Stress and Emotions

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Stress is an all too frequent topic for discussion especially during these trying economic times.  We often describe everything that is going on in our life rather than the emotional effect of these events on our bodies.  Hence stress is really the inability to integrate emotional experiences with our physical self.   Emotions help us evaluate the impact of life experiences.   We automatically feel anger, sadness, or happiness, however we do not always reflect on these emotions.

Reflecting on our emotional responses is essential for personal and emotional growth.  Understanding emotions is at the root of counseling and allows individuals to integrate emotions with their experience and redirect to healthy behaviors.  How often do we hear people say, “when I am depressed I eat” or, “when I get mad I just shut down”.   Such responses lead to lifelong problems such as obesity, heart disease, and general health problems.  Changing behaviors can and often does help, but sustained change really requires self-reflection, personal understanding, and the ability to re-direct our emotions in healthy ways.

Emotionally focused counseling begins with trust and gradual awareness of feelings. Gradual personal story telling will facilitate a deeper understanding of oneself and the ability to label core feelings.  Once feelings are labeled then counseling involves evaluation of adaptive and maladaptive responses to these core feelings.   Healthy lifestyles gradually evolve through continued self-coaching, awareness, and the ability to talk about the emotional effects of life experiences. Read more >


The Hostile Workplace

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Many of us work years to establish our career and integrity as individuals.  When it comes to the workplace many ethical principals fall prey to greed, and lust for power.  Often power comes in the form of hostility, threats, intimidation, and purposeful acts of omission or isolation.

Reporting workplace hostility and intentional misconduct is often met with denial and a “blame the messenger attitude.”  A boss or a human resource representative will often ask the messenger of workplace badgering “what have you done to deal with so and so”.  The reply is often “I have done everything I can think of to please this person or to resolve my discomfort” and now I am coming to you to stage a complaint.

While there are several “resources” to help employees deal with workplace hostility, many of these resources are a cover for the employer’s protection.  The message again becomes, “something is wrong with the messenger, and not the unethical or hostile boss.”

 

What can you do to survive workplace hostility?

  1. Document everything you do and what is said to you by your aggressor.  Include specifics date, time, and as much of the conversation that you remember.
  2. Do not gossip about the situation. Maintain a low profile as if the aggressor does not exist.
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How can I cope with all this loss?

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Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is credited with wonderful works on death, dying, and personal grief.  In one of her works “Life’s Lessons she states “if life is a school, then loss is a major part of the curriculum.”  Loss is painful, and can thrust individuals into despair. Dealing with loss initially begins with being present with the loss.  Whatever is felt at the time of loss is personal and real and time is needed to explore and heal the loss.  Healing may not always be direct and may be marked by ups and down, but can be transformed by sharing that experiences within a trusting relationship.  Grief is personal and can be rekindled long after the tragic experience.  Within counseling, grief is explored through a process of mourning.  Mourning involves taking time to talk about our experience in ways that help us acknowledge rather that than deny our loss.

How can counseling help me?

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People seek counseling for a range of problems such as depression, despair, anxiety, failing marriages, faltering careers,additions, loss and grief. Counseling includes a wide range of talk therapies that help increase self-awareness, and personal growth.   There are many techniques that a counselor uses to bring about change, however the most important condition for change occurs in the counselor client relationship.

Counselors maintain confidentiality, conversation free from judgment, acceptance, and empathy for the client’s unique experience.  As trust develops in the counseling relationship, clients are able to share their experience with honesty in ways that is not ordinarily possible with personal friendships and loved ones.  The counselor helps the client develop self understanding which is central to letting go of pain, grievances, anxiety and their behavioral consequences.


Recommended Reading

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All help is Self-Help.

An important goal of counseling is to get to the point where you can help
yourself through what you have learned. Therefore, in addition to therapy, We highly recommend the following books:

 

On Depression:

The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts)
James Hollis
Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair
Miriam Greenspan
Potatoes Not Prozac, A Natural Seven-Step Dietary Plan to Stabilize the Level of Sugar in Your Blood, Control Your Cravings and Lose Weight, and Recognize How Foods Affect the Way You Feel
Kathleen DesMaisons

 

On Bipolar:

Why Am I Still Depressed? Recognizing and Managing the Ups and Downs of Bipolar II and Soft Bipolar Disorder
Jim Phelps
Changing Course: Healing from Loss, Abandonment and Fear
Claudia Black

 


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