Have you ever asked yourself, "why do I do what I do and why can't I stop?". Have you wondered why you can have so many great friends but can't seem to pull off a healthy relationship because of unhealthy fears, patterns, or reactions? If you've ever asked the question "what is normal", congratulations, you've joined the masses. The best of us can find ourselves in redundant negative patterns and despite our level of intelligence and desire, we can't seem to stop! Modern psychology has no shortage of seminars, books, podcasts, etc. on ways to "improve your life" and change your circumstances. Why then, does the often times VERY EXPENSIVE and seemingly decent programs never seem to bring change that lasts long enough to stick, bringing that sought after peace so many are looking for? To oversimplify, the answer lies in the fact that we are attempting to fix deep, and highly unconscious, survival driven behavior with our intellectual brains by reading the books, going to seminars, etc. What we learn in those arenas, or with such therapy given lists and grids gives us great information, but it is very difficult, if not impossible to sustain gains because those things that drive us negatively, are not in the area of the brain that those modalities target. Therefore, treatment needs to be geared toward helping you utilize what you already have in your brain to create long lasting change. Thanks to what we now know about neuroplasticity, and with the right techniques, things can change, can stick, and you can be happy. By learning how to harness your own internal power you can break those negative habits and patterns and finally gain the life that you so desire.
Myths about communication
January 21, 2021
I had an attorney friend once that told me a story about a couple he had in his office. The dialogue between the soon to be ex husband and ex wife went something like this: Husband: "Honey, I just want to communicate with you". Wife: "Communicate?? I want to kick your butt!!" And therein lies the problem with most things you are taught in therapy about navigating communication. It's just not that easy. What happens when you don't have a willing participant as the other half of your "healthy" discussion. What happens when you go into it with the best of intentions and the other person is triggering you with attacks and accusations? In essence, it works until the heat gets turned up in an argument and then it all goes out the window. A good start is to know the basic myths and truths about communication. Myth: Just learning new and fabulous techniques will solve your problems. Truth: People are diverse and complicated. Simply knowing how to say something doesn't guarantee that all will be well. Especially when things get escalated. Being capable of good communication works when both parties are resolved to commit to a better way and they are taught the fundamental principles as the foundation for these techniques. With a program that is designed to work with the real human being, communication can enhance and deepen a relationship and conversations can flow leading to a deeper appreciation and understanding of other, as well as, yourself..
The truth about boundaries
January 21, 2021
I was raised in a "children should be seen and not heard" time back east in New York. Having a right to our opinions, especially as a child, wasn't something that was in the cards for me or any other child. Suffice it to say that boundaries were a very confusing topic for me as I got older. Moving on... so I go to college and learn (from these well intentioned books) that I have a RIGHT to my opinions, and I CAN draw boundaries. What they DIDN'T teach me was Psychology 102. What do you do when no-one listens, cares, or it just simply doesn't work? What do you do when you realize that no-one HAS to care, listen, or otherwise adjust? It doesn't have THOSE directions on the fancy lists and grids that your therapist gave you. The truth about boundaries is that people are complex. They come replete with personal histories that dictate how they respond on an automatic, and often highly unconscious level. If you simply learn about boundaries, and then try to draw them, you may find yourself disappointed more often than not because you can't control how others respond. As adults we all have our own "stuff" and others may not be capable of doing the right thing with your boundaries even if they wanted to. How we each "do life" is based on years of becoming who we are (using that term loosely). So what then do we do?
Know the truth about boundaries:
1. they are only yours. At any given time the best shot you have is to make sure they are reasonable and communicate them in a way that is non defensive, 2. things don't always go our way and you need to learn to let go of the outcome, whether or not they like it or listen, you can only request 3. if the request doesn't yield the results you had hoped for, that doesn't mean your boundaries are wrong and your shouldn't have drawn them, and finally, 4. sometimes we must accept what others are and are not capable of giving, and some people you must love at a distance while others you should get away from completely.
Boundaries can work. With a little information and some newly learned skills, you can increase your chances of having your boundaries heard and respected (from the right people) exponentially. Believe it or not there are techniques to take what would seem as a dead end attempt and turn it completely around. .
