What’s It All Mean, Anyhow?

Le Penseur, Rodin

The Thinker is a famous sculpture created by Rodin located
in a beautiful garden under the same name in Paris. It is among one of the best representations of the ways the human mind ruminates, processes, reviews, analyzes, turns over, unpacks, and explores a multiplicity of ideas.

The capacity of the human mind to think about things may feel endless at times. In this way, the capacity to think is both a gift and a burden.

Sometimes, you may find that you think about your problems over and over
again in a circular fashion ruminating over experiences, memories, or facts without relief. In these cases, your thinking may feel burdensome and heavy. Your thoughts may weigh you down causing mental anguish and low mood.

At other times, you may think in a more direct and linear fashion coming to
a decision or insight without any great difficulty at all. In these cases, your
thinking may inspire you to change your life personally, professionally, or
socially. All great inventions begin with a thought or idea mostly evolving in
relation to a problem or dilemma.

It is in your human capacity to think that solutions to your
problems or dilemmas come to light, or more simply stated, become
clear
. In a clinical sense, the human capacity to think about
problems in new and diverse ways is the necessary first step to personal
understanding and deeper meaning about your own life.

In order to interrupt, disrupt, or break a repetitive, circular, habitualized, or patterned way of thinking, new thoughts, ideas, perspectives, views, and meanings about your problems are needed.

Even silly new ideas about persisting negative and challenging
thoughts about your problems introduce critical new energy, perspectives, hypotheses, and views that hold the promise of growth and change. Your ability to think becomes your vehicle of escape from mental imprisonment
often created by cognitive distortions familiar to most people.

One such distortion is negative filtering whereby you habitually favour
detrimental, pessimistic, and emotionally damaging interpretations of events over more positive, balanced, and realistic perspectives generated by your rational mind. The task of psychotherapy is to go deeper into your introspective journey in order to unpack the reasons that you resist, reject, or fail to accept rational explanations for events or situations in your life. 

Finding the right therapist to help you with this exciting journey of self-discovery involves a process of trusted sharing with a professional who establishes clear boundaries and safety for healthy psychotherapy processes to occur. Exposing your personal thoughts to a professional and identifying your feelings associated with life experiences guarantees deeper understanding of your problems, and why you continue to think about things negatively. 

Revealing your deeply-held feelings of trauma associated with emotional pain, fear,  disappointment, and loss with your psychotherapist over time will ease your troubled mind and provide you with a new way to make sense of it all. 

The human mind and your ability to think has fascinated scientists,
neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and philosophers for centuries. It may also fascinate you, and lead you on a journey of discovery that answers your questions about what it all means anyhow!!!! 

By Dr. Lisa Romano-Dwyer

#wellness #healthy #DoThinkFeelWell

Friends and Self-Esteem

One of the most critical impacts of modern living in large urban settings is the role of personal friendships with like-minded people. Finding, making, sustaining, and keeping friends is not always easy. You are likely to have different friends over the course of a lifetime and perhaps, where fortunate a handful of people who stick by you over the entire span of your adult life.

The developmental importance of having friends emerges in adolescence when tasks of individuation become paramount and central to healthy growth and adult wellbeing. Healthy adolescents begin to seek to the company of peers over family. Although parents and siblings remain vitally important to young teenagers, learning to be with comfortable with people other than family is usually experienced as an exciting time of social exploration. Adolescence may also include periods of intense emotional upset, confusion, and pain as young people find the right fit for their needs at that particular time.

Limited to friends at school and in local communities, your first experiment with friendships were probably with people living close to your home. As you moved onto post-graduate studies, a new job, a new city or country, your circle of friends likely also expanded to include people whose company, values, and humour you appreciate and admire.

How do you recognize when it is time to look for new friends? How do you know that it is safe to invite new people into your inner circle of buddies? The following signs are usually good indicators that you are ready for new friends:

  1. You begin to feel overwhelmed by your supportive role offering a helping hand or shoulder to cry on.
  2. You start to feel as though the friendship is mostly one-sided where you needs, thoughts, concerns, or opinions are dismissed or ignored.
  3. You feel as though your friend has taken advantage of your kindness failing to host dinner parties, pay for a coffee tab, or to forget your birthday or important anniversary.
  4. You have frequent tinges of emotional pain after a conversation or casual get together where things said feel unnecessarily insensitive or intentionally hurtful.
  5. You feel less pretty, smart, funny, or compassionate after socializing and experience a loss of self-esteem over years together.

Some social rivalry between friends is normal. However, you deserve healthy self-esteem and only you know the impact that your friends have had on your sense of self.

