EAP: Embracing a Herd Mentality

EAP: Embracing a Herd Mentality

The mental health field is not unlike a lot of professions today — there is always more to know, so an expert's efforts are best spent learning and growing in specializations about which they're passionate. For me, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a combination of two of MY great loves — horses and helping people.

Counseling is a Good Idea: Here's Why ...

We humans have an amazing capacity for NOT putting two and two together. It doesn't matter who you are — genius, successful, experienced, academic OR not — you miss something. Lots of somethings. We walk around with blinders on.

I'm no exception. Case and point:

I've always known I was a "southpaw." But, until recently, I thought eating and writing were the only things I did with my left hand. Turns out I brush my teeth left-handed, too. It took me more than 30 years to note something I've been doing for more than 30 years. Crazy, right? The discovery came out of a casual discussion with my in-laws about my left-handedness. Someone probed me about my habits and, forced to think about it, I was astonished by what I discovered.

I think we all do a lot of things out of habit. Whether it's muscle memory or instinct or learned coping behavior, we do an awful lot in life — spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically — without thinking about it or being aware of it. We don't always connect the dots. That's not always a bad thing, but it can be. That's where I think therapy can be helpful — in the cluing us in and clarifying of things.

No, you don't need to know that you brush your teeth with your left hand, but it may help you to know:

  • that you're attracted to chaotic relationships because that's what you grew up navigating.
  • that being uncomfortable is comforting to you and that that's why you sabotage all things good in your life.
  • that you eat excessively (or starve) because food is the one thing in life you've ever felt you had any power or control over.
  • that you drink alcohol to avoid being socially awkward because being socially awkward makes you feel what you've always felt and believed about yourself — that you're alone and unworthy of love and attention.
  • that [insert YOUR story here] ...

All of it, any of it, might help you to know that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.

I think therapy is a lot about that stuff. Counseling is about the exploration of what we do and why we do it and why it matters. More importantly, therapy is about the hope generated by the exploration of self, life and God — a brand new opportunity to respond accordingly, to begin again … to be transformed.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
— Proverbs 9:10

Awareness is a requisite first step toward change. So, here's to taking the blinders off? Join me for a consultation session!

3 Ways to Fight Post-Vacation Depression

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don’t need to escape from.
— Seth Godin

While I don't necessarily agree with any theory that assumes vacation is simply an attempt at escaping normal life, I get Godin's point: live a life you love, 24/7, 365 — not just whilst on vacay. And I like that point. I agree with that point. Part of any therapy is pursuing that point. So, props to Seth.

But I'm also pro-vacation. I believe in the rejuvenation that comes from getting away from routine. I'm a major proponent of any opportunity for healthy adventure. And I can't help but think (and know, from personal experience) that travel makes for a transformative journey and a wonderful life story. So, vacation? Yes, please.

However, I know it can be hard to reenter "normal" life after those enjoyable periods of heightened experience, memory making and/or relaxation. In fact, post-depression blues are a pretty universal experience. Attempting to re-acclimate to life at home and work, we often experience a sense of letdown and disenchantment. It's normal for a minor depression to set in for a few days or weeks.

So, what do we do about it? How do you move through the inevitable post-vacation funk? Slowly and purposefully:

Ease back in (or, float on the funk). Give yourself a day or two of grace on the back end of your vacation. Use that time to unpack, grocery shop and do laundry at an unhurried and leisurely pace. Take an hour to look out at the month ahead — what's important, what's not? Put a line through an event or duty or two. Just back from a break and feeling the benefits, you should use that momentum to ban busy from your future schedule by allotting time for self-care and play in your day to day life!

Use the funk to reflect. As you transfer your vacation photos from your camera to your computer, go ahead and reminisce. Sit and soak in the memories and ask yourself some questions: What did your vacation awaken within you? What did your time away teach you about who you are, what you enjoy and what's NOT working in your non-vacation life?

Let the funk propel you toward change. Depression can feel immobilizing, but one of the best ways to fight the funk fast is to mobilize. Do something. Better yet, do something GOOD ... for your body, for someone else, for your future. Exercise. Sign up for that online course you've been thinking about. Cook dinner for a group of friends. Make your ordinary life a little bit more extraordinary by doing one new thing every day.

----
Of course, if you're up for a little extra help in creating the kind of day-to-day life you won't feel the need to escape from, I'm here to listen ... and to help you write a better life story. GET IN TOUCH and we'll get started

What is it you plan to do?

As 2016 approached and even now, a couple weeks into this new year, a line I read years ago in a poem ("The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver) has been echoing in my mind:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver

I love that. The question ASSUMES so much — that we have but one life, that it’s a worthwhile life, and that we have a responsibility inherent in our existence (i.e., life is what you make of it).

That same question also DEMANDS just as much — that we take ownership of the time we're given, that we be intentional and that we sense the gravity (and grandeur) of our lives.

It’s such a heavy and beautiful question.

Now, take a second and read those words again. Does the question overwhelm you? Scare you into avoidance? Excite you to action? Inspire you to dream? Feel rhetorical? Any or all of those? Good. I encourage you to wrestle with those feelings and thoughts. Sit in that discomfort. Embrace the process and go where it leads ...

May the question inspire you in your goal setting, decision-making and hopes for this year. May 2016 be one of profound purpose, intentionality and joy.

(P.S. I’m available, if you’re looking for help along the way — just get in touch!)