June 26, 2019

Shame and Forgiveness

I recently had the occasion to contemplate forgiveness. I bumped into the complexity of it while struggling with an old issue between me and my adult son. Curiously at the same time, a deep, old shame of my own kept floating to the surface. I found it odd that this 30-year-old memory would come to haunt me at this time in my life. Thinking about it, and wondering about the significance of the shame memory, it occurred to me like all the highway lights blinking into view one at a time, the dots connected and there it was – my inability to forgive myself. If I can’t forgive myself how can I extend that type of compassion to another? If […]
January 4, 2019

Big Feelings

What happens to us when our feelings feel too big to handle? When we are not sure of what the expression of what’s inside should look like? I would like to share a story that shows how unexpressed feelings can push behavior. I’d like to introduce you to Levi. Levi is 8 and a half. He is truly the apple of my eye. He’s bright and funny and let’s just say perfect! (I know, I know but I’m his grandma!)  I have just spent the past month with him out West. It’s our last day. We are meant to have a quiet morning together before we leave. Levi is bouncing off the walls. He is making a ruckus. His mom […]
September 26, 2018

The Power of Empathy

When you stop to contemplate what is in “your bubble” – what occurs to you? On a tough day, for me, it’s often thoughts of my kids and grandkids. I wonder how they are doing, I struggle with missing them, and I sometimes misplace that “missing” into blaming my husband for the yucky feelings. Sometimes that’s the stuff in my bubble. That being said, from Monday to Friday I am offered a fantastic way out of that bubble: my work! I count myself as extremely lucky in that my job absolutely requires me to get out of “my bubble” and join you in yours! So for 6 – 8 hours a day I don’t miss anyone, I am not angry, […]
March 29, 2018

An Epidemic of One

There is an epidemic going on that is finally starting to get some kind of attention in the media. That epidemic is loneliness. Many people are showing up for service and after a few meetings it’s clear that they are too isolated in their lives. Isolation and loneliness are creating a significant amount of distress in the population. A blog or two ago, I wrote about Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections, where he espouses a theory that it’s the loss of meaningful connection to a number of things – not the least of which is other relationships – that is at the root of depression.  The headline article of the April 2018 edition of Psychology Today is also focused on […]
February 27, 2018

Expanding our view of Depression

This post comes on the heels of reading Johann Hari’s brilliant book “Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions“.  Hari, J. (2018). Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions. London, Bloomsbury. Here’s a link to it at Amazon.ca   And here’s the link if you use Chapters/Indigio. In the book Hari delves into the many causes of depression – veering away from the medical/pharmaceutical model, and into, finally (for me), a much more systemic model. He posits nine causes of depression and anxiety – all around the axis of disconnection: Disconnection from meaningful work, other people, meaningful values, childhood trauma, status and respect, the natural world, a hopeful and secure […]
September 27, 2017

The Language of Connection

In Gary Chapman’s, New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts, he explores the different ways couples communicate their positive feelings for each other. He rightly argues that knowing your own and your partner’s preferred way of communicating love significantly improves your relationship’s chance of survival. Can you recognize yourself among these five approaches? Remember, while we probably use a bit of all, there is usually one approach, one language that is dominant: Do you let your partner know you care through affection or physical touch or do you tend to show your appreciation and care through gift giving? Some of us do so by offering service or taking care of; some of us through […]
August 14, 2017

PTSD – a change in perspective

I found this essay on PTSD called The Bonds Of Battle, written by Sebastian Junger, in The BEST American Essays, edited and with an introduction by Jonathan Franzen, Robert Atwan Series Editor, 2016. It’s an intriguing and helpful look at how and why PTSD persists, in Junger’s estimation, due to isolation. I have seen clients come into my practice suffering from PTSD for different reasons.The common theme among these clients was their desire to be left alone. Yet, they suffered tremendously for the lack of connection and contact – even if they strongly believed that contact would be the worst thing for them. I find it hard to argue with Junger, who posits that what is needed, desperately, is not […]