Your Self-talk can predict the future

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

Self-talk.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What you tell yourself can create the things you say.

The more often you tell yourself something the more likely it is to come true. For good or bad what we tell ourselves tends to come true.

Self-talk statements are plans, not facts.

Winners tell themselves that they will win. Once you stop believing in your ability to succeed you begin to fail.

Losers tell themselves they can’t and they are almost universally right.

Your beliefs matter.

Does that mean that we all know deep down how things will turn out, that some people just have it and others do not? Not by any means. If successful people begin to doubt themselves their performance will decline. If you begin to believe that you can do something you will improve.

Something does not have to be true now for you to create it happening in the future. If you believe something so strongly that you see it as already having happened then the chances that it will occur greatly increase.

This does not mean that just believing in something will be enough to make it happen. The great fallacy of manifesting things is to believe that if you imagine something hard enough, say winning the lottery, it will happen.

What is needed to make these things you visualize materialize is to begin to take action and do the work to get you there. Instead of trying to create a sudden jump to wealth imagine yourself getting a better job. Do that work and your financial situation may improve.

Next, see yourself as being a good money manager and you will find you can get more mileage out of the money you have.

Most of your self-talk may be lies.

Most people spend the majority of their time telling themselves why they will fail. Tell yourself you do not deserve something, that you will “NEVER” be able to do something, and you will ensure your defeat.

How long have you been telling yourself these lies?

I can’t

Say this often enough and you will not be able to.

I will never

The result is you stop trying and that ensures that you will never reach this goal.

I need to

Do you really need to do a particular thing before something else can happen? If so start on that necessary project now. If not, stop putting off your dreams until someday.

If only they would

Placing the responsibility and the blame on someone else may feel like you can escape that responsibility but we find that those who look at themselves and do the work improve and those that believe their successes are the result of luck or are due to others actions, never feel good about the results even when they do win.

It is hopeless

Say this often enough and you will lose all hope.

What kind of self-talk are you using? Do you encourage yourself or put you down. What you tell yourself is what you are creating for tomorrow.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is a blog? Why are you writing a blog?

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

blog

Blog.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

So you ask: “What is a blog and why are you writing one?”

Probably 5 years or so ago, I asked a friend “What’s a blog.” Just recently she commented on one of my posts, an in-person comment by the way not an “at the end of post” comment. Seems she gets my blog delivered to her smartphone daily.

She informed me, back then, that a blog was a “Web Log” a sort of public journal where people talk about things that are important to them and hope those ideas are important to others. This intrigued me.

Finding that people I actually knew were receiving my blog, hopefully occasionally reading it, has me thinking about how I learned about blogs, why am I writing this one and more importantly why people read these blogs. Clearly, for most of us, it is not about becoming rich or influenzal (Influential?) Bloggers keep hoping their post will go viral right?

Back then I kept running into blogs and occasionally reading about them on the internet. Mostly I seemed to be reading about how people made a lot of money blogging and how if I would just sign up for their program I to could become a world-famous advice-giver blogger. I almost added Blogs to my allergy list at that point.

I am clearly old school. Learning that a computer is something that fits on my desk, not a person to contract with took me some adjusting. But somehow I have learned a thing or two about blogs.

One reason I wanted to write a blog was that there were all these thoughts in my head and that I wanted to get them down on paper (electrons?) and hoped that they would be useful or of interest to someone else. Also, I want to write a book or two and all the writing sites say you need to have a blog and let people know what you are about if you ever want to get them to read your book. So I took the plunge.

Most of my posts are about substance abuse, mental health, counseling and therapy and the whole recovery process. I wanted to share what I had learned about creating a happy life and about that journey.

The cool thing about this is that I get to write about what interests me and then see if any of you want to read that post. Sometimes I am really surprised. Things I thought were just an oh-by-the-way, have gotten a lot of readers and other posts, ones I worked on really hard, did not get many hits. Clearly, I am still learning.

Reader questions and search terms have gotten me thinking, made me do more research and spawned some posts. I have learned a lot.

Learning the technology part has sometimes been painful. Anything labeled user-friendly should not include docs (documents) that are longer than a Tolstoy novel.  I am glad that I discovered WordPress since this site has been easier to use. They still have way more features than I will have the lifespan to learn to use, but it is nice to know that I could do more if I was so inclined.

