Substitutes for Intimacy

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Intimacy can seem unattainable, but often the reasons for this are often not the ones you think are obvious.  For instance, do you work to much?  Watch TV most evenings, spend more than you earn?  Party a little too hardy?  These are common substitutes for closeness.  They may bring a temporary measure of pleasure, power or satisfaction, but keep one from facing the lack in one's life.

Finding intimacy is not only ditching your vices, but first being willing to face and replace them. There are reasons that you have developed these habitual responses to your need for intimacy.  To go there can be scary, but it can change your life.  A word of caution - don't go there all alone.  Talk to a friend, therapist, family member or other trusted person about what you really want, and how to get there.

Warm Regards,                                                                                                                              Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

7 Tips to Help Make Friends With Your Mind

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A mind turned against its owner is a sad sight. The person may see all the good in the world in others, but be unable to see the good in themselves. Even when others point it out their good, they do not believe it is true.

What causes a mind to be one's enemy? Often, a past and present condition, and sometimes even a person's physiology. However, a lot can be done to change these sad circumstances.

Below are a few steps one can take to make friend with one's mind:

  1. Take care of one's physical body. Eat, sleep and exercise can go a long way to righting one's frame of mind about oneself.

  2. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Make sure to set aside time when them when they can really listen.

  3. Take a break from the people who bother you. Go off by yourself if necessary. A walk in the woods, a mental health day, or other solitary activity can allow you time to make better friends with your mind.

  4. Meditate. If you don't know how, sit by yourself in quiet for 5 minutes. Close your eyes, breathe, and allow your thoughts to stream by without getting caught up in them.

  5. See a doctor. If you have an unpleasant feeling about yourself that you cannot shake, there may be a physiological disconnect happening in your body. Depression and anxiety, forgetfulness and other states can show up in testing. Even a vitamin deficiency can wreck havoc with your mood.

  6. Thought stopping. Just say to yourself the next time you find that yourself picking on yourself: “I choose not to have this thought”, and change the dialog with your mind. You can actually do that. Try it!

  7. If you still find that you are down on yourself after all these suggestions,  it may be time for you to see a professional therapist, psychologist or counselor.

 

Best of Luck to You,                                                                               Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

 

 

Is There Time for Everyday Magic in Your Life?

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What brings a sense of magic to your life?  Is it a friend, a vacation, an idea or a spiritual quest?

Today, be alert to how many ways you can see the same thing.  The mind has a tendency to want to see things the same way, and constantly bends the edges of our actual experiences to conform us to routine.

Most people are unaware, or only slightly aware, that they are doing this. Their focus is on what they want to accomplish or avoid in a day, so any glimpse of that which doesn't conform is ignored. 

There is a little "magic" available to us all everyday.  So do the thing you think about but push aside.  Walk an extra block.  Speak kindly to someone you are not sure likes you.  Come back to the present moment over and over, for it is the doorway to new opportunity.

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

The Smell of Autumn

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Autumn is in the air today - a blue, clear slightly windy day that turns one away from Summer even faster than the trees lose their leaves.  These are the few brief weeks before the Fall of the year takes one inward.

What has 2017 meant to you?  What can it still mean?  Today is a great day to sort out 2017 -  to note what you would like to still accomplish, to let go of what you thought the year would be like.

Today, if things are not going the way you want them to go, it may be a time to seek the ear of a friend, a confident, a therapist, mentor or other good listener.  The truth is always inside you, if you will look for it.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT                                                                                                                                         

Self Esteem

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The story you tell yourself about yourself is a good predictor of where you will go in life. So tell a good story! In that story you may be flawed, but be perfectly flawed. 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." So don't give yourself consent to feel you are inferior.

People come into therapy with all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. Many of these feelings are directed outward at someone or something else - a spouse, job or a circumstance. However, our reactions to others originate from the inside, and we actually do have control of our reactions to outside circumstances. Although it may feel temporarily good to blame others, in the longer term it leads one to see the world as being hopelessly out of control, and you as being powerless.

Time to get Unstuck!

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 3676

My Emeryville/Oakland Office

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This is a photo of my East Bay office, tucked away in a garden.  I love working in this natural surrounding that is also urban.  It is located where Powell Street turns into Stanford near the Emeryville/Oakland border. 

