Wholeness

I recently had a conversation about wholeness of self. It lead to a discussion on what it means to be a whole person before entering into a relationship with a potential partner. I have some thoughts on this.

 So many of us enter into relationships looking for the "you complete me" sentiment ( thanks to Jerry Macguire). That was cute in the movie and yes, our hearts melted, but the reality is,  looking for someone to "complete" you is a train wreck waiting to happen.

This will be a harsh reality check for some.

The sentiment of that concept is not lost however. It's romantic and dreamy ….AND we need to be whole beings BEFORE the relationship.  Becoming a whole person for yourself allows you to then accept another into your life that will be a COMPLIMENT to you. Not to complete you.

So let's break this down .

What's best about you?

What are your values?

In examining  your life, what areas need attention? (Friendships, occupation, financial situation, home life, hobbies/passions, spirituality, contribution to the world, emotional life, family etc). If you examine your life, would you say that you are living fully in these areas? Most people would probably say no. So this is where you start. Look at what's lacking, what could be improved and what will bring you fulfillment in these areas. This is not to say you have to have "it all together",  as we are always growing, shifting and expanding; the idea here is to invest in yourself by giving attention to these areas rather than looking for your mate to make up for what's lacking in you. Only then can you (or should you) join with another (hopefully another whole person!) and create a life together with what you BOTH have to bring to the table!

If I was going to be in a relationship with someone,  they should be able to answer the questions "what are your values"? what is your vision for your life? what are your beliefs?

Other questions to ponder :

What do you have to give another person?

What would make someone spot you and say "that person is for me?"

The point here is, you need to become sure of the jewel you are, otherwise no one else will.

Let's get in the habit of thinking  to ourselves "What a wonderful person I am  - what a wonderful partner someone would have if they met me."

Now let's get to work!

Posted on April 6, 2019 and filed under recovery, life.

Eating Disorders and Self Injury

Eating disorders and Self Injury are serious health conditions that are often symptoms of a larger mental health condition. There are a variety of reasons people self harm and a variety of reasons disordered eating has become a part of a person's life. No one starts out intentionally believing that either of these behaviors will ever become more than they can handle...and ultimately it does. It can be a very isolating and shameful experience to struggle with cutting, binge eating, purging, restricting etc, and can be very difficult to admit or even realize that you may need support. As a therapist, my role is to help and support you in identifying other ways to manage your feelings and emotions and ultimately, choose options that align more with the life you want to live.  If you or a loved one have questions about disordered eating or self injury...click here for more information or contact me for free consultation.

Posted on March 3, 2019 .

Clinical Supervision towards licensure

Having relevant, timely, ethical and clinically sound supervision for your work is essential in becoming a new professional in mental health. Clinical supervision is the significant pedagogy to your educational journey. Contact me today to discuss your supervision needs. 845-288-0294. www.latashasmithlcsw.com

Supervision that is Realational, relevant, authentic and focused on the most important aspects of your work.

The Process of Becoming

The truth is, we are an ever evolving people.  We are always on the path to becoming the best version of ourselves. Don't run from the call. Your assignment is to tend to the places, otherwise ignored or covered up and be curious about what there is to discover.

Change is not linear. It is a fluid process, not a one time event. An opportunity to lean in and relax amongst the chaos....be kind to yourself during the process.

Posted on August 6, 2016 and filed under trauma, life, recovery.

Attention Therapists: We MUST talk about the hard things......now, more than ever before....

As a therapists and change agents we get to work with clients daily and witness their stories and transformations. We are equipped to address hard issues, be it depression, addiction, or even trauma with our clients and witness the hard steps taken towards change.  However discussion about issues that impede a person's wholeness and sense of well being are not always about presenting conditions found in the DSM-V. It is equally as important to discuss issues of identity and the reality that our society and the populations we serve still experience disparity in issues related to race, class, gender, power and privilege.  Even still,  these conversations. Trust me..I understand! Below are some considerations I have found useful when starting these conversation in therapy. I would love to hear your thoughts and related experiences. Please share your comments.

8 suggestions for therapists on how to openly discuss race, power, privilege and social class issues in therapy:

1.       Be open minded and curious. Ditch preconceived ideas and beliefs about a person’s race, culture and ethnicity. Make no assumptions about a person’s experience based on their identity.

2.       Consider how racial/ethnic differences between client and therapist might affect the therapy. Discuss openly about race differences (between therapist and client) at the start of treatment. This invites dialogue and communicates an openness, making it clear that the therapist is available for these conversations.

3.       Don’t be discouraged if the client is not interested in discussing these issues right away, if even at all. The impact of making the discussion available is significant in building rapport, demonstrating willingness and establishing trust.

4.       Acknowledge that power, privilege and racism may affect interactions between you and your client. You both may have feelings that get stirred based on your individual experiences. Be aware that conversations about race, power and privilege can be difficult.  Particularly when the therapist is a member of the group benefiting from power discrepancies.

5.        Don’t be surprised by resistance or strong feelings from your client (or you as the therapist). These are delicate and sometimes painful subjects to broach. However in doing so, as mental health professionals, this demonstrates vulnerability and a willingness towards learning; as we are all (hopefully) striving for multicultural humility in our work and interactions.  

6.       If you are wondering whether the discussion is necessary or appropriate; err on the side of Yes! Be willing to take risks with your clients.

7.       Therapists should be self-aware enough to examine any personal reactions or barriers to having such discussions. Seek supervision often around these issues and approach any personal feelings with curiosity.

8.       Be aware that historically, psychotherapy has been a service accessible to mostly those of privileged backgrounds. Although this is changing, many cultures do not view psychotherapy as a viable option. Whether this has to do with limited resources or cultural considerations, therapists should be able to have those discussions with clients.

 

Posted on July 1, 2016 and filed under wellness, therapy.

Vulnerability..

This term continues to come up for me and resonate in my life in new ways.  For me being vulnerable means "showing up" in all your glory...the good/bad/and all else...

This doesn't mean doing so without fear but rather doing so in spite of fear. Showing up in your life completely, ready to participate in the fullness of what is presented to you day by day is my definition of vulnerability. What does it mean to you?

Posted on July 1, 2015 and filed under trauma, recovery, life, therapy.

I Wish You Enough.....

Today we have a new opportunity to reflect on goals, dreams, mistakes made and lessons learned and to reevaluate course and direction. Today in particular I am most aware of the world we live in, the society in which we co-exist with another and the many opportune moments for connection. I am reminded of how precious time is and how every moment counts. With all of the attempts of the world to gather more things, aim higher, strive for greater; my wish on this day is just for enough. I wish enough for myself of the things that really matter ……and I wish you enough.

Posted on June 1, 2015 and filed under recovery, wellness, trauma, life.

The whispers....

Lessons come to us in all forms. Over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed my lessons have been coming from all different directions. What I’ve realized is that they have always been there….the “whispers” of life. What happens when we don’t stop and listen to the whisper? Well…the whisper continues and becomes bigger and greater until you do. Life is a classroom and it is up to you to learn the lessons and make necessary changes. Change is unsettling and a little topsy -turvy but what I do know is that change will occur whether you are ready or not. You can ride out the storm or fight against the tide, either way…you will be tossed. 
A recent quote I have fallen in love with says “All movement brings risk of injury. Real transformation is not easy or painless.”


So my friends, with that in mind..how will you slow down to listen to the whisper and pay attention to the lessons?

Posted on May 28, 2015 and filed under recovery, trauma, life, therapy.

Change

Change and transition is part of the cycle of life. When we resist change, we invite suffering. When we embrace change, lean into the discomfort and allow ourselves to be stretched, then and only then will we grow beyond our comfort zone.

What will you do the next time change comes? resist or lean in?

Posted on March 18, 2015 and filed under life, recovery, therapy, trauma.

You Can ALWAYS Begin Again...


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Ground zero. Starting from where you are......

Its June! We are mid-year already! Soon we'll be raking leaves and shoveling snow (ok...I tend to think a bit far into the future:). It is true that we are at the halfway point of the year. For some, this is a time to enjoy, kick back and relax. For others, its a time to reflect on "New Years resolutions" or goals set and measure progress. However you choose to spend this month, it does represent renewal, new beginnings and time passing.....

In thinking about this, I realize most people have a tendency to look at things through the black/white lens, all or nothing, glass half empty type thinking. What if we looked at the glass as half full and every day, every moment, as a new opportunity to "begin again?"  This concept of beginning again may suggest starting over, but looking closer....it is really about just that...beginning again. My interpretation of that is "starting from where you are..." Dont throw away progress made towards the goal. All isnt lost. The glass is half full and there is room for shades of gray. Starting from where you are, means forgetting yesterday and what did or did not happen. Forgetting this morning's wickedly hectic crazy commute which caused you to be late for an important work meeting and....starting from where you are. In this, no matter what has happened, or not, before this present moment, it doesnt matter, because you can simple start from here....

Posted on February 1, 2015 and filed under trauma, therapy, recovery, life.