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Posts from May 2012

Tapping - Schmapping! You Gotta Be Kidding Me! EFT Explained

EFT Mona Lisa Tapping Points
You might have heard about this new healing technique called EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique.

It is a simple intervention that is based on the concepts of acupuncture. In fact, it has been called "acupuncture without needles." The idea is that the energy flow of the body gets disrupted and this, then, causes emotional upset which can lead to physical challenges. Instead of having the acupuncturist strategically place needles along energy meridians, the individual can use her own two fingers to tap four - seven times on nine points of the body. If I haven't lost you so far, you can learn more about this by going to my page called What is Energy Psychology?  You can also read a few testimonials by people with whom I have used EFT.  Click on the link just under my blog banner. And, you can go to the EFT Universe Website and watch a few demonstration videos and read thousands of testimonials.

In a matter of minutes, it is possible to collapse major emotional trauma that years of talk therapy have not been able to heal. Anxiety, depression, guilt, resentment, and specific traumatic events are all common issues that EFT can address. "If this is such an effective technique, why haven't I heard about it?" you may ask.

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Free Therapy: I'll Take the Pain I Know Over the Cure I Don't Know

Sometimes, while I am teaching my Psychology classes, I get off on a tangent and my Therapy Couch
students call it "free therapy." Hence, the title of this Category and Post.  I thought I might occasionally share with you what we talk about in class.



"We tend to prefer the familiar negative over the unfamiliar positive."

Nobody taught us this in graduate school - unless maybe I was absent that day. I doubt it. Everyone knows that people tend to resist change. I get that. It wasn't until I made this observation in such a succint way that I realized this might inform part of the reason for why people resist change. Anthony de Mello, in his book, Awareness (see my list of recommended books), says that it is not so much our fear of the unknown as it is our fear of the loss of the known.

When a client initiates therapy because she is depressed and wants to be not depressed or is socially shy and wants to be socially confident, there is a part of her that doesn't want to be happy and doesn't want to have self-confidence. The thing is, it was the 5% conscious part of her who felt some degree of emotional distress, made the therapy apppointment and showed up. But it was the 95% unconscious part of her who will manage to lose motivation after three or four sessions.  The 5% wanted change. The 95% just wanted relief.

This push/pull is an exasperating part

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Low Self Esteem: How Low Can You Go?

Note: This is topic # 2  from the 10-part series, The Fine Art of Misery.

*On a serious note: Please know that this series is intended to be a spoof, a lighthearted invitation to look at how we sometimes create our own misery. It is by no means meant to be disrespectful or minimizing of many people's true pain, particularly around depression and anxiety.

Grief Wood Sculpture

OK, here's the thing. If you truly aspire to a miserable life, you must begin here. Low self-esteem is at the very core of misery. You must perfect an absolute commitment to self-loathing. You do this by taking advantage of three powerful tools:

  • grow up in American culture
  • create a belief system, complete with attitudes and automatic thoughts, that is devoted to negativity and cynicism (see Topic # 1: Stinking Thinking: The Sweet Smell of Successful Misery).
  • stay as far away from spirituality as you can get (organized religion might be just fine - use your judgment on this.

Low Self-Esteem: Your American Culture at Work

If you happen to be raised in the American culture, you enjoy a distinct advantage over others from more tolerant societies. In American culture, we have very narrow parameters for what are considered attractive qualities. The entire popular culture is Flag 4th of July
set up to program you for low self-esteem
. You have to have just the right body type, the right skin color, the right age, the right gender, the right religion, the right sexuality, and have the right type of education. You must have the right values, be raised on the right side of the tracks, by the right parents, and have the right bank balance. Otherwise, "you ain't from 'round these parts" and you are viewed with suspicion just because you are different. So few people can meet these criteria, a miserable low self-esteem is almost guaranteed for most of the U.S. population. And that's even before your dysfunctional parents have had a shot at you!


I'm Not OK, You're Not OK, Nobody's OK, Nothing's OK, Nowhere, Never

It is important to develop a pretty comprehensive belief system that the world is awful Approval Thumbs Down
and that you hold the distinction of being the armpit of the world. Again, your core beliefs are essential here. You are innately inferior, you don't matter, you have no purpose, you are a mistake, you have nothing to contribute to the world, you are a loser and you deserve to be all alone as a social outcast. Focus on your specific physical flaws and then your obnoxious personality traits. You are too fat, too thin, too hairy, too wrinkly, too bald, too short. You are not smart enough, not popular enough, not nice enough, not healthy enough, not mature enough, not good...enough.

