Posts Tagged With: group therapy

Day 1543: Backgrounds

My background includes technical writing, marketing communications, and psychotherapy.

In the background, I’ve been looking up the definition of “background.”

Definition of background

  1. a :  the scenery or ground behind something – a picture of her son with mountains in the background – background scenery for the play

    b art :  the part of a painting representing what lies behind objects in the foreground – dark shadows in the background of the painting

    c :  an image that displays on a computer screen underneath the various available icons and windows – As they participate, they earn “Kinetic City Points,” which they can spend on downloadable prizes, such as screensavers and computer backgrounds. — Science

  2.  an inconspicuous position  – shy people who try to stay in the background

  3. a.  the conditions that form the setting within which something is experienced… set in a background of tropical luxuriance. — Tom Marvel

    b (1) :  the circumstances or events antecedent to a phenomenon or development – the economic background of the American Civil War took place against a background of increasing tension

    (2) :  information essential to understanding of a problem or situation – background information

    c :  the total of a person’s experience, knowledge, and education – comparing the candidates’ backgrounds –  ran a background check to make sure she had no criminal record

  4.  a. intrusive sound or radiation  that interferes with received or recorded electronic signals – a recording with a lot of background noise

    b physics :  a more or less steady level of noise above which the effect  being measured by an apparatus is detected;  especially :  a somewhat steady level of radiation in the natural environment (as from cosmic rays)

  5.  a level of computer processing at which the processor uses time not required for a primary task to work on an additional task — compare foreground.

In the background, I’ve been inconspicuously trying to correct the inevitable formatting errors and complications that occur whenever I try to bring a definition into the foreground of my blog.

Here’s the background of how I chose the title of today’s post: Yesterday morning I was changing backgrounds while I was self-soothing with a game of on-line solitaire.

Congratulations to me for winning at solitaire and congratulations to worldofsolitaire.com for offering so many backgrounds.  I usually use the first background shown above; perhaps from now on I’ll use different backgrounds, depending on my mood.

After I solitarily photographed all those backgrounds, I noticed other backgrounds throughout my day.

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That last photo, with the artwork and books in the background, shows my EMDR therapist, George Sawin, moving some EMDR equipment at the end of our session. George’s background includes psychotherapy, law enforcement, flower shops, and  business management.  When we were discussing the importance of backgrounds, I mentioned this poem to him:

THE INVITATION
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
 
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
 
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
 
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
 
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
 
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
 
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
 
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
 
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
 
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
 
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
 
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
.
Want to know the background of this background, shown above?
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Somebody in my therapy group yesterday morning suggested we project a YouTube video of a beach in Hawaii on the screen in the group room. We used that for our mindfulness exercise and then we left it running in the background throughout the group.
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What’s your background? Are backgrounds important to you?
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Please don’t stay in the background; instead, leave a comment below.
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My background includes an appreciation for acknowledging and expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter what your background.
Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 1537: A sense of urgency

I often have a sense of urgency about

  • returning phone calls,
  • answering emails,
  • getting tasks (including taxes) done,
  • running errands,
  • expressing myself,
  • clearing up misunderstandings,
  • responding to requests,
  • correcting mistakes,
  • changing/improving things,  and
  • so much more.

Today, I have a sense of urgency about finishing this post, because I need to get my INR level tested at 8:15 before I go into work.

I often have a sense that my sense of urgency adds to anxiety and stress. If I had more sense, I’d probably let go of that sense of urgency, take a breath,  and slow down.

I’m taking a breath and slowing down to share images I sensed yesterday.

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Ann would say:

  • be aware of triggers (things that increase your anxiety),
  • notice and practice whatever reduces your anxiety (including self-care, being in the moment, forgiveness, etc.),
  • do what you love, and
  • listen to music you enjoy.

 

What would you say about all this?

I do have a sense of urgency about expressing gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — to you.

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1458: We’re still alive

Yesterday, in a therapy group, somebody said, “We’re still alive.”  Since that phrase felt very alive to me, I wrote it on my white board, where it still is.