If you who are from a post-big-war era find technical problems or care to make a suggestion please leave a comment. Just make your comment in intelligible English as I still have mastered only third-grade computer speak.

In the process of writing this blog I have read and subscribed to a lot of other blogs, some were really good ones and some not so good. Some blogs strike me as very uneven. One day they are so great and the next post is not so much. I think my blog has that same issue. Coming up with a new topic on a regular basis and then turning out a post takes time and effort and not everyone is a hit.

This blog (counselorssoapbox.com) is now in its third year with over 500 posts published so far. The book has turned into several books and they are all still works in progress. My current plan is to put more emphasis on the books as we head towards 2014 so I may have to miss posting a day or two on the blog.

So there you have it: What a blog is and why I am writing one. Any questions?

Related articles

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Has intuition gotten a bad name?

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

Picking the right door.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

People who use intuition correctly make better decisions.

In this modern scientific era, it has become conventional wisdom to dismiss intuition as nonsense and to insist that everyone think rationally – whatever rationally means. Recent research tells us that people who have developed their intuition make better decisions much of the time and that just relying on rational explanations does not get you the best answer all the time.

Top business executives and successful entrepreneurs use intuition to get ahead and stay ahead of their competitors.

Psychological tests and particularly the Myers-Brigs personality types distinguish two personality types. Those who decide “in a blink” and those who need time to think. One way of deciding is not necessarily better than the other and people who are able to use both methods do better at many tasks.

To understand the role of intuition in our lives we need to look first at what it is and then at how its proper use might help us have a better and happier life.

The dictionary definition, from an old paper dictionary, includes “To receive or assimilate knowledge by direct perception or comprehension.” This section on defining intuition is exceptionally long and includes a list of ways in which one might receive information: look at or upon, observe, regard, contemplate or consider, immediate perception.

The principal meaning of intuition is those things you know immediately by personal experience as opposed to thinking them based on some theory or second-hand knowledge.

While I may not trust that I get everything a see correctly, the essence of intuition is found in the old adage “seeing is believing.” Which explains why knowledge based on personal experiences including feelings can often be trusted more than the opinions of others including experts who have studied the subject but have no firsthand knowledge of the thing they are talking about.

Intuition, it would appear, is firsthand knowledge based on experiences not only in the head but in all the nerves in the body. We tend to believe that our brain is in our heads. More than half of those nerve cells that process information are outside the head. That feeling in your gut just might be telling you something your head needs to know. We experience these nerves outside our head as feelings or emotions and it turns out that this “felt-sense” is often more accurate than what we might be thinking.

What are some of the advantages of using intuition in making decisions and why might it beat out slow careful deliberation?

Using intuition has several features to recommend it.

1. It is easy, requires no effort to assemble data, analyze that data and deliberate decisions.

2. It is often much faster than deliberative or logical decision-making. By the time you get the research done the market opportunity may be passed and your competitor may be in charge.

3. Using intuition does not require deliberation, committee meetings or extensive testing.

4. We are often more confident in the results of our intuitive decisions because they – just feel right.

Taking the slow deliberative approach does not eliminate mistakes as any marketing research director should be able to tell you. Here are the problems with doing market research to use as a basis for your decisions.

1. The information you will get is often not what you wanted.

2. If you get the facts you want they might not be the ones you need.

3. Fully researching things may take too much time and cost too much

4. Even when you get all the facts, can afford the cost, get the info you were looking for it still might not tell you what you need to do.

The trends in products may take years to develop and a new introduction by a competitor could change the whole market overnight while you are doing research. Try applying this research model to your personal life.

A personality test may tell you if you have things in common with a potential partner but it does not guarantee success in the relationship. Making that cute guy or gal take a 5-hour personality test may just blow the whole deal even before you get to the first date.

There are times in our life, both personal and professional when we just might need to trust our instincts and use that old friend intuition.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How to fail –Getting F’s may be harder than you think

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

Success or failure sign

Success or failure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

All F’s are hard to get. Consistent repeated failure is harder than you think.

Every semester we who are teaching, have to put together a syllabus which describes the things the class will cover, what you have to do to get a particular grade and the other things you need to know.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of life came with that sort of clear directions?

How come we get a syllabus in college but not in life?

I have become convinced that many of the same factors that result in successes or failure in school also apply to life in general. There are certain things that will result in good grades and others that will result in consistent failure.

