My Therapy Practice Description

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Weight Loss & Stress

     Why is weight loss so hard?  It is because we are battling both our body and our mind.  Our brain chemistry can drive overeating and food is a powerful drug for numbing negative emotions.  
     Energy psychology techniques like tapping on acupuncture points is a powerful tool for calming the engine that drives overeating.  By tapping on cravings and core issues you can learn how to “eat to live instead of live to eat.” I have personally experienced that shift through EFT.   I have lost 75 lbs. and still tapping my way towards reaching my wellness weight.  So I have decided to offer this workshop while I am still on the weight loss journey.
                  July 29th – Sunday, 2018

·  Learn Tapping and Mind/Body Techniques for reaching your Wellness weight

·  Learn How to stop Food Cravings

·  Identify & Eliminate Emotional Overeating 

·   Learn how to Get and Stay Motivated
·  Effectively Manage Emotions that Lead to Overeating

Begin your Journey Toward Permanent Weight Loss

“I'll show you how to use EFT Tapping and Energy Psychology to reach your Ideal Weight.  Stop food cravings, stop feeling deprived, tame your inner resistance and resolve core emotional issues that contribute to overeating.”

6:30 to 8:30 pm
The Soul Purpose
1225 GAR Highway, Swansea, Ma.

$35 per person

To register for the workshop, or to learn more about EFT, please contact:
Phone:    (774) 264-1329   can text

  Greg Carpenter LMFT
   Licensed  Marriage and Family Therapist – Energy Psychology - Sound Therapy

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Upcoming Workshops

If your here looking to make a counseling appointment you will find my contact information on the right side or you can click on the Zencare badge for a site all about my therapy practice.  If you are looking for some opportunities for personal growth check out the following workshops.


  • Getting Unstuck (for general public) - June 10th Sunday 6:30 - 8:30 pm at The Soul Purpose 1225 GAR   Highway, Swansea, Ma.  Cost $35  This workshop will focus on releasing negative feelings and beliefs that keep you stuck.  You will learn how to use tapping on acupoints and focus of attention (Emotional Freedom Technique) to move towards emotional freedom.  Contact me for more information.  ph 401.265.2951 or

  • Himalaya Singing Bowl Meditation & Workshop (for therapist and coaches) - June 21st Thursday 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm  Cost $50  Location: My Office 21 Brook St. #14, Seekonk, Ma. This workshop is designed for counselors/coaches seeking to use sound for self-care and with their clients.  We will also cover "the how to" of integrating sound work into your therapy practice.  We will conclude our time with a relaxing 35 minute sound meditation.  Class is limited to seven.  Four opening remain.  Contact me for more information ph #401.265.2951 or

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Relationships Matter III: Your Attachment Style

Read the following three paragraphs listed below and indicate which paragraphs best characterize the way you think, feel and behave in close relationships. 
A. I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, others want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being.
B. I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don't worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.
C. I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn't really love me or won't want to stay with me. I want to get very close to my partner, and this sometimes scares people away.
Researchers by the name of Hazen and Shaver asked respondents to make these same choices in order to learn more about adult attachment styles in their key relationships.  What they found is that 60% of adults categorized themselves as secure (paragraph B) and 20% described themselves as avoidant (paragraph A) and 20% described themselves as anxious-resistant (paragraph C).
Interestingly, these are about the same percentages found when measuring attachment in infants.
Psychologist Mary Ainsworth devised the Strange Situation Classification (in one to two year olds) in order to understand how attachment might vary between children. This research created different scenarios including a mother, stranger and baby in a small room together.  Then the mother would leave the room.  Upon her return, researchers would score and observe the interaction toward the mother by the child.  A child’s temperament might predict how they would react when the mother left.  But what the researchers were observing was the child’s response upon her return. 
Three attachment styles were observed by Ainsworth (1970) and a fourth later identified by Main and Solomon 1990.
1.     Safe and Secure – “I am loveable and others will be responsive.”

One of the greatest predictor of satisfaction in adult relationships is our attachment styles.  Children who were raised with generally consistent attunement and connection grew into adulthood with what is often called “Safe and Secure Attachment.”  They developed a positive working image of themselves and saw others as being helpful.  They saw themselves as worthy of respect and love.

2    Anxious – “I need other people, but I am not sure I can rely on them.”

Those children who experienced nurture, attunement and connection in an inconsistent pattern developed an adult Anxious Attachment Style.  In this pattern, children experienced their caregivers tuning into them in a loving way, but just as frequently also often experienced the vacuum or withdrawal of that connection.  The in and out nature of that important connection from a parent or caregiver resulted in an adult narrative that says “I need other people, but I am not sure I can rely on them.”
      Avoidant – “I am on my own, all alone and I really don’t need anyone.”

Another group of children were identified that didn’t receive much soothing, emotional safety, security or an experience of feeling seen.  This Avoidant Attachment Style may have had their survival needs taken care of, but received little attuned interaction to help them develop neurological circuitry for social engagement. We have two major brain systems that impact our relationships.  One is all about safety and the other is about connections and social engagement.  This unresponsive primary caregiver taught the child that communicating their needs had no influence on their mother or father.  As adults, Avoidant Attachment Styles often have a core belief that of, “I am on my own, all alone and I really don’t need anyone.” 
      Disorganized – “Sometimes I fall apart and can’t depend upon myself.”

