The social media truth

This week I’ve taken a break from two of the most popular social media sites. It’s not been super easy but good in the long run to gather my thoughts together. I’ve never fully understood the point of posting about every single mundane detail that happens in your life. But I admit that it’s interesting to browse and see what’s going on. The thing about social media is that it can have you convinced that you are close to someone when you’re not. Liking their activity or commenting does not mean they are obligated to let you in their real life lives. Social media allows you to be whoever you want to be. You can create an image or a perception of a person that is the complete opposite of your personality. There’s also sometimes even a false perception on anonymity,so in contrast, other individuals might be more honest on social media than they ever are in person. The fact that is ignored by millions is the fact that time spent on social media sites you don’t get back. There are people who make money but the vast majority isn’t paid to do anything on social media. It’s like a black hole of time that you’ll never get back–or even compensated for. I’m not debating the rightness or wrongness excessive social media time but the truth is that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Dream killers

One thing that I really like about therapy is that you have the opportunity to hold the hope in the room. What I mean by that is that I have the opportunity to be a source of hope for a couple or family that has lost theirs. Hopes and dreams are very related to each in that both are intangible. They both deal with the future and looking away from the current situation. Being a dream or hope holder means that you can be optimistic for the person in a hard situation. I’ve noticed both with myself and with other colleagues that sometimes it’s easier holding someone else’s hope as opposed to getting or keeping your own. How many of us kill our hopes and dreams for a myriad of reasons? Instead of not tending to them and letting then die on their own accord, we aggressively mentally hack our hopes and dreams to pieces. It’s almost as if we don’t want to give ourselves the option of succeeding. Yet there’s something in us that wants to hope against hope. However we ignore this and continue to sabotage our hopes and dreams. The problem with doing is that sometimes there is a reason we have certain hopes and dreams. Killing them uses up energy that could be put to better use. Humans are adaptable and resilient and deep down inside most people want to know that they matter in some way and that their dreams are reachable. Maybe making the decision to not sabotage your hopes and dreams because of outside factors is the beginning of something big.

The Friend-Zone

I don’t want to make the assumption that everyone has been friend-zoned at least once in their life. However, I think that it would be correct to assume that everyone at knows at least ONE person that this has happened to. The phenomenon of the friend zone has been around as long as the opinion that men and women can be platonic friends without one or the other catching feelings. While I think that this can occur, the instances where it has been successful for a long period of time are very few. The friend-zone is not the greatest place to be because you’re in a state of limbo. Torn between what you have and what you wish you had. You enjoy the company and attention from your “friend” but it’s not in the way that you actually want it to be. Being friend zoned is probably the equivalent of craving some cadillac-brand of butter pecan ice cream but getting stuck with plain yoghurt. Both are in the dairy family but vastly different in taste and texture. One thing about the friend zone is that it’s comfortable. There’s less expectations and as a result there’s less chance of misunderstandings. Both people (on paper) appear to have come to a mutual agreement about the status of the relationship. However one person wishes that the relationship could move beyond friendship but for the sake of the relationship they resign themselves to their fate. They have been relegated to a corner in the friendship despite (usually) small attempts to shift the direction of the relationship elsewhere.  This usually also includes seeing the object of one’s affection date and sometimes even marry another. Am I advocating for all the friend zoned people to confess their true feelings and risk rejection for the sake of being honest to themselves? Nope. The truth is that when you’ve had enough you’ll make a decision. Humans tend to change or even make important decisions when they become sick and tired of their current situation. If you don’t like being friend-zoned bad enough, you’ll do something about it and speak up. Point blank. If not, you’ll just pine away in an almost relationship with someone who most likely doesn’t have a clue about your real feelings. It may not be ideal but it’s the choice you made. 

Why Rapport???

I don’t do therapy as much as I used to and one thing that I enjoyed about the process was building rapport with clients. I once heard someone say that if you can’t build rapport within the first 15 minutes of a professional relationship, your chances are pretty much shot. The truth is that we expect people who are professionals we are paying to know what they are talking about. No one really wants a therapist who only has listening skills but has no knowledge base of interventions. A good friend with common sense can accomplish that. The thing about rapport is that it can be built fast or very slow depending on the situation. One of the easiest ways in the therapy room is to do an introduction of yourself and some cool non-personal facts about you. This helps to break the ice and encourages the client to open up about his or her dislikes. Emphasizing that questions are always welcome and adopting a collaborative approach to therapy can also be awesome tools to build rapport. As a therapist, I have to constantly be aware of the amount of rapport I have with each client. While some may trust me starting from session one, it may take six sessions for that to happen with another client. The more rapport I have with a client, the more I can push them out of their comfort zone and challenge them. If they know they can trust me they will feel safe enough to be uncomfortable and work on things that they hide from other people. While I make a very clear distinction between doing therapy and listening to the challenges of friends or associates around me, the rapport thing still holds true. While I’m not going to do a full-fledged intervention with a friend, I have to be aware of how much rapport I have with him or her and choose my words accordingly. Established and secure friendships will get a more candid and unfiltered response while associates and acquaintances will get a more blanket and general response. It’s all related to the rapport I have with them. There are many times I’ve wanted to give a more candid response to an associate or acquaintance but the fact that I do not have enough rapport with them for them to not be offended has stopped me. I conceptualize rapport as being a bank. Deposits happen when there are similar interests, trust is present, and there’s a sense of emotional safety. Withdrawals occur when you have to say something that is uncomfortable or may cause the other person to be offended. If you have enough rapport in the bank with them they won’t lash out at you because you’ve put time into building rapport. If there is not enough rapport in the bank you go into overdraft with a very angry and offended person with the risk of alienation because you overstepped the boundaries of the relationship.