What surprises my students each semester is when I tell them that most of the time getting an F is more work than getting an A.

Here are things you will need to do to fail in school and these tips can help you fail in life if you so choose.

Drinking a lot of alcohol and doing a lot of drugs ensures failure.

Studies have consistently shown that the more drugs you do the lower your GPA. Drink enough and you will stop coming to class. Not showing up helps in your quest for failure.

There are lots of other escape mechanisms to let you run from your problems. Once you avoid a problem by using a crutch the problem gets bigger and you become more dependent on that crutch.

To avoid learning do not read the book or take notes.

Avoiding any new information assists in the art of failure. While you may not know enough to succeed you already know more than enough to fail.

This aversion to new knowledge can increase the chances of failure where ever you apply it. Jobs change so do relationships. The person who does not learn new job skills will become obsolete. The person who does not put anything into a relationship eventually finds the affection account has run dry.

Do not do the work and you are on the way to failure.

Work is an interference in the failure filled life. Do too much work and you might get something right. Those who do best at failure try the least.

Continue to insist that things should come your way by luck or as something you are owed. Never consider that effort could be necessary.

If by accident you did the homework, do not turn it in.

This is a sure-fire method for grabbing failure from the jaws of success. Leave the homework at home; keep that report in your desk until it is past the deadline. Never start anything until it is too late and you can avoid even the semblance of success.

If you do make some effort, minimize it, discount it and avoid letting anyone see what you have worked on. In a failure filled life, it is necessary to keep your efforts a secret.

Miss as much class as possible; don’t show up for anything in life that matters.

Nothing so improves the probability of failure as to not be there when things are being done. Miss enough work and you will not need to come in anymore. Salesmen if you stop making calls you will be assured of a sales free month.

Do not take any tests and you can’t ever pass one.

Avoiding any midterms or the final is a way to get the total points down below the passing level. Don’t show up for job interviews and you will not need to go to work. Avoid any evaluation and you will never have any big successes.

The consistent application of these principles will radically increase the chances you will have a life full of failure.

For maximum failure stop trying.

Still having a life full of deliberate failures may not make you a failure. To assure that you and others will consider your life a failure it is necessary to give up trying anything and everything and avoid all success no matter what the cost.

To begin to have a successful life do the opposite of these tips and begin to live your life by making the efforts needed to succeed. You might be pleasantly surprised how an occasional success can result in a positive attitude and that new improved attitude can result in a progressively longer string of success.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Will therapy work even if you don’t believe in it?

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

Therapy

Therapy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What is therapy and how do you know if it will work for you?

Interesting question, this came in as a search term and that always gets me thinking about what was on the reader mind and what did they want to find. As a therapist, I believe that therapy works, sometimes, for some people, but other times people tell me that they went for therapy and it did not help them.

Why does therapy sometimes help and sometimes not? Maybe this depends on what therapy really is. I think there are ways it works and ways it doesn’t.

Let’s try some similar questions and see if it helps understand this dilemma.

Does gravity work if you do not believe in it?

Most of us would say a conclusive yes; gravity always works, at least here on planet earth. So if therapy is a force that produces change yes it should always work regardless of whether you think it will or not.

Do cars work whether you believe in them or not? If you just hang around them, but because you do not believe in cars, you never get in one, then no for you, they will not work.

If you think that therapy is a process of change; then for it to work you will need to do some work.  If you do not do the work, your disbelief will prevent the process from taking you anywhere. Disbelief will keep you stuck where you are.

We know that you do not have to be a therapist for what you to do to be therapeutic. We even talk about therapeutic environments. So if you have supportive friends who can listen to you and help you think and talk things out, that might be therapeutic.

The most effective therapy occurs when you believe that the therapist wants to help you and you feel comfortable talking about your problems. The short answer is that counseling works best if the client believes it will. But like gravity, counseling or therapy can work for you if you just temporarily suspend your disbelief and give it a try.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

2013 Midpoint – Top 10 posts

Counselorssoapbox.com

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

First 6 months of 2013 most read counselorssoapbox.com mental health posts.

David

David Miller. LMFT, LPCC

Can you believe it? 2013 is half gone? Seems like only yesterday we were talking about resolutions, goals, values and what we might all do to have a happy life.

This year the plan was to aim to average one new post each day. No one has been more surprised than I that a new post has appeared every day.

