1.24.2017

Dave Ramsey on Adult Children Living at Home

Adult Children Living at Home












"I have a funny habit: I try to do something, just one thing, especially well, each day. I can't do ten or twenty things "great" each day; maybe good, but not exceptional

We all have busy and full days, but this is my mental anchoring, kind of a mantra. 

So, for example, I made some really nice pasta for my wife last night. The day before that, I finally made a phone call to a friend that I was thinking about. Maybe it's a work-out, or a piece of writing to my kids. 

Here’s the mantra part: when I am winding down, into a meditation, or sleep, or rest, I will revisit that one positive “very good” moment, like a rumination. It feels efficient and positive -which overcomes the negative mental chatter that makes me feel bad about myself." Will Smith



1.21.2017


1.16.2017




1.12.2017


A POINTED FINGER IS THE VICTIM'S LOGO — the opposite of the V-sign and a synonym for surrender. No matter how abominable your condition may be, try not to blame anything or anybody: history, the state, superiors, race, parents, the phase of the moon, childhood, toilet training, etc. The menu is vast and tedious, and this vastness and tedium alone should be offensive enough to set one’s intelligence against choosing from it. The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything; [Joseph Brodsky - Commencement Address, Ann Arbor, 1988]


1.11.2017

Being Raised By a Therapist


I've often thought there should be a 12-step program for children raised by therapist moms. Many years ago I saw a woman in my practice whose parents were both psychologists. She told some funny stories... of long drawn out conversation she was forced to have in the kitchen. How exactly did she feel? What precisely was she thinking? What do you need? It must have felt like waterboarding. 
In her believable retelling of such a childhood, with two hyper-feeling and overly verbal parents, they were not the most sound set, in spite of, or because of, their PhD's. 
Because of that anecdote still ringing in my ears all these years later, I've always been aware of the unusual way my sons are being raised - by a mom who has spent 15 years working in foster care, with special needs children and at-risk youth, and a total of 35 years listening to children and adults tell stories. 
A vast majority of my work has been post-trauma related: I have worked with hundreds of adults that were sexually molested and abused as children; Veterans that experienced trauma combined with early childhood neglect and abuse at the hand of their own mother in addition to their combat experience, as well as cult survivors. 
I've treated children and adults that have been violated by those who held great power, those in roles and professions that we often think of as safe and respectable (teachers, clergy, law enforcement, judges, coaches, health care providers). It's much like seeing the underbelly of society. There's a bad apple in every field. 
So how does this impact my parenting? How does it notI am striving to avoid WORRY as my signature parenting tool. One of the interesting sad statistics about child caseworkers and social services - and this has been proven in research time and time again - that instead of a social worker seen child abuse everywhere, in fact the opposite is true. The caseworker becomes inured or blinded to it. As if a thick skin is developed and the caseworker begins to not see child abuse or neglect him when in fact it should be readily available to anybody without a developed and educated eye. 

My hopes of not being an overly paranoid parent can swing to the very thought that I may not be paranoid enough. I suppose it's like any first-responder who has seen really interesting sad situations, trying to not let that shape your global view of the world and its citizens. Most people are safe, wonderful, and trustworthy. No one benefits from living in the shade. 
I remember hearing at one point that the cable guy has a better feel for what a typical American household looks like than anybody else, after all he's inside home after home, across all socioeconomic status. He is quite the sociologist I presume.
So, my sons are simply forced to adapt to their hyper-verbal, overly into-the-feelings arena, aware Mom, and here's what it currently sounds like:

12 year-old son: "Mom, is this a mini-therapy session?" 
"Are you worried about my self-esteem?" 
"I don't think you are considering my feelings."
"I need you to listen to me."
"You are not hearing me."

I think he's on track and we are doing just fine. 


Humor is the first to go and the last to come back. Find your funny!




1.07.2017

How Does Therapy Work?
Well....
With a sincere desire to seek some changes in your thinking, or your lifestyle, or your relationships, a person can develop increased self-awareness; awareness is always the first step to improvement, at anything, right? Next step is conceptualizing how one would like their thinking/behavior to be different - less negative, less nervous, more confident, more connected to others, more self-control or less angry. 
Once this is identified, we hope to give it language. Learning how we feel, then learning how to speak to it, (giving it a name) is powerfully helpful. Simple so far! The rest of it gets easier....perhaps, meditating on these basics concepts will bring insight and a new awareness.

Sometimes the work at hand is bigger than these ideas, i.e., deciding on whether a relationship should be terminated, choosing a new job across the country, helping an adult child that is self-destructive, choosing marriage, or whistle blowing on a superior. 
When we are optimally functioning, those larger decisions come a bit easier. When we are emotionally bogged down with fatigue, physical pain, financial stress, insecurity, our decision-making is compromised, literally. Research shows that basic math becomes challenging once the brain has worked beyond its reasonable limit.

There are reliable principles that can guide our road to contentment - we do not need to reinvent the wheel. For example, couples that spend time with other couples stay together longer. Married people live longer, make more money, and report greater health.
Children that feel heard and loved by their parents will have better relationships as they grow older. Kids that watch their parents problem-solve will problem-solve better than parents who stay in conflict. Avoidance of the things that scare me does not make my fear go away. Couples can recover from infidelity. Learning to be single is healthy. If you fight when you drink, stop drinking. Exercise and meditation contribute to clearer thinking and less anxiety. 

