Hope is like the stars

Hope is like the stars

Hope is like the stars

“Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. ”

― Charles H. Spurgeon

Hope: To have confidence; trust with earnest expectation of good.

To entertain or indulge an expectation of something desired

Expect; regard as likely to happen

– Century Dictionary, 1889

What give you hope?

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Hope is Spring Flowers

 

Hope is Spring Flowers

Hope is Spring Flowers

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

― Pablo Neruda

Hope – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

What brings you hope?

Hope- the missing Mental Health ingredient.

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

Hope

Hope. The missing menatl health ingrediant. 
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Without hope treatment for mental illness is ineffective.

Large doses of hope may turn out to be the most effective treatment for mental illness. It is an ingredient that has been missing from treatment programs for far too long.

The conventional wisdom, when it comes to mental health, turns out to not be true. For a long time, there has been the belief that there are two kinds of people, the normal and the mentally ill. The result of this thinking error was that we lost hope for those with a mental illness to recover.

Turns out that they is us. In their lifetime half of all Americans will have an episode of a mental illness that should be diagnosed and treated. No, just toughing it out and pretending you do not have a problem will not make it go away.

Mental Health is on a continuum. Some people’s experience of a mental illness will be more severe than others. People on this continuum can move to being more healthy or less mentally healthy. Just like physical health, you may not be able to know who is going to get which disorder at which time but we know there are risk factors and ways to keep yourself more mentally healthy.

This misunderstanding, that people without a mental illness can get better or worse and so can those with a mental illness, has impeded our ability to help those experiencing an emotional problem.

Many of our mental health treatment systems are still stuck in that old way of thinking. If the mentally ill are different from the rest of us then they will always be ill and society needs to take care of them and run their lives. That approach is devoid of hope and disregards the role of the person with an illness in managing their symptoms and their life.

If we recognize that mental illness, like physical illness, can get better at times and worse at times, then this tells us that there is hope. Hope for recovery is fundamental to any rational approach to treating mental illness.

If those with a mental illness are not permanently stuck in a hopeless place then there are things that they can do to improve their mental health and wellness. This concept, that people with a challenge can live meaningful lives, that you can recover, is one of the basic tenants of 12 step programs. It seems that recovery works very well for alcoholism and addiction – why not for mental illness?

By recovery or Wellness and Recovery we do not necessarily mean a cure. Some conditions, once you have them, there will always be a risk of a relapse. Both Mental illness and Substance Use Disorders are conditions for which there is a high risk of relapse.

If there are things that increase the risk of relapse then there are certain things that can reduce this risk. This means to me that recovery from mental illness is not something that the doctor or therapist does to the client, it is something we help the client learn to do for themselves.

Some of you are thinking, yeah right! They need to see a doctor for medication. Yes, this is true. They need the doctor’s expertise when it comes to medication. But those meds are worthless unless that person has the skills needed to take those meds as prescribed.

Every program I have ever worked at has talked about a subject called “medication compliance” as if getting people to take their meds was something we professionals should make people do. Truth is we get the best results, and so do the clients, when we empower clients to actively participate in this process.

This concept, that Hope is a necessary part of recovery, is not something original with me. The value of hope has ancient roots. When it comes to mental health it is a concept that’s time has come.

W.R.A.P. – Wellness and Recovery Action Planning.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a training on a program called “WRAP” which stands for Wellness and Recovery Action Planning.” This program was developed by and for mental health clients/consumers to use in planning to maintain their mental health and to have a plan for what to do if that mental health faced a challenge.

For more on this program see: https://copelandcenter.com/wellness-recovery-action-plan-wrap

Look also at http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/

Books about WRAP are available from https://www.wrapandrecoverybooks.com/store/

As a result of attending this training, I am now a certified W.R.A.P.  Facilitator. If you want to know more about that contact me or check out the links above.

One of the important parts of this training was the discussion of 5 “Key Concepts” that are the foundation of the W.R.A.P. program.

One of those Key concepts? You guessed it. – HOPE.

How do all of you feel about this radical concept – Hope? Do you have some? Do any of you have stories about hope and recovery you would be able to share with the other blog readers?

Consider how much hope you have and how you can build more hope for you and others.

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.

List of Feelings Posts

Counselorssoapbox.com

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

Here are some of the past posts on feelings and emotions.