Mouse Vision, Not Eagle Vision

"A person wrapped up in himself makes a very small package."  Be self-absorbed. Remember that you are all alone

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Codependency SCUBA Crisis at 60 ft Under Water

At no time during my SCUBA training did they talk about the possibility of dying from SCUBA Two SCUBA Divers Underwater
codependency while SCUBA diving. I think they need to make a national curriculum change to include this very real threat to diver safety. Someone notify the authorities.

It was my very first dive after getting certified. We dove from a liveaboard dive boat in the waters near Catalina Island, off the coast of California.  That's very cold water, so full wet suits were required. If you have never worn a full wetsuit, imagine Nanook of the North bundled up tight and thrown into freezing water.  The tightness of that full body wetsuit is enough to trigger a claustrophobic panic attack while you are still on the boat! When you secure your buoyancy compensator vest, you can only exhale. No inhales, just exhales. Try being relaxed when you haven't been allowed to inhale for 45 minutes.

I was paired with an experienced diver who was mostly into spear fishing. A nice enough guy, but not interested in being anybody's "buddy." We scissor kicked off the boat into the freezing water, signaled the "OK" sign, and dropped down into the kelp forests. The post-dive banter indicated there were lots of amazing fish that everyone saw. I wouldn't know anything about that. All I remember seeing was my air pressure guage, which

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Stinking Thinking: The Sweet Smell of Successful Misery

Note: This is Topic #1 from the 10- part series, The Fine Art of Misery.

Any serious discussion of the fine art of misery must begin with the importance of "getting your head in the game." In other words, much of your mood and even your personality traits can be impacted by how you think and believe.  Your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, Thinking Quote Wheather You Think...
and interpetations form the foundation for how you will feel and then behave in life. It is essential to sprinkle negativity and cynicism throughout your core beliefs in order to sustain a miserable life.

Where Do Thoughts and Beliefs Come From?

Look no further than the people who raised you. They had a pretty good opportunity to indoctrinate you into a belief system full of criticism, negativity, cynicism, and suspicion.  Then there is the popular culture, your teachers and even some clergy who might have  contributed to a life outlook full of fear, prejudices, self-doubt, and pessimism. This was a good beginning, but you need to maintain that strong foundation with daily practice. 

Adulthood: Misery Auto Pilot

This is great news. Hopefully, you arrived at the threshold of adulthood with plenty of childhood baggage from

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God Doesn't Like Bread Crust, Either

This might just be my earliest memory. I was about five years old. We lived in Detroit, Michigan and I was in Kindergarten. I had two older sisters and a younger sister and Child in Thought
brother. But none of that mattered on this particular day. This was between me and God.

I remember sitting at the kitchen table. I was finishing my cereal and toast for breakfast. I really didn't want to eat the crust of my toast. Such a delicate palate at that young age. I knew I had to eat everything on my plate, what with all the starving children in Biafra and all. We were raised in a pretty strict Catholic home and you did what you were told. So I had to eat my crust. What to do?

And then it came to me. I'll give my bread crust to God. He'll eat it. He loves little children. What a grand solution! So, I climbed down from my big chair and went through the door to the basement. I stepped down a few steps and stood there in the dark staircase. I lifted my hand up, arm outstretched to the heavens and said, "Here God, you can have my crust." I waited. Nothing. I waited some more. Nothing. "No, really, ... You can have it." I waited. Still nothing. I finally brought

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Not a Mover and Shaker? Join Us at the Moved and Shaken Blog!

Behind Computer

A couple years ago, I was lamenting to a successful fast track friend of mine that my personality is just not that of a "mover and shaker" professional. In fact, I said, I relate more to being "the moved and the shaken!" We both laughed out loud and within a week, I  bought the domain name, knowing I would write a book someday by the same title. Or maybe a blog. Or both.

And here we are!

I had never read a blog before starting this process two months ago. Thank goodness for the Blogging for Dummies book, and the great support from the Typepad folks. Now that the design and the mechanics are pretty much up and running, I look forward to writing more stories, observations, flat out advice, and whatever else might be humorous,

Continue reading "Not a Mover and Shaker? Join Us at the Moved and Shaken Blog!" »

Where is Life? Here. When is Life? Now. Why is Life? Love

Earth From Space
Here ..... Now ..... Love

Much has been written about the wisdom of living life in the "now." I wouldn't know much about that; I'm too busy planning my day.

"and today is Thursday..."

Several years ago, I got some great advice. One Thanksgiving morning, I apparently was going on and on talking about all my plans and then all my worries about all my plans. My mother was barely able to slide in sideways a simple observation that pulled me up short. She said, "And today is Thursday." In an instant, laughing, I was back in the present day, in the present moment, tending to the present task: stirring the gravy in the pan on the kitchen stove.  I loved that sudden reminder to get back into the here and now.  And so, whenever I find myself getting too far flung in my thought world, I remind myself, "And today is Thursday,"... regardless of whatever day it is.

