Psychological Solutions For A Better Life

Thinking back all my life I was longing for the future to come. I don’t think that is particularly unique, I believe most people have a similar if not the same experience. People want to grow up quickly, be married, have children, change jobs, change house, have a car, have a bigger car, have new clothes … the list goes on and on. There is the unspoken promise that life would be better, richer, more rewarding, and if we believe the media and advertisements we would ultimately be happier if we could reach these desirable mile stones.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Moving my Site

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Photo by ‘the meassure of mike’

Today is my official ‘Last Day at Work’ – After 25 years of working in the field of trauma recovery, I am retiring and closing my clinical mental health practice. That is an odd feeling, and I am sure I am going to write some more about the impact of that step. Although, everybody faces such a move at some point.

My focus in the future will be on writing. As you may or may not know, I have recently published my first book ‘Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting Loving Relationships‘, in which I combine my passion for great relationships and the 3 Principles with my love for sweet cakes and tarts and … all things yummy. You can check it out on Amazon.com – and buy it if you are so inclined.

To have a website that is more suited to my writing, I migrated from wordpress.com over to wordpress.org because of the more suitable set-up there. Those of you who have subscribed to this blog and have not automatically received notification of my last blog-posts, please go over to gudrunfrerichs.com and subscribed again there. I am afraid the technicalities of this whole moving thing is beyound my computer skills.

Thanks for having been a supporter of this site – all the posts here have been moved over to my new one, and you can be assured I will keep writing!

Photo credits

Is Stress Killing You?

boat sinkingStress is practically unavoidable, isn’t it? How damaging stress really is, most people are not aware of it. And many of those who are aware of it are rather at a loss of what to do about it. When we google STRESS, there are 234.000 thousand websites that offer some commentary on the topic of STRESS. Given that it is becoming more and more of an epidemic, these commentaries and advises don’t seem to make much of a dent in the problems stress is causing people. So what are we doing wrong?

  • First of all, most people mistake the cause of stress. That is a big problem, because if you think your cause for being hungry is the lack of exercise and you subsequently exercise more, you are barking up a very very wrong tree.
  • Secondly: most people use tools, skills, and techniques that – for a fleeting moment or two – relieve a person’s stress but do not address the cause of it. That’s like providing a sinking rowboat with a bigger bucket … no no no, you have to fix the leak!

If STRESS is something that plagues you, you might want to start learning about the origins of stress and what it does to your body. Most people don’t take stress serious enough. IT IS A KILLER and it pays to ACT NOW!  Watch the U-Tube clip and when finished, make contact with me or another health professional you trust! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs

I woke up this morning with the thought “I am who I am” on my mind. A peculiar thought for me at 6AM in the morning. Intrigued I started reflecting what that might mean for me and everyone else for that matter. The bible tells us God said to Moses: “Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you”. ‘I AM’, no qualifier, not quantifier, just “I AM”. No more and no less. As if anything more would be limiting, taking away from, not doing justice to the speaker. And by doing so it can become everything.

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So, here I am who I am (we are who we are). Not what you think about me, not how people judge or put their cherished expectations on me, not even what I think about me and my cherished expectations of myself. I am not a sinner nor a saint, not a mother, a teacher, a therapist, a lover, a cook, a wife, a sister, a daughter, or a philosopher. I am much more than that! I am neither clever nor dumb, soft nor harsh, beautiful or ugly, fat or thin, kind or malicious. I am all of that and none of that. That complexity is what makes us human beings so exciting as well as scary to be around. For the ‘Other’ we are what they see in us, but that’s not really who we are, it’s only the bit they recognize, the tiny bit that was revealed to them or they became aware of.

We are an expression of nature or in other words ‘the life force’ I like to call it MIND, others call it other things like ‘God’ that breathed life into us and gave us the power of THOUGHT, the ability to think and make sense of the world around us and within us. The third principle is CONSCIOUSNESS, our ability to become aware of and bring to life what we think.

Who AM I? Who are we? We are the sum-total of how we used Mind, Thought, and Consciousness to come to an understanding of ourselves and our world. Everything that ever happened to us or around us, we interpreted and we came to conclusions what that meant about us and about the world. How safe is the world? How safe are people? Is Life benign or malignant? We all are a product of how well we used Mind, Thought, and Consciousness over our life span.

