For years I’ve wanted to share this tool with a wider audience. In its original form, it was a paper and pencil homework tool I called “The OuchKit.” I designed it for couples in my therapy practice who kept asking me to come home with them so they could have the kind of conversations on their own that they were having when I was there.
And now, with the advent and convenience of the iPhone and iPad, anyone interested in deepening their relationships can use Express Yourself ECards to understand themselves better, and express their feelings more effectively to get a more positive response. And the best part, is that you don’t need a therapist in the room to help you do it. For 99 cents, you can do it all by yourself. And it can change your life.
Please let me know how you like using it, and feel free to send me your Express Yourself ECards stories, good or bad.
Flip-flopping may be driving you (and probably everyone around you) batty, but there’s no formal diagnosis for this disorder. It’s a habit, and like most habits, it can be broken.
The first thing to figure out is what’s causing you to flip-flop. Continue reading “Is indecision a mental illness?”
It’s one thing for someone to pick a fight. Fights are never fun, but at least you get to participate. It’s another to be shut out completely, as if you don’t exist. Continue reading “Tricky Tuesday- The Silent Treatment”
People get depressed for many reasons, but weakness of character isn’t one of them. It’s true, of course, that depressed people have “stinkin’ thinkin.'” But stinkin’ thinkin’ isn’t the cause of their depression. Continue reading “For anyone who is depressed (and for those who love them)”
Everybody is an expert when it comes to anxiety, especially people who don’t have it.
“What do you mean, the lights at Target are ‘too loud’? You do realize that’s impossible, right?” Continue reading ““I am not choosing to be anxious!””
Because your apologies suck.
“You’re kidding, right?”
Nope. And you’re in good company. In over 30 years as a marriage counselor, I’ve only heard a handful of effective apologies. If apologizing 100 times hasn’t worked, you’re definitely missing something. Continue reading “Why she keeps bringing up the past after you’ve apologized 100 times”
Summer is the time for weddings, and with weddings come those noisy, obnoxious, former roommates your fiancé can’t seem to get enough of. How do you tell your soon-to-be husband that as much as you love him… Continue reading “The obnoxious wedding guest”
Here’s a question for you that might help. Why are you seeing a therapist if you don’t have anything to talk about?
There are no tricks that will help, but if you’re seeing a therapist, I’m assuming it’s because you’re struggling with some kind of challenge or conflict. It could be, that verbalizing that conflict is a problem in itself.
Therapy is supposed to help you, not entertain, support, or hold the interest of your therapist.
Also, keep in mind that while therapy may produce insight, insight alone doesn’t produce change.Only taking action produces change.
Here are some questions that might get you moving in the right direction. Just remember that your therapy is supposed to help you, not entertain or hold the interest of your therapist. And that insight isn’t change, so even if you get great “Ahas!” what gets people to change is action, not insight.
On to the questions:
• What feels familiar about the challenge you’re dealing with?
• Is there a familiar role you’ve been playing that keeps you stuck or lands you in the same place you’ve been trying to avoid
• In whose company have you felt the most alive, the most accepted, respected, at ease? (There might be different people in each category.)
• When you are in this person’s or people’s company, what is it that they say or do that elicits those feelings in you? For example, I laugh the most—which feels GREAT—with my cousin, Sharon. She thinks I’m hysterical and the more she laughs, the funnier I think I become. But it only happens when we’re on the phone. In person, we don’t laugh as much because she smokes cigarettes and is always antsy to have one, so I don’t think either of us is as relaxed in person as we are when she can smoke while we talk.
• What regrets do you have and what are some concrete steps you might take to forgive yourself, heal an old wound, or try a do-over that will erase your regret?
• Who are the people in whose presence you feel small, unsafe, dull, less-than, or unsure of yourself?
• What is it that each person on that list does that makes you feel this way, and why do you keep going back for more?
• What do you wish you could tell someone from a safe distance about how you really feel? (By the way, if you’re interested in doing this, I’ve created an iPhone app called Express Yourself ECards you can download for free at the App Store. It has a “Can I Be Honest?” ECard you can fill out and send via email. It will help you find the right words to express yourself, without getting blasted for it.)
• What are you spending money on, and what does your spending reveal about your values? For example, are you spending money to fill a void? Create art? Help others? As a substitute for meaningful activities?
All of these questions can be jumping off points for discussions that are likely to lead you to insights. With those insights, you’ll be able to see concrete steps you might need to take to move forward in your life.
I hope this list was helpful. If not, and you still can’t think of anything to talk about, you might be better off spending your time and money doing something that brings you closer to living a more balanced and meaningful life.
All the best, Betsy
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