You Are Worth More Than You Think

“I’m diagnosed with BPD,” said a patient. “I’m that and unable to function,” he continued.

I heard a lot of times people like him “believing” the labels placed on them.

In my work as a psychotherapist, I dislike diagnostic labels.

I’m not into the listing of personality or mental disorders. I think they dehumanize.

If ever, these labels, no matter how scientific they seem, only describe your “patterns” or symptoms.

They don’t bring you to the core of who you really are.

Yes, only “patterns” or symptoms — but you your self is much more.

I’m reminded of this man who became a famous chess grandmaster and world champion. He said “Chess is life.”

For him, chess defined who he is.

He spoke and behaved to look intelligent, put together, productive, brilliant.

He became a shuffling recluse, consumed by paranoia.

Throughout his life, family, love, and fun were scorned by his intellect as beng beneath his consideration.

Three months before he died, psychiatrist Dr. Skulason was by his bedside.

This chess genius told him, “Nothing is as healing as the human touch.”

The man, Bobby Fischer, was definitely much more than who he thought he was.

Appearances or words pale next to essence.

When you learn to find the True Source of who you really are within your self, you can drink from your own cup of love.

Every human is much more than what is seen.

The real self resides in the invisible.

Courage Heals

Courage was a big thing for Mother Teresa. She said, “To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.”

It’s essential to the meaningful attainments she made in her life –serving as a missionary against “injustice among the poor” in India.

Wounded souls. That’s how we may describe the inner state of individuals after suffering injustices in their personal lives and relationships.

Standing up to these personal injustices and wounds requires courage. Overcoming fear in order to heal. In order to be able to do what gives life.

For years, Maria, a 16-year-old high school girl, received abusive, name-calling text messages. She was pushed around at school. She avoided places in her school in fear for her safety.

Finally, she broke down. She could no longer bring herself to continue attending classes. Her grades dropped. She suffered from panic anxiety attacks, lack of sleep, and stress headaches.

Her mother brought her to me. She lamented, “My daughter has become emotionally crippled. It takes all my energy to get her out of the car and ‘go over there.’ ”

To get well, Maria needs a healthy dose of courage. Against injustices and its perpetrators.

It’s not for her own good that she allows her self to be humiliated and shamed in school. To do so only harms her psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.

“Be men of courage; be strong,” the Bible says (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Courage matters.

It helps us correct injustices and wrongs. It gives us power over risk and its associated fears. It leads us to be better persons, spouses, parents, children, friends and citizens.

Is Text-Based Therapy for You?

Text-based therapy is a type of online counselling. It uses typed text to communicate. Users take it in turns to type.

Format may be as in Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and other similar programs.

In text-based therapy, you don’t need a microphone or webcam. That makes it one of the most accessible types of online therapy.

Once, I had an American soldier client suffering from PTSD. He was sidelined to an Asian country to recuperate.

Using text based therapy was useful for him in therapy because he did not feel the need for face to face contact.

He found it easier to write his thoughts rather than speaking them. Also, it was good for him who had difficulties with privacy … and was daily at home alone.

Yes you can choose text-based online therapy! It may be a best fit for your current life situation and issues.

From Physical to Digital

It used to be a traditional way.

I once worked all the time in the office. With armchair and tools.

But with it, the problem of the high costs of wasted time. Enduring more than a couple of hours travel each day to office.

The cost of fuel, not factoring in medical costs of my increasing weight, blood pressure, traffic-anxiety, and fatigue, significantly reduced my joy and effectiveness.

I’m glad times have changed.

With the growth of the mobile and the internet, society has evolved. Progressively it moved work channels from the physical to the digital.

The lines between work and life are being erased in the process. Time and money are saved.

The threat of burnout and mental health challenges get to be addressed. Distance is no longer a problem between people engaged in a working process.

Whenever I do Skype or phone sessions with patients from the Philippines, Qatar/Dubai, Australia, USA, Japan, or anywhere else around the world, I’ve come to feel that I’m more productive.

I feel refreshed working remotely than when sedentarily confined in a clinic cubicle. I’m glad I can do running or recharging while helping anyone, anywhere!

Productivity for individuals nowadays appears more in the comfort of home or natural environments.

The domino effect is the natural fruit of seeing that the main value exists not in the structure of a fixed physical space of an office.

But it lies more in the value of output made. I think I’m not alone in believing this to be so in our times.

The working world in general is more and more showing a a rising trend of decreased need for a central physical hub to do work.

I’m reading US National Library of Medicine, which suggests that remote, digitally-based workers have higher performance outputs.

The less office means increased productivity by up to 70%, according to Time Doctor Stats.