Healthy friendships improve your self-esteem. You feel supported, loved, and appreciated for the things you say, the views you hold dear to your heart, and acts of kindness you do to cheer people up when life is tough or just because. Healthy friendships are true social gifts of time, life pleasures, good times, entertainment, food, travel, company, and humour. A true friend is there for you when you are in most need. A true friend understands when life beckons you away for periods of time and remains in touch despite distances or illnesses. True friends are forgiving and caring. A good friend is always there and conversations pick-up as though no time has passed.

Give yourself permission to find new friends and to exercise gratitude for past friendships that you had along the way. Despite the grief you may feel over the loss of past friendships, an aging heart that remains open and faithful to the belief in the goodness of others will help you grow new friends.

Sunny dispositions deserve to shine!!!!

#wellness #counsellingforhearthealth #friends #self-esteem

Loyalty and Friendship

Loyalty is more than an idea – it is an experience that reveals itself after years of everyday life with friends.

Loyalty is an experience you have with other people. It is more than an idea. It is a common human virtue you value in the home, at work, and in community organizations. It is something that most people hold dear to their hearts, and completely understand when it is absent. From a clinical perspective, people will often express many symptoms of emotional pain associated with experiences of betrayal with friends, professional colleagues, romantic partners, spouses, and business partners. It is not easy for people to articulate these feelings at first. It takes time for people to identify abandonment, rejection, and loss. Of course, the most profound and long-lasting effects of abandonment & rejection occurs in people whose primary attachment was insecure.

Attachment theory has been researched for years. It underpins most interventions that work to repair deep-seated experiences of fear and anxiety created by inconsistent responses used to nurture the baby in order to reduce distress. There are several studies that demonstrate the importance of your parent-child attachment in the first two years of life. Insecure attachments have been correlated with poor outcomes, even more so than angry attachments. Attachment has more to do with the quality of emotional connection you establish with your baby, than the number of hours you spend with your children.

There are some fundamental assumptions that underlie attachment theory that are contestable in some circles. It places responsibility on the parent, usually a mother for setting a responsive nurturing pattern with a baby. How a parent responds to a crying infant is one of the key indicators of attachment. Of course, early days caring for an infant creates emotionally and physically exhausted parents. Having two mutually supportive parents during this early stage is associated with better outcomes, especially where the primary parental connection is loving, strong, and respectful. Single parents are certainly working harder than two-parent households. It is during these early days that a baby learns whether the world is a safe and nurturing place, or not.

An angry attachment happens whenever a baby cries for help, and the parent responds with frustration, tension and anger. The baby’s temperament shapes this primary relationship as well. Some babies are truly fussier than others. The infant whose parent responds with an angry style learns to self-soothe and usually falls asleep. Insecure attachments occur when an infant is unable to predict the primary parents’ response, which may include both nurturing and rejecting styles. It is this unexpected response style that creates anxiety. A nurturing parent consistently responds to the child’s needs first; assessing what or when to intervene, reading the child’s emotional cues for pain correctly, and working to protect and care for the baby.

This secure attachment style has the best long-term outcomes and often leads to emotionally resilient adults who demonstrate stick-with-it-ness with loved ones when trouble happens. They grow with the people closest to them. They create a loving and mutually nurturing style of negotiation on big decisions in life like exclusive coupling, moving in together, getting married, going back to school, changing professions, investing in a home or the market, having a child together, and more. People with secure attachment styles are emotionally present for one another through serious acute and chronic illnesses such as cancer or depression, job loss, grief, and even deceit including extra-martial sexual affairs.

Adults with secure attachments seek emotional support from close friends and partners. They turn to one another, not on, or at each other. They lean on one another and decide next steps together. Of course, people with secure attachments decide to end marriages or to uncouple. However, this decision is usually addressed openly and honestly. It may include a mature conversation where one partner expresses the need to move on, feeling unhappy, emotionally or sexually unfulfilled. This decision to separate is painful, but true friends want people they love or loved in the past to be happy, even if that means moving on without them.

Loyal friends and couples are generally happy people whose love and respect for one another grows over a lifetime together. They are not threatened by their partner’s need to grow and are open to enjoy the journey together. They problem solve together. What have your reflections about your primary attachment with your parents revealed for you? How do you actively work to address or repair your own need for experiences of secure emotional attachments with people? Do you feel confident about co-regulating your clients’ anxieties around the reasons they are seeking therapy from you?

#wellness #healthy #secureattachments #bestoutcomes #resilient