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

Monday, November 27, 2023

I am currently reading a book by Jeffrey Rediger MD. "Cured: The Life-Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing.” I had met Dr. Rediger back in 2019 when we were sitting at the same banquet table at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference. He is a psychiatrist who also had an interest in healing and spirituality.

 I was eager to read his book and jumped around and scanned different chapters.

Dr. Rediger first went to seminary and then onto medical school. In seminary he was looking for answers and this is what one of his professor’s stated, "The goal is not necessarily to arrive at an absolute answer. The goal is to improve the quality of your questions. The quality of your questions determines the quality of your answers."

 Dr. Rediger goes on to state, "The questions we ask are the guiding light that moves us forward. If we're asking good questions, we very well might be moving in a good direction.”

 Here are three questions I find helpful when trying to dig deeper into what values are guiding your life.

 1. What is most important to you?

2. What do you most want to feel or experience?

3. What do you most want to avoid feeling or experiencing?

 Many of my counseling clients come in guided by what they want to avoid. Quite often they value security above all else. There is nothing wrong with that being your top value. But for many of my clients, they realized their life was driven by fear and what they didn't want to feel.

 Part of the goal of counseling is to “walk along side” my clients as they shift from avoiding what they don't want to experience and move to seeking what is truly most important to them.  The beginning point of this journey is asking the right questions.  What is the guiding lights and questions that are organizing your perceptions?

 Long ago I was exposed to this old adage during one of my trainings. 

 Our Perceptions yields our Behavior which yields our Destiny.

 We could reframe that and add to the beginning…

 Our Questions yield our Perceptions which yields our Behavior which yields our Destiny.”

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Solid Flexible Self and Intimacy


I just finished reading "Intimacy and Desire" by David Snarch. I met Dr. Snarch decades ago at a workshop when I was in my 30's. He is a relationship and sex therapist with an emphasis on self-differentiation (more on that later). I had read his book “Passionate Marriage” back then and was amazed at his insights and wisdom.

Self-Differentiation was a big concept applied to leadership back in the day when I was a pastor of a local church. It was very helpful in learning how to be self-defined and stay open and connected.

Some people are very self-defined and autonomous but very rigid and closed to being influenced by others. On the other hand, there are folk who are not self-defined and are driven by the anxiety to people please and avoid conflict.  

His goes on to define the Solid Flexible Self by stating, "The more solid your sense of self, the more important you can let your partner be to you, and the more you can let yourself be truly known. You can change you mind when warranted. You can be flexible without losing your identity."

His book Intimacy & Desire is less about technique and method than it is about exploring how natural it is for folk in committed relationships to get stuck. Getting stuck is a call to grow, expand and find yourself.

David wrote this book in 2009. I was sad to see he had died suddenly. He was a great asset to the therapy and relationship community.  His concept of The Four Points of Balance is very helpful. Here is the link if you would like to read about these four points in more detail than I am offering here or without reading the entire book. 

Here they are, but I recommend clicking on the link to go into what seems simple but is full of profound wisdom and insight. Click Here

The Four Points of Balance... 

1. Solid Flexible Self - "the ability to be clear about who your are and what you're about, especially when your partner pressures you to adapt and conform."

2. Quiet Mind - Calm Heart - "being able to calm yourself down, soothe your own hurts, and regulate your own anxieties."

3. Grounded Response - "the ability to stay calm and not overreact, rather than creating distance or running away when your partner gets anxious or upset."

4. Meaningful Endurance - "being able to step up and face the issues that bedevil you and your relationships, and the ability to tolerate discomfort for the sake of growth.

Dr. Snarch goes on to give examples of how difficulties in the Four Points of Balance™ create an emotional gridlock in relationships.  He describes one couple’s difficulty in the Four Points of Balance.

