About David Joel Miller

David Miller is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Counselor, faculty member at a local college, certified trainer and writer.

Alert

Alert.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Alert

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“I steeled myself to focus only on the present yet remain alert to what might come next.”

― Nicholas Sparks, Dear John

“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.”

― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. I’ve also included some words related to strengths and values since the line between what we think and what we feel may vary from person to person. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings, strengths, and values.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Acclaim

Acclaim.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Acclaim

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.”

― Albert Einstein

“…what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.”

― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

“Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends.”

― Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. I’ve also included some words related to strengths and values since the line between what we think and what we feel may vary from person to person. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings, strengths, and values.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Inspirational    Post  From David Joel Miller.

MLJ Day 2015

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

Accuracy

Accuracy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Accuracy

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

― Plato

“It takes less time to do a thing right than to explain why you did it wrong.”

― Longfellow

“A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.”

― Rudyard Kipling, Plain Tales from the Hills

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you. Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. I’ve also included some words related to strengths and values since the line between what we think and what we feel may vary from person to person. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings, strengths, and values.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Fretfulness.

Fretfulness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Fretfulness.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.”

― Audrey Hepburn

“We are but older children, dear,

Who fret to find our bedtime near.”

― Lewis Carroll

The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”

― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Why willpower doesn’t always work.

Picture of tools

Willpower or won’t power?
Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why willpower doesn’t always work.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Counselor.

How much do you rely on willpower?

Often people tell me they’re planning to make a change in their life. We’re almost to the end of the year, and many people are making New Year’s resolutions. We go through this process every year. What I know is that in a little more than a week, we will be into the new year, and already many of those resolutions will have fallen by the wayside. How come just using your willpower doesn’t get you there?

Willpower is a tool.

Willpower is one tool you should have in your toolbox, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Willpower can definitely help you get certain things accomplished. But there are plenty of times when applying more willpower to the situation won’t work. It’s like having only one size wrench in your toolbox. Sometimes you need jeweler’s pliers, and sometimes you need a pipe wrench. Sometimes you shouldn’t be applying a wrench to something at all.

There’s a difference between willpower and won’t power.

Not knowing the difference between these two skills is the equivalent of picking the wrong tool for a job. Willpower works more like a hammer and breaks through resistance. Won’t power operates more like a seatbelt. Sometimes we need to use a third tool which goes by the name of “habit.”

What is willpower, and what is it useful for?

Willpower is the ability to force yourself to do something difficult or painful for a benefit that is far off in the future. For example, if you want to be a great athlete or even a moderately good athlete, you have to get up early and get to practice. Willpower will make you do it even when you’d rather stay in bed.

I use willpower when I get up in the morning and clean my cat’s litter box. I don’t really look forward to cleaning litter boxes. But I know I have to do it; otherwise, my office will smell. Using willpower is the right tool to apply to these kinds of situations.

Won’t power is a different skill.

When I walk by the kitchen, I hear the chocolate cake calling to me. “David, come have another piece of chocolate cake.” For the purists out there, I don’t actually hear voices, but thought pops into my head just as reliably as if the cake was talking to me.

Won’t power is the ability to not do something pleasant now for a benefit off in the future. Most people with addictions suffer from a lack of won’t power along with a lot of other problems. Won’t power is the ability to say no to the cravings even though drinking you’re using right now might relieve your discomfort and make you feel a lot better.

Won’t power involves surfing the waves of craving.

When you have the urge to do something right now that would be pleasant, or that would reduce your discomfort won’t power is the skill you need to apply. Cravings to do something right now that you know may cause you problems in the future are like waves on the ocean. They come up sometimes gradually and sometimes rapidly. As the wave rises, it can feel like it’s going to overwhelm you, but if you apply your won’t power, some people describe this as their stubbornness, and you don’t give in to temptation; eventually, the wave of craving subsides.

There’s a third tool you may need in your life.

When we look at people’s efforts to use willpower to get themselves to go to the gym and exercise, we find that willpower is an unreliable tool. The willpower you need to get up off the couch, pack your gym bag, and go out and get in your car to drive to the gym is substantial.

