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Your Inner Child

A client came in for therapy to better understand her conflicts with men. She reported she gets attracted to someone, then after dating for a while, the relationship begins to unravel due to her inability to speak the truth to the guy—she’s afraid she will hurt his feelings and he will leave her. She is struggling with her present by being influenced by negative memories of her past. She’s trying to not repeat the patterns that haunt her, but her behavior actually creates the foundation for the pattern to be repeated. When clients come in to see me and they feel they can’t be completely be honest in their relationships, I share with them that they are in conflict with their inner child. Ofte

They Came Prepared...

This morning the world morns the loss of 14 innocent lives taken unexpectantly yesterday in a San Bernardino shooting. This incident hits close to home for two close friends and colleagues; one works at the Inland Regional Center, and another lives in the same complex as the murderers and their family. One must now face the family members of the assailants, and the other must face the families and friends of the deceased and wounded. Both are morning the situation. Both are praying for peace. News reporters and media outlets all have some perspective of the “senseless” killings which some are calling, “workplace violence” or “terrorism.” But the one article that got my attention had the head

Stinkin' Thinkin'

Today is “Giving Tuesday” I recently learned that the Tuesday AFTER Cyber Monday has become a day recognized for purposeful giving to charities. The thoughts are that Cyber Monday is the day you finish buying your Christmas gifts and while you’re waiting for them to be delivered you can donate a portion of your “left over” dollars to a charity or organization of your choosing. I began to consider this concept and came to the conclusion that this is “Stinkin’ Thinin’,” a term I learned in school which means our thoughts drive us to do things we later will regret. America increasingly has become a society of “I want it, so I must have it” thinkers. Our Government leads the march toward bankrup

De-Stress Latte

Ahhhh, I can smell the coffee brewing and the smell fills my soul with warm-and-fuzzies as I slip on my slippers and shuffle across the floor to the kitchen. There’s just something about a cup of hot coffee (or hot cocoa or tea for you non-coffee drinkers) that warms the cockles of my soul. I have no idea what a cockles is, but it feels good with a hot cup of coffee in my hand. This is my idea of a “de-stress latte” moment. I am a natural “morning person.” I wake “naturally” at 4:30 every morning and begin my day with my coffee and slippers. My husband never could understand WHY I would want to get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. but for me, it’s the BEST time of the day. There’s just something magi

Unrequited Love

Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I love pulling lines from movies where the story line reflects real life. In the movie, The Holiday, Kate Winslet’s character is narrating the opening scene discussing different types of love. She defines, “unrequited love” as where one person loves another who, “can not and will not love you back.” Another blogger writes that unrequited love is, “a humiliating and cruel experience that can strip you of your dignity and self-respect.” As a therapist, it’s very sorrowful to watch this type of love walk into your counseling office and know in your heart you can do nothing to save the poor wretched soul who is falling to pieces, while the disconnected spo

Hit and Run

Last week I was driving north on the 215 freeway and came to the merge of the 60, 215, and the 91 freeways, which of course is under construction (why are all the southern California under construction at the same time? Sorry, rabbit trail). Well of course, the freeway came to a sudden stop. Well, that is except for the car behind me who didn’t stop and ran into the back of my pick-up truck. I put my blinker on and began to merge right. He, on the other hand, drove into the carpool lane, around me, and zoomed out of sight. This reminded me of a phone call I received earlier in the day from a client frantically complaining she was being “attacked” emotionally by her live-in boyfriend. He woul

Wishful Thinking

Recently I was asked, “Do you wish?” I rapidly replied, “No.” This seemed to confound my friend who was under the impression that everyone wished for something: a bigger house, more money, a better relationship, time to travel. He asked, “Why don’t you wish?” The answer to this question was a little more difficult to put into words, but this is what I told him… “I think my wishes are opportunities to plan, which turns them into goals.” I think a wish is a purposeless idea. It involves your brain and your emotions, takes up your time, wastes your energy, and requires no action or expectation to make it come true. A goal on the other hand, uses the same amount of energy from your brain, you be

Glorious Opportunities

The Month of November is full of change…in the weather, in the time (day light savings time ends), and it affects our attitudes and thoughts about the next two month’s holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both of these holidays are an opportunity for us to give of ourselves to others in meaningful ways. Thanksgiving day is idealized as “Turkey Day” and boy do we dive into the presentation of a beautifully presented meal, complete with Turkey, Cranberry Dressing, Yams, and all the fixings that go along with it, oh, and don’t forget the Pumpkin and Apple pies! The thought of family and friends sitting around a beautifully decorated table, amazing smells wafting from the kitchen, soft music in

Co-Appreciatious

What is “Co-appreciatious?” It’s a word I made up. To me it’s the secret component to a happy relationship. Picture this with me: A couple holding hands, leaning over a railing at the end of the pier, watching a sunset together. Neither is talking, but both are in the moment together. A couple seeing their newborn child together for the first time, tears falling down both of their cheeks as they look at each other, and without words, lean in for a kiss. Two girlfriends sharing a cup of coffee and one shares a painful experience. The other tilts her head as she listens, and reaches out to gently squeeze the other’s hand. Two guys watching a peewee football game and jibe each other as their so

Touched By an Angel

Encouragers and I had the honor of attending the Orange County Police K-9 Association’s presentation Saturday October 3, along side Homeland Heroes volunteer, Cindy Aykinne. There were hundred’s of people from the community who came out to support the Orange County law enforcement officers who were showing off their dogs. It’s a yearly event and one I’m sure I will attend again. As Cindy and I were getting to know each other, it was a blessing to share our common thoughts and ideas concerning the partnership between Homeland Heroes and Encouragers. Several law enforcement people came up and were very supportive of our collaboration. One female who identified herself as a retired Anaheim poli

Play Ball!

