“The things which hurt, instruct.” -Benjamin Franklin
So, I’m reading this fantastic book called The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence and Creativity by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. But I hope you don’t read it, because then you wouldn’t need me. No, I’m kidding. Read this book. It’s about tapping into that part of you that is able to create a shift in your life. We all have it. The authors refer to it as a “higher force” that propels you forward into lasting change…
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Ok, let me begin by saying that I am absolutely devoted to Melody Beattie and everything she stands for. In case you’re unfamiliar with the name, Melody Beattie is the author of fifteen books including Codependent No More and The Language of Letting Go. She is an unstoppable force of good and healing, and her message of hope and change through self-awareness expands ceaselessly in all directions. Melody Beattie is a one woman revolution. Having said all that, I still feel like I haven’t come close to doing her justice in describing what she’s single-handedly done to help those who are lost.
The following is adapted from The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series), by Melody Beattie:
It takes courage and honesty to end a relationship- with friends, loved ones, or even a work relationship. Sometimes it may appear easier to let the relationship die from a lack of attention, rather than risk ending it. Sometimes, it may appear easier to let the other person take responsibility for ending the relationship. We may be tempted to take a passive approach. Instead of saying how we feel, what we want or don’t want, or what we intend to do; we may begin sabotaging the relationship, hoping to force the other person to do the difficult work. Sometimes this is unconscious behavior we “do,” without getting in touch with our feelings.
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Have I told you lately that I love you?
Did you know that it is common for a client to fall in love with his therapist? Well, it is. Don’t worry, I’m not going to cite statistical averages, or use colorful metaphors about snowflakes, etc. But, I am going to tell you the truth, as I see it. We fall in love with our therapists because they offer us the one thing we’ve always wanted, unconditional positive regard. They fulfill that yawning, gaping, unrelenting need to feel loved, admired, respected.
Where does this need come from? Well, if you’re in therapy (or considering it), it most likely comes from a lack of love or nurturance that began in early childhood. Remember all those times when all you needed was for someone to tell you that you’re wonderful and that everything was going to be okay? You know, when you skinned your knee, or your kite string broke, or you got a B on a test that you studied for all night. Instead, you were probably told that you were stupid, clumsy, and never did anything right. Sound familiar? Well, guess what? Your therapist will never let you down by telling you such terrible lies… which is exactly what makes her so irresistible.
Your therapist is there to remind you of all the things that are great about you and to carefully challenge you to work on the few things that are not so great. All the while, she is modeling for you how you should expect to be treated by others. This is precisely where it becomes tricky. You see, it becomes abundantly clear after awhile that nobody treats you as good as your therapist does. Why? The cynical answer is that it’s because they only see you for one hour a week, in most cases. The truth is that your therapist understands that you have old and painful wounds to heal. She has the training necessary to walk you through the mine field of your past and into the peaceful valley of your future. How could you not love someone who is willing and able to take on such a difficult task with you?
It starts small. You wonder what your therapist is doing at a certain hour on some random day. Then you find yourself wishing that your therapist were with you during a particularly spectacular sunset. Next you’re wishing she could come with you to see this certain movie that really explains how you feel about things. Finally, you start imagining being with her while you’re on vacation with your family. Now you’ve gone too far, and you feel pretty uncomfortable, but somehow excited at the same time. Could she be feeling the same way? No. She can’t. Should she? Definitely not.
Should you tell your therapist about this feeling? Absolutely. Why, you ask, should I ruin everything? Well, that’s the best part. The reason why is because this is where all the work is done. You are at the heart of therapy. After all, this relationship that you are toying with in your mind isn’t real. However, the feelings are. The very best way to explore and resolve the feelings related to your painful childhood can be to explore your feelings about your therapist with your therapist. This is the point where a lot of people quit therapy. Don’t do it. Where else are you ever going to get the opportunity to delve so deep into the origins of your pain? Okay, so you may be thinking, “I DON’T WANT TO DELVE! WHY DO I HAVE TO DELVE?” Answer: To get to the other side. Is it worth it? Without a doubt. Is it painful? Excruciating. Do it anyway. If you’ve come this far, it would be a shame to go back. You’ll miss the view, and it…is…spectacular.
Visit the Our Team page to read about each of our counselors and contact one of us to schedule a Free Phone Consultation and begin your journey to the life you deserve.
To read more about Kim Murphy’s work at Life Skills Resource Group
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Karen Q. Walsh, CLC, Certified Life Coach
At Life Skills Resource Group Orlando, we offer Life Coaching Groups 4-5 times a year. Some of the topics we have covered include “Creating the Life You Want”, “Quantum Success”, “You Can Heal Your Life”, “The 7 Levels of Intimacy”, and starting April 15th, 2010, our newest group, “Secrets of Success” (limited registration available in morning group, evening sold out).
But sharing the titles of the groups does not begin to explain the life changing experiences these groups have been for the participants. For if I told you there was a special place in Orlando, with a special group of people, who came together once a week for 8 weeks, and though most were strangers at the beginning, they came away “family”- would you believe me? Would you believe it’s possible to bring together strangers, and in 8 short weeks, find a community with an incredible bond?
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Jessica Stage, MSW, Registered Clinical Social Work Intern
I often speak about how excited I am for the weekend to come. It is great to have time to spend with your family and to complete important tasks, and most of all to relax. However, sometimes I feel that always wishing for the weekend can make me not appreciate the good times that I do have at my job. While I am a counselor at Orlando Life Skills Resource Group, my full time job is as a hospital social worker in an intensive care unit. My job can be very difficult, but also rewarding. Some days I see families caught up in the sudden tragedy of a loved ones illness or traumatic injury, and work with them on coping with this. Other days I might see a patient who has recovered from severe injuries and gets to go home from the hospital. While working with patients and families is how I spend the majority of my day, I also constantly interact with fellow social workers, nurses, physicians and therapists. I have developed several close friendships at my job, and it can make a bad day go much better having these friends to commiserate with. No one else understands the challenges and joys of being a health care worker than these people.
No job is 100% positive all of the time. You spend up to 2,000 hours a year at a full time job. You may work with ten people every day or one hundred, but there are some personality types that you may clash with. You may have a coworker that shirks their duties, resulting in you working twice as hard. One coworker may spread spiteful gossip about other staff members and try to get you caught up in the “drama”. You may have a coworker who claims that work that you did was their own to get “brownie points” with your supervisor. It can be so hard to maintain a positive work life balance when dealing with negative personalities!
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The Counselors and Life Coaches of Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando do the work we do because we want to participate in making peoples’ lives and relationships better in some way. This may involve helping people: find peace of mind or joy in living, repair ruptured relationships, become more effective parents, learn how to cope with interpersonal situations that are not fixable, make some hard choices for the long-term good, or clarify and develop strategies to achieve specific life goals. Counseling and life coaching cannot provide solutions to all of life’s challenges, but there can be amazing benefit from accessing the resources of our trained professionals.
Although we have all learned similar psychological theories or life coaching approaches, each of us at Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando uses our education and training in our own unique way. Clients are also an active part of the process. Counselors and life coaches contribute certain skills and understandings to the therapeutic encounter, but we are not the “experts” who prescribe what to do and how to do it, while the client passively receives that information. Clients already have their own strengths and skills to contribute. The therapeutic journey involves a co-creative dynamic that emerges from the interaction of each client and each practitioner.
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