#043 - Longing for resolution - Opening through the layers

#043 - Longing for resolution - Opening through the layers

Often in my work with clients we talk about resolution of layers of trauma. Our work together is to explore and metabolize the layers of trauma and pain held in the body and psyche. The process seems to often start at the gross layer, an extreme desire to fight or run, a longing to cry or rage. These opening layers are themes that continue to show up as the layers are worked through.

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#042 - What is this like?

#042 - What is this like?

I recently returned from a meditation retreat on the east coast. I was excited to go and have many days of silence and the freedom to go deep into my own experience without many distractions. Though daily mindfulness practice and meditation are important there exists something special when we can be in deep silence and practice for an extended period of time. Our culture is very much focused on the up feeling, getting high, being excited, the big “Wow.” Those moments are wonderful and leave us feeling the joy of life. But they are also only part of the picture. When we embark on any journey of discovery we must be willing to treat the “wow’s” and the “ugh’s” equally: One to raise us up when we are bogged down, and one to humble us when we think we got it all figured out.

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#041 - Called into existence: Our trans and queer identities

#041 - Called into existence: Our trans and queer identities

In our popular culture, and in many of our families, there have been very few examples of trans and queer identities. My first exposure to anything non-heterosexual was reading “Rubyfruit Jungle,” by Rita Mae Brown, in the 1990s when I was a teenager. I can still recall the feeling of reading about this totally “other” culture: lesbianism. I simultaneously felt excited and ashamed. I knew I was like the lesbians Brown described, but I had no idea what to do with that information. Eventually I was able to come out to others and myself; first as lesbian, then gay, and finally the more fitting term of queer.

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#040 - Real Success Story: Interview with Boulder therapist, Karolina Walsh

#040 - Real Success Story: Interview with Boulder therapist, Karolina Walsh

I was interviewed by Becky DeGrossa from Counseling Wise, a private practice building company, about my journey to building a successful private practice and some of the lessons I've learned along the way. Also, a section on the importance of supervision, countertransference, and my experience being an LGBTQIA therapist. If you want to reach out with questions send an email here, via my Contact me page or check out my service for helping professionals to build your practice called Professional Confidence. Enjoy!

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#039 - Uncertainty in Relationships

#039 - Uncertainty in Relationships

Have you ever thought: “There’s no way this relationship is going to work out!” or, “I’m just too wounded to be in a long-term romantic relationship,” or, “How did I end up with this person? I’ve made a horrible mistake”? If so, you have you have experienced uncertainty in relationship. Something about the situation, yourself, and/or your partner has invoked a feeling of instability and you realize the future of your romantic life is uncertain.  

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#038 - Rupture and Repair: What relationship is about

#038 - Rupture and Repair: What relationship is about

Making mistakes, conflict, and confusion in relationship are a big part of the relationship journey. As author, and therapist, Bonnie Badenoch says 30% of relationship is all warm, fuzzy, and attuned and 70% is about rupture and repair. You wouldn’t think so given our pop culture and the ways relationship is portrayed in movies, books, and music.

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#036 - Spiritual/Emotional Growth: The hard way or the easier way

#036 - Spiritual/Emotional Growth: The hard way or the easier way

I was talking with some friends the other night and we were exploring what it’s like to enter therapy. My friend had a very insightful statement that going into therapy is stressful because it “stirs stuff up.” I had to agree with that! That’s been true in my professional life with my clients and with my own personal journey. And yet my perspective is a bit different than my friends: Yes is stirs stuff up, and this stuff is going to get you no matter what!

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#035 - The Unicorn of Attachment Theory: Earned Secure Attachment

#035 - The Unicorn of Attachment Theory: Earned Secure Attachment

For me getting into a helping profession was fueled by an excitement of the unknown. I was interested in the inner workings of being human, how we become who we are, and how we transform over our lifetime. I saw the powerful forces of meditation, spiritual practices, and even psychedelics to deeply influence who we are. I wanted to find out more! I wanted to change and transform myself and be a companion to others interested in the same process. What I didn’t know was that I would have to get to know deeply the unspoken things inside of me, the places of fear, freezing, constriction, terror, rage, despair, and hopelessness.

