#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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#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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#051 - It's not about transcending

#051 - It's not about transcending

A tact, which is useful, involves not transcending the problems of humanness but descending into the muck of life and welcoming it home. One way of thinking of this process is imagining that these painful experiences and parts of ourselves are things which need to be welcomed home, and not just welcomed home and shoved in the basement, but given a seat at the table of our life.

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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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#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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#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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#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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#014 - God In Psychotherapy

#014 - God In Psychotherapy

God, yup that’s right, I’m going to talk about God in psychotherapy. Everybody just calm down it’s going to be ok! It seems interesting to me to combine two often ineffable topics: God and psychotherapy. People since the beginning of spoken word have been trying to describe this sense of something greater than themselves, this presence, this energy, which is beyond description. Also with psychotherapy we have been trying to find a way to move this “soft science” to a “hard science,” to find some credibility for what we know works and maybe even get insurance to pay for it!

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