Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ending therapy or coaching

At some point it is time to end the process of coaching or therapy. It may be something you bring up or your coach or therapist brings up.

Endings can be hard. My own experience and those I see in sessions is that saying goodbye is something that is not taught. So it is understandable when people avoid them. I have had people just disappear and I have no idea what happened. I have also had sweet endings where we have spent several sessions talking about the end.

ID-100435110Endings can be hard, it is closing a chapter or even a book. I would encourage you to face this, as it can be quite healing to have a conscious, intentional parting. Some things to explore with ending: 1) ask yourself how you have handled endings in the past. 2) what have you learned, what will you take away 3) is there some sort of ritual or something that you want to take with you from this experience 4) do you want to hear the coach or therapist’s view of the process 5) review the time together 6) and give feedback to the coach or therapist (both what you would consider positive and negative) as it is a process for the coach or therapist as well.

Photo compliments of StuartMiles at freedigitalphotos.net

Timeframe for Coaching and Therapy

How do you know when to stop therapy and coaching? Sometimes my clients will ask about ID-10094033their graduation date. This is an interesting idea. Some people think of graduation as a destination. I have arrived. Now I have accomplished that. Done. Other people see graduation as a stepping stone. I have accomplished this and now I have a new goal. It is not like this kid who is showing you that it is time. Unfortunately there is not certain answer to this question.

I see life as a process. It is a continual growing place. I am not ever “at” a destination. The age old saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey not a destination,” says it perfectly. There is no set mark at which you finally arrive. I think of a tree- it is growing or it is withering. There is no stagnation, no in between.

People come in with goals. Sometimes these goals are met and they are complete. Sometimes the goals expand to something else or become more complex the deeper we explore. Sometimes people take time off to be able to practice their new skills they have learned and may or may not come back for a tune up. Sometimes it is an ongoing relationship where it is about the process and continual support as life is a journey.

I would encourage you to check in with yourself. It is actually a question I ask on my intake form- “How will you know when you are done?” If you are starting the process of therapy or coaching or currently seeing someone, ask yourself what your goals have been/are currently, ask yourself what you are wanting out of the process with your coach or therapist.

Photo compliments from stockimages of freedigitalphotos.net.

Yet

image“Yet” is such a small word yet has a lot of strength. I can say, “I don’t know how to feel better,” now add that tiny word behind, “I don’t know how to feel better yet.” A different feel. It has a sense of hope to it.  It unlocks the possibilities.

I use this word quite a bit in my therapy and coaching practice. People may feel depressed or anxious and have an idea of how life is or should be, their own capabilities, what is possible. When adding “yet” to the end of the sentence, it adds an openness. It is not a period at the end of the sentence, it is more of an open endedness.

I notice when I say, “I don’t know how to do this,” I feel heavy, defeated, as if there is no other option  I don’t know how and that is the way it is. When I say, “I don’t know how to do this yet,” I notice a sense that there is a possibility of me knowing how to do it in the future even if I don’t know how to now.

If you choose to continue in this exploration, play with adding “yet” onto the end of your sentences. If you are in relationship play with it in sentences about what your partner is or isn’t doing that you want.

Photo compliments of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Conversation around end of life

  • ID-10076574I do some work in hospice. End of life is something that will happen to all of us. We typically don’t know when or how. I would encourage you to talk to your loved ones about what you want or don’t want. Sometimes someone will die and family doesn’t know what the person who died wanted. This can be hard on family especially when people have differing opinions.
    End of life issues is something that people can find difficult to bring up. One way to bring it up is to acknowledge that it can be hard to talk about or sometimes even think about. Sometimes people do think about it and don’t mention it to anyone else. Also acknowledge (if this is true for you) that you want to honor them and find out what is important to them.

