therapist dc

How Will You Start 2020?

It’s officially crunch time! My book, Everything Isn’t Terrible, is available in now!

I don’t have an essay for you this week, because I’m working on several essays that will be featured in online publications next month. I’ll be sure to share them with you, so keep your eyes on your inbox! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter for updates, book events, book giveaways.

I have gotten so many new subscribers to this newsletter in the past few months. Thank you to those who are forwarding it to friends and coworkers and sharing the links on social media. I’m proud that I managed to write 25 free newsletters for you this year, with a new baby and a book to write. And I wanted to take some space today to make sure you didn’t miss some of my favorites in 2019.

How do you want to grow in 2020? Do you want more authentic or calmer relationships? Do you want to be guided more by your own principles than by societal narratives of success? Do you want to be a person who can thoughtfully respond to local, national, or international crises? Browse through the list below, and see if any of these 2019 newsletters can help you start that thinking.

Do you want to give your children or family the gift of calmness by increasing your ability to self-regulate your emotions? Read my newsletter about The Gift of Self-Regulation.

Do you wanted to be guided more by your own thinking than by other people’s reactions? Read my newsletter about Being an Inside-Out Person.

Do you want to build stronger one-to-one relationships that don’t revolve around superficial conversation? Read this newsletter.

Would you like to be more curious and less anxious at family gatherings? Read this newsletter.

Would you like to spend less time obsessing about what other people think of you? Read this newsletter.

Would you like to be less anxiously focused on your kids, your career, or your dating life? Read my newsletter about Anxious Attention Vs. Thoughtful Attention.

Would you like to step back and stop managing your spouse so much? Read my newsletter, Moving Mountains of Underwear.

Would you like to act less helpless when you’re anxious? Click here.

Would you like to share more about your life with your family? Click here.

Would you like to stop overfunctioning for everyone else, and be more responsible for yourself? Read my newsletter, 50 Ways You’re Overfunctioning For Others.

Do you want to be a better resource to your siblings? Read my newsletter about Understanding Your Siblings. 

Happy Holidays, and I’ll be back soon with more news!

Kathleen

Are You an Anxious Fixer?

Add a subheading (1)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how difficult it is to be in the same room with a person in distress. Maybe it’s a kid who cries over confusing homework instructions. Or a friend who can’t decide whether they want to break up with their partner. Perhaps it’s a spouse who feels overworked and overlooked at their job. As a therapist, for me it’s often a person who feels anxious or depressed and wants to feel better as quickly as possible.

(more…)

Understanding Your Siblings

11-bobs-burgers.w700.h700Washington, DC is full of oldest children. This is no surprise, as “oldests” usually value power and responsibility.  They are also more independent. In therapy, they tell me stories about younger siblings who just can’t get it together. They resent the time, money, and attention a brother or sister has leeched from their parents. They get tired of playing mediator during family squabbles, or solo caretaker when parents grow old.

You don’t have to be an oldest child to wonder how people who grew up in the same family can be so different from each other. But siblings aren’t born into the same families, nor do they grow up in the same family. You may have lived in the same house for many years, but each of you experienced a very different family.

(more…)

The Gift of Self-Regulation

hand-1502538_960_720

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the skill of self-regulation. This is because I have a baby, a wide-eyed, mini-scientist, watching me 12 hours a day. Is this new person scary? Is this medicine no big deal? Should I be concerned that I bonked my head with this toy? My body language and voice have a huge influence over my daughter’s reactions.

For a long time, it will be my job to calm her down when she’s distressed. But this comforting will be ineffective if I can’t stay calm when she’s upset. I don’t want her to have a mom with a fear-based relationship with the world. This is challenging when there’s plenty to fear. SIDS! Choking! Sodium! Climate change! Freaking measles.

(more…)

The Waggle Dance

feature_honeybee_waggle_dance_main.jpg
This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Bowen Center’s annual Symposium. The main presenter was Dr. Thomas Seeley, a biology professor at Cornell who studies the phenomenon of swarm intelligence in honey bees.

Dr. Seeley gave a presentation about how honeybees solve the dilemma of finding a new home. Bee scouts will individually visit a potential location, and when they return, they will perform a “waggle dance” for the others which communicates the distance and direction of the prospective site. The level of enthusiasm in their dance also indicates just how sweet the spot is. Over time, in true democratic form, the bees will keep voting via waggle dancing until there is a consensus on the new home.

(more…)

Are the Virtual Interactions of Social Media Busting or Boosting Your Stress?

Social-Media-Stress-Good-or-Bad-722x406

Connecting with others is generally a good thing when it comes to our health and well-being. But can the same be said for our virtual interactions? The answer is a qualified “maybe,” according to psychologists and other experts who have studied the issue.

There’s evidence that the ability to connect with others via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media platforms, as well as text messages, can help strengthen social ties and keep us more attuned to our mental and physical health. But there’s also evidence that such interactions stifle human connectivity, lower our self-esteem, make us feel lonely and isolated, and just plain stress us out, says Emily Weinstein, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who studies the effects of social media on young adults. “It’s both.”

Read the rest of my story at Everyday Health.

Counseling Today – Helping Clients With Post-Date Anxiety

on_a_date-624x416

As a counselor, I have a front-row seat for watching anxiety develop in new relationships. It is truly fascinating to observe how quickly two people can become emotionally stuck together. A therapy client will leave for a week and return reporting that he or she has started dating someone new. This former stranger now has the power to make my client very happy or very anxious. Thanks to their phone, my client might spend all day analyzing a text they received — or worrying about the lack of one.

Read the rest of my essay at Counseling Today.