Photo credt: Rosalind Bank
Many therapists have "branded" their practices: Winding Road, Finding Yourself, Path to Fulfillment, Thoughtful Change, etc. etc. Nice, calm and creative names. They have a blog and a podcast. They pitch themselves on Youtube. What does it all mean? To be honest, I'm not sure.
I just finished reading "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" and it was good. Better than I expected in this hallowed Irvin Yalom corner of the world where therapy becomes the drama for a book, filled with colorful anectdotes and insights. Marketing works. That lady is probably really busy now! I am already really busy. I don't even want to be really busy!
Balance is more what I'm after with myself and my patients. I have taken the week off to practice what I preach: get away, take time to breathe, visit the doctor, take a walk with a friend. These things are priceless right now. After counseling young adults about going back to college in a pandemic, I need to see some teens who are thriving. They are! They will! The world may yet be the same, but perhaps we can now hope for progressive change for all? With all the terrible of 2020, will there be a chance to reset, evolve, move forward? I sure hope so. Kamala Harris, no matter her potential flaws, is a ground breaking choice. Let's try to be better!
My therapy practice consists of patience, reassurance and routine. I don't impose any critiques on my patients that I don't try on myself. I am not above it all; I am right there with you. Being the therapist means you also engage in self-care. It means that if the process itself is slow that's OK. It means if you have been traumatized in this life, there's time for you and I to heal. I have discovered for myself that "the body keeps the score." After a lifetime of therapy, adding Yoga to my own practice has illuminated the meaning of mind/body. You do your CBT, then you do your DBT. In other words, gain empathy, gain strength and insight and distress tolerance, then do body work to integrate everything, consolidate, put the energy where it belongs. Put your money where your mouth is. Learn to calm down.
Perfectionism is our curse. In my Inhale Peace practice I am teaching young people to take more risks, to get out of their rooms, to do something creative, purposeful and consistent, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. Have a reason to wake up each day and make MISTAKES. Making mistakes, as Aaron Beck has repeatedly pointed out, is the ONLY way we learn and gather experience. Avoidance only reinforces avoidance. How easy it is! But how constricting. Boredom, not depression is the scourge of young people. Don't mistake boredom for depression. Boredom can be remedied. In fact, why not do something new today? Go around the block if you haven't been out. Start small. Cook dinner for your family! Take a ride. One of my clients tried a new coffee place every day during quarantine. It's his only daily adventure! Get off your phones. Try online learning. Although I haven't been too happy doing Yoga online, get outside and take a stretch. Move around. Yes the body holds the stress, the mind perpetuates it. Take a break! Really. It can't hurt.