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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Stymied Again? Part One

Think outside the box... it's where the best i...

Think outside the box… it’s where the best ideas live. (Photo credit: ArtJonak)

Before the thing, comes the idea.  Before the thing, comes the plans.  Then comes the thing.  Be inventive.  Be creative.  As they say, “Think outside of the box!”

Most of us get stymied at one time or another and have a problem, but no solution.  Do you give up?  I did.  I have since learned to persevere and as a result, I get a lot more done.  For example, housekeeping involves a lot of picking up stuff and putting it away.  When you can’t figure what to do with something, you often stop what you are doing and go on to something else leaving what you were doing unfinished.

Use your imagination.  Pause, take a deep breath, and wait for inspiration.  Think of a new way of doing something and let the old way go.  I realized recently that I had not been doing that.  I’d usually just give up and not get what I was doing done.

It takes practice and practice makes perfect?  It was a very self-defeating habit, giving up when I didn’t know what to do next.  I thought I was stuck and couldn’t get unstuck.  If you believe something, you will make it true.   Believe you will find an answer and you will.

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How often do you reevaluate your life.  Is it working for you?  Are you the same person you were ten or fifteen years ago.  Do your friends and family know the real you?  Do you know the real you?  Where did the old you go?  Do you have to remain the same to avoid upsetting other people’s apple-carts?  Do you have to remain the same to avoid feeling guilty about what you might have done in the past that you wouldn’t do now?  If I change, does that mean that more than half of my life or three quarters of my life or maybe just the first eighteen years was wasted doing the wrong thing.

Life is fluid and changes as you change.  You change as life changes.  Which came first the chicken or the egg?  Change is inevitable.  Even if you don’t change, you can’t stop others from changing.  The mother goes back to work when the children have all started school.  The father has a midlife crisis.  One partner is confounded by the other partner’s desire to split up and finds that the other partner has been living a secret life.  Even if you resist it, change finds you.

Maybe you change first.  Knowing what I know now that I didn’t know then, I can’t behave the same way this time.  There is a strong desire in some if not all people for consistency and order in life.  To avoid the anxiety caused by uncertainty, people often allow someone or something to dictate what they should do.  This is why many times that young people are susceptible to cults.  It has all the answers and they don’t have to think for themselves.   The military might also serve this purpose with young recruits.

Chicken Or The Egg

Chicken Or The Egg (Photo credit: Becky F)

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The Decline of Mental Health Services

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are at least three causes.  People who direct mental health clinics and recruit personnel are often not mental health professionals.   They often feel their authority is threatened by the mental health professionals they employ.  One problem is that well qualified mental health personnel are professionals  and are often personally held responsible by their professional associations and state or federal laws for making certain decisions that the administrator may not want made.  It is easy to supervise less qualified people who aren’t held  accountable to such high standards and who aren’t also held accountable to professional boards or state licensing bureaus.

Besides being easier to supervise, people especially with Associates Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, and Masters degrees, are much cheaper to employ.  Even if a clinic hires M.D.’s and Ph.D.s,  they not be willing to pay them for  years of experience or added certifications.  Such as there is in law, there are specialized branches of service in mental health, notably for children and adolescents. Most clinic administrators must always watch the bottom line.

Last, but probably not least, insurance companies monitor the provision of services for which they are expected to pay.  They can not only say what, if any, kinds of services they will pay for, but also how much and for how long.  Mental health professionals in private practice can not ignore insurance companies and their required paperwork.  Such  people probably can not succeed in business without being certified as approved providers by these companies and depend on their reimbursement.

Who’s running the show here.  How qualified are business managers, accountants, and medical administrators, not psychologists or psychiatrists or qualified social workers, to determine what mental health services a seriously ill child, adolescent, or adult needs?  Sure under this system mental health services are provided but what kind? Do you want a surgeon or a nurse’s aide to operate on you? Do you want the care you get, medical or otherwise, to be chosen only by what it will cost?

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Death and Children

Stained glass windows in the Mausoleum of the ...

Stained glass windows in the Mausoleum of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California; originally created in the 1920s for Saint Vibiana Cathedral, Los Angeles Jesus and the children, detail: Child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be very careful dealing with death and children.  From many hours of play and drawing therapy, I have found that children often get some strange ideas about bad things that they  have had to face that they have not faced before as very often their frame of reference is different from adults.

