One way to frame trauma is the absolute interruption of all my patterns. In a trauma I am unable to continue performing life the way I’m used to doing it.
We tend to think of this as robbing us of the good things. We seldom think of it as interrupting our negative patterns too. The behaviors and habits that hold us back and keep us stuck… they get interrupted by trauma also.
And when they are interrupted, temporarily broken, that’s the best opportunity to change them! Trauma is not just a tragedy, it is also an opportunity. The opportunity to make a shift without all the baggage that our usual habits create.
We are going to resettle in the aftermath, why not resettle in a new, more positive growth oriented way?
We are taught extensively how bad some situations are: we call them traumatic moments, suffering catastrophic loss (fires, floods, death of a loved one), failing our dreams, losing a job. Getting rejected by my lover is one of the list toppers. We’ve even identified positive stressors, like moving into a new home or getting married.
We’re exceedingly well versed in problems. Why not consider some benefits?
For some reason today’s society seems more prone to finding the downside of joyous events than exploring the upside of difficulties. Well… you can begin changing that right now!
Here is my interview on NPR. Their series on Total Failure was interested in my having authored the worst video game in history! 🙂
NPR Interview on All Things Considered, May 31, 2017
Here is a discussion of some preconceptions and misperceptions of programmers:
Decoding the Computer Programmer Stereotype
This is my first article for LinkedIn on new perspectives for life in Silicon Valley:
As A Therapist In Silicon Valley I Believe Our Diversity Is An Illusion
Therapy is a blind item. It’s hard to tell what you’ll get until you try it. Also, therapy is different with each therapist. For any person there may be lots of therapists who can help, but each of these therapists may help you in a different way.
How do I choose?
Research shows the most important factor is whether you believe this therapist will help you. In other words, you need to get to know the therapist. In sessions, this can be a very expensive shopping trip!
Is there a better way? In my case, yes there is…
You can get a very good sense of who I am by watching the documentary film “ATARI: Game Over” on Netflix. Read this blog. You will get a pretty good window into who I am and how I approach things. You will likely have a gut reaction to this material as most people do.
Listen to your gut!
If you feel good about what you see you will probably feel good about working with me. If you don’t, then I urge you to go ahead and look elsewhere.
You know best. Trust yourself on this level.
Getting to know a therapist is a crucial part of your treatment. It’s just as important as them getting to know you. Do your best to find the right one and then go get better!
A person leaves point A, travels a bit and winds up at point B. That’s what we see. But if we look a little deeper, this journey represents two very different trips.
In the first, the person is hanging out in A, suddenly sees B and says “WOW! That’s the place for me! I’m heading for B immediately.”
In the second, the person is hanging out in A thinking, “WOW! This sucks! I’m out of here. Oh, there’s B. That’s as good as anyplace. I’m heading for B immediately.”
One is about seeking a destination. The other is about exiting a problem.
Am I pursuing pleasure or avoiding pain? The classic question… but not always obvious.
We go from A to B all the time, but are we aware of what we’re doing?
Am I working toward a desired goal or running from an undesirable situation?
Do I know if I’m coming or going?
My travels have taught me this: It’s not as important to know my route as it is to understand which trip I’m taking.
“You can be kind with the truth or blunt with the facts.” -Ruth A. Auten, LMFT
Here’s the great thing about the truth: Everybody’s got one.
I don’t put much effort into convincing people about some objective truth. They are more inclined to hear their own truth than one I might offer. My thing is to speak to people in terms of their own truth. What I do is listen to their truth and then share it back to them in such a way that it sounds fresh.
I can do this in a couple of ways. I can hit you with it like a pie in the face! But that’s more suited to comedy than therapy. I prefer to deliver your truth like an alarm clock. If I share something you know is true, it will get your attention. And if it’s a new take on a long standing truth, it just might wake you up! It might create a fresh outlook on some long standing issues. This can lead to a new path, a new goal or a new understanding of yourself. Now you are primed to make some real progress!
When a client comes into my office, this is how I approach the work:
Let’s have the conversation that changes your life.
“What do you do?” is a question I hear from time to time. What is the job of the psychotherapist? It’s a reasonable question. Here’s one way I see it:
When someone feels stuck, I create opportunities for change. I do this by opening their perspective. Usually when people are stuck it’s because they don’t see any other way to go. When they become aware of more possibilities they are no longer stuck. Now they have a choice. They may choose to stay where they are. But that’s no longer stuck, that’s becomes their conscious choice.
Sometimes after I have helped a client see more of the paths open to them, they ask me which one they should take. They want me to tell them which way to go.
I won’t do this. It’s not my job to make the choice for them. It is my job to help them see more of the alternatives available to them. When their perspective is less limited and more possibilities are open to them, my job is done.
Now their job begins.
They must assume responsibility for deciding which is their best path for now.
It’s my job to expand their map. It’s their job to choose the road! When we both do our jobs well, the result is greater satisfaction.