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    Carl Rogers and Gloria Videos

    Thursday, March 19, 2009, 9:32 PM [General]

    In this film from the 1960's, Carl Rogers gives a brilliant illustration of non-directive/client-centered therapy.

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    Monday, December 15, 2008, 12:45 AM [General]

    Boundaries are very important when dealing with any relationship, and they are especially important in intimate and formerly intimate relationships. Whether it is an ex, a stbx, a partner with whom you are trying to reconcile, or a new relationship after the divorce, learning about one's boundaries can lead to a more satisfying way of being with others, as well as helping to become more comfortable in our own skin.

    A boundary is simply the places between what is "me" and what is "not-me," much like the membrane of a cell or one's skin. Boundaries help keep others from doing or saying things that are not acceptable. They also help keep us fro doing or saying things that are unacceptable to others. Becoming more aware of one's own boundaries generally leads to becoming more respectful of others' as well. Thus, boundaries help us become clear about who we are.

    Boundaries can be categorized as "external" and "internal."

    Our external boundary delimits the physical proximity we allow others - their distance, whether they can touch us, etc. A healthy external boundary is firm but flexible. It may be perfectly okay if a friend touches us on the arm or even gives us a friendly hug; it is probably not okay for a stranger to do so. It is generally okay to be touched sexually by an intimate partner, but not by a friend. Even with our partner an external boundary is important- it just tends to be much closer in. So even with a partner, an external boundary allows you to decide if and when it is okay to be sexual. With a healthy external boundary, I am clear about when another person is violating it and can take steps to ensure my own integrity.

    Our internal boundaries protect our thoughts, feelings, and actions. They also serve to moderate how we communicate and act towards others. A healthy internal boundary maintains a clear distinction between another person's thoughts and feelings and my thoughts and feelings. It helps me be clear about what is true and not true when I hear criticism or anger from another, and to not allow in anything that is not true or real for me. It helps be clear when unacceptable words are being said, so that steps can be taken to ensure that thoughts and feelings are expressed respectfully.

    Some have nonexistent boundaries and so are unclear about what is "me" and "not-me." Unacceptable words and actions are allowed by others without standing up for oneself, in large part because the violation is not even recognized. And others' boundaries may also not be recognized, so that their behavior is abusive towards others.

    Some have walls instead of boundaries. A wall keeps everything out and thereby keeps you safe, but does not allow anyone else to be lose enough to share one's genuine self with.

    A healthy boundary is firm and flexible. It allows me to be me, to have my own thoughts and feelings, and to also share what I chose to with another. It also allows me to accept another as a distinct separate person with their own thoughts and feelings. It allows me to be clear about when my boundary has been crossed, and keeps me from crossing others. Thus healthy boundaries are the key to true intimacy.

    As imperfect humans (or "perfectly imperfect" as Pia Mellody puts it), most peoples' boundaries are a mixture of the three. In some areas or with some people there are healthy boundaries, but in others (or with others) there are either nonexistent boundaries or walls.

    A boundary violation is when another person oversteps my boundary - or when I overstep theirs. Learning another's boundaries is a process, and it is inevitable that there be minor boundary violations as you get to know a person and they you. Being clear about one's boundaries helps the process when you communicate about any violations that are being done. Also being aware of one's own boundaries helps when learning to respect the other person's boundaries as well. The ideal time to speak up is the very first time your boundary has been crossed. Not speaking up sends a message to the other person that what they are doing is okay. Over time, resentment will build until it comes out with anger, recriminations, and blame. However, often the other person had absolutely no idea that what they were doing was crossing your boundary.

    Chronic and ongoing violation of one's boundaries is abusive behavior. If there is a desire to heal the relationship, then it is effective to have some kind of negotiation to resolve the problem. If no such solution can be found, or if there is no desire to find one, then there may be no other choice but to end the relationship.

    The actual act of asserting one's boundary when it has been crossed when you are not used to doing so can be a tricky matter. The first step is to recognize what boundaries are in oneself.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
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    A Holding Space Creates Change

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007, 12:28 AM [General]

    What I have observed is the environment and circumstances that best promote healthy change is a safe space held by others and filled with unconditional positive regard.  All thoughts of judgment are banished, and the one held is freed to express whatever thoughts or feelings arise.  In this way the person discovers their own answers within, which is really the only place they can be found.  Attempts by others to impose solutions or change, however well-intended, are generally counter-productive and are resisted, even if they are the "best" thing to do for the person.  Indeed, confronting someone or telling them what to do likely delays the time when they can re-discover the answers within and embrace them.

