group therapy

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: , , , , , , , , | 16 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

Day 3145: Headlines

Sometimes, in my Coping and Healing groups, I ask people this question: if there were a 24-hour cable news network devoted to reporting about you, what would the headlines be?

For ANN (Ann Network News), the top headline would be “New Cat Joan Spectacular Addition to Home.”

Of course, if my imaginary cable news network were a typical one, the headline might be “New cat infiltration causes chaos and conflict. Old cat asks ‘Why?’” That deceptive one is much more likely to increase viewership and sell more products.

Do you see headlines in my other images for today?

Another ANN headline might be “August 11 National Day: Ann asks ‘Why?’”

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “headlines.”

What would the headlines be for your personal 24-hour news network?

Here’s my final headline for today’s blog: “Ann Incredibly Grateful For Everything in Her Life, Including YOU.”

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3137: What do you do when you’re overwhelmed?

Last night, after an overwhelming day at work, I tweeted this:

The responses to that question have been overwhelming. Not surprisingly, many people are overwhelmed these days and they’re sharing their experience about that on Twitter.

Here’s my response, when somebody asked what I do when I’m overwhelmed:

I didn’t mention that I also blog, take photos, and share images on WordPress.

.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “what do you do when you’re overwhelmed?”

I also listen to music when I’m overwhelmed, and here’s the overwhelmingly talented Manhattan Transfer:

What do you do when you’re overwhelmed?

I hope you don’t find my gratitude for you overwhelming.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 3127: Growing old

Last week in one of my Coping and Healing groups, the older people told the younger people that growing old was not as scary as they feared. The older people talked about the benefits of growing old, which seemed to surprise the younger members of the group.

There are so many negative messages out there about growing old. Let’s see if we can balance those, here and now, with some quotes and images.

Speaking of ending the conversation, let’s see what the Daily Bitch has to say about growing old today.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “growing old.”

What are your thoughts and feelings about growing old?

I am grateful to be growing old and I’m grateful for those who are growing older with me, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 3119: What is your earliest memory?

Last night, I asked the question “What is your earliest memory?” in my Coping and Healing group. People said they found that very helpful. So, after the group, I asked the same question on Twitter.

My earliest memory is from before I was walking. I was outdoors and my sister was lying on the ground next to me. I remember wondering: “Why is she doing that? She can walk!” That memory stayed with me because my parents were posing us for a photo, and I kept seeing the photo of the two of us in the family album.

Even back then, I was asking questions.

Here are some of my not-so-early memories, captured in photos:

The Daily Bitch is very memorable.

One of my earliest memories of music is of my father listening — on a very old radio — to “Witchcraft” sung by Frank Sinatra.

Now I’m asking you: What is your earliest memory?

Thanks to all who have memories and to those who ask questions and answer them, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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