approaching therapy

musings as they come, and as they evolve …

Archive for the ‘individuals’ Category

two words

without comments

I attended some meetings in the Bay Area with a spiritual teacher in the early part of the century.

Sometimes he said that God gave us two words to use:

Fuck You

On occasion, I can see their appropriateness.

I like the idea of “two words.”

These are good ones:

“Thank You,”
“I Love You,”
“I’m Sorry”

It reminds me of the Hawaiian practice of reconciliation called Ho’oponopono.
I believe the sequence is as follows: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
I’m not sure about “Forgive Me,” since we are hanging out in the field beyond right-doing and wrong-doing that Rumi references, right? But it goes with “I’m Sorry”, and I like the spirit of the question, and the way it involves the other in the form of a request. But I think the whole thing is meant as an internal process that doesn’t have to involve the other person. You work your transformation.

Share

Written by David

September 1st, 2017 at 9:03 am

Posted in individuals

feeling feelings

without comments

People report that they find it beneficial when a therapist tells them to stop and go inside and feel their feelings. And sometimes they are asked to be curious, about whether it’s familiar, and what it reminds them of, and to see what about them and their past it has to do with. Something shifts.

It’s that thing about getting out of your head and being present with what’s in the body. Strange how that can result is a shift, but it does.

People like this.

Some people don’t know what this means, this feeling your feelings thing. Think of it as sensations, that’s all.

Share

Written by David

December 4th, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Posted in couples,individuals

Tagged with

our actions reflect our values ??

without comments

Is it really true that our actions reflect our values?  It turns out that it is not always true. 

When you aren’t fire-walking or otherwise acting in alignment with your highest self, it could be the case that our actions reflect any of the following:

  • our fears
  • other limiting beliefs, negative cognitions, doubts, guilt
  • lack of imagination, black and white thinking
  • habit
  • stuckness
  • inertia
  • laziness
  • stubbornness, ego! The natural knee-jerk defiance in the face of a request. The needs of independence, autonomy, choice, free will, freedom.
  • attachments – to things, to places
  • attachment to a sense of identity – who would I be if I changed? If I did something else or moved somewhere else – who would I be? Avoiding the existential anxiety of that experience. Again, ego!
  • the effects of a bad night’s sleep

So when someone says they love you but they want to spend their evening attending to organizing their rock collection, I hope that keeping in mind these other possible meanings for people’s actions helps you take it less personally. 

And instead of struggling around the push-pull of our desires with another person, isn’t the idea for all of us just to have caring for ourselves and each other around our experiences? 

Share

Written by David

December 4th, 2014 at 12:29 am

john welwood and the human predicament

without comments

I was into the perspective of David Schnarch for a while. I still keep his perspective about a solid self, but now I think he’s missing two key elements. First, he dismisses the human experience – the very notion that to be HUMAN is to have a reflected and dependent sense of self !!!! Listen to the John Welwood recording on SoundsTrue.com. And then he seems to miss the importance of empathy. Empathy for the human struggle that ensues from this tragic-comedy of a dependent sense of self! Again, Welwood lays it out nicely.

More and more, I’m seeing how we are human in ways I had not been aware of, or that I had not been so willing to acknowledge.

It’s so compelling to think that we just have to toughen our skins and grow up.  Schnarch’s battle cry sounds so cool and tough and even sexy. Wouldn’t you agree? Everyone wants to jump on it and he taunts those who are not on board as being babies who need to grow up and derides therapists who work with an attachment model like Sue Johnson as just enabling and furthering a pathetic sense of dependency.

I believe the problem with his model is that it isn’t based in reality, so I don’t see how it can work. Unless a person is in an enlightened state, it’s not how people actually are! You’d be hard-pressed to meet someone who really doesn’t give a shit about what other people think of them. Just read the writings of Pema Chödron when she shares about her own internal experience. But what I have seen actually working for couples is simply acknowledging, allowing, and owning and expressing this vulnerable stuff, rather than trying to transcend or deny our essential humanness.  And by expressing, I don’t mean rampaging.  Instead, just owning it, rather that it owning us.  I stole that quote from Tony Robbins.

And in the end, just holding all of it with caring.  Stephen Goodman at CIIS said that as far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, “compassion is the only game in town.”

Implicit in that caring is a larger state of consciousness.  A self that’s not a reflection of someone else’s opinion.  I love how John Welwood says it, so nonchalantly, that of course, we also know that we are fundamentally OK.

I also love how Welwood doesn’t say that this predicament of being human is good or bad. He just sees it as a path of growth. To try and get a grip, and then relate to others with transparency and consciousness. So I have been using this as my model now.