Photo compliment of nuttakit on fredigitalphotos.net

Breath

breath_holdingI think I have talked about breath before. One idea around breath is that the in-breath is considered experience and the out-breath is expression. With experiencing we are taking in: taking in stimulation, taking in other people, noticing our body sensations, being with ourself. Expression is the sharing of the experience.
Notice your in and out breath, do you hold your breath on the in or the out, do you take different length breaths? If you are willing, lean into wondering what that is about. Do you have a short out breath and long in breath? Your breath may change with who you are with as well. If you are with someone who talks a lot you may find yourself holding your breath or on the other hand being with someone who doesn’t talk very much you may breath out much easier and have a harder time breathing in. Do you find it easier to experience or express? Play with breathing in different ways.
Photo compliments of All-free-download.com, Breath Holding by Ron Sanderson

Holidays with Family

Your Deepest Roots Can Be Nurtured With Counseling

Often times when people are in therapy or coaching and working on different patterns, it can particularly troubling or difficult when they visit family and step right back into the same patterns. Family counseling offered for Portland area clients.

I tell my clients that family is often where the deepest roots are. Imagine trying to pull up a sapling. You could probably do it without any problem. Now think of a larger sapling, perhaps up to your knee. You would still most likely be able to do it easily. Now think of one larger, up to your head. You may need to put a little more into pulling it up. What about one that is about 3 inches in diameter. At this point, it will take longer. You will need to push, pull, maybe dig. I think you could probably do it although it will take time and effort, certainly more effort than the last several trees. Now imagine one that is 100 feet high. You may not be able to get your arms around it. This will take a significant amount of effort. You may ask others for help, use some tools. Even with the assistance, it will take longer than the first tree.

Now imagine these as your patterns. Family dynamics have been going on for years. These are like the 100 foot tree. Is it impossible to remove that tree. No, I wouldn’t do my job if I didn’t think it was possible.

A couple of things to remember when you are visiting family:

  1. Give yourself some compassion, even just a little. Do not expect automatic changes either from yourself or for your family. Go easy on yourself. Maybe you notice the pattern in a different way, even noticing the pattern at all is a significant change.
  2. Take time for yourself. In my world, self care is important. Especially when traveling and being out of your typical routine or zone. Get some fresh air, call a friend, ask for support from your significant other or a friend, take a walk, read a book.
  3. Plan ahead. Imagine where you may get caught up in the dynamics; for example it may be around a certain family ritual or a certain topic of conversation. This is a not a fail safe, although you may notice the pattern starting and planned to take a breath before responding or excuse yourself to go for a walk or even just to the bathroom or for your spouse to look at you or put their hand on your back.

I would love to hear how it went and what you did to support yourself in the journey. Contact me today to find out how I can help with therapy and counseling.

Photo compliments of samurai at freedigitialphotos.net

Comparisons

Portland Area Life Coaching for Your Daily Life

Comparison is something that often comes up everywhere. In school we are given grades, in job evaluations, in reality tv, in fashion.  How am I doing in comparison to others? It may not be a conscious thought, it may just be a judgement of what someone else is or isn’t doing. Whether you have lost someone dear to you, are in a relationship, starting a new job, continuing in one for a while, or going to the gym. We are all on our own journey. There may be similarities with others on a similar road. And it is still your own individual, unique journey that life coaching can help with.

For example if I go to the gym to build muscle, I can follow a routine that others have suggested—a friend, a youtube video, a personal trainer. This routine may have different outcomes for someone else because we eat and consume differently, have different body types,  or are different ages.

Life coaching in the Portland area.What does comparing get me? What does it get you? Perhaps feeling better or worse about myself or my situation. This leaves me in a one up or one down from others. It doesn’t leave room for seeing everyone as whole or even myself as whole. It distances me from others, it puts a wedge in the relationship, even if I haven’t talked to the person.

Stepping stone: If you are interested, notice where you compare yourself to others. Is it in a particular setting? Is there a certain judgement that comes up? Notice how you respond to the comparison and to the other person or situation. Is this something that you want to continue?

If you need help with these questions and more, contact me today to see how I can help you on your journey. 