1.  Difficulty staying clear about their value and worth in the face of criticism from their partner.

2.  Difficulty calming their anxieties and soothing their emotional bruises.

3.  Difficulty staying grounded and not overreacting when their partner was anxious or on edge.  Attempts to calm themselves down consisted of avoiding conversation or clinging and arguing.

4. Difficulty confronting themselves about what they were doing or not doing.  They wouldn't tolerate frustration or put forth the sustained effort required to achieve their goals.

In my own relationship, I have found that working on my Solid Flexible Self, Quieting my Mind and having a Calm Heart, avoiding overreacting and having a Grounded Response. and facing my issues with Meaningful Endurance has been very effective.  

I tell myself and my clients that if you are way over a 5 on a 1 - 10 scale (10 being the highest distress and 0 no stress) then other memories and wounds are most likely dog piling onto your current situation.   We are wired to be at a 10 during life and death situations.  But our brain can take the past or our fear of the future and spin them in such a way that we react to our partners as if it is life or death.

I hope you will click on the above link and dig deeper into Dr. Snarch's Four Points of Balance™.  I believe you will find them very helpful.


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Your "WIndow of Tolerance"

 The other day someone was angry with me and started to “go off” and cross over the line of my tolerance. I felt myself getting angry and about to walk away (flight) and at the same time words were running through my mind like “piss off” or something worse (fight). I was able to catch myself, step back internally and take a deep breath and re-engage the person angry with me.

For me the goal in these moments is to listen to the part of me that is angry, take the information in a grounded way and advocate for that part without becoming emotional driven by my primitive brain. Easier said than done. On this day it was a win for managing my emotions effectively with a productive outcome and resolution. I have also experienced situations that felt overwhelming where the freeze response kicked in and I felt a little “out of body,” spacey or numb. Fight, Flight or Freeze states are nervous system response to when we feel threated or overwhelmed.
The "Window of Tolerance" is a concept in psychology and trauma therapy coined by Dr. Dan Siegal. This metaphorical window represents the zone where we can function at our best emotionally. When we are inside the Window of Tolerance, we can experience our emotions and feelings without jumping into the emotional dysregulation of the fight, flight or freeze response. It describes the desired emotional state where we can effectively cope with stress, emotions, and daily life challenges. Life lived inside the Window of Tolerance feels centered and good. When we get outside of this window, it is harder to manage our emotions, think clearly and engage in problem-solving and adapt to what life is throwing at us. Life lived within the Window of Tolerance means experiencing a sense of well-being and centeredness.
Traumatic experiences, extreme stress, or other factors can push a person outside of their Window of Tolerance. This can lead to one of two states:
1. Hyperarousal: When a person is in a state of hyperarousal, they are overly activated and may experience intense emotions such as anxiety, anger, or panic. They may be in a constant "fight or flight" mode, making it difficult to think rationally or engage in effective problem-solving.
2. Hypo-arousal: In a state of hypo-arousal, a person becomes emotionally numb, detached, or dissociated. They may feel emotionally shut down, have difficulty connecting with their own feelings, and struggle to engage with the world around them.
In my counseling work, I help clients learn techniques to help manage emotions when they get dysregulated (fight, flight or freeze). My go to tools is tapping on acupoints, Intention Energy Process, listening to brainwave entrainment music, and breath work.
My personal work in this area has resulted in better sleep, feeling more centered in the storms of life and a healthier heart beat (my heart used to skip a beat)
For more information on the helpful concept of The Window of Tolerance, go to NICABM link - click here
I have included a cool visual hand out created by NICABM on the Windor of Tolerance
There you will find some more practical methods for managing you emotions so you can stay inside or get back to the Window of Tolerance. Hope you find this concept and practice helpful.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Rough Days

I wrote this yesterday for my Facebook Group "Getting Unstuck." Maybe you will relate and find these thoughts helpful here...

Today has been a rough day. Sometimes reality smacks you in the face and you have to deal with it. I had a break in my schedule to get out of the house and go to what I call my other office, Starbucks (only 3 miles away).