"...all you do is piss all over today."

Another several years ago, I was attending an open AA meeting in Vail, Colorado. In fact, it was the meeting where my mother introduced me to the former First Lady, Betty Ford. Betty was chairing the meeting that night. There was quite a mix of people at that gathering. I will never forget. The topic was about living one day at a time. An old, grizzled ranch hand with faded blue jeans and battered old boots spoke up and drawled, "You know, when you got one foot in yesterday, and the other foot in tomorrow, all you do is piss all over today." Ha-Ha! How's that for common horse sense! I remember Betty throwing her head back and howling with laughter along with the rest of us. Wisdom in any form crosses all demographics.

On Paper Towel Cardboard Tubes...

Try this exercise. The next time you run out of paper towels, save the cardboard tube.  Toilet paper tubes work, too. Now, bring the tube up to eye level and look at your world through this narrowed perspective. Notice how you are forced to focus on one thing at a time.  Go outside and walk around your yard. Be sure to look down occasionally so you don't trip over something right in front of you. Pan the whole area first, and then zoom in on the leaves, the blades of grass, and the insects. Look up at the sky and see the clouds, the sun, and the distant airplane. Follow that bird that just flew by. Now, while looking through your new self-awareness apparatus at some close up object, try to think and plan your activities for the next week. No, really. Just try. When your sensory focus is concentrated on one thing it is very difficult to make your mind wander into the past or the future.  The next time you drift into depression ruminating over the past, or work yourself up into anxiety worrying about the future, just grab your tube (the toilet paper tube is a nice purse-size) and insist on some here and now focus. While you're there, do a gratitude list.

Which brings me to love...

So my question is, what is the purpose of living "in the here and now?" What if I actually master some decent ability to live my life in the more or less present moment? If I have that, what have I got? I have the awareness that right now,here in my living room,  I am eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich and it is 2:10pm.? Is that it? That's the secret to happiness? That can't be it. I'll bet if I meditated for several years, I would see the connection and understand. Right now, I don't.

What is the use of living in the here and now if my inward gaze only reveals me? I think it's about love. That's the only thing I can think of that would make living in this moment mean anything. Having a loving attitude toward myself. Having a loving intention toward others. A willingness to love and be loved, which includes the "cousins" of love: gratitude, forgiveness, joy, kindness, and patience. In fact, this love piece is the real essence. Love that is here and now or there and then for that matter, love provides the answer to the why? of Life. To love. To be loved. Flowing love.


What's the Takeaway?

The next time you find yourself projecting into the future with your grand planning, orchestrated arrangements, scheduled to the minute hectic life, remember the immortal words of my mother, Mary Roush, on one Thanksgiving morning: "And today is Thursday." Then look through your cardboard tube and send love out to the universe and receive love in from the universe. And have yourself a peanut butter and banana sandwich.


Spirituality Business Man on Beach Meditating with Computer and Sand Toys

True Confessions From Your College Psychology Instructor

Students To the Student Sign





There are so many things I want to say here, I think this might become an ongoing column of sorts. I have already thought of several post topics I would like to write about. Here are just a few:

  • Why I Pulled Off of  I-10 In Arizona at a Truck Stop to Call Back to the Dean to Say I Want to Teach the Death and Dying Class
  • Five Things to Never Say to Your Instructor
  • Why I Love Teaching Psychology to You
  • Memorable Students
  • Why Is It That I Get Older But My Students Stay the Same Age?
  • You Crack Me Up: Hilarious Excerpts From Your Reaction Papers
  • Which Students Will be Taking Care of Me Someday in the Nursing Home?

These are just some of the things I think about when I am in front of you in the  classroom. You think I'm paying attention to the lecture topic, but my mind can wander just as well as yours can. And don't tell me it doesn't. Sometimes, I can just see your minds floating out the window... and mine wants to go, too!

Today, I passed a colleague in the hall and we said "hi" to each other. Then, I added, "I get to go teach now!" And I thought how fortunate I am that I love what I do.

Yesterday, a student stayed after the class to ask about his points. When we were finished, I couldn't help but ask, "Now, why were you smiling so much during the whole lecture today? You were practically laughing at times, but I didn't see you whispering or talking to anybody." I thought maybe he went off of his Haldol.  He grinned this huge toothy grin and said that he really got it today that he wants to be a therapist and help people some day. He said that so many things that I talked about (Theoretical Approaches to Doing Therapy was the topic) just resonated perfectly with who he thought he was and what he wants to do with his life. And he's only 19! How awesome is that? So I went on and on about how he might pursue his academic career and I think I made him late for his Anthropology class. Sorry 'bout that. God, I love teaching.