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Mental health

Do You Naturally Show Affection?

Do you show affection or is it awkward and uncomfortable if you do or someone else does it to you.  It has a lot to do with your upbringing.  My family background is German and there were few displays of affection while I was growing up and it remains awkward for me to do this even today.

rp_20070403_personal_space_comfort_zones.pngI have said, “Love you,” to some of my family members whom I truly love and they were shocked and didn’t know what to say.  I once tried to give my ailing father a hug and he froze.  Anger was easier to express in my family than affection.

Physical contact is an important part of showing affection.  We all need to be touched whether it is a back rub or physical contact like curling up on the couch to watch a movie with someone.

Warm Fuzzies-Cold PrickliesThere is a story about “warm fuzzies and cold pricklies” that illustrates that people need love and affection and can die without out it.  Due to an old witch, people got the idea that the amount of warm fuzzies that a person can give is limited and they were encouraged to use cold pricklies provided by the witch.

rp_344686278_150_150.jpgIn my family anger and criticisms were the cold pricklies that kept me alive.  Disappointment was sometimes used too.  The warm fuzzies were few and far between and they didn’t feel very warm.  They mostly were given at a distance as when I would show my Dad my new dress.

rp_342852690_150_150.jpgMassages of hands and feet can heal certain parts of the body according to Reflexology,  Hands are convenient to use as it doesn’t require removing any clothing.  Holding each others hands in a group as we pray or meditate or visualize something and the arms can be stretched out to put some space between people as they do this.

Could this affect someone’s sex life.  Very definitely so. With all the bands on physical touching in most places, people don’t get much chance to bond this way or offer support and reassurance this way.  Sexual relations can be life getting to those involved; but not if it is,”Wham Bang; Thank

rp_272680378_bd063659bc_m.jpgSexual relations can be life-giving to those involved; but not if it is,”Wham Bang; Thank You Mam.”  Is it manly to do a little making out to get ready for sex?

Pets often get more love and affection than the human family members and they know how to get it.  If love and affection are not encouraged when one is a child how can he or she display these things as an adult?

141167840521223colorfulgrandcanyonWhen I went to Sedona, I had the most beautiful massagre and I didn’t feel awkward or uncomfortable although I was undressed under a sheet.  I was not embarrassed when she touched me intimately in parts that I never had been caressed before.

Do you know that boys especially when they start to mature are considered too old for sissy things like displaying or receiving love and affection.  It is amazing that because of things like this, that we don’t wither on the vine.

Why People Can’t Change

Why people can’t change:

1.  They would have to admit they were wrong about something.

2.  They might have to make some other changes too.

3.  It would take too much time.

4.  They are waiting for somebody else to change first.

5.  They would have to admit that they wasted time or money doing the wrong thing.

6.  They might have to admit that somebody else was right and they were wrong or too much pride and too much emphasis on winning some type of competition.

7.  Having to be always right even if it kills you.

Why they should change:

1.  To stop putting money down a rat hole.

2.  To become an example for somebody else.

3.  To stop wasting time defending why they can’t change.

4.  To save more  time and money after investing some current time and money making a change.

5.  To stop having to hide some deficiency from others.

6.  To learn something new.

In the long run there are great benefits:  For example, learning to drive as an adult.  Erased my dependency on others.  Gave me freedom.

amygdala

 

 

 

When Feelings Aren’t Wrong In Therapy

Don't Ask; Don't Tell.

Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell.

When feelings aren’t wrong in therapy and might be a warning sign:

As a therapist, I have been in psychotherapy working on my own issues.

It seems that the first thing a therapist might say is trust me, I only want to help you.

So you entrust your soul to a therapist you don’t know who you think has the appropriate credentials to help you solve your problems but who in the end only creates more problems for you.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?

Here is my story:

The details are fuzzy but they often are when dealing with sexual abuse.  One of the first things this therapist told me was that he found me sexually attractive and this made me feel uncomfortable; but he reassured me that I shouldn’t feel that way as it was a compliment.

Months later, maybe even a year later.  I came back to see this therapist at his invitation to let him know how I was doing after I had completed therapy with him.

I opened the door to his office and saw him lying on the floor with some pillows around him and he said,”Come here.  Let me touch you.”  I don’t remember the rest of what happened.  I was at the very least surprised and disconcerted by his proposition.

I don’t remember the rest of what happened.  The details are fuzzy and any attempts I have made to create a time line has been even more confusing.  It took years for me to remember this and by then it was too late to do anything about it.

What is appropriate and what is inappropriate in therapy?

Common sense would tell you that touching, especially titilating touches, are not appropriate either during or after therapy while the client still relates to the therapist in the therapist role.

Sexual abuse victims are extremely vulnerable to this kind of thing and the practitioner’s code is “Above all else do no harm”.

