The Living Eulogy

                                                                       The Living Eulogy

                                                   Mental Health for the dying and the healthy

Walking into the hall early for the funeral, I found a seat at the back of the room, and read through the order of service given to me at the door. As I read, I found I had great interest in what was written on the back of the bulletin about the deceased. It gave me a sense of what they were about, who they were, and their involvement in the greater community and world during their life. Although I did not know the person, who was the father of a friend and colleague of mine, I felt it important to attend and to show support. In many ways the service was a typical celebration of life, with; beautiful music, encouraging readings, a helpful homily, comforting prayers, and a heartfelt eulogy. I listened especially and intently to the eulogy, which was delivered by a friend of the deceased. Following the eulogy, I said to my self, “I wish I had known that person!” The eulogy painted a picture of an individual who was exceptional in every way, someone worth knowing in life. His education, accomplishments, community endeavours, wonderful character, narrated his active exceptional life.

I have had the opportunity to attend and conduct many funerals, previously as a minister and then as a congregant. In some of those services, I have heard eulogies that sounded nothing like the person I knew. It was almost like a creative reconstruction of someone’s life. Those eulogies left me feeling embarrassed for the one who had died, and for the family left behind. At other services I have attended, the eulogy often served to clearly and honestly capture the individual in a beautiful way.   

The eulogy is meant to carefully tell those in attendance who the individual was in life. It is meant to comfort the family, and is hopefully a truthful account that usually speaks about the person’s close, relationships, career, hobbies, interests, accomplishments. Of course, we do not mention shortcomings of someone’s life in a eulogy, and we all have these. However, many celebrities who die today are often known for that one lapse of judgment, even though their accomplishments in life outweigh everything else. It is that asterisk that shadows them.  

Today we are hearing of a new phenomenon. Its called “a living funeral.” In this celebration, a service is held to honor someone before they pass away, when it is fully known that death is imminent, and planned with them in attendance. It may sound a bit creepy to some, but this may be a wonderful idea. That way, those near death, can enjoy the experience of their favorite scriptures, songs, hear a helpful homily, and a eulogy given about their life, while they are still alive. Thus they can say goodbye to beloved friends, colleagues, neighbours and of course family. This truly could be the best celebration of someone’s life while they still live. And, yes, why not give them a speaking part in the whole process?

My concern is not the funeral, but for the consideration of a living eulogy as a mental health device for the living. My dear father in law Dr Charles Foster once said, “The best eulogy is the one given when the person is still alive.” By that, he meant saying what you should say to someone while aliveThe living eulogy would be natural words of encouragement, affection, and kindness to anyone in our orbit of life. In other words, saying what you would say at someone’s celebration of life. Why wait until the individuals are gone to hear about how their life has impacted others? Instead let them hear it now!

The living eulogy is meant to be an authentic synopsis of the one who still lives. It is revealed intimately and personally. Imagine for a moment the power in such messages. Imagine the emotional wellness it would create. imagine the emotional depth of such a gift. No one should go to their death without having heard what would have been said when they are gone.  Messages of a eulogy do not have to be formulaic, but can come from a deep place of truth, kindness, and encouragement.

 You can begin this process with someone now.

Almost There

                                                          Almost There!

                                                “Completing the Journey”

Completing a journey can sometimes be difficult.  Some give up. Others never begin. The last few steps can be the hardest. I recall climbing Mt Kenya. We were one hundred yards from the 18,000 foot peak. It was just right there! During those last few steps it was as if I had cement in my shoes. I took two steps at a time and then my lungs were bursting. A rest, one more deep deep breath, two more steps,,,,,,,,, Then, euphoria! Three days of hard climbing completed. Running a marathon is similar. The last six miles are a killer. It’s as if you’re running on fumes. Absolute will pushes you forward, or not! Then a doctoral thesis. Research, writing, re-writing, debating with the supervisor, crossing t’s, dotting i-s, and the dreaded oral defense. How do you spell mental/intellectual exhaustion?  

Life is like that. It’s an existential reality. We set goals combined with an action plan, and then we begin the journey. Maybe it’s paying off a debt, coping with an anxiety or a specific fear, working hard so you can come off an antidepressant, overcoming a habit, finishing a painting job in the house, a sermon, completing some art work. Keeping up the same enthusiasm, the work ethic, the motivation and determination from point A to Z can be a grind.