Photo curtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at freedigitalphotos.net

Making Clear Agreements

This is a skill that I think is super helpful in life. Often times friends, intimate partners, or family members will have an idea of something. This is usually not said. Then when someone else has a different idea that is often not shared either, tension and arguments can ensue. Take for example coming home. One person may want space to take off their shoes, put their stuff away and take a moment to breath before greeting the other person. The other person comes in wanting the other to drop everything and give them a big hug, acknowledge that they arrived and are happy to see them. This is often not talked about which then can cause disrupts and irritation. You may expect something and have an agreement on your end and the other person wasn’t aware of the agreement. (Another of my favorites is when one person in a couple does something on a regular basis, then they stop and the other person gets upset, “But you always did that.”)

In Need of Couples Therapy in Portland?

What if you could make a clear agreement about what you wanted. What if it was actually ok to ask for what you want? The other person has the ability to say no. If it is not said it is not an agreement from both people.

Stepping Stone: (Instead of homework, since some people have a hard time with that word, esp teenagers) Share with someone else what you want and making a clear agreement that you both agree to. Do not agree if you don’t really want to, that is a set up for failure and broken agreements which breaks trust. Portland, Oregon Couples Therapy.

Example: Hey, I really like when you greet me at the door when I come home. What do you think about that?

Or: Hey I noticed that you push me away when I come up to say hi when you first come home, do you want some space before I say hi?

Work more on agreements with me for couples, family, or group therapy at my Portland office. Contact me to set up an appointment.

Photo compliments of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Are you taking time for you?

I think our general culture here in the US tends to be get stuff done, go go go, be productive. With that mindset, it doesn’t really leave time for sitting and resting and rejuvenating the self. It can be labeled “lazy” or “selfish” to “do nothing.” The idea of sitting, resting, laying down in the shade/sun, reading a book as “doing nothing” is so connected to how the culture views certain activities.

This is something that comes up especially with parents. For a lot of couples, between work and kids, there is not a lot of extra time for the couple let alone yourself. Yet it makes such a difference. Even if it is five minutes. I see it as recharging that internal battery.

How Relaxing is Important in Couples Therapy

Personal time is important in couples therapy.I am married and am used to my spouse and their energy and movement. A friend has been staying with us for several months now and I noticed today, Sun, that when both my friend and spouse left, that I hadn’t been home alone for at least two weeks. Maybe it is having a different energy in the home. Maybe it is just having silence, knowing that I am here alone. And I also realized that it is something that I want to enjoy more regularly. And I don’t necessarily need the whole day, I just want to have my space, my time, with no one around.

Side note: I often tell the couples that come to see me as coaching or therapy clients to go on a date and not talk about the kids, money or their relationship. Go out and talk about topics that aren’t “business” related.  Here is a link to first date questions.

If you want to continue the exploration: Take a moment to think about what activities you consider to be productive vs unproductive. Where did these ideas of what is and isn’t productive come from?  How do you take care of yourself? Make a list of self care activities. And determine what you want to do and by when for your next you time.

Contact me today to make an appointment for Portland area couples therapy.

Photo curtesy of at freedigitalphotos.net.

What Dogs Can Teach us: Lesson 2

 

Lesson 2: Jump into the mess

ID-100207428Dogs jump right in. Typically speaking, dogs don’t shy away from mud. They love to play. They aren’t worried that they will get messy and that you won’t love them anymore. They play and get messy solely for having fun.

What if you/I/we weren’t so worried about getting dirty. About literally getting muddy or even messy in terms of showing emotion or sharing what is going through your mind.

Challenge: Play with getting messy. 1) Literally go out and play in the mud/dirt/puddles. 2) Get messy with sharing emotions and what stories you are making up. You may want to start with someone that you trust, let them know you are going to get messy.

Side note: Notice that dogs don’t create meaning or story around something that happened. Something happens, then they are there again fully. Unless the dog has been trained otherwise.

Photo compliments of jiggoja at freedigialphotos.net