Are you mentally healthy?

Mental health is the absence of mental illness. It’s more than “normal” or “natural.”

Mental health comes from purpose, discipline, habits.

If you have the following qualities, you’re most likely a mentally healthy person:

• stable personality with no awkward unexplained moods

• self controlled, good nerves

• relaxes easily, sleeps well

• good self esteem: self assured, modest, guards self respect

• independent, personally responsible

• admits mistakes and imperfections

• moderate in all things

• communicates easily and respectfully

• lives in present moment

• takes good care of physical body

• able to have fun and laughter

• offers encouragement and appreciation

• unselfish, giving, sharing

• courteous, respectful language

• lives with faith and a definite purpose in life

• high tolerance for chaos, confusion, disorder when unavoidable

Take note: mental health is an inside job. You don’t get it from anything external!

Possessiveness and Pain

A lot of persons are hindered by possessiveness. Not able to hold things loosely. Let go. Release the squeeze.

Smothering rather than loving is typical. Parting cannot happen without internal bleeding.

If you ask Nora, she gets blown away with the thought of relaxing her grip on her young adult daughter. Who is leaving and getting married.

Deep inside, she admits fearing surrendering her prized “possession.” Even though she must say goodbye eventually.

Because releasing introduces the panic of losing control. The terror of risk. Uncertainty. Concern for safety.

It applies to friendship too. Friendship needs letting your friend have the freedom to be and to do. A space for the other person to grow.

Also, in releasing a dream. At times, we need to come to grips with reality. What really is. So we can let go. And move forward to a new story.

What maturity all this requires!

Dr. Chuck Swindoll once wrote, “The greater the possessiveness, the greater the pain.”

What is it that can bring peace to a possessive heart? To turn loose. To let go. Because, in fact, there’s nothing or no one that we can truly own.

Everything goes. Sooner or later. Child. Job. Wealth. Romance. Friend. Future. Dream. Health. Even this life.

Things get really safe only when we learn the art of holding things loosely. Everything is safe which is so dedicated to God.

When Skype Therapy Heals

Psychotherapy at a distance via Skype holds a promise. It’s mental health care for whoever needs it. Wherever they are.

This is good news!

That’s for all sorts of people.

Such as:  remotely-located farmers or fishermen, high-flying business people, overseas workers, ex-pats etc facing cultural or linguistic obstacles accessing care.

For all of them, and others, Skype promise access to psychological care. It’s a tool to help them heal.

Consider “The Skype Psychologist” at The Atlantic. It writes about a master of the Skype therapy.

It starts by directing readers attention to one promise that Skype therapy is indeed better than nothing.

Burgo, the featured Skype expert, acknowledges that screen relations treatment is not “ideal” and that it would be “better if my clients and I were able to meet in my office week after week.”

But “for people who live in remote locations where qualified professional help is scarce or entirely unavailable, connecting with a therapist by Skype is often the best option.”

Burgo further comments that he treats ”a number of busy professionals living in New York, Zurich, and London where there is no shortage of qualified therapists.”

He wants people in need of psychotherapy to avoid the hassle of a subway ride or driving to someone’s office.

Forget about that umbrella, Skype on over to the shrink. And if your car has Bluetooth why not some hands-free treatment while driving?

And if not, you can be like someone with whom he worked who “propped his iPhone on the dashboard and spoke to me while driving long distances from one city to another.”

And why not?

Healing from Betrayal

“Anung gagawin ko?” “Saan ako pupunta?”

One woman broke down and cried, “Ayoko ng mabuhay!”

Betrayal. Violation of the intimate bond.

For many years, I’ve done “battle” in my sessions helping individuals heal from this deepest cut.

Infidelity. Emotional abuse. Verbal aggression. Physical Violence. Deception.

It’s tragic to note that most suicides and homicides are borne out of the betrayal wound. If left untreated, it can lead to irretrievable destruction.

Yet, there are so few places you can go to where you can truly heal. More so, very few professional and personal supports competently able to provide help.

I’ve always noticed that when people suffer the betrayal wound, they tend to focus more on the perpetrator of the hurt – one’s partner.

However, the real work does not lie on the other person. It lies on one’s self and the process that needs to be started, sustained, and completed to heal.

If you’re experiencing this pain, would you like to join me in a travel, hiking, or adventure healing journey?

I call it “Healing from Betrayal: How to Be Free from Infidelity, Abuse, Deception, and Bitterness.”

In this journey, you receive priceless gifts of wisdom, insight, and tools, such as:

… my own personal and professional story
… intimate betrayal and psycho-trauma stress:
footprints in the heart and soul
… 5 common reasons why betrayal happens
… 3 steps to develop your healing identity
… 4 basic tools to start healing and empowerment
… 7 keys to retraining your betrayed heart and soul
… how to live and love again!
… top 1 secret for total recovery: final thoughts on healing from betrayal

Feel free to drop me a note for further information or a discovery call!