Procrastination is often the enemy of the journey.  For procrastination you need a  procrastinator. According to GOOGLE this is;  a person who delays or puts things off — like work, chores, or other actions — that should be done in a timely manner.  Procrastinator comes from the Latin verb procrastinare, which means deferred until tomorrow.”  The key phrase here is “deferred until tomorrow.”  

Imagine taking a break (a deferral) in the middle of a marathon, a thesis, on a treacherous mountain, or a pilot telling the co-pilot, “I’m gonna go find an empty seat and have a nap.” (a deferral) Or an actor on stage whispering to the only other actor on stage in front of a full house, “I’m gonna go to the loo, cover for me.” J

In 2 Corinthians 6:2 we read; “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

Salvation is also a journey. “I am saved, I am being saved, I will be saved.”  It’s like sanctification on the run. And salvation is hard. Paul said in Philippians 2:12  “Therefore my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  You may ask, is this what I signed up for? Is this what I was taught? Did I read the fine print in advance of a quiet decision? Can I finish this journey, this race? One could argue that completing the journey of salvation is a daily task.

Walking the Chignecto Trail this summer, all 51 kilometers, sometimes at a 45 degree angles up and down, over rock and root, reminded me of the fear and trembling of my salvation. The journey was an analogy for my spiritual life. There was; fear, physical exhaustion, ongoing hydration, danger, the intake of food, commitment, fellowship. Like our salvation there was a beginning and an end. There were high points and low ones.  But what was key was the strength of those other fellow hikers around me. We gently pushed each other forward. We helped each other with very helpful hints. (repack the pack. To much weight on the bottom, to much weight in the pack)

Going to therapy can be fearful. You divulge things no one else knows. You will be faced with the tension between cognition and will compounded by temptation to give up with all kinds of excuses. But nevertheless it is a journey that will have a significant reward at the end. Try visualising therapy as riding a bike with training wheels. The goal is to ride without those wheels. Immense joy comes when you begin to ride on your own. Let that be like being under the guidance of coping skills taught by a counsellor, implemented by the client. The important tension will always be between cognition and personal will during the therapeutic journey. That cognitive tension pushes one on the healing path to emotional fitness. And, yes, “If it’s gonna be it’s up to me.” :)”

So, let the journey begin. “Are we almost there?”    

Do You Kick The Dog?

                                                                                                                        Do You Ever Kick The Dog?

I have sat through a multitude of Job Interviews in my life, from both sides of the table, as an interviewer and as a prospective employee. To be honest, I have enjoyed the former more than the latter. And I probably am quite experienced at understanding the culture of both sides of the table. For example, there are questions you can and should not ask as you sit in either chair. On one interview I had applied for, I was faced with an interesting query at the end of the Interview. “Do you ever kick the dog,” I was asked. It has not been until very recently that I understood that question from 27 years ago. I don’t know my answer, but I got the position. I was in affect being asked “do you ever get angry?”

When I think about it now I am offended about the metaphor used in the question. To be truthful, I love dogs, and especially my dog. I would no more kick a dog than allow a person to be kicked, and I cannot think of something that might make me more angry than someone kicking my puppy. It would create within me anger!

Anger! It would surprise some to know that Anger is a neutral emotion. It is neutral in that it is either expressed constructively, with a benefit attached, or destructively, with great harm being attached. The response can be beneficial to many, or the reaction can be harmful to the same. Winston Mandella expressed something deeply years after he was let out of prison.  The context for the powerful comment, comes from a decision he made upon leaving Robins Island Prison in South African after nearly thirty years as a captive. Said Mandela;  “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Mandela’s quote has inspired many people to follow in his footsteps.This was not just a comment about forgiveness, the end to bitterness, but about how he would respond to anger and injustice going forward. He made a conscious cognitive decision and promise to himself, to be constructive in life, instead of reactive to destructive behaviour. And he fulfilled it. It would however take creating a new belief system, and developing it into a habit that would in time come about automatically. Some other examples of this way of responding to anger have been Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi.

So on any given day when I am bumped, what comes out of that emotional vase I carry internally. And is it constructive or destructive?

Here are some helpful tips to a response to anger. And these are cognitive choices.

