Excerpt from my book, Let Your Heart Out: How to Escape Your Thoughts and Reconnect with the Most Important Part of Yourself (available March 2018):
“What’s on your mind?” I asked opening up our weekly therapy session.
“Oh, I’m really anxious today for some reason. You know my friend Caitlin? Well, I just always feel like she is purposefully leaving me out or something.” She appeared noticeably anxious today, sitting up straight, shaking her foot, fiddling her hands in her hair.
“And?” Sometimes all it takes is one word to lead a person to their own solutions. My supervisor in residency called this “the mental tap.”
“And… it’s frustrating. I feel left out. Like yesterday, I kept texting her to see if she wanted me to come over and bring her food. I had been asking all week. She never got back to me. I know she would’ve liked it since she was home with the baby and all. Well, she never even texted...
It seems that everyone has an opinion on selfies these days. Some people love them, others hate them. Our fitness-fanatical society biases our minds to believe that selfies are those half naked photos of before/ after transformation photos or bodybuilding competition photos. With this skewed vision, it's easy to feel unworthy anytime we glance a view of our less-than-airbrushed, perfectly-ordinary selves.
Nonetheless, the issue of selfies, body checking, and mirror exposure arise with my patients and clients. Should I look at myself? Should I take more selfies? (I mean, selfies did initially begin in an effort to help one girl gain more confidence with photos of herself.) Or the flip, how can avoid mirrors and photographs? Will I ever like what I see in the mirror or a photograph? So, I figured I should settle things with a few points of my own.
Most women I work with have highly charged negative emotions around their appearance....
Whoever said sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you has never actually had any painful words spoken to them before.
We all experience painful words a time or two whether it’s like real true bullying or abuse or just like really painful, hurtful words, we all go through it. I want to give you some steps to help you go past it so you don’t keep holding a grudge or resentment against people in your life because possibly these are the people that love you the most. Here are 5 steps to help you overcome those painful, hurtful words that people tell us.
This may seem super basic but I want you to actually experience those emotions that you have. If someone said something really mean to you, be sad. If you are angry about what somebody said, be angry. Allow yourself to embrace those emotions.
We tend to suppress our emotions so often and then we avoid feeling those feelings by doing things like...
After the holiday rush ends, we’re left with the cold, dark of winter. Even in Texas, where things usually don’t get too cold, this time of year can be difficult. Being cooped up inside with bickering kids and grumpy spouses can make anyone get cabin fever. The cold winter months are enough to make even the most optimistic amongst us feel…well, dark and dreary.
Let me share with you my tips for beating the winter blues.
The Scandinavians have a saying that "there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes." While there are definitely days that put this theory to the test, growing up in Colorado, I can attest to the wonder of quality winter clothing.
My mother was a single mother who raised me on a teacher’s salary, so quality was something that was not always easily acquired. Thankfully, it taught me some frugal tips that I can now happily share with everyone else!
The shrink's couch has been dubbed a sacred place.
From the Freudian days to modern times, seeing a therapist is frought with many conflicting emotions, thoughts and feelings. I'm sure none of us dream of seeing a psychiatrist or therapist in our lifetime. If we grew up in traditional environments, there may even be significant shame or guilt attached to "having to see" a therapist.
I know that by the time people come to see me, they have done everything in their power to "heal themselves." And they are desperate. They are warriors.
People come and share their darkest, scariest, and most shameful thoughts. Thoughts often not shared with anyone else in their lives. Maybe ever.
The work that happens in session with me is truly miraculous, but it is not because of me. I'm not a magician. I don't have extra special powers. Interestingly enough, I am usually just the instrument that helps play the melody that's already within my patients and clients.
For the record, I fully...
Today I want to talk about your fantasies!
No, not that kind of fantasy... get your mind out of the gutter!
Your fantasies about being a mom!
I know you have them because we all do. I had them. For me, I wanted to be a mom from a really young age. I just never expected anything different for my life. It was never even a conscious decision I made for myself. I think I just assumed that when you get to be a certain age that every woman becomes a mom. And I can see how it starts young, because I have a little girl and already she’s asking me how to become a mom, and when she can be a mom, and she wants to be a mommy just like me — her mom.
It’s become the cultural expectation that we women all become moms. This kind of expectation also comes with the unspoken notion that because we were all “created to be” mothers that we will, as a result, love every second of being a mother.
Then, when we have bad days, it is easy for us to start to feel guilty and judge...
I’ve always been pretty. Sure, I had the awkward braces-and-acne phase like any adolescent. My awkwardness was more short-lived than others, though. And fortunately, I’ve never thought I was ugly. I’ve also never had the societal and cultural pressures to change parts of myself that I had no control over… until I realized what little control I had over my weight.
While I’ve always been pretty, I’ve also never felt thin enough. A competitive gymnast growing up, I related my body with a score. I literally would be given a numerical value based on what I looked like. We could say that the score came from how my body performed certain acrobatics and routines, but when you see enough girls with smaller bodies score higher with poor form, you realize the fallacy. And there began the belief that the size and shape of my body determined my self-worth.
It didn’t matter that I was a straight A honors student, an accomplished athlete, a gifted...
I’m going to share with you an exercise that I learned from a good friend of mine back in college. This friend of mine, she had just gone through multiple relationships, kind of back to back, and she hadn’t been single for a while, so she developed this exercise in her life to sort of reclaim her own identity, and she called it “Dating Herself.” And that’s exactly what she did!
She went on all these little dates with herself. She went to the movies by herself. She got a massage by herself. She went for coffee by herself. She went to a restaurant by herself. All these things that you would imagine doing with other people, or maybe as women we’re sort of embarrassed to do by ourselves, she was doing it on her own. And for her, at this time in her life, it was really important that she reclaim her identity, and that she reconnect with her authentic true self.
Sometimes when we’ve been living for someone else—our husband, our baby, our...
Popular opinion instructs you to “Start with your WHY.” However, it may come as a shock to you that this goes against every psychodynamic philosophy I’ve ever learned. One of my early psychodynamic psychotherapy supervisors recited his “Therapy Pearls of Wisdom” frequently. The first Pearl was: Don’t ask your patient why, because they don’t know. If you think about it, he is right. Why we say certain words or engage in certain behaviors is largely unconscious. You may give lip service to a superficial why—based on insecurities, biases, or external judgment, but you are surely struggling to uncover the actual why.
As you will soon see, things are never as they seem. Likely, what you observe to be your problems at a conscious level are not the real problems at all. This is probably why your traditional self-help solutions have not worked either. You haven’t been able to uncover the real problem in the first place.
All you really...
I was never very good at video games when I was a kid. A lack of spatial reasoning, they call it. I also wasn’t allowed to have Nintendo as a child either. That may have something to do with it. Still, I remember trying to navigate a colonoscopy scope in medical school. For a while, I thought I wanted to specialize in gastroenterology, so I interned with a gastroenterologist for a summer. He allowed me to experiment with the scope. They use scopes to perform endoscopies and colonoscopies. It’s basically just what it sounds like—a long tube with a small camera on the end and a couple of switches on the handle to navigate the camera and the forceps that pinch the lining of the gut to remove polyps or pathology samples.
I never got the hang of it. You have to watch a television screen and guide your scope based on what you see on this small screen. I would run into the gut wall, miss a curve in the small intestine, not puncture the epithelium in the right location....