Often times the major factor in a supportive counseling experience is the gentle act of being heard, hearing one's own voice, and feeling validation. 
Wherever we are in the struggles...
a knife cannot sharpen itself.






1.04.2017

What is Sex Therapy and Sensate Focus?



What is Sensate Focus? 

Read a thorough description here


Love and Sex Over the Holidays 






Looking for some volunteer activities in 2017?
Check out three of my favorite groups:



Volunteer Need of the Week: Point-in-Time Count
It is never too early to think about how you can make a difference in the new year…
Start the year off right by volunteering for the 2017 We ALL Count campaign! Our goal is to have 100+ volunteers in Escondido shine the light on homelessness in our community. We ALL Count will occur on Friday, January 27, 2017 from 4:00 am to 7:30 am. Interfaith Community Services will be the host site for Escondido. Please mark your calendars and help us bring an end to homelessness!
By participating as a We ALL Count volunteer, (in small teams of volunteers), counting our local homeless population, you are helping The Regional Task Force gather important information to end homelessness here in San Diego, which ranks as having the fourth highest homeless population in the country!
In the past, your early-morning efforts helped San Diego apply for millions of dollars in federal funding for homeless programs and services and helps us learn more about the size and scope of homelessness in the region.
If you rise before the sun, toss ‘n turn at night and would rather do something productive, could sleep until noon but want the count to really reflect what is happening in our neighborhoods, volunteer to count. It is amazing how much energy people generate on a Friday in January at 4:00 am because they want to be part of the solution!
Visit http://rtfh.volunteerhub.com/events/index to register as a volunteer.

 Coastal Roots in Encinitas.

Food Forest Volunteer Days are every Wednesday from 8-11am.

No experience necessary but desire to learn more about food forestry, sustainable farming, and build community is a must! 

Our volunteers profoundly affect the quality of our patients’ lives. By volunteering with The Elizabeth Hospice you can help us play a remarkable and enriching role in the lives of our patients and families. We currently serve San Diego and South Riverside counties. Volunteering will be in your own community. 


1.03.2017

Sell Your Cleverness and Buy Bewilderment



I am very sorry to admit that I hadn't really appreciated Carrie Fisher while she was still alive. Looking back, to see her openness with her mental illness dating back 20 years; her consistent wit and intelligence. Apparently she was always snappy and well-read, even being teased in school as book wormish.

On her place in the Twitterverse"Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately, it hurts all three of my feelings. My body hasn't aged as well as I have. Blow us." via Twitter
On her natural demeanor"I act like someone in a bomb shelter trying to raise everyone's spirits." via The Princess Diarist
On her famous friends"Hi I'm Mrs. Han Solo, and I'm an alcoholic. I'm an alcoholic because George Lucas ruined my life." via George Lucas's Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Film Institute

Read more of her great quips here





How to Know When Your Depression is Lifting

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. The question “Why bother?” may begin to go away.
2. Your ability to feel physical pleasure and pain might return.
3. You might actually feel “the pain of getting a bruise or the pleasure from having a good stretch.
4. And sadness may become a distinct feeling that you can recognize, instead of a constant state.
5. Your weight might begin to stabilize.
6. Food might begin to regain its taste.
7. You might begin to sleep more deeply and wake more rested.
8. You might start to find joy in small projects.
9. Nasty thoughts may begin to quiet and fade.
10. You might feel like you don’t need to carry yourself around anymore.
11. The little things — like popcorn, and dog parks, and driving with the windows down — might slowly regain their charm.
12. It might happen so gradually you don’t realize until you look back.
13. Or it might happen suddenly.
14. “Life might go “from bleak and somber to colorful and exciting.”
15. Colors might pop; everything might look “more vibrant, as if some sort of noir-grey filter has been lifted and [you can] finally see things as they are.
16. You might start looking forward to things again.
17. You might begin to prioritize.
18. When something bad happens, your first thought may no longer be “‘My life is over’ or ‘I should kill myself.’
19. People might ask you insensitive questions, like “What happened?” or “What did you have to be sad about?”
20. But slowly, you might become less shakeable.
21. The sun might feel “warm and inviting instead of harsh and too bright.
22. You might stop over-thinking and start living.
23. You may be able to start enjoying life without “thinking about whether [you’re] happy or not.
24. You might begin to take care of yourself.
25. You might struggle with building back your habits.
26. You might begin to rebuild your social relationships.
27. You might relapse.
28. One day, you might just notice you don’t feel the same way anymore, “like a dark cloud had passed and [you] didn’t even notice it until later.“29. You might become more capable of dealing with everyday anxieties.
30. Maybe it will feel “like a seriously heavy fog lifted, or a debilitating sinus infection suddenly cleared up.
31. Or maybe it won’t feel like much at all, just: calm.
32. “That voice in your head saying there is no point in getting out of bed [may] no longer [be] booming. Do not confuse this with thinking that one day everything is better, you just feel more worthwhile.
33. As you begin to recover from depression, you might realize, — gradually or suddenly — that people need you, that people want to help you get better. That you are loved.

It gets better. If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255