For example, when talking about a family member who had died, a child thought that at the funeral, they would see a body without a head.  He or she thought that since the soul had departed, the head would be missing.

Children often do not get the whole picture and/or do not think that death is permanent.  They often only get part of what they are told or they may interrupt it differently than an adult would.

Drawings by children who have faced the death of someone they know or who are sick or injured and are facing their own death often allow the therapist to determine what is going on in the child’s mind.  Drawings by terminally ill children often show that they are aware of their own coming passing.  Those with a spiritual bent often are reassured when a child demonstrates knowledge of an afterlife or heaven and possibly  of angels, God, Jesus, or a loved person or animal that has passed on before them.

It is best when helping these children that you determine what questions they have before giving them answers they are not yet ready for or wouldn’t understand or don’t need.  It is best to fit explanations to the child’s point of view, not the adult’s.



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The Builtin Judge

Only God Can Judge Me

Only God Can Judge Me (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other people don’t have to judge us.  We judge ourselves.  We are so afraid of what other people think of us that we try to beat them to the punch.  “Oh, I look awful in this dress; I should have gotten my hair done.”  “I’m a lousy bowler;  I never should have agreed to go bowling.”

It is so terrifying to be disliked or reprimanded that we jump the gun and do it first.  This insulates us from the truth which might not be as terrifying as what we anticipate that others could say about us.  It makes it even more anxiety arousing when we do think we are going to hear the truth about what others think about us.

This is why many people have trouble accepting what other people say about them and often feel very misunderstood because of this.  They are constantly anticipating how someone else might react to something they did or said and when they are not accurate, they badger the other person into saying he or she didn’t really mean it or that he or she really saw it their way.  This type of situation never ends well.  They actually don’t change the other person’s mind and the relationship continues to be strained or is ended altogether.

People often wind up in group therapy because of this problem.  They say that they have had relationships broken off  by other people and they don’t understand why.  They were just kidding or the person couldn’t take a joke.  With the help of a therapist who can cushion the blow, the person is helped to accurately hear feedback from others about how they really come across.


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Another Post on Anger


Violence! (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

After yesterday’s massacre at Sandy Hook, it seems more and more important that we own and control the expression of our anger.  Yes, the shooter may have been mentally ill and not in his right mind; but why do we not abhor violence as a form of expression of anger in people in general?  Violence is not only accepted as an outlet of frustration, but also it is encouraged as a form of entertainment providing vicarious thrills in young and old alike.

We become immune to violence seeing it depicted everyday in movies, TV, and video games.  It is also an accepted part of many sports like hockey, football, and, yes, even hunting.  In cartoons and video games, it doesn’t even hurt and those who are killed get right back up to fight again.  How unrealistic can we get?  No wonder when people face the real thing, they can’t handle it.

When it comes to death and mayhem, it is not pretty.  It is horrifying!  No wonder people develop post-traumatic stress syndrome when they have to deal with the real thing.  Nobody ever told them what it was really like.  I have both read  first-person accounts of such real life occurrences and have listened to the stories of people who have gone through this and came out alive when other people didn’t.   These stories are not easily shared or told.  They are often reexperienced over and over again in terrifying detail after the person who experienced them has left the horrifying scene.

There are more people who have had these experiences and don’t talk about them than most people know.  I bet you might be surprised that there are people you probably already know who had these experiences and have never talked about them.  That person might be your grandfather, boyfriend, sister, neighbor, or best friend. Even just being in a situation such as a riot where ordinary people are acting lawlessly and potentially violently and even policemen and national guard troops are shaking in their boots can tie your guts up in knots. It did mine. Let’s be realistic about violence and it’s consequences. People in adulthood should be prepared to deal realistically with death. In past generations, it was an experience most people would have had to have gone through, maybe several times, before they grew up.

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Like Chewing on a Bone

The reviewing of significant events in one’s life is often done over and over like a dog who burys a bone only to dig it up later and chew on it again.  It may seem like the process is never complete but if new material is discovered that changes the picture or a different point of view is found, it can be very helpful.  What is disconcerting is to find out that knowing what you do now you wish you hadn’t done or said something about that situation in the past.