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I heard and wrote that shortly  before I found out that Carrie Fisher was no longer alive, when I  read this on Facebook: “We lost a Jedi.”

I still believe it’s important,  every day, to remember we’re still alive, because eventually every one of us will be still.

Here‘s the best song for this post —  Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” from Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge:

 

I often sing that song when I walk around, still alive,  and see scenes like this:

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Which images are still alive, for you?

I’m very grateful we’re still alive as I thank all  who helped me create this post and you — of course —  for still being here.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 1445: What’s in store?

What’s in store for this blog post?  The usual new photos stored on my iPhone,  some thoughts and feelings  being stored in the here and now, and music that’s stored on YouTube.

What in store for the next four years?  What’s in store for this moment?  What’s in store for the moment after that?  Only everything.

People in my therapy group yesterday did not know what topic was in store for them, until we decided to write and draw about the concept of “home.”

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This present was in store for me at work:

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All these things were in store for me during the rest of the day:

 

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I didn’t know tears were in store for me, but here I am, crying, as I create this post.  Those tears were probably stored up  from my  recent open heart surgery, the additional surgery I had to undergo soon after that because of a recalled pacemaker battery, and the U.S. election.

The message that was stored on the teabag that was in store for me last night stores the truth:

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By listening you comfort me.

Here‘s the music in store today (which I listened to twice, yesterday, for comfort):

 

I wonder what comments are in store for me?

Stored up thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — whose appreciated presence was a present in store for me today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 1444: A relaxed mind …

How would you complete this sentence?

A relaxed mind …

Here are ways that I would complete that sentence.  A relaxed mind …

  • has been difficult for me to attain since my recent open heart surgery and the U.S. presidential election,
  • is something I invite  in my therapy groups,
  • is an unusual mind in today’s busy, noisy, and rushed environment,
  • is a helpful break from anxiety, worry, and  fear, as well as cognitive distortions including fortune telling, catastrophizing, mind reading, and shoulds.

Here’s how a teabag would complete that sentence:

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Do any of my other photos from yesterday complete that sentence?

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Here‘s music for a relaxed mind:

 

A relaxed mind is one that is capable of expressing gratitude.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1432: Indicators of Poor Outcomes

Because I was born with a very unusual heart, there have been many times when I’ve read that I have “indicators of poor outcomes.”  These indicators have included

  • a  severely leaky valve,
  • switched ventricles,
  • atrial fibrillation,
  • heart failure, and
  • one that I read about yesterday online, which I’m blocking at the moment.

Are there any indicators of poor outcomes for this post, yet?

Just before I started writing today’s blog, a dear friend who has the same unusual heart condition as me wrote that she had recently read online about “a big indicator of poor outcomes.” That indicated to me that I should write this to her:

I’ve had lots of indicators of poor outcomes. That indicates, to me, that there are lots of poor prognosticators out there.

Last night, in a therapy group, people talked about indicators of poor outcomes, including the recent U.S. election.  They also talked about indicators of better outcomes, including humanity, mutual respect, activism, connection, charity, and kindness towards others.

Are there any indicators of poor outcomes in my photos from yesterday?

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It would be an indicator of poor outcomes if I didn’t share music with you. Here‘s what’s playing on my radio as I’m writing this post:

One portion of that march is an indicator of this outcome:  my sharing a photo that another dear friend posted on Facebook this week:

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No comments from my readers would be an indicator of  poor outcomes for me and this blog.

My gratitude for all  who helped me create this post and for you — of course! — is an indicator of good outcomes, here and now.

 

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1339: What’s missing?

Whenever I facilitate a therapy group, I write all the themes I notice up on the board. Because the discussion is always so rich, the themes I don’t miss will cover the entire board, from top to bottom and side to side.  Then, I ask the group, “What’s missing?”

Yesterday, when I asked that question, one of the group members did not hesitate to respond: “Love.” I didn’t miss the opportunity to add “love” to the themes I’d already written on the board.

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What’s missing from that photo?  Dozens of other themes we discussed yesterday in that therapy group.

What’s missing from this post?  Perhaps my other photos from yesterday?

