Here is a piece that I wrote for the Expert Beacon website:
Feel free to share this with people in need of getting sober
Here is a piece that I wrote for the Expert Beacon website:
Feel free to share this with people in need of getting sober
If all addictions are shame based, then female sexual addiction is the “shame de la shame” of all addictions.
Here is a nice piece done by a Vancouver News station about female sexual addiction:
If this video struck a chord please look at this assessment:
Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss your answers. The shame only continues if you keep it a secret.
My office is full of conversations. Many are sad and painful. Others are joyous and happy. When a client has lots of pain, particularly in the beginning stages of therapy, they need as many resources as possible. I will often recommend that a client get a particular book in order to continue their progress between our sessions.
At my pinterest account, some of my favorite and most recommended books are pinned. They are listed with a brief comment about each book. You can find the list here.
Let me know which ones you’ve read that have been helpful . If there are ones that are not listed, let me know those as well. Happy reading!!!
What questions do you get asked over and over again about your practice?
My model of therapy involves having two way conversations. Like most conversations, there are discussions and questions. Some of the questions are logistical—payment, appointments etc, others are more therapeutic. The question that comes up more often is actually not directed towards me. It is a question asked rhetorically by my clients about their right to have their feelings. These are a few samples:
“Why should I be depressed? I have everything that anyone would want.”
“Why should I be upset about my bonus? There are so many people who don’t have jobs? “
“I really shouldn’t be upset about my husband talking to that woman at the party, should I?”
This sample of questions shows that people doubt their self perceptions and right to feel. Self doubts then lead to self loathing about not only feeling these feelings, but having them in the first place. Their self perception is that they are weak, shallow, and ungrateful people. This process of invalidation followed by self loathing becomes a downward spiral of lower self esteem. What a crappy process!!!
How do we change this process? Give myself permission. What does that mean? According to thefreedictionary.com, permission means – approval to do something. When I give myself permission, I am granting myself the approval to have feelings, and feel my feelings. That is powerful permission!! Permission also comes with its own self-talk channel. This “channel” can run in my head at any time and tell me “it’s ok to have these feelings”; “it’s ok to feel these feelings”. This ongoing permissive self-talk gives me the power to own my feelings. They are mine after all!!! Once I start the process of permission, I can then challenge my self doubts and self perceptions and can empower myself to be a more feeling person. If I can own my feelings without the self doubt, I can then work on changing other bad patterns and cycles.
Remember, change is possible!
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
Royce White is a professional basketball player. At least he and his current employer, the NBA’s Houston Rockets want him to be one. Royce has yet to play a minute this season in spite of the fact that he was their number one draft pick. You may ask why is this? Royce White is challenging the Rockets and ultimately the NBA’s way of looking at mental illness. White has both Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obesessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) and wants to have his own mental health Physician to determine if he is fit to play on game days. White sees mental illness and physical illness as the same and has asked the Rockets to see things his way. The Rockets just want him on the floor to shoot, rebound and score, the same traits that they saw in him in last year’s NCAA’s basketball tournament. The conflict between the Rockets and White has led him to be suspended by the team. Mr. White is stuck in a moment that he cannot get out of.
My definition of anxiety is that people with anxiety issues think way too much about things that most people don’t think about at all. On HBO’s Real Sports, White showed us his excessive thinking. He was obsessed with other people’s driving and texting. He shared about his fear of flying, and showed us his excessive organization of his closet. It’s very clear, after the Real Sports segment, that although White may be a great basketball player, it’s his anxiety that has placed him in his current position. This does not make him unique at all. Many clients that I’ve seen over the years are stuck in their anxiety. They have irrational thinking, avoid scary places, and feel terribly out of control. In addition, they are constantly having “what if” thinking about everything. The amazing part about my anxious clients is not their disorder, but how they change. Whether challenging their perceived “safety zone”, changing their thinking, or by taking healthy risks, they manage to step by step feel better and get better. It’s a fascinating journey from stuck to free.
Although he is stuck in a moment that he can’t get out of with his career, Royce White has great goals. He said during the interview that he wants to be a good person because he knows that anxiety can lead to alcoholism, drug addiction, homicide and suicide if not properly treated. I too have seen this phenomena about untreated illnesses leading to bigger problems. Perhaps Bono knew this as well since “Stuck in a Moment” is written about the deceased INXS singer Michael Hutchins who committed suicide. The Royce White’s of the world or any of my clients, need to know that if you are that stuck there is hope. The last line of the song gives us this- “It’s just a moment, this time will pass”
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.
(The original version of this blog was written after Superstorm Sandy. It was a narrative of the events of the storm and the many feelings that were going on. The original was “written’ in my head at 5AM one day as I was hoping and praying to go back to sleep. Making a decision to not get up and write this at 5am in a house void of power and heat would have made a long day, longer. For people in new york, Hoboken, South Jersey and theJersey Shore, Sandy has been nothing but longer days. Although it makes me feel guilty for writing about my lost power and lost heat, these are my reflections and recollections of the “lost week”)
As everyone knows the date of October 29, 2012 will always be with us as the date that Superstorm Sandy (SSS)decimated much o fNJ, created havoc, chaos and unforeseen damage. Sss for people in northern NJ was a long drawn out process creating anticipation and anxiety. The beginnings of the stages of grief started that Monday,–there was denial—“they don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re always wrong”. As the storm progressed there was bargaining “ok the people in NY and in the shore, they’re getting it bad, maybe we’ll just have some rain and a little wind.” There was more denial, more bargaining and then darkness.
