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Don’t Be the Duck

A client once told me a story about a mother duck and her baby. They were lost and starving, and the Department of Natural Resources was searching for them to provide shelter and food. To save them. But the mother duck did not want to be found. Why? Because as my client said, “They think…
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Before You Can Come in, You Have to Get Past the Voices

What does it mean to begin a psychotherapy journey? Walking into a therapist’s office involves entering foreign, unknown territory. Most people aren’t comfortable taking this step. Walking in means we’re admitting we want to fix a problem – and that’s pretty hard when most of us spend our lives believing we don’t have problems. Or…
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I Will Wait You Out

You come in desperate for help, yet defended and barely letting me interact. You won’t stop talking, repeating over and over again your own unique way of making sense of your behaviors. You are a big façade of defenses, carrying your sword and shield. Always ready to swing. Always ready to fight, to dismiss, to chop down anyone…
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And Yet…

Sometimes I am too tired to do battle with their bubbles of denial. Sometimes I can barely sit near them in those webs of rationalizations they spin around themselves. (I have spun a few of those webs myself.) And yet… Sometimes I care in ways I didn’t think I cared. Sometimes my caring seems to…
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Seeing the Full You Means the Light and the Dark

We’re taught from a young age that some thoughts and feelings are good and some bad. Some are acceptable, while others are not. That we shouldn’t be seeing the full you. And in society, this is — to a large extent — quite true. But not in therapy. When you’re with me, I think it’s…
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Learning the Language of Feelings

One of the first tasks of psychotherapy is learning the language of feelings. Years ago, I used to joke that my own therapist didn’t listen to anything I said unless it was connected to a feeling of some sort. It seemed he had an obsession with “feelings.” And for someone who was emotionally shut off — as I…
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What Therapy Teaches Us about Choices

We tend to think of the choices we’ve made as either-or. Yes or no. Good or bad. I prefer to think of them in a different way: necessary. That’s right. Every single choice we have ever made in our lives was a necessary one. Necessary does not mean good or bad. It does not mean…
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