Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"What is right with you?" Part 14: Broken Brains or Broken Hearts?

This question, the title of an Orange County psychologist, Ty Colbert's book, asks us, along with a long line of concerned mental health professionals, whether concepts like mental illness, chemical imbalance, and, whether medications are really the "cure" for our emotional difficulties.  What do our symptoms tell us?  Are anxiety, depression, loss of reality contact (psychosis), going paralyzed emotionally signs that are brain is sick or diseased?  Or are they random?  Or, alternatively, are they a signal that helps us realize that something is amiss, or needs our deepest care, etc.  In other words, are are symptoms an ominous sign, or a guidepost and beginning of the healing process?  One consideration of this latter process is the comparison of these symptoms to a fever.  When we fall ill, the fever is an uncomfortable symptom, but is also the beginning of the healing process.  It signals that the body needs to move to a whole new level of care to bring along the healing process.  More later... My Website

"What is right with you?" Pt. 10: Getting Started

Taking the first steps can be so difficult.  It can mean letting go of something.  Even if you are hurting, afraid, or very down, there can be a comfort in not doing something about it.  For instance, if you are to make a call to a therapist (say me), there is further risk.  What if you do not get the help you think you are seeking?  What will I think of you?  I mean, psychologists learn all kinds of theories.  Will he just fit what I am saying into his theory?  Will I really be heard?  Will he "get me?"  While this could happen, it can miss a very important point.  You know more about you and what is like to be you than anyone.  A friend, a pastor, or helping professional must start there...with you you are.  You are the starting point, not your friend, therapist, or pastor...at least when the focus on who is being helped is yourself.   There is the difficulty of reaching out and not knowing what will happen, but you need to listen to yourself and your experience of how you feel treated and responded to.  That is important too.  You may not trust yourself completely to do this, but you must have a least a bit to try...My Website

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"What is right with you?" Part 17: Being open

Being open to experience, to life, and to relationships sounds so good doesn't it?  And who in their mind categorically says no to that?  However, there is a part of our mind that does just that.  Whether in every day life or in therapy, while we consciously want to grow and experience more, a part of does not.  This part, which we call our defense mechanisms, wants to protect us from harm.  Depending upon our personal sensitivities and varying life experiences, we may go to great lengths to shut down our very efforts to grow, to experience freedom, and to more freely relate with others.  So it turns out that we are far more conflicted than we think we are.  In therapy and other forms of growth producing experiences we need to learn about this defensive part of ourselves so we can see how that part of our mind operates and see more clearly that we have a choice.  I want to highlight one thing further about this.  This means that this "defensive" and at times, somewhat sabotaging part of ourselves is not who we are, but merely protective armor.  The essence of who we are tends to be shielded by our defenses, and in growth, we learn not only about our defenses, but how to have more flexible defenses in order to venture further in our life experience...NEXT TIME:  More on the anxiety that challenging our defenses to risk more produces...MY WEBSITE

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"What is right with you?" Part 16: If so much is "right with me" why would therapy be helpful?

Many people turn to therapy because they have good intentions and goals, but are unclear on how to reach them, or may find that key keep sabotaging their efforts to reach them.  Often these ways of sabotaging are frustrating and limiting in one way, but they are also there to protect us from something.  A therapy relationship gives a person the opportunity to explore and learn about these "defenses" through the experience of the relationship.  Thus, therapy is a resource for learning in the process of a relationship.  This kind of learning cannot be found in a book, a class, or workshops.  Not that these are not excellent resources at times, but the living, careful, compassionate, intuitive, and feeling approach of mutual exploration helps us safely learn and change parts of ourselves that are not always accessible (we mean well, but we have blind spots).  The goal, which I will continue to say more about in my next entry, is to be more open to life where we have struggled to be so.  MY WEBSITE