Since I work out of my house, getting away can be a big deal. My point today is how important Social Space Connections (to learn more about the four spaces of connection click here) are to our well being. I have plenty of friends I can call for support and do that freely.
But today, I am aware of how meaningful social connections can be. Chantel works full time at Starbucks and remembers my first name and uses it with a smile everytime she takes my order (Hot Venti Caramel Latte or Pumpkin depending on the season).
Today that little brief social space connection (where in life we exchange pleasantries and almost no real personal information) lifted my spirit and touched something deeper in me that transcends a rough day. Without knowing it, in a brief two minute exchange, I was brought back to me myself.
My buddy Lee Monday (who is a psychologist) wrote a book entitled "Enjoy The Ride," after a long talk last night last night, he texted me "life is an adventure - enjoy the ride."
Coming from anyone else, I might have texted back a swear. But in reading that text, I realized that grief and pain are part of the journey - the ride. It is my emotional attachment to the pain that causes it to get stuck in my nervous system.
My emotional attachment to the past, the future or how things SHOULD be will stop the flow of energy and block a connection to my higher or centered self, the essence of who I am.
This doesn't mean that we spiritually bypass our pain, rather we go into it to restore it to flow and balance. One of the statements in Intention Tapping is "I restore the flow to (fill in the blank)." By restoring the flow to blocked sadness (in this case) it returns to flow, maybe a good cry and release. I repeated this many times after my late wife Elizabeth died two years ago. This would often result in a good cry, release and return to better flow and balance (more grounded).

There are angels all around us, the messengers of grace and possibility. If only we open our eyes to see. Even that divine sight seems to be a gift as well.

For more information on the intention tapping process I use, go to or click here

For joining the FB group Getting Unstuck, here is the QR code.

Thursday, August 17, 2023


Anxiety is often thought of as something that other people experience. I am finding that many people have more anxiety than they realize. It may not keep them from leaving the house or working. However, their anxiety acts like a low-grade fever that robs them of vitality and feeling good or even great.

Looking back, I now realize how much my busy mind was keeping my own low grade anxious feelings churning.  I thought I was problem solving but in reality, it was worry and rumination. I had got used to those feelings, so they didn't really get noticed until my adrenalin was really flowing. Some part of me felt congruent with the height of adrenalin (and as my father would say) "the joy of meeting yourself coming around the corner!" This resulted in using food to de-stress, feeling restless a good deal of the time, an irregular heartbeat and lower back problems.

Over 15 years ago, I began to learn more about the brain and anxiety. The way your brain fires is the way it wires is neurosciences way of saying that you can literally get neurologically addicted to your negative feelings. After working on becoming less tolerant of stress and feeling anxious, I began to rewire my brain and set point for feeling anxious.

When I realized that my worry and stress was rewiring my brain to make it easier to get stressed, I knew it was time to run an experiment on myself. So, I decided that whenever I got to a five or higher (zero to ten scale with zero being chill and 10 being in extreme anxiety), I would use tapping on acupoints or listening to brainwave entrainment music to shift my nervous system. Instead of focusing on the content of my anxiety, I focused on shifting my nervous system once I had a fix on what was bothering me.

Withing 3 weeks, I was going to sleep with greater ease, by 8 weeks I was feeling much calmer than I had in a long time. By six months, it really felt like my brain had established a new pattern. I was able to center myself much quicker (sometimes with just one deep breath) and sit with my feelings more easily, without getting up over a 5. 

Today, I intervened much quicker (with my go to shifting tools) to mentally reboot and shift my nervous systems response to life's event. As a result, my relationship with food is healthier, my back is the best it has been in decades and my irregular heartbeat has vanished.

Rick Hanson in his book "The Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom," states that we are designed to be pretty chill 98% of the time. 2% of the time we may actually need to be jazzed up to fight or run when there is true life and death danger. The problem is, as life and our brains have evolved, we can create all sorts of scenarios in our head that get us to react physiologically as if something is dangerous, when it is not!

