Rindie Eagle, MA, LPCC
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
From around the web

Rick Hanson, PhD and author of Just One Thing and others, reflects upon how to be better able to deal with stressful times, as others have before us.  He believes we can too.   
The Practice:
Take heart.
Why?

It takes heart to live in even ordinary times.

By “taking heart,” I mean several related things:

Sensing your heart and chest
Finding encouragement in what is good both around you and inside you
Resting in your own warmth, compassion, and kindness; resting in the caring for you from others; love flowing in and love flowing out
Being courageous, whole-hearted and strong-hearted – going forward wisely, even when anxious, knowing your own truth and, as you can, speaking it

When you take heart, you’re more able to deal with challenges like aging, illness, trauma, or conflicts with others. You’re also more able to take advantage of opportunities with confidence and grit.
Additionally, it takes heart to live in, live with, and live beyond times that are really hard. Your personal hard time might be bad news about your health, the death of a parent, or betrayal by others. Or it could be related to changes in your country and world, and your concerns about their effects on others and yourself; I’ve written

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Many relationships have taken a beating over the past months.  The preoccupation and distraction of COVID has had consequential impact on couples everywhere as their relationships have slipped out of focus.  As a couples therapist, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact of stress, more time together than ever, social worlds reduced to rubble and family challenges on marriage and long term relationships.  We’ve had to adapt and think anew about so much and many couples are more irritated with each other and possibly just doing their best to manage their own individual emotional health.
Pandemic fatigue is legit but thankfully, there are slivers of hope and rays of light on the horizon.  Hope can be a powerful ally in moving us all forward as signs of what “could” be materialize.  For many couples, this is allowing them to shake off the dust and refocus on what’s important and possibly missed.  I see this manifesting in my private practice as the heavy tilt from individual clients has begun the shift to couples seeking help in finally addressing the issues that have been back burnered.
Valentines Day, the holiday of love, romance and intimate relationships is almost here.  While this heavily marketed holiday can be

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Aude Castagna, MFT explores the reasons people can be compulsive pleasers and caretakers, even in the face of toxic behaviors and to their own detriment.  She offers some guidance around how to start the process of change.  
We start Life as helpless infants totally dependent on our caregivers, and we are hardwired to forgo their shortcomings for the sake of our survival, even at the cost of our safety or integrity.
Secure attachment
When a child’s needs are met quickly and reliably when she receives enough attuned attention from their primary caregivers, she develops a secure attachment that comes with a feeling that she is safe, unconditionally loved, and that she belongs/has a place in that family. From this solid platform, the child develops a sense of self, of who she is, what she likes and dislikes. She uses her confidence to know that she can safely explore the world, take risks, even make mistakes. Ultimately she will develop into a separate, independent adult.
Insecure attachment
With less present or attuned parents, a child develops an insecure attachment. He may not feel safe in this family, may not feel he can rely on it for support because his needs are not met, love is only

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

It’s been seven months since living in our coronavirus reality.  Activities and normal ways of living are modified or all together blocked for many of us as we continue to ride our personal waves of angst, fear, preoccupation, anger, worry, frustration and sadness.  One thing most of us can all relate to is the felt sense of disconnection.  Whether you are generally out and spending time with a social pod or in a high risk group and home a lot, very careful with interactions, most of us have experienced far less contact with loved ones, broader friend groups and larger social experiences than before.  It’s hard to believe we took for granted activities like youth sports, live music venues, large weddings and unbridled travel.  They feel like distant memories for most of us now.
For me, there are many people in my community I ran into regularly who I haven’t seen for months because we have pulled into smaller and tighter groupings.  I recently went to a grocery store I don’t normally and  ran into a baseball dad.  We are more or less on an acquaintance level but we stopped and chatted for many minutes, both of us seeming to be

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

These are unprecedented times and we as a nation are being pulled tightly.  Tensions have been exceedingly high as we waited for election results and it continues since the election was called.  For months I’ve witnessed and engaged in difficult conversations fueled by primal feelings on both sides.  Anger, rage, fear, passion and righteousness have saturated communities across the country.
Let’s all remember we are humans having a wide range of emotional responses and it will all of us, no matter what side, to stay grounded and mindful that people are either ecstatic or deeply disappointed right now.
We are all human and need to allow adequate space for feelings to be processed before reacting in ways that might be more damaging   As much anger that has been whipped up, my hope is that we can all pause, reflect and be compassionate for the overall human experience in this country.
Healing relationships and healing this country hold some similarities; acknowledging pain, avoiding inflaming bad feelings with gloating and self-soothing feelings of hopelessness and despair will all be part of a process to give us a fighting chance for the nation to repair itself.  If we don’t take a healing approach, we are at

