Posts Tagged With: group therapy

Day 2301: Exhausted

Even though I’m up for anything these days, sometimes I get exhausted, especially on Thursdays, when I

  • work from 10 to 9,
  • facilitate two therapy groups,
  • orient new people for my groups,
  • see several people for individual therapy,
  • go to a meeting of social workers,
  • have about 20 minutes for lunch,
  • try to decide whether to look at or avoid the news,
  • practice my  latest song, and
  • practice self-care.

In one of those therapy groups, a person exhausted by a major and unexpected loss shared that she practices self care by taking breaks, even if it’s a break for a moment.  I wasn’t too exhausted to hear that she had learned that skill in my groups.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day  that I added a new emotion to the emotions chart on my door:

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Here and now, I’m exhausted by the possibility that somebody might tell me that “exhausted” is not really an emotion.

Here and now, I’m NOT too exhausted to share my other photos from yesterday.

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I hope you’re not too exhausted to share what exhausts you and what energizes you, in a comment below.

Here‘s the late and great Madeline Kahn singing about how exhausted she is in Mel Brooks‘s Blazing Saddles.

I’m never too exhausted to express my gratitude for all those who help me create these daily posts and — of course! — for YOU.

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

Day 2299: Cognitive Distortions

Regular readers of this blog know I often write about the cognitive distortions described by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including overgeneralization, mind reading, catastrophizing, personalization, comparisons, shoulds, and labeling/name-calling. Regular readers of this blog do NOT know that I soon will be performing my latest original song (titled “Nobody’s Perfect” and co-written with a Social Work intern at work named Nat) with other musicians, and we’re thinking of calling ourselves “The Cognitive Distortions.”

Last night, my boyfriend Michael and I were experiencing cognitive distortions when we were both making overgeneralizations about human beings.  Our cognitive distortions have increased since the last U.S. Presidential election as we both try to make sense of the human behavior described in the media, by cognitively debating and trying to understand what people are really like and why they say what they say and do what they do.

Do you see any cognitive distortions in this part of our discussion last night?

Michael:  I think people who say “I believe in him” or “I believe in that” know, on some level, that those things are not true.

Ann: Michael, this is the same disagreement we constantly have. I think that a lot of  people really believe what they say. How do you know what they really believe?  That’s overgeneralization and mind reading.

Michael:  How do YOU know what they really believe?

Me: I don’t really know, but I’ve encountered so many people in individual and group therapy who seem to really believe what they say they believe.

Michael: And I’ve encountered thousands of people through my work in the food industry.

Me: THOUSANDS?

Michael: Let me tell you a story that sums up my experience of people. There was this woman I used to work with. One day, somebody asked her if she believed in ghosts.  She said, “No.” And then she added, “But I’ve seen one.”

Me (laughing): I’m putting that in tomorrow’s blog.

Do you see any cognitive distortions in today’s photos?

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I just searched YouTube for “cognitive distortions” to see if any musical group already has that name.  This is what I found:

Feel free to express your cognitions and feelings about Cognitive Distortions, below.

Thanks and appreciation to all who helped me express the cognitive distortions in today’s post and — of course! — thanks and appreciation to YOU.

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

Day 2211: Hanging on for dear life

If you hang on until the end of this blog post, you’ll see the photo that inspired today’s post title.

I like the title “Hanging on for dear life” because I’ve been hanging on for almost sixty-six years and life is very dear to me.    I also like that title, here and now, because life can sometimes seem precarious, especially with global warming reports, the current political situation, the stresses inherent during the holiday (and exam) season, interpersonal conflicts, and a fire alarm going off during a group therapy session.

Hang on, dear readers!  Here are all my photos from yesterday:

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Work, blogging, and important relationships keep me hanging on.

What keeps you hanging on?

Thanks to all who keep me hanging on, including you!

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2204: What the hell happened?

What the hell!  Did anybody else have a week where you asked yourself,

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“What the hell happened?”

When you’re talking to somebody on the phone and they’re suddenly not there, do you ask yourself, “What the hell happened?  Did they hang up on me?  Was it something I said? Are they angry? Did their phone lose power? Is the signal week?  Should I call back? Are they calling me back?”

What the hell happened  in these photos?

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What the hell happened in the first photo above and the last one?  First photo: We did a mindfulness exercise in a therapy group last week where we focused on a piece of paper we crumpled  and then unfolded. Last photo: a group calling themselves “Gym Class” performed Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” at an open mic last night.

What the hell happened last night when I debuted my latest original song, “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” at that same open mic?   See for yourself:

What the hell do you think will happen if you leave a comment?

What the hell happens at the end of my blog posts?

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2188: Today is …

Today is …

  • the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination,
  • the anniversary of my first heart surgery and my first pacemaker, at age 10,
  • the birthday of a wonderful woman named Jean who reads this blog (Happy Birthday, Jean!), and
  • Thanksgiving in the USA!

Today is a great day to give thanks and to share these photos, taken yesterday.

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Today is a day to share this: we may rant and rave at the passage of time, but it’s good to be in the moment — today and every day!