Learning to calm an over reactive nervous system is about learning to get out of your head into your life. Most of the stuff we fear never happens.

My go to tools today are brainwave entrainment music, tapping on acupoints, Intention Energy Process and sound therapy.

Here are some links to resources that I used today… click here click here click here

My Meditative Sound Channel click here

Native Flute Sound Meditations Albums 
click here 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Rethinking Relationships Part II (for Part I scroll down)

 Part II

When I was reading JR Meyers’ book, (The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community and Small Groups), it became clear to me that my perceptions on relationships needed to shift.  As someone who had a major preference for close relationship with strong ties and deeper sharing (what I refer to as ‘in close’ engagement style), I was challenged by Myers to look at the value of relationships that can be easy to dismiss as superficial or perfunctory. Here is a quick run through of his thoughts and language for belonging and connections.

Four Spaces of Connection (JR Myers)

  • Public belonging "occurs when people connect through outside influence or an external event." While visiting my sister in Kansas, we attended a football game between the New England Patriot’s and Kansas City Chief’s. Of course, the East Coast Carpenters had to wear their Patriot gear.  There was an immediate connection with others Patriot fans without sharing any personal information. A nod, a yes here and there and even an occasional high five from a stranger communicated that we were in this together.

Did you ever leave a great theatre performance, concert or movie and feel that rush of energy and connection with others who shared the same experience.  That is Public Space belonging.  You don’t share any information but still feel a type of connection to each other.

  • Social belonging "occurs when we share "snapshots" of what it would be like to be in personal space with us." This is where you put your "best foot forward." Yet, you aren’t really sharing any deep or private information. Examples of this space might be at your place of employment or where you get your hair cut. For some folk, this might be the coffee hour after worship service, cocktail party, or some other social gathering.

I recently attended my nephew’s wedding in Kansas City.  At the reception I had a chance to talk to many people I hadn’t met before.  We talked about how we liked to travel, what it was like to live on the East Coast, what hotels we were staying at, but there was no deep private information being shared.  This is a space where we are sticking our social toe in the water to see if we want more connection or if the space is safe enough to get to know someone further.

  • Personal belonging is where "we share private experience, feelings and thoughts without making folk feel uncomfortable." These are relationships that we typically name as friends. They know more about us than our acquaintances, but less than our “intimates.”  There is a continuum of low to higher levels of sharing within this space.  When I was attending graduate school in Boston, I took Jiu Jitsu classes and met another graduate student.  We tossed each other around on the mat during classes but never really shared much information.  Soon we were talking more after class and realized we had more in common than our love of martial arts (both were interning at different counseling centers at the time).  Eventually, we became friends.  I can remember like it was yesterday sitting on the back porch in Boston at the age of 26 and idealistically sharing how we wanted life to look in three decades.  Today, he is one of my best friends.
  • Intimate belonging is the space where we “share ‘naked’ experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Most people have very few relationships that are considered intimate. These relationships are where we can share the deepest parts of ourselves, the core wounds, and negative beliefs we hold about ourselves and still feel accepted.  In my friendship with Lee, that started out in social space, moved into personal connection and wound-up decades later in what Meyers calls intimate belonging. Over the years we developed a trust where we could share our struggles, losses, fears, and dreams and know that each other would still be there.  There isn’t much that we don’t know about each other.   


Myers helps us to understand the value of connecting in all four spaces of belonging.  Some may have a bias that anything less than personal space is somehow “second class.” Others may undervalue the need for personal and intimate space. His thinking helps us to understand how each space has its own significance and place of belonging.  When my friend Stan (who is a pastor) and I talked about these concepts, we discovered that I was a bit dismissive of “superficial” social and public belonging and he really was less comfortable with Intimate and Personal belonging.  By wrestling and discussing the concepts we learned over time to have a more balanced appreciation for the connections across all four types.


