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Acceptance: Most of us see things about ourselves, or in our lives, that we do not like. These are things we rigorously attempt to hide away so no one, not even we, can see them. At times we try to pretend things do not exist or avoid dealing with problems head on. It takes a vast amount of inner strength to examine these parts of ourselves/our lives, and eventually accept them. Once we commit to looking honestly at these parts of ourselves/our lives, it releases the pressure we place upon ourselves to feel successful, happy, and worthy of love. Acceptance of the way things are in the Here and Now relieves suffering.
Grief and Loss: When someone close to us dies, I believe it is common for the mourner to feel that part of them has died too. Many of us long to feel ourselves again. The landscape around us can change to where nothing feels right. The world can feel utterly dark and empty. You can feel numb and disconnected and/or happy and relieved. During these times many people judge their feelings, or absence of feelings, as right or wrong. In fact, all feelings are right. Feelings of grief tend to come in and out like ocean waves and do not honor any timetable or linear model. Often, people around us do not know how to respond, and encourage us to "move on" from pain rather than "move through" pain. Death does affect us deeply, it hurts, and it changes us in profound ways. Grieving is a natural process that every human experiences differently. There are myths surrounding death, and it helps to uncover those myths and honor your own unique experiences. For more information about these myths, please read my blog posts on this subject.
Life Transitions: Transitions in life such as aging, marriage, pregnancy, new baby, graduation, career change, birthdays, retirement, job loss, change in financial situation, change in religious/spiritual beliefs, moving, empty nest, injuries, trauma, conflicts/fights, losses, and beginning/ending of relationships affect us deeply. Change is at the forefront of these transitions, and change always requires a period of adjustment and turmoil. Sometimes these changes are so stressful we turn to activities that cause harm to ourselves, or to those we love. I help people focus on healthy ways to cope with stress, and most importantly, provide a foundation to stand on that is outside of us and the situation. We can confront fears, access courage and use our own resiliency to adapt to changes.
"You have inherited a lifetime of tribulation. Everybody has inherited it. Take it over, make the most of it and when you have decided you know the right way, do the best you can with it."
- Murray Bowen
My therapeutic approach is informed by systems counseling. This approach emphasizes the importance of looking at responses and behaviors from a broadened view as a non-judgmental observer. This approach encourages developing differentiation, or a developing a stronger sense of who you are at the core, and defining your wants and needs. The goal here is to gain better insight and control over how you respond to various stimuli, particularly in relationships, through staying present and aware of how you are feeling internally without judging those feelings as right or wrong. We are all raised in family systems with unique sets of rules, roles, expectations, boundaries, conflicts, secrets, unspoken feelings, and patterns of interaction. Through developing awareness of how these influence you (and others) in the present day, you can choose how to respond differently. When you respond differently, systems around you shift as well, and the results can be surprising and healing.