Sharing is optional; reflection is mandatory.


Every year my good friend David has a party on the Winter Solstice. Friends gather at his place, sit around a bunch of lit candles, eat and drink delicious things, and take turns sharing about their year. Some of us opt not to share, and participate just by bearing witness to the others, which is also completely acceptable. As David says: “Sharing is optional. Reflection is mandatory.”

Solstice is my favorite holiday.

As a person who finds Small Talk difficult at best and painful at worst, I relish Solstice. An opportunity to hear the real thoughts and feelings of the people around me (outside of my role as a clinician) is rare and golden. I often wish that more get-togethers could be this way – intentional, respectful, earnest, and true – without the fluffy stuff that usually takes hours to cut through (or never gets cut through at all).

It’s also an opportunity to go inward and see what’s happening inside, which can sometimes be a surprising exercise. Tears happen when I didn’t expect them, or I find myself deep in gratitude about something that I hadn’t even been cognizant of…things come up, in a beautiful way.

Here’s some lessons I’ve learned from Solstice and have since applied to daily life:

It’s essential to take time for self-reflection.

This can be done a million ways; it’s not one-size-fits-all. Different things work for different people: some people do guided meditations, others sit quietly with themselves. Writing or journaling can provide clarity and purpose for many. Some people need to reflect on top of a mountain bike or on a walk on the beach, others prefer stillness. Any of these are viable options; the point is to take the time and intention to reflect.

Give specific moments the consideration they merit. 

At David’s Solstice event, we typically identify the “best” parts (the most joyful or life-giving moments) and that “worst” parts (the most challenging or emotionally difficult moments) of our respective years. All these moments have significant value, and taking the time to name them, flesh them out, and focus on them for awhile allows us to make meaning that we might have missed otherwise. This is a gift. Focus on something that resonates for you, and give it the attention it deserves.

Share. (Or don’t share if you aren’t ready. Whatever works for you).

Sharing with trusted others can be incredibly empowering, and serve as a reminder that we are not isolated or alone in the world, or in our feelings and thoughts. Since we spend so much time in our day-to-day lives feeling disconnected from others, deliberate and vulnerable sharing in this way can feel odd at first, but is ultimately incredibly restorative.

The cold is important; the dark is precious. 

The cold and the dark – the elements that coax us into hibernation and inactivity, which can be so difficult for Do-ers like myself – hold value and should be recognized as valuable. Chilly, short, dark days give us permission to stop Doing and just Be, and that’s essential to wellness. And a reminder that we are human, and need breaks and relaxation to function.

Be together. 

The act of gathering in one space with people you love and trust matters, and we should all do it as much as possible. It’s awesome to spend intentional reflective time with yourself, but it can be downright magical to have your reflections received, mirrored, and heard by your people. Whether spending an intentional day solo or with your people, take the time for yourself. Sharing is optional. Reflection is mandatory.

Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych


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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