Today is the day I discovered Today is master-class:  how to paint a cat.

 

Today is a day for giving thanks to all who help me create these blog posts and to you — of course! — for reading them.

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

Day 2077: Applause

Several times in therapy groups this week, there was spontaneous applause, as people supported each other’s perspectives and progress.

I remember attending an “Opening the Heart” weekend workshop many years ago, where each one of us received thunderous, sustained applause after introducing ourselves. I still vividly recall how that applause felt, after I had revealed myself and my vulnerabilities to many strangers.

How do you respond to applause?

Last night, I was surprised by the timing of the applause to my latest original song, “Shameless Appeals for Applause.”

 

I now shamelessly appeal for applause for my photos from yesterday:

 

No matter what kind of comment you leave below, you’re sure to get applause from me.

Gratitude is a kind of applause, so I’m now clapping for all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 2041: life-changing magic

Have you heard about this book by Marie Kondo:  “the life-changing magic of tidying up”?

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Today, I want to give equal time to the life-changing magic of other things, including NOT tidying up.

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No matter how much we wish to tidy up, there are always new messes to deal with!

Would you agree that there’s life-changing magic in music?

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I look forward to the life-changing magic of your comments.

There’s life-changing magic in gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2028: Comparisons

Not to make comparisons, but I’ve written at least two previous posts about the cognitive distortion of comparisons (here and here).

Comparisons.
We compare ourselves to others, with ourselves coming out short. For example, “I’m not as smart (or good, competent, good-looking, lovable, etc.) as that other person.” Or, we compare ourselves to how we think we should be, or how we’ve been before. We might think that comparisons help motivate us, but they usually make us feel worse.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we focused on comparisons.

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I believe the human mind is built to make comparisons, in order to make meaning of what’s around us.  However, when we compare ourselves to others, the resulting blows to our self-confidence and self-esteem can be beyond compare.

I’ve been making a different type of comparison lately.  I compare the blog posts I’ve written after and before the November 2016 USA presidential election and I see differences. Less joy.  Less hope.  Less confidence in the future.  Less faith in humans to be respectful and kind.

Some might compare me to a snowflake.  Personally, I don’t mind being compared to a snowflake — each one is beautiful, intricate, and unique.

Let’s see how the rest of my photos compare to the one I’ve included above.

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When I search YouTube for “comparisons,” most of the results have to do with money and wealth — not particularly useful comparisons.

If we don’t realize all animals are beyond compare, we will continue to lose more and more to extinction.  Here’s a video showing comparisons of animal size:

The most recent comment on that video includes this: “Fake news.” I now compare my life to how it was before I heard that phrase so frequently.

Here‘s one result for “comparisons music.”

I look forward to comparisons in comments, below.

Now it’s time to compare  two ways of my expressing gratitude to all who helped me create another “comparisons” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 1993: Power

Yesterday, in a therapy group, I randomly picked this “angel card”:

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We all have power. Soon, I will be taking on more power as the President of a professional group therapy organization. I hope to use that power well.

A few days ago, I noticed that the cafeteria in the hospital where I work had stopped including vitamin-K-rich spinach in their salad bar. Because I take the powerful medication Coumadin. I need the power to control the amount of Vitamin K in my diet, and I usually do so by taking the same amount of spinach every day from the salad bar.   I owned my personal power and asked to speak to the person who had the power to decide what items to include in that salad bar. She told me that the hospital had decided to feature local produce and had replaced the spinach with locally grown kale. I told her about my taking Coumadin, which is a very common drug, and explained that kale had too much vitamin K and that I can’t eat kale.  As I was explaining all this to her, these were my powerful thoughts, “Why am I doing this?  I don’t have any power here. They’ve already made this decision.    I’ll have to figure out how to regulate my vitamin K a different way.”

The next day, I saw this at the hospital salad bar:

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Sometimes we have power even when we think we don’t.  The powerful moral for me: keep speaking up, because maybe somebody is listening.

Do you see power in my other photos from yesterday?

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People have the power to decide whether they want their pictures taken.  My son Aaron was okay with that last night (and Michael wasn’t).

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The ocean has the power to heal, I believe.

Today, Aaron and I will be experiencing the power of “West Side Story” at Boston’s Symphony Hall.  I never get tired of the power of that score by Bernstein and Sondheim and I’m glad that YouTube has the power to provide the musical clips I need for this blog (here and here).

I look forward to the power of your comments, below.

I always end these daily posts with the power of gratitude to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 1971: The If in Life

Today’s title — “The If in Life” — comes from the unexpected appearance of this yellow stickie at work yesterday:

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If I could, I would ask the person who wrote that why they did and what it means to them.

If I ask you what you think that means, would you answer?

If I take photos in life, I share them here.

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If you were to choose a video for this post, what would it be?

 

If you watch that video about Rashad Jennings‘s book, you’ll hear how he got off the sidelines of his life, stopped blaming people, stopped making excuses, and started taking ownership and responsibility.

If you were to write a book about your life, what would the title be?

If I can find an appropriate photo, I’ll end this post with gratitude.

 

 

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

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