group psychotherapy

Day 1215: Stress

Even though I stress stress as an important topic in my work and in this blog, I’ve only stressed the word stress in three previous post titles:

Day 508:  Stress, anybody?

Day 858:  A dozen ways to melt away your stress

Day 1067:  Anxiety, depression, and stress

Now, I’d like to stress the importance of a telephone exchange I had with my boyfriend Michael, last night, at the end of a stressful day at work:

Me: Michael,  I always get more stressed at work right before I’m taking time off, right?

Michael: Oh, I can’t tell the difference, baby.

I then released some stress by laughing out loud at the thought that even though it’s soooooo obvious to me when I’m feeling more stress, it might not be obvious to others, even those who know me very well.

Laughter is good for stress.

I also released some stress by laughing out loud  earlier this week, when a beloved friend — who also stresses a lot but doesn’t show it — stressed that her husband likes to liken her to a duck: calm and serene above the surface of the water while paddling rapidly, unseen,  below.

Let’s see, what else do I want to stress about stress, in this stressful post?

Are any of my pictures from yesterday related to stress?

 

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One thing I want to stress about those photos above: I found the person who owns the yellow moped that looks EXACTLY like the one I owned and loved for decades before giving it away when I moved in 2011.  I’m afraid I may have stressed out the owner of that moped, yesterday morning:

(In a new Greek restaurant, near where the moped is always parked)

Me: Hi! I’m looking for the owner of the yellow moped outside.

Guy who works at Greek restaurant: That’s me. Why?  Is there a PROBLEM?

Note that I’m stressing the word “problem” in that exchange.  Why?  Because people tend to stress the importance of problems, and that causes stress.

After talking to the moped owner for a few minutes, I found out there is no way to determine whether that yellow moped and my moped are one and the same.  How stressed am I about that?  Not at all.

I don’t want to stress you out, but I cannot stress how much I love getting comments here. However, as I wrote in a therapy group last night, “It takes bravery to share. You need to feel safe enough to share. It’s okay to share or not share. You decide.”

I  am now deciding to share this stress-relieving music by Stevie Wonder  on my last work day before a week’s vacation.

In this stressful life, I like to stress gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this post. And I’d especially like to stress my gratitude to you for visiting this blog today.

 

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1203: Membership

Because I’m a member of the board for an organization of group therapists,  I’ll be attending a meeting on the topic of “Membership” today.

Because I’m a member of the three-person committee planning today’s meeting, I’ll be facilitating members sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences of membership.

Because I’m a member of the blogging community, I’m sharing some thoughts, feelings, and experiences of membership here before I leave for the meeting.

Here are some quotes about membership (found here and here):

“Membership has its privileges.”  — American Express advertisement from the 1980s

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” — Groucho Marx

“Every adult, whether he is a follower or a leader, a member of a mass or of an elite, was once a child. He was once small. A sense of smallness forms a substratum in his mind, ineradicably. His triumphs will be measured against this smallness; his defeats will substantiate it.” — Erik Erikson

“If I could get my membership fee back, I’d resign from the human race.” — Fred Allen

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” —  Mia Hamm

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” —  Mark Twain

“Coming out is a means of redefining oneself, of claiming membership in a lifestyle and a social order with distinct values. Chief among these values is honesty.” — Lance Loud

“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” — Will Rogers

“Having cancer gave me membership in an elite club I’d rather not belong to.” — Gilda Radner

“The world of science and the world of literature have much in common. Each is an international club, helping to tie mankind together across barriers of nationality, race and language. I have been doubly lucky, being accepted as a member of both.” — Freeman Dyson

“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.” — Benjamin Franklin Fairless

“In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.” — Albert Einstein

“What characterizes a member of a minority group is that he is forced to see himself as both exceptional and insignificant, marvelous and awful, good and evil.” —  Norman Mailer

“You are a member of the British royal family. We are never tired, and we all love hospitals.” —  Queen Mary

Here’s my own quote about “Membership,” this morning:

How I feel about membership in any group depends on whether it’s a group I have chosen or it’s a group that has been chosen for me.

Do any of my photos from yesterday relate to today’s topic of “Membership”?

Thanks to all human and non-human members who helped me create today’s post and thanks to you — of course! — for being a member of my blogging community, here and now.