Understanding your engagement style and spaces of connection is important for finding your relationship road map.  Somethings can’t be learned.  But emotional and social intelligence is something where having knowledge and self-awareness can make a world of difference.  Did you ever have someone come up to you at a social gathering and they were just doing the TMI (too much information) dance?  You can see the discomfort in the group when folk are talking about the Red Sox, weather or favorite movie and someone tries to give a detailed description about their failing marriage or knee replacement surgery struggles.


The reality is that all of us will cross in and out of all four of these spaces of belonging, if not every day most likely every week.  It is helpful to know how to recognize what relationship “country” we have walked into.  If you are in public space connection and are expecting deep personal relationships to quickly develop, you will be greatly disappointed.  You might even blame the group or yourself.  Knowing our comfort zones and how to navigate different spaces will help to create more satisfying connections and experiences. 

Let me know in the comments what are your preferences? 

Where do you feel the need to develop greater skills? 

Which of the connection spaces do you need more of, less of? 

Rethinking Relationships

Part I

“In a world of ‘Likes,’ ‘Followers,’ and ‘Friends,’ it’s difficult to discern who belongs, how they want to connect, and what you can do to encourage belonging to you. (Joseph R. Meyers author).”  Today it is even a challenge to define who is our neighbor, who are our people and where do I belong.  The division and conflict between “tribes” and ideologies has never been more apparent, as division over beliefs is prioritized over belonging and community.

So, who IS my neighbor?  Is it that anonymous person who sends me an email from some foreign land with the promise of quick riches or is secretly seeking to get my PayPal password? Is it the Bank Teller who manages to smile and say have a nice day when I am the 50th person who has also forgotten to write an account number on their check. Is it your several hundred friends listed on your Facebook page (for those who partake) or other social media?

I ran across a book several years ago that reframed how I looked at relationships.  For me, it transformed my thinking and perceptions in the world of connection.  Working as a pastor and therapist at the time, I was biased toward close and personal relationships.  I took for granted the importance of connecting with people in brief social contacts.  During the year after my late wife died, I sometimes didn’t know what to do with all this ‘alone’ time.  On some weekends I would go for a hike and meet a couple on the path that was walking their dog.  I would say, “great looking dog.”  That would lead to a three-minute connection and pleasantries with someone I most likely would never see again.  These connections are important.  Positive connections in social space are important to our emotional wellbeing.

In today’s virtual world of connection and instant news, it can also feel like we are bombarded with a type of connected yet disconnected world of everyone living virtually next door. Joseph R. Myers, drawing on the work of anthropologist Edward T. Hall, has shed some light about relationships, connection, and space (The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community and Small Groups). He states that our educational training may have prioritized meaning and believing over belonging and connecting.  I would add that our American culture leans toward valuing doing (work) over being present with each other. People more than ever are struggling to make connections and report feeling isolated.

The Washington Post reports,While research on the benefits of social connections has generally focused on the importance of “strong ties,” or the intimate relationships we have with family and close friends, a growing body of research is shedding light on the hidden benefits of casual acquaintances, too. Surprisingly, these “weak ties” (that funny colleague, for example) can serve important functions such as boosting physical and psychological health and buffering against stress and loneliness, researchers have found.”

That isn’t to suggest they take the place of stronger more intimate relationships.  Those are also clearly very important.  But it does give us pause to reflect on our own relationship patterns and connections.

Consider your own need for personal space or connection. If we place you on a bell curve, some of you will come out on the 15 per cent who have a more distant engagement style.  You are more reluctant to share personal information. Others of you will be on that other end of the 15 percent who will have an “in close” engagement style where you don’t feel like you are really connected unless you know a person’s hope/dreams, what makes them tick and what is most important to them.  Most folk fall somewhere in the middle.  One style isn’t superior to the other.  They each have their strengths and constraints. 

