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5 posts from February 2010


Personal note from Sandee Nebel:

My most important relationship is with me, and I need to take good care of myself so I have abundant energy to spend on my relationships with colleagues, family and friends.

How am I taking care of myself?

Fueled by the Spirit of Change theme we have launched here at the office, I've committed to work on my physical, emotional and spiritual health this month, catching up on doctor visits, basic screenings that I put off during the holidays, and nourishing my soul with my art journaling. This fills me up and makes me fit to be most helpful to my clients, and to be more present with my family members and good friends.

I'm continuing my nourishing self-care practices like training at SSP, yoga and meditation at Red Sun Yoga, and walking my dog, Soleil. I'm adding in a couple of Al-Anon and other 12-step meetings, working on my art journals, and wearing healthy shoes. So when you see me around the counseling center wearing Birkenstock shoes or sneakers, you will know I am  “walking my path” of nurturing my relationship with ME!

I know that it takes  actions like these to enrich all my relationships. Today's feature article is all about how a small shift on our part can make a huge difference to a relationship that might need a tune-up.

A note from Tara Harvill:

When Relationships End…

What about when relationships end? This can feel very painful and unsettling. These emotions provide useful information and this pain indicates that something within needs healing. Acknowledging and grieving the lost relationship remain important steps in that process. By allowing space and time to feel the sadness and mourn the emotional loss, growth and rebuilding can take place. During this period, self-care and social connection become important prescriptions for recovery. Just as recovery from a physical loss or injury requires proper nutrition, plenty of fluids, rest and relaxation, and assistance from friends and family, so, too, are the prescriptions for emotional recovery. Eating regular, well-balanced meals, getting plenty of rest, showering, going to school/work, visiting friends and family, reading, listening to music, and performing other daily acts of self-care help maintain strength and physical health for the course of restructuring your life and redefining your sense of purpose.

So, what now? Reflection and introspection can provide the means for growth and transformation. Who am I? What do I want to accomplish? What are my goals, values, and beliefs? What do I want from my relationships with others? Clarifying your own identity and investing in your own growth and development empower you to make clear and healthy choices in the future. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to take an art or dance class, but never had the time. Maybe pursuing a different educational or career path was put on hold, because of relational responsibilities or commitments. What better time to get to know yourself? You just may fall in love!

A note from Liz Strong:

When February rolls around each year, clients often begin to talk about relationships, whether past or present. Valentine’s Day tends to serve as a benchmark, leading people to take stock of where their relationship stands. I hear a lot about feeling misunderstood, miscommunication, and wanting to change what seem to be dysfunctional patterns that have developed over time. However, many are unsure of just how to proceed, as all of the above can be delicate matters, or difficult to articulate.

Often, the answer is linked to more open communication, allowing each partner to be heard, no longer allowing for assumptions to be made about how the other may feel. Like most things, this can seem easier said than done. As part of our “Sprirt of Change” series, Tara and I hope to address some of these issues, to help make it easier for you to incorporate what you learn in therapy into your relationship. In the “Re-Igniting Romance” workshop, we will offer some tips and tools that will ultimately help you to build more intimacy within your partnership. The goal is to enhance your existing relationship in a way that feels most comfortable for you. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, give us a call to register!

Feature Article: Recovering the pearl: 5 signs that a relationship needs a tune-up

Whether it's a hot romance or a new friendship, there's nothing quite as exciting as the early phase of a relationship – before you discover anything about the other person that doesn't fit your fantasy of what they're going to contribute to your life.

But what happens when this other person does start to say, think or do things that you don't like? What if you've both started taking each other – and the relationship – for granted?

Here are 5 signs that a relationship needs a tune-up:

1. It feels totally one-sided. One of you is always making the first move and making the effort to keep the relationship alive.

2. You sense you've grown past it. This is particularly true of relationships you may have taken from childhood or adolescence into adulthood, but may also apply to the transformation you experience through recovery.

3. You feel bad. Spending time with this person leaves you feeling drained, negative or just plain unhappy. You feel the relationship is doing you more harm than good.

4. You feel tempted to relapse. Whether it's a "binge buddy," or just anyone who reinforces behaviors you're trying to let go of, this can be a slippery slope.

5. Something is off. This relationship just doesn't feel right – it's a nagging sense that you can't put your finger on.

If any of these apply to you, don't worry, you can turn this around! You can change this relationship. As we discussed in last month's feature article about change, though, you can only change yourself, not another person.

The first thing you can change is your thinking about the relationship. Instead of focusing on what you don't like, try to find the "pearl," or the positive side. What's special about this situation, this relationship or this person? How can you see them through compassionate eyes instead of judging them as negative?

You can also change your actions in this relationship. Sure, it's easier to send a text message or an email. But if that's what you usually do, imagine the impact of a phone call or a hand-written card! What little step can you take, what olive branch can you extend, what gesture can you make?

Lastly, you can change your words in this relationship. Notice how much time you spend talking about problems, difficulties, complaints or fears to this person. How would it impact the relationship if even 10% of the time you made a conscious effort to express words of gratitude, appreciation or kindness?

Sometimes relationships need more than change – you might actually want to take a vacation from a relationship and get some space to reflect on things. And February, with its Valentine's, hearts and flowers, is the perfect time to do that. To help, we'll be holding several workshops at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center that will explore these relationship themes (flyer).

Upcoming Events

Please see the attached flyer for details on our February workshops, continuing our focus on the Spirit of Change and enriching relationships....  (click here for events flyer)
And we have a special workshop coming up:
Write Your Way to Change!  Journal Writing Workshop
For those seeking recovery from Binge Eating, Compulsive and Emotional Overeating, Food Addiction and Obesity -- all stages; new to here for flyer