Establishing Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Dear Reader,

I hope all is well with you. I have returned to share additional tips they may benefit you. My last blog entry consisted of how to establish sound goals and how to revise weak goals (to read this blog entry, click here). According to Seligman (2009), each goal should meet the eight criteria I had mentioned in the previous blog entry. Here’s a visual flow on how you can write out your short-term and long-term goals (Seligman, 2009):

Initial short-term goals:

Long-term goals:

During my clinical practicum training, I had a client who was attempting to create short-term and long-term goals for planning his college experience. While having a few sessions with him, I had decided to create a handout that could not only aid him but other college students:

PLANNING FOR COLLEGE

Long-Term Goals

  1. Achieve the required course hours needed to establish the career you have chosen.
  2. Sustain reasonable grades and the required amount of hours needed to keep financial aid.

Short-Term Goals

  1. Take SAT or whatever state requirement is needed.
  2. Have high school diploma, GED, or take a test through the college to take remedial classes.
  3. Choose what major that will help you to obtain the career you desire to achieve.
  4. Look for colleges within or outside your area.
  5. Speak to a career counselor or another school representative that can assist you in your career goal.
  6. Financial aid (is it needed)?
  7. Look into scholarships and grants (ex: businesses; “big corporations;” church/organizations that you are affiliated with; programs; ask library for books on different scholarships and grants; call council member, mayor, and senator to see if they have scholarships and grants).
  • Note: Some scholarships and grants are only eligible for USA citizens
  • Plan a visit/tour to the college and obtain the required needs to get into that college.
  • Sign the documents, forms, etc. that is needed to sign up for classes.

If you are unsure of what major or career you desire to pursue:

  1. http://www.careeronestop.org/
  • Take an online assessment at Explore Careers > Self Assessments
  • Browse through various occupations
  • Shadowing a person that is already in a career you are interested in. “Shadowing” is following the person around while they are working.
  • Go to the library to review various careers by book
  • Go to a career expo or seminar

Reviewing this handout allows you and myself to revisit the subject of establishing short-term and long-term goals. Even the short-term goals could be narrowed down to a similar example that I see in my textbook:

Initial short-term goal: I will review any information my school has given to me about the SAT test within three days. I will search for information of the SAT test by browsing the web for an hour. I will sign up to take the SAT test within a month.

Long-term goal: Take SAT or whatever state requirement is needed.

There are also additional things to consider like when to actually study for the SAT test. During junior year? During senior year? And then one should consider if they would need a how-to prepare for SAT information (i.e. book, presentation, YouTube, etc.).

Another way to break down goals is as follows by asking how would you like for your life to look within the time increments (Therapist Aid LLC, 2018):

  • My 5-year goal
  • My 1-year goal
  • My 1-month goal

With this goal exploration, Therapist Aid also advises to make goals that are measurable. The example that was given was to not just say “get healthy” but to say “exercise five days a week and and eating vegetables with every meal” (Therapist Aid LLC, 2018). Therapist Aid also state to choose goals that are within your control (2018). I really like the example Therapist Aid gave: “get a promotion at work” (2018). To revise this goal, Therapist Aid suggest to take courses to improve professional skills (2018). I would also say to have the goal of going out of the way of providing additional aid with clients, consumers, etc. that are associated with the job. The reason is that I have experienced clients, consumers, etc. share their positive experience with the employer and, because of hearing a lot of positive feedback, the employee is either seen as a positive employee or even promoted.

Each goal is to be reviewed throughout several frames of life: social, career, physical, family, leisure, personality, and other (Therapist Aid, 2018). This list reminded me of the values I had mentioned in past blog entries that are associated with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). To see this extended list, click here and scroll down to the list.

I hope these tips are helpful in some way. Please feel free to comment in the section below. If you rather email me your thoughts, you can find my email address in the About section above or click here.

References

Seligman, L. (2009). Fundamental skills for mental health professionals. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education.

Therapist Aid LLC (2018). Goal Exploration. Retrieved from therapistaid.com.

Establishing Goals

Dear Reader,

How have you been? I hope all is well.

