however, when we sit down, the baby starts his/her Olympic training - doing “womb gymnastics”. Additionally, when the baby emerges from the womb, he/she tends to sleep more during the day and less at night. This would be consistent with a sleep schedule that existed due to rocking during the day while the mother was up and about and, as the mother rests at night, being up and about in her womb.
People who are autistic and do not attend to social cues rock to soothe themselves. The rest of us use rocking chairs or swings, hammocks or just grab a baby and start swaying =) so as not to appear “abnormal” (which begs the question of normal v. abnormal...but that is another topic for another time).
Now let’s look at the other form of reverting - the one this educational journey was prompted by as I sought to answer a young sweet mother's dismay at her little one's pacifier desires: the other reverting behavior is oral stimulation.
Babies have been filmed in the womb sucking their thumb and if they do not suck in the womb, pretty much as soon as they emerge, IF THEY ARE HEALTHY they are seeking to suck. Additionally, we who have charge over babies are constantly monitoring them as, while exploring their environment, they want to do so by testing everything with their mouths. So babies will suck their thumbs or fingers or a pacifier until society or those pesky dentists say “no more” (by the way, I have seen repeated examples of people who suck their thumbs for long periods with no dental disturbance and I have seen others who quit early and could use some dental correcting; but any way about it, it is easier to straighten teeth than neuroses). So then the child stops sucking and the teenager and adult starts eating, smoking, drinking or engaging in some other neurotic behavior (obsessions, compulsions, controlling behaviors, hosts of other anxieties in an anxiety-inspiring society).
Almost every addiction has an oral component (not that this is the only component but it is a component that needs to be attended to if a person is to be successful at stopping the addiction). Many people who stop smoking subsequently gain weight. There is truly only one common denominator between a cigar or cigarette and food: oral stimulation.
Healthy babies are driven to do what God has designed them to do without the stop sticks of adult knowledge. These are the things that, during this unique developmental period help them to develop normally and become healthy adults. Babies explore, crawl, walk, pre-verbally cry for what they need, comfort themselves via sucking and rocking when no one is available to comfort them (because God knew Mommy and Daddy are human and need to sleep), etc. I would rather my child suck her/his thumb and rock all her/his life denying traditional silly social morays than to use some other unhealthy means of comforting herself/himself or than to be neurotic in a crazy world.
So, feel blessed with your healthy babies as they desire to orally explore their environment and then - when they get tired and are a little stressed - suck their thumb, fingers, pacifier. In other words: LET'S HEAR IT FOR RESTED PARENTS AND ALL OF THOSE HEALTHY BABIES WHO SUCK!!!
A sad addendum: Consider all the babies in the world who don't have the attention of a loving Mommy or Daddy. God mercifully and graciously gave them thumbs and fingers and the intrinsic knowledge that they may be used to soothe; without these gifts from God, their world would be even more tragic.
Our God is a God of great love and compassion and his design is perfect
…. A Spiritual
Oftentimes in life, I like to ponder God’s perspective. Scripture indicates that His ways are
not our ways… His thoughts are far from ours. So, regarding grief, how might God
As I ponder this question I think about Who God is… His
qualities…how He reveals Himself in Scripture. God is a triune God… God the Father, God
the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
Scripture blatantly states the grief of the Holy Spirit.
To reject Jesus' work on the cross is to grieve the Holy Spirit … and to
grieve the Holy Spirit is to invite eternal separation from God… eternal
grieving. Scripture details God
and His interactions with people throughout Scripture.
However, I see His grief changing from Old Testament to new as He moves
from interacting with humans under the law to interacting with humans under
grace and through Jesus’ passion.
In the Old Testament, again and again, we see God’s sadness as His people
murmer against Him…do not trust Him… and engage in the sins that seem to most
greatly grieve Him… the worship of other gods …gods he knows cannot love His people.
God’s love seems central to
His grief and that His people do not love Him…that despite His great love for
them… again and again they turn to other Gods … cheating on Him …betraying
Him. Yes we see His anger and His
jealousy played out in His actions…but beneath this anger and jealousy is a
great sadness rooted in God’s knowledge that He can love us as no other and that
our path is leading to our own destruction. Humanly it is like again and again … He
grabs us and shakes us and implores us to attend to Him ..believe in Him…obey
Him for our happiness … and when we don’t … I am convinced that profound grief
is His greatest emotion. Then we
move to the New Testament … the story of Jesus. Truly all that existed before still
exists… however, we see the law/grace shift …and Jesus greatest grief can be
seen in His words and actions in His lifetime… His anger …His rebuke was
evidenced primarily against the religious elitists … the pious of the day… He
called them whited sepulchers… seemingly beautiful on the outside…dead on the
inside. Why did His pain …His anger… so revolve around these people who had
elevated themselves so successfully in religious circles?
Again… it was about His rejection …the rejection of His work on the
cross… the rejection of the idea that grace is sufficient thereby nullifying
Jesus greatest passion… nullifying His one work that cost Him for a moment in
time something none of us HAVE to ever live without….the presence of the
Father…as Holy God had to turn His back on the sin He bore for us and in that
moment when Jesus was most in need … He had no God comfort.
I cannot even imagine the pain endured on the cross… as incredible as the
physical pain must have been… it had to pale in comparison to the spiritual pain
Jesus felt in that moment… that moment He was spiritually ripped apart and so
alone. Thanks to Jesus paying that
price for us… we never have to know that pain. So, when we as humans make being with
God about anything other than the grace Jesus provided through His work on the
cross… how greatly this must grieve Him.... and again and again we see His
actions and words …or sometimes simply the impact of His silence in the New
Testament writings as those who think they have the answers in their works
condemn those whose works are so very
So what can we receive from this… what is God telling
Perhaps morbid but definitely prudent advice:
I meet people who after the loss of a loved one ... Tragically or otherwise ... Continue in grief due to ongoing social media pages over which they have no control. No matter your age, it is an act of compassion to leave directions regarding the location of passwords with a loved one or with loved ones you trust implicitly to manage your sites should the unexpected occur. Truly I have seen the perpetuation of grief due to the ongoing existence of social media sites over which a trusted loved one has no control ... Even when those who remain on the sites mean well. It is not that well wishers can't be very helpful... It is the matter of control. Probably the single most significant element in the treatment of grief and/or trauma... and especially traumatic grief ... Is the feeling that one has control in the context of that grief. Should you lose the ability to do so... It is a beautiful gift to give loved ones a gift of control over your social sites.
I welcome thoughts, ideas, feedback.
Take Care and PEACE!
Believe in WHO YOU ARE and you will surround yourself with people who support the BEST YOU.
Surround yourself with people who support the BEST YOU and you will BELIEVE IN WHO YOU ARE!
"A rule of thumb is: The more difficult it is to end a relationship that is bad for you, the more elements of your personal childhood struggle it contains. When you are loving too much, very likely you are trying to overcome the old fears, anger, frustration, and pain from childhood -- and to stop doing so would be tantamount to surrendering a precious opportunity for both obtaining what was always missing in your life and rectifying the many ways you have been wronged.
However, unless you change your patterns of relating, you're insuring that your adult years will be as full of pain as your childhood was -- and adulthood lasts a lot longer...."