Category Archives: Core Issues

Family Counseling Conversation Around End of Life



Portland Area Family Counseling

End of life issues are for family counselingI 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.
Have you thought about your end of life desires? This is something I work with clients in family counseling. Contact me for an appointment in the Portland area.

Photo compliment of nuttakit on

Ch Ch Ch Changes

“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.”
Watch the Ted Talk here.


Can your posture or environment change you?

Try curling into yourself, bring your knees in, cross your arms, look down. Portland Oregon Cognitive TherapySit like this for a minute. How do you feel in this position? Now try stretching your arms up, standing tall, looking up. What body sensations do you notice?

Changing your posture can change how you feel, how you interact. She does a much better job at demonstrating this, watch her video to get the full scoop on it.

I what to take this somewhere else: your environment. That may be your home, your organization, your clothes in your closet or even the clothes you wear. Think about when you wear sweatpants and an oversized sweat shirt. I think cozy, comfortable, ease of movement. Now what about going on a date, what clothes do you pick out for that? And it probably depends on how you want to feel. Some women will wear sexy underwear or a camisole to feel sexy even if they are wearing not so sexy clothes.

Posture affects you. Clutter in your home affects you. What you wear affects you.

Check in with yourself when you are feeling a certain way, (Not as a fix it, I don’t believe in fixing your feelings, more as a possible shift move.) and try changing your posture or your clothes. Play with it and notice what happens.

Like I say to many of my clients, life is like a science experiment: have a hypothesis, try it out, determine the next step. Go into this not knowing, being curious, wondering what will happen. And then gather data.

If you think cognitive therapy could help you, contact me for Portland appointments.

Appreciation for use of the photo go to Serge Bertasius Photography At

Boundaries-knowing your no (sneaking in anger)

How do you know what you want or don’t want? How do you let others know? How do you respond when others share their what they want or not?

Is Coaching for you?

This can cause a lot of disrupt in relationships. Often times people will see someone saying no as a rejection. Perhaps even sharing what they want could be seen by themselves or others as being selfish.

Portland area coaching for anger management.I see anger as a boundary emotion. It lets us know when something needs to stop or change. Yet, when we hold onto this anger/frustration/irritation/annoyance/etc, it festers and comes out typically as an argument or a lingering mood that can last several hours, days or months. I will also share this: yelling and anger are not the same thing. I think yelling happens when it festers.

What would life be like if that anger was noticed in the moment and something was either acknowledged by that person or even shared out loud. Now, wait a moment, if you are like a lot of people, you may say that is impossible or you simply couldn’t do that or what chaos would erupt if you allowed yourself to do that. Take a breath. I am talking about going inward and noticing and acknowledging. That in and of itself can make a huge difference. Wow, I feel angry (vexed, ill tempered, you use whatever word works) and noticing I had hoped you would do the dishes. Anger doesn’t equal blame, it can come out as blame, but they are not one in the same.

Homework if you choose to accept: take a moment when you notice yourself getting angry (agitated/ displeased/ huffy) to simply notice and acknowledge that. Then ask yourself what boundary have you or someone else stepped over. And what do you want around that? It may be an agreement with someone (your friend shows up late). A cultural agreement (a car speeds by you going 20 miles over the limit).

Contact for more information on Portland area coaching and talk to me about your desires for coaching.

This image is curtesy of stockimages at


Contradiction, according to Google: “a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.” Opposites, same source: “having a position on the other or further side of something; facing something, especially something of the same type.”

ID-10066173Sometimes we can have ideas, feelings, thoughts that feel totally at odds with each other. fFor example I can either accept the situation as it is and do nothing or reject it completely and make major changes, I can either have security or passion, I can either win or lose this argument, I can either be rigid or be in the flow. And we think, “How can these possible co-exist?” We feel stuck.

Try something out with me. In one hand put one of your statements. Feel it there. Does it have any movement, texture, color, sound? Be with it right now in this moment. Now in your other hand put the other statement. Notice the same. Now can your two hands holding these statements move and be in existence in each hand at the same time? Hold both simultaneously and notice what happens. Once you notice ease in this, perhaps have ID-100279435your two hands interact together. Move them closer together then farther apart. Have one hand try on the movement, feeling of the other hand and vice versa. Do you notice anything different in your experience of the two appearing contradictory statements?




Image curtesy of Ambro  and taesmileland from

Doing vs Being

A continuation of Intentions or perhaps on a different or deeper level. 37H

I have been thinking about my own intentions as the new year approaches (I am writing this on the 30th). In the past I have mostly thought of doing intentions. Things I want to accomplish. When I looked back over the Intentions blog, only one was a being, 9 of the 10 were doings.

Let me clarify the distinction between doing and being before I continue. According to the Google dictionary, doing is engaging in an activity. Some of the synonyms I found were effort, work, exertion, application. Being, on the other hand, is the existence, the nature or essence of a person. Synonyms for being are life form, soul, living soul, human.

I am exploring my intentions with the lens of Being. Who do I want to be? Who do I want to become? What do I want to step into that may feel scary to me right now? And as I write this, I notice more energy and excitement then thinking about what I want to do. I am noticing the doing seems “out there,” it may happen, it may not. Whether based on money to do it (Hawaii trip) or seeing a set number of clients (some of which is out of my control). When I think of who I want to become, I notice an opening, spaciousness. There are an infinite amount of possibilities. And I have control over this intention.

Tying this back to last weeks Intention post, when you are pondering these questions, be specific. For example: I want to be a better friend. That is a great start and what are specific behaviors that create that? I want to talk to a particular friend each week, I want to set aside some time to email/call/text to stay connected with friends each week/day/month. Then you can actually make steps toward your intention. Having a goal, having something you are working toward that you can actually say, “yes I did this” or “no I didn’t.” And then recommit to your intention, leaving the blame out.

Homework if you dare to step in, think about the following questions: Who do you want to be? Who do you want to become? What is an attribute that you admire in someone else that you can’t even imagine yourself possessing? Ponder these then come up with specific behaviors or steps toward your intention. Have fun and Happy New Year!

I added a tree because I think it is such a representation of being. The acorn has the potential to be an oak tree. It just is and will be if given the right environment to grow. Same with you. You have the potential, give yourself the right environment (setting intentions, creating goals, getting support) in order to grow into that which you are. Embrace it. The tree doesn’t need to effort, if just grows.