But once you arrive at the gym and walk through the door, it takes relatively little willpower to change into your gym clothes and start exercising. One way we reduce the amount of willpower needed to engage in any exercise program, or any other self-improvement program for that matter, is habit.

The more times you get up and go to the gym, the easier it gets to remember to do it each day. I think of it as like sanding down a rough board. The more you stand, the smoother the board gets. The more you engage in a habit, the more likely you are to continue that behavior.

Want to make it easier to remember to go to the gym?

Make use of the tool of habit. Start planning the next day’s activities at night before you go to bed. Pack your gym bag and put it in the trunk of your car. I don’t recommend leaving it where it can be seen because that helps other people create the habit of stealing your stuff. Maybe leaving it in front of the front door, so you have to trip over it on your way out, will work for you.

Watch out for serial correlation.

Serial correlation is something I learned back in business school. Fast-food restaurants and big-box stores still factor this into their planning, even if they don’t call it that. If you go into a restaurant to redeem a coupon three weeks in a row, you’re probably a regular customer. This can work for you in the case of going to the gym or walking, or any other positive activity.

We also see serial correlation working in the opposite direction. If you miss a day at the gym, it becomes much harder to go the next day. Skip going to the gym several days in a row, and you’ve created the new habit of staying home.

Habits are another important topic.

Habits influence humans a whole lot more than we often think. Many people have habits they aren’t even aware of unless someone else points it out to them. If you decide to embark on a self-improvement program in the new year, spend some time looking at habits. Study how you create them and how you break them and why they’re built into the human thinking system. I’ll try to help you out with this with a couple of blog posts in the new year about habits.

Does David Joel Miller see clients for counseling and coaching?

Yes, I do. I can see private pay clients if they live in California, where I am licensed. If you’re interested in information about that, please email me or use the contact me form.

Staying in touch with David Joel Miller.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For more information about my writing journey, my books, and other creative activities, please subscribe to my blog at davidjoelmillerwriter.com

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available on Amazon now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

For information about my work in mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please check out counselorssoapbox.com

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

The Future of Counseling

Counseling Questions

The future of counseling, therapy, and coaching.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The Future of Counseling

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Counselor.

The fields of counseling, therapy, and coaching are changing.

I had already seen some changes in the field starting to happen even before Covid. But because of the emergence of the new virus and the measures we had to take to cope with that virus, not only the field of counseling but society, in general, has undergone some significant changes. Reminds me of some of the other changes I’ve seen in my lifetime. People may bemoan the loss of a simpler life, but once you’ve installed running water and electricity in your home, there’s no going back.

Most of what I am talking about here applies primarily to mental health counseling and therapy. But some of the changes are starting to spill over both from and into substance abuse counseling and life coaching. Some of what I am observing may simply be the result of where I practice and the clients I see. But what I hear from other practitioners seems to convince me that the changes I’m seeing are spreading throughout the country and the fields of counseling and therapy.

Some of these changes started even before Covid.

There’s a common conception that therapy, the talking cure, was primarily designed for upper- and middle-class white people. However, many people of color or those of lower socioeconomic status have experienced counseling as something done to them rather than with them.

Recently, I have noticed an increase in clients who reported they were skeptical of counseling until a family member or friend talked them into it. Their previous experience with therapy had often been mandated and unpleasant. If you are forced to go for therapy with a school counselor who tried to convince you to change your behavior because you had gotten into trouble, it’s hard to look on counselors in the future as your ally.

There’s an increasing diversity among counselors.

When I went through the graduate program, it was unusual to have more than one or two male students in the class. Traditionally the helping profession was largely the province of social workers, who tended to be primarily female. Even among marriage and family therapists, it always seemed to me that the preponderance of the practitioners were female. However, the number of male counselors entering the field has recently noticed an increase.

Clients are becoming more diverse also.

During the last few years, starting even before Covid, I’ve noticed an increase in client diversity. It appears to me that there are a lot more African American clients coming to voluntary counseling. I’m also seeing a slight increase in the acceptance of counseling and therapy by people of Asian ancestry. As with all other innovations, it appears that the younger the person, the more likely they are to accept new alternatives.

