Tag: emotional pain

To Bear Witness to Pain

Some days, the news of the world weighs heavily on me. Earthquakes, war, violence in our neighborhoods. Sometimes the horrors creep in a little too close to home—illness, loss, betrayal. How often do we find ourselves bearing witness to another person’s suffering? How often do we stand idly by, knowing nothing that we say or... Read more »

A Rube-Goldberg Machine That Doesn't Know When to Stop

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Remember this video? It came out 5 years ago, and like millions of others, I watched it over and over. I love me a good Rube-Goldberg machine. There is something so satisfying yet nerve-wracking about them. If you’re not familiar with Rube-Goldberg machines, think Mousetrap Game. A whole lot of little mechanical maneuvers—each triggering the... Read more »

If “Ifs” and “Buts” Were Candy and Nuts …

In a post on Elephant Journal, Wendy Reese writes about her addiction to making excuses. She describes how her life revolved around her excuse for not “showing up fully” and how she hid behind perceived limitations. I started thinking about this idea of making excuses and the beliefs and rules attached to that. It seems... Read more »

Body Image and Feminism

“I hate my body; I’m a bad feminist.” Many of my 20-something clients self-identify as feminists, but they worry that their body image issues undermine the sisterhood. Aside from the burden of counting each and every calorie, closely monitoring their BMI, and reassuring themselves that they still have the requisite “thigh gap,” many young women... Read more »

The “Pro-Ana” Rabbit Hole

Sometimes my husband gets deeply involved in online genealogy research. So when he says he went “down the rabbit hole,” odds are he’s spent some time browsing census records. Or he might be down the Google Maps rabbit hole, scoping out bike trails and campgrounds. I went down grimmer rabbit hole the other night. Pro-ana... Read more »

Facing Those Gnarly Emotional Waves

I recently learned about urge surfing. This mindfulness practice offers an alternative to white-knuckling through an impulse or craving. Psychologist Alan Marlatt, PhD, used this concept when working with clients recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. But the technique seems useful for any addictive behavior or bad habit. Research suggests that suppression of urges... Read more »

Confronting Stigma: Borderline Personality Disorder

For many, getting the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) comes as a relief. Finally, something to explain the mood swings, constant fear of abandonment, and relationship challenges. For others, it becomes an obstacle to treatment. Understandably, working with someone with BPD can be quite challenging, and often therapists allow only a few in their... Read more »

Skinned Knees and Broken Hearts

I fell down the other day. Nothing particularly dramatic. I was trying to step over a parking lot divider. My coat was sort of long and I got one leg over but just couldn’t quite get that other one to cooperate. Down I went. Aside from being embarrassed, I was fine. Later, when I was... Read more »

Meet “The Shredder"

We adopted our dog Owen in 2008 from a rescue organization. He is a West Highland white terrier, but when we met him, we could not find the “white.” Owen had never been bathed or groomed. Our new 11-month-old puppy was filthy and stinky but very sweet. Owen is fairly smart and remarkably not a... Read more »

Confronting Stigma: Understanding Self-Injury

Happy Holidays! Let’s talk about non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Yay, right? No, I’m not trying to be a downer, but for some, the holidays trigger high levels of stress and anxiety. And some turn to NSSI to relieve their intense feelings. Family visits, travel, shopping, disruptions to sleeping and eating patterns—all of these can up-end our... Read more »