Posts Tagged With: group therapy

Day 1585: Excellence

If you came to this blog today looking for excellence, you’re in luck.

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My social work intern, Justine …

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… has shown excellence in individual and group psychotherapy this entire year. Justine is so excellent that I recently acknowledged her excellence with a list titled “Reasons Why Justine is Awesome.”  When we said goodbye yesterday, Justine demonstrated more excellence.

 

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Justine shared the excellence of that ant quote during the therapy group we both facilitated yesterday. Because of that ant, we all sang this excellent song:

At that same excellent therapy group, as we were saying goodbye to Justine, we all acknowledged Justine’s excellence as well as the excellence of this helpful thought:

The pain of the loss is directly proportional to the importance of the connection.

Do you see excellence in my other photos from yesterday?

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Please share the excellence of your own thoughts and feelings in a comment, below.

Thanks to Justine, our therapy group, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Hodges, Greg Stones, and everybody else who contributed to the excellence of today’s post. Also, thanks for the excellence of your visit to this blog, here and now.

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

Day 1578: Sharing complex information

Yesterday morning, I saw this on a white board at work:

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I’ll be sharing this complex information with you, here and now:

  • I wasn’t at the meeting where “Sharing complex information” was discussed.
  • I wish I had been at that meeting, because sharing complex information is challenging, complex, and complicated.
  • I  am sharing complex information every day — at work, in this blog, and elsewhere.
  • I constantly observe other people sharing complex information, with varying degrees of comfort and effectiveness.
  • People at that meeting were sharing complex information including this:

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In order to facilitate sharing of complex information in my therapy group, I erased the complex information on that white board.

For the rest of the day, I was sharing complex information.

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I believe that sharing complex information is an issue for everyone, especially in 2017.

That complex-information-sharing website, YouTube, is sharing complex information herehere, and here.

Will you be sharing complex information in a comment, below?

Finally, I’m sharing this complex information: many thanks to all who helped me share this complex-information post and — of course! — to YOU, no matter what complex information you’re sharing today.

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

Day 1574: Others

In all the other posts I’ve written for myself and for others, only two have had the word “others’ in the title —  Day 163: Alone in the presence of others and Day 180: Horror Stories (and  others).

I expected there would be others about “others,” since I (and others) seem to think about others a lot of the time.

My first and last photos from yesterday both captured the word “others” (among others).

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Were those two photos about others the only pictures I took yesterday?  No, there were three others:

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I spent a lot of time yesterday with seven others, talking about ourselves, others, and group therapy.  As my t-shirt said, I was alone in the presence of others. And because there was mutual respect, trust, and love among me and the others, each of us had the time and space to be alone AND connected with the others in the room.

In other words (written by another therapist and blogger, Dr. Vollmer):

Therapy offers, as Winnicott eloquently says, a patient “to be alone in the presence of another.”  Deep relationships offer this as well. This is the  luxury of experiencing one’s internal world, while a caring person is present in the room, but not intrusive into one’s internal process.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “others”:

I wonder what others might think, feel, and say about today’s blog?

Thanks to all the others who helped me write this post (among others). Special thanks to you and all the others reading this, here and now.

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

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.
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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

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