Hall of Shame

The Major League Baseball writers decided Wednesday to not accept Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens into its Hall of Fame.  They were not accepted into the hall due to the allegations that they used performance enhancing drugs(PEDS).  It was a huge statement by the writers to say that ballplayers who take PEDS in order to improve their performance are not Hall of Fame worthy.

This  Hall of Fame voting  got me to think more intently about this issue.  Would I take PEDS  to improve my performance– to  hear clients better, to become more perceptive,  to develop more insights and make changes occur faster?  People would get better faster, and would make more long lasting changes.  As a result, I could see more people, improve the quality of more client’s lives, and make more money.  There is no doubt that this would lead to appearances on talk shows, and calls for keynote addresses at conferences.  They would  hail me as that famous psychotherapist with that great new therapeutic technique in which people got  better, faster.

On the down side, every now and then I would act out in rage and yell at my clients for being stupid.  Most of them would know that this was just a therapeutic technique to get them better, and would ignore my behavior.  In addition, there would be a little buzz about how an above average therapist turned into a mega superstar in a short period of time.  There would be some allegations from a client who saw some pills on my desk—(he came in too early for his session). These would be explained  to the questioners as my vitamins that keep up my energy level.  I would explain to anyone who asked about  my new found success,  that it was a result of  working hard, and training regularly to become a better therapist.  When the state and federal boards would investigate allegations of Performance Enhancement, I would simply deny ever using PEDS.  When reporters and other investigators would come around asking questions of my use, I would deny over and over and over again that I had ever used PEDS, period.   Due to the embarrassment, the anguish, the sense of failure, the humiliation, my fading reputation,and the public’s loss of faith in therapy, I I would never own up to using PEDS. I would hold that secret forever.

Although Bonds, Sosa, and Clemens did not get into Baseball’s Hall of Fame, but they can be admitted to a far better place.  They are important entrants  into  the Hall of the Shame. This is a place where Bonds, Sosa and Clemens, can feel the remorse, guilt, shame, embarrassment and self loathing about their behavior. It’s a place where smug, arrogant and self-centered people hang out because they’re better, smarter, more manipulative, and more creative than the rest of the world.    In fact, The Hall   is a place where many of my clients had taken up residence until they realized that they could get out.  They recognized that by admitting what had happened, it gave them the freedom to begin to make change.  They were no longer bound by the code of secrecy.  They could make life style changes, become honest, and have integrity. They could change many of their behaviors and work on having a path of doing good and right deeds. They left their Hall of Shame plaque behind and moved onto living a healthier life.  The Hall of Shame is not a place that many people want entrance to, however it’s a place where addictions, infidelity, mental illness,  physical and sexual abuse take you to.  The best part, is that unlike the Hotel California, you can check out and leave it all behind.

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Happy New Year

 

Hope everyone had a safe, healthy, and sober new year.  In 2011, many great things happened to changeispossible.org. :

The website was redone and looks great. 

The Tales from the Office podcast started.

The Tales from the Office sound greatly improved.

and the best part–more great things are on the way–

Podcasts you can expect to hear in 2012 include:

Who Are You– a show about self esteem

Lyin Eyes– a show about infidelity

Prepositions of Communication–there are 3, and boy are they different

the 25 letter alphabet(-guess what letter is missing?).

and others yet to be named

 

In addition, I will making a presentation at the Depression, Bipolar, Support Alliance(DBSA) in Morristown NJ on January 25, 2012.  The topic is : Resentment and Depression.  You can read more about this here.

If you can’t make it to the presentation, (with any luck), highlights will be up on the site in the DBSA  section of the site:

http://www.changeispossible.org/dbsa/

In this section, you will also find 3 of my past DBSA presentations.  Please enjoy them as well.

 

Again Happy New Year, enjoy 2012. 

Feel free to follow me on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/changepossible

Please comment on any of the information of this site, it adds to the social aspect of this blog.

Thanks for reading.

 


 

 

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Betterman

It’s amazing what I hear while driving in my car:

In hearing this song last night driving home, I was struck by the number people I’ve worked with over the years that this song could apply to. These men or women are in addicted/abusive/unhealthy relationships,and think that they “can’t find a better man”(or woman). These people who like the person in the song “practice their speech”, but rarely say anything to their partner about their needs. Over time, because they haven’t expressed their needs, they don’t have needs, and decide that they “can’t find a betterman, oh”.