There isn’t anything new about this, but maybe listening to Welwood got me clearer on it. And he also adds some additional things that I had not heard that felt refreshing – like his explanation for the ambivalence that people feel in relationship – both the love and the resentment we feel for being dependent on someone for our sense of being loved. And how hard it is not only to love unconditionally, but to receive love fully, and how it’s all mixed up with that tender spot inside, so it’s no wonder we are wary of being authentic with others.

Share

Written by David

November 13th, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Posted in couples,individuals

How to love yourself if you don’t love others?

without comments

You know. Your heart knows.
– from Burt Harding

It’s probably why you are still here.

Share

Written by David

December 10th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Posted in individuals,truth

control

without comments

Interesting notion: Those who can’t control themselves, try and control those around them.
Something David Schnarch writes about, as does Ellyn Bader.
I guess it would make things easier.
Let’s say your partner is saying something to you, and you are hearing it critically. Like they are blaming YOU.
Wouldn’t it be better if they could just shut up and stop attacking you?
Wouldn’t it feel better if they could admit their part in it?
So much easier than trying to keep your calm, trying to not take anything personally, or honestly trying to look at your part, and trying to keep an open and curious mind and simply say, “will you tell me more about how that is for you?!”

Or lets say you feel anxious because your partner is out as some bar with his or friends, drunk and dancing naked on the tables.
Wouldn’t it be easier on the worries if they had a ball and chain and reported back to you with reassuring words every 15 minutes?

We all need to have a certain sense of control. Even if it’s an illusion. One of those basic human needs.

But one thing I have found is there’s something to the notion of self-control. That’s the one thing that I see start to change when couples start counseling. They really see they don’t want to continue the stupid arguing.

But I’ve also seen something else. Some people who have a hard time allowing the partner to be who he or she is, and who can’t manage their reactivity, sometimes also can’t manage their impulse to drink alcohol. So how much of healthy relationships (whether relationships to people or to drugs) is about impulse control? I know that ultimately, spirits of alcohol is also a spiritual problem. But is it an impulse control problem as well? is impulse control an issue in of itself, or does it in fact relate to some other “issue” so to speak. And if the problem informs the path of health we take, what’s the best way to address all of this stuff?

Share

Written by David

July 22nd, 2013 at 7:43 pm

anger deconstructed

without comments

Some views on anger

Needs and Thoughts
From NVC – Nonviolent Communication: If there’s a “should” in your head, there will be anger in your heart.
It relates to unmet needs, and thinking. Both components. Thinking something SHOULD be different than how it is. And anger is an overlay feeling. There’s always another feeling right underneath, along for the ride. I can think of three: frustration, fear, and hurt.

Rising Up
From The Anger Trap, by Les Carter: It’s self preservation. It’s like a way to rise up when feeling one-down. Like a defensive maneuver.

Emotional Tipping Point
From IFS – Internal Family Systems, by Richard Schwartz: It’s a Protector, that comes into play when the emotions are overwhelmed. Our managers are usually at work keeping things under control and in line, but when the emotional brain is activated and emotional equilibrium is lost, the fire fighter comes in. All to protect the vulnerable self. The hurt one.

Share

Written by David

November 30th, 2012 at 11:33 pm

trance

without comments

This, from Tara Brach, via www.nicabm.com, The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

Compassion might be the most crucial element in healing.

What’s really going on therapy: The therapist is simply mirroring someone’s goodness to free him or her from the trance of unworthiness.

I have never heard it expressed that way, and I like it. The trance. The presumption that there’s nothing wrong with someone, except their belief that there’s something wrong. And then, one day, they wake up.

Share

Written by David

November 30th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

blaming consciously

without comments

Tony Robbins inspires again, in a neat intervention he and Chloe Madanes orchestrate.
If you are going to blame, you need to do it consciously. What a concept.
You can’t just blame someone for the “bad.” That would likely be missing something. We probably also get something good from people as well. If we think about it. If we admit it.

They lay it out – if you wanna be depressed, just focus on yourself.
Don’t try and understand what might be going on for someone else.

Don’t just focus on the bad; don’t forget there is also good. People offer us some great things.
And don’t forget – we also get some “good” from the “bad.”
From suffering, we might develop things like sensitivity, resiliency, creativity, strength, even compassion.
Who knows what wonderful things might come from having a father that ignored you when you were two years old?

As my landlady said, when asked about her credentials for the healing work she did: “My qualifications are my woundings, and what I have done with them.”

Share

Written by David

November 21st, 2012 at 9:59 pm

that time of year

without comments

Some thoughts that relate to “that time of year”, thoughts that relate to other discussions on keeping even-keeled, keeping stress at bay, and managing your sense of self in relationships, particularly during the holidays. I was interviewed by Joanne Barker for an article on WebMD, and some of my thoughts made it into print.

You can view the article in context here: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/family-health-12/reduce-holiday-stress

You can print the article here: Print Me

You can download a PDF here: Download Me

Enjoy

Share

Written by David

October 22nd, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Posted in couples,individuals