group therapy

Day 3315: Promises

Just now, I noticed that the Bidens have fulfilled one of their campaign promises from last year.

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The New York Times, which promises “all the news that’s fit to print,” is all over that story, too.

This promises more uplifting news stories ahead for all us cat lovers.

I promise more uplifting images in today’s blog.

I promise that the label “weird” often comes up in my therapy groups, and it’s promising that people usually embrace the label “weird” in a promisingly positive and productive way.

I promise to check YouTube for a good song for this “Promises” blog.

I promise you that “Promises, Promises” has been running through my head since I started creating this post.

If you leave a comment below, I promise to respond very soon.

A promise I make and keep is to express gratitude to those who help me fulfill the promise of each new precious day, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 3308: Who needs a hug?

Who needs a hug on National Hugging Day?

I’m assuming we all do, because there’s been such a vast reduction in hugging for TWO YEARS.

People need hugs to feel comforted and connected with others. Yesterday, in my therapy groups, I asked people to give themselves hugs during the mindfulness exercise. (If they didn’t feel comfortable hugging themselves, I suggested they give themselves mental hugs).

Several people spoke about how much they yearned to be in the same room together again. I hugged myself as I admitted that we had no idea of when that might be.

Do you see anyone who needs a hug in my images for today?

I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not hugging any squirrels today.

This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “who needs a hug.”

Now I REALLY need a hug.

I hope my gratitude, here and now, feels like a hug to you.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 3307: Note to self

Note to self: Write about yesterday’s therapy group, when people sent letters to themselves starting with “Dear (your name here)” and ending with “Love, (your name here).”

Note to self: It can be very healing for people to send themselves important messages with love.

Here’s my note (or letter) to myself for today:

Dear Ann,

Remember to balance other people’s needs with your needs. And stop mindlessly snacking on popcorn and sunflower seeds to distract yourself.

Love,

Ann

Note to self: Share the images for today.

Note to self: In my groups today, do that mindfulness exercise where people hug themselves, in honor of National Hugging Day.

(Note to self: Make sure you have the date right before you publish your blog post. )

Note to self: look for a YouTube video of 97-year-old pianist Ruth Slenczynska.

Note to self: express gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3299: Enough

I hear many people saying, in my therapy groups and elsewhere, “Enough is enough!”

I can’t get enough clarification, so here’s a definition of “enough.”

As I look at that definition of “enough,” it occurs to me that aren’t enough people who are old enough to vote who are actually voting in U.S. elections.

Here and now, as I’m staring at the word “enough,” it’s starting to look really weird to me, but enough about that.

Yesterday, when I had enough, I asked this question on Twitter …

… which led to this exchange:

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Am I including enough images in today’s post? Note that it wasn’t warm enough for me to venture outside, so these are all indoor shots.

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It looks like the Daily Bitch has had enough.

Enough of you may have guessed what song I’m going to share today.

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I can’t get enough of your comments, so please consider leaving one today.

Enough thanks to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, life in the USA, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3187: Throwing out what no longer fits

Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar is about throwing out what no longer fits.

We all have things that no longer fit — unhelpful thoughts, toxic people, harsh self judgment, second guessing, crippling fears about the future, regrets about the past, hopelessness, body shame, etc. — and wouldn’t it be great to throw those out?

At the end of every therapy group, I invite people to throw out what no longer fits them in a “magic” waste paper basket, which either holds or reduces the power of whatever they throw away. Over the years, people have thrown away a ton of trash in these magic waste paper baskets.

Because all my groups are remote these days, here’s the “home version” of the magic waste paper basket:

Next to the magic waste paper basket is the magic hat, an addition recently suggested by a group member. Out of the magic hat, people can pull whatever they want, like self love, courage, acceptance, strength, and hope.

Do you see anything that fits the magic waste paper basket or the magic hat in my other images for today?

Yesterday, I threw my rough day into the magic waste paper basket and it fit in there just fine.

This is the first thing that comes up on YouTube when I search for “throwing away what doesn’t fit”:

This is the second thing:

What do you need to throw away that doesn’t fit?

Gratitude always fits, so thanks to all who help me create these daily blog posts, including YOU.

Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3177: A pat on the back

I think we all deserve a pat on the back for getting through months of this pandemic, as well as other soul-sucking challenges that could easily break our backs.

Not to pat myself on the back too much, but my job as a group therapist for a major Boston medical center is important and also very stressful. I’m feeling more stressed than unusual today because I’ll be returning there in-person one day a week, starting tomorrow. In response to the stress, I’ve developed a new nervous habit — scratching myself on the back. This morning, I decided to transform that into a more adaptive habit: whenever I notice that I am scratching my back, I will consciously pat myself on the back instead.

