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The Essential Ingredient for Healthy Relationships

 Rebuilding relationships begins with

rebuilding the relationship we have with ourselves.

Exploring and gaining understanding of our internal world, the relationship we have with ourselves and the contexts in which we experience conflict can help us to expand all of our relationships. Our internal world includes the understanding of how we perceive conflict, which influences the way conflict shows up in our relationships.

The most overlooked yet essential ingredient for a healthy relationship is to understand your own internal experience of conflict.

We begin our exploration of our internal experience of conflict by looking at the way conflict appeared in our family system as we were growing up.

We each grew up in a unique family system. Our family system is made up of the people who played a major part in our lives growing up. For some of you, your family system may be your mother and father and you. If your parents divorced and remarried, you may have two family...

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The Recipe for Wholeness

Therapist, "Do you feel whole?"

Patient, "Well what does that even mean, 'feel whole'? I mean I am one whole piece of person."

Let's start there.   What does it mean to embody wholeness?

In describing the process of identity formation, Erik Erikson described the goal of identity formation as the achievement of a sense of wholeness. In Erikson's theory of development, wholeness refers to having a meaningful self-concept in which past, present, and future are brought together to form a belief and understanding of one's self as an entire person.

Wholeness has been described in the research literature as the belief and understanding of one's self as an entire person, a state that is said to be necessary for maximal functioning in daily life.

In Ashley Patterson's writings on identity and race, she cites the way wholeness is described in the research literature concerning identity.

Wholeness is the ability to feel comfortable in your skin, regardless of your surroundings,...

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The 7 C's of Self


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The Nine Rules of Shame

Shame typically involves being observed disapprovingly by others. Shame can hold us hostage to the unrealistic and hurtful standards of others.

Shame in a family, organization, or group involves the leaders openly criticizing another for a failure to live up to accepted norms or values.  Shame tells the one shamed that they are deserving of criticism and disapproval.

Shame is painful and terribly uncomfortable. It is a loud booming voice shouting to the world that the shamed person is inadequate, deficient, embarrassing, or unworthy. The powerful feeling of shame involves being drastically diminished, made smaller, and  lacking in dignity. Shame hits square in the face and unexpectedly.

While guilt focuses on the performance of an action, shame focuses on the self as a whole.

 Guilt refers to what I have done while shame refers to who I am.

A shame based person, family, organization, or relationship is necessarily rigid in order to self-perpetuate it's own rules.


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You Are Worthy

Discovering Your Self-Worth Despite Challenging Circumstances


Are you experiencing a struggle? Does it feel like as soon as one struggle is resolved, another arises?

Do you often feel overwhelmed and frustrated ?

Do you wish your life had greater meaning? 

You can enjoy the meaningful life you deserve.


What you know but may be afraid to acknowledge:

Success is available to you despite challenging circumstances.


Your self-worth is not defined by your circumstances.

 What is holding you back?

Take some time today to question the beliefs you hold that limit your potential.

Challenging circumstances can feel like walls that are impossible to climb.

Consider a fresh perspective.

Within you is everything you need to thrive and excel.

The more you question the validity of your limiting beliefs, the more success you'll experience in your life.

Think of a circumstance in your life that you believe is preventing you from something you want. Write it down,...

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The 5 Minute 5 Step Path to Minimizing Anxiety

An Uncomplicated Life; a seemingly unattainable goal.

A life with out anxiety: unimaginable if the two are synonymous with each other.

One practice to minimize anxiety and achieve an uncomplicated life: Mindfulness

Think of all that you have done in your life.

All that you have overcome.

All you have accomplished.


In 5 minutes a day you will learn to live mindfully by practicing the following.

But first:
There is no wrong way to do this!

1.Sit in a comfortable spot. Begin your mindfulness practice by focusing on your breath, it will help ground you for the session. Focus on drawing your breath in and exhaling it out. Just do it. Everyone has wandering thoughts while doing this. It's OK. It's a part of the journey.

(Are you a mantra aficionado? Some people find it useful to use a mantra to focus on: That is a word or phrase that you say aloud and/or chant. It can be ‘Om’,...

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Parent's Guide to Managing Childhood Depression

Parent and caregiver support is critical to the treatment of childhood depression. Sadly,  there is no quick fix for depression. However, parents play an important role in helping children heal by maintaining a supportive environment and teaching healthy habits. This post describes habits and skills that foster children’s mental well-being.


Kids thrive with routine. Following a daily routine reduces stress by creating predictability, among other benefits. Begin by creating a routine for doing a few important tasks—such as meals and bedtime—at the same time, and in a similar way, every day. Think of routines as an outline for the day, rather than a minute-by-minute schedule. A good routine leaves room for free time, such as talking, playing, and just hanging out.

Behavioral Activation

Depression causes children to lose interest in normal activities. Consequently, they become less active, which causes depression to worsen. Make a point to schedule...

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Mini Habits for Major Change

4 Powerful Benefits of Mini-Habits


If you haven’t heard of mini-habits, you’re in for a treat. Imagine making only small adjustments in your life, and still managing to create impactful and meaningful change.


The mini-habit is just what it sounds like – it’s taking the premise that doing a whole lot of small things will eventually add up to something amazing. Think, for example, of what would happen if you only read a couple of news articles every day? Before you know it, you’d have accomplished the goal of becoming more informed, and would be better able to handle discussions about current events.


Mini-habits don’t stop there though. Not only can your mini-habit change how you get things done, but they impact your mind and body as well. Read on to discover the powerful benefits of Mini-habits.


  1. You create an atmosphere of success. By setting small goals, you’re much more likely to meet them. So instead of...
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To pay attention to what is painful can ironically provide you with freedom.

We all develop patterns of holding tension in our bodies as we move through life and experience tension, fear, and stress.  Do you notice yourself clenching your jaw or making a fist when you are experiencing difficult emotions? Perhaps you feel your chest constricting when you run into someone with whom communication is challenging.

In between practicing law and being a psychologist, I did a ton of yoga. I experienced much healing on a yoga mat. Before that time, I would work through, run through, or suppress what was uncomfortable or painful. Turning my attention elsewhere seemed like the healthiest thing I could do. It was counterintuitive to actually pay attention to what was painful or uncomfortable.  Doing so can provide you with much freedom.

The physical tightness and pain we feel in our bodies can teach us more about ourselves.  These sensations often result from certain thoughts and emotions. When we start to notice the correlation, between certain thoughts...

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Dissociation to maintain peace around us at the cost of peace within us.


Dissociation is a physiological response to not feeling safe.

It can look like spacing out or being hyper-productive.

Sometimes it's a way to self-edit ourselves into silence.

We hide our anger or rage or grief to keep the peace.

In doing so, we may dissociate to help us maintain peace around us at the cost of peace within us.

We self-edit ourselves into silence.

This can become something we learned to do a long, long time ago, as a way to adapt to fear.

When we know we are in a safe space, we can start to rewire our brain not to automatically holding everything in.

Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to change, remodel and
reorganize for purposes of bettering our ability to adapt to new situations.

Neuroplasticity refers to our brains ability to continuously change over the course of our lifetimes in response to our environment and injury. We can harness this power to begin to shed behaviors that were previously adaptive but no longer serve us. It's never too late...

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