How does this happen? In my experience, many of the people I’ve worked with come from families who have the same addiction/abuse/chaos and dysfunction. It’s what they know, so therefore they can’t find that “betterman” because they have no idea what he or she might look like. All they can find is the repeat of their family of origin. They probably have stated at least to themselves, that they hate the behavior of family members (or the family members themselves), and when they get married, there is no way in hell, that they will marry a person who acts this way. When they meet that special one, and decide to cement the partnership, it’s no surprise (to me) that they do exactly the opposite of their goal–they repeat exactly what they hate!!!? Later in the relationship, as the dysfunction grows to be destructive, “she loves him, she don’t want leave this way, she feeds him, that’s why she’ll be back again” is the day to day refrain of the relationship–the person knows nothing else.

With all of this stuck, rigid, predictble day-to-day mess, how does this person end up in my office? This is one of the most exciting and interesting parts of my day. How does the person find the courage to talk about all of this stuff when arguably they’ve never talked to anyone in their life? (“no one else needs to know, she tells herself”) What prompts them to pick up that “10,000 pound phone” and say “I need to make an appointment”? Some people come in because of other issues– anxiety, depression, their own addictive behaviors, others ask a trusted friend, “what should I do?” Some people, miraculously as it seems to me, find their way because they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.

The first part of the journey is their own awareness that they don’t have to feel the way they do. They have other options. They can work on having feelings and validating them. They can identify their own personal boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. They can work on communicating the feelings and the boundaries. They can work on self care!!!–how to care about my needs, my wants, and feel like a real person. This is a long process, but a rather doable one. Each step of the way is highlighted by the person examining their own behaviors, motives, and feelings to “rewire” the dysfunctional family of origin wiring, and replace it with new, healthy, self care wiring. In the end, they can find a betterman(or woman) to complement their own growth,and their own happiness.
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We have met the enemy and it is us

The original concept behind a week in the life was to identify a common theme that occurred in my office and write about it. It was to be a kind of therapy diary—an opportunity to share my ideas with others. This topic goes back to the roots of the idea.

Many times people coming into therapy are upset with others around them–their spouses, employers, kids, family members, etc. Their anger, hurt, sadness, and fear is directed to those people, and how they have been treated unfairly. There have been people that I have seen over the years in which that’s all we talked about. For them, it’s what they needed – a chance to vent these feelings without carrying them around. This was helpful because it improved the quality of their life. Recently, a bunch of people have come in and have stated the standard “they are doing this to me” etc. However, in the session, something remarkable occurred. These people stated that they were responsible for other people’s reactions to them!!! They were asking “What role do I play in this?” “How have I contributed to my own unhappiness?” “What do I have to do to be better?”

It is exactly:

It’s amazing to me when this occurs–particularly with people who are coming to therapy for the first time. To have an insight like this is something that happens later in the therapy process. It is an “acquired taste”, which usually develops after the emotionality has decreased. For these new therapy entrants to ask the very insightful “what role do I play in this?” was very exciting and very energizing. It’s a statement of I want to work on ME– on my pain, on my issues.

The most interesting part of their insights was that it happened several times in the week. These were all different people with different sets of issues. I asked the very same question–”What’s my role in this?” I was probably more stumped than they were!!! Had I magically transformed my therapeutic skill to be able to direct people to insightful declarations earlier in therapy. Had I done something differently with these people than I have done over 26 years of being a therapist? Was this a function of too much snow in NJ in the months of January and February?

My conclusion to this stumper of a question was my belief in the power of change. People will change: when they are ready to change, have the right ingredients for change, and have the motivation for change. That was my role in this–I produced some of the right ingredients for the change process. People felt safe and not judged. They felt that they could open up and probe into themselves. They felt validated and understood. They were able to handle a little therapeutic “nudging” to push them a little further. Therapy is like a good recipe–the tastiness of the dish is not brought about by doing the exact same thing over and over. The tastiness occurs by adding a little of this or taking out a little of that. The end result is a good tasting meal. I’m going to keep “cooking” with my clients each and every session to keep making tasty dishes of change.

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