Photo of My New Noe Valley Office

This is a picture of my new San Francisco therapy office. Located in Noe Valley, I am now seeing clients there on Sundays and Mondays.  Tuesday through Thursday I am still seeing clients in Emeryville.

My return to Noe Valley came about in an unexpected way. A dear colleague and friend of mine passed away unexpectedly in the Summer. After a sad and somewhat challenging period of helping to close her therapy practice on 24th Street, I realized how much I missed my clients, friends and colleagues on this side of the Bay.

When I come to San Francisco, I still miss my dear friend, but am also grateful to have the opportunity to practice again in Noe Valley.


Sincerely,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

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How to Deal With Stress and Anxiety

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It takes a lot of courage to face life when you feel anxious. Anxiety is a response to fear that may be external (for instance, lay offs at work) or created in your mind (like expecting way too much from yourself). As a result, the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

What's worse, chronic anxiety may feel normal to you. Many people live with anxiety for years and think its just how life is. Life doesn't have to be so hard!

Here are six signs that you may be dealing with chronic, debilitating stress and anxiety:

  • Your closest relationships are difficult

  • You have a hard time focusing

  • You experience sleep disturbances

  • You feel “revved up” at the wrong times

  • You always feel like you should be doing something better

  • You have experienced a panic attack, or fear that you soon will.

If you have three or more of these symptoms, you probably suffer from chronic anxiety. Here are three highly-recommended ways to deal with this life-sucking condition:

  1. Find coping tools. Go on social media and put in “dealing with anxiety” to see ways people do this. But just finding tools usually isn’t enough.

  2. Talk to someone safe about your thinking. It is a hallmark of anxiety that the story in your head is far worse than the reality of your situation. Having someone hear about your anxiety can help you to get a perspective.

  3. Invest in getting to know yourself. Make the time to go deeper than you have in the past into who you really are and why you relate to your family, friends, coworkers the way you do.

    An examined life is not a wasted life! Self-help books, 12 step programs, psychotherapy, spiritual paths, harm reduction workshops and other life-balancing efforts may take time, but they can be super effective in changing the entire course of your life to a more peaceful and balanced state.

Warmly, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT

You Don't Have to Face Life All Alone

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The voice of loneliness and doubt speaks to everyone. It is the one that says, “if people only knew how you felt…what you did…who you really are”.

This is the voice that makes people pull away from getting the support they need right when they need it the most. It says that suffering alone is better than revealing one’s pain to someone - especially to someone you know! And sometimes there is not a safe person. Or perhaps your friends and family have already listened as much as they can, and you don’t want to burden them further.

In times like these, you need a supportive person who can help you to feel better as soon as possible. If you are feeling this way today, please call me to see if therapy might be right for you. No one should have to do it all alone.

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

415 282 2200

Open Yourself to Change - It is Your 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 and connections.  We have access to the energy it takes to create a better reality for ourselves and those we care about.

At the same time, change is stressful and even exhausting.  Friends and loved ones may only be able to listen to us for so long.  We may feel uncertain about strong and conflicting feelings, and feel little unmoored in our daily lives.

This is an natural time to share your changes with a professional therapist.  A therapist can help you to make sense of where you find yourself today.  They can also help you reorganize your life in a way that is more effective than ever before.  A therapist can help to ameliorate your painful feelings and improve your relationships with the people that are important to you.

Feel free to contact me today for a free, 15 minute consultation as to whether therapy might be be right for you.

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT #36764

How Do You Talk To Yourself?

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A person can easily be much more negative towards themselves than anyone else could.  The human mind is built to try to solve problems, to notice when things are not right to remember negative outcomes.  People have do a lot of very critical thinking in order to feel safe.  Unfortunately this and lead to talking to oneself in a harsh way.

Accepting that this is true is the first step toward being nicer to oneself.  Most self-criticism is overblown or unnecessary and is often the result of a lifetime of programming.  For instance, if your parents said you were not good at math repeatedly, this idea will bob up in your mind every time any sort of transaction involving math comes up, which can be several times a day.  Even if you are actually adequate in math, you would still habitually believe otherwise.

Learning to replace negative thoughts with positive ones is a process that can start immediately, but which usually takes time.  This is ok - trying to change overnight often leads to relapse.  Practicing letting go of one's negativity with rational, positive thought will eventually win the day. 

Blessings,  Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Are You Lucky - or Do You Create Your Own Luck?

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The instructions to become lucky are simple.  However, the will to follow them can be weak due to fear and inertia.  So decide to embrace them with hope and firm belief that you have volition over your thoughts.  Here goes:

To find more luck, see what is right in front of you with optimism and gratitude.  Live in the present moment, not the past or future, and make your luck there.

 If you see something that looks like bad luck, decide that it is a precursor to a new direction, a clearing out of presumptions about the course of your life.  Misfortune can easily lead to positive growth.  

Good Luck Today!

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

What Does it Mean to Be Independent?

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I do not believe being independent is the opposite of being dependent.  I think it is acting from one's deepest sense of self.  This means giving up the inner negativity that can dwell within a person's mind throughout a lifetime, starting with one's earliest caretakers all the way up to one's current friends and colleagues.

Peace and joy can be found in independence that cannot be bought with money, status or worldly power.  What's more, anyone can access it with persistence and patience.  

Warmly, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Patience

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As I get older I hold patience with more and more respect. Patience is a virtue connected to many feelings, such as hope and forgiveness, and a lack of it is evident in frustration and despair.  It is the antithesis of reactivity and self-sabotage.

Patience is something anyone can practice anytime, because patience saves time and energy. It enhances one's relationship with oneself and with others. It is a sign of self-respect. Practice patience in the smallest things you do today, and you will have a better outcome all week long.

