Girls first Ski Jump – Facing Fear

Before you play the video – please be aware that the video starts off quietly, and later gets very loud. This is because the girl featured here starts off sounding timid – and later shouts out her delight with her jump.

I was talking with someone today about facing fear, especially in social settings. What popped into my mind was a video that psychologist Reid Wilson, PhD, had mentioned in a training module that I viewed recently. Dr. Wilson mentioned that we are often blocked by our personal dialogue, and the anxiety that it generates.

We have to be willing to [as Wilson says] ‘take the hit’ that anxiety dishes out. Then we find out what we are really capable of doing.

Need help with this? Give a call – let’s talk it over.

Corrosive Blame


It’s your fault. If you hadn’t been so stupid, none of this would have ever happened. I can’t believe you let that happen —– again.

Have you thought these things? Said these things to someone you love? Did it help?

I bet not. So why do we return – again and again – to this strategy that is not likely to help even one little bit? Brene Brown suggests that we do so in the search for control. That control, it seems to me, is elusive. And, comes with a hefty surcharge.

Over time, it can kill a relationship.

The Price You Pay

Here’s a short video that illustrates the point – blaming steals from us the opportunity to communicate with more genuineness. We inadvertently block ourselves. Take a look.

Need help with that?

How have you encountered blame in your relationships? How did you deal with it? Leave a comment.

A bit stuck? Give a call; let’s work it out.

Sometimes – a nice surprise shows up

Frances Ha

Sometimes – a nice surprise shows up

If you have a Netflix account, you likely already know how the service gives you suggestions for additional viewing. You finish a film, and three options show up on the screen while the movie that is wrapping up [in a reduced size screen that magically appears].
Or maybe you see all these categories that show up on your home page – apparently Netflix engineer have invented a Terry algorithm – sending stuff just for me, or a fellow with my viewing inclinations.
Frances Ha showed up in the category “Critically Acclaimed” – and I’d seen it popping up in other suggestion areas, too, so – I clicked play. Details about the movie are here:

Frances is 27, and aspires to be a professional dancer in New York City. She works, sort of, as an understudy in a less-than-staggeringly-successful dance company. And she tries real hard; maybe too hard. She’s exuberant, but just can’t seen to pull it together. Sometimes drink too much, spends money impulsively, and [right up to the last scene of the film] has no permanent address. Oops – spoiler.

Frances is a dreamer, a wild dreamer. I like that about her, but that goes along with a painful tendency to stretch truth until paper-thin, and to embellish the connections she has with people until everyone in the room knows it’s just a story about a story.
Did I mention that I know President Obama? Yeah, well, we don’t actually stay in touch much – but he and I use the same brand of syrup on our pancakes, and we’ve both been to Chicago. Close enough, eh?
So, as I watched Frances move through one crisis after another, I got to thinking about staying and leaving. How do you know when to stick? When to move along? When to find a new destination? Can you hang in there long enough to see where your assets and resources are – where your calling is? Can you keep your authenticity – or do you have to change all the way down to your chromosomes?
Sweetly, as all little, charming, touching films try to do – success and some of the answers emerge. Frances eventually finds hers, too. She gets a little more focused, and a wee bit more practical. She takes a little guidance from her old dance company director – and comes on board at the company to help on the administrative side. And teaches youngsters in the evening. Her feet on on the ground, it seems. She knew when to get things done. Just like the lyrics tell us in the closing credit song, Modern Love, from the great David Bowie. Get the lyrics here.
Extra credit available if you can guess what scene made me cry. What’s your guess?

Top 100 Special Needs Resources on the Web » PhD in Special Education

Top 100 Special Needs Resources on the Web » PhD in Special Education

This resource list was put together by another group – but it appears to offer an excellent range of reviewed sites relevant to both professionals and parents of special needs children looking for help. While I cannot endorse any one of these resources personally, I am posting this to spread the news.

Please make sure that if you find a resource or treatment idea/intervention that interests you, review it thoroughly with the health care and educational specialist who are already working with your family member. That way, you’ll ensure that it dovetails well with the plans that are currently in place for your child.

Book Review & Recommendation: The Ray of Hope

The Ray of Hope – A Teenager’s Fight Against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
written by Ray St. John
Vermilion Press – 2011

I received a review copy of The Ray of Hope some months ago, with the best of intentions to have a look at it. I placed it on the continuously growing stack of items that I vow to read ‘when I get around to it’. I imagine you’ve done the same thing. A couple weeks ago, I got a follow-up email from the publisher. That got me back to the book. I’m glad I did.

Ray St. John is a high school student that has been dealing with episodes of OCD since childhood. Early manifestations were short-lived – and, at the time of their occurrence, seen as transitory. No special action was taken. But in his teens, Ray was hit hard with OCD symptoms. This time around, there was no chance of ignoring them. This book documents Ray’s [and Ray’s family’s] journey to identify what was going on – and how to confront it successfully.

The book is arranged in such a way as to give the reader great accessibility to the content that matters to his or her interests. Chapter titles are in the form of questions – and each corresponding chapter gives the answer. In this way, the reader can either choose to read cover-to-cover, or just seek out the specific information he or she needs at the moment. It might sound cumbersome, but here it works well.

The writing style is clear and emphatic. Ray shows courage in being explicit about the content of his obsessions and compulsive responses. We learn about the depth of his suffering, his self-doubt, and the process that he and his family went through to seek relief. He worked very hard, and it paid off for him.

Ray was troubled with sexual obsessions – they flooded his thoughts continuously. It interfered with home life and school progress. Resultant compulsions took the the family through considerable amounts of water, soap, repetition, checking, reassurance seeking and – let’s be honest – a very personal kind of hell.

A person with OCD can be triggered by lots of things – and reading this might be one of them. In the end, though, the benefits outweigh the dangers.

Ray eventually got connected to a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Two different medication trials without much relief – followed with the challenges of weening off the medications that proved unsatisfactory. The psychologist was compassionate, and knew something about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – but was not familiar with Exposure & Response Prevention [ERP] Therapy. ERP is the specific therapy – a cousin to CBT – that is the best psychotherapy approach we know about at this time.

Ray and his mother learned as much as they could about ERP, and devised their own intensive outpatient intervention. I was impressed with their courage and tenacity; it would be tough for many families to intervene in this way. However, it worked for Ray.

The lessons from Ray’s book that come to mind as I write:

  • facing what is going on, what works [and what does not] is critical
  • the importance of family involvement and support cannot be underestimated
  • medication may be an option, but it is not the whole answer
  • you must choose your therapist carefully – specialized training is essential
  • ERP is a stressful process, but
  • it works!
The publisher tells me that Ray is in the midst of a follow up book – one that will point the reader in the direction of managing OCD as one moves into adulthood. I look forward to it!
The link above to Vermilion Press will take you to the site established by Ray’s family to provide information about the book, and does provide some samples passages from the book. You’ll also find links to purchase it. Amazon will send you a hard copy, if desired – or you can download a Kindle version. Remember, you don’t need a Kindle device – you can read on your computer or other device with free Kindle software from Amazon.