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Solution-focused

Living Life to the FullestLive with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh
Choose with no regret
Continue to learn
Appreciate your friends
Do what you love
Live as if this is all there is.
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. ~Aristotle

Are you living your ideal life? Continue reading

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Heart in leafYesterday I attended a presentation by Brian Keating, a wildlife expert and anthropology professor. He talked about and showed videos on animals such as the narwhal, the penguin, the elephant, and the beaver with infectious enthusiasm. He spoke in such a juicy way that I wanted to brush off my hiking boots and get out there–right now! Continue reading

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sad man

Years ago I read a fascinating book by Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist and World War II survivor of the Holocaust entitled, Man’s Search for Meaning. It was an incredibly moving autobiography of his experiences as a prisoner of war and his well-considered thoughts on the meaning of life. Continue reading

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Focusing on solutionsIn a week and a half, I’m chairing the 8th annual Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association Conferencehere in Banff. I’m really excited about it!! I really believe in this approach to working with people and am grateful to have the opportunity to organize the conference.

Comparison of SFBT with CBT & MI

For the last few years at these conferences, I’ve been able to attend some workshops comparing solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) with a couple of other well-known therapeutic approaches: cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. It’s been really interesting to see how the outcomes of therapeutic conversations can be so different depending on what questions the therapist chooses to ask and how much influence s/he chooses to take during the meeting. SFBT can really help set the stage for change!!

Conference overview

The conference is set up in three chunks: a pre-conference, main conference, and post-conference. The pre and post-conferences offer one to two day workshops on topics such as creating positive addictions, research, and training other people in SFBT.

 

The main conference offers 30 workshops that facilitate conversation, learning, and networking. The presenters are sharing ideas that will whet the appetites of neophytes and veterans alike. There are presentations on working with couples, children, and adults on a one-to-one, couple, family, group, or organization basis.

 

I always end up so charged up and excited to use these ideas with the people I work with. It’s an incredible reminder of the diverse groups of people this approach works with and how profound the changes can be. It gives me pause to think about how I’m approaching my work and how I might refine and tweak my skills to better serve the people I have the opportunity to work with.

As a client…

If you are or have been in counseling, what approach has your therapist used that you have found particularly helpful? Is s/he intentional in the work s/he does? Do you feel there is a focused approach that really helps you make the changes you want to make?

As a therapist…

If you’re a therapist, what helps you support the people you work with in the most effective way?

 

I’d appreciate your comments!!

 

For more information on the conference, go to www.sfbta.org

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SolutionsThe European Brief Therapy Association Conference in Malmo, Sweden finished today. It’s a professional development conference that happens in different places in Europe once a year. I attended it for the first time. Continue reading

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A relationship example…

I was working with a couple. Let’s call them Marj and Jack. They had been married for 10 years and had three children. Marj made sure that everyone got to their day-to-day tasks, commitments, and activities. She also managed the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and other domestic tasks.

Household chores

Jack loved to plan and do things with the family. Whether it was skiing, biking, or camping, he got the kids and his wife out there and believed chores could wait another day. Unfortunately, his quest for fun often left Marj feeling disrespected and unappreciated. She had tried talking with Jack, but felt increasingly resentful as her attempts seemed to go unheard. He felt she needed to relax and enjoy life more. Over time, both of them dealt with their frustrations with emotional distancing. Their relationship seemed to lose its vitality as each waited for the other person to change. Knowing their marriage was at risk of dissolution, they contacted me.

The Miracle

I asked each of them to imagine when they went to bed tonight, and fell asleep, a miracle happened. The miracle was that the troubles that had brought them to my office had been resolved, but because they were sleeping, they had no idea. I asked them to consider what signs they would begin to notice when they got up and as their day progressed, that would tell them that things were different.

What do you think each of them said? If you were in this situation, what would you say? What would you be doing when things are going exactly the way you want them to in your relationship? If you find yourself saying things like, “I wouldn’t have to…” or “S/he would be…”, pause for a moment, and consider what you would be doing instead. Try to be as detailed as you can.

Marj said she would cuddle in the morning with Jack before they got out of bed. Jack indicated they would have some early morning sex. He would then get up and make Marj coffee and get breakfast going. Marj and Jack would work together to clean up the breakfast dishes, and plan their day as it was the weekend. Marj would invite Jack and the kids to help her get things ready and would appreciate Jack’s support in working as a team…

I elicited as many details as I could from each of them, talked about what the other partner would notice her/him doing, and asked them what the kids would notice was different. Eventually, we discussed ways bits of this miracle were happening even in the smallest of ways in their relationship now.

Marj and Jack were amazed to discover they wanted some similar things. As an experiment, I invited each of them to pick a day over the next week and act “as if the miracle had happened”, without letting the other person know that was the day s/he had chosen. I asked them to pay attention for signs of the miracle in their relationship—especially what each of them was doing that was a sign of the miracle, and to notice what difference it made in how their day went.

How about you?

Relationship distance can grow when each person within the relationship is waiting for the other to change or to make the first step. Focusing instead on what you’re doing that’s helping the relationship go the way you want it to can help move your relationship forward and bring that connection back again. Suppose this miracle happened in your relationship? What would you be doing that was different?

Renew your connection

Take the time to re-connect during a couple’s retreat in Banff, Alberta. Click the link below for more info:

Couple's retreat information

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upset person

For a couple of weeks I’ve been talking about sadness and depression. I.e. how you know if you’re sad or depressed, and imagining what your life will be like when sadness or depression are no longer a part of it. As you read last week’s post, you may have asked yourself, is this woman off her rocker? What’s the point of dreaming of a good life? This week, I’m going to tell you why, and I’m going to ask you to think about times when you may have been feeling really good and invite you to begin–or continue–to build a foundation that will get you where you want to go. Continue reading

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Depression

Last week in my blog, I talked about how you know if you’re depressed. Whether you’re clinically depressed or feeling really sad, I know it’s not where you or someone you know wants to be. This week I’m going to help you create an image of the way you would like your life to be when sadness or depression have packed their bags and gone away. Continue reading

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The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…
~Jack Kerouac Continue reading

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Set goals signOn New Year’s Eve, we went out for dinner with some friends. We started talking about New Year’s resolutions and they quickly told us they didn’t make resolutions—they made “to do lists.” To do lists, we were told, are based on things they want to accomplish over the next year and are action oriented. So how do you make a “to do list” actionable? Continue reading

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