An Ode to Therapy

An Ode to Therapy

An Ode to Therapy
Therapy as a Mediation Practice

As I was contemplating my day of seeing clients, it hit me—therapy is my meditation practice.

It is never as easy to be in the present moment as when I am sitting with a client.

I’ve had others tell me this. When I first started my private practice, the oh-so-present Jinny Tesik said “sometimes my clients ask ‘what do you think?’ and it takes me awhile to answer. I have just been listening, not forming my response.”

I did not get what she was saying. Instead I thought “how in the world is that possible?”

I have an abundantly active mind. I used to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Being in the present moment used to put me to sleep. I partially credit my 20+ year meditation practice for helping me get off medication and be able to sit still.

A couple years ago when I joined a consult group, we were sitting in my colleague Terry Steig’s, office on a cloudy Friday morning, eating pastries and drinking tea. Since it was my first time with the group, we all shared why we chose to become therapists. Terry, a man of great kindness and humanity shared “For me, therapy is sacred space, and I like to sit in sacred space a LOT.”

By this time, I had decade of experience and I immediately felt the truth of his statement.

Today, I was talking to a client about expanding his meditation practice—taking it to a deeper level. That conversation is likely why my realization hit me. Being in the presence of my clients, simply attending to what they choose to share, is a deeper meditation than my solitary sit with incense.

I finally realized what Jinny shared more than a decade ago. The experience of another human being sharing their life and allowing me to witness their vulnerability, brings me into the sacredness of being present with another human being.

This is why, when a client thanks me for working with them, I can honestly say “it is my pleasure.”


Therapy is Strange

Therapy is Strange

Therapy is Strange

My client stated, as he walked out my door, “It will be good.” I responded “You don’t know that.” He countered “You’re right” and we laughed.

I reflected, as I shut my office door, “Therapy is strange.” You see, that was a therapeutic moment…that worked.

The longer I do therapy the simpler, and more fun, it becomes.

I’ve come to realize that therapy isn’t about changing what happens in our lives. It is about shifting how we respond to what happens in our lives.

There is much we can’t control. We can control how we respond to what comes into our life—whether it is poor health, an accident, loss of a job, or a new puppy.

Jill Bolte Taylor in her book “My Stroke of Insight” talks about our responsibility (response ability). Our ability to choose how we respond is our choice.

In my client’s case, he was taking his wife to get her hair cut. His wife has dementia and she has gotten agitated in the past. He was positive she was going to respond poorly. He didn’t know for sure, but that was the story he was making up in his head. As a result, he was very anxious about something that hadn’t happened yet. His worry wasn’t doing anything except occupying his mind and increasing his stress.

We talked about it. He saw his response wasn’t helping.

As he let go of the worry he realized if she did get agitated he had choices. He could come back another time, or he could let her hair grow. Neither of them would have to deal with the stress of getting it cut.

He said “Even if she does get agitated, it will be fine. I will be fine.” He wasn’t changing his wife’s reaction; he was transforming how he responded.

He wasn’t altering his external life—he was shifting his internal perspective. When we do this, we let go of being a victim to life and step into our own power and freedom.

That is when life gets a whole lot more fun.

Increase Your Ability to Connect with People

Increase Your Ability to Connect with People

Do you want to increase your ability to connect with people? Do you want to be able to experience true intimacy with others? Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD has written a book to help you to do just that.

In her book, “The Assertiveness Guide for Women: How to Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries & Transform Your Relationships” Dr. Hanks gives us information and tools to know ourselves better and be more available to know others. I’ve already started recommending it to my clients.

Dr. Hanks, in a straight-forward, engaging way, demonstrates how saying “no” keeps us from being overwhelmed and overcommitted. She even gives a list of helpful examples of how to say no. Who couldn’t benefit from that? As important, she shows us that saying no actually makes us more available to ourselves and others.

The one con is this—Dr. Hanks’ examples and writing are so accessible, readers might not realize how much helpful information is packed in this 200 page book. I recommend reading “The Assertiveness Guide” a couple of times so you get all you can out of it.

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