REAL TALK

Sorting Your Needs Through Ice Cream Goggles

Sorting Your Needs Through Ice Cream Goggles

Sometimes life’s a shithead. Handing us one thing after another. Not letting us catch a break. It becomes hard to keep up with basic things — like laundry. If we were to run a contest to determine the best ways to measure stress, laundry piles would surely be in the top 5.

We’ve all been there in those times when everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control.

When things slow down we often aren’t sure which issue to prioritize and attend to first. That sense of not knowing where to start can become a stressor or trigger itself further derailing us from moving forward.

By all means, we all possess our own unique ways of getting things calm again. And, if you already have your go-to methods — you do you!

However, if you are totally unsure, here’s a potential starting place for you.

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Resilience through Baby Moments of Connection

Resilience through Baby Moments of Connection

From Malta, my partner and I headed to Friuli, the region my partner is from, to visit family and attend a wedding. We had to take two planes to get to the Venice airport. Then it’s about an hour’s drive to his parent’s house.

My partner’s brother, sister-in-law, their infant and toddler agreed to pick us up from the airport in Venice. However, my partner inadvertently told them the flight departure time instead of the flight arrival time.

Thus, not only did the two little ones have to endure two hours of being in a car, but also another hour waiting at the airport.

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5 Parallel Processes of Photography & Psychotherapy

5 Parallel Processes of Photography & Psychotherapy

Over the past few days, we have been exploring Malta. Some of the places here are older than the pyramids in Egypt. One of the places we loved is called Mdina (pronounced like you are saying the letter M then dina, not Medina).

Mdina is a walled city that was founded by Phoenician settlers about 3,000 years ago. Like many old places, it was taken over by various groups of people and they pretty much built on top of whatever was built before. Much of what you can see there today was built about 700 years ago by the Normans. It’s absolutely beautiful and impressively maintained. It’s as if you are walking among ruins that haven’t been ruined.

Naturally, I was inspired to take lots of photos. And, all of these photos got me thinking about the parallel process of being a psychotherapist and doing photography. Here are 5 parallel processes that came to mind:

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Cotton Candy Could be the Trigger

Cotton Candy Could be the Trigger

I’ve been working in the domestic and sexual violence field formally for about 6 years. However, my experience with such things spans a lot longer time span. As such, I can’t help but view trauma, triggers, and our work from my own unique lens as a survivor.

Before I even get started here, I must say that I do not expect anyone else – fellow survivor or not – to think as I do on this (or anything else really). We often experience the same traumas in different ways with different thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Rightly so.

So let’s get to the meat of it now, shall we? My work and training have presented me with a bit of a conundrum: from a place of great concern and care, there has been a strong emphasis on avoidance of triggers – language, visuals, scents that could be triggering.

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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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