A couple went to see a therapist after years of unhappiness. The wife begins dumping her frustration with her husband to the therapist, listing all his flaws, one by one. The male therapist walks over to the woman, takes her hands, pulls her to her feet, and gives her a passionate kiss on the lips. After he releases her, he turns to her husband and says, “This is what your wife needs every day. Do you think you can handle it?” The husband answers, “Well, I can have her here on Monday through Thursday, but Friday’s I fish.” I remember being a kid and hearing about how my brothers were making it to a “base” with their girlfriends. The older would say, “Did you make it second base?” The younger

Evolution Revolution

Recently, at Encouragers, I have seen a trend occurring. I call it the “Evolution Revelation.” Couples are coming in for counseling and the women are complaining that their men have not evolved out of the dark ages. The men often sit with a blank stare on their faces as their brides rip them to shreds complaining that they don’t help around the house enough, they don’t do any of the cooking, cleaning, or take care of the children enough. The women complain they are “exhausted, overworked, over stressed, and under appreciated.” The way I see it (and this is only my observation), women of been “evolving” for decades. Laws have changed for women to receive equal rights, better paying jobs, were

Love Is....Patient?

Are you being patient with others? Do you react harshly when they do not meet your unspoken expectations? Or maybe you do speak what you would expect, but those expectations are too high for them to achieve? Are you being patient with yourself? Are you going through a challenge where you must adjust: Are you moving out of your parent’s home for the first time, Are you getting married or divorced, are you expecting your first baby and wondering if you’ll be a good parent? Are you fearful of repeating the bad parenting you received as a child? Are you being patient with God? Are you praying diligently and tired of waiting for answers? Are you wondering if God even hears your prayers, or i

Who Are You?

In the movie, Anger Management” Jack Nicholson asks Adam Sandler’s character Dave, “Who are you?” Dave gives his resume. Jack says, “That’s what you do, we want to know, ‘Who are you?” Dave lists what he does in his spare time. Jack says, That’s your hobbies, Who are you?” Angry now, Dave replies, “I don’t know!” This is a question I like to ask people in counseling to ponder. So often we are defined by our careers, our place in our family structure, our income, our color, our gender, our weaknesses, our strengths, our dreams, aspirations, or goals. But strip all of that away and you are left with…YOU. I recently saw a client who was defined by his performances in life. As a child he recei

Respond Ability

“Respond, don’t react.” “What?” The therapist repeated, “Respond, don’t react.” Relationships are like two people playing tennis. Each person has their side of the net and their boundaries therein. The other person also has their side of the net with their own boundaries. The net represents the obstacles between them. The rackets are the tools each has in order to accomplish overcoming the obstacles, and the ball is the connection that keeps the relationship together. Let’s imagine two people, Dale and Jean, meet at a party. Dale asks Jean out for a date and they agree to meet at the tennis courts. In the beginning of their relationship, they compare their racquets and discuss levels of ab

Joy Anyone?

I recently watched the movie “The Bucket List” with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. There is a scene in the movie where Jack and Morgan, whose characters are both terminally ill, are sitting on top of a pyramid talking about death and the afterlife. Morgan offers a consideration to Jack regarding the ancient Egyptians “beautiful belief.” Morgan says they believed after someone dies their soul stands at the gates to Heaven and the gods ask the individual two questions. The individual’s answers determine if they get to enter into Heaven or not. The two questions are: “Did you find joy in your life?” Jack, ponders and replies, “Yes” that he has found joy. Morgan asks the second question, “H

The Workers Are Few

Michelle’s Place, is a Breast Cancer Resource Center in Temecula, California. Recently, I met with their Director, Kim Goodnough, to discuss the possibility of providing counseling services to family members and their clients who are battling cancer. One statement Kim made to me broke my heart; “Many who come to our center come from the county and don’t have any money to pay for insurance, so they can’t afford counseling either.” The sad thing is, even with insurance, many find the insurance is so limited, restricted, specific, and expensive, they are better off not having insurance at all. The fact they have insurance means they must pay copays and deductibles, which they wouldn’t have had

A Matter of Style

Parenting styles can create problems in the parent/child relationship. Often, parent’s are not aware of the way their parenting style affects their children. In an effort to develop certain desirable behaviors, (clean room, good grades, etc.) parents can actually develop and reenforce the opposite undesirable behavior. Often, parents do what they believe will work in raising their children based off what worked with them as they were children living in their parent’s home. Forgetting how they felt when their parents parented them, they use the same tools hoping for a similar result saying, “I turned out okay.” Good intentions and believing their parent’s methods, combined with their opinion

What's The Happs?

The Months of February and March have been hectic months of growth—and Encouragers is experiencing some growing pains. Since we opened our doors as a Training and Counseling Center (November 2014), Encouragers has been blessed with adding a second location (Murrieta) and is looking at adding a third location in Old Town Temecula. Word is rapidly getting out through website searches as well as two referral sources: PsychologyToday.com and New Life Live (radio) station call-ins. We have connected with The Sheepfold and provide counseling services to victims of Domestic Violence. We also are providing insight and counseling services to families whose teenagers are having a run-in with the Temec

What's Their Story?

Recently I attended a monthly Youth Court session where juvenile offenders are offered a second chance through receiving a “diversion” sentence. The convicted juvenile has an opportunity to make restitution (pay), make amends (apology letter), make corrections (accountability), and make better choices (counseling) next time in order to avoid harsher sentencing options. I was sitting in the galley (audience) listening to high school age kids present the case both for and in defense of the juvenile defendant. I was listening for the “back story” which might have landed the child in this situation in the first place. I seldom see the problem as being solely the juvenile offender, and as a thera

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