Psychotherapy

Day 1847: The fear of making things worse

I hope I don’t make this blog worse with today’s topic.

I hear people talking about the fear of making things worse with action AND with inaction.

The fear of making things worse can lead to

  • hesitation,
  • paralysis,
  • second guessing,
  • sleeplessness,
  • indecision,
  • self-judgment,
  • wheel spinning,
  • worry,
  • guilt,
  • anxiety,
  • over-thinking,
  • stress,
  • shame,
  • blame, and
  • all sorts of emotional pain.

Cures for the fear of making things worse include

  • “Just do it!”
  • “Just don’t do it!”
  • “It might get worse but that’s not the end of the story.”
  • “Most things are NOT irrevocable.”
  • “Things will get worse then better then worse then better, no matter what you do or don’t do.”

Yesterday, my boyfriend Michael  did not make things worse with this story about his twin brother, Steve.  When people complain and worry, Steve tells them, “Don’t worry about this! This is nothing! Guaranteed,  something MUCH WORSE is coming along.” I heard that as an unusual invitation to enjoy and appreciate the present, and it made me smile.

Let’s see if any of my recent photos make things worse:

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Janis Joplin makes things better with  “Hesitation Blues.”

If you have any fear of making things worse with a comment, please let that go.

I have no fear of making things worse by expressing gratitude and affection for all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1846: Smile

Even when there are many reasons not to smile, studies show that consciously putting a smile on your face can improve your mood.

I’ve got a smile on my face, right now, because I easily found that article which supports my opening sentence about why we should smile even when we don’t feel like it.

When I smile and when I see other people smile, I feel better.

However, when people tell me to smile, I don’t feel like it.  I smile when I choose to, people.

Any smiles in my photos from yesterday?

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Even though I was tired yesterday, Vivian the social work intern made me smile with the Google art app and her do-it-yourself fortune.

I smile  when I listen to Take 6 sing “Smile.”

A grateful smile for all who helped me create today’s “Smile” post and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1843: The New Normal

Yesterday, in a new therapy session, somebody was talking about the new normal.  Because the new normal has been changing  all the time (which can cause new stress and new anxiety), we discussed new coping strategies like self-care, setting new limits, mindfulness, and taking a breath.

New snow is predicted today for New England, which is normal for this time of year.

Are there new normals in my new photos?

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Normally, every time I see that new hotel marquee it has a new musical message. Whenever I see a two-fingered peace sign, I hope that peace may become the new normal (even though today’s new normal is “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme.”).

Here‘s that new normal, by Abba:

 

It’s normal for me to ask for new comments and to express new thanks to all who help me create these blog posts and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 1839: Use of self

Psychotherapists (like myself) use the term “use of self,” which includes thoughtful self-disclosure, transparency, and sharing aspects of one’s personal self for therapeutic connection.

I’ll use this quote from the Amazon description of the book  The Use of Self in Therapy.

One of the most powerful factors in therapy is that it involves the intensive relationship between two (or more) human beings. The issues of transparency and self-disclosure therefore become important concerns for therapists; how can they use themselves effectively in their work without transgressing on professional regulations?

I’m going to use myself in the following example of use of self.

Yesterday, I was asked by a doctor to meet with a Spanish-speaking patient whose mother had recently died in the hospital.  The meeting included the tearful patient, a hospital interpreter, a social work intern who was observing me, and myself. The patient told me, through the interpreter, that she felt guilty about the death of her mother and also that her doctor had previously suggested she see a therapist for treatment of  depression. I assumed that this patient would resist the idea of seeing a therapist for many reasons, including a culture-based stigma about mental health treatment.  As we discussed the realities of therapy, I told her she might be surprised how many people saw therapists for helpful support.   I decided to self-disclose. “I see a therapist,” I told her. Immediately, the intern revealed, “I see a therapist, too.” The interpreter said  — in Spanish and then in English — “I do, also.” All four of us laughed, as I observed that the patient was the only one in the room who was NOT seeing a therapist.

Is there use of self in these photos?

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When our world turns upside down, using our selves and our shared humanity can help us stop and connect.

Here‘s James Brown’s use of self in song:

I look forward to my readers’ use of self in the comment section, below.

Speaking for myself, use of self always includes thanking all the selves that help me express myself and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1838: Holes

I see that holes are in the news this morning. Sad.  That’s why I’m reusing “Holes” as a blog title.

