This piece is an exploration of the psychological concept of “parts.” According to the Internal Family Systems model, the mind is made up of myriad subpersonalities. In addition, Carl Jung’s idea of the Collective Unconscious suggests that beyond our individual unconscious, we possess ancestral memory and experience including archetypes such as “mother,” “teacher,” “hero,” and “villain.” It is often helpful in psychotherapy to tease out these complex, often contradictory parts of the self and bring them into consciousness in order to find new ways of relating internally.
The Voices in my head are cold, sticky, sharp-edged, toothy monsters. The Voices are nurturers, warm and enveloping, as they rock us gently, “shh shh, it’s alright.” The Voices are juiced up children cartwheeling in the yard and hungry children hiding in closets. Some are calm and others scream out urgently. Some use threats and some beg for peace.
Listen to the latest episode of my podcast and/or read a shortened article version - your choice! (Though I highly recommend the podcast).
We All Use Something is an episode about the what, when, where, and why of our substance use and a revolutionary approach to substance abuse treatment called Harm Reduction Therapy. Most of us use something - be it drugs/alcohol, food, exercise, gambling, Facebook - to try to cope with difficult feelings. Maybe we want to feel less of something or more of something else. So how can we help ourselves manage our coping strategy so it doesn't lead to bigger problems than the ones we were trying to solve in the first place. Let's put morality and labels like "addict" aside and explore our use from a curious and compassionate lens. A lens that says, "you are the expert of your life."
The Burning Spear in My Eye is all about relationships - why we're in them (or not), what goes wrong, and what can help. This episode features relationship expert:
Dr. Robert Solley, PhD
A licensed clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and couples therapy in San Francisco, Robert earned his PhD from the California School of Professional Psychology in Berkeley. He has been licensed for over 20 years. He has trained and worked in such diverse settings as Children's Hospital in Oakland, California-Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and is a Staff Therapist with the Couples Institute in Menlo Park. Robert has taught masters and doctoral students as an adjunct faculty member at Alliant University, The Wright Institute, and the University of San Francisco.
I am so pleased to share that my new podcast, A Therapist Walks Into a Bar, has launched. This is a really important project to me because it allows me to get super creative with how concepts of therapy, healing and personal growth get out into the world. Sitting in my office I don't get to reach the people who aren't coming to therapy. But going to bars and talking to random people? NOW we're getting somewhere! So check out episode 1 and please come back for more (you can sign up for the newsletter on the website and/or subscribe in iTunes or any other podcast streaming app to stay in the loop).
Episode 1: Seeing White explores the process of white people waking up to white privilege, how this process impacts people of color, and what white people can do to be better allies against racism and oppression. This episode features interviews with:
Zara Zimbardo, MA
Adjunct faculty at California Institute of Integral Studies and co-founder of The White Noise Collective.
Allegra Lucas, MA, MFTi
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at the San Francisco Marriage and Couples Center, Diversity Committee member at SF CAMFT, and diversity educator.
Employee wellness programs can, at first glance, seem a no-brainer in creating a healthy work environment. But without carefully examining how you view and encourage “health” you are likely hurting people. I learned recently that you are using the BMI (Body Mass Index) as one of the measures of your employee’s health, and thereby a means of determining an employee’s discount at your stores. Here is why that is a harmful and potentially dangerous move...
Heading into a season known for family time, big meals, extravagant soirees, and spending lots of money, can bring up a lot of mixed feelings for most of us – from connection to isolation, fear to excitement, joy to despair, or all of the above. If you struggle with your relationship to food and body image, the holidays can be particularly challenging. And I don’t know many people (or media outlets) who don’t start disparagingly commenting this time of year about the various ways they’ll be “bad” by eating pies and other rich foods for the next couple of months and then start punishing themselves in January. Tis the season for stressing out about every calorie to the point of avoiding the joys of rich winter meals, or overdoing it while all your body really needs is to get warm and cozy and eat good food with people you love while we ride out the darkness together.
Most of us are dying to be seen – to be noticed, loved, and understood – whether or not we’re totally conscious of this. I always made a performance of it. As a little girl I’d joyfully entertain family guests with a song, as a teenager I dreamed of winning an Oscar, and as an adult I still seek opportunities to get on stage. I long to glow in the spotlight, feeling the soundwall of applause vibrating in my belly. Nothing feels more affirming…at least for a minute.
The World Needs You to Follow Your Passion: Interview With Jessica Semaan, Founder of The Passion Company
Listen to this story as a podcast here:
Today’s story brings us to the busy intersection of fear, emptiness, creativity, self-love and passion. To get us there, I interview Jessica Semaan, founder of The Passion Company. Jessica has made it her full time job to help others discover and follow their passions.
What does it mean to follow your passion? Is this really possible or is it new-age, bull-shit? Is it only for the privileged or can anyone do this? What kind of risks are you willing or able to take?
The other day I asked a few friends if they had any article ideas and one jokingly asked me to write about why his farts stink so much. Really bad. No matter what he eats. His girlfriend confirmed this story. We all laughed, knowing of course I wouldn’t be writing an article for a psychology blog about his farts…or would I?
At the surface, it can be hard to imagine where to go from there (except very far away from Stinky Fart Man*), but my job as a therapist is to dig a little deeper (sometimes with my fingers plugging my nose). Beneath this question is another more vulnerable one: Why is my body so out of my control?
Most of these posting are excerpts from my podcast A Therapist Walks Into a Bar and articles I've written for Psyched in San Francisco Magazine I credit my words with the teachings of many people in my life, from authors I've read to friends, family, colleagues, and clients. These words represent my interpretation and synthesis of the things I'm learning. Topics vary but inevitably come back to the same thing: building awareness around how we interact with ourselves and the world around us.