Do you see how this orientation on the therapist’s part could have rended most of the therapy ineffective?  maybe even harmful to me?

Therapist’s have a big responsibility and they must constantly monitor their feelings towards a client and seek supervision if they are unsure about this.

Clients place a big burden on the therapist and there has been a code of ethics created for him or her to follow in their relationships with a client.  It would seem to be easy to do this if the therapist has common sense and a personal code of conduct not only as a therapist but also as a human being.

The biggest trap is transference in the therapist-client reationship.  This happens when either the therapist or the client perceives the other person in the relationship as being like someone from their past and acting toward that person like he or she would with this figure.

Therapists should be trained to avoid this trap and to use this information about their own possible transference to promote healing in the client versus letting it happen on their part and disrupting and corrupting the relationship.

 

 

 

 

Stop! Think…Could A LadyBug Be Self-Actualizing?

rp_5854234616_9eb56eac3d_m.jpg(Work in progress.  More to come.  Including the essay that was the idea for this post.)

The epitome of personal achievement in Humanistic Psychology is the self-actualizing person who only reaches that point after overcoming the hurdles of satisfying basic needs: physical, security, social, and self-esteem ones.

It is not the person you might expect him, or is it her, to be?  ( Don’t we generally think of ladybugs as female?)  Fame and wealth aren’t necessarily the highest goals and meeting the needs for these self-aggrandizing or often other-exploiting objectives often can leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth and a sense of “Is that all there is?”

Then what is a self-actualized person?

Maslow’s characteristics of self-actualized people:

1) Self-actualized people have realistic perceptions of themselves, others and the world around them.

2) Self-actualized individuals are concerned with solving problems outside of themselves, including helping others and finding solutions to problems in the external world. These people are often motivated by a sense of personal responsibility and ethics.

3) Self-actualized people are spontaneous in their internal thoughts and outward behavior. While they can conform to rules and social expectations, they also tend to be open and unconventional.

4) Another characteristic of self-actualized people is the need for independence and privacy. While they enjoy the company of others, these individuals need time to focus on developing their own individual potential.

Now what has a ladybug got to do with this?  This description of a ladybug that was brought to my attention by one of my honorary “sisters” (as I only have brothers) fits most of the description of a self-actualized person quite well.   To be continued…

Part of the Lady Bug series

Part of the Lady Bug series

A ladybug in the essay is a very realistic person who knows where she stands, what she can contribute, and what those around her need.

A ladybug has a sense of what is right and wrong and endeavors to follow this self-created code no matter what others think or try to tell her.

After achieving the ability to do what others consider to be correct and being able to conform to the desires of the world, the ladybug develops a sense of individuality and what makes her “tick” and begins frequently marches to the sound of her own drummer inside.

Yes, a lady bug has her own drummer and a need to follow her own beat.  The determining of which is her own private goal and often involves some inward searching which does not always require the presence of others.

Earlier a lady bug was described in “The Self-actualized Lady Bug”as a necessary part of the garden  of creation and often overlooked in the scheme of things but as very necessary for the maintenance and growth and health of the plants there in.

She contributes to the welfare and well being of others and can be very industrious even considered insignificant until she is no longer there to do the work.  Sometimes she stands out by her choice of bright wrappings which may be even considered frivolous by others.

She is self-motivating and concerned with the needs of others.  She also knows the “right” things to do and is motivated to do them.

Could there be Gentleman Bugs?  Of course!

 

 

Love Will Keep Us Together

rp_303404356_6ff7a23b4b_m.jpgLove and lack of love are motivating factors in this life. Can we do without love and if we do, can it result in a life of  overwhelming depression, sorrow,  hate, and terror.  Children in orphanages in the past died of mirasmus or lack of love even when their basic needs were met and there was no time or place for love and affection once these were accomplished.

How can you give love when you don’t know how to receive it.  Basically everyone wants to be loved even if they don’t know it.  Giving love to oneself and others is one of the most basic tasks in life and yet it is often the least rewarded by sources outside the self.

It is the most rewarding thing to do personally and a smile, a loving glance, a simple compliment can be given without expectation of reward or recognition.  For one example, children passed lovingly from lap to lap in a family gathering and held so closely that one might not know which child actually belongs to which loving family member unless one knew the families present.

Resentment, abuse, doing without the basic necessities of life while others take more than their share and often even waste much of it.  A commune type of life style or living in or near a close family constellation can promote the idea of sharing and generosity and teach that making others happy is just as rewarding as selfish motives could ever be.warmfuzzies

Warm fuzzies and cold prickles are the invention of a witch in a story by Claude Steiner who can’t sell her potions and spells when people were able to give warm fuzzies freely away and there was always more of them left to share after some of them were given away.  She then spreads the word that that isn’t true and people only have a limited number of warm fuzzies to use themselves and to give to others.  Then she is able to sell cold pricklies which feel like warm fuzzies initially but quickly turn into something that requires that the person needs more which the witch happily sells at a price.