Some of you have told me that it is hard to find past posts on a particular feeling. Here is a list of some of them as I find more I will add them. If you notice a post on a particular feeling, mine or another blogger’s, which has been helpful please leave a comment.

Anger – Why Controlling Anger does not work

Anxiety – Fear, anxiety or phobia?

Nervous constitution or Anxiety disorder?

              – How to turn anxiety into paranoia

Communication –

Contentment – How far is it to Contentment?

Empathy –  Emotional Chameleon or naturally empathetic?

Fear – Fear, anxiety or phobia?

Guilt – Guilt and Shame

Happiness – Pretending to be happy?

Happy Enough to make your bed? 

Hope – Hope is contagious

Listening – Learning to hear – Do you need to relearn?

Love – Model for unconditional love – your pet

Nervousness – Nervous constitution or Anxiety disorder?

Pain – When Mindfulness makes you feel worse – about pain

Paranoia – How to turn anxiety into paranoia

Perfectionism – Perfectionism – good thing or bad thing

Shame – Guilt and Shame

Trust – What will the therapist tell me about trust? Trust issues

Worry – Why worry may not be a bad thing

How many feelings do you feel? The feelings problem  

That seems to be most of the feelings posts – for now. But we will need to talk more about these and other feelings again in the future.

Hope you are all making progress on your recovery from whatever you see as your challenge and are moving forward on your journey to a happy life.

David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Hope is contagious

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

Hope

Hope.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Where do you go to get some hope when yours runs out?

There is no doubt in my mind that hope is an essential ingredient for recovery. Without hope, nothing gets done and if you do not change things then nothing changes.

How do you move from being hopeless to having hope? What is up with those people who are consistently full of hope?

One ingredient of Hope is wishing for something. Sometimes we are in misery but if we do not believe that things can get better our only wish is that things not get worse.

The dictionary (Encarta) begins its definition of Hope, as a verb, with the statement:

to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely

Fundamental to this having of hope is the belief that there is some possibility of it happening. This is why we encourage recovering people to have a support system. Even when you are beset by doubts, having positive people in your support system can increase your levels of hope.

When you go to a meeting and the person next to you tells a story of their hope and their recovery it becomes easier for you to believe that this can happen to you.

To hope requires action. The continued practice of hoping that if you take the necessary action then things can and will get better.

If you continually tell yourself “that can’t happen” or “that will never happen” you are creating that possibility. Your continued telling this tale to your brain results in the brain believing that this thing you desire can never under any circumstance happen. Your brain responds by making sure to please you and prevents this outcome.

But if you can tell yourself that this “could” happen, it “might” happen if you continue to try, this allows the brain to do the actions needed to move towards successes.

Another definition of hope includes the words:

a chance that something desirable will happen or be possible

I have seen this repeatedly in my clients and students. Those who say “I could never go back to school at my age; I could never get a degree.” They don’t.  Those who are willing to move even the short distance to “I do not know if I could do this but I will try” they get going, do the required work and in a great many cases they succeed.

Our dictionary’s second definition of Hope as a noun moves closer to successes.

a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen

Once you move to the belief that this thing, this outcome you wished for is not only possible but likely the road gets easier. Not that there won’t be obstacles and bumps on this road.

There is a connection between hope, willpower, and determination. Willpower and determination are wasted without hope? With hope, you can develop the willpower and determination needed to keep moving forward.

Many people grew up in non-affirming homes. They were told they would never amount to anything and they were no good. If you hear this often enough you come to believe what you are told. You lose hope.

Working with a counselor, a supportive friend or a group of peers you can rebuild hope. Small successes will convince you that there are things that you can do if only you try.

Hope is most valuable when times are hard and things are not going your way. The belief that there is something you can do to alter your life course and the hope that if you keep trying you can reach that goal will keep you going.

Hope is more than just a positive attitude. It encompasses the belief in yourself, that if you do the required things then good outcomes are possible.

Where are you on this journey of moving from hopelessness to hope?

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.

Why Controlling Anger does not work

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

Angry person

Anger.
Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Some anger management programs make things worse.

Some common prescriptions for anger management do not work and can make things worse. There are things that work quickly and efficiently to eliminate anger but we try to wait till you have used up all your insurance and savings before we teach you these techniques.

Counting to ten is a prescription for disaster.