This past week, I have been meeting virtually with clients for individual psychotherapy sessions. It’s been rather nice since the last time I have been able to legally meet with clients as such was December 2019. From January 2020 until January 2021, I was unable to see clients as an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) due to not having a clinical supervisor (Side Note: Since I don’t have enough direct hours with clients to become a candidate to obtain my license yet, I have to be under clinical supervision). Since the past week, I have been reteaching myself the precious jewels of just being with the client—being present with the client—while the client shares their life experience.

It’s a very solemn thing and I take it seriously.

Upon reviewing one of my graduate textbooks, I came to the section on Establishing Goals from Chapter 9 of Fundamental Skills For Mental Health Professionals. It reminded me of something I had blogged about earlier this year but, since it comes from a different angle, I thought I would share it here.

According to Seligman (2009), once a baseline is established, one is probably ready to establish some goals. What is a baseline? It’s something we often do throughout the day (ex: noticing unwanted behavior) but not taking the next step by gathering data of oneself (ex: what is the exact number of how many hours/calories/bottles/etc. do I want to cut back on?). So, if your values are your baseline—your true north (read the blog entry on values here), then goals are your destination.

So all what is left to do is to create what Seligman calls “sound goals” (2009). According to Seligman, sounds goals have the following eight characteristics (2009):

  • Important and relevant
  • Stated in positive terms
  • Clear, concrete, and specific
  • Small and incremental
  • Measurable
  • Realistic and within your control
  • Involving application and effort
  • Leading to the new learning, skills, or action

Weak goals are as follows (Seligman, 2009):

  • Vague
    • I want to feel better about myself
    • I want to have a better social life
    • I want to be more successful at work
  • Unrealistic
    • I want to win the lottery or find another way to make money quickly
    • I want to write a book within a month (Note: this goal is unrealistic when the person hasn’t even started yet)
    • I don’t want to ever yell at my child(ren) or lose my temper ever again
  • Depending on other people
    • I want to be married by the end of the year
    • I want my mother/father/stepmother/stepfather/etc. to treat me with respect
    • I would like my mother/father/stepmother/stepfather/etc. realize that, even though I have a learning disability, I have accomplished a lot in my life

Although the above goals are weak, one can revise such goals and may be still able to gain positive outcomes (Seligman, 2009). In other words, modifying such goals can be done with some help from others. Some ways of modifying weak goals are to do the following (Seligman, 2009):

  • Ask yourself to describe a time when you had achieved a goal. Such reflection may allow you to formulate specific and realistic goals.
  • Ask others to describe when they had achieved a similar goal you are desiring to obtain. Ask them how they achieved those goals and what are their lives like now that they had accomplished those goals.
  • Ask others what they have already done to achieve their goals. Such a question can clarify the goal you are attempting to create as well as suggest new and more strategies for achieving your goals.
  • Ask yourself de Shazer’s “Miracle Question.” The details of your response can lead to developing clearer goals.
    • “Suppose that one night there is a miracle and while you were sleeping, the problem that brought you to therapy is solved. How would you know? What would be different? What will other people notice?”
  • Ask yourself how will you know when you have achieved your goals.
  • Use the 0 to 10 scale as a baseline to help establish realistic goals. For example, if you value recreation/fun, select a number that describe how you would like to feel or act when experiencing recreation/fun. Upon selecting a number, think of activities you can do to have this experience.
  • Identify the first step to take to achieve your goal. This will help clarify the nature of your goals and what you are willing to do to accomplish those goals.
  • Shift your attention from a goal that depends on other people to a goal for yourself by considering some changes you can do that may allow for the person to respond differently.

What I would add on to this list is to use bibliotherapy: watch a movie/TV series or read a book that allows you to watch/read a character who had some goals and write down what this individual did to obtain their goals (ex: note the increments that were taken to establish their goals).

I hope these pointers are helpful, dear reader. My next blog entry will consist of creating short-term and long-term goals. Feel free to leave a comment down below or email me directly with the email address I have left on my About section above or click here.

Reference

Seligman, L. (2009). Fundamental skills for mental health professionals. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education.

