REAL TALK

Boundaries as an Act of Love

Boundaries as an Act of Love

This is the second of a two-part series on boundaries. The first part maps out what healthy boundaries look like in general. Check it out and then come back here.

In this post we are going to delve into what to do when we get stumped on how to assert healthy boundaries.

Far too often, by the time we feel the urgent need to create or assert boundaries, a line has already been crossed.

When boundaries are violated, we feel violated.

This can foster a multitude of emotions and responses. Anger, resentment, and distrust brew. We may look for someone to blame. We may seek to disperse those emotions onto another person. Or we may even use it as ammunition to further put ourselves down if that is our pattern.

When this happens, it can be hard to assert boundaries without a painful confrontation or major cutoff from the person. We may opt to avoid rather than deal with it, further worsening the relationship.

So what do we do when it’s hard to assert boundaries? Frame the whole notion of boundaries from a place of love.

I know, sounds mushy…but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take a look at this step by step.

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The Dance of Healthy Boundaries

The Dance of Healthy Boundaries

Whether it’s divorcing a toxic parent or figuring out how to adult, boundaries can be tricky to navigate.

Some of us have been fortunate to grow up in families with healthy boundaries. This allows us to know what kinds of questions to ask or expectations to set at the onset of a relationship. This can also empower us to notice and tune into red flags before they become a big problem.

And, sometimes we have to learn healthy boundaries through our adult relationships. In fact, many of us do, even if we had good enough family boundaries. The thing is, no family nor person has it all figured it out, all the time.

We still have to figure out how to interact with others who are different than us. We also have to continually expand our capabilities to new and different contexts as we grow.

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DIY Positive Affirmations

DIY Positive Affirmations

Every now and then we need to find a little way to challenge the negative thoughts that eek their way into our minds and prevent us from living into our full potential. Positive affirmations can help with this by reinforcing and strengthening the neural pathways of the positive self-thoughts and beliefs that we choose to reaffirm.

When using positive affirmations, it is important not to invalidate and push down negative feelings; those are there for a reason and they are often linked to deeply held beliefs and values. Instead, positive affirmations can help us tangibly lean into the side of ourselves that does hold some positive beliefs. Over time, those parts of ourselves will start to carry more weight than the sides that are quick to self-criticize or believe the worst.

Positive affirmations are the equivalent of filling up your diet with healthier foods versus focusing on what you shouldn’t eat when trying to get healthy.

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PhotoTherapy: An Introduction

PhotoTherapy: An Introduction

Last year I attended a PhotoTherapy Workshop in Vancouver, B.C. with Judy Weiser. Given my background as a therapist and a photographer, I was thrilled to see how my two passions could benefit my clients in a more powerful way.

What is phototherapy, you might ask?

Judy Weiser is passionate about it not being a modality, but a “set of tools to create a bridge to communicate thoughts, feelings, beliefs, expectations, values, assumptions” and the like. You know, the stuff that makes the world go ‘round.

On the first day of the workshop, Judy asked us to select a photo from 117 photocopied photographs laid out on the tables. Through the experiential use of the photo we chose, we came to understand a key tool of phototherapy: photo-projection. Photo-projection is the process of identifying and understanding the meaning we attribute to an image.

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Creative Approaches: Art Skills Not Required

Creative Approaches: Art Skills Not Required

Alongside traditional “talk therapy,” I often use creative approaches with clients in therapy. Honoring client’s choice is fundamental to my approach. However, different things work for different people. And, I am all about adapting the approach to the client’s needs.

So, what does it mean to get creative in therapy?

“Creative” is actually a broad term and not solely focused on the arts. In many ways, the therapy process itself is a collaborative, creative process to create change. With this in mind, the process of therapy will generally have creativity at it the heart of change. Even if we never pick up any art supplies in therapy.

An example of a creative approach could be creating mixed media projects to narrate a life story. We could use a creative approach to honor a lost loved one or show love to a difficult part of oneself. Additionally, creative approaches can help contain tough feelings, or remind us of our strengths.

However, working creatively in therapy can also include less artsy approaches. Like, going to a garden together to practice meditation, or utilizing guided visualizations. Painting our nails in therapy to practice self-care could also be seen as a creative approach.

Of course, it can also be as simple as using color to express emotions. Or, even, bringing your journal to therapy when it get’s hard to “figure out what to say.”

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The Power of Music

The Power of Music

Music. Oh, music.

Being a native from the Live Music Capital of the World – music is and always will be integrated into my life.

Music can give words and sounds to accurately describe any feeling state. It’s an art form that can validate and move you through various thoughts, feelings or life experiences. I find it amazing that it’s even possible to tell a story so creatively that it would be a full body experience. And, often, the stories of the music makers themselves are just as remarkable.

When trying to find the words to talk about music in this blog post, I connected with friends on Facebook to ask:

How has music affected you?

I was in awe of the responses…

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Beauty as Self-Care

Beauty as Self-Care

Dressing up, putting on makeup, adornment and the like, can feel like a cage for some people. And, choosing not to wear makeup or be adorned or fashionable is beautifully powerful.

For others, beauty (for the lack of a better term) is an incredible source of self-care and empowerment.

Viewing ourselves as a blank canvas provides limitless opportunities for some. Being creative with makeup, fashion or jewelry can be a way that we set our intention every day. Therefore, the process of beautification becomes a way of choosing and manifesting who you want to be.

For example, say you are feeling edgy and creative — you opt for wildly colorful eye makeup. At another time, you go for a professional front with a neutral palette with a touch of color on your lips and cheeks. Or when you’re feeling hot you use fashion to lean into and explore yourself as a sexual being. Consequently, war paint can be a superbly adaptive tool.

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