Archive for July, 2010

Behind the Mind of the Therapist

July 19, 2010
posted by Admin

Behind the Mind of the Therapist

Scenario I

           “I know that I drank a bit too much last night, but  I find it consistently harder to get out of bed on time for work.   My boss gives me the evil eye if I am not there on time and my wife, let’s say, she doesn’t give me a break either.  All I can do is walk away from her when she gets on my case.”  A 45 year old male entering therapy for the first time. 

Scenario II

        “I was driving along Route 80 on my way home from work and all of a sudden I felt a tingling down my arms and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I worried about the baby in the back seat.  I thought I should have pulled over, but I told myself to slow down my breathing and then I felt more in control.”  A 37 year old female on her way to visit her family.

Scenario III

           “I can’t get him up in the morning for school…he has been late about ten times just this month alone.  Then when he gets there, the school calls me and tells me he is in another fight or he is sulking in the corner of the classroom.  At this rate, I am not going to make it through half the school year.”  A stressed-out and frustrated mother of three young children.

Scenario IV

           “I never see my husband….he travels all the time for work.  When he is home on weekends, he is watching tv or sleeping.  On Saturday morning he will stay in bed until 2 in the afternoon.  I’ve tried to talk to him about this stuff and all he says is that he works very hard during the week, so he needs to rest on weekends.  I suggested a visit to the doctor…he won’t go.  I f I suggest marital counseling, he screams and yells.  I am all alone raising my kids and trying to hold down a full time job.”  A 48 year old female, mother of four.

      I hear these types of stories and more, many times over.  I often think when I hear these stories……life is painful…there is no way around it.  Life is often difficult and complicated.  Finding answers that are not readily available poses a constant challenge for all of us.  How does one not lose their mind when they are taking care of others all day long or have just lost a job, parent,  mate, or a child?

       It is my job that no matter what problem is brought to me as a friend and professional, I must sit still, listen with my heart and absorb some of the emotion that the person is going through.  Even before the person enters my office, when I am on the telephone with them, I listen for fragments of confusion and feelings of hopelessness.  I answer questions that they might have about therapy in general and what to expect in terms of charges and insurance re-imbursement.  All of this “talk” puts the individual at ease and helps the individual normalize the experience as much as possible.

       I am fully aware that I may not in fact be able to help someone that calls or enters my office; however I believe that in listening compassionately, I can be a facilitator of healing.  From the very beginning of the first session, in asking about traffic, weather or other obstacles that might have been in the way of getting to my office, I try to ease the person in their transition from a burdened state of mind to some semblance of an ordered state of mind.   I encourage the individual to start talking about whatever they would like to talk about; however they would like to present the problem that they are now seeking help for.  I believe and trust that the individual knows what is best to bring up and what is most important in his/her mind.  In maintaining this professional posture, I give my full presence believing that this is a very important start to building a therapeutic relationship.  Over many years, I have come to accept that the first visit is absolutely crucial for the person in need.  Without deep listening there is no compassion and without compassion there can be no foundation for healing.  Listening to one another is everything in therapy and our friendships. 

Change your perspective when things go wrong!

July 12, 2010
posted by Admin

Jeff’s blog

          Recently I had something terrible happen!  I woke up one morning and found that I had two tires slashed and the front fender keyed.  I was very angry and upset that someone would destroy my beloved car and rock my safety and security.  The anger helped to motivate me to call the necessary people and do the necessary things to fix the situation.  After several hours of being angry I came to realize that the anger was no longer useful.  It was keeping me tense.  I realized that I was stressed to the max, as I waited for my car to be fixed.  I started to do “PERT” (a visualization exercise that I learned at the forgiveness workshop I attended recently).    I closed my eyes breathed into my belly and placed a happy image in my brain.  As a result, I felt more relaxed.  I found myself thankful that things were not worse!   After all, someone could have slashed all four tires or could have stolen my car!  I found myself feeling grateful that I had the money to fix my car.  While what happened was not okay, I would be okay, and my life would go on.

          Days later, I started to think about how my safety and security was not what I thought it was.  I found myself feeling randomly scared as I went through my day.  I would walk outside and look to see if my tires were still inflated.  I worried needlessly about whether the person would come back and finish off the other two tires.  I came to realize that it was no longer about my “tires,” but my perspective on the world.  I was not living in a world of safety….where I could park my car outside of my apartment and it would be fine.  Now, I lived in a world where I could wake up to my car being vandalized!  This thinking process made me evaluate the safety of my present living situation.  Besides changing the way I saw this incident, I wanted to change my living environment!  This is something that I can and will change.  I can change where I live, and while I am in the process of changing my living environment, I can put things into perspective.  My car was vandalized once, and what would be the chances that my car would be vandalized again? 