Lessons in Teaching

Recently I had the opportunity to present on a counseling theory as it pertains to couples therapy to a class of graduate students at my alma mater. One thing that was helpful in the presentation was that I had actual experience using the theory in my work with couples. Narrative therapy is definitely something that I had the chance to use a lot when working with families, couples and individuals. As a naturally nosy person, narrative therapy is right up my alley because it gives clients a chance to tell their own story. As the therapy progresses the therapist starts prompting the clients to express the problem in their own words as the problem. Very helpful in identifying root causes and challenging current paradigms. I say all that to say that it’s nice to be able to talk about a topic that you have at least a basic knowledge of. Coaching a role play as the students played therapists and acted out the theory was also really fun. Maybe I like the feeling of interrupting and inserting some bit of wisdom but it’s always interesting to experience how a theory can change the entire dynamic of the therapy room and present an opportunity for growth on the part of the clients. I’ve had some great teachers during my educational experience and I’ve learned a lot of valuable information that has informed the way that I interact with clients and has made me much more strategic. I say all this to say that this little dose of teaching was a success and teaching a class is something that I’ve added to my list of things to do just for fun (and professional experience of course). 

The Spring Feeling

While spring is coming to an end, the fact that it snowed in Colorado last week was a discouragement to the inevitability of summer A few months ago I did a blog post on The Winter Feeling. Well folks, winter is pretty much over and in its place comes Spring Fever or as I like to call it, The Spring Feeling. The Spring Feeling is something that affect everyone in some way. The cold winter has started to thaw and people slowly and gradually start to come out of hibernation. They become more active and emotions run high. People become more easily irritated because deep down inside nobody wants to be stuck doing work while the weather is absolutely perfect. Engagements are a dime a dozen and so are pregnancies. Love seems to resemble a contagious virus that everyone seems to be catching. There’s something about spring that makes people want to either have babies or even sometimes having a burst of immature childish behaviors that they should have grown out of decades ago. Regardless, the spring feeling is one of transition. While summer is coming, people are talking about gaining that perfect beach body and they have a sudden new motivation for those disregarded New Year’s Resolutions.  

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

i rarely read a book that I think would be interesting to a lot of people. Reading autobiographies has always been a favorite of mine since childhood. This book is definitely geared toward a faith-based audience but it’s also a great read for anyone who has ever struggled with meeting the expectations of others or has overcome adversity. Sarah describes a life of living under a microscope as a child of a well known individual. She describes how an unplanned pregnancy at a young age and an abusive marriage helped shape her into the person she is today. There are countless people we run into on a daily basis whose lives we have no clue about. Lost and Found describes a coming of age experience in which Sarah tells her story of facing challenges and how she found her way.

What do you do when you have a million and one thoughts running around in your head that need to be connected by reading them? You blog. And unfortunately, the randomness that may come as a part of this spontaneous blog post may violate the NUMBER ONE rule of blogging: “Only have one subject” or the number two rule: “Don’t be wordy.” Well this one may actually be wordy. For the sake of the people reading this, I think I’ll at least separate this non-subject blog into topics. Topic One: One thing that I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts is the amount of traveling that I’ve done in the past few months. Five weekend trips in six weekends has been no joke. Trying to keep up with schoolwork and managing a job without taking PTO has been a superhuman feat that (thankfully) is almost over. As someone who loves to travel, it has been great seeing the world outside of the little bubble of work and school that perpetually seems to overshadow my life. Topic Two: The whole idea of choices has really been in the forefront of my mind these last couple days. I’ve been able to benefit from a series of particular choices I made that began in March 2012. These choices involved being deliberate in certain actions that I knew would have an outcome. While I did not know what the outcome would be, I knew that it was preferable to making the opposite choice not to change my actions. These choices continued and more choices related to them were made with the full knowledge that all future choices needed to be in line with the ones previously made. As I began to build choices upon choices, I saw very small but also very pointed results. While the results were not always (and rarely are always) explicitly exactly what I want as far as long term, there are still results that come directly from those choices. I say all this to say that many times I think that people neglect to recognize and acknowledge how certain choices can not only change your life for the better or for the worse, but also that they lead to other choices in the similar track. An example of this are the drugs known as “gateway drugs”. Statistics tell use that people who use these specific drugs are more likely to try harder and more potent drugs. Choices lead to other choices and these choices ultimately shape our lives and who we are as people. We don’t always realize the impact of a particular choice and seldom take the time to view our lives as a series of choices that we made. People we chose to associate with or listen to. Things that we neglected or paid attention to. Opportunities for growth that we capitalized on or disregarded. I was reminded how making certain choices in my life served as the gateway to an environment or an experience that I didn’t “deserve” to have. But those consistent choices laid the ground work for a positive result.