I've been a licensed therapist for 17 years.  Being able to have a space that is private, peaceful and permanent is a great blessing.

Have a Great Week,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT #36764

Feelings are Not the Same as Facts

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Almost everyone knows that feelings and thoughts are different, but sometimes it is hard to acknowledge. One's ego is out there, the need for love, anger...and suddenly feelings sure do feel like facts!

Codependency feeds upon ones emotional needs that have been so neglected it can be almost impossible to untangle the real from the unreal. For instance, the belief that sub-standard behavior in a partner will change on account of love. Or that anger of a perceived snub is justified, or that pain ignored just disappears.

Once we believe our feelings are just the same as thinking, it is easy for reality to become distorted and for someone to get just exactly what they don't want.

So when your feelings and thoughts are racing about a situation, just stop. Think it through. One always had the option to chose a productive action rather than a reaction. A little pause before reacting can change a life.

Warmly,

Cheryl Deaner. LMFT 36764

 

Open Yourself to Change - it is a Portal of Opportunity

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During times of change, all of us have greater access to our inner selves.  We are given the opportunity to make new decisions.  We find the energy we need to create a better reality for ourselves and those we care about.

At the same time, change is stressful.  Friends and loved ones can only help us so much.  Sharing our growth with a qualified professional can help to reorganize our lives into new patterns that we only dreamed were possible.

Feel free to contact me if you find yourself in a state of change.  You may benefit from therapy, or from a referral to someone else who can support you through the process and challenge of seeing the world differently.

Warm Regards,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Open Yourself to Change

During times of change, all of us have greater access to our inner selves.  We are given the opportunity to make new decisions.  We find the energy we need to create a better reality for ourselves and those we care about.

At the same time, change is stressful.  Friends and loved ones can only help us so much.  Sharing our growth with a qualified professional can help to reorganize our lives into new patterns that we only dreamed were possible.

Feel free to contact me if you find yourself in a state of change.  You may benefit from therapy, or from a referral to someone else who can support you through the process and challenge of seeing the world differently.

Warm Regards,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

How to Get Things Moving Again

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Sometimes it is hard to feel the passion needed to "get things moving" in one's life. It can be hard to understand the signs of mild, or on-again, off-again depression. The symptoms are often subtle, but definable.  Do you know of someone who has had any of the following symptoms:

Lower energy or lack of motivation?

Sleeping too much - or too little?

Feeling down on oneself - or having self-esteem issues?

Poor concentration?

An empty feeling?

Everyone feels a bit blue now or then, but this is different. Dysthymia is a mild, chronic form of depression that one might not even know one has, because it has come to be the norm. Also, one might feel motivated for a few days here and there - but not predominantly.

Please feel free to contact me if you think you or someone you know might be experiencing a mild depression. There is so much that can be done.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Love in a Bruised World

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When feeling bruised by those who are supposed to understand, or even by the world at large, the heart often wants to shut down.  Yet this is a time when the heart can be seen most clearly. One sees one's walls, fears and needs. By not shutting down, longstanding obstacles to growth and love can be within reach.

A bruised heart can expand one's capacity to love, and provide the humility needed for a a person to attempt what they were too stubborn to even consider in the past. It is a time where working with a therapist, developing a spiritual path, going back to school or taking a long trip can be most meaningful. It is the time to re-connect, or even connect with the first time, with the bounty of one's heart.

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT #36764

What We Tell Ourselves Really Matters!

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How many times have you caught yourself saying things like:

If only I was good at. . . .I just can't get along with. . .If I only had enough money. . .

Statements like these hold us back more than anything anyone can say to us!

What are three statements that you tell yourself - and others - that make you and everyone else believe that you are inadequate?

Today, turn those statements on their heads by creating positive, empowering statements that are more true to who you really are. Such as:

I am good at. . .I am lovable. . .I always have enough money to do what I really want. . .

Try this exercise and see if it works for you, then keep it up!

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Slogging Along. . .

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I learned the word "slogging" on a trip to London, and sometimes it fits when a client finds themselves swamped with a long string of seemingly endless unfortunate events.  In wading through this swamp, patience and hope become one's machetes, and kindness and positive actions are lifeboats.

