#057 - Embodied self-pleasure

#057 - Embodied self-pleasure

Probably one of the subtler forms of “checking out” most folks do is in thinking about their bodies, rather than experiencing the preset moment sensations in their bodies. For most folks the body is a minefield; overwhelming sensations, memories, numbness, deadness, and invisible parts all make experiencing the body fraught with danger. But the body is also where we experience pleasure, joy, lightness, depth, tenderness, love, and inspiration.

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#056 - Developmental trauma "acts of triumph"

#056 - Developmental trauma "acts of triumph"

Within the therapeutic relationship acts of relational triumph can occur which translate to the clients world outside the office. Witnessing the transformative power of literally going with, emotionally and somatically, my clients to the most terrifying places in the psychic realm humbles me. The places of overwhelm, panic, and dissociation are the places where these acts of triumph live, but we must go together.

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#055 - The gentle path of healing

#055 - The gentle path of healing

When I was younger just getting into recovery and self-healing work I was very immature. I figured all I had to do was find the right mindset, mantra, prayer, or belief, work really hard at keeping it in my mind and all would be well. So I would find a really cool idea or phrase, which had given me some relief, and squeeze every ounce of serenity out of it till I was sweating and bleeding everywhere (metaphorically of course!).

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#054 - Private Practice: Getting Paid

#054 - Private Practice: Getting Paid

I remember being in my first few months of private practice and after a tender and heartfelt session my client stood up to leave and hadn’t paid me. I had no idea what to do, what was the right thing to say that honored our work together and honored that I got bills to pay? I felt the conflict of a new therapist; I loved this work, cared for my clients, and needed to pay my bills!

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#046 - Being a therapist is about letting go

#046 - Being a therapist is about letting go

 

Every day that I work with clients, at least once, I try to control the direction of the session. This can look like having a brilliant insight and I want to share it with them. I see something and I am sure that that is the missing piece of the problem they have been working with for so long. They want to go in one direction and I want to go in another. Some problem I have “overcome” is presenting in my client and I want to tell them what to do so they can have the same insight and healing as me.

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#045 - Losing fear of ourselves

#045 - Losing fear of ourselves

For many years I spent my time managing and controlling my outside circumstances (and, honestly, still work with this!). My belief I could find safety through control was a purely unconscious drive. All I knew was that the world felt overwhelming to me, and that I was restless and irritable. I would make the connection that when I was in a certain situation or with a particular person I felt anxious, so I tried my best to stay out of or control those situations or people. I rarely thought that my real problems were my internal reactions and unacknowledged fears, which drove me and dictated my life.

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#044 - How long will my healing take?

#044 - How long will my healing take?

I have asked this question many times. I have asked it to friends, therapists, lovers, the universe, God, you name it. I have heard spiritual teachers talk about it, offering techniques for the “fast track” to spiritual enlightenment. I have tried really, really, hard to heal myself. And some of it has seemed to work. I am different than I was 10 years ago, that’s for sure. I am less likely to drink myself into a black out (extremely less likely!).

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#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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#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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#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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#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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#022 - Relationships: When Getting Close Feels Scary

#022 - Relationships: When Getting Close Feels Scary

Your partner reaches out to you, holds extended eye contact, or even wants to make plans for a few days from now and you get that tightening in your stomach. Your not sure why but there is that jump in your belly and the associated feeling that something is bad or wrong. Logically you see there is no reason to be afraid in this moment, you know this is a good person who would not intentionally harm you, but the nagging feeling of imminent danger or mistrust of this person is very present.  Sometimes you can shake off this brief impulse to run and get away, other times it signals a landslide of panic and fear that takes you over.  

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#019 - Relationships: Room to Come and Go

#019 - Relationships: Room to Come and Go

Has your partner ever said to you, “Babe, I need some space tonight.”? Then your knee jerk reaction is something like anxiety, anger, dread, or fear? If so, then congratulations you are in a relationship in which you are connected enough to have your core issues arise!  While no one likes to feel these deep issues of abandonment they are often hanging around right under the surface unconsciously driving your behavior. 

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#018 - Top 5 Indicators That You Rock at Being a Human

#018 - Top 5 Indicators That You Rock at Being a Human

If you are reading this you might feel like you are sucking at life right now, because if you were a really successful human you probably wouldn’t need me to tell you! Maybe you lost a job, a relationship, your clothes don’t fit right, or you are full of self-pity for the choices you made. Possibly you are looking for a pick-me-up and hope to find yourself in this list. Well if you are a human I guarantee you will find yourself in this list! Ok lets get started…

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