How I have used the 3 Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness over time to make sense of my past and my world has made a difference when I hesitated to cross certain ‘bridges’, not trusting the bridge, the people, or myself. I am sure I missed many opportunities to create something positive that way. How I used the principles to make sense out of my world has at other times enabled me to cross bridges with verve that sometimes lead me to a ‘better’ place while at other times left me ‘stranded’. Like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ – it was a pleasant walk, a very pleasant walk, but it didn’t lead anywhere.

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I am who I am! Not how I have made sense of my past, or achievements, or disappointments. These are just thoughts. They are not reflecting reality, they reflect my current thinking of a certain time. My past was my past. It really happened. But how and what I think about it has been changing over the years many times depending on my state of mind. When we can see that our thoughts are just thoughts, not reality based evaluations about us or the world but fluctuating all the time, we become free. Then everything is possible, then “WE ARE WHO WE ARE – I AM WHO I AM.”

Am I at peace with myself? Yes and No. At times, when my mind wanders to pleasant moments, attached pleasant feelings flow through me and I am happy and at peace. When my mind wanders to moments of unmet needs, discord, or conflict, unpleasant feelings wash over me like a tidal wave. At those moments I am not at peace. If at those times I know that these moments are just echos from the past, unpleasant thoughts that I now remember and that cause unpleasant feelings, I can let them go and they become a passing thought, soon replaced by another, and then again by another, and inner peace is restored fairly quickly. If at those times I forget that my unpleasant feelings are just passing through thoughts of my past, if I give them a life of their own, let them into my house and cherish them for an hour, a day, or even longer, inner peace will take its sweet time to come to me, usually taking longer than I would prefer.

This will go on and on as long as we live. Nobody escapes this law of nature, these 3 Principles. However, what I do know is that when I am surrounded by people who respond in a caring, supportive, respectful, and loving way my thoughts usually wander into hopeful, uplifting realm of possibility and creativity. When surrounded by criticism, disinterest, or even disrespect, my thoughts wander more easily to negative and painful realms, awakening difficult and unpleasant feelings. At those times I need a lot of energy to hold on to ME and wall up against the negativity which leaves me with less room for creative life choices.

I am who I am – and life’s circumstances do not determine my well-being, but the way I think about these circumstances do. However, just like a fish is more alive and agile in clear, healthy water, so am I – so are we. It pays to check regularly the quality of the water we swim in to make sure we swim the best we possibly can.

imageThere are a number of myths surrounding the older generation and  their sexual practices. I remember when I was in my late teens my friends and I discussed whether our parents would still have sex. The unanimous response was “NO WAY”.  Our parents would have been in their late 40s at that time. Not much has changed over the last 40 or 50 years. There still seems to be a ban on talking about senior citizens and their sexual experiences. What did you think when you looked at the above picture? Be honest! Read the rest of this entry »

New Beginnings

20140107-145801.jpgIn my preparation for coming ‘back to work’ I glanced through old comments and notifications and found a comment left in 2008 “How do I know I am with the right therapist”? I don’t know how I answered back then, but today I thought “What an interesting question”. How do therapists/counsellors know that they are right for a particular client, and how do clients know that they are with the right therapist?

Often both clients and therapists fall prey to the assumption that therapy is the only path to recovery and/or that therapy with a particular therapist is the only path to healing. This is a dangerous assumption. Let’s not forget, the client is doing the healing, not the therapist. The capacity of the seed to become a fully grown, healthy plant is within he plant, not with he gardener. He or she is only providing an environment in which that growth can accelerate. When the seed is not growing the gardener has failed to provide the appropriate environment. Read the rest of this entry »

rel ships happyOver the last 20 years positive psychology and positive thinkers have suggested that by simply following a number of steps ‘Happiness’ is in our grasp. Who would not like the idea?  But wait a minute …. if there were only 3, 5, or 7 steps to Happiness, would people not have achieved it by now? People are not stupid – at least not the majority. So what is wrong with the picture?

Happiness is not a commodity, a trade-able good that can be acquired by following a prescribed formula – like how to start your car’s engine. Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Listening

woman-listening“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  This quote from Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change) describes succinctly the problem most people have when communicating. Most courses and trainings refer to ‘active listening’ as a desirable practice, yet it teaches people to listen to the words, the content, and then repeat it back to the speaker.

In contrast, deep listening as I understand it is listening for the meaning behind the words, is listening for the feeling that the words are pointing it. In a way, it is listening with a sense or curiosity WITHOUT checking with our own mind whether it makes sense to us, we can relate to it, whether it is stupid/reckless/naive to name just a few examples. If we would listen that way (checking with our own mind) we would only listen to our own thoughts about something and not to the other person. Read the rest of this entry »

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