Managing Email Based Workflow

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I have written a blog entry. I’ve been enjoying my spare time by actually reading for pleasure instead of work and it’s been nice. Since I had wanted to return here to bring some aid for those who need to be able to manage their email inbox, I decided to put down my library book and write this blog entry instead.

I had already written a blog entry that shared some tips on how to organize your “stuff” in the Organizing, Reviewing, And Doing blog entry. Prior to this blog entry, I had written about Mastering Workflow. Now, I would like to combine the concept of mastering workflow when it comes to organizing emails. Although this is usually for work emails, you may find it helpful for personal emails.

Before I go into the steps, let’s do a bit of recap.

According to Allen (2001), there are seven primary types of ways to keep track of and manage when it comes to organization:

  • A “Project” list
  • Project support material
  • Calendared actions and information
  • “Next Actions” list
  • A “Waiting For” list
  • Reference material
  • A “Someday/Maybe” list

From this list of organization, Allen says that all we really need to do to track our “stuff” (i.e. processing) are lists and folders for reference and support materials (2001). Lists keep track of projects and someday/maybes and also the actions needed to take on the “stuff” that have “open loops” (Allen, 2001). Folders, either digital or paper, are used to hold reference material and also to support information of active projects (Allen, 2001). So, with this in mind, how does one manage emails?

Reading emails are actions that need to take place. So, how can one handle emails that may be constantly coming and saying “urgent” to our eyes? After a few days of handling emails as such while working from home, I was constantly saying “Oh, my!” and also saying “I’ll get back to you later.” But “later” in some cases are required “now.” So I found myself quickly using my judgment and reading over the emails in between seeing clients. Not a big problem! But, as the weeks go by, I may attempt to use the following tips.

According to Allen (2001), emails that need action are sometimes best as their own reminder. However, if emails need one to act, it may be best to store them in a way that one can recall to get back to those emails. Allen recommends to create a folder for any longer-than-two-minute emails that need to act upon (2001). This folder should begin with a prefix letter or symbols for two reasons (Allen, 2001):

  1. It will look different from your reference folder
  2. It sits at the top of your folders in the navigator bar

For the first reason, Allen (2001) uses the example of the “@” in Outlook (ex: @ACTION) or “-” sign in Lotus (question: does Lotus still exist?). Upon reviewing Gmail, I see that there is a way to select a star to the right of the sender’s name. If you have Gmail, you may want to use the star to remind you to get back to the email. Or, better yet, when you open up an email, there is the option of selecting “labels” on the top (where the menu is that has archive, report spam, delete, mark as unread, etc.). You may use the labels that are already there or create new labels.

For those that have Outlook email, the next step is to create a “@WAITING FOR” folder that will show up in the same place as the “@ACTION” folder so that, when you receive emails that shows that someone is going to do something that you need or care to track, you can drag those emails over into the “@WAITING FOR” folder (Allen, 2001). By using the “@ACTION” and “@WAITING FOR” method, you will get everything out of your basket (in this case, it’s your email inbox) and will allow your mind to have some clarity as well as control of your day-to-day work (Allen, 2001). Prior to writing out the previous sentence, I took a pause in writing and went to my Gmail inbox that is for work as well as my “in limbo” Outlook inbox to practice what I had just wrote. It works nicely! 🙂

Now, remember, like Allen says in his book (2001), that these steps doesn’t mean that you have deleted the emails; you have only filed them and have only marked done on the emails that only take less-than-two-minutes responses. So, once the less-than-two-minutes responses are done, then move onto the “@ACTION” folder and review the emails that need more than two minutes to respond (Allen, 2001). This is much more easier than scrolling up and down on your screen and saying “Where is it?”!

And, now there you have it. No more missing, or fearing you have missed, important emails!

Side Note: I have decided to use the star suggestion for Gmail (there’s a star to the right of the sender’s name) for events like Zoom meetings for easy findings for Zoom meeting IDs and passwords.

Reference

Allen, David (2001). Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Penguin Press.

