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.

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.

Only You Can Choose the Moves You Make

Being a psychotherapist and life coach, I’m constantly faced with choices about life. Mind you, both for my patients and myself, they’re not easy.

Life can be a dangerous game. Issues can be a matter of life or death, victory or defeat.

My patients or clients are like me. Most likely, you too. A few times in my life, I tried to run away from “adulting.” I hated struggle. I didn’t like responsibility. Or, delaying gratification.

Yet in my attempts to escape the appropriate developmental tasks of my age, I experienced delays in my psychological maturity. I suffered the bad effects of my decisions. Life got unnecessarily harder.

In the game of chess, choices are crucial. Your chosen moves will determine the ensuing positions you’ll be in on the way to the game’s completion.

All the moves you make in chess are your responsibility. Only you can choose the moves you make. Your opponent or anyone else can’t make those moves for you.

In chess as in life, you can move forward or you can retreat backward. They’re ever-present choices.

Of course, there are times when you need to move backward. Retreat, regroup, recharge. But the call is always to move on – both in life and in chess.

I was speaking to a 50-year-old woman not too long ago about her lingering poverty. All her life, she chose to be a hard-working employee. And yet she still lived with bare minimum subsistence.

In the course of my conversations with her, she discovered a passion that she can turn into profit. She finally made a choice to change mindset. Sooner than she expected, she became a rich online entrepreneur.

Again, in life as in chess, we go for a “win.” We can choose to do that with each move or decision we make.

Working for Family Change

Martha’s story is a story of her family.

Martha paints a picture of her husband as a narcissistic, raging individual. His insecurity and emotional disconnectedness are disguised as playfulness. His work is ever-present both at home, office, and everywhere.

Martha sees her self as overprotective of her teenage son, and condescending towards her husband. She suffers in silence at the childish antics and outbursts of her husband. Time and again, friends around Martha see her “martyrdom.”

The stress in Martha’s household is palpable. Early mornings, both her husband and 18-year-old would have troubles for her. Her husband is used to throw tantrums over things, such as breakfast or pieces of clothing before he goes to work.

Martha’s teenage son, on the other hand, is equally crude and petty. At times, her son would warn, that unless mommy Martha gets his college uniform ready or increases his allowance, he won’t go to school any more.

Each time, Martha gives in to her husband’s and son’s tantrums, believing that if she isn’t successful, she faces personal rejection.

Martha grows weary and depressed each day. She knows she needs to do remedial, corrective action or she breaks down. If Martha is determined to help her self, her husband and son, she has to initiate deep-level self-examination to start healing.

Let me give a few tough questions for Martha. You may join reflecting with her. If Martha will have the courage to face these tough questions and personal limitations, she can be half way to personal recovery and family change.

It’s time for Martha to evaluate her overprotectiveness and patronizing attitudes towards her husband and son.

Do you engage in self-pity?

Are you afraid of your emotions?

Do you accurately know what you feel?

Do you pretend to feel what you don’t really feel, while hiding your real feelings?

Do you avoid confronting your husband about his selfishness, chauvinism, and childishness because you’re afraid to stand alone?

Do you mask your frustrations by feeling sorry for your son who acts like his father?

Do you lack courage and self confidence that cause you to back away from appropriate discipline and responsible boundaries?

Take Charge of your Health

Medicine in the form of pharmaceutical drugs plays a significant role in countless lives, such as among the elderly or seriously ill.

But the truth is, it can be just as much a curse (causing disability or death) as a blessing (especially in severe cases and diagnostic purposes).

We live in a world of “pharmageddon!” And statistics say that prescription drugs are killing far more people today than illegal drugs.

In treating mental health patients, I’ve witnessed a number of them drugged by psychiatrists, which produced more ill health than health.

A case in point was a friend of mine who chose to agree to every drug her doctor gives her for her depression and anxiety. She never recovered from decades of brain medication.

She actually got worse than before she took the drugs, getting in and out of a psychiatric or psychological facility, and finding new diseases inside her body.

If you’re not careful, “problems” can do appear that were not problems at all after indiscriminate approval of every drug, test, diagnostics, or procedure by your doctor or in the hospital.

I’m reminded of this actress who died just recently. Her slippery slope began, where each drug and test given to her led to another.