It seems everyone on earth goes through this kind of slogging at some point. If you are going through it right now, it is just your time, and not nearly as much your fault as you probably think it is.  Honest!

Hang in There,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Taking Risk to do the Right Thing

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All of us have areas of our lives that we would like to change in order to be truer to ourselves. What stops us? Risk. There are small risks, medium risks and risks that would make major changes to our lives.

Small risks are like finishing a task that one has put off - taxes for instance - they are things that we eventually follow through with. A medium risk might be something leaving a bad job. A life-changing risk is something else. It feels like it takes more courage than one has. Like a divorce, for instance.

Many people live with all three levels of risk present in their lives, although most try not to look at the category of life-changing risk. At what level does risk become foolhardy? The truth is, it is usually not foolish. When a risk is already being contemplated, it is generally a risk worth taking steps toward in the service of being true to oneself.

Being willing to take risks is a courageous endeavor. If you are contemplating a risk that seems overwhelming, now is the time to shore up your courage and move forward in the service of your own best destiny. 

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

What is Pride?

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Everyone can see when a person suffering from pride, except the person having it. They are usually the last to know. It would be so surprising for them to learn that others see them as having it.  Such is the nature of pride.

I heard this description of pride from a friend yesterday:

"Pride is a tiny black ant in a dark forest on a moonless night. It moves incessantly, and digs deep holes." 

I am certainly contemplating her words as I start a new week!

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

Your Inner Voice

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What happens when you listen to your own inner voice?  Is it a loving voice?  When you are in pain, does that voice soothe you, or blame you?  Do you try to keep a stiff upper lip to the outside world in order to impress others at your own expense?

If your inner voice is sometimes unkind, answer these three questions:

1)  How do you respect yourself for all the good you have done in the world? 

2)  What are you grateful for?

3)  What would you tell a good friend who was in pain?

Just think well of yourself.  It not only saves you, but others around you, from endless doubt and worry.  Yes - is is a great thing to think well of yourself.  Try it right now!

Warm Regards,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

In a Crisis?

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Crisis is a clarion call to do something right away, but that may not be the right move - one is often not clear- headed in time of crisis, even if one feels they are.

Sometimes crisis happens in a moment, like an accident. Sometimes it builds for years, like a divorce. In either case, reactivity is often not helpful. 

Here are three tips for dealing with crisis:

1) Don't make a snap decision due to the pressures of others - or yourself.

2) Don't waste your focus feeling guilty, embarrassed or like you should have seen it coming. You are doing the best you can.

3) Do find trustworthy people to talk to who are not involved with the crisis to help you sort things out for yourself.

Crisis counseling can also be invaluable. Feel free to consult with me about what might be the best way for you to proceed in a crisis.

Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Trying to Feel Important

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When the urge to feel important overtakes one, the harm done to others is the byproduct of self-interest.  The person trying to be important is also caught in a hollow and endless round of activities.

The following quote from The Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot addresses this phenonoma quite succienctly:

"Half the harm that is done in the world is due to people who want to feel important.  They don't mean to do harm, but the harm does not interest them, or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are so absorbed in the endless struggle."

The antidote in part is to focus on one's heart instead of one's pride, and in one's capacity to see others instead of the dismal screen of one's feelings of inadequacy.

When the urge to feel important overtakes one, the harm done to others simply the byproduct of one's self-interest. However, the self-important person is also caught in a hollow and endless round of activity.

The following quote from The Cocktail Party by T.S. Eliot addresses this phenomenon quite succinctly:

"Half the harm that is done in the world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm does not interest them, or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are so absorbed in the endless struggle."

I believe that the antidote to this state is in part is to focus on one's heart instead of one's pride. In this way, one's capacity to see others, instead of a dismal feeling of inadequacy, is addressed.

We are so much more than our small everyday selves if we just let ourselves realize it!

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

What Keeps a Relationship Going?

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"No relationship in this world ever remains warm and close unless a real effort is made on both sides to keep it so."
                                                                 - Eleanor Roosevelt

She said it, and I say so too! When a couple comes to see me, the work is much easier if both persons are committed to putting in the effort to make positive change.  If only one person is willing to put in the work, that person will benefit - but the relationship may change.

Relationships are always changing, especially our most personal ones! 

Warm Regards,
Cheryl Deaner, LMFT