Here’s my first thought about holes, here and now:

Anybody who uses the word sh*thole to label an entire country is an *sshole.

Do you see any holes in my logic there?

Let’s fill the holes in this blog post with some photos, shall we?

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To fill the holes of judgment and negativity with some goodness, compassion, and forgiveness, I’ll say that *sshole is a common label for somebody with a personality disorder.

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Then why did I use the word *sshole above?  Out of anger and fear. Anger and fear can  feel like holes in the heart.

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That heart-shaped cookie filled a hole in my stomach last night, after a therapy group where people talked about filling the holes in their lives with compassion, connections,  and helpful activities.

I’m sharing a song by Hole today, because I hope we’ll Live Through This.

 

Thanks to all the holes that helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1801: What’s bothering us? What do we do about it?

What’s bothering us?

Well, I can’t speak for all of us, but what’s bothering me are the latest headlines from my news feed.

What do I do about it?

When something is bothering me, I do my best to share thoughts, feelings, and images.

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Those squiggles on my office whiteboard represent the ups and downs of moods and life, which can bother people.

This video of the Old Philosopher, Eddie Lawrence, helped what was bothering me, Bunky.

What’s bothering you?  What do you do about it?  How about leaving a comment?

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! —  no matter what you do about it.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 1787: Progress

I often tell people in therapy that it’s important to acknowledge and validate progress, especially their own.

Therefore, I’m going to acknowledge and validate progress in several areas.

Michael sent me the three photos he took for me on Saturday.

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I am having a pain-free reaction this year to November 22, the anniversary of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy and also my first heart surgery at age 10 (progressively blogged about here, here, here, here, and here).

For now, when I have my teeth cleaned (as I am today), I take only a single  pill of antibiotics instead of having an intravenous infusion  (progressively blogged about here and here).

Because I got my own INR monitor last week, I can test my blood levels at home instead of going into the hospital every few weeks to manage my anticoagulant medication.

There is progress in women feeling safer to speak up about sexual harassment.

I continue to progress in taking photos for this blog.

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I hope we can make progress towards peace.

Here’s “Progress” by Mutemath:

I shall now progress in giving thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 1762: Different parts

I talk to people, in therapy and elsewhere, about accepting all the different parts of themselves.  Sometimes, people use the healthiest, most loving parts of themselves to nurture and comfort the frightened and wounded parts of themselves.

Today, I’m meeting with many skilled and experienced group therapists during a day-long retreat at our new home. I’m sure we’ll be sharing different parts of ourselves. I hope all the different parts of  our home work well throughout the day.

What different parts do you see in today’s different photos?

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Here is one of the different parts of jazz pianist Lyle Mays‘s Alaskan Suite.

All the different parts of Alaskan Suite are here, live, in Boston.

Feel free to express different parts of yourself in a comment, below.

Thanks to all who helped me create the different parts of this blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1716: You’re doing the best you can

Has anybody ever told you “You’re doing the best you can”?  What’s your best reaction to that?

Yesterday, I found this prescription on my desk:

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I’ve written that prescription for many people over the years. Yesterday, reading that helped me, as I was in the middle of trying to solve complicated billing problems at work.

Was I doing the best I could when I took these other photos?

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Michael’s doing the best he can to cook delicious meals and I’m doing the best I can to eat them outside while the weather is still nice. Oscar’s doing the best he can, too.

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As usual, I’m dong the best I can to find a good enough YouTube video for today’s post.

Also, I’m doing the best I can to thank people at the end of each post, including YOU.

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Is that the best thank you for today’s post?  How about this?

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1683: Blending

I’ll be blending several elements in this post, as usual.

My therapist, George, tells me I’ve been blending my traumatic past  experiences as a child in the hospital with my present experiences as an adult.  This blending results in heightened and often inappropriate anxiety,  fear, and hypervigilance.

Yesterday, George and I were blending our wisdom and our commitment to healing in a therapy session, separating out the experiences of  my frightened, wounded, and powerless  10-year-old self.

Here and now, I’ll be blending my photos from yesterday.

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That last image shows people in my Wednesday morning therapy group blending their experience, hope, and love to create a list of coping strategies during difficult times.

At the end my therapy session with George, yesterday afternoon, I told him I’d be blending my love for music into today’s post with this song for him.

I’m blending my thanks to all who helped me create this post with my thanks to all my readers, including YOU.

 

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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