The darkness was the onset of many of the feelings we began to feel. Here are some of them;
1)anxiety, boredom, isolation
The darkness brought anticipatory anxiety– When will the power come back? How long will this last? Is there some place to go? The anxiety gave us ultimate powerlessness. We lacked control. Most people are used to structure, control, and predictability in their lives. When the rug gets pulled on these, you get lots of anxiety. This anxiety for many had physiological symptoms which made the anxiety worse. The worsening anxiety led to a decrease in functioning which made for a very bad time. In addition to anxiety, there was an increase in isolation. In the state of emergency that we were in, staying in was the only safe option. However, staying home in cold and dark homes increased the isolation, anxiety, and boredom. Once the state of emergency lifted, the gas crisis hit. The anxiety and isolation were multiplied because people were afraid to go far, fearful of having to be either without gas, or waiting on monster gas lines. So the alternative was to stay home. Staying in the dark and cold also increased our boredom. The boredom increased once 5pm happened since it was darker. The draining of energy due to anxiety, isolation and boredom became a new stressor due to the monotony of life.
2) anger, depression
As the days went on, people’s anger and frustration increased. JCP&L became an easy target. they were the bad guys, they messed up, how could they have dropped the ball again-after Hurricane Irene just one year earlier? Some of us vented this anger at JCP&L customer service reps(sorry) who were overmatched and underinformed.
People began to run out of gas for their generators and cars and searched for gas. People lined up for hours, at times based on only a rumor that a particular station would open. Other people started their search in the early morning trying to avoid the lines. Others sojourned to Pennsylvania where there was less impact by sss. Gas lines brought out the worst in people. There were fist fights, arguments, and more expressions of people’s total lack of control and ultimate panic.
Our lack of electrical power, left our electronic devices as a nice pieces of plastic with little value beyond that. Charging stations opened in all communities and although this should have increased hope, and decreased isolation, it actually increased frustration, anger and depression.
In addition, people spent a good amount of time at home avoiding gas lines, and seemingly increasing their safety and security. However, As the week went on, family members spent way too much time together. This caused frustration and tension and many conflicts within couples and families.
As bad as the anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and isolation were, oddly, there were also positive things that happened as a result of the storm.
3) increased family connections
Family members talked and talked and talked. There were no technological distractions. People could share stories, events, and history of things that were rarely talked about. Kids played board(bored) games and cards. Some turned the experience into a camping trip using fireplaces and having that “roughing it” experience of camping.
4) people were nicer
As much as some people were short tempered, there was also a sense of community—we were all in this together. Everyone was compassionate about other people’s struggles. We wanted to listen to their stories about lack of power, heat, and water. In one local bagel place, it sounded like group therapy, with everyone sharing their particular issue. In addition, I heard many stories of neighbors helping neighbors with food, gas, tree cutting, running electrical extensions to generators. In the nicest and weirdest story, absolute strangers joining the cause to help others
5) people utilized skills that they typically wouldn’t
Many people used all of their “handy man skills”, especially when typically they don’t use them. Trees got cut, people rigged up ways to continue to survive. For me, I did the unthinkable, I waited on lines. I have a well know “line allergy”. I do not stand on checkout lines. In fact, I hardly go to stores. However in sss, I gratefully sat on a gas line, stood on line at dunkin donuts, waited for a table at a restaurant. I think this metamorphosis of my personality was in part due to a lack of things to do. Since I was unable to work due to the lack of power, these tasks became my new work. My goal for the day—get gas-check. Need warm beverages and food-check. Necessity and survival allow people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
The stages of grief—(denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) were all the stages we went through with sss. It was strange when acceptance occurred—all the energy used to fight the difficult feelings went away. It just was a situation that would eventually have an end, And it did. One month later we are all changed in some way by this storm. As 2012 comes to an end for us northern NJ people, we will think about our pain and hopefully be grateful that it’s over. In the other local areas, it will be a long time until their nightmare ends.
I usually associate many memories with music. Many of these songs are storm related, so it will take a while before people hear the following songs in quite the same way:
This one, however, captures my exact feelings and is the one I’ll hold onto for a long time:
Hope all of you have recovered from the storm. Please share your storm experiences.
A great video that explains how people will self-medicate to treat their illness
Here is the latest episode of Tales From the Office
Make the Best of What’s Around
Today’s show is a combination of 2 of my loves, music and sports. The first “make the best of what’s around” tells us about some very courageous folks who seem to know how to get by and get ahead in spite of major obstacles. The second tale “the daily racing form” is sage advice if you’re looking to get to winner’s circle in the most important race you’ll ever run.
Thanks to Spreaker, episodes of Tales from the Office can now be found on my You Tube page. To access the page go here
Enjoy one more way to listen to the podcast
New episodes are coming!!!