The theme for this blog has been and will continue to be mental health, substance abuse, co-occurring disorders and having a happy life.

Along that road to a happy life, however, you might define that, we have talked about a lot of other life issues, the senses, feelings, success and failure and the like.

Always popular have been the posts around about therapy and counseling, can it help, can I trust them, what will they keep secret and the like.

Posts on specific diagnosis, depression, Bipolar and the like, substance-related disorders, relationship issues and parenting have also gotten some attention. For the balance of the year, we will try to fill in some gaps in the topics.

My aim is to cover things that might be helpful in your recovery, successes, and happiness. In that spirit, the goal, not quite a resolution, is to post another 180 items, roughly one per day. Forgive me if I miss a few days here and there, but I will try to make up for that with some extra answers to readers’ questions.

You can all help me out here by leaving comments or asking questions.

Here are the top 10 posts for the first 6 months of 2013, a few new posts are moving up the list but have not made the top 10 yet.

  1. How much should you tell a therapist?  
  2. Do therapists have to report a crime?
  3. Are you Hyperthymic?
  4. Do people really forget what happened when drinking? – Blackouts
  5. Levels or types of Borderline Personality Disorder
  6. Is nicotine a stimulant or a depressant?  
  7. Why can’t we forget the painful past?
  8. Which border is Borderline Intellectual Functioning on?
  9. What is the difference between depression and Major Depressive Disorder?
  10. Hyperthymia, Hyperthymic Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

Best wishes on your journey towards the life you want to be living.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is a therapist? What do therapists do?

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

Therapy

Therapy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why this word therapy might be confusing.

When I used to tell people I was a therapist they kept giving me blank stares. I got the feeling that they did not understand what I do. Personally, I tend to call myself a counselor more often than I call myself a therapist despite the fact that I am licensed here in California as both a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC45390) and as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPC15.)

One intern asked me why in so many blog posts I seem to use the word counselor rather than the term therapist. I think there are two reasons, I think of myself as doing more “Counseling” and the word therapist seems to need more explanation than the word counselor to avoid misunderstandings.

Both of these words can involve activities outside mental health. Lawyers are referred to as “counselor” for example. There are other professions, financial and lifestyle workers who get to use the words counselors or therapists when appropriately attached to some other description. What we need to do is prevent the term becoming so generic as to mislead people.

What about Substance Abuse Counselors?

Substance Abuse Counselors also do similar work but they are restricted in most places to only working on the substance use disorders. Mental health issues are outside their “scope of practice” meaning the things they can legally do.

Correctly used both counselor and therapist should be part of a license title rather than standalone names, as in Licensed Counselor, Licensed Clinical Counselor, Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist.

To add to the confusion many School counselors or School Psychologists are often not licensed and work on issues surrounding graduation requirements, getting into college or school behavior rather than treating mental illnesses that are more common than previously thought among school students.

So how did mental health practitioners come to use the title of therapists?

Originally this term was psychotherapists. Many mental health practitioners, Marriage, and Family Therapists, for example, practice “applied psychotherapy.” This is a reference back to the time when most mental health work was being done by psychiatrists who did some form of talk work with their “patients.” Most of this work was psychodynamic or Freudian type work. Today most therapists do briefer more directive work and do not choose to emphasize the “psycho” part of the psychotherapist name.

What about other kinds of therapists?

Two types of therapists,  occupational and physical, get confused with the psychotherapists that do mental health work.

Physical therapists, as the name implies work on rehabilitation of the body. So if you are in a car accident and lose a limb they could help you regain your abilities, adjust to a prosthetic limb or strengthen remaining muscles. This is my understanding and if there are physical therapists out there who would care to add to that understanding feel free to leave comments.

That same person, grieving and depressed over the loss of the limb might also see a rehab counselor who would help them with the psychological adjustment to living without that limb. That rehab counselor might also help with career counseling to find that person a new job they could do despite the loss of a body part.

In California rehab counselors as well as Career counselors might elect to get licensed as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors providing they meet the requirements for that license.

There are also people who function as “occupational therapists.”

This one still confuses me a bit. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational therapists treat patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working.” Most occupational therapists have master’s degrees and work in the offices of physical therapists.

So when I tell someone that I am a therapist they sometimes ask if I know of an exercise that will help their shoulder mobility. No, I do not. That is not the type of therapy that I am licensed to practice.