Categories: blogging, group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1155: Winnings

While I didn’t win a chance to advance in the tryouts for “The Voice” last weekend, I did win lots of other things during my winter vacation, including:

  • Precious time spent with my long-time and true-blue  friends Jeanette, Hillel, and Barbara.
  • An amazing necklace.

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  • Lots of new images captured on my iPhone, including these from yesterday:

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That last winning photo shows my winning cat Oscar watching people winning  Oscars, last night.

What else did I win, during my winter vacation?  At the American Group Psychotherapy Association yearly conference,  I heard a new and winning definition of forgiveness. And while my winning memory can’t remember that new definition of forgiveness right now, I’m going to write the winning person who quoted it, so I can pass that winning definition on to you in a future winning post.

In the meantime, my online winnings today included these other winning definitions of forgiveness:

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”  — Robert Brault

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” — Paul Boese

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive.  Forgive everybody.” — Maya Angelou

“Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior.  Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” —  Hemant Smarty

“Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.”  — Jonathan Lockwood Huie

“Relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished, but because the wounded are merciful.”  — Max Lucado

“There is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love.”  — Bryant M. McGill

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” — Norman Cousins

What other winnings are mine, today?

  1. Returning to a job I love and
  2. your presence, here and now.

Winning thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and special thanks to you  — of course! — for visiting.

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1151: Seeing through my eyes (and iPhone)

I and my iPhone caught lots of eyefuls, yesterday, in inimitable New York City:

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I and my iPhone invite you to use your illuminating inner eye of intuition and indicate which eyeful above is most interesting to

  • me,
  • my iPhone, and
  • you.

I and my iPhone now need to catch more eyefuls on the train from New York City to Boston.

See you tomorrow and and an eyeful of thanks for bringing your eyes here, today.

 

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1150: Around

Around now, in the morning, is when I write and post my daily blog.

For the past two days, I’ve been around New York’s Time Square, attending a conference around lots of other group therapists.

For around a week I’ve been getting around four hours of sleep a night. Last night I got around two additional hours, which will help me get around better.

Yesterday, I spent around eight hours with a group of people who want to get around barriers to expressing themselves fully through music, drama, and art, especially when they are around judgmental audiences.

Around the half-way point  yesterday, I stood up in the group of around eight people and  sang out with loud, round tones:

I am a singer!

… and received a round of applause.

Around 5:45 PM, I left Times Square to spend the night with a friend from high school, whom I’ve known for around 52 years.  In around two hours, I’ll be attempting to get around by subway back to the group therapy conference, for another round of healing around the same group of therapists/performers I met yesterday. It might be raining around the time I leave, but I have a round umbrella to help me get around.

Here’s around eight photos of round things I noticed around me, yesterday,  as I was getting around:

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Around this point in my blog posts, I get around to asking for a round of comments.

Stop by tomorrow for another round of this blog,  which will probably take around five minutes to read.

Of course,  I always get around to a round of thanks to my around 3,000 readers — including you! — for coming around here today.

Categories: blogging, group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1148: Prizes

While I didn’t get a  call-back “red card” at yesterday’s try-outs for “The Voice” in Philadelphia, there are many prizes in my life.  These prizes include:

  • My son,  Aaron, turning 18 tomorrow!
  • My other family members.
  • My boyfriend Michael, turning humor and caring into gold, wherever he goes.
  • My friend Jeanette, who lives in Philadelphia.

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Developing the Whole Performer: Cultivating Artistry through a Unique Group Therapy Model.

Being a musician, artist, or performer is a demanding process fraught with inherent challenges. Explore a potent group therapy model for supporting artistic expression while facing what inhibits excellence. This institute integrates mindfulness practices, performance exercises, and group process to assist artists in achieving peak performance. (Applicable to musicians, performers, and creative souls. Instruments and creative means are welcome.)

  • Every moment of precious life.
  • These photos I took recently:

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It’s a mighty prize and a mighty privilege writing for you all.  Many thanks to all the prizes in my life, including you!

Categories: gratitude, group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 52 Comments

Day 1124: When somebody leaves the room

Recently, at a therapy group of people who had all never met  each other before, somebody left the room and stayed away for quite a while.

I noticed the absence.  The other members of the group didn’t seem to, as they talked about everything but the missing person. However, because of my experience with groups, I knew that everybody was as aware of the absence as I was.

