I used to work in a university Career Services center. There, I learned that one of the toughest job interview questions was, “How do you define success?” It’s time I answer that question myself.
From my experience, productive counseling meetings incorporate three main therapeutic skills:
- I provide concentrated attention: capacity to listen, presence, and track the main points from our prior conversations
- I help someone expand their story: exposing & exploring additional layers
- I offer concrete options, alternative actions, and resources
I took a webinar with Brene Brown called Shame Shields. Dr. Brown is mostly known for her research on shame, worthiness, and healthy vulnerability. Her research reveals these core tenants about shame:
- We all have it
- No one wants to talk about it
- The less you talk about it, the more you have it
Shame and addiction are interlinked. Addictive behaviors are an attempt to numb, or shield the shame. However, their effectiveness is short-lived and the shame resumes.
Dr. Brown, and separately–researchers at Wellesley College Stone Center–discovered there main subtypes of these shame shields:
- Moving away — Avoiding, leaving the room, spacing out, daydreaming, distraction
- Moving towards — Hyper-appeasing, over-flattery, buttering up, sucking up
- Moving against — Attacking other people, inducing shame in other people
All three shields are an attempt to deflect shame away from the person. Here’s Dr. Brown’s recommended alternatives for shame resilience:
1) Recognize triggers
2) Reality check messages
3) Reach out
4) Speaking shame
I know these four prescriptions are easier said than done so I am happy to help be a part of the process.
I enjoyed reading Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. It’s a collection of case studies, from technology entrepreneurs to social justice advocates, where creative-thinking overcomes status quo obstacles. It’s hard to be an Original without feeling isolated at times, so the stories and sociology research in this book are a welcome companion. The book also gives examples and tools for facilitating more Original leadership and cultures.
If you’re feeling distant from a partner or loved one and want to reconnect–you may need to:
- look at your partner with beginner’s mind
- do the scary work of emotional vulnerability
36 Questions is structure that can help you with these common sense, yet often elusive practices. These questions were developed and tested by psychologists. The results? A pair of strangers fell in love.
Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! Here are my major business updates for November and December 2016, I:
At a time when people are gaining awareness about the dynamics & negative effects of sexual abuse AND deconstructing puritanical sexual beliefs & misinformation, Doug Braun-Harvey offers us six principles of sexual health. These principles are important guideposts in a frequently neglected and obscured corner of mental health treatment–as well as human lifespan development more generally.
- pleasure: healthy sexuality leads to joy and/or empowerment (rather than detachment, and/or shame)
- consent: participants should be in full, active agreement to the particular sexual acts, time, place, people, etc.
- non-exploitation: secrecy and betrayal prevent partners from engaging in a psychologically-safe intimacy
- protection: healthy partners collaborate in preventing transmission of STI’s and unwanted pregnancies
- honesty: healthy partners voice their desires, limits, and ambivalence
- shared values: connections are built on common meanings
If you would like to examine how your life interfaces with these principles, please contact me. BTW, imagine how much psychological pain would be eliminated and how much pleasure would increase if adolescent sexual education raised conscientiousness about these intra-personal and interpersonal factors.
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley curates videos, articles, and podcasts about happiness. The short videos are presented by prominent researchers, therapists, business leaders, and educators. They include a wide range of topics such as “How to check in with Yourself” and “The Biology of Mindfulness and Compassion.” There are hundreds of happiness videos here. The information is not a substitute for therapy–a process that can investigate specific traumas and the complexity of a person’s unique life. However, the videos can help people remember their wisdom and encourage action.
My counseling business just turned 5 years old! In this time, I have connected with hundreds of clients; upgraded my licensure; taught several college courses; and continued my education.
I am currently re-reading the wonderful book Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. If I only had a single therapeutic tool or paradigm, Dr. Brown’s work may be the one. Dr. Brown examines yucky problems like scarcity, shame, and defense mechanisms with finesse and humor. For those of you who have not seen her first viral video, here it is: vulnerability .
I am currently taking an introduction to Improvisation Comedy class. Improv is a fun way to practice…
- awareness: it’s hard to keep people’s attention if your own attention is wandering
- listening: respond to a group story rather than one’s own preoccupations
- acceptance: in improv, you working as a team–and other people have some weird ideas
- healthy risk-taking (AKA healthy vulnerability): it gets the dopamine going; it builds competence and resilience