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Are you having challenges forgiving someone in your life?  Have you tried and it just keeps coming back? We all have someone in our life that has hurt us and we have trouble letting it go.  My first husband years ago left me for another woman and I was six months pregnant.  He walked out for good and did not want to take responsibility for being a father.  I was left alone to raise my son.  I had help from my very supportive family, but I was so bitter and angry for 2 years, that I had trouble moving on with my life. I realized over time that He could care less about me and what I was going through.  I wanted him to feel the pain that he had caused me and I wanted him to suffer.  Through reading and therapy, I realized that I was developing a victim mentality and not taking responsibly for my life.  I was giving all my power away to him, somehow thinking I was making him pay for what he did, but in reality I was the one reliving the pain everyday. I heard recently that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and then expecting them to die.  Forgiving means accepting the pain that the person has caused us, letting go of bitterness and anger and moving on.  It is like getting hit by a car and getting a broken leg.  We can blame the driver all we want, but we are responsible for accepting the situation, knowing that life is not fair, and then making the best of it.  Through the pain of life not always being fair, we grow and mature. Never let the reason for difficulty be an excuse for helplessness. Forgiving is not easy and it is an act of the will.  We have to choose to forgive and accept the pain the other person has caused us.  We cannot forget, but we can choose to forgive and move on with our lives and learn from the experience. For every tragedy in our lives, there is a window of opportunity. I would not want to go through the pain, I went through, when my first husband left, again, but looking back, I would not change the experience for anything.  I learned so much about myself through the process of taking responsibility for my life and realizing that pain can be good, because we develop the tools we need to grow and manage life better.  I am much more confident and I know that I can survive enormous amount of pain and survive.  I have chosen to be...

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Cognitive distortions are things that we believe as truth, but they are not reality.  If we live our life based on our cognitive distortions, it will hinder us from living a productive, healthy life.  That is why it is important to be aware of cognitive distortions, so we can check our thinking and work on changing those false beliefs about ourselves and the world we live in. There are basically 15 cognitive distortions that have been named by David Burns, MD who works at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  He is a psychiatrist and has written many books.  My favorites are “Feeling Good”, and “When Panic Attacks”. These are 15 Cognitive Distortions: 1. Filtering. We take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. 2. Polarized Thinking (or “Black and White” Thinking). In polarized thinking, things are either “black-or-white.” We have to be perfect or we’re a failure. 3. Overgeneralization.In this cognitive distortion, we come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence. 4. Jumping to Conclusions. Without individuals saying so, we know what they are feeling and why they act the way they do. 5. Catastrophizing. We expect disaster to strike, no matter what. This is also referred to as “magnifying or minimizing. 6. Personalization. Personalization is a distortion where a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct, personal reaction to the person. We also compare ourselves to others trying to determine who is smarter, better looking, etc. 7. Control Fallacies. If we feel externally controlled, we see ourselves as helpless a victim of fate. For example, “I can’t help it if the quality of the work is poor, my boss demanded I work overtime on it.” The fallacy of internal control has us assuming responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us. For example, “Why aren’t you happy? Is it because of something I did?” 8. Fallacy of Fairness. We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair, but other people won’t agree with us. As our parents tell us when we’re growing up and something doesn’t go our way, “Life isn’t always fair.” 9. Blaming. We hold other people responsible for our pain, or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem. 10. Shoulds. We have a list of ironclad rules about how others and we should behave. People who break the rules make us angry, and we feel guilty when we violate these rules. 11. Emotional Reasoning. We believe that what we feel must be true automatically. If we feel stupid and...

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Create Shared Meaning Through Rituals


Posted By on Apr 23, 2017

John and Julie Gottman, through their working with couples for over 40 years, have found that couples who have shared rituals have stronger relationships. Planning fun events together as a couple creates shared meaning.  Intentionally looking for things that you both enjoy and then following through with planning and doing them helps focus on the positive and creates the opportunity to connect. One of the rituals that my husband and I do, after work, is set in our spa and share about our day.  We feel relaxed when we get out and then enjoy dinner together.  It helps set the stage for a nice evening. Another ritual we have is going to a small little town in Northern California for our anniversary almost every year.  We take our bikes and enjoy the weekend eating out and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Those are just two of our rituals for connection. What rituals of connection do you share with your spouse and family?  If you do not have any, then talk about rituals you can create to look forward to and connect.  If you are a young family, decide what rituals you want to create that are unique for just your family.  Do you have traditions around the holidays that you want to pass on to your children and what knew ones do you want to incorporate with the old. Looking forward to a planned event keeps your relationship moving forward in a positive direction.  Plan vacations together or just spending an evening together with friends or alone is important in keeping the vitality of your relationship healthy.  Be creative in thinking about different fun things you can do together.  Geocaching is a great way to get outside and enjoy the nice weather, you can download the app and learn how to play, if you haven’t already. For more ideas on how to create rituals in your relationship go to Gottman Institute and check out their web site.  They have great tools to help connect as a couple or as a family. Enjoy. Vickie Parker, MFT vickiemft.com...

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Updates on My Practice

Updates on My Practice


Posted By on Apr 9, 2017

Greetings: I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my clients that I have had the privilege to counsel for the last 8 years.  You have enriched my life with your unique stories and you have let me in to very private and personal parts of your lives.  I also want to thank you for trusting me with referring me to your friends and colleagues. I appreciate your confidence in my abilities to counsel. October of 2015, I took level 1 training in Gottman Couple’s Therapy in San Francisco.  I was very impressed with their 30 years of research, evidence based therapy.  They are well known all over the world for their work with couples. In October of 2016, I attended another one of their trainings in Seattle for affairs and PTSD related to affairs.  A lot of my couples that I counsel, unfortunately, deal with that pain. I was able to learn some interventions that help rebuild trust and restore the relationship in 3 steps; 1) Attonement, 2) Attunement, and 3) Attachment. In January of this year, I attended level 2 training and again learned some interventions for therapy.  One of the tools that John and Julie Gottman use for couples, is an assessment of their relationship. The couple takes the assessment, separately, online and the results are sent to me. It shows the strong and weak areas in different levels of their relationship. They call it “The Relationship House”. The interventions, that are needed, are introduced in therapy to strengthen the weak areas.  I have found it to be very affective. I am scheduled to take level 3 training this coming September and after that I can apply to become a Certified Gottman Therapist.  They evaluate videos, couples have given me permission to film, doing the different interventions.  They are very thorough in making sure therapist are qualified to become certified. I have also hired a company to help me become more visible on the internet.  As you probably know, Google has certain requirements before they will move you up in the rankings of searches. One of the things they look at is my reviews, which does not work well for therapist because of confidentiality. If you are so inclined and you do not mind giving your name, reviews are appreciated on Google. I am also available for online counseling for clients in California that want to do private pay. The main reason I am writing this blog, is to give you an update and to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life in whatever capacity you have needed me....

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Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know what makes your spouse happy? My husband and I attended a couples seminar yesterday, sponsored by our church. The speaker was a man named Mark Gungor.  The title of the seminar was “Laugh Your Way” to a Better Marriage and he was hilarious. My husband and I have been intentional about attending couple’s seminars whenever we can, because it keeps our relationship fresh. It is like hitting the reset button in our marriage. It is a reminder to do the things we need to do, to make our marriage happy, and not do the things that make it unhappy. Mark reminded us that if we are living a life that gives us purpose and meaning, we will be happy.  It is also important for us to know what makes our spouse happy. If we do not, we cannot be supportive of what their dreams are.  By knowing our spouse’s dreams, it gives us insight on why they do the things they do.  It may not make sense to us, but it does to them.  I always say, “Knowledge is Power” and the more we know about our spouse, the more we understand what makes them happy. Do you know what makes your spouse happy? Mark Gungor, has a “Flag Page” on his web site, www.flagpage.com, that allows you to see what you are good at and what words you need to hear from your spouse that will make you happy. There are 56 positive traits that you can choose from, that most describe who you are. It was fun to do and it was accurate on describing me. If you would like to check out Mark Gungor’s Flag Page and discover what makes you happy in your life and also your spouse’s, go to www.flagpage.com.  It will be a lot of fun. Do it together. Vickie Parker,...

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Married with children? The secrets to keeping a merry marriage (WITI) — Are you married with children? It can be a challenge to keep the romance alive once a couple has kids. But, it isn’t impossible. Child development expert Jessica Lahner joins Real Milwaukee to talk about the keys to keeping a merry marriage....

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