Understanding differences and perceptions is important in developing friendships and entering new groups.  What one person might perceive as distant and aloof might be seen as respectful of boundaries and privacy, by another.  What someone might judge as intrusive behavior without boundaries, could be described as friendly, warm, and engaging by another.  It all depends on your relationship engagement preferences.  I would be curious to read in the comments your own preferences.  I also would be interested in your experience of social media.  In my experience it is a connected yet somewhat disconnected platform.  It certainly doesn’t replace face to face get togethers. Yet, the number and variety of comments I received when I posted about my grief after Liz died was extremely meaningful and supportive.

 In Part II we will take a closer look at Myers four different spaces of belonging and connection and how they can help us evaluate our own preferences and relationship needs. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


Part of me wants to quarrel with Jeff Brown's statement.  There is a younger part of me that wants to hold onto the fantasy that great relationships are easy and always in a state of flow.  But in my experience, his words ring true. Great connections aren't conflict free.  They come from being able to move through conflict and to repair.  A series of moving from harmony, to struggle, repair and back to harmony.  Moving forward in our growth together (but not always at the same time or pace).  

Learning to let the dust settle and addressing a repeating conflict when both parties are in a better place is sage wisdom.

Monday, July 17, 2023

The One Eye Technique - Calming Your Mind and Emotions


Rebooting your mind and nervous system can be accomplished by changing our thoughts, releasing your negative emotional attachments or by working directly with our nervous system. When work and life stressors trigger your primitive brain into an emergency response, up to 80 per cent of the blood can leave your the front part of your brain, pouring stress chemicals into your bloodstream. Then primitive stress emotions flood your mind and body as you proceed through another challenge of modern civilized world. All this takes place with the inherited biochemistry of our early ancestors running to avoid becoming the next meal.

The One Eye Technique (or what I like to call The Dimmer Switch) is based on dual brain theory.  I ran across this idea in my Brainspotting training and also in Frederick Schiffer's book "Of Two Minds: The Revolutionary Science of Dual Brain Psychology." 
  Rate your stress or feeling intensity on a scale of 1 -10 (SUDS) Keeping both eyes open, place your hand over your left eye to block input.  For some folk, covering their right eye provides more relief.  So you can give each a try to see which works better for you. Hold for 60 seconds.  Relaxation breathing during this time will create added benefits.  After one minute, rate your feeling intensity on the same scale.  Most persons report a reduction of 2 – 4 in intensity.  Repeat to bring further down in intensity.  Combine this technique with Relaxation Breathing for best results.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Conference: The Art and Science of Transformational Change

I will leading a Pre-Conference Intensives ONE-DAY TRAINING in Baltimore on Thursday, June 1, 2023 8:30 am - 4:15 pm on "Enrich & Expand Your Results through Sound Therapy:Simple & In-Depth Techniques"

For more information about the conference go to this link.  It is one of the most rewarding confences I attend each year on Energy Psychology.

Learn simple ways to incorporate sound therapy to enhance your work - you don't have to be a musician. Discover how to use sound interventions to work on core issues. Observe live demonstrations of different sound modalities for removing blocks, releasing emotional attachments, and restoring energy balance. We will conclude with a group Sound Meditation/Bath.

• Name 2 sound tools that can be integrated to enhance therapy work.
• List 2 sound work tools for self-care.
• Name 2 electronic therapeutic sound devices that can be used with clients or for self-care.
• Describe 2 sound therapy approaches for working with core issues.
• Identify 2 intention statements for use with clients.
• Describe the "felt experience" of a Group Sound Meditation.

Greg Carpenter, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist, performance coach, certified IEP practitioner/trainer, and sound therapist. He uses mind-body therapies to relieve stress/anxiety, relationship concerns, and increase vitality. Greg has found meridian tapping, Intention Energy Process and sound therapy to be the most effective techniques to help people move towards personal transformation.