Do you think I deserve a pat on the back for that helpful transformation or for any of the images I’m choosing to share today?

Patting oneself on the back takes practice, so I am now going to pat myself on the back for keeping several awesome friendships over the years.

Also, when I look at the National Days for today …

… I notice that several are related to giving pats on the back.

I’m also patting myself on the back for choosing to spend part of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 yesterday by listening to the uplifting score of Come From Away — the musical based on the true stories of the planes that were rerouted to remote Gander, Newfoundland after the Twin Tower attacks.

I think the creators of Come From Away should pat themselves on the back for transforming the pain of that day into such a deep, compelling, and healing work of art. Here’s a number from the show plus a recent interview on Good Morning America :

How can you pat yourself on the back, here and now?

Finally, I will pat myself on the back again for sharing my thoughts, feelings, and gratitude with wonderful people who have my back every day, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3175: Not the only one

As a group therapist, I know that realizing you’re not the only one can be very healing. Yesterday, I tried to express that on Twitter with this tweet:

If you think that’s confusing, you’re not the only one. If you think that’s clever, you’re not the only one. No matter what you think, feel, or do about anything, you’re not the only one.

If you’re thinking that statement doesn’t capture how unique each one of us is, you’re not the only one.

If you’re afraid or not afraid of heights, you’re not the only one.

If you like accumulating possessions or you don’t, you’re not the only one.

If you like cats or you don’t, you’re not the only one.

Do any of my other images today remind you that you are not the only one?

Whatever you think about the Daily Bitch, you’re not the only one.

If you thought of this song while reading this post, you’re not the only one.

If you want a live version of “Not the Only One” by Bonnie Raitt, guess what?

If you can’t imagine seeing another live concert again in the company of that many people, you’re not the only one there, either.

Does it help to know you’re not the only one?

I’m grateful knowing that I’m not the only one, thanks to you!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 3154: Amazing places

I was in many amazing places yesterday, including two Zoom-like therapy groups. At the end of my amazing day, I posted this about amazing places on Twitter:

People responded with many amazing places, some of which I’ve been to (e.g., Yosemite, Iceland, and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula) and some of which I want to visit (including Australia, Machu Picchu, Italy, Greece, and Hawaii). One person responded that Portland, Oregon was the most amazing place she’d been, which I found amazing because I might be going there next week.

Do you see amazing places in my other images for today?

I disagree with the Daily Bitch today: any place I’m still alive is amazing.

Our kitchen is an amazing place thanks to my husband Michael. Isn’t it amazing that this ….

… is a vegetarian meat loaf?

Here’s what I find in the amazing place of YouTube when I search for “amazing places.”

I look forward to your thoughts and feelings about amazing places in the amazing comments section, below.

I’m grateful for all who follow me in this amazing blogging place of WordPress, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3153: Waiting for the next thought

Waiting for the next thought is a technique for entering the present moment, as described in a video I posted here earlier this week:

Yesterday, I used that for the mindfulness exercise in a Coping and Healing group. I told the group members to leave behind overthinking about the future and the past by asking themselves “What will my next thought be?”

Personally, I found this to be a very effective way to quiet my busy mind. The anticipation, curiosity, and wonder about the next thought focused me and emptied my mind in a way I had never experienced before.

Are you waiting for my next images?

Waiting for your next thought? My next thought is to share “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th.

I’m waiting for the next time when we can gather together in large groups like that without fear. My next thought is this: that time will come, we just don’t know how long we have to wait.

I’ll be waiting for the next comments on this blog post.

Waiting for my next expression of gratitude?

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 3152: Balancing needs

Yesterday, as I was balancing my needs with other people’s needs while working at home, I asked this question on Twitter:

The answers were balanced, and many people cited the Oxygen Mask Metaphor: you can’t effectively take care of other people’s needs if you ignore your own.

I continue to learn more about this balancing act for myself, as I witness other people struggling to balance their needs with others’.

What balancing needs do you see in my other images for today?

It’s might be challenging balancing the needs of fajita day with ice cream pie day, etc.

Here and now, I need to share a favorite tune from this CD I picked up on one of my balanced and needed walks yesterday:

How do you balance your needs with other people’s needs? You don’t need to reply, but I look forward to all the comments that will be balancing below.

As always, I need to express my gratitude to all who give me what I need to stay balanced blogging every day, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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