Sooner, one of these chemical interventions inside her body may had proven fatal, possibly by way of drug interaction, infection, or surgical complication. How dehumanizing, this “over-medicalizing!”

I’ve been thinking, how come, hundreds or thousands of years ago, people lived for so long and died even without much medical attention at all. In some, even when their life span had been shorter, they lived meaningful and fruitful lives.

Certainly, they had something else to account for their health apart from reliance on medicine or medical professionals.

(Related article: “Why We Are Losing Americans To Prescription Medications?”
https://theduneseasthampton.com/blog/why-losing-americans-to-prescription-medications/)

Revolutionary Psychotherapy

I’m not a traditional psychotherapist. I lament the routinely wretched treatment of mental patients throughout the world. Instead of drugs and chains of the old traditional system, I offer a loving innovative system of support and deep process healing.

I value humanity. And I act as a fellow human and traveler to those who seek help to heal.

In my sessions, I drink coffee, walk and talk, with clients in normal life-spaces. Only a few times do I see clients in a confined cubicle or fixed office space. Mostly, I’d rather bring life recovery to a therapeutic space where client and I process while we “soak in humanity” around us.

For me, this is most effective and humane than psychiatric incarceration, forced hospital or facility confinement. It’s least costly. The hurting person is freed from the zombie-like effects of brain drugs. And it’s based on empowerment of family responsibility/support as well as faith of the individual.

Working with his parents and sister, I once delivered intensive psychotherapy services to Mark into their family home. He’s 25 with a history of manic depressive episodes, depression, and severe dependency to psychiatric drugs, who might otherwise be institutionalized.

Echoing themes of my revolutionary psychotherapy, I bypassed traditional mental health approaches and invited the family, including Mark, to see me first in a coffee shop. Having been into brain drugs and in and out of facilities for years, it’s his family’s last-ditch effort to get through Mark’s hard-core.

The personalized direct involvement of the therapy hour in a casual space proved effective for Mark. It did him a lot more good and a lot less harm. He shared he felt “normal.” The nontraditional, non-invasive intervention calmed both Mark and his family.

For the first time, unencumbered by psychiatric institutional red tape, ideology, and pharmacy, Mark expressed how he felt differently. It avoided unnecessarily humiliating him and his family. He functioned better enough to think through his deeper issues without the medication.

Revolution in psychotherapy!

Time for change.

No more drugs. No more forced hospital/facility incarceration. No to dehumanization. No to shame. No to incomplete, invasive treatment. No to abrogation of family responsibility and connection.

We say “Yes!” to the Total Person deep process. Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. Natural mental health. Drug-free. Brain Health. Going to the roots, not mere fruits. Family and community.

Two Pictures

After my session with a wounded couple, my mind seemed to have been visited by images of the “elephant.” The elephant is the largest land animal on earth. And one of the most powerful. Yet i’d been reflecting that it takes only one rope to restrain one big elephant.

Here is how it works, as I reflect further.

When the elephant was a “child” or young, he is tied to a large tree. For weeks, the young elephant will strain, protest, pull but the rope holds him fast to the tree. So eventually, the elephant gives up. Then, when the elephant reaches his full size and strength, he won’t struggle or choose to get free. Once he feels resistance, he stops.

Why is this so, I thought.

The huge elephant still believes that he is held captive. He still thinks that he does not have the capacity or power to choose and break free.

That story is very much like our journey to heal our wounded inner child. When stuck, we are all called to leave childhood and our mother and father, so we can enter and live fully our adulthood.

A second image entered my mind after my recent session. It’s Mr. Scrooge! That unhealed, wretched man in the Christmas Carol story. Well, Mr Scrooge did not become a new, healed man because of Christmas cheer. Rather I was reflecting that his transformation occurs when the spirit of the future permits him to witness his own death and strangers squabbling over his possessions.

Well, the healing message behind Mr. Scrooge’s story is simple and profound: Though the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death may save us.

In the sessions that I worked with terminally ill patients, I witness a great many, facing death or the years diminishing, underwent significant and positive personal change. They re-prioritized their values and started to trivialize the trivia in their lives. Internal wounds melt away, they found true meaning of life in their remaining years, which are not that many.