I do not know about you, but for me trying to count to ten when I am angry is a really bad idea. By the time I get to ten I will have thought of ten new ways to dispose of your body. Counting to ten just gives me the time to leave my anger on the heat long enough to let it explode.

The trick here is not to learn to control your anger. The key is to learn techniques to not anger yourself in the first place. No anger – nothing to control. You think this sounds crazy, don’t you?

Albert Ellis one of the founders of REBT and CBT therapies wrote about this in a book titled “Anger: Living with it and living without it.”  It is in plenty of other books by Ellis and others. This formulation is so simple that once you get it, you almost instantly stop getting angry unless you chose to do so.

This model sometimes referred to as the A-B-C-D-E method has even made its way into an official government publication. This anger workbook is available free from the SAMHSA website. A free self-help book that also works? What a deal.

Here is my brief example of a way I use this model.

One night while teaching a class at the local college, a student in the very front row suddenly slams her books shut, grabs her stuff and goes running for the door. No phone call, no explanation, she just runs from my class. We had a break coming up, couldn’t she wait till then?

This is clearly very rude. I feel disrespected. She has really made me angry. I vow that next week before I start class I am going to have a talk with this impolite person.

What she did, running out of my class, has disrespected me and made me angry.

A = activating event.

Which is what she did. She did it and she made me angry.

C = is the consequence, my anger.

So A caused C. Her action made me angry. With me so far? In class when I explain this, the students usually argue with me as we go along, trying to make me angrier. I am hoping you will hang in to the end.

The following week this same student is waiting at the door for me to unlock the classroom. Before I can read her the riot act she begins apologizing. She explains that she is so sorry that she ran from the room last week. She ate some food she bought from a street vendor on the way to class last week and she had a sudden attack of diarrhea.

Am I still angry at her? Probably not. See in between the “A” the Activating event, in this case, her running from the classroom and the “C” my anger, there is this other thing a “B.”

B = Belief as in “my belief about why people do things.”

If I believe that the reason people do things is to be mean and disrespectful to me then I will be angry. If I think that they did it because of some problem they have, then I do not take it personally.

Note that it does not matter whether it is true or not. I do not need to know if she is telling the truth to either become angry or feel sorry for her. If she really just was bored and chose to leave the class and make a scene but later decided to apologize and make up a story, I will still not get angry if “I believe” that she was not being rude.

Also if I chose to not believe her, even if she did have an attack of food poisoning, I will be mad at her despite the apology and the excuse.

The key to my anger is not in her actions or her apology. It is in what I chose to believe.

So anytime I feel myself getting angry I can –

D = dispute that belief.

If I can think of other reasons that people do things, then I can come up with alternative feelings. The result of this revelation is that I can disconnect those buttons and thereafter no one can ever “make me angry” by what they do.

The result of all this D (Disputing) is that I can choose to believe what I want and create an:

E = Effective new belief.

Now there may still be times that people do things that I find unacceptable and I will allow myself to get angry even if they did those things out of an acceptable reason. Or I can choose to never anger myself about what people do because if I anger myself I am likely to be the one who reacts out of anger and gets in trouble.

Now some of you are resisting this idea. You would like to hang onto your belief that other people make you angry because they don’t do things they “should do.” Or they refuse to do things they “must” do. Ellis had a lot to say about the dangers of “shoulding on yourself” and “Musterbation.”  I will let you read him for that.

Consider that there are evil people in the world and they do evil things. There are “stupid people” and they, of course, do “stupid” things. I do not need to like those things. I may even resist or oppose those things, but I do not need to anger myself when stupid people do stupid things. That is, after all, what they are supposed to be doing right?

Once you grasp this principle you do not ever need to allow anyone to make you feel any way other than the one way you chose. You may, however, need to cut some stupid or inconsiderate people out of your life because you choose not to put up with their behavior towards you.

If your ex continues to make you angry then you are choosing to continue to be in a dysfunctional relationship with them.

Consider this idea and maybe check out the SAMHSA anger management book or one of Albert Ellis’s books. If this idea makes sense to you let me know. If this post made you angry because you continue to believe that other people control your emotions and you chose to comment and tell me so, I may choose to delete your comment so I do not anger or upset myself over hostile comments.

Hope you have a happy and anger free day.

Give this process a try and see if you don’t find that you can anger yourself or not anger yourself depending on what you chose to do.

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.