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Grace, Forgiveness, Trust, Reconciliation: Words to Live By

Grace, forgiveness, trust and reconciliation are words full of meaning which are often misunderstood by those who use them and those who hear them. I remember sitting in a Sunday School class in my church and hearing someone say to forgive we just “had” to trust. The person who spoke was someone I really respected, but I couldn’t understand their interpretation of forgiveness. In one of my life’s “oh, now I get it” moments, my clinical supervisor once drew a diagram similar to this on a white board. Since that time I have used this diagram many times and have modified my explanation of the importance of these four meaningful words. The top row of this diagram includes the words grace and

I am NOT depression, I am just struggling with depression!

A while ago I saw a commercial for a medication used for eczema. In the commercial the people who suffered from eczema were asking for people to look at them instead of their disease and see them for who they are. Sometimes when we are struggling with depression we begin to see ourselves as depression instead of seeing depression as a mental illness. Over the past couple of months, I have been facilitating a depression group and I have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about depression. One theme that has been prevalent in our group is how and why to separate depression from our identity. I am not depression, but I do struggle with the impact of depression in my life. What we focus

Want to Get Someone's Attention? Try Listening!

The most common concern I hear from couples in counseling is communication. I usually start any discussion on communication with an acronym I learned in grad school called LUVER. LUVERing is all about truly listening and if you really want to get someone’s attention the best way is to start by really listening. So, let’s talk about LUVERing. The L stands for listen. How do I know that someone is listening to me? It starts with body language, their eyes are on me, they are turned towards me, and they may even be leaning forward slightly. They have their full focus on me (which means they aren’t looking at any electronic devices). They are nodding occasionally or making sounds of listeni

Starting Again: Perspective on Change

Have you ever stopped doing something that you wanted to do? Have you even stopped doing something you thought or knew was good for you? As evidenced by my neglect of this blog over the past 6 months, it is clear that I have had that experience. And today as I am trying to start blogging again my mind reflects on what I have learned about change. In family systems theory we talk about two different types of change, first order and second order change. First order change refers to the type of change that is about doing a better job with something that is already being done. If I was going to create first-order change in my office because I didn’t like the furniture, I might move the furnit

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