IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are in therapy with me (or are considering being in individual or group therapy with me), please have a conversation with me about this blog before you read further.
When asked what I do for a living, I sometimes say I’m a clinical social worker, sometimes I say I’m a psychotherapist. Whatever title I use, I work with people at a major teaching hospital, and I specialize in group therapy.
For quite a while, I’ve been thinking of writing a book that combines personal memories with the work I love to do, and I actually started writing something in August, 2012. Working titles for that book include “AFOG: Another F***ing Opportunity for Growth”, “How To Be The Hero Of Your Own Story” and “Doing More of What Works (and Less of What Doesn’t Work) For You.”
As you can see, I sometimes have trouble making decisions. Or, to look at this another — perhaps less judgmental way — I’m an Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver, according to the Myers-Briggs test (which I recommend as one way to investigate how your and other people’s “styles” interact). To translate that into English, that just means that (1) I feel more energized being around people, (2) I’m interested in possibilities and patterns, (3) I tend to go with my “gut”, and (4) I sometimes have trouble making decisions.
Something else about me: I am the owner of a very unusual heart — I have congenitally corrected transposition of the great vessels, which is super rare. This wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult; however, I was diagnosed at birth as having a complete heart block. Because of my heart, I spent a lot of time in the hospital when I was a kid. Plus, I am (probably) the second longest surviving person in the world with a cardiac pacemaker.
This medical part of my story has had a profound impact on me, of course. However, it’s a part of my life which — up until I started writing this blog — I was pretty secretive about (at least, beyond close friends and family). Not these years, though!
ABOUT THIS BLOG
This blog is part of my creative process.
It’s also a way to work on my growing acceptance and appreciation of life, and to share and develop some of the wisdom I’ve been slowly accumulating. My original commitment was to start on January 1, 2013 and to blog once daily for a year. Since blogging has helped me so much, I’ve extended that commitment through 2014 and beyond!
This blog is also another way for me to take risks, to venture out into the world in new ways, and to embrace and express all my different human feelings — joy, fear, sadness, anger, the whole Emotional Enchilada. I plan to engage in my well-developed sense of play, and approach some painful material, also.
So this blog does a lot for me!
ABOUT THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG
The original title — The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally — came to me in December 2012, out of the blue, and I knew I wanted to write a blog with that title (even though I had never written a blog before). Then, on January 1, 2014, after the first year was over, I added the “s” (to cover it all).
I wonder if readers might misunderstand the intent of this blog, because of the title. By no means do I expect that I (or anybody else) will attain a perfect state of Non-Judgment, no matter what the year.
As I say in my first post in this blog, judgment is something that I invite myself and my clients to let go of, as much as possible. So this blog is, also, my commitment to Walk that Walk and to Talk that Talk — to strive, day by day, for Years of Living Non-Judgmentally (the best that I can).
Being Non-Judgmental is an ideal beyond any human’s grasp. It’s like the ideal of being perfectly in the moment — another (I believe, at this point) unattainable ideal. As I discuss with clients, human minds aren’t built to stay in the moment or to be non-judgmental. Instead, our minds naturally veer off — into the past and the future, and into judgment of ourselves (and whatever else we encounter). The best we can do is to notice these human meanderings of our minds, and gently re-focus (to the moment and to letting go of judgment) over and over again.
I have to say that I’m really excited about this journey, and I’m honored that you are joining me right now — and for any additional part of it that you choose.
NOTE: Several of the posts in this blog contain references to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, and other therapeutic techniques I use when working with people. On 2/10/13, I started a second blog here, specifically for posting reference materials about these therapy techniques. (For example, see here for a handout containing definitions of all 13 Cognitive Distortions discussed in this blog.)
ANOTHER NOTE: As of January 20, 2014, I am finally stating my preference regarding WordPress Awards. If it pleases you to nominate me for one, it also pleases me to express sincere gratitude for the nomination (but that’s all I will do in return).