Two Main Causes of Stress – Blindness and Certainty

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I had written about certainty from Dan Johnston’s point of view (to read about that blog entry, click here). Yesterday, while traveling to one of my workplaces via public transit, I heard Doc Orman speak about blindness and certainty from Chapter 85 of Battling the Big Three: Overcoming Stress, Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem audiobook. According to Doc Orman, there are only two main causes of all human stress: blindness and certainty (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

Blindness is something that us humans have. It’s not just biological (i.e. unable to see well in the dark in comparison to cats) but also cognitive and perception (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). Perceptional blindness occurs because us humans are limited to focusing on everything around us (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). This is the reason why two people can experience the same event but have two different experiences. I’m sure you have experienced this! According to Doc Orman (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017), perceptional blindness can lead to stress because, for example, when one is speaking to other people, this individual can have blind spots on what type of tone, facial expression, attitude, body language, etc. one is using. In other words, one experiences perceptional blindness only because the individual is focusing only on words! So, when the listener points out that the speaker is speaking a certain way, the speaker may become stressed out and even offended (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

According to Doc Orman (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017), we can even be blind to the fact of what stress is itself. For example, we may be unaware that there are two types of stress: internal and external. Since we are not able to recognize just how blind we are, stress is an epidemic in society (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

Doc Orman also agrees with Dan Johnston that certainty is a human need. With this need comes the desire to be right (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). The desire to be right consist of the way we look at the world when it comes to our thoughts, feelings, opinions, choices, decisions of our political, spiritual (i.e. religious beliefs), etc. point of view (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). According to Doc Orman, being wrong is one of the worst things that can ever happen to a human being (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

If blindness was the only way to cure us humans from stress, we can have a quick fix of our stress (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). However, it is the combination of blindness and certainty that causes stress. We attempt to not notice where we are blind because it might mean that we have to change the things that we thought were certain (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). In other words, we would have to admit that we were wrong. Ouch!

Craving for certainty has psychological and biological reasons (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). If we had to keep checking that something was true so that we can function, it can be tiresome to keep having to make decisions on a daily basis (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). Can you just imagine how annoying that would be? So, instead of doing a daily check in, we have learned to go with certain convictions and see them as practicality (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

So how knowing all this can help you battle your stress? Look into the key areas in your life that are associated with stress and, if you look deep enough, you may find the root cause is blindness and certainty (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). Please consider that we really don’t know the truth about may things and that we are actually blind. Learning from each other is a great solution to deal with blindness and certainty. This is why I love reading biographies!

Reference

MD, Doc Orman, & CloudLibrary. (2017). Battling the Big Three: Overcoming Stress, Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem. Place of publication not identified: Blackstone Audio.

It’s All on What you Focus On

Dear Reader,

We as human beings have been given the ability to think things over. This has allowed us to explore, experiment, and even create. Yes, the world has become a more cozy place for us just because we have the ability to think. Unfortunately, our thinking can be to our own detriment. What do I mean? Well, what happens when we are obsessively thinking over something or someone. We may lose sleep over it. Or, we may be unable to concentrate and, therefore, are unable to obtain additional knowledge.

So what do many of us do? We try to block out the thought. Does this often work? No. Well, why is that? According to Warren, “every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory” (2002, p. 210). This would be a good thing if we are studying for a test but I am referring to unwanted thoughts. However, this doesn’t only stop with our thoughts. It can also be with our feelings. “The more you fight a feeling, the more it consumes and controls you” (Warren, 2002, p. 210). Feeling and thinking can consume someone that they are not able to focus on anything else. This may increase stress and anxiety.

So what is the solution? Change your focus. Instead of saying “I’m not supposed to feel or think this way,” place something or someone else in front of you (either mentally or physically). “Don’t fight the thought, just change the channel of your mind and get interested in another idea” (Warren, 2002, p. 210). When I read this, I had recalled that Marie Forleo states it this way: change the radio station to something else.

To make this more practical, I will share a list of things Warren states one often fights against (2002):

  • I must stop eating too much
  • I must stop smoking
  • I must stop lusting
  • I never going to do what my mom did
  • Don’t be nervous!
  • I don’t want to do [whatever the “this” is]

For the first “I must” on this list, Warren states that most diets don’t work because they keep one thinking about food all of the time which will guarantee that one will be hungry (2002). I’m not going to say “yea” or “nay” on that concept. What I could understand and relate to was that when one that is about to speak keeps saying “don’t be nervous” is only allowing one to focus on their feeling instead of focusing on the presentation. Whenever I am about to speak, I just focus on the bullet points I want to make sure I share to my listeners.