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#034 - Gaslighting your clients: Just stop!

#034 - Gaslighting your clients: Just stop!

If you have practiced psychotherapy for any length of time you have probably gaslighted your clients. This can be hard for therapists to see especially since gaslighting is seen as a form of psychological abuse. It’s commonly defined as manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity, perceptions, and/or memory. While most therapists are not consciously trying to hurt their clients this type of harm can be very subtle.

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#033 - Making room for Disconnection

#033 - Making room for Disconnection

Most of my life I have been pretty distant, fairly aloof. I did not want to feel the pain that came from human connection. I developed tools and methods to keep people at arms length. This felt like the best way of doing things, I was safe and they were safe from me. Underlying these actions were deep and powerful beliefs about safety and about my worthiness. On the surface these behaviors and beliefs point towards someone afraid of connection, scared of the closeness inherent in human relationships.  Though on the surface this may be true the deeper issue is a fear of disconnection.

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#031 - You're not broken: At least I don't think so!

#031 - You're not broken: At least I don't think so!

The folks I have regular contact with in my practice have been well seasoned by life, which is my way of saying they have been through some rough shit. They have been through traumas, addictions, abuse, self-harm, and have also done some pretty hurtful things to other people. So by the time I see them in my office there are big feelings of being broken, hopeless, and unworthy. For the most part this makes a lot of sense to me given what they have been through! And I can completely relate, I too have been seasoned by life, and tenderized, and cook a bit by it! 

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#030 - Therapist Self-disclosure

#030 - Therapist Self-disclosure

What I have experienced and continue to experience is the profound, and I’m not using that word lightly, healing that can take place through here and now disclosure by the therapist. This is not about sitting around in normal consciousness and chatting about our favorite flavors of ice cream. It’s about dropping into the realm of dissociated parts, developmental trauma, and systemic beliefs together as a way to reintegrate the shattered parts of self many clients come in with.

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#029 - Number one tool for therapists: Five simple steps

#029 - Number one tool for therapists: Five simple steps

In graduate school, first year, they presented a study that claimed 80% of clients reported the relationship between the client and therapist as being the most therapeutic part of therapy. At that time I heard that I thought, “Cool, I’ll keep that in mind and now give me the techniques to be an effective therapist.”

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#028 - It's still going to take a lifetime, no matter how hard you try!

#028 - It's still going to take a lifetime, no matter how hard you try!

At some point in my teens I became very good at slacking. I was skilled at not doing what I was supposed to and doing what I wasn’t supposed to as much as possible. For instance, getting high before basketball practice, skipping school, stealing, applying only to colleges that didn’t require an essay in the application were all tools of my trade.

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#026 - You are a complete and total loser: The critic and other protector parts

#026 - You are a complete and total loser: The critic and other protector parts

Ah the critic, such a persistent and conniving formation. This is the voice in your head that will not shut up if you have done something “wrong.” For some people this wrong thing is just simply living.  For others it is asking out someone on a date. Or for others it is how their body looks, or what their voice sounds like. The critic really does not care what is helpful in you reaching your ultimate potential; its sole concern is survival.

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#025 - Racism: A culturally induced mental illness

#025 - Racism: A culturally induced mental illness

"So what are the effects of racism as a culturally induced mental illness? As White people living in this culture, steeped in racism, this is a sickness we carry with us. While it showed up in Dyllann Roof as an explicit act of violence, it is showing up in the lives of White people every day in implicit and, sometimes explicit ways. If you have been enjoying the benefits of your skin color without acknowledging the cost take the time to reflect on who pays the price for your privilege."

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#024 - Growing up tough and the art of softening

#024 - Growing up tough and the art of softening

I grew up wanting to be tough, strong, and independent. I placed high value on getting through pain and not showing when I hurt, I have the tattoos to prove it! My greatest fear was to show my softness, my vulnerability, to another or even admit it to myself. In my early 20s I cried for the first time, while sober, in years. This was a real accomplishment for me! 

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