approaching therapy

musings as they come, and as they evolve …

rolling stones

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No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
– Rolling Stones, 1969 album Let It Bleed. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

When I hear people who are distressed because they aren’t getting what they want, I think of Viktor Frankl. How would it be if you were in a situation where it was clear that you weren’t going to get what you wanted? And if it was clear that you might not get your needs met as fully as you would like? Would it be easier to step out of that illusion of thinking others should somehow be different than how they actually are? And step out of the paradigm of blaming and power struggles?

Viktor Frankl survived living in a concentration camp. His book is aptly titled From Death-Camp to Existentialism. He survived. How about you. Will you survive or at least get by if your needs aren’t met? What would you live for? What would keep you going? Hope is what helped Frankl, even if it turned out there was nothing at the end of the road.

I also return to some words I overheard a Czech restaurateur named Vladimir say to some elderly patrons. They had driven all the way from Santa Rosa to Inverness, CA. The roast duck is always on the menu, but that night – I think it was a Sunday night – it was not available. The man was obviously angry as evidenced by the tautness and redness in his face. To which Vladimir responded with this inculcation: You can’t alvays get vat you vant all of zee time.

Written by David

April 10th, 2010 at 8:47 am

positivity

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Been a little heavy on the negatives.
So, how about some positive encouragements:

  • Give.
  • Listen.
  • Stretch.

But only if you want to.

Written by David

April 1st, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Posted in couples

i feel hurt

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i feel hurt

i get that you feel hurt

i feel hurt

i get that you feel hurt

I FEEL HURT!!!!

i get that you feel hurt

Written by David

March 29th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Posted in couples

what’s the feeling behind the question

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That’s what Judye Hesse, one of my teachers at CIIS, used to say. And she attributes it to Will Schutz and the T-group people.

Be wary of the tendency to ask questions.
Such as:

Why are you being such a jerk ?!

It’s a cover for saying what’s really going on.

Sure, you can communicate however you want.
It’s easier to make it seem like someone else is the problem than to admit we feel hurt.
People will get the point either way; it’s just doesn’t foster compassion.

Instead of saying: What’s your problem?

Imagine saying instead, Hey, I didn’t like how I heard what you said. Are you open to hearing me share my feelings and making a request? OK, so, when you made that comment, I felt upset. Now knock it off, will ya?

If you want to annoy your partner, the next time they make of those “question” remarks, you can be a smarty pants and say back to them in a taunting voice, what’s the feeling behind the question?
Or, you can try to see that they are just upset, and you can respond with an empathic statement instead. Your choice.

Written by David

March 29th, 2010 at 9:51 am

Posted in couples

i feel like…

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Feelings versus Thoughts

I feel like …
I feel that …
I feel as if …
I feel like you are ….

How do you feel when you have that thought ?

Written by David

March 29th, 2010 at 9:21 am

Posted in couples,individuals

empathy only goes so far

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I can give you empathy, but I don’t think your problems will go away

… until you want to stop blaming
… until you are ready to put aside your ideas of how your partner is supposed to be and start dealing with reality as it is
… until you are ready to stop trying to make your partner change
… until you are ready to take responsibility for your own experience
… until you are ready to take a sober look at your choices
… until you are ready to stop giving your power away and playing the victim
… until you are ready to shift your focus away from your partner and just focus on yourself and take care of yourself

Written by David

March 26th, 2010 at 11:22 am

Posted in couples

clearing

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Sometimes people want to tell their partners how much they feel hurt. I figure they want empathy.

So I can mediate a discussion. It’s all calm-like and everything’s stated in proper English. The hurt person says, “I feel hurt,” and the alleged perpetrator says, “I get that you feel hurt.” You’d think that would do it, but sometimes the hurt and anger is still there. Something’s still there. There’s still upset in the air.

It’s because the energy behind the feeling is still there.
The wellspring of energy has to be vented.

Wouldn’t it be great if the hurt person could scream at the partner, and the partner could just sit there and listen with compassion? And the air would be cleared, once and for all.

Or maybe the upset energy is something that has a life of its own, and needs to unruffle on its own sweet time, in its own organic way, and there’s nothing one can do to help clear it any faster.

I think there’s some sort of alchemy of healing that happens when you can communicate directly to the person around whom you feel hurt.
But some folks suggest that the “hurt” is just energy, and that it can be expressed in any number of ways, on your own.
Leonard Jacobson says do an anger meditation. Do it from a place of consciousness and don’t believe your stories. He says do it until you start laughing. Then you know you got it.

Written by David

March 23rd, 2010 at 9:43 am

Posted in couples

stretching

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I hear what you’re saying, …
but …
it’s just that …

Miki Kashtan from the Bay Area Chapter of the Center for Nonviolent Communication talks about listening, empathy, and stretching. By stretching, she means putting aside your reactions and your needs and trying to give. Giving your presence and empathy. It’s just kinda hard to be empathic if you’re mad and hurting. You really gotta put your stuff aside just for the moment. You can come back to it later, because it’s important, too.

Written by David

March 21st, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Posted in couples

you know best for your partner

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Sometimes it helps to share what you think is going on, because it might relate to why you’re reacting and what you’re feeling.
I like how Terrence Real encourages us to share that: The story I’m making up in my head is….
Otherwise, when talking to your partner, I invite folks to keep to the following guideline:
Refrain from telling your partner what you think is going on for him or her and what you think your partner needs. People don’t like being told who or what they are, and what they should do.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s OK to have thoughts and opinions. They happen. You can think your partner is over-reacting, making a big deal out of nothing, is off his or her rocker, needs to deal with his or her mother issues, whatever. But just keep that to yourself.
What’s it to you, anyway?   Just talk about yourself and what you’re feeling or wanting. It’s a safer bet.

Written by David

March 21st, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Posted in couples

change happens

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I think that no matter what we do or don’t do, change will happen. In the direction of something positive. Maybe it won’t look like that on the micro level, but I think that’s just where things want to go. I’m not talking about entropy. I’m talking about awareness and lessons and change and moving closer to the light.

A bunch of years ago, probably around 2001, I attended a meeting in Berkeley that was open to the public during which a woman channeled a being whose name was Amaritha. It’s just about the same truth we can all access anytime. You know what I mean. As in, “Remember the love. And if you can’t remember the love, remember the possibility of there being love.” So this is what she said that’s relevant to what I’m saying about change,

We are all on our own paths to our own salvation.

So keep that in mind when you see someone struggling with what looks like some sort of self-destructive addiction. Who are we to know what part of what picture this is about? I like the humbleness in that vantage point.

Written by David

March 14th, 2010 at 9:30 am