Blog

Holidays and Grief

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With Halloween in the rear view mirror, we are beginning to see the signs of the holidays all over – in the mall, in the grocery stores, on television.

For many people the holidays can bring up stress and anxiety. For some, grief may be ever present. Especially if you have lost someone close to you or have relationships that are strained – the holidays – marked by family gatherings can be a sensitive and difficult time of the year.

Continue reading “Holidays and Grief”

Different Parts of Self

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Often times we go through life not knowing or understanding that there are different parts of us that have various- sometimes opposing- feelings or thoughts about a decision, circumstance, or relationship.

In many people, one part of themselves is more critical and harsh whereas another could be more compassionate and gracious.

When facing a situation or a decision, it could be helpful to separate out the parts of yourself for understanding. Ask yourself: what is this part like? what does it feel? Look like? What does that part’s voice sound like? Then ask about the other parts. The goal here is not to banish or repress one part – it is to have empathy and understanding in order to fully integrate the parts. This is a key towards emotional health.

Slowing down and exploring these different parts can lead to a more settled and confident move forward. Stability before mobility.

Happy Wednesday!

Trauma and Stress

Trauma can be big or small. Often times when people hear the word trauma they think of big incidents like 9/11 or a car accident. However, trauma can be “little” as well. Anything from being teased as a child, having a fight with a friend, a harsh word from a parent to a relationship break up. Trauma is like a wound. We go through life getting cuts and scrapes and usually we place some antibiotic cream over the cut, then a bandaid, and the wound heals. However, trauma is like a wound where a foreign object has been inserted inside and no matter how much cream or bandages the wound has – it is unable to fully heal.

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Seasons and Transitions

Change is the one constant. We hear that often.

We see it all around us: whether it be in nature with the weather or seasons – or in technology – (new version of a smartphone already?)- things are always moving and often very fast.

For some of us, this can take a toll on our emotional and mental health. It’s almost like powering through a meal and not knowing what you just ate to fuel your body. This can make us feel sick or lethargic.

What’s the antidote? Continue reading “Seasons and Transitions”

Rain

The Bay Area was plummeted by rain this weekend.

It’s amazing how after a long while of no rain, being confined to indoors can feel either refreshing or the opposite: restricting.

I am reminded by how rain can be a parallel to the difficult emotions life seems to give us. It can force us to slow down, stay inside, get under the covers with a hot cup of tea and reflect on what is inside. Continue reading “Rain”

Group Therapy

Women’s Growth Group 2016

Group Therapy – What Should I Expect?

Group therapy involves a therapist who leads a group of roughly five to 10 clients. Typically, groups meet for an hour and a half each week. Some people attend individual therapy in addition to groups, while others participate in groups only. Many groups are designed to target a specific issue.

Benefits of Group Therapy

Joining a group of strangers may sound intimidating at first, but group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. Therapists say, in fact, that group members are almost always surprised by how rewarding the group experience can be. Groups can act as a support network and a sounding board. Other members of the group often help you come up with specific ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge, and hold you accountable along the way. Regularly talking and listening to others also helps you put your own problems in perspective. Many people experience emotional health difficulties, but few speak openly about them to people they don’t know well. Oftentimes, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you’re not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they’re going through, and realize you’re not alone.

More Than Support

While group members are a valuable source of support, formal group therapy sessions offer benefits beyond informal self-help and support groups. Group therapy sessions are led by a therapist with specialized training, who can help facilitate interactions. Because the therapy group is a microcosm of our day to day life, the challenges we experience in relationships outside of group play out in the group. What’s important about group therapy is that it gives us the opportunity to slow down and examine the interpersonal dynamics we are creating as we actually create them. This, in turn, helps us develop insight and creates the opportunity for us to practice engaging in different ways.

Is group therapy enough?

Many people find it’s helpful to participate in both group therapy and individual psychotherapy. Participating in both types of psychotherapy can boost your chances of making valuable, lasting changes. If you’ve been involved in individual psychotherapy and your progress has stalled, joining a group may jump-start your personal growth.

How much should I share?

Confidentiality is an important part of the ground rules for group therapy. However, there’s no absolute guarantee of privacy when sharing with others, so use common sense when divulging personal information. That said, remember that you’re not the only one sharing your personal story. Groups work best where there is open and honest communication between members. Group members will start out as strangers, but in a short amount of time, you’ll most likely view them as a valuable and trusted source of support.

*adapted from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/group-therapy.aspx Ben Johnson, PhD