    We can help create that space in others by first viewing ourselves with unconditional positive regard.  We cannot give what we don't have, and unless we are okay with ourselves, we cannot be okay with another as fully as we are capable.  Second is to extend the regard to others through validation or simply allowing them to be - accepting unconditionally whatever comes up without judgment or criticism.
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    Inner Critic II

    Thursday, November 1, 2007, 12:06 AM [General]

    The inner critic knows everything you know, including your deepest, most shameful secrets.  The inner critic is just as smart as you are, and is cabable of winning every "argument."  The inner critic cannot be convinced of your unconditional God-given worthiness.

    Affirmations can help - temporarily.  They can also be appropirated by the inner critic as conditional assessments of our worth.  If I can be judged as "good" by my inner critic, and I accept that, then it is also true that I can be judged "bad" as well.

    All judgments of others come from our own internal judgments of ourselves.  If we can accept ourselves as we are without judgment, then we can also extend that to others.  If we judge ourselves harshly, then we will also judge others harshly.

    So what can break the stranglehold it has on us?  Unconditional positive regard for oneself - and for others.  This seems to require God's help.

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    The Inner Critic/Bully

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007, 10:33 AM [General]

    Okay, I am able to (finally) write a new journal entry in Firefox - yay!

    A post on the marriage board reminded me of the importance of working on the inner critic (she called it the "inner bully", which is quite appropriate!)  Pretty much all emotional pain comes from this entity inside us.  It tells us how bad we are, how we are not worthy or lovable, and bullies us into staying small.  It knows all our secrets, all the shameful things we have ever done, and holds them over us.  When we interact with others and feel emotionally hurt, it is our inner critic who is making us feel bad, not the other person - the most they can do is stimulate our inner critic to start beating up on us.  The inner critic keeps us from being open to love - whether the love of another person or God's love.

    It is possible to confront the inner critic and love ourselves more unconditionally, as God loves us.
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    Electric Violin of My Dreams...

    Monday, October 29, 2007, 8:11 PM [General]

    A few weeks ago I jammed with a local blues band, and it was a completely awesome experience! One frustration was that I had to use the microphone, and even then it was drowned out by the other instruments. So.....I have decided to save up for an electric violin, and have pretty much chosen the one I want....kind pricey, but it is evidently the only one that has MIDI capability.  Evidently each string has its own channel, so each one can be synthesized to sound completely different.

    The price tag means that I will have to if you hear the "patience prayer" being said over & over you know who's responsible!

    But doesn't it look awesome! A music store in Santa Cruz appears to have them, so maybe next weekend I'll take a ride up to try it out.

    Imagine a violin blasting at ya! ;)
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    Monday, October 22, 2007, 1:17 AM [General]

    Today at the 10:00 mass for prep we played Marty Haugen's setting of Psalm 141 arranged for choir, piano, and two violins.  It's a gorgeous cannon in an absurd key (E-flat minor) and was such a musical high I am only now coming down! Playing it was like riding rolling ocean waves, cresting and falling, always in motion.  The refrain was "Let my prayer rise up like incense before you..."  I still feel it reverberating in me

    At the 12:00 mass we played a stripped-down version with just the cantor, piano, and violin.  The third time through I had to switch to the female choir part to do the round, and missed the entrance on the refrain the first two times.  I got it on the third time, and I'm sure nobody knew I was supposed to play but didn't.
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    Journel Editing Woes :(

    Monday, October 22, 2007, 1:17 AM [General]

    I have been unable to create or edit journal entries in Firefox, but have found a workaround (that is butt-ugly). I keep getting an ad graphic in the text area and then an error message that says "Hardcore content editable is not supported by your browser." I didn't know Beliefnet had any hardcore on it....;) First I create the entry using Opera - which does not support the WYSIWYG editor. Then for some reason I am able to edit the created entry in Firefox using the fancy editor. Weird.
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    Saturday, October 20, 2007, 3:03 PM [General]

    Today I am feeling so clear about things!  Although I may not be able to express my inner state adequately or eloquently, in my mind I feel a peace and clarity of understanding that is rare.  I feel I can hold both myself and everyone else I encounter in a holy light no matter what happens.

    I am so grateful for this day and this moment!
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    Friday, October 19, 2007, 10:08 AM [General]

    Today I am struggling to complete some tasks that I have been avoiding.  These are unpleasant to do, but the outcome is very much needed and it is crucial that I get them done.  Today.

    I find that I am an expert at finding distractions and things that divert me away from onerous things that must be done.  I also get into a vicious cycle with the "inner critic" over this issue.  So in addition to having to put energy into gearing up to get them done, I have to fight my superego that is beating me up over it.
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