The warm fuzzies were always free and people were generous with them because they never ran out.  The witch, however, told the people that they should save the warm fuzzies and give fake warm fuzzies (or cold prickles) which she manufactured and sold because people only had a finite number of warm fuzzies and should save them for themselves and immediate friends and family members.  Read the story on the web as it has a happy ending when someone exposes the lies that the witch told in order to increase her business.

Why shoudn’t you be generous with your love?  You can start it by just thinking, “I love you,” when you see or think of someone.  If you get braver you might say, “I love you”, outloud as someone leaves instead of just saying, “Goodbye.”  You could say it to yourself as you look in the mirror.  The more you do it the easier it becomes and you might start to benefit from the good vibrations that this generates in others.  Oh sure there are people who are so far into being negative that this doesn’t work with them; but don’t let that stop you because many other people will respond positively.

 

The Three R And R’s

Rest and Relaxation, Rules and Regulations, Rights and Responsibilities.  Which one don’t we need?  How about a vote?

My vote is for Rules and Regulations.  They are something we can do without if we have established Rights and Responsibilities.  Values and Morals are internal standards established by the soul to live in this world with other souls.  Values and Morals generate what a soul considers to be individual rights and to be the accompanying responsibilities that go with having these rights.self discipline

Rules and Regulations are established only for people who do not have values and morals or who do not have the same values and morals and fight over them.  A strong commitment to a set of rights (the amendments of the constitution) and responsibilities makes having rules and regulations almost unnecessary.

Rest and relaxation enable us to continue doing these things that we consider the right things to do.  God established Sundays as a day of rest.  A period of time when relaxation, not responsibilities, takes the fore front.  We must care for ourselves like we care for others.  For example, what good is an exhausted caregiver to the one who needs care?  We also need a time to go over our values in life and to determine if we are still adhering to them.

We also used to be “on duty” when we were at work, not wasting time looking at social media (which we can do after work) or texting and at 5 P.M. we were off duty and free to see our friends and family and catch up on things at home as well as clean up and get a refreshing night’s sleep.  Parents are not supposed to be “mystery people” who pick up and drop off children somewhere and bring them home only to sleep.  Worse yet no one needs an exhausting commute to and from work or shift work that upsets a person’s internal clock.

Acknowledge Your Feelings But Don’t Let Them Control You

amygdalaFeelings can be overwhelming and are necessary at times.  Grief for example, must be expressed sooner or later.  It is very damaging especially to relationships if it can not be shared.  When I am very hungry, I get so mad that I could spit nails.  When I am with family or friends I warn them when I get that way.  I am literally not able to fulfill others’ requests until I get something to eat.  You probably could name more.

Some feelings people feel are so strong that they literally take over and people thus say that they “involuntarily” do things that they may or may not regret later.  They are out of control but it is not their fault.  For example, someone says, “He made me so mad…” and this justifies whatever that person does next.

Are we responsible for our feelings?  Well, “Yes,” and “No”.   We are frequently conditioned at a very young age to respond with negative feelings to certain things.   We may be even given rational explanations for feeling that way that we accept as something that motivates us to do certain certain things and often enables us to not accept responsibility for what we do then.

How do we resist all that conditioning?  It can effectively put limits on our life if we let it.   It is often difficult to undo.   How often have we heard someone say, “I can’t help it,” in relation to performing these type of learned behaviors.  Is it a Get Out of Jail Free” card like in Monopoly?

What have you learned to feel and to respond to in certain situations.  Is it you that is behind it or did you catch it from somewhere or someone else?

 

Nothing Is More Enticing Than Negativity Especially In These Trying Times

Versus Bad Vibrations

Versus Bad Vibrations

This may not cheer you up and make your day; but you and everyone else needs to hear it!  Have you ever seen Bubble Guppies (you would have if you had grand babies the same age as mine)?  On Bubble Guppies there was an episode which featured Mr. Grump Fish.  Do you know him or is that you some days?

Mr. Grump Fish was not very attractive.  That’s not very surprising is it?  Oh, he wasn’t particularly handsome and he wasn’t particularly ugly until you noticed the grouchy expression on his face.  Also he wasn’t especially good company and prolonged exposure to him was definitely a “downer”.

I have had some people for friends that when I called them, would often tell me the same depressing stories over and over that to them justified their conclusion that the world had given them a bad rap.  It was difficult being sympathetic because these people felt that anything they had tried failed and would do so in the future.

This Will Make Some Juicy Gossip!

This Will Make Some Juicy Gossip!

Have you noticed that gossip is mostly negative and would do things that would hurt the people’s reputations that were being talked about.  Why does saying something bad about or to someone else make people feel good?