With technology spurring growth and saving costs, don’t be surprised if you see me championing a non-traditional office-less “psychotherapy without borders.”

Via Skype or phone. Or, in coffee shops, beaches, or malls. It’s organic. Natural life flow. Time/cost-effective.

In short, a more healthy option towards your search for healing and wholeness in your life.

When Your Adult Child Disappoints You (Part 3)

Therapy for both parents and adult child can be useful. It often is. It may be a first step to help us understand ourselves, our adult children’s problems, and the family system or culture that contributed to the problems we face.

If you’re a parent who is unhappy about your adult child’s choices in life, you need a safe place. This is especially so when your mental or physical health and overall well-being is already being affected. In many cases, therapy becomes an only way to get support to cope with the feelings of shame and embarrassment inherent in the situation.

Shocked, stunned, and scared! That’s how a mother and father reacted when they knew of their 35-year-old son’s addiction to drugs. When I asked them, what they did, they said they immediately rushed in to “rescue.” They brought him back home, provided for him and his family, and reverted back to treating him like a child.

Well-meaning as it was for them, the parents’ over-involvement with their addicted adult son came close to sabotaging his rehabilitation. Only after a week back home, his son got arrested by the police for using and selling shabu in the neighborhood. The son is now in jail, awaiting a program of drug rehabilitation.

I can’t imagine the deep emotional pain these parents are going through. While they had their best intentions for their son’s good, they’re just really “enabling” his addiction. Taking control over their son’s out-of-control life took away the responsibility to solve problems that rightfully belongs to him. Instead, they put that responsibility, on them.

The truth is, our adult children have the right to live their own lives. Whether to save or squander it, it’s up to them. As Simone de Beauvoir tells us, “we must recognize their liberty, even in failure.” We are not the source of that right. It’s one we can not take away from them.

No matter what happens to our adult children, we parents need to take care of ourselves. We may always offer help to them that’s wise and appropriate. But in most cases, our self-care and “doing nothing” seems best. It may be all we need to do.

As we take care of ourselves as parents, when and if our adult children become ready to receive real help, we’re capable of giving the right kind.

When Grief is Too Much To Bear

Is your grief and loss feels like too much to bear?

If so, it’s more essential than ever to take care of your self. The stress of a major trauma or loss can instantly deplete your energy and emotional supplies.

If outside your capacity already, an experienced therapist can help you work through the severe emotions and overcome obstacles to your grief work.

Funny thing, when I write stuff like this, I feel a little dated … somewhat soap boxish. I sense there’s a whole gang of macho men out there possibly making fun of me and my feelings talk.

If a little confession will help, I openly admit that I did try to suppress my grief over my life’s share of losses. Yet surely I discovered that I can’t really avoid facing my feelings forever.

It’s true for all of those who come for therapy and counseling. In order to heal, a grieving person have to acknowledge the pain.

Trying to avoid the feelings of sadness and loss and processing them completely only prolongs the grieving process.

Unresolved grief, incomplete grieving, can lead to complications such as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, fears, anger, and a host of health/medical conditions.

Grief can be very lonely.

Even when you have family members or loved ones and friends around, grief can still feel overwhelming.

Sharing your sorrows with a therapist and with others who have experienced similar losses can help move you on faster and more safely.

If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort that spirituality can offer you. Spiritual activities such as praying and going to church can offer solace.

Moments of Being or Non-Being?

Noted therapist/author, Virginia Woolf, speaks of how much of our life is lived in the haze of “non-being.” She describes what she means:

“A great part of every day is not lived consciously. One walks, eats, sees things, deals with what has to be done; the broken vacuum cleaner; ordering dinner; writing orders to Mabel; washing; cooking dinner; bookbinding. When it is a bad day, the proportion of non-being is much larger.”

In my work as a psychotherapist, it’s inescapable for me that I catch glimpses of people going about their lives. And I always notice that it’s easy enough for most of us to live without really looking. We can get things done or interact with others and not bothering to pay attention.

I once knew a 50 year old man stricken with colon cancer who was always out, day after day, walking in the mall despite his frailty. He liked to get out. According to him, it made him feel alive. Even just looking at people going by or conversing with them in the coffee shop gave him “moments of being.” He rejoiced with them, sharing each other’s stories.

Illness, accident, or death can teach us that all can be taken away in one swift moment. So, for the first time in our lives, we may find learning to reject “moments of non-being” that characterize much of our days. We search for what really matters given the shortness of time to enjoy “moments of being.”

When Alexander Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned, he wrote:

“You have the right to arrange your own life under the blue sky and the hot sun, to get a drink of water, to stretch, to travel wherever you like … Do not pursue what is illusory — property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night …”