approaching therapy

musings as they come, and as they evolve …

spiritual bypassing

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Spiritual Bypassing is a term that John Welwood coined in 1984.

I see many people who aspire to be kind and non-reactive. So far so good. But they don’t integrate the parts that get jealous, judgmental, petty, even vengeful. I guess that’s the ego for you. It’s ashamed of itself. It calls aspects of our experience “negative” and relegates these parts to what it calls the dark side. But that which resists, persists.

As good as the intentions to be “spiritual” might be, they way some people do it seems to just bring on problems. It creates an internal conflict, because people become at odds with who they are – their humanity.

So rather than shunning, I’m all for owning. As Tony Robbins says, “we are all wanting love, and we are all afraid.” The difference is whether it owns you or you own it.

So it’s about holding all sides of our experience. The part that takes things personally and the part that knows the truth. The part that’s vulnerable and wants caring, and the part that can hold it all with caring and compassion.

Which one is present and at the fore?

Written by David

March 1st, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

in spite of

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Below is a link to the article I came across.  I like how outrageous it is, with ridiculous terminology to describe people, and I also like the honesty.  It’s a relief.  So many people are trying to hold themselves to some ideas of how they should be as people and in relationship, and that in itself creates internal conflict and problems.  Instead I’m for owning all the parts and just holding them with levity and love.

It’s quite a model of love.  But I’d change it slightly.  Instead of saying love is about loving someone in spite of who they are, I would say that love is about loving someone in spite of who WE are, and the way WE drive OURSELVES batty by how WE respond to other people who are doing nothing more than just being themselves:

Opinionator – A Gathering of Opinion From Around the Web
June 15, 2013
I Know What You Think of Me
By Tim Kreider


We all make fun of one another behind one another’s backs, even the people we love. Of course we do — they’re ridiculous. Anyone worth knowing is inevitably also going to be exasperating: making the same obvious mistakes over and over, dating imbeciles, endlessly relapsing into their dumb addictions and self-defeating habits, blind to their own hilarious flaws and blatant contradictions and fiercely devoted to whatever keeps them miserable. (And those few people about whom there is nothing ridiculous are by far the most preposterous of all.)

Just as teasing someone to his face is a way of letting him know that you know him better than he thinks, making fun of him behind his back is a way of bonding with your mutual friends, reassuring one another that you both know and love and are driven crazy by this same person.

Although sometimes, let’s just admit, we’re simply being mean. …

THE operative fallacy here is that we believe that unconditional love means not seeing anything negative about someone, when it really means pretty much the opposite: loving someone despite their infuriating flaws and essential absurdity. “Do I want to be loved in spite of?” …

More and more, I’m finding it helpful to honor our humanness.

Written by David

March 1st, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Posted in couples

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

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You know. Your heart knows.
– from Burt Harding

It’s probably why you are still here.

Written by David

December 10th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Posted in individuals,truth


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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?

Written by David

July 22nd, 2013 at 7:43 pm


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Simple things.
Sometimes it’s all you have to do.
Like try and understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.
Imagine what kind of difference that would make.
Because, as Tony Robbins pointed out, and others I’m sure, there’s ALWAYS another side.
Just ask the other person!
I guess it all relates. To that experience of seeing your part and doing what you can to take responsibility for your experience.

Written by David

July 22nd, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Posted in couples


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Apologies to those who are flash-challenged.
Find the original on the Nike YouTube channel.

Written by David

January 10th, 2013 at 12:33 am

Posted in truth

the clink of the ice

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that clink of the ice in the glass
that’s enough of a trigger for some people
to be on alert
when they are in a home with a person with an alcohol habit
to duck and cover

we can distinguish drugs from someone’s relationship with the drug
Addiction? Dependence? Abuse? What do these things really mean?
what’s the different between cannabis, prozac, and a banana nut muffin?
we can look at what underlying needs are met and have understanding and empathy
we can see if a problem is only a problem if it’s a problem
what’s it to you?
we can see if the problem is just in our head

but when there’s history of problems with drug use, past trauma, family stuff, relationship stuff, it resonates deeper
i think of it like a hall of mirrors, that cube of ice clattering down all the past halls, and the present becomes more, it becomes all of the past experiences, resonating like some harmonic instrument.
It’s a deep trigger.

you can do emdr and maybe it will free you from the trigger

how much “work” do you want to do?
Do you just manage your thoughts and feelings?
Do you find other ways to get needs met?
Do you live happily with unmet needs?

maybe you don’t want to get over it

maybe you just don’t want to be around someone who is high

Written by David

December 7th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

anger deconstructed

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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.

Written by David

November 30th, 2012 at 11:33 pm


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This, from Tara Brach, via, 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.

Written by David

November 30th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

blaming consciously

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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.”

Written by David

November 21st, 2012 at 9:59 pm