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Richard Nicastro, PhD examines a number of reasons clients can feel like they aren’t getting what they need out of therapy.  A lack of personality fit or therapist’s theoretical orientation mismatch for the person are just a few of them.
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There are numerous reasons why clients end therapy. The most obvious is that the clients feel ready to take what they’ve learned from therapy into their lives. Another common reason is that the circumstances of a client’s life have changed and the therapy has become less of a necessity because of these changes. In these instances, there is a natural stepping away from the therapy out of a reduced need for it.
But there are times when clients end therapy because it isn’t working for them for some reason; or more specifically, there was something about a particular therapist/counselor that didn’t work for them. The client might have felt that there wasn’t a good fit between their personality and the therapist’s personality; or that the therapist’s particular way of working (which is guided by a counselor’s theoretical orientation) didn’t resonate for the client.
These situations are unfortunate because, unlike the first scenarios, the clients would have benefited from continuing therapy and weren’t seeking

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Many are undulating through waves of worry and sadness as we experience the effects of COVID-19.  Our lives look very different from how they did 6 months ago.  Dr. Richard Nicastro, PhD looks at the connection between depression and anxiety and the importance of addressing them.  
If you’ve ever experienced depression, you may be one of the many individuals who have also experienced anxiety at the same time. The reverse is also true: many people who have experienced anxiety have also simultaneously suffered from depression. Indeed, research shows that anxiety and depression often occur together.
When depression and anxiety coexist, each can feed the other, which is why for treatment to be effective, it must address both. However, sometimes it’s hard to identify that there are two conditions present.

In my capacity as psychologist/therapist for over twenty years, I’ve worked with many individuals suffering from concurrent depression and anxiety. Although each of their stories is unique, general similarities within the struggles often exist.
While it’s true that no one person can speak for everyone who has experienced depression or anxiety (or any emotional pain, for that matter), it can be helpful for those in pain to know that others understand and that they’re not alone

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

“Gaslighting” is a great word because it so vividly describes the feeling one has when on the receiving end.  It’s as if there is a match repeatedly being struck under you but then blown out to leave you wondering if it was lit in the first place.  With gaslighting, the sudden little fires is the toxic behavior slowly leaving psychological burn marks.   You may even start to stop trusting your own instincts or even what is happening right in front of you.
 

I never said that.  You must have misunderstood me.
 
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, often subtle at first, in which seeds of doubt are intentionally sown in a targeted person or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment.  It’s a form of psychological abuse involving an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information.  Victims of gaslighting often eventually lose touch with truth.  They become compliant and their self esteem whittled down as as they get further emotionally embedded with the abuser.
The goal of the gaslighter is to make the victim(s) question their reality and create a dependence on them.  It often happens in intimate relationships but can also occur

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

For those who feel swamped with bad news.  Rick Hanson, PhD discusses the brain’s negativity bias and the importance of being able to recognize the positive things too.
Why find the good news?
“Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science – and the foundation of healthy relationships, communities, and countries.
But the truth of things is complicated. To simplify, there is the good of things that are enjoyable and helpful, the bad of things that are painful and harmful, and the neutral of things that are neither.
We need to recognize genuinely bad news for our own sake and to take care of others. But we also need to recognize good news: things that are useful, reassuring, inspiring, opportunities, solutions, etc.
The Brain’s Negativity Bias
Unfortunately, we have a brain that generally fixates on bad news and brushes past good news. Over the 600 hundred million year evolution of the nervous system, our ancestors:

Had to avoid two kinds of mistakes: (1) thinking that there’s a tiger in the bushes but actually all is well, or (2) thinking that all is well while actually there is a tiger about to pounce. What’s the cost of the first mistake? Just needless worry. But what’s the potential cost

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

This is a very hard time; our emotional health and physical well-being are being challenged in pandemic life.  We are trying to figure out how to be safe, care for our children and for many, assure even basic survival needs are met like income to pay for food and shelter.
Marriage and long term relationships are also taking the brunt of the stress of COVID-19.  Some relationships have benefitted from the additional time together but many have been pulled tight, especially if there were unresolved issues between the couple before.  Anxiety can strain an already tense relationship.  For many holding things together for themselves and their families, the marriage is not being prioritized.
During such difficult and uncertain times, couples need to feel as secure as possible to weather this storm together.  If your marriage feels disconnected or otherwise in jeopardy, find time to stabilize it as well as possible now, as it is the foundation under which your entire family rests.  One thing we know is things are uncertain, likely for months to come, with health, school impact and other consequences of this situation still unfolding.
Emotional safety and relationship health between the walls of your home are more important than ever,

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com