Distance or remote counseling is here to stay.

When I first went to graduate school, the idea of doing counseling in any other way than a forty-five-minute session in an office would have been looked at as downright unethical. There were always a few radical therapists who might do “in vivo” sessions. They might take a client for a bus or train ride to help them overcome their anxiety. But in general, all sessions had to be done in the office.

At the beginning of Covid, I encountered a lot of clients who wanted to make appointments but only if they could have in-person sessions. As a result, many therapists were reluctant to try to conduct sessions by any means other than in person. But across the last three years, the acceptance of using technology as an alternative to in-person sessions has grown.

The use of distance counseling is now so common that beginning in 2023; counselors will need to take a continuing education class focused on the laws and ethics of distance counseling.

The business of therapy has changed.

How therapy is conducted, who conducts it, and how it’s paid for have all been changing. The things we call counseling, therapy, and coaching have diverse roots. Medicine, psychology, social work, systems theory, and self-help groups all contributed to this confusing thing we now call counseling and therapy.

Who does the work of talking with people, and what qualifications they need have been changing at an ever-increasing rate? Here in California, where I work and practice, marriage, and family therapists were first licensed in 1963. Before that, social workers were the only one of the three “sister professions” working in this state. The situation in other states has progressed in various orders.

Most of what we now call counseling or therapy stems from medical doctors following in the tradition of Sigmund Freud of attempting to solve thinking, feeling, and behaving problems using a thing called “the talking cure.” Some of the ways this work is done today have also been informed by the field of psychology and self-help groups, notably Alcoholics Anonymous.

The traditional model was one professional working with one client in a small treatment room, typically hidden from everyone else in an effort to maintain that thing we call confidentiality. However, recently that model has been seriously disrupted as insurance companies have funded treatment, group counseling and self-help groups have become more common, and technology has offered options to the one patient, one treatment provider pattern.

In an upcoming post, I want to talk more about how the business of counseling has changed and how I expect to see it continue to change in the future. Thanks for reading my writing, and here is wishing you a happy life full of meaning and purpose.

Does David Joel Miller see clients for counseling and coaching?

Yes, I do. I can see private pay clients if they live in California, where I am licensed. If you’re interested in information about that, please email me or use the contact me form.

Staying in touch with David Joel Miller.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For more information about my writing journey, my books, and other creative activities, please subscribe to my blog at davidjoelmillerwriter.com

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available on Amazon now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

For information about my work in mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please check out counselorssoapbox.com

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

A New Year is Dawning.

Inspiration for a new year     Post By David Joel Miller.

The New Year

New Year Dawning.

Happy New Year
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

― Oprah Winfrey

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

2021 First-Foot.

2018 First-Foot.

By David Joel Miller.

1st foot.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The first-foot through the door each year sets the tone for the rest of the year.

There’s an old tradition; they say it comes from Scotland, that the first person through the door each new year sets the tone for the rest of that year.  Because of that, I wanted this to be my first post for the new year.

If this is your first time reading counselorssoapbox.com, I hope this post will start off your year in a good direction.  Longtime readers will know that this blog’s premise is having a happy life.

Life can have its struggles.  At some point in their life, everyone is likely to experience a mental, emotional, or behavioral issue.  Because of this, I write a lot about mental health, mental illness, substance use disorders, and overcoming the bumps on the road of life.  Here is hoping that this new year will bring happiness to you and yours.

Throughout this year on counselorssoapbox.com I plan to bring you tips about having a happy life, coping with emotional and mental issues, and the impact that using and abusing substances might have on your mental and emotional health.

We will also present posts to help you with being a success. However, you define that success.  With over 1800 posts on counselorssoapbox.com so far, you’ll find plenty of tips in the past posts with more to come this year.  You might even want to consider subscribing to counselorssoapbox.com.

Thanks for being my lucky first-foot this year.

P.S.  If it takes you a while to get around to reading this post I will understand.  Whenever you get to it, please drop me a line.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and they want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel