, Psy.D., LP

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Speaking at the Edge of Comfort

The Edge of Comfort

Last week, I got an full immersion experience into what it means to work at the edge of my comfort zone and expand into my yesses. When I was invited to be a guest on Marianne Combs’ show on Minnesota Public Radio along with Resmaa Menakem to talk about anger in the public sphere, I responded with an enthusiastic yes. And then terror set it.  What exactly had I […]

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Empathy Hands

Empathy or Not? A Deeper Look

I was recently re-organizing some handouts that I often use for workshops, and came across this one on the difference between empathic and non-empathic responses. Reading it again, I was surprised to find myself arguing with my own handout, and realized that I wanted to talk about how taking an Integral Communication approach has become increasingly important […]

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Embrace Negativity

Why Being “Positive” Might Be Bad For You

Have you noticed the cultural pressure to “Be Positive” or “Be Strong” or “Focus on the Good”? It’s as if we think that acknowledging or empathizing with painful experiences inadvertently creates more of them. I hear it all the time. “I would never do therapy,” someone said to me disdainfully, “All that focus on bad feelings and old stories will […]

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Powerful Requests Glasses

5 Steps to More Powerful Requests

Whenever I ask for something relational that I’m needing (comfort, affection, to be heard or seen) I feel super vulnerable. This isn’t easy. I worry about: 1. Being turned down 2. Feeling disappointed, and 3. Then judging myself for being too needy, demanding, pushy or selfish. I also sometimes wish people would just read my mind: isn’t it obvious that I […]

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Include More Parts Expand

Including More Parts. (Getting Bigger)

We lived in Germany when I was in elementary school and each year for the holidays we would visit extended family “back home” in South Africa. I’d always be just a little more grown up. Hugging and welcoming us, family would turn to me saying with glowing, love and pride, saying: “Oh my, look how big you’ve gotten! […]

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Being Brave Personal Journey

Being Brave on Our Personal Journeys

When I get triggered by something, I often find myself reacting defensively by blaming, judging and avoiding the person or conversation. I get all reactive and evasive. When my instincts are to fight, or flee or freeze up, it can be hard to stay relational, relaxed and engaged. But, it’s not impossible. Working courageously with my fears […]

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Focus on the Positive

Red Pen or Yellow Highlighter?

While grading papers for a graduate class I’m teaching at St. Mary’s University recently, I realized my approaching to “grading” has fundamentally transformed since I began teaching in the mid-1990’s. It’s become much more gentle. I used to read with an eye for errors; an eye for improvements needed. I’d mark up all the things […]

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