          For me the process of forgiveness is working to change my perspective on life and events.  It’s looking at a situation differently.  I am slowly letting go of the outrage I feel about this situation and believe it or not, I am sending positive thoughts to the person who vandalized my car!  It has also helped me look at the world I live in and realize that bad things happen to good people all the time.

Forgiveness is an active process!

July 6, 2010
posted by Admin

I recently read an article in the New York Times (July 4, 2010), entitled Unforgivable.   The author’s (Lisa Belkin) main point is that sincere apologies tend to heal strained bonds and foster feelings of forgiveness in the injured party.  If the one responsible for hurting another, offers an apology without acknowledging culpability for his actions, then the offended party becomes disappointed with his apology.  The apology is an empty one.

          Apologies have been flying left and right in the present moment….BP’s apology being one of them…  The current wave of apologies has often expressed regret without accepting responsibility.   If I say to a an individual, “I am sorry that you are hurt”, without acknowledging my part in hurting you, it is likely, according to the author, that you will feel less forgiving toward me then if I made no apology.

           I would agree that a sincere apology helps, while an insincere one disappoints.  However, there is a misunderstanding regarding Lisa Belkin’s notion of what forgiveness is or isn’t.  What do we do when a person is hurt and the offender never apologizes at all?  Or better yet, apologizes insincerely? Are we then stuck in our hurt and pain, with no means of letting go or moving on? In order to let go and move on, we have to make forgiveness an active process!  As long we link forgiveness to any apology, whether sincere or insincere, we remain un-empowered.  The true healing of forgiveness comes when our forgiveness is no longer dependent upon our offenders’ remorse or apology.  Jesus said:  “Forgive your enemies!” He never mentioned that one must apologize.

           I am not saying that fellow citizens who live in the Gulf Region will ever be able to find a way to forgive BP for creating such tragic chaos in an environmentally fragile system.  At this time, that may be way too much to ask!  It is understandable that people are angry!  It is easier to forgive after justice has been meted out; sadly, it is not the way things always work out.  Active forgiving is hard work; most hurts that we endure are hopefully not as catastrophic as the BP debacle and yet it is easy to find ourselves stuck anyway.  The challenge of forgiveness is finding peace even when we are hurt or don’t get what we want!

Welcome!

July 4, 2010
posted by Admin

so glad that you have found our website! Please enjoy and comment.

Welcome!

July 4, 2010
posted by Admin

July 5, 2010           Welcome to our website!  We invite you to browse our website and connect with our many inspirational photos and messages. Please feel free to comment and let us know what you think.  We hope that this website will provide lively and meaningful interaction between us.  

Our business continues to grow and evolve into something much more than we ever thought possible.  We have served the Northern New Jersey community for many years and have helped many individuals, couples and families.  We are proud of these accomplishments!  We dream of communicating to individuals and families beyond the borders of our office.  We want to reach out to those who might fear going to see a counselor or who are suffering needlessly in their work, marriage or family life.  Seeking therapy is a complicated issue which demands careful consideration of many aspects of the particular life situation and the specific needs of the individual, couple or family.  In future blogs, we will address helpful hints about how to pick a therapist for yourself and begin to de-mystify the therapy experience.    

          We have ventured into a new area: Psychology of Forgiveness.  Understanding what pains us is the beginning to becoming a whole person, with hopes and dreams to be fulfilled.  Learning to let go of past hurts relieves us and moves us towards living a more meaningful life.

          So please do not hesitate to call or email us.  We would look forward to hearing from you with any of your comments, questions or concerns.

 Dr. Pat, Jed, and Jeff       

A video from Fred Luskin, PhD.

July 2, 2010
posted by Admin

Who Needs To Forgive?

July 2, 2010
posted by Admin

Do you think about how you have been hurt on a daily basis?  Are your thoughts the same each time you have them?  When you think about your hurt does your body tense up?  Do you think about your hurt more than you think about the positive parts of your life?  If so you have formed a grievance story.  The good news is that you can feel better and become more productive through learning forgiveness.

Forgiveness in 2010

July 2, 2010
posted by Admin

If you have been hurt and you find yourself tense about it, learning to forgive is for you!