1 Count to three, by thousands. One thousand, two thousand, three thousand. Then breathe deeply for a few seconds. In that instant you have given yourself the opportunity to respond positively instead of reacting negatively and destructively. This is called “stimulus response.”  As a result you have begun a habit of self calming, that will work to produce a careful, constructive and positive response. Something beneficial has been unearthed. It takes time for this to be habitual but it can happen.

2 Or when anger is consuming you over a particular issue; construct, by working in the garden, tiding up the house, ironing some clothes, walking the dog, going to the gym, painting a picture, building a boat in your basement (like Gibbs😊) journal, work on a puzzle, reconcile with who ever hurt or upset you, pray, forgive, meditate.

3 If your emotions are escalating beyond normal control, walk away, and come back later to calmly resolve an issue. But, come back!

Imagine a beautiful work of art that has been created as a response to anger, a song or poem, a piece of hand-built furniture. The responses that come from anger can be wonderfully constructive. Martin Luther King led hundreds of peaceful marches throughout the south. And as the marchers moved through a city their mantra was “I am somebody.” King’s ideas about peaceful change had been inspired by Gandhi who mobilized a nation towards independence. 

The eye for eye tooth for tooth reactions can leave people more angry than ever, and some blind.

Paul said, “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26.

So NO!, don’t kick the dog. Walk the dog. Kiss the dog. Brush, or bathe the dog. Be constructive in your response with what ever your dog might be. Be patient as you learn this new response. 

Bryan Hagerman

St Paul’s Outreach Counsellor


                                                     The Voyage To Safety

                                                    “Nuancing Our Emotions”

Bob woke up in the middle of the night with a start. His breathing was labored, his chest tight, and he was developing a mild headache. And he did not know why. In the morning when he got up he was on edge, anxious, out of sorts, a bit curt and sharp with those around him. When he was spoken to he gave one words answers, didn’t make eye contact, his focus was limited, and he was argumentative, and testy. Driving to work he became angry with the slowness of traffic. At work his door which was usually opened was closed. Phone calls went directly to his answering machine. Bob did not want to be disturbed. What was wrong? He did not know, and when asked said “nothing.” But those round him could see a marked difference in mood, and kept their distance. When they did have to speak to him they were on egg shells, waiting for a volcanic blast.

Bob simply was not feeling safe. Although he would not, or could not begin to nuance it emotionally.

Personal emotional, and physical safety is a voyage we have all been on since birth. Some would argue it begins in the womb when we begin to hear, or sense our mom’s emotions. Safety, it’s a precious commodity. It is the opposite of what we discovered with Bob in the paragraph above. Not only was Bob unsafe and did not know why, he made everyone around him feel unsafe too. But if he had stopped to think about it, and was able to nuance his emotions, he might have been able to discover why. He may have on his voyage to emotional discovery remembered that he was scheduled to have his annual work performance evaluation the following week. This always made him nervous and uptight. And it played deep in his unconscious.

The upcoming work performance evaluation was sending off alarm bells in Bob’s Amygdala affecting his mental health and of those around him. The Amygdala is the center for emotions, and emotional behavior. It is an alarm that will shout danger, danger, danger if safety is compromised! And it isresponsible for detecting fear and preparing for emergencies. It also detects unwelcome chaos in our lives. Bob’s brain was in fight, flight, freeze response. His body was communicating emotional danger. His symptoms were a full-fledged panic attack. Something about to affect him in the distant future was affecting him IN THE PRESENT. Bob was on a voyage and yet unable to nuance his emotions. If he had there would have been many coping skills at his disposable, to bring him to a calm place, and safety to those around him, and give his and their Amygdala a rest.

Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual distress, is a part of life. And if we are self-aware, and nuance our feelings correctly, we can be provided with a responsible answer to our safety concerns. Within the Christian faith there are many spiritual answers to distress. The Word of God encapsulates this from cover to cover. God is willing and able to walk with us when danger arrives. Psalm 20, verses 1 & 2 says; ‘May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.”

The Word of God promises coping strategies for emotional distress. The very best coping strategy is found in close personal relationship with God through Christ, and in his promises in the scripture. There is however our responsibility to act upon it. Incorporating key promises as truth into our emotional lives brings about calm reflection, leading to emotional safety. The old adage seems appropriate at this point;  “If its going to be its up to me,” holds true. James chapter 1(22-24) helps us to see the power of God at our personal disposal, and yet personal discipline to what we read and say we believe, is crucial.

“ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

When we feel our body emote, our emotions have alerted it to danger. God’s Word is our safe place.

“ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

When The Glass Is Jarred, Put On The Others Shoes

John drove up to the drive through and ordered his drink. In a hurry for an important meeting, he was eager to get it and go. At the window he was mistakenly given something he had not ordered. In a rush, a bit anxious, he responded, “Oh no problem. This must be for the person behind me. (smiling) I’ll wait for mine. You must be cold in this wintry weather with the window open.” He could however have responded this way, (loudly, and scowling) “How could this be? I clearly ordered another drink. Do you have a hearing problem? Now I will be late for work! Could I speak to your manager?” Fortunately when John’s inner emotional glass was jarred, he chose kindness. Imagine how the barista felt. John had put on the her shoes.

Imagine your inner emotional world as a glass filled with all the raw emotions of life; anger, fear, kindness, joy, love, disgust, surprise, trust to name a few. At the moment your emotional glass is jarred one of those emotions will spill out. It may be reactive and negative, or responsive and positive. Given the stimuli you faced, this will say a lot about you, and what controls your inner world at that moment. It also speaks to how you choose in the moment. No matter how much time we have between stimulus and response, a choice is made. We can choose to put on the others shoes, or not.

How we nuance all human situations, no matter the jarring of our emotions without exception, is key. What spills out after being jarred speaks to who we are. And stepping into the shoes of the other frames our response.
Consider humor. This is a wonderful way of provoking laughter and amusement. It can be found in a simple comic book, a comment, a joke, simple irony, a comedic routine. Humor helps to release healthy emotions which might be pent up, and frozen, relaxing us. However some of humor can be defined within the scope of passive aggressive behaviour, which puts something or someone down, or is insulting. Comedians are the best at this art form. Not all humor from comics is passive aggressive. Passive aggressive comments come in the form of sarcasm, rudeness, insults, shaming words, guilt. Individuals known for this characteristic, are kept at a safe distance. It is for the most part maladaptive behaviour. Some of the worst bullies use this form of humour. They insult the shoes the other wears.

How we relate and communicate to others, and inwardly to ourselves, can come from a source of adaptive or maladaptive functioning. Another way of looking at it could be emotional maturity vs childishness. It can come in how we nuance comments, relationships and life in general. Gossip is a form of maladaptive behaviour. It murders another’s reputation and integrity. Maladaptive behavior can also be very manipulative. It occasionally speaks through covert comments, or double entendre. Foul sarcastic humour also serves a maladaptive purpose. It keeps others at bay. Adaptive people are the ones we like being with. They live within a world bounded by great integrity. These are the people we want to be around, and desire to emulate.

In the Christian experience, relationships are key. This is the Jesus way. For example; Paul said, “In all humility, consider others better than yourselves.” Empathy is about taking your shoes off and “putting on the others shoes.” When we have an advance sense of how the other will feel, we will want to moderate our comments. This is because we will have worked out what it is like having put on the others shoes. And we want the wearing of their shoes to be an emotionally comfortable fit. So when the glass has been jarred we want the response to be something we would want for ourselves. An important adage is, “talk to the other as you speak to a deeply loved person.”
When Jesus’ emotional glass was jarred God spilled out. Jesus always put on the shoes of the one he was addressing. The Fruit of the Spirit can be our response. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control. Under this influence, and like Jesus God can spill out.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Euphoria. Do You Hear It?

“ Euphoria. Do You Hear It.”

