Offering Online Therapy

I offer HIPPA compliant Video Sessions for simple and secure session for for all new and returning clients. No download required. Please contact me for more information or if you would like to schedule an appointment or consultation. Thanks you! Greg Carpenter LMFT

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Getting Along With Your Spouse During The Pandemic

Michele Weiner-Davis is an prolific author on relationships, has done a Ted-X talk and like myself has over three decades of experience as relationship therapist.  If I were going to do a video on couples coping during the COVID19 pandemic, this would be it.
Our current challenges created by this pandemic is a time when differences in parenting styles, personality types and values can take a large toll on marriages and partnerships.  

In my work, couples are struggling with different beliefs about what Social Distancing should look like for themselves and their kids.   I agree with Weiner-Davis with going on the side of caution.  If you spouse is uncomfortable and anxious when you drive over the speed limit, you should make adjustments to help them with their anxiety.  This applies with the pandemic as well.  It doesn't mean he or she is right and your wrong.  It means when agreeing to disagree on a hot topic like sheltering in place, social distancing or doing whatever you please; it is prudent and loving to err on the side of caution.  

Back in the mid 80's, I attended her training event at my first American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conference in Washington DC.  As great as her expertise and ideas are, she is even more of a delight and positive energetic soul with a great heart.  Here is the link to her nine minute video on couples coping during these challenging times.

Here is Michele Weiner-Davis Talk on Couples Coping with These Challenging Times Part I

Here is Michele Weiner-Davis Part II Couples and Corona Virus

There is more complexity here than can be currently explored in short post.  Yes, there is a lot of what if's.  But the trick is to not let your difference slide into a power struggle over who is going to do what, when and how.  Your relationship is bigger than that.  It is about your heart connection and desire to feel intimacy, nurture, safety and belonging.   

She is right in saying that these are unprecedented times for most of us.  Like early explorers, we have traveled off the map and are waiting for new orders.  If you are struggling and feel your conflicts are becoming toxic and may have lasting impact, reach out for help.  

I have been offering telehealth or remote session for a long time.   There are others as well who are here to help couples work through their difficulties.  Besides the counseling services I offer, is a great site for finding therapists.  Finding a Therapist Resource - Zencare.  

Meanwhile, consider writing down your favorite calming and mentally rebooting techniques on the back of  a business card and keep it with you.  When we get highly stressed we forget our resources.  Looking through this site you will find many.  

Also, you can go to my site and click on the tab mental rebooting techniques for additional ideas. Take care, be well and stay calm as possible.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Self Sabatoge

15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15 – 17 Epistle of St. Paul

How often do you set a goal to change something and then wind up doing the opposite? For some of us, we not only do the opposite but do the very thing we hate! In this article, I want to engage the topic of self-sabotage and introduce a new method of tapping I have been using for the past few years with great results.

Self-sabotage happens when our behavior creates problems and interferes with our goals and intentions. We can make a conscious decision to head due south and before you notice it, we are walking in the opposite direction! That is the negative side and power of the subconscious mind!

In my office folk talk about every-day type of problems like weight loss, getting more exercise and sleep, better stress management, less temper outbursts, managing anxiety and being a better partner. Quite often folk talk about how they start off with great intentions and then end up sabotaging their own efforts to change.

Sometimes we can just make up our mind to make a change and that is all there is to it (back when Surgeon General informed the public that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health, my Dad decided to quit and never smoked again).  One couple I counseled, complained about having intense fights when in the car together but never anywhere else. So, I suggested that they never talk about stressful or conflicted topics when in the car. Change the context change the problem. And guess what? It worked and they never had another intense – over the top fight again.

Digging Deeper

But often we encounter that our best efforts, intentions and will power aren’t enough to create change or as Paul identified centuries ago, “…I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate.” During these times we need to dig deeper. We need to look the roots feeding the self-sabotage.

I lost a significant amount of weight and as I got very close to my goal, there was this very tiny thought that popped up into my awareness. “You are easier to push around.”  At the time, I thought that was weird and pushed it aside. What we resist has a way of persisting. Sure enough, I gained back all that weight in one third the time took me to lose it!

There are four (and sometimes more) subconscious negative beliefs that are at the root of self-sabotage. 

1. I don’t deserve it… 
2. It isn’t possible… 
3. It isn’t safe… and 
4. It will change my identity or who I am.

There are many ways to work we these wounded parts that are highly effective. Many of the come under the heading of what I call the alphabet therapies; EMDR, BSP, EFT, TFT, TAT, SET, IEP and so on. What they all have in common is tuning into that part of us that feels wounded and intervening with technique that helps that part to lighten its load or heal it’s wounds.

My preferred intervention center around sound and tapping therapy. During the last two years I have found Steve Well’s Intention-based Energy Process to be highly effective. 

Here is Steve Well’s description of IEP,  “…a powerful process I developed that I’m currently calling Intention-based Energy Process (IEP).  IEP enables you to rapidly release emotional stress and restore yourself to a place of clarity, calm, and focus. IEP uses specific intentions that function as commands to your unconscious mind to release the fears, emotional attachments and negative beliefs that have been keeping you stuck. It can also help to clear the disturbed feelings in your body, and restore your energy back to flow. When you feel clear in your body and your mind you are able to make good decisions.” Steve Wells

Here is a link to an hour plus video of Steve Wells working with and teaching his IEP method. 

Combining tapping on acupoints and/or sound therapy with IEP has produced outstanding results.  One person had been living with debilitating symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for nearly two years.  He had typical symptoms of avoidance, hyper-vigilance and flashbacks from his past life threatening illness.  This person also struggled with feeling flat and numb.  After eight session of tapping, sound therapy and using intention statements, the symptoms were gone and our work was completed (results don't always come this quickly).  

Sometimes couples go through a crisis or experience that they can't put behind them.  Because they cannot let go of the past, they can't fully open their heart or get over a betrayal of trust (sometimes real or imagined).  By carefully and gently targeting the past betrayal through tapping and the use of specific intention statements, they are able to digest the past and let it be just a memory without the emotional charge.  This makes it easier for a person to work on rebuilding trust and re-engaging in a heart to heart connection.

In my own experience using Steve Well's IEP process is also highly effective on performance issues at work, sports or public speaking.