Never Growing Up

His name was Peter. Age 25. He talked a lot. In session, he liked to monologue. Joke away. But he’s not really saying much that matters. His feelings were often exaggerated, easily provoked, even silly.

When asked what he’d do now after having graduated from college, he paused a little. Then, he said he’d go back to college and take another bachelor’s degree.

Totally unrelated to the first one he took, he said in jest of his next college course, “I’d like to make a difference in the world by studying the oceans and underneath them!”

Then, he sipped his coffee and ate a lot of cake in front of him. At 5’8″ and almost 300 lbs., he professed his love for food.

My years of counseling teenagers, university students, young adults, middle-aged or senior men, and couples revealed to me a widespread psychological affliction in our society. It’s a syndrome in our society that’s causing a lot of problems in all walks of life.

Clinicians call it the “Peter Pan Syndrome.”

You remember the happy-go-lucky character of Disney’s Peter Pan, right? That’s where the psychological syndrome was named after.

Peter Pan symbolizes everlasting fun and youthfulness. He rejects all things Adult. He avoids growing up vehemently. He wants to remain a boy forever.

Unknown to many of my patients (including their parents, spouses, or friends who care for them) is a chilling reality. They are unwittingly following in the footsteps of Peter Pan.

We have a mental health problem of a man-child caught between the adult man he doesn’t want to become and the child or boy he could no longer be.

As Peter Pan himself said in the play, “No one is going to catch me, lady, and make me a man. I want always to be a little boy and to have fun.”

Forgive me for hyping a psychological claw to unearth this often hidden Disorder. Reversing the process of this syndrome is crucial to the stability of our families and society.

It’s never too late for an adult man to grow up and for his loved ones to offer aid to make that happen.

Knowledge is Never Enough

In my practice of therapy and counseling, I’ve always found one thing: knowledge is never enough.

At best, I helped my counselees see and know the psychodynamics of their emotional or mental disturbances.

But, I’ve always realized that their knowing is not the same as their capacity to change their thinking, their emoting, and their behaving.

Their knowing has always been inadequate to stop them from self-sabotaging.

One counselee I had recently gained insight. Her rage or uncontrollable anger is traceable to her unconscious hatred of her mother.

In her work and social relationships, she realized how she has been “transferring” that feeling into other females who have similar traits to her mother.

Surely, she understands how she got the ways they are — but not what to do. Not the ability to apply what she already knows.

Insight and expression of repressed feelings alone don’t work in my sessions. Something needs to be incorporated in order for a broken person to heal.

That sets me to do some tall thinking about psychotherapy. I went back to tools of therapy and started giving application assignments, among others.

Data alone is not enough for deep and lasting personal change. The truth is, most of us are very good at identifying what’s wrong with us and our experiences.

Yet that knowledge in and of itself rarely produces deep level personal healing and recovery.

In fact, without the appropriate steps and frames, insight may result in “re-traumatizing” a hurting person.

So, make sure you have insights plus the experiential aspects in your recovery journey.

Psychological “False Self”

Psychology speaks of the existence of the “false self.” This part of the self hides secrets, which leads to an accommodating exterior or mask.

All work on psychotherapy involves this concept of “false self.” This often-hidden part of self lives a life of not following the truest and deepest inclinations of one’s core being.

The “false self” is basically dependent or non-autonomous. It’s unable to disengage from social, cultural, and instinctual conditioning. It can not make choices that reflect one’s true self, identity, and personal mission.

Nora is a 50 year old patient who sought therapy for her low self esteem. In our sessions, she continually anguished over her health, the approval of her husband and children, and what people say about her physical appearance.

She suffered from depression, anxiety attacks, and exaggerated concern of other people’s opinions. Hypersensitive, she bordered a lot toward hypochondria and eating disorders. As a result, she caused her self unnecessary trouble and wounding in her relationships.

Upon deeper probing, I found out how much Nora was hurt and traumatized during the normal formation of her self since childhood. Her mother treated her as if she’s one of the house maids when she was a little girl onwards.

She received verbal, physical, and emotional abuse from her mother for so many years. Her mother definitely failed to respond to her basic needs. To survive, Nora’s only choice was to hide who she is and use defensive, rigid adaptation defenses.

Nora is not alone. Countless individuals develop a pathological “false self” due to ancient false efforts for adaptation caused by parental mistakes or abuse. So disturbed in a primary relationship by numerous frustrations and hurts, a child learns to build a protective defense wall.

Instead of presenting a healthy persona, the wounded child tries to ward off the outside world which is experienced as hostile and rejecting. Far from being conscious, the unhealthy adaptation only leads to deeper alienation of the true self.