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What’s missing from those photos?  Captions?

What’s missing for me is an explanation of this photo:

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That was an assignment I gave somebody (and myself) yesterday:  Whenever you imagine that people are angry at you, visualize that angry face changing into a neutral face.  What’s missing for many people is the ability to reality-test their fears that other people are having negative reactions to them.

What’s missing from this post?  Music?

What’s missing, now?

For me, it’s this: Since I’ll be missing six weeks of work when I go out on medical leave starting September 17, I have not missed opportunities to discuss with my patients how missing people can affect them.

What else is missing from this post?

Gratitude, of course, to all those who helped me create this what’s-missing post and to you, especially, for not being among the missing, today.

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

Day 1234: Travels

As my eye travels over the title, above, I notice that my daily blogging travels have brought us to a particularly interesting number.

1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … Ready for more travels in this post?

The people who included my therapy group in their travels yesterday chose the topic “travels” as the focus of the work of the group. The group traveled to that choice after traveling to many other important issues, including family, being present, depression, anger, comfort, discomfort, comfort foods,  connections, being alone, difficult people, optimism, fear, finances, delays, luck, judgment, letting go of judgment, what we can control, and time.

During the time of that group, my mind traveled to all these places:

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I hope you don’t feel lost as I share other photos I’ve taken on my recent travels.

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When my boyfriend Michael, my son Aaron, and I traveled to Starbucks last night for coffee and no cookies, my traveling iPhone took these pictures of Aaron with the New York Times:

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Because Aaron has never picked up one of those before in his travels, Aaron is asking Michael, “How do you operate a newspaper?”

How about a little traveling music?

At this time next week, I’ll be traveling around  the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, to consult with another cardiologist about my rambin’ and traveling heart. My heart hopes for many more wonderful travels ahead.

Good travels to all who helped me create this traveling post and to you — of course!  — for including this blog in your travels today.

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

Day 1117: I am what I am

At a therapy group yesterday, one of the members brought in a gift: a cartoon of  Popeye the Sailor Man, with his signature saying,  “I yam what I yam.”

Because I am what I am — a group therapist who appreciates gifts and hopes to inspire creativity and sharing — I suggested  we use those cartoons to express ourselves.

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Because I am what I am — somebody who loves music and pop culture trivia — I looked up the Popeye theme song during that group exercise, last night.

Because I am what I am — an ex-marketing writer who likes to avoid false advertising — I want to tell you that YouTube video of the Popeye theme song is NOT in Hindi.

Because my boyfriend Michael is what he is, he just said to me, “Are you looking for try-out songs for your audition for The Voice?”

Because I am what I am — somebody who appreciates a good sense of humor — I laughed out loud.

Because I am what I am — a daily blogger who likes to share the  photos I snap wherever I go — here are some other pictures from yesterday:

Because I am what I am — a group facilitator with a passion for my work — I’m giving a presentation about group therapy this morning for the Massachusetts Psychological Association.

Because I am what I am — somebody who likes to be on time — I’m finishing today’s blog post now, but not before I request that  you leave a comment about “I am what I am.”

Pop-eyed thanks to people who heal in groups, Max Fleischer (the creator of Popeye), the Fenway Park area of Boston Massachusetts, and you — of course! — for being what you are, today.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1082: Sound

What is the sound of

  • silence?
  • one hand clapping?
  • peace?
  • distraction?
  • connection?
  • technology?
  • thoughts?
  • feelings?
  • time?
  • a sound body?
  • a sound mind?

Sound is on my sound mind right now because last night’s therapy group soundly picked “sound” as a topic to explore.  Two  hours earlier, I had heard the sound of a different therapy group soundly choosing  the sound topic of “Wisdom.”

As we explored sound in that second therapy group, people soundly requested some  sounds of the season (which I soundly played on my sound iPhone):

What do those sounds do for you?

What sounds are evoked by these images on my sound iPhone?

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What sounds do you hear, here and now?

Please soundly express the sounds in your head and your heart, in a comment below.

What is the sound of gratitude?  Thanks to all.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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