Now Mr. Grump Fish, of course, was not very good company; and when he entered a room, he could clear the place just by his mere presence let alone by what he could contribute to the conversation.

Do you feel you would be considered a “goody, goody two shoes” if you did just the opposite.  That is said something nice about somebody and/or remarked about how good you felt that day?  Remember you feel just exactly what you think.  Negative thoughts breed negative feelings.

Yes, bad things are happening in the world, but dwelling on them when you are not being constructive will bring you down.  This is just what the enemy wants to do if they can’t kill you or hurt you otherwise.  No, we shouldn’t act ignorant let our fears keep us in the dark; but we can keep our morale up and fight the cloud of negativity that the enemy is trying to cover free nations with.

 

 

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Flowers Versus Weeds. How Were You Raised? What Are You Raising?

rp_8150559597_f6b72c73b6_m.jpgIt all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated.  Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them.  How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery  if you got what you were hoping for.  Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating  techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation.  Some require  more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them.  You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.

rp_300px-Drill.jpgThe famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children.  Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her.  It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.

Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually  were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers?  Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? you-are-exactly-who-you-are-suppose-to-beTaking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews,  etc. .  Consider such happenings  as a pleasant  surprise and  as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.

Should You Celebrate Yourself Before You Celebrate Others?

PsychosisVonnegutCoverIs this an either or question?  Think of Life as a balance scale with yourself on one side and others on the other side.  Too much on one side or the other and the scale won’t balance.  It also can make you grouchy and resentful and possibly greedy.  How about the person for whom nothing is ever right and who is difficult to please.  Too much candy and then none of it tastes good.  You work hard so you can enjoy life and then you never have any time to do what you enjoy.  Rush through things and then you don’t have time to enjoy them.  Best get-a ways I ever had were when we forgot about time and enjoyed the setting, the company, the conversation, and sharing the experience.

Savoring is enjoying what you do have.  Whether it is clean sheets, fresh corn on the cob, a clean car, or unexpected, but welcome, company.   Savoring involves being able to accept a change of pace when one offers it self.  Remember when you were in schoo9l and had a snow day?  It represented a free day to go out and play in the snow.  Did you ever really miss having school on a snow day?  Have you ever read a book while caught in a traffic jam after an accident on the interstate?  I did and it was one I had already read so I reread it.  Did I waste my time grouching and complaining about the jam or the fact that the only book I had I had already read.  Time went faster as I lost myself in the story I had read before.

“Enjoy yourself.  It is later than you think,” was a title of a song.  Did the writer know what he or she was writing about?  On the other hand are you too busy enjoying yourself that you have no time left for anybody else?  Grandma or grandpa are you too busy to babysit your grandchildren because you always have a golf tournament, a card game, or a committee meeting.  You may even rationalize this away by telling yourself that the grand children will be more fun and less work when they get older and then you never find the time then either.

me,me,mejpgAre you there for every meeting your social or church group has and have held every office over the years and some for several years in a row.  Do people say that they don’t know what they would do without you?  Are you tied up babysitting for family and the family always knows who they can get at the last minute.  You!  You tell friends that you would like to do something with them and then are unable to follow through with your plans with them because of family obligations.  You have planned a trip somewhere on a special day and have made all the reservations and paid fees that are not refundable but don’t go because you have to do something for someone else and that is more important than what you wanted to do.

Is “wallflower” your middle name?  Do you let everybody else take all the credit, get all the prizes, and celebrate all the milestones?  Would you be surprised if nobody showed up for your own funeral and/or that your relatives didn’t even have a memorial service for you.  In fact, while you are alive you even encourage them to do this when you die.

There needs to be a nice balance here.  You are just as important as others are and others are just as important as you are.  Giving and receiving are both part of the equation.  Knowing what might really please you now may be the inspiration for something you can do for somebody else later.  Parents of young children often know this as do members of families with a chronically ill loved one or a recent unexpected death in the family.

kindness,acts ofGiving is important.  Gratitude is important.  Giving as a form of gratitude is one of the most sincere forms of thanks.  You give me some of what you have and I give somebody else some of what I have.  It is the daisy chain of gratitude.  I may not be able to pay you for the tank of gas I needed to get to the doctor, but may be I can mow the neighbor’s yard.  Remember the old story about someone who gets out on the wrong side of bed and kicks the cat who scratches the dog who bites the mailman, etc.  Start your day off right and who knows who the favor might effect?

Ever skip a meal to get something done (maybe even for someone else) and then wind up so hungry you bite someone’s head off?  Was that a really good idea to begin with?  Being self-sacrificing can lead to “gunny sacking”  in which you expect the recipients to pay you back without you asking them to do it or to stop asking you to do things for them or to say, “No,” once in awhile when you offer to do something.