So has that cleared up the confusion? Or have I just added another layer of mud to the waters?

Point is that you need to be sure that the type of counselor or therapist you are seeing is doing the type of work you need.

Best wishes on your journey to a happy life. (I think of myself as a happy life therapist or counselor but can’t find that listed in any of the statute books.) I do try to stay well within my scope of practice.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are you Playing the victim? Breaking free

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

The victim role.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How does the victim role feel?

Some people are victimized and others become permanent victims. The more times you are knocked down the harder it may become to get back up. What you need to avoid is assuming that hopeless victim role.

Clients sometimes make sudden remarkable recoveries. Recently I had a client whose whole life seemed to make a sudden shift. One day they were depressed and hopeless and the next they were upbeat and hopeful.

I would love to take credit for this sudden change, but I have learned that ultimately the clients are in charge of their own recovery and I am just a tour guide on that journey.  So when this dramatic shift happens I want to know why.

What do you think they told me?

“I stopped playing the victim role” was the response.

So regardless of how dysfunctional their family of origin, no matter what their ex, had done, this client determined to not fill the victim role for them or anyone else. Starting that day their life was different.

Certainly, life’s troubles leave scars. We walk with a physical or an emotional limp, and those accumulated scars become a part of who we are. All my past experiences have made me who I am today. But what this client had suddenly realized was that those experiences do not need to define them. They can choose to wear that “victim role” hat or they can trade this role in for a “recovered person” hat.

One approach, the being a victim one, is looking back. Staying stuck in the past, arguing that it should not have been that way can keep you stuck for as long as you chose to stay there.

The other approach, looking forward, is full of hope. When we trade in that “hopeless victim” hat for the new “recovering person” hat we can become filled with hope and a positive attitude.

We see this over and over. Some people chose the victim of domestic violence or cancer hat and others pick up the survivor of domestic violence or cancer hat. The difference is one of attitude.

So in what ways have you been playing the victim? Are you ready to trade that part in for a new recovered person role? All you need to do is turn your head and look forward instead of back.

Best wishes on your journey to that happy life you deserve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Men don’t only want one thing! Ladies you’ve been misled.

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

Sex?
Photo courtesy of pixabay.

It takes way more than sex to keep a man’s interest.

sex-on-a-cork-board

sex-on-a-cork-board. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The spring falling-in-love season is about over, the summer wedding season has begun. The divorce and break up season, that season is pretty much year-round.

Women who come for counseling and they mostly come during and after the breakup, repeatedly tell me, and remember I am a man, that men only want one thing.

Women seem to think that all men expect in a relationship is sex. They are so wrong. Men want sex, yes they do. It is a biological imperative for men to make that contribution to the continuation of the human race. But ladies if you think that is all it takes to keep a man happy no wonder so many relationships are in trouble.

It talks more than great sex to keep a relationship happy and functional.

For your edification ladies, men in after-the-break-up counseling, they say Women only want one thing. What they think women want is way different from what you ladies say they want. I will tell you about what men think is the only thing you women want in a future post.

What do men want other than sex?

Women seem to think, some of you anyway, that you spread your legs apart and the man should be happy. Then when he does not do what you want, you withdraw the sex and say he only wanted one thing. He was settling for the thing you offered but many men want so much more than just sex.

Some women use sex to get the man hooked – The old bait and switch.

Try taking your kids to the amusement park, let them ride the roller-coaster once. Then plan to spend the rest of the day looking at the flowers and the decor. How long till they feel cheated and want to go home.

For men, sex is symbolic as well as physical. If you love me you would want to do that. So they find it hard to believe you genuinely care about them if the sex is not happening. They think you should want to give them this gift. Women, on the other hand, want to feel loved before they are interested in sex. So we do the love dance, do you love me or not and each couple finds the time and place to complete the dance and engage in sex.

Some of you start at the end of the dance and then wonder why neither of you knows the steps to keep it going.

What else do men want?

Men want to know that they can make you happy.

In the courting stage, you let him know he was making you happy.  You laughed at his jokes, smiled when you saw him and talked about the things he was interested in.

One day after you two are together, you stop laughing at his jokes, you don’t want to hear about his team or his interests and if he leaves his socks on the floor one more time that will be the end of the sex.