How awareness can change your life and help your relationship
January 21, 2021
Ahhhhh marriage and/or commitment. What a grandiose daydream we can create around those subjects. We imagine ourselves sitting in a coffee shop... and then... "they" walk in. Before you've said your first hello you're picturing a whirlwind romance, or walking down the aisle with your soon to be spouse gleaming, with everyone watching adoringly. As you say your vows, visions of long talks, football games with your partner, and amazing sex swirls. Screeeech... and then comes REALITY. You find yourself in a therapy office, fighting, and you haven't had sex in a month! Well, hopefully it's not that bad, but I say this to highlight that relationships are never exactly what we fantasize about! I'd often wished that there were courses that individuals had to complete, and SUCCESSFULLY, to gain that marriage license or at least to commit to a long term relationship especially involving kids. Why do I say that? In a few short sentences, everyone has a "backpack" and you must come to terms with it's contents. When two people join together in loving matrimony, of any sort, each person brings with them their invisible backpack that consists of everything that had ever happened to them over a lifetime that makes each person react/respond as they do to what they do. The contents of that backpack unconsciously dictate what you 100% believe that the other "should or shouldn't" do, or how life should or shouldn't go. Most of the time arguments consist of two elements; you aren't behaving in a way that I want you to, (a way that feels safe for me), or, you're not respecting my opinions and needs. Since that backpack is yours only, you must come to terms with the fact that your "other" also has theirs. And it consists of deeper issues and beliefs, that both hold dearly. Not recognizing that fact, there's a good chance that your expectations may unwittingly sabotage your relationship. For example, lets say that I was abandoned emotionally by my parents, therefore, I will be SUPER sensitive to not being heard or listened to. So I then go about interpreting the others behavior in the same light without questioning that interpretation. Relationships are about growing together, and learning how both not to hurt each other and to heal within the relationship. Because most of our wounds are unconscious, aka, hidden, we often act them out on others as if they "should" be a certain way without us having to tell them. Learning about yourself and how to grow a relationship is an art, but it is easier than you think with the right tools and skills. Live the life you love, share it with another.
Breaking Performance Ceilings for the high level executive, professional athlete, or those in the entertainment industry
January 21, 2021
Up until recently the issues I'd worked with concerning the top tier executive population, and those in high visibility arenas such as professional athletes, and the entertainment industry were mostly concerning the effects of their jobs on their families and other relationships. They also had significant challenges balancing their time between work, family responsibilities, and play. And to be sure those are still areas of focus in my practice. However, in the last few years I was asked to indulge my know how to help business owners and C-Suite executives address and eliminate performance ceilings so they can be confident enough to open any door, and walk away proud no matter what the outcome, while still maintaining the highest level of integrity and value. I began to notice that business owners and executives, given certain circumstances, became unsure of themselves resulting in performance ceilings. While they were consciously aware that they are good at what they do, and they believed that their product or services were top notch, they found that they were overly tied to what others thought, which made them come across as less believable. At this point execs turn to very expensive business coaches that they find they need to keep around indefinitely to keep the morale up and keep them believing in themselves; like hooking yourself up to morphine. Would you believe there is a shortcut that yields far greater results that puts you, the executive or high profile person in control, and it isn't much different than what I would teach the 9-5 worker? Believe it or not, at the end of the day, you may take off your tie and someone else may take off their work boots, but we all have something in common. We are human, driven by the same principles even though we may have different levels of problems and unique circumstances. It's like a house; it can be a mansion or a townhouse, but neither can stand without a solid foundation. You must learn how to develop that foundation from the inside out. While there may be circumstances in the professional's life that may render one behavior or fear rational where in the general public perhaps not, by gaining the right tools and perspectives, those pitfalls are no more difficult to overcome that those of what all people face and you won't have to higher teams of ridiculously expensive adjunctive services. Create a new awareness, gain the tools to navigate that new understanding, and excel in business or whatever high performance arena you are in.
How to get yourself out of trouble
January 21, 2021
Brittany Spears said it really well; oops I did it again. Guys, have you ever felt like you've blown it and can't seem to make her forgive you? Or perhaps you face times when you have NO IDEA WHAT in the WORLD you've done wrong much less how to make it right with her? Or perhaps you are a woman who, every time you try to tell your mate what you want, prefer, or like, they appear dejected, they argue, or feel like you're saying they are a failure? Then this is speaking to you. Repair in any relationship at any time can be tricky. But if not addressed quickly, and properly these things can seriously erode a relationship. It's true that men are from mars and women are from venus, however, that awareness alone, while accurate, doesn't help a thing! Take heart, there are ways to avoid the land mines. What if I told you that simply knowing how much gender differences can affect the way we get along can make the difference between bliss and divorce court? More importantly, knowing how to use that information strategically can not only get you out of hot water, but can actually improve the relationship. One of my newest services is called "911". With a little knowledge and a few simple communication tweaks, I can help you navigate any corner you may have ended up in. If you find yourself in a jam, and don't really need lengthy therapy sessions, contact me for "911" assistance. You may find that a quick tweak and learning the right thing to say, can not only get you out of the hot seat but can also have far reaching benefits.