Warm Regards,  Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

 

How Thought Stopping can Help Change You for the Better

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Thought stopping is the habit of watching one's own thoughts and deciding when they are helpful or not.  If they are not, you can literally say to yourself "I chose not to have this thought" and then actively think other thoughts or change what you are doing. Try it!  

A lot of people feel they cannot do this simple thing.  But it is not true in most cases.  Habit is behind a lot of painful and intrusive thoughts.  You can chose not to pay attention to a particular thought that wants to play in the field of your mind.

Unhappy thinking occurs with your mind is in a rut. You know you are in a rut with your thinking when there is never a clear answer to a problem, and when your friends and family are not as sympathetic or patient as they once were.  But just as you got into a rut through repetition, refusing to think certain thoughts can get you out of it in most cases.

Finally, not all problems can be solved through a technique like thought stopping.  If you have a problem that is so painful or disturbing that you are not able to stop thinking about it, you may want to try counseling or therapy.  A supportive trained professional can give you the tools to move much more quickly through hard or intrusive thoughts.

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Unwanted Change

Change is often unwelcome even after it has settled into being a long-term guest in your life.  Change can cause one to feel helpless, confused and unprepared.  But the voice that says you cannot face it is the voice of fear.  You absolutely can do what needs to be done, although it is much harder if you try to do it all alone.

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Victor Frankel, the great psychiatrist and survivor of a Nazi death camp, once said:

"Even the helpless victim of ha hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise above himself and by doing so change himself."

I believe that all change can be transformed if you are willing to work for it.

Feel free to call me anytime,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

Everyday Choices

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We each have thousands of choices to make each day.  If each choice we make is like a drop of rain, over time those choices become the streams, lakes and oceans that determine the course of our lives.  It is really that simple.  What we do today creates the flow of our lives, and there is always a right or less-right choice to make.

Luckily, one of the choices we also have is to not always have to make those choices alone.  Life has many great teachers, leaders, friends and well-wishers if we are open to them.   If we are willing to accept the support of others when we aren't sure what is best, we will go far.

Good Luck, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764  

Comparing Yourself to Others

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A friend told me at breakfast today about her amazing charitable work in the world - it was global in scope and when she left I was tempted to compare it to my local daily life and find mine wanting.  This is a very common theme for many people I see - how one's sense of worthiness can be internally challenged by news of other people's stories and events.  

Lucky for me, another friend at the table and realized how I was feeling.  He asked what it was that I did do with my time, and as I explained it, I was able to focus on the positive activities I do everyday but find easy to ignore. 

It is so easy to compare oneself to others!  I will never be able to keep up the globe-trotting pace of my friend, but what I do, including offering my support to her activities, affects many.  

We all have a place in the interconnected web of life.  It is our job, our dharma, to maintain our own thread of the web.  Think of all the things you DO do in the world, not what someone else does, and you will feel a lot more comfortable with yourself.

Warmly, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

Why Do People Start New Ventures?

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I believe all people have an innate need to create new ventures.  Some ventures result in communities and families, others in businesses, and still others bring the arts to life.  To create - to express something unique in oneself - is to become aware of a capacity for life that one may never have known was possible.

New ventures also expand what is personal into a positive connection with others.  Ventures are almost always helpful to humanity, not just to those who created them.

Creation is often not easy. Don't give up!  Ventures worth pursuing are challenging, but bravery and commitment can provide access to the wide open sea of potential that lives deep inside everyone's being. But most importantly, ventures can reveal a deep and satisfying sense of having been one's best self. 

The very best of luck to you in whatever new venture you may be considering right this very moment!

Warm Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

 

Isolation Doesn't Bring Peace of Mind

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Isolation is unhealthy – particularly over time. Just listening to the mind day after day is not the same as meditation or contemplation.   A person who isolates is more likely to have depression and anxiety.

Do you isolate?  For how long?  The dubious luxury of ordering your world to your exact  specifications may seem appealing for awhile, but this is how grumpy people get their start!  Also, isolation doesn't just make relationships rusty. One can begin to feel crazy just listening to one's own head! 

Reaching out to one extra person a day, doing a favor for someone, calling an old friend or meeting a new one can make all the difference.  So can talking to a therapist, volunteering or seeking out a spiritual community.  It may feel awkward at first, but it will help keep you from developing states of mind worse than awkwardness.

Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

 

Letting Go of Harmful Secrets

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Secrets kept out of fear, embarrassment or other negative feelings are acidic to the psyche and color how one sees others in the world.  Whether a secret is shoved under the rug or even denied, the effect is the same.

Revealing a painful secret to a trusted person or even a professional can be liberating!  Secrets create isolation and anger and can victimize the holder.  It is said that we are only as sick as our secrets.  This is true.  Talk to someone safe today.

Warmly, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764

 

"The only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself."

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- Richard Bach, Illusions

When one is true to oneself, the losses and gains of the world are secondary to one's peace of mind and purpose.  Being true to oneself is the ultimate security in an insecure world.  

Living with one's eyes open to one's inner truth takes effort, courage and conviction for most.  But in the end, a life well lived is a priceless treasure.

Best Regards,

Cheryl Deaner, LMFT#36764

Today is the Day to do Something Differently

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Change can happen so suddenly, so innocuously.  You have a thought, follow it through and life suddenly unpacks you into a totally different direction.  Here are some examples of how simple such thoughts can seem:

"I would like to walk down a different street today. . .I wonder what it would be like to go to therapy. . .I's like to check out that free yoga class. . .what if I told them what I really think. . ."

Seemingly ordinary thoughts can lead to life changing events.  So go through life thinking well of yourself!  Do the thing that feels a little challenging, or that piques your curiosity.  If nothing else, you will gain insight.  And sometimes, that little thought put into action can permanently change your life for the better.

Warm Regards, Cheryl Deaner, LMFT 36764