Having entered the local drive through the other day, I made my order. The coffee was strong and yet satisfying, as was the warmed up oat bar. I had made a choice, an habitual one nonetheless. We face similar personal choices everyday. Some choices are automatic, intentional, reflexive, unconscious, instinctual, random, habitual, and easy. For example, buying that coffee, giving a smile, extending a handshake, paying bills, daily chores and routines, various disciplines, work responsibilities. Others are more nuanced and perhaps even at times very difficult dependent upon our mood coupled with will. For example; exercise, pushing away from the table, responding kindly to a comment instead of rudely with a reaction, or overcoming a habit. Then there is the execution of the acts of the Spirit; love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self Control. These last 9 can be hard at times.
Robert Schuller, an American Pastor once coined a phrase, “If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me.” This attitude, choice, can make decision making and life either debilitating or liberating. Active will verses inertia can equal despair. When one understands the outcome of personal choice it can be a liberating thought. You could argue, difficult choices are difficult because they are difficult. This is a reminiscent reframe of John Locke’s basic argument against miracles, “miracles don’t happen because miracles don’t happen.” But and again “difficult choices are difficult, because they are difficult. “ They are not impossible or necessarily improbable. They are just tough. But an argument could be made that in the execution of a positive difficult even moral choice, a liberation of sorts is the response. You did the right, difficult almost impossible thing, and as a result you feel exhilarated. That right thing may have been worked out in a process but nevertheless. A PHD does not appear in the National Library of Canada, suddenly.
Choices that are very difficult often are preceded by a strategy. This is the nuance. I want to overcome a desperate seemingly impossible addiction, and I don’t think I can do it. I want to exercise, initiate specific coping mechanisms to distract myself from an emotional trauma. Choice. Difficult. Process oriented. Will vs inertia. A necessity of disciplined will. I love the story of the little engine that could. A little engine was given a task. Shunt a loaded train to the top of a mountain. The thought was at first daunting, and seemingly impossible. But once connected to the train, the little engine began his task. Soon he/she began to recite a mantra, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” And she/he did. How do you spell euphoria? Can you hear it?
The strategy being, one step at a time, or better still one roll of his/her little trucks a revolution at a time, the goal getting to the top of a mountain, having pulled a long train. No runner sets out on a goal with the “I can’t do this” attitude. No mountain climber even for a second allows for a doubt that they will reach the ascent. The goal one step at a time. But the goal is divided into short small stages.
Many years ago I climbed Mt Kenya, 18,000 feet. The people who did not succeed, did not have the will to succeed in the beginning. Built into their narrative was, “I’ll try, I hope so.” You know where that led. And too when climbing a mountain you have to be ferociously willful. “I will do this.” Then at the peak, euphoria. Can you hear it?
All this to say this. A difficult choice begins with a determined strategy. A strategy that when broken down into small pieces, that is doable. When you look at the end goal you might walk away. But when your goal is one step at a time, the possibility becomes a plausibility. Once a difficult goal is achieved the next one is better understood for what it is. A marker has been set. “I can do this because I did this before.” A Client comes in with a problem. Imagine the courage, the despair. A strategy is worked out. An outcome reached. Euphoria. Can you hear it?
Spiritual integration into a set goal, a choice, is the best additive that helps confirm the intended outcome. A choice conceived, is received and becomes a reality in its full when God is the driving force. And the choice that aligns with his purposes for us has real traction. But knowing how to spiritually battle emotional inertia is key. Paul seems to have a solution in Ephesians 3:(20-21); “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
So to add onto Schuller’s phrase. “If it’s gonna be, its up to me to accept and harness God’s power as a source for a desired outcome.”
Euphoria. Do you hear it?
St Paul’s Outreach Counsellor

Listening and Muscle Memory

Listening and Muscle Memory

The ability to listen to, and remember what has been said in a conversation, are two qualities a successful clinician needs in their tool box in order to become a good therapist.
Both therapist and client have created a safe emotional bubble around themselves. Therapists do not multi-task in a session, they listen. In the therapeutic milieu the therapist listens for key words, self expression, observes for emotional content, including body language. Both tell him/her what is going on in the life of the client. Carl Rogers believed that “listening could transform people. “ An aspect of that transformation is that the one who has come to therapy may have no one else to talk to, or certainly no one else to share their deepest thoughts, and feelings with. This singularly explains the desperation of their situation. The listening ability, and non-judgment from the therapist frees the Client to go deeper. Suddenly they are pulled into a vortex of emotional expression. They are able to say things that they have never said before to anyone, and hearing themselves communicate these thoughts becomes a crucial part of the recovery process. Self-trust deepens too.
Listening is more than just looking at the individual communicating. The therapist is observing, communicating empathy, remembering what is said, and has been given the awesome privilege of being brought deeply into someone’s secret emotional space. This must not be taken for granted. It is a gift a client may give no one else.
In order to remember what the client is saying the, the therapist will restate, either word for word, or give a brief synopsis of what they heard. The client will be empowered through this process, and it adds integrity to the conversation. It is not only important in staying connected in the conversation, but it helps the clinician to develop muscle memory. Muscle memory is when we habitually remember how to do something as a result of repetition. We remember how to ride a bike, drive a car, use a computer, sail a boat. In each instance the muscle memory develops over time, and in time becomes second nature/old hat. For example, people who have not spoken a previously learned language in years, are often able to re-enter that process reasonably well, and because of muscle memory.
For the therapist, retaining what someone else has said while intensely listening, develops and grows as they listen. They develop listening skills muscle memory. It becomes second nature. Both have strongly converged, enabling a therapist to become more successful. And the Client is the beneficiary of this learned skill. Someone who is listened to, and who knows it, is on the road to emotional transformation.

