5 Things to say to a friend who experiences anxiety during the Coronavirus pandemic

1. “Of course you are!”– VALIDATION- Because the current state of the world is enough to make anyone’s brain respond in a protective way. 2. “Tell me more.” – EMPATHY- Even when you don’t know what to say, you can open the door to sharing in their experience. 3. “I’m with you in it.”– SUPPORT- Even though we have to be apart, distance does not determine closeness. 4. “You’re still you.”– VALUE- Anxiety can feel all-consuming, but it doesn’t have the power to consumer our identities. 5. “Let’s make plans.”– HOPE- Timelines aren’t guarantees, but make loose plans to do … continue reading…

Just for Today

Tom Nowak pix

WRITING A JUST FOR TODAY LIST OF PERSONAL MAXIMS Did you ever have that golden nugget of truth, that, when you applied it you saw instant results; yet, out of habits, or distractions you fell back into the passive, ineffective, way of approaching life? This is frustrating for anyone. One way to keep these key truths in in your mind until they become part of your default approach to life is to review them daily. A simple method seen in recovery programs such as Overeaters Anonymous is writing in a format beginning with “Just for Today.” For example, “Just for … continue reading…

Life Lessons from the Garden

Priscilla Ortlip picture

I’ve been a gardener most of my adult life. I was one of those ‘hippie types’ back in the ‘70’s, a subscriber to Organic Gardening Magazine, experimenting with bed gardening, growing things like kohlrabi and soy beans…I am now back to flower and vegetable gardening, after a number of years’ hiatus, in a large expanse of yard for both in my new home. And as I ponder my love for working in the soil, I am struck with observations of my relationship with gardening and how so much of what I learn (over and over) applies to life in general. … continue reading…

Life and Growth through Relationship, not Rules

Meg Gay picture

“What does that mean to you?” I asked my client, who sat on the couch, her eyes wide, staring at what I had just shared with her. “It just changes everything!” It did change everything. It had changed everything for me a decade ago, and it had brought my faith to life during a time that felt like wading through mud in freezing rain. The game changer was this: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me … continue reading…

Journeys in Spiritually Integrated Therapy

If you were asked to share your spiritual autobiography what kinds of things would you include?  This came up for me recently in a class I taught on Spirituality in Psychotherapy.  In the area of spirituality, as in so many areas, the self-awareness of the clinician is key to our ability to handle sensitive information from our clients with tact and grace.  As such, I found myself reflecting on my own spiritual journey and how it interacts with the journeys of my clients.  Often, it provides a powerful point of connection and identification – yes, I know what it is … continue reading…