Men hang in there for a while, some longer than others, but if nothing he does pleases you and then you stop telling him you love him in the bedroom, you know the rest.

Men want to be with someone who likes them.

All day they are out at work. People are critical. then the man comes home and what does his partner and lover do? She tells him all the things he is doing wrong.

When you were dating he thought you liked him. Suddenly he is living with a person who thinks he is an SOS (sack of stuff.)

I know you ladies think you are being helpful telling him all the things he could improve on, but he knows he is not perfect. He just would like to come home to someone who could affirm he is a worthwhile person. He needs someone in his house, his castle, who thinks he is a great guy.

So ladies when you decide you no longer need to affirm his worth, that it is your sworn duty to tell him all his flaws, is it any wonder he goes looking for those affirmations from his therapist or his mistress?

So ladies, if you think all men want, is sex, you are putting your man on an emotional starvation diet. Eventually, you will get tired of giving him the sex and then things will be all over.

Men need affirmation to know they can make you happy, they need appreciation for what they do and they need to know that you still like them and want them. It takes a full course emotional meal to keep a man’s love needs fed.

There is that other secret men keep. Many men are convinced that women only want one thing and it is not always something men have to give. Next post the thing men say is “all women want” in the relationship and why this pushes men away.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Success does not cure low self esteem

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

Success

Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Racking up the successes may make your low self-esteem worse, not better.

You would think that people with a string of successes to their credit would feel good about themselves. Often this is not the case.

Olympic caliber athletes get depressed even suicidal; professionals in many fields suffer from low self-esteem.

The cause of this low self-esteem among high achievers is that ancient enemy – perfectionism.

Perfectionism destroys self-esteem.

The highly motivated student, the one with the all “A’s” on their record, if they were to just once get a B that would ruin their perfect record. Needing to be perfect is a way to overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy.

The way this works is one of the sneakiest of all possible manifestations of fear of failure. Set impossible high goals and then if you fail to achieve them this is not your fault. Who could possibly be expected to be perfect?

The consequence of this setting yourself up to fail but making the goal beyond anyone’s reach is to feel that having not achieved perfection, not being the best at everything, you are worthless and nothing.

We saw in a previous post, it is not the all A student that is the happiest. The good enough student, the B student, is far happier. So is the student who is self-motivated, who does things to satisfy themselves and learns for the sake of learning not the external motivation of grades.

Dr. Berry at U.C. Berkeley wrote an interesting paper on the causes of failure (Special Feature: Fear of Failure in the Student Experience, Personnel/ and Guidance Journal, 1975.) As I understand this article he understands perfectionists as being high in Fear of Failure.

Refusing compliments lowers self-esteem.

In my experience people who suffer from a strong case of perfectionism discount all compliments. They find it impossible to accept that any form of praise can be sincere and they find themselves unable to accept compliments. The inferences here is that for them to accept an accolade means they are in some way in control of and responsible for their success. If you accept success then you also assume responsibility for your failure and the one thing any good perfectionist does not want to do is set themselves up to have to acknowledge a failure.

Perfectionists do not hear praise, from themselves or others. What they do hear is the criticisms, real or implied. Since good is never good enough and nothing but perfect is acceptable any mention of a success risks being heard as a back-handed compliment. Yes you did well this time, but what did you expect, the task was easy. Or more importantly, what will you do next time? For the perfectionist, failure is nipping at their heels and success is a distant target off on the horizon.

They dismiss out of hand all compliments by hold onto and cherish the negative message that even they are not perfect and eventually will fail.

Dr. Berry tells the story of his experiences as a child, participating in a contest with friends to throw snowballs at a post. They picked a post that was extremely far away. The consequence of setting this impossible target? If you hit it, then it was just luck. If you miss, it was so far away no one could be expected to hit it. Either way, you were expected to miss and therefore could not fail.

Perfectionists set up just such tests for themselves.

The purpose of aiming for perfection, so this theory of psychology and others goes, is to establish such unreasonably high standards that no one could be criticized for not meeting that goal. The perfectionist keeps on trying to reach perfection until one day they give up trying as impossible and drop out of school or other activities or they finally do fail and then ascribe their lack of success to the impossible expectations of others.

Do you fear failure? Are you setting yourself up with excuses that result in creating the failure you fear? What would it mean to you to set realistic goals and actually meet some of them?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.