At The End Of Your Rope? Find A Road!

I know its sounds a bit alarming, dramatic and perhaps a bit Hollywoodish, but some people with mental illness do reach a place, where they are no longer at the end of their rope, or at their wit’s end. In fact they end up and the end, with no rope. At the end of that rope and wit’s end, they often find two roads. One continues on to hopelessness and despair, and paved with no good intentions or happy ending. The other leads to help. Two very different paths.

But I have this visual. It is the visual of someone in deep agonizing pain with just barely the strength to feebly reach up with weak hand to grasp a strong steady hand reaching down. The one reaching down is the hand of God. We know who the other one is. This connection, two hands as one, signals new hope and help. It leads back to a path rarely taken. The importance of deep spirituality in discovering help for mental illness must not ever be underestimated.
For the one searching for, or already who believes in God, who is creator, sustainer and lover of our souls, there is always hope. His path for mental health, beginning with prayer, and under the guidance of a professional is the route leading away from the wits end.

Robert Frost in his poem “The Road Not Taken “ gives us a good illustration of the best path.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Assessment Verses Judgment

Assessment verses Judgement

The task of a Therapist is at the forefront, and through the process, to assess the Client. The assessment is based on the concern of the Client’s emotional state at any moment, even from session to session. The therapist begins with the emotions as he/she perceives them before moving forward in a session. The assessment is situational and observations, and based on conversations with Client and of his/her body language emotional state. The assessment helps the Therapist to not only come to terms with a diagnoses, but day to day care, at the moment.

A Therapist assesses but never judges. No matter what a Client tells a therapist, the response will never be one of cold judgment.The Therapist/Client moment is one of utmost safety. A Client must have the ability to feel that they can say anything in a session. Judgement in any form will put an end to the Client/Therapist process. The Client will shut down. Often a client comes to therapy because they have been judged.

The Therapist in his/her own life may have a completely opposite value system to that of the client. But the client will never know this because that is not the issue. The issue is always the client’s wellness. “Do No Harm” is the therapists first motive in therapy. Judging is harm. Inflicting one’s value system on another is harmful.Even whenasked a personal values based question a Therapist takes a neutral position. The Therapist is not the one on the couch. “ The Therapist At Large. “ 902 471 7919. I do Skype, and I care.

Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

The other day my son and I were going through the drive-through at a local Coffee Shop in the city to collect our drinks and a snack. When we arrived at the window to receive our order, the nice lady said, “ the man in the car in front of you, paid for you.” I must admit I was stunned at first. I had heard about this before, and yet this was the first time I was a recipient of what we in this neck of the north woods call, “Pay It Forward.” It was a wonderful gesture, and it made us feel very good. Touched in fact. Now I want to do the same thing for another. Hope they don’t ask for the lobster bisque.:)

“Pay It Forward.”

Genograms show us the history our family tree, our ancestral line. They allow us to know personal information about our ancestors. Upon first glance we might not be that happy at the lives lived by some of our previous ancestors. As we look carefully at them, we might discover the issues people faced before us, we might be shocked, even bewildered. We might find criminal behavior, a chronic addiction, a life-style that is in conflict with our own, serious diseases, suicide, various mental health issues. And we may see a repeat of things that are going on in the present in our family tree.

If we have Mental Health issues, and take action, our Genograms can show a positive way forward and more importantly for the future of our children and their children. Our children and their offspring can become the beneficiaries our own mental wellness. This means that we have paid It forward. A new life-giving Genogram path is being set. What a great gift for our, and their (children) future loved ones! 902 471 7919. “The Therapist At Large.” I do Skype. And I care!