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Machiavellian Manipulators

I hate bullies. I see clients who come in for therapy so beaten down, discouraged, and hopeless because someone they love is causing them harm. I see this happening through physical violence, rape, slander, and even theft of livelihood. It always starts with first getting someone to agree on a point...even a little...then BOOM, you wake up with a black eye and someone telling you it's your fault because you made them punch you. That is a lie and it's just wrong! I learned long ago to never compromise on what is true. If you give someone any compromise that the truth might be a lie, the other will turn it around and tell you that the lie is REALLY the truth and you are crazy for not believing

Enriched Family

All across California fires are displacing people from their homes, from their families, and destroying lifetime memories. Recently, I was in the Sacramento area breathing in poor quality air while wearing a face mask and social distancing. It all seems surreal when you think about the current environment of fear and panic and what is real and what is unreal, what is important and what is unimportant. My friend's daughter woke to her home on fire and thankfully she had family nearby who helped her grab what was salvageable and now she's back in the bedroom of her youth. The family reunion to celebrate dad's 90th birthday party was emotional because of the close call. Tragedy sometimes enrich

Branch Off

In basketball, there is a term for where the players are positioned: They have their own identified Zone. Retired professional basketball player, Magic Johnson, knew how to play in multiple zones. During his tenior with the Los Angeles Lakers he had the opportunity to work outside of his zone as Point Guard. During several championship games he played other positions including forward and center. Few, if any, have been willing to perform well beyond the position they are comfortable with. In life, it's valuable to see beyond our own comfort zone. When we see ourselves as one-demential we limit the ability to grow beyond our comfort zone. We fail to explore possibilities that could greatly im

Best Advice

When I teach other therapists on the subject of self-care I often tell them, "Sometimes the best advice we can give is to ourselves." I tell them this because like many in the healing practices (doctors, nurses, and mental health practitioners), we can let our own health care decline as we focus on the needs of our clients. When we take home this attitude to serve others we can continue the downward spiral of unhealthy practices that contribute to our poor quality of life, obesity, addiction, physical illness and even mental illness (depression and anxiety). An unbalanced work life affects all aspects of living and so it is very important to take care of oneself in order to truly care for ot

Mine, Mine, Mine

The movie, "Little Nemo," has a scene where a bunch of seagulls are screaming "MINE, MINE, MINE," while they are trying to catch a crab named Sebastian. It reminds me of the emotional maturity of a two year old who screams the same thing when he doesn't want to share his toy. The first time they say "mine" the parents are caught off guard and may laugh. The second, third, and many more times later, the parents think it's not cute anymore. Parent's usually try to discipline that selfish attitude out of their child in hopes they will grow up and learn to share. Fast forward. Now that 2 year old is an adult. Their selfish behaviors are less tolerated, less enjoyable, and they share even less.

Mental Health Reboot

In an article published on line August 14, 2020, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) restates what I've been warning my team about for months; the mental health pandemic has arrived and with it the increase of suicidal ideation, attempted suicides, and deaths due to alcohol and drug overdose (https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/202008140930). The article is a plead to return to some form of pre-Covid-19 life where people had a purpose and a plan for their lives. The article called "SAMHSA Statement Regarding CDC's MMWR on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic" says, "The negative health effects are pot

Gaining Altitude

There's nothing like flying during a sunrise or a sunset. Seeing the world from 40,000 feet really makes one appreciate how finite life is and how small we are in relation to our world. If we could only remember that fact when we are on the ground we would be so much happier. Every day brings new opportunities and new challenges. How we look at our life will determine if we see more challenge or more as opportunities. Consider these situations and how would you see them? Imagine you wake up and your spouse or children are grumpy. You could look at their attitude as something irritating and so you contribute to the mood with your own irritation or you can see an opportunity to bring joy and

Fast Track To Nowhere

Many of us know that we are experiencing problems in our lives. We know the difficulties we face daily, have a desire for change, and may even have an idea of what we would like to see changed in our lives, but have no idea how to get to what we desire. The problems that cause us the greatest anxiety are the ones that we can't find a solution for. It's like the "I can't see the forest for the trees" problem. You want to look past your circumstances, but you can't see around the ones in front of you. This is why we feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and even defeated at times. Even if you get past the first tree, there is a whole forest behind it. I often tell my students who are learning how to b

Honor & Respect

In the middle of a world where partial truths seem to fly everywhere, I was visiting a Civil War reenactment in Virginia at The Battle of Cedar Mountain. There were men and women dressed in period clothing consistent with the Civil War, and they shared with us their knowledge of the battle that took place on those hallowed grounds. During one of the talks by an older gentleman dressed in a Union Soldier's blue uniform, I learned about a black soldier who fought in the "Colored Infantry" for the Union Army. I learned that it was because of the reinforcements of the black soldiers that tipped the scales toward the North winning the war. I was curious and so searched to learn more about Sergea

Self Made

I love watching movies about successful strong men and women. I recently watched a Netflix show called, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. The made for TV show is true story about a black woman who at the turn of the century, was beat down, put down, and run down and found her way to find her fortune and self-respect. Nothing changes your circumstances like a changed heart. In the beginning of Season 1, episode 2, of Self Made, the narrator says, "Dreams are God's way of showing us his plans." Amen! I founded Encouragers because of a dream from God. Every one of us has a choice of which path we will go: a path built on peace or a path built on hate. A path built on hope f

Renewed Living

I drove up the driveway of my daughter's family home and was greeted with screams of joy and excitement by 5 loving little angels. Covid-19 has kept me from seeing my grandchildren and this visit was way overdue. I didn't realize how much I had been feeling lonely until I felt their abundance of love. Recently I was invited to present to a group of local business owners who have been struggling with the economic hardships created by the Covid-19 business shut downs. A common theme ran through the questions I fielded; concern for themselves as business owners, and concern for their employees. Business owners have a desire to reopen and get back to work, but the barriers created by Covid-19 ar

Be Silly

Yesterday I was sitting around the conference table with my team of big thinkers and I was introducing some of our newest team members to each other. Two of the team are bi-lingual and we were discussing some additional areas where they could use their gifts. I asked one of them if they could "do interpretation," but what played in my head was "impersonation" and I said, "Can you do Mickey Mouse?" Everyone looked oddly at me as I cracked myself up to the point of tears. They had no idea what was in my head and my reaction, of course, was silly. I know I must have looked like I had snapped, and one of my team even said, "Vicki, it's late. I think you've over worked yourself," but in reality t

Wind of Change

2020 brought an onslaught of changes: The pandemic Corona Virus swept across the world and ravaged states, the subsequent economic collapse as businesses closed to limit the spread of the virus, and Black Lives Matter reigniting awareness of racial injustice across America and the world. Civilizations have been changing since the beginning of time. There have been rulers and those who were ruled. There have been revolutions, wars, and uprisings in every generation. In the Bible, Moses freed the Jews who had been enslaved for 400 years. Adolph Hitler murdered millions of Jews when he attempted to exterminate their race during the Holocaust of World War Two (Photo insert: From the Auschwitz Al

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