Talking about Suicide

Suicide | Suicide Prevention |Talking about Suicide
Black and white background, man with head in his hands, crying
We need to talk openly and honestly about suicide. Please check your triggers before reading this post. Image by Pixabay, free for commercial use image.

The real truth about suicide is not that suicide rates are on the rise, but that it has been rising for some time now.  If people did not notice before, they are paying attention now.

With the recent deaths by suicide of American designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef and culture journalist Anthony Bourdain, Social Media is gawking about why such apparently successful people would take their lives. Did they struggle with depression? Were there clues and signs given? And perhaps more important to those who live in fear that their loved ones will choose to take their own lives, could these suicides have been prevented?

Because I believe in honest and non-judgmental talk about suicide, the following post is a balance between understanding the statistics around the 10th highest cause of death in the United States, the care that providers are bound to give by license, and the personal experiences of this therapist, with any incidences or persons anonymized and depersonalized to protect the privacy of others.

Please check  your own triggers before reading the rest of this post.

Continue reading “Talking about Suicide”

    Exposure Therapy: A Personal Experience with Fear

    Exposure Therapy | Self Help | Phobias | Fear

    Woman reaching out with right hand while swimming under the surface of a pool.
    Do you have a phobia that you have wondered if you can do without? Read about my experience with Exposure Therapy, and consider whether a self-guided plan or a structured and mediated plan could help you. Photo by Imei Hsu (2018).

    There is a type of phone call I receive at least a half dozen or more times a year. It sounds something like this:

    Caller: Hi, I’m calling about a problem I have, and wondering if you do this.”

    Me: Sure, what is the problem?

    Caller: Well, I feel kind of embarrassed to say this, but I am afraid of [insert fear]. I don’t even know what can be done about it.

    Me: OK, thank you for sharing what you are afraid of. Up to now, what have you done to address your fear of [insert fear] so far?

    Caller: Mostly, I just try to avoid it.

    Me: OK, how’s that working for you?

    Caller: [laughing] Obviously not too well if I’m calling you!

    Me: Fair enough!

    Caller: So, do you offer any help for this? Like, do you do some kind of desensitizing program?

    Me: Do you mean, Exposure Therapy?

    Caller: Yes.

    Me: That depends on the type of response and the type of phobia.

    After we get to that last sentence, everything afterwards is dependent on the type of phobia and the individual’s response to that phobia; everything else is generalized information that isn’t specific enough to be helpful. Over the course of my counseling practice, I’ve been able to help individuals confront specific phobias by creating in vivo and systematic desensitization scenarios, and watched phobic reactions decrease so that the former terror associated with those situations turns into a whisper.

    In other words, Exposure Therapy often works because I apply it to those who have the highest chances of responding well to it, and I don’t recommend it for those who have a low chance of a extinguishing that fear response using Exposure Therapy alone.

    To give you an idea of what Exposure Therapy is like, and why guided Exposure Therapy might be of help to you if you have a phobia that you’d like to seek treatment for, read on for my personal experiences with Exposure Therapy.

    Continue reading “Exposure Therapy: A Personal Experience with Fear”

      The Key to Getting Stuff Done

      The Key to Getting Stuff Done

      Productivity | Time Management | Prioritizing | Life Coaching

      Ever wonder how people manage to get stuff done? Read about two skills that will help you learn what others know about time management and action. Photo by Pixabay, no attribution required for use. 

      Do you ever wonder how people manage to get stuff done? They have the same 24 hours to work with. Do they just forego sleep? Do they hire people to take care of tasks they don’t have time to do?  Do they know something you don’t?

      After working as a counselor for nearly 18 years, I can tell you by observation that the people I’ve worked with who successfully got things done didn’t forego sleep, except in rare occasions where it was unavoidable. They also didn’t have a personal assistant working for them. Some were the unpaid assistants to a busy or physically-challenged partner. Most would not describe their lives as charmed nor ideal.

      But they did experientially know something that maybe you do not know. They all had at least two things in common. And if you  want to know the key to getting stuff done in your life, to accomplishing tasks and staying on top of “life stuff” before the avoidance of those things comes back to bite you, read on.

      Continue reading “The Key to Getting Stuff Done”