In this culture, grief is a taboo. We don’t talk about death and dying and we don’t talk about grief. So I’ve noticed over my years offering therapy and grief counseling that people find grief mystifying, confusing and often frightening.
A lot of my work as a grief counselor has been to help people demystify their experiece, to help people recognize that grief is a normal response to loss, intense though it may be, and to find a way back to a balanced life. To that end, I’ve put together this Q&A on grief for anyone who needs it. Feel free to pass it on. You can also download a copy here. Read More
Sexual abuse was in the news again last week. A parade of remarkably courageous women testified in the sentencing hearing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing scores of teenage and pre-teen female athletes over decades. Nassar also worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and his victims included Olympic Gold Medalists...Tragic though it is, this is not an unusual story...With the rise of the #MeToo movement, we’re beginning to witness just how prevalent this social epidemic really is. Read More
In my last blog, Healthy Boundaries – Healthy Relationships, I wrote about boundaries and why they’re important. And I promised that in my next blog I would offer tips on healthy ways to set healthy boundaries. If you’re not used to it, setting boundaries can be difficult at first. Many people simply don’t know how. So, here are nine ways to set healthy boundaries: Read More
During a meditation retreat I attended, one of the teachers read a teaching in which the Buddha reminded us to "breathe easy."
It's easy to forget about our breathing. In fact most of us never think about it at all, unless we're having trouble with it. But if you pay attention to your breath, you may be surprised by how much it changes as your state of mind changes. You might also notice that you can change your state of mind by changing the way you breathe. Read More
Dave had been clean and sober for 17 years when his father died of alcoholism. He’d been through addiction counseling and psychotherapy. He regularly attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, stayed in touch with his AA sponsor and diligently took the necessary steps to stay sober. In fact, it had been more than ten years since Dave had felt the urge to drink or use drugs.
Dave's father was a maintenance alcoholic. He lived alone in a one-room apartment with a bed, a chair, a television and his collection of empty bottles. He drank himself to oblivion every day. Eventually, he drank himself to death. Read More
Are you making sacrifices for someone else’s happiness and not getting much in return? Are you so focused on taking care of other people that you are sacrificing your own physical, emotional or financial well-being? Are you afraid that people won’t love you unless you take care of them?
If the answer is yes to any of these, you may be codependent. Read More
My old friend Chris Primesberger posed an interesting question recently in a post on Facebook:
“Not a big deal,” Chris wrote, “but why can't we say someone died anymore? Passing is what someone does to overtake a slower driver on the freeway.”
I’ve actually pondered this question quite a bit. I’m a grief counselor, and I rarely hear people say someone has died. It’s usually that someone has “passed,” or “transitioned,” or “crossed over.” It seems that in this culture, we’ll do almost anything to avoid using the “d” word, like a name that must not be spoken. Read More
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive approach to trauma treatment. People who have been traumatized experience profound and disturbing symptoms, including anxiety, depression and disturbing and disruptive memories. The relationship between trauma and memory can be difficult to navigate. We don’t always know what triggers a traumatic memory. But for trauma survivors, such memories can feel intrusive and re-traumatizing. It can feel as if the traumatic incident is happening again. Read More