Blog

October 26, 2018

Self-care is not a reward.  It is a critical component to living a balanced and happy life.  Why does it seem easier to take care of everything else and everyone else instead? We often don’t think twice about taking on that meeting, signing the kids up for another thing or ditching the gym for a conference call. The excuses, justification and reasons become second nature, and then we believe them to be true.  I challenge you to challenge those rationalizations!

It seems that we have been taught that the harder we work, the greater the payoff. No pain, no gain.  I have to give 100%.  However true these may ring to you, the pay off comes at a cost. Studies and science have shown that wearing down the body, overworking the brain, not sleeping enough and remaining in a constant state of stress actually is counterproductive to our health.  

It’s easy to neglect yourself when you are busy and overwhelmed, so even a small moment of reprieve feels luxurious.  If you...

October 18, 2018

For much of my life I believed that someone was either happy or they weren't mainly based on external factors.  I'm happy if I love my job.  I'm not happy when it's time to pay taxes.  I'm happy when I'm in love.  I'm not happy going through a divorce.  I was always riding the waves of emotion, until I stopped being happy.  I wasn't sure what was getting in my way.  Then I learned I had built a resistance to it.  I could say I wanted it, but my protective coping strategies where in the background guarding me from it.

What? How does a person become resistant to experiencing happiness or joy?  Who doesn't want that all the time?  If it's really possible - sign me up everyday! 

I learned that I was not being vulnerable with happiness.  I built walls and a comfortable fortress around my wounds and pain.  I made beautiful fences around my heart, because I didn't want to get hurt again.  On my side of the fenc...

September 15, 2018

I often wonder what ideas and thoughts come to mind when someone hears the words “open relationship.” 

I’ve asked around, casually, and I have heard a spectrum of replies. 

There have been judgmental statements, such as: “clearly they aren’t happy,” and “why would anyone do that, it’s disgusting and that’s not what marriage is.” 

I’ve also heard more curious responses, like, “good for them, I wish I could do that” and “what exactly does that mean?”

With the confusion and judgements circling the standard world of monogamy versus non-monogamy, I decided to do some research, talk to others and bring in my own experience, so that it can be talked about more mainstream, with deeper understanding. 

Ultimately, every couple gets to make their own choice about what fits for them, and it never hurts to explore those boundaries. 

What Is An Open Relationship?

Open relationship is often an umbrella term for having sex or emotional connections outsid...

January 28, 2018

There has been a theme in my practice in the last two weeks, and that is the fear of falling apart.  It's a strong fear that can drive us into seclusion and feeling alone.  It's a fear that has it's own story that goes something like this...

If I fall apart then other people will judge me.

If I fall apart there is nobody to catch me.

If I fall apart then that means I am weak instead of strong.

If I fall apart then I really don't have it together.

If I fall apart it will be too lonely and dark.

If I fall apart then everything will get worse.

If I fall apart it means there is something wrong with me.

If I fall apart then everything around me will fall apart too.

Do any of these thoughts ring true for you?  I know I have played several of these belief systems over and over in my head like a broken record that won't stop.  

However, what if falling apart was the place where the diamond was being created, under the forceful pressure?  There is real wisdom and knowledge to be gained in...

January 24, 2018

(This blog is about romantic love, the love relationships we choose to have with another person, and not the love between family of origin.)

I did a google search to see how many songs exist with the word LOVE in the title.  The number is 1187.  I was actually surprised it was that low.  But nonetheless, that is still a lot of songs that are in our culture, listened to by millions, that somehow tell us what love is, should look like, feel like or how bad it hurts.  There are so many ways that love is taught to us.  We get it through Facebook, Youtube, movies, TV shows, greeting cards, commercials, diamond stores, wedding stores, wedding shows and by comparing our relationship to someone else's.  That feels like a lot of pressure coupled with a lot of expectation on what love "should" be.  After all, what's wrong with you or your partner if you don't get it right?  

There is a prevalent belief that relationships are just between two people, who ideally f...

October 18, 2017

This is a very personal blog about my own experience.  In my process I am learning a great deal about myself, and how to continually evolve so that I can still be in relationship with others, despite our differences.  

I have felt quite disheartened since the election.  I have come face to face with many ideas and beliefs that I didn't know I felt so strongly about, until now.  I feel as if many of my freedoms are being threatened.   I feel that some very core beliefs could be dismantled, defunded or restructured in a way that feels bad.  I notice that I want to become more of an activist and defend them, after all my beliefs hold great meaning to me.  

From a personal standpoint I feel a sense of loss.  I feel powerless amid chaos.  I feel like my voice can't be heard through all the political noise.  I don't want to be idle, so I am looking for an outlet.  These feelings, emotions and concerns are too much to bear internally.  I have trouble talk...

September 19, 2017

Have you ever thought you believed in something, only to discover later that you really don't know how you feel about it, or possibly feel the exact opposite?  Have you questioned why you see the world the way it is?  Have you looked beyond the simple answer as to how and why you make quick decisions about people you see or meet?

Two life changing classes for me in graduate school were Multicultural Studies and Gestalt Therapy.  Up until that semester, I was very confident I really knew what I believed and how I thought about the world.  After all, I'm in my mid 40's with quite a bit of life experience, sprinkled with self awareness, whisked with compassion and a desire to share with others.  In many ways, most things made sense to me.  All that said, my beliefs were deeply called into question.  I like getting to the root of things, so it's no wonder I'm a therapist!

I've noticed in therapy that my client will be talking about something perso...

August 23, 2017

I am a collector of few material things.  In many ways, I'm a minimalist.  I only buy what I need and I let go of material things quickly.  One thing I do collect, and rarely let go of, are poems and quotes.  I find comfort, meaning, joy, inspiration and reflection in the words of many inspiring people.  I want to share with you a poem that has been dear to my heart for many years.  It is special because it says everything I want to say about my life.  It's called 'Otherwise the Darkness' by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).

                                                                           

                                                                           I...

July 24, 2017

Fritz Perls is the founder of Gestalt Therapy and wrote about it in the 1950's.  I was first exposed to this theory in graduate school.  I absolutely loved this class because I find his work to be both applicable and relevant to most of life's processes.  A key point in his theory is to always be in the here and now.  Thoughts, experiences, trauma, beliefs do make up who we are, however dwelling on those as past events doesn't effectively bring change to the self right now.  It is in the moment to moment, present experiencing of any of those that gets a person back in touch with it, then integration/resolution can potentially happen.  As long as things stay out of awareness, they will constantly play out in our lives. (Other theorists, and main stream psychology call this the subconscious)

"From the Gestalt viewpoint the person is not merely a person who once had a problem, he is a person who has a continuing problem, here and now, in th...

July 11, 2017

     In couple's therapy, and even in individual therapy if someone has a significant other, a common question that arises is, "Whose fault is it?"  Blame is looking for a place to land, if it hasn't already.  When blame occurs, it usually relieves one party from feelings of shame, guilt, frustration or annoyance because after all, it's not on them anymore.  The most common response to addressing blame, "Well, I've done everything I can but he/she still won't change."  This takes it a step further because one party not only feels free from blame, but now they are free from trying anymore.   Their efforts haven't reaped the benefits they wanted or expected.  Consequently the commitment to even trying is tossed out the window and there's only one person left in the relationship.  One person is avoidant, one person is attacking.  This doesn't sound like much fun.

     Here are a few suggestions, synthesized from several therapeuti...

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Center for Mindful Psychotherapy

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #107722

 Supervised by Kishi Fuller

MFC# 47554

Tel: 415.275.1855

Traci.therapistsf@gmail.com

© 2017 Traci Freeman