Our thoughts have power just the same as if we spoke the word. Words are power. If we keep saying or thinking about something, it does effect us as well as others around us. This is why a lot of people often avoid those that are constantly sulking or belittling others. Being around such individuals are emotionally draining and it is slowly killing a part of you. So, if we understand that others who speak such words are effecting us, it would behooves us to understand that our thoughts have the ability to do the same.

Now, how do we change our focus? “You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better” (Warren, 2002, p. 211). This comes with practice and patience. There comes a time when one will have to physically leave a room to change their focus. Changing our vision (i.e. taking a walk to see the trees, sky, clouds, etc.) often helps. Another helpful tip is to monitor your media intake (Warren, 2002). Like the saying goes: what goes in must come out! If you listen to certain things long enough, it starts creeping into your vocabulary.

What tips can you share on things to focus on? Please feel free to share your tips in the comment section below or even email me some of your ideas at the email address that is found in the About section above.

To read another blog entry of how to deal with unwanted/uninviting emotions, click here.

Reference

Warren, R. (2002). The purpose-driven life: What on earth am I here for?. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan.

My First Trip to the Library Since COVID-19 Started

Dear Reader,

I have been sitting at the computer, reading over my past blog entries from 2007 and trying to figure out what I wanted to write here. The only thing I could think of was what I have categorized as a Diary Entry. And, so, after reading over a few blog entries of making trips to go to the library and also experiencing my first trip to the library since COVID-19 started, I have decided to share just that: my first trip to the library since COVID… well, you get it so I won’t write the rest of that sentence.

I haven’t been to the library in about a year. This is a big deal to me! I love to read and I love the feeling of being in a library; around such knowledge and having information at your finger tips is exciting to me. Throughout this “new norm,” I have been checking out library books electronically and reading it on my computer or iPod Touch. So, when I had searched for a book that I was told would soon be available, I wanted to add myself to the list of those waiting for the book to be available by library. That’s when I realized the library didn’t have an audiobook nor eBook option. So I was like… MAN! I want to read this memoir so badly! So I had decided to put the physical book on my list for the librarians to put it on hold until I pick it up. Now, keep in mind that I thought the only option was a curb side pick up. Even when I read the email today that said that my book was ready for pick up, I read it wrong! I had followed the step-by-step process of texting the library when I had arrived to pick up my book that was on hold. Actually, I had decided to text the library when I was ten minutes away by feet and also when I had actually arrived. When I arrived at the physical building and I saw someone that appeared to not be a librarian but a patron come out of the building, I stood in the shade and read over the email. Then I realized that I could walk into the library, go the holding section of the library and check it out myself.

Say, what?

How long have they allowed patrons to come into the library? :/

When I walked into the lobby, a librarian was sitting at a table. We exchanged greetings and I didn’t ask her when they opened the library up for patrons but I did say that I had read the email wrong when it came to picking up what was on hold for me. She volunteered to share that I could stay for an hour and they just ask us to use hand sanitizer before entering. What? An hour? A light bulb went on over my head (figuratively speaking, of course). You mean, I can ditch… I mean, I can leave my family members and come to the library for a Zen moment (I’m joking when I used the word “ditch” for I love my family)? I can have some sort of norm during this COVID-19 predicament? I honestly don’t think I will do so. But, just to know that option is available gives me the sense of freedom. Most likely, I will be actually getting more physical books than electronic ones now that I know I can go and get them from the holding shelf myself! This was what I used to do prior to COVID-19 so it would be nice to return to that norm.

