One thing that all of humanity has in common is that each person will face loss in many ways many times throughout life. Loss does not take place only when someone dies. It also takes places through moves across the country or across town, job changes or job loss, divorce, infidelity…the list could go on and on.
I was today years old when I learned about the National Day of Mourning. Intentionally coinciding with Thanksgiving Day, it is a day set aside by Native American tribes to mourn the millions of their ancestors who were murdered by uninvited European colonists. Established in 1970, the Day of Mourning is an attempt to tell a more honest story.
Anger is sometimes called a secondary emotion…not because it is any less valid of an emotion than any other, but because it rarely stands alone. There is almost always another emotion that reinforces it.
Mind reading is when you pass someone you know, they don’t say hello, and you assume that they look down on you in some way. Never mind that they could have been preoccupied thinking about work, their children, or any number of things.
A hot new intervention in therapy in the last 15 years is the use of something called “mindfulness”. It is a cognitive behavioral technique that is aimed at helping a person learn to train their mind to live in the “here and now”. It is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and related disorders. It is also used to help athletes with their functioning and with people who are suffering from chronic illness to manage pain and other symptoms. A great book on using...
I plan on talking more about individuation, enmeshment, and disengagement as well as the role anxiety plays in these relational dynamics in a later post, but for now I want to focus on what I have found to be one of the most helpful of Bowen’s concepts: triangles.
Bowen’s concept of triangles is a relational idea for understanding how individuals respond under pressure…or moments of anxiety. I am going to use a fairly benign and common situation to illustrate how triangles work.
An older but incredibly helpful theory in field of understanding human relationships is called Transactional Analysis, first developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1950’s. Here is the basic gist of it. Each person operates, communicates, and behaves out of three different parts of themselves: a parent self, an adult self, and a child self. So sometimes when we talk to another person we talk in a parent, authoritative voice. In other situations when we talk to someone we talk in a...
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, couples therapists, researchers, and workshop leaders, teach therapists and couples to be on the look out for what they call “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” or “the four signs of the end”.
Certainly, treating symptoms and presenting issues is the goal (and here are a few ideas for treating such symptoms of depression), but sometimes addressing symptoms without understanding underlying roots just puts a band-aid on a gaping wound. Here is when a clinician has to be careful. A client might start to feel better after the first session or two and with that minimal relief choose not to come back…and the real culprit for the symptoms has never been addressed.
Simple parenting? I said SIMPLE...not easy. These are two simple, direct steps to help you navigate your younger or older child's big emotions and reactions. These steps are easier said that done, but totally doable for you with some ongoing, intentional work.