Some of the goals of therapy

To find ways to love and accept love

How to stop getting stuck in feeling bad about yourself

To create a fuller and happier life

To find ways out of helplessness and the feelings of being overwhelmed

To find a way out of the unnecessary pains, sadness, and losses in our lives

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


         When we are discussing something with an other, we often are talking in a kind of abstract language.   We are expressing a judgment, a theory, a perspective about some event or interaction.  One of the simplest methods to deepen such a discussion is to ask the speaker "what was in your mind when you said that" - pointing to some idea being expressed.    Most of our "ideas" are rooted in our experiences.   So, the recommended question asks the speaker to reach back beyond the idea into the experiences which are connected to idea.   An empathic connection is most often grounded in the resonances  of each other's experiences and the relationship becomes enriched through the sharing of experiences.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


How do we understand anyone?
        Someone speaks, someone gestures, someone communicates something about their experience.   What happens in the other, the listener.   From the first moment the mind starts interpreting.   These interpretations are mostly unconscious.   In our conscious experience we are following the sources of information - the words and their potential meanings; the visual information such as body language and gestures, the auditory information such as tone and inflections; and any other sensory information such as touch or smell.  All these systems are being utilized and most of the "processing and interpreting" are going on unconsciously.  What is most critical to really getting what the other is communicating is the process of empathic identification.  Our minds search for linking experiences.  What, within us the listener,  links to the picture, the story, the video of the person trying to communicate to us.   The links are our own stories, pictures, videos that resonate with those of the communicator.
        Most of these resonances take place outside of awareness in our unconscious minds.   The relationship the listener has to his/her unconscious mind will determine how rich and complex the listeners understanding, the "getting" of  the person communicating.   In a given moment the "gates" between the unconscious mind and our conscious self are more or less open or closed.   Ongoing feeling states such as fear, anxiety, "downess" influence the gates.   If the listener's conscious mind is "open" to the resonating experiences generated by the unconscious mind, he/she can either share the actual experience or try to make sense of the significance of the linked experience.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


How to think about feelings.
         One way is to recognize that feelings are almost always embedded in meanings.  Feelings are most often "emergent", that is they arrive in consciousness, we don't order them up willfully, they arrive.  In a sense feelings are a surprise to the self because of their emergent nature.  
         Sometimes we try not to experience a feeling, we try to block it out, ignore the feeling, attend to something else.  One consequence of trying to avoid experiencing a feeling is that this method of not experiencing something begins to extend to other feelings.  The reason for this denuding of experience is that the best way to make sure that the pain full feeling doesn't arrive is to make sure nothing arrives (since feelings are emergent and a surprise to the self, the goal of avoiding a feeling is accomplished by not allowing any surprises - we don't know what's coming so we don't let anything come).  
         There use to be a tv show "The Bob Newhart Show" in which he was a psychologist.  The "pet" line in the show was "How do you feel about that" and this delivery usually evoked a laugh.  So it seems trite to ask this question.  Yet, this is a critical question to ask one self, to check out whether we are open to the feelings connected to the meaning of the moment.