Stress According to Dr. Orman, MD

Hello Reader,

I have been listening to the Battling the Big Three: Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, and Low Self-Esteem audiobook and have heard some interesting things when it comes to how Dr. Orman views stress. One of his statements wanted me to call out “foul” but, when I thought about it, it made sense. According to Dr, Orman, one is unable to deal with stress (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). Yes, he said that we cannot deal with stress. So I said “then why do we have all of these insights on how to ‘deal with stress’?” The next thing Dr. Orman said made sense. He often ask his patients what are the problems that are associated with the stress because one is only able to deal with the problem and not the stress (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

According to Dr. Orman (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017), negatives are not a part of life per say but only in human bodies and human language and most negatives come from negative thinking. In other words, humans are the ones who label something negative and, whenever us humans view something is negative, our bodies react. Dr. Orman recommends us to disprove any negative thoughts we may have (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). On the other side of the spectrum, positive thinking can also be a flaw. What? Yes. The reason is that positive thinking may be the result of someone’s automatic condition thinking just the same way as negative thinking may be someone’s automatic condition thinking (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). This reminded me of Finding Nemo; how Marlin viewed an event as negative whereas Dory viewed the same even as something positive.

Events versus interpreting an event are two different things. According to Dr. Orman (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017), events cannot be viewed just as only positive or only negative. In other words, events just occur. That’s it! It’s our background (i.e. citizenship, nationality, sportsmanship, denomination, etc.) that causes one to view events as something positive or negative. One may be watching the same football game but, since their team is losing, they can see the game as something negative. And, for one that doesn’t care for football whatsoever, this individual may see the event as negative or even neutral! One of the reasons we have stress is because of our “automatic interpretation, judgment, thoughts, theories, and even our trusted feelings are frequently incomplete, distorted, or otherwise just plain wrong” (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017).

By remembering the needed distinction of event versus interpretation, you will now have the ability to critically examine and even correct some of your flaw and automatic interpretation, judgment, and assessment (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017). According to Dr. Orman (MD & CloudLibrary, 2017), when you only view an event as something negative, you lose the opportunity of viewing it in any other way. There may be some positive aspects from a negative event that, once you sit back and review, you will realize that the even really wasn’t 100% negative. Once you are able to view events by just events, opportunities will open up and it can also reduce stress and suffering in life.

Reference

MD, Doc Orman, & CloudLibrary. (2017). Battling the Big Three: Overcoming Stress, Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem. Place of publication not identified: Blackstone Audio.

The Subject Of Love

Dear Reader,

You probably knew that Valentine’s Day is a special day for me by viewing my screenname: belovedgeliebt (“geliebt” is “love” in German so my screenname simply means that I am “well beloved”). Throughout my life, I have learned many things from love. I love the subject of love, sharing love, and being “in love.” The warm and gushy feeling is something that is exciting and gives one a natural high. Science has found a specific “love chemical” called oxytocin that is associated with relational bonding. The good thing is if you weren’t able to receive it during childhood for various reasons, you can still receive it while cuddling with a love one when you are older (Yerkovich, 2008).

Love is not just about emotion. There is a certain “power” that comes from knowing someone for so long that is experienced on an intellectual sphere. The willingness to be vulnerable with someone within a respectful boundary is love. One step of being vulnerable is what Gottman calls “turning towards”—sharing some “hey, look at this” experiences with a love one is allowing the individual to share a moment with you (Gottman, 1999). Giving something precious to someone is another way to express love. Allowing someone to have part of your time is also loving for time is something one is unable to gain back.

The power of love also has the ability to heal traumatic wounds (Johnson, 2008). According to Johnson (2008), trauma can be any terrifying event that instantly changes the world for someone. In other words, the world as the person had previously experienced is no longer the same. However, the “monsters” in our lives seem to disappear when one is loved; giving us the ability to find our strength and resilience (Johnson, 2008). This only occurs when the lover is responsive to the beloved that has been wounded. When the lover is responsive, the lover becomes a secure base to move away from the chaos (Johnson, 2008).

Time heals some wounds, but love heals them all.

– Matshona Dhliwayo

Love is also found in Biblical texts such as John 3:16, Romans 5:8, and 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. In such texts, it shows love as giving instead of taking. It’s about doing something for someone. This can include giving to charity, a relative, or even a homeless individual.

Out of all of this, the best jewel I have learned from love is that one has to learn to love self before one is able to appropriately love another. So, dear reader, if you don’t have anyone to love (or you may be grieving because you have lost your loved one to death or some other incident), remember that you have yourself. Love yourself! Hug yourself. Smile in a mirror at yourself. Respect yourself. And, when you have an opportunity to share love with others, you will be ready to do so.