Sure enough, when I invited feelings and thoughts about that — simply by asking  “Is anybody having any reactions to ___ leaving the room?” —  that triggered an outpouring of thoughts and feelings, including worry, concern, projection (“___ looked very upset”),  personalization (“I figured it was something about me”), and wishes that I would do something (“Maybe you should go after them and see if they’re okay!”).  However, I know enough about group work NOT to leave the room, no matter what people’s worries and concerns are.

While people were talking about the person who had left the room, the door opened and that person came back in, bearing bags of food for the rest of the group.  Why?  Because several people had mentioned earlier in the group session that they were feeling hungry.

No matter how many times I’ve facilitated groups, I continue to be amazed at what happens there, including

  • unexpressed thoughts and feelings
  • people’s willingness to share, if they feel safe enough
  • projected fears
  • cognitive distortions including mind-reading, personalization, and catastrophizing
  • generosity  and
  • countless other beautifully human reactions.

As I said, a week ago today, at a presentation about group work to the Massachusetts Psychological Association:

When I watch the news, I despair for the future of this planet.  When I sit in my therapy groups and observe human behavior, I have infinite hope and optimism.

Before you leave the room today, here are some photos I took yesterday, inside and outside of therapy rooms:

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What feelings and thoughts might you express, before you leave this WordPress room?

Thanks to all the human heroes who helped me write this post and to you — of course! — for visiting here, today.

 

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 1121: What helps

What helps me might be different from what helps you.

What helps is to be open to differences among people.

What helps me includes

  • music
  • supportive people
  • alone time
  • enough sleep
  • nourishing food
  • water
  • taking a breath
  • writing blog posts
  • staying true to myself
  • being flexible
  • hope
  • humor
  • letting go of fear
  • acceptance
  • healthy boundaries
  • awareness
  • vulnerability
  • color
  • whimsy
  • finding my voice
  • doing work I love
  • group therapy
  • taking photos of what’s around me, like these:

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Does anything in this blog post help you?

Helpful thanks to all those who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for accepting the help you need, as best you can.

 

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 46 Comments

Day 1119: Practices

As somebody who practices daily blogging, I’m familiar with the importance and benefits of practice.

As somebody who practices psychotherapy, I’ll be more practiced with money issues, later today, after I attend “Money Matters: Looking at Money Issues in Our Practices” presented by the Practice Development Committee of the Northeastern Society of Group Psychotherapy, an organization for people who practice group therapy.

Besides blogging, group psychotherapy, and new learning, here are more things I practice:

  • Solving mysteries, like how to get the air conditioner plug in my private practice office to fit the nearby outlet.

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  • Dealing with snow in New England.

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  • Finding meaning in greeting cards.

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  • Finding meaning everywhere I look, including at the supermarket.

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  • Interacting with those in high places.

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  • Gratitude, every day.

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Categories: blogging, group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1116: What is the theme of this post?

Almost exactly 600 days ago (but who’s counting?), I wrote a blog post with the same title as this one.  Perhaps because of the blog post I wrote yesterday, it’s easy for me to let go of embarrassment about re-using the same title. Also, I’m glad  I’m following my own advice from Day 801: How to ask for what you need by asking for what I need now — help in identifying the theme of this post.

So how can you help me identify the theme of this post?

Well, maybe we can use the process I use in the therapy groups I facilitate, in order to identify a theme.  In those groups, I also ask for help from the group members to identify an important theme that’s come up in the group discussion, so we can all explore that theme in further depth.  For example, in yesterday’s group,  I wrote themes up on the group room whiteboard  as the participants were sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experience. These themes included exhaustion, tasks, motivation, anxiety, stress,  triggers, self care and many more, as you can see in this portion of yesterday’s whiteboard:

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Yesterday, the theme we chose together was “Energy”:

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Could “Energy” also be the theme of this post?

Let’s examine all the other photos I took yesterday, to see if there’s another possible theme we can identify for today’s post:

 

 

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If you can identify a theme for this post, please share it below, in a comment.

Many thanks to all those who heal in groups, to Amanda Curtin (a wonderfully talented group therapist whose office I visited yesterday), to PetSmart, to  Whole Foods, and to all the people, places and themes that helped me create this post. Special thanks to you — of course!  — for whatever you bring here, today.

Categories: blogging, group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 31 Comments

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