This is often the process in psychotherapy.  The same problem can come up again and again at different points in one’s life.  This often happens with sexual abuse.  Such an experience can effect several different areas of one’s life at different times.  It can effect one’s sexual relationships.  It can effect parent-child relationships.  There is also a possible anniversary effect when the child the same sex as you reaches the age you were when you were abused or when that child has contact with the same person or with someone in the same role as the person who abused you..

Problems that one had with one’s parents or other authority figures as a child can come up again and again in a person’s life time.  This is especially so if you or your child is put in that same situation again.  For example, when your parents need your help as they get older and more dependent on outside help is one such occasion or when your children have conflicts with teachers like you did as a child.

As time passes, there is the possibility of a change in perspective and with that a change in behavior.  For example, when one realizes that his or her parents were young and inexperienced when he or she was a child and couldn’t be expected to be perfect parents at that time.

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Hang on to your Happiness


Happiness (Photo credit: baejaar)

Being unable to hang on to happiness leads to desperate measures, addiction, violence, suicide, hate mongering.

Not to belabor the point, but where does the complete utter joy of childhood go?  Have you ever been that happy again?

Adulthood can be a gloomy place and time.  Knowing this who would want to grow up?

More time and money is spent creating unhappiness than is spent creating happiness.

Feelings of jealousy, envy, deprivation, greed, avariciousness, doom, and gloom are created every day by the media.  Why do we have to have discouraging news drummed over and over into our heads.  Advertising promoting various ways of acquiring happiness through things or substances such as unhealthy food or drink.

People have a hard time these days being happy for no reason.  Shouldn’t happiness be your ordinary state of mind unless something bad happens and even then when something bad happens, why let some little thing like a broken nail (yes, I got one yesterday at the automatic teller when I couldn’t make the darned thing work) determine your mood for the rest of the day.  Even if somebody says something hurtful to you, can you bounce back to the way you felt before it happened.  Remember some people like to create problems rather than solve them.  You don’t have to let them do that.

Of course, do what you have to do to ensure that your needs and responsibilities are met; but excessive worry accomplishes nothing. Don’t worry, be happy.

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Jack of all Trades

Jack of all trades, master of none?  If you could tell someone what was important to learn in life?  What would you tell them?  Many men are expected to be mechanics and handymen around the house.  Many women are expected to be able to cook, clean, and do the laundry.  With the changing of sex roles, both may soon need to know how to do both types of skills, housewifery,

Skills Like This

Skills Like This (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and car and house repair. It has now come to the point with the necessity for two income households that both men and women should be able to hold a job.  Don’t forget driving, being able to use a computer, knowing how to use a mobile phone and other electronic devices as necessary skills in this present time..  Most everyone would say parenting is one of the most important skills to learn.  What about relationship skills, how to get along with others, how to communicate well with others, and how to form social relationships such as friendships, and sexual and romantic relationships.  Last, but not least, what also seems important to discover  is what is our relationship to the world, other people, and God (whatever form that takes for you).

What things are taught in schools, what things do parents attempt to teach their children, what things are taught in churches or other religious settings, and what things are people just expected to learn by living life.  Too often, we just let the most important things that we need to know in life go.  Who or what teaches us about these things, strangers on the street, on the web, or on TV?   Often we do not think about things like values and let someone or something else by default teach either us or our children what our values, if any, should be.  Let’s go further what is our purpose in life?  Why are we here? Agnostic, Atheist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu  or Jew , all have answers to this question.  Do you?



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Aliens Among Us


OUTER SPACE (Photo credit: whologwhy)

Does the thought of aliens living among us scare you?  Well, it has been happening for a long time.  They were right there under our noses all the time.  We live with them everyday.

Their looks are unusual, not at all human like.  They frequently try to communicate with us.  They are able to communicate with  others of their own kind, but usually not us.

We worry about them capturing us and experimenting on us; but we do it to them.  We wonder what they think of us?

We are curious about what it would be like to be in their bodies and what it would be like to have the special talents they have.  We think of ourselves as vastly superior to them and assign them second class citizenship if we think of them at all as humanlike.

If I were an alien in outer space and thinking about coming to earth, I think I would be hesitant to do so because of how we treat the aliens who are already on earth.

Who are these aliens here on earth?  They are our animal friends and companions.  They have been hunted almost to extinction and crowded out of the environments they need for survival by encroaching civilizations.  If we can’t tolerate and coexist with our these creatures who are alien to us here on earth because we don’t know and understand them, how can we relate and co exist with aliens from outer space?


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