       A fourth category was also discovered with children that had been abused or experienced ongoing trauma called disorganized attachment.  Adult attachment expert Diane Poole Heller provides this descriptions, When parents set up these interactions that are frightening, disorienting, inherently disorganizing, and which sometimes involve violence, the parents become the source of fear. The disorganized pattern arises in the child when there is a desire to be close to the parent as an object of safety, conflicting with a drive to detach from a dangerous and confusing caregiver. For the Adult this may mean being held emotionally hostage by the conflict of the desire for intimacy and as the fear of it.” 
This Disorganized Attachment Style in adulthood often experiences lifes as “sometimes I fall apart and can’t depend upon myself.”  
The So What and Now What

If this is your first pass through attachment styles, you might like many, a bit defeated.  You may have read this as fate or reinforcement that you or your partner can’t change.  We now know that change is possible.  Our history certainly influences our relationships but it is not necessarily our destiny (by the way "avoidant" folk often believe that the past has no influence on who they are now).  A difficult early childhood has a great influence on your adult attachment style, but it isn’t fate. 

Some folk need to learn how to manage their anxiety and to communicate without the implied or overt criticisms that often flows freely.  Others need to recognize that they do have a need for connection and need to work on learning how to attune and engage more deeply.  If you are interested in learning more about your attachment style I would recommend the ..test on Diane Poole Heller’s web site. Click here for the test.

Therapeutic experiences, couples counseling, understanding our how attachment styles shape our perception, along with being in a healthy relationships can make all the difference in your relational health.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Relationships Matter II: The Negative Dance

When an internal alarm goes off and tells you that something is off  in your relationship, this is when you as a partner can step back and realize that your relationship might be caught up in an emotional gridlock (what I like to call “negative dances”).  These dances are a result of feeling abandoned or dominated by our partner.   Emotional gridlock is when the content can change with each fight and the defensive dance steps remain the same.  Most couples slip into one of these negative dances once in awhile, but when it becomes a persistence pattern that is easily triggered, emotional connection can disappear.

Dr. Sue Johnson, one of the primary developers of Emotional Focused Therapy for couples identifies three negative dances that she calls “Demon Dialogues” (author of Hold Me Tight and Love Sense).  These negative dances disrupt our sense of safety and connection, placing us in a protected defensive emotional state. 

1.     1. Find the Bad Guy
This is a dance of mutual blame and is a dead end pattern that keeps couples miles of apart.  It blocks re-engagement and the creation of a safe haven.  One partner may blame the other for creating a mountain out of a molehill and overreacting.  The other may respond by making an accusation that their partner is emotionally minimizing their feelings and turning a mountain of a problem into a molehill.  These patterns when kept up over time often morphs into the second negative dance, The Protest Polka.  The antidote is to realize that no one has to be the bad guy.  It is the negative dance that is the virus.

I often tell couples that my systems approach to counseling assumes that no one is to blame and that everyone is responsible for their relationship.  Your relationship is greater than the sum of your individual histories and personalities.  There is you, your partner and the interaction in your relationship.  It is your relationship dance or interaction that is the source of the problem.  Blaming only throws gas on the fire of conflict.

2.      2. The Protest Polka
  One researcher calls this the “demand-withdraw, criticize – defend” dance.  In the Protest Polka, one person is reacting to or protesting the perceived loss of a secure connection.  This criticism is often followed by your partner withdrawing and quietly protesting the implied criticism.  Each partner needs to see beyond the issues and view the whole dance.  Both partners need to recognize how the other’s moves pulls them into this dance.  This dance is about distress over the growing distance in the relationship.  It cannot be solved through more logic, emotional outburst, protests or avoidant behavior.

3.      3. The Freeze or Flee or Withdraw 
This dance of withdrawal usually follows the Protest Polka that has been going on for awhile.   Once the relationship begins to feel hopeless, the protesting partner gives up and put their emotions and needs in the deep freeze.  The avoidant/distancing partner is glad to experience a reduction in the attacks or criticisms.  Both partners are now sitting out the dance of their relationship.  They have left the intimate magnetic field of their relationship.  What is leftover is only numbness and distance.  They may look like a cooperative and polite couple at social events, but deep down the couple has lost any sense of intimacy.  The love relationship is over unless some intervention can reboot their connection.

Being able to hold onto and center your-self while observing these negative dances is an important first step towards building a stronger connection.  This requires learning how to calm your-self and effectively manage your emotions in the absence of feeling your partner’s connection.  But this isn’t about holding our breath!  It is about learning to advocate for those parts of us that are freaking out or shutting down without emotionally going from 0 to 60 mph in a split second.

Turning around these negative dances begins with knowing our own part in the dance. 

  •       How do we create the traps that we are caught in?
  •          Do we get anxious and pursue our partner with implied criticism?
  •          Do we get angry and attack someone for their failure to engage? 
  •          Do we go off line and fail to notice our partner’s distress or attempt to engage? 
  •          Do we move through life emotionally numb, as if we don’t need anyone?
It is important to discover that our defenses are rooted in our attachment styles that were fostered in our childhood.  My next blog entry will review these attachment styles and the impact they have on our beliefs and significant relationships.