On Listening To Ourselves, And Making Room To Play.

I am on the first vacation I’ve taken since last summer, and it is well worth the wait. I am looking at palm trees, hearing birds and a lovely wind chime, and watching scuttling lizards. I am with people that I love and trust deeply, with whom I can wholly be myself. I am taking time to breathe and to check in on what’s going on. Inside. With me. 

I have been a bit frenetic about work and I know it. Taking this time out to re-center and relax is necessary and is overdue. While I’ve been generally attentive to myself this past year, I have a tendency to be over-productive and to neglect my need for fun and relaxation. Many of the clients with whom I work are similar – we go and go and push and push, and at the end of several years look back to discover that we forgot to enjoy ourselves. We don’t hear or outright ignore the part of ourselves that says Wait! I need to rest/play/laugh/do nothing/do something utterly impractical but also creative or inspiring or lovely, just because. These parts of us become neglected over time, and need attention and healing. 

In order to initiate healing, we must first acknowledge that these parts of us that are neglected. To get in touch with those parts (many of which we’ve completely forgotten about), we must give them room to make themselves known. This requires quiet, and stillness, and intention. It is not a comfortable process to unearth these parts, and it is even more challenging to sit, squirmy, while they tell us what hurts, what needs to change, and what they might require from us. 

It is human to want to avoid discomfort, and there is no shame in taking breaks or going about the process slowly. Things become sticky, however, when we end up so invested in distracting ourselves from our neglected parts that we stop hearing from them altogether. This happens when we find ourselves utterly absorbed by our work, or a relationship, or in fixing others’ affairs, or in numbing ourselves with a wide variety of behaviors.  We distract ourselves to create noise that is momentarily relieving and interesting, only inevitably find ourselves in the intolerable quiet once again, and so we distract again, and around and around the wheel we go. No wonder we feel exhausted so much of the time. 

When I’m working with clients on sitting with their parts, we start with just a few minutes at a time. We try to feel where the part lives inside of our physical being, and focus in on that area to bring that part of us to the surface. In the beginning, that is often as much as can be tolerated, and that is perfectly okay. It is the process of developing this awareness, this practice of sitting with ourselves, that is important, not how far along we manage to get. 

We are not demanding or impatient. We carve out time and space. We understand that after a lifetime of distracting ourselves, sitting with ourselves will feel alien and scary, and that is okay. We will be brave together, and, if we don’t feel ready for something, we won’t do it. Tiny, gentle,  compassionate steps forward. 

This is the process I am allowing for myself on this vacation. I am hearing from parts of me that long to play and to go on adventures, and I am letting them know that I have brought them to just the right place for these things. I will give them my time and my energy, and let them know how important they are to my well-being. I will promise to try hard not to neglect them, and not to distract them away. 

There are lizards and palm trees and sunshine that require my attention. Today, they are the most important things in the world. 


Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych Central.com. To read more, visit https://blogs.psychcentral.com/common-humanity/

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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