References

Gottman, J. M. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientifically-based marital therapy. New York: W.W. Norton.

Johnson, S. M. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love.

Yerkovich, M., & Yerkovich, K. (2008). How we love: Discover your love style, enhance your marriage. Colorado Springs, Colo: Waterbrook Press.

The Therapist And Client Relationship

Dear Reader,

One thing I have learned during my journey of becoming a licensed professional clinical counselor is that often clients view therapists as only helping them but, in reality, it’s bidirectional: the clients also help the therapist. Why do I say that? Without having clients, therapists wouldn’t have the “push” to review how to use instruments (i.e. assessments) or gain trainings from workshops, courses, etc. In other words, it’s because of our clients/patients that we do what we do. It’s because of the type of clients/patients we see that we become “good at” a specialty.

I remember sitting in with a client of one of my clinical supervisors. This client struggled with bipolar disorder and also had their teenage son in the session. After the session was over, I wondered if there was a peer-review journal article that spoke on children who had a parent that was diagnosed with bipolar. I wouldn’t have been “pushed” to read about it if I didn’t experienced the mother-son dialogue that was occurring within the counseling room that day.

Irvin Yalom sees his clients and himself as fellow travelers (2002). I like this view because, honestly, we all learn from one another. We are all also experiencing the joys and sorrows of life. We are all “simply human” (Yalom, 2002).

We are all in this together and there is no therapist and no person immune to the inherent tragedies of existence.

Yalom (2002)

To find solitude with a therapist that has “been there” is a great experience. This is why many who are struggling with substance abuse often look for a therapist that has “been there” and have been so many years sober. Why? It’s something about knowing that the therapist has obtained a place where the person desires to go that drives the person to seek for such a therapist.

Side Note: This reminded me of the I-Thou concept that I had read during my undergraduate but I don’t have the time to review it and write about it here. Maybe that will be my next blog entry. Hmm…

Dear reader, how has your life experience been? Although you may not be a therapist, what life lessons can you teach others about? Please feel free to answer these questions in the comment below or email me your answers by using the email address that is found in my About section.

Reference

Yalom, I. D. (2002). The gift of therapy: An open letter to a new generation of therapists and their patients. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.

Psychological Evaluation For Bariatric Surgery – One Week Of Training

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I took the time to just write a diary entry because not much has been happening to write one (thanks, COVID-19…)

Anyhow, this week has been different because I had started my job (not volunteer work; it’s a paying job) as an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor at a private practice. Although the physical building is literally up the street from where I live, all of the training and seeing clients will be virtually until further notice due to COVID-19.

Sitting in virtually with my clinical supervisor while she has been doing psychological evaluations for bariatric surgery patients reminded me of when I was receiving onsite clinical supervision at Health Management Services in Tennessee during the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern Adventist University (SAU). This was for my Clinical Practicum II course. This time around, I am receiving the training so I can see clients at my current clinical supervisor’s private practice. I had recalled learning about bariatric surgery while reading my Abnormal Psychology textbook for the Psychopathology course at SAU. I remembered it because of the picture of Al Roker as an example of a celebrity who had received this surgery.

During the job interview, my current clinical supervisor had asked (after assuming I didn’t have a problem with it) where I stood when it comes to the idea of bariatric surgery. I reassured her that I didn’t have a problem with the concept and I really respect those that take this step because they are health-conscience. They have tried all they could (weight loss programs, diets, exercise, etc.) to reduce their weight but nothing works so they have made the decision for this type of surgery. It’s not only for reducing the weight but also reducing comorbid symptoms that are associated with overweight: pressure on the knees, less mobile, sleep apnea, etc.

Simply put, I have enjoyed my week of training and have respected every single client of my clinical supervisor and I hope the best for them!

Side Note: I will be seeing other clients besides clients that are needing psychological evaluations. I have started recreating a webpage at Psychology Today and will also be added to the website of my clinical supervisor but I will not advertise it here. I would like to keep this information separate due to the fact I am under the license of someone else and my clinical supervisor stated she will have the responsibility of advertising for her supervisees.