Why I am a psychotherapist

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Young teenaged girls across the world think that they have nothing of value to offer the opposite sex (and sometimes same sex). Their self-worth is entirely tied up in their sexuality. These girls want to fit in so badly, they want to be liked. Sadly, they think the only way that boys will like them is if they give up sexual favors. What many of these girls do not realize is that they are often giving up a piece of themselves that they can never get back. They trade their sexuality for short-term (often very short-term) acceptance from the very people who tell them that they are special or, “the one”.

Some of these girls learn much too late that those promises of friendship and acceptance were lies. They move from one person to the next seeking validation and love, but it always seems to come at a cost followed by abandonment or rejection. Most of these girls learn much too late that the promises of love and affection were lies just to obtain sexual favors.

These girls develop self-worth issues, poor self-esteem, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, difficulties attaching to others in a positive or healthy manner, sometimes these girls avoid forming close relationships in order to not be abandoned again. Many of them believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are somehow defective.

I am here to tell these girls that there is hope. They do not have to feel shamed any longer. There is another way. There are people out there who believe in them and support them. I am one of those people.  

So, yesterday I was upset with my dogs

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I thought it might be helpful to discuss some of the irrational thoughts I had yesterday and how those irrational thoughts led me from being happy to miserable.

Overgeneralization: My dogs NEVER listen. They ALWAYS pull.

Mental Filter: Even though they behaved very well for most of the walk I focused on the small amount of time their animal instincts kicked in and could not hear me.

All-or-Nothing Thinking: I’m a failure. I can’t get my dogs to listen and that reminds me of other areas where I am currently struggling (work or romance etc) which leads me to conclude (at least for 30 min that I am a total failure.

Luckily I do not buy into these irrational thoughts for very long and today I am left with a sore left ankle, but my healthy thinking has returned 🙂

I wanted to make my dogs happy, now I feel like a failure.

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Therapist introspection can be really good from time to time. Today I tried to capture my puppy’s moment of hyperactivity with a walk. My intentions were good. I saw he had lots and lots of energy and I wanted to help him bur some of it off. So, I harnessed him, his  fur brother, and fur sister up for an evening walk. I know how much they love walks.   Image

Oh boy. The four of us head out and my black & white beauty spies a kitty in the bushes. Before I can quite realize what is happening, my ankle is twisting and I’m down on the sidewalk. My dogs have never succeeded in actually knocking me over before. All of a sudden I went from being thrilled to be out on a walk with my fur babies to being a little bit frustrated, a little bit sad, and a little bit disappointed. 

It reminds me how often in life we start out happy and with good intentions only to end up hurt, sad, frustrated, or some combination of these emotions and countless others. The difference for me is that after the fact I usually appreciate these experiences (after the fact, of course) because it reminds me of why I want to be a mental health therapist. I mean, we all get mad sometimes. We all get sad, we all get _________. And we could all use some time to vent and put things into perspective.  Some reactions are normal, but sometimes they aren’t. Or, sometimes frustrations build up until we lose our tempers over things that seem like they should be no big deal. In reality, we aren’t losing our temper over that one little thing, but all of the annoyances we have never bothered to deal with that we have let internally build up until we just cannot take one more thing.

If I want strangers to stop talking I tell them I’m a therapist.

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When I was working on my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology people would stop talking mid-discussion stating that either they thought I could read their minds or that they didn’t want me to analyze them. I was never doing either. It makes me sad on one level that so many people are so insecure about themselves and it makes me so sad on another level that “therapy” has such a negative connotation to so many people. 

Many people see “therapy” as an hour of negativity…focused on childhood hurts, wallowing in anger or depression. It leads to the misconception that “therapy” is self-indulgent or some other form of selfishness. Therapy can be that to some people and certainly some people do use therapy time in that way…but therapy can also be used in a strictly present or strictly future time frame. Problem-solving and developing and following through on goals are not just for coaching! 

So many great therapy sessions begin with, “what do I want in my future?” and, “how do I get there?”