Twelve Rules for productive couples counseling

Ahhhh. We do love a quiz that promises to reveal ourselves to our, well, ourselves. And big business loves to to see how well you might fit into their organizational team. That we love personality tests is the why that drives their proliferation. But I wonder if you might like to understand why many of them are junk, clickbait, and rather useless. And how to pick one that gives useful information about your personality. I am going to help you do that!

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In addition to my degree in clinical social work, I have a masters degree in public health. One important goal of public health is to prevent disease from spreading. I want to help you see the costs to you of broken (or non-existent) boundaries by using the analogy of vaccines. First you need to understand that prevention is often invisible unless you look at the prevented costs. Here’s an example of that.

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the secret to having the best relationships

The secret to having the best relationships is self differentiation. This is a fifty-cent term for knowing who you are, what you like, and having the ability to express this clearly, without hesitation, to another person. It requires insight, emotional intelligence, authenticity, transparency and assertiveness. It is a BIG concept that we can and should strive for throughout life in different circumstances with different people. It is essential for healthy relationships. 

I will break it down for you in three simple parts.

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sticky thoughts

If you have anxiety sensitivity, here are 10 factors that contribute to “Sticky Thoughts.” Sticky thoughts are the ones you just can’t shake loose. Sticky thoughts predispose your mind to anxiety and hyper-vigilance. They tend to keep you stuck in your own personal anxiety loop that is both unproductive and self-shaming. That is why learning to identify and talk back to them is critical to your good mental well being.

sticky thoughts

Feeling stuck?

The 10 Sticky Thoughts Factors

  1. Sleep deprivation/insomnia
  2. Drinking alcohol
  3. [Some] OTC medications
  4. Steroids of any type, asthma meds
  5. Your genetic inheritance is a factor
  6. Any illness, a cold, for example
  7. Caffeine or sugar intake—notice what affects your body
  8. A natural cycle upon wakening that many feel as a sort of dread of the day, which lessens over the course of the day
  9. Hormone fluctuations
  10. Hyper-vigilance, or monitoring of the content of the mind is the most prevalent factor of all.

BONUS ROUND!!! Social Media! Devices! They are the trigger for so many of our sticky thoughts.

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personality tests

We do love a quiz that will supposedly reveals ourselves to….well ourselves. Am I right? Want to take personality tests that are actually accurate? We desperately want to understand ourselves and our relationships with others. Unfortunately taking a well researched test eludes the vast majority of us. Why?

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the gift of resentment

What on earth would I mean by the gift of resentment? What are the signals that your boundaries are being tested, crossed or outright ignored? What feelings or emotions might you notice when this is occurring? How might you consistently and accurately judge when you need to clarify, remind, or set a firmer boundary?

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Is boredom the problem

Humans are a problem solving species. We are wired for it, beginning perhaps with the evolutionarily imperative to find food. And boredom is a problem we are driven to solve.

In modern times, boredom can mean many things. Generally there are plenty of things to do, just nothing you want to do, or feel like doing. It’s the uneasy feeling of being unstimulated with nothing to occupy your mind. It’s one reason social media thrives. It’s the fastest feel-good balm we can turn to for that ping of instant gratification.

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your inner critic

What Is Your Inner Critic And Where Did It Come From?

To answer that, here is a story for you. Read more

speed of want

The Speed Of Want is a chapter title I read in the recent (great) book by therapist Lori Gottlieb Maybe You Should Talk To Someone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019). In it she alludes to what I think of as the human evolutionary trait of finding faster, easier ways to the goal, with none or less of the hard work necessary to accomplish it. Witness the recent college admissions cheating scandal. In modern times, think of the changes that have occurred simply between the start of the industrial age and the present that have impacted our lives with mass production, instant worldwide communication, and outsourced labor due to advanced robotics alone.

But there are unintended consequences to this ‘need for speed.’

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why is assertiveness important

“I hate confrontation.”

That is what I hear at least once a day in my therapy practice. And it is usually from women. I wish I could give every woman who thinks this a short lesson on assertiveness, which is often what they mistake for confrontation or conflict. It does not mean you must alter a quiet demeanor, become bold and brassy, or the even worse expression— “a real ball breaker.” Why is assertiveness important? First you have to understand what assertiveness actually means.

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