How Much Do We Deserve?

Within my work as a therapist, I’ve had the privilege of meeting countless incredibly selfless and generous individuals – Givers, all of them. Perhaps it’s because I specialize in treating Anxiety, which tends to align closely Shame and Guilt. Those guys don’t make it easy to invest in one’s self-interest very well (or really, at all).

Of course, loving-kindness towards others isn’t just a trait of the Anxious. In my personal life, I am closely tied to loads of Givers. My father-in-law is probably the most honorable and service-oriented person I’ve ever met, always available to support people in his community (and beyond) in whatever ways he can offer, many of them physical, even as he gets up into his retirement years. (To illustrate, he’s helping to paint my house as I write this).

I am deeply grateful for and inspired by the Givers. They maintain my faith in the inherent goodness of people.

Because it is my job to walk with and support my clients, and because I respect their giving nature, and because I am at my core a Giver myself, I frequently ponder how best to be sure that the Givers among us are recognized to be what they are first and foremost – humans, with their own needs, desires, and dreams. It is my observation that, amongst Givers, these human needs are often forgotten as the needs of others take top priority. It is also clear that Givers wrestle mightily with the fear of being selfish (or being perceived by others as selfish), and with the guilt that accompanies any inkling that we might be making choices out of our own self-interest. This makes it very difficult to prioritize our own wants and needs. When we neglect them for long enough, we sometimes forget what they are altogether. This leaves us out of touch with ourselves, and unable to answer the question at the heart of our decision-making:

How much do we actually deserve?

I don’t think that there’s a clear answer to this question. When we attempt to answer it in therapy sessions, Shame and Guilt (the dynamic duo) often make an appearance, answering quickly, before anyone else can jump in, “Nothing! We don’t deserve anything!”. I don’t make it my business to argue with Shame and Guilt – I’ve never found that to be a very effective practice.

Instead, I use a different little trick that seems to work for the Givers among us, which I will gift to you, should you also be built with a lens facing outward: Think about your hopes for your best friend. What level of happiness, contentment, health, success, and fulfillment do you wish for them? How do you want them to feel when they wake up in the morning, when they get home at night, when they reflect back on their lives and their achievements? How do you hope that they take care of themselves, and recognize their own value in the world? How much love do you hope that surrounds them as they walk through life?

Let’s say that you deserve at least that much.

Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych To read more, visit


Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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