Being a Counselor/Psychic

Flowers-Pink-In-The-Mountain-WallpaperI am a good listener. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I became a therapist. But I’m also a psychic and my main goal is to help people become the most fulfilled person they can become.

Often, when I am “out in the public”, people will begin to tell me how confused, angry, hurt, or upset they are about a relationship, their job, or specific person. It must be a vibe I have, but it never fails – people will just start telling me their life story without any prompting.  They tell me they don’t understand what’s going on, or that life seems to have swirled out of control. Or the biggie, “Why is this happening to me again?”

They continue expressing their fear, confusion, and share how they constantly feel overwhelmed. Sometimes they will even share that they don’t feel that good about themselves, or that they’ve made some “bad” decisions. Then they ask me what I do for a living and when they find out, all of a sudden they realize who they are talking to and make a hasty retreat. They get nervous because they think that I can read their mind, or are using my special therapist tricks to see what an awful person they really are.

People are so afraid that if they talk to a therapist, they’ll find out that all the bad things in their life are their fault or that the negative thoughts they have about themselves are actually true.

But going to a therapist is like going to a mechanic. If your car is acting up and you can’t figure out what is wrong with it, don’t you take it to an expert in that field? Or do you get in and hope that it won’t break down and still gets you where you need to go? Someone that works on cars all the time has a clue about what is wrong and knows how to fix it.

The same thing happens in life, so why not go to someone who can help you find the problem?

Don’t be afraid of a counselor. Their job is to help you figure out what’s going on in your life and how to work through the situations you’re facing. It’s like someone handing you a road map that makes life so much easier.

Therapy isn’t about judgement or blame. Sometimes people think that what they have done or said was horrible and awful. But by expressing those things that have been held in so long and sharing them with someone who is a good listener, the burden is lightened and you feel free-er.

Because you’re really not as bad as you think you are.



The Obsessed

Modern Tree“To do something for the pure joy of it; to want to contribute something to others as a way of service is altruistic. But to be driven by an activity to the extent that everything else becomes secondary is abnormal. The individual who is obsessed, possesses compulsive ideas or irresistible urges.” – John Randolph Price

This essentially describes addictive behavior, behavior that arises when individuals go into their deep rooted shame and subscribe to a belief that they are flawed or guilty of something. They start creating a belief system about themselves; “No one would want to love me”, “I am no good”, “I always screw up.” They believe this because they don’t love themselves.

This is the root for all addictive behaviors: the alcoholic, the drug addict, the compulsive gambler, the sex addict, the overeater….you get the idea.

Sometimes this is a result of a traumatic experience. One example is a client of mine who was extremely overweight. She had been sexually assaulted as a very young child. The perpetrator keep telling her she was such a cute little doll and she was very pretty. She was frightened; she didn’t like what was happening, but the abuse occurred three or four different times and at some point she decided the only way to not be pretty was to eat…obsessively.

This is a choice some compulsive/addicted people make. A choice that becomes life damaging. My client now hates herself for being fat and thinks she is ugly, and the process of self-hate is now fed, (literally) by a new belief that she isn’t good enough, or pretty enough. The goal here is to heal the abuse and then address the eating issues by allowing her guilt surrounding the situation to heal.

Another example is the compulsive shopper. I counseled a young woman who would shop when she felt out of control. On the outside, she was intelligent, attractive, funny, and self-assured, but when she felt scared or unsure of herself and the decisions she had made she would take the rent money and go shopping. She described the high she felt while shopping – almost as if she were in a daze – and the low, guilty feelings she had when she “came down.”

By working with her to help her understand that there were just things that were out of her control, she was able to get her addiction under control. She no longer needs to buy things to feel good about herself.

To be free of these beliefs – and the guilt that accompanies them – we must choose freedom from guilt. No one put the guilt on us – we are responsible for our feelings, and now we are free to begin the healing process.

Your Inner Child

Inner ChildIf you saw a small child standing all alone, looking scared, hurt and frightened, would you walk away from that child?

But we do every day. There is a little child inside all of us that has been carrying our hurts, sadness, and fears.

There are feelings inside of us that we have been carrying around since childhood. They have gone unhealed and unheard all this time. They show up in our outer life as problematic communications, anger issues, dysfunctional relationships, addictions or codependency.  They may leave us feeling sad, lonely, abandoned or distrustful.  Most of these issues were established out of early childhood experiences. You may not even be aware that these defensive and self defeating patterns exist or that they are causing problems in your life. Often these patterns were formed in order to protect the child you once were but now are keeping you from the life you deserve and long for.

But these patterns and beliefs can be healed allowing you to change your perspective and move into a place of emotional and spiritual freedom. As you learn to listen to your own inner self you begin to feel heard and are able to get some distance from old messages, emotional loops and tapes. The old wounds that you have carried can finally begin to heal.  As you move along with the process you will begin to receive new messages based on truth and eventually will begin to relax and trust in your own inner guidance. When you choose to align yourself with the truth you begin to honor who you truly are. The more you learn to trust yourself the less likely it is that you will give your power away to others. As you learn to access your own inner resources you will begin to see more clearly and feel more empowered.  You will begin to find a deeper level of understanding of yourself thus affecting your own physical and emotional health and your relationships.

Ego is Not Your Friend

Your Ego is not Your Amigo“Ego is an image of yourself that gives you a sense of identity.”  – Eckhart Tolle

From the time you are born you start programing your Ego.

This comes from what you tell yourself about your emotional experiences or what others have told you throughout your life: parents, teachers, other relatives, friends, society – sometimes even complete strangers. These are things that have been said to or about you that you now accept as complete truth and then you live it.

If someone said you weren’t a very good student and you accepted that as truth, you become a bad student. If someone said you weren’t pretty, then you think you are not. The list goes on. You can’t sing, you’re too fat, you aren’t smart.

Ego takes over and reminds you of everything everyone has ever said to or about you. You accept this nonsense and get irritated or upset. This sets your mood and you go around beating yourself up mentally and emotionally.

This is how Ego stays in control and you get lost.

Or, you can get in control of Ego by taking a deep breath and listening to what you are saying, I mean really listen. Become aware of what kind of thoughts you are thinking, especially negative thoughts: irritation, anger, impatience and perhaps even some kind of sadness. Have these thoughts become a habit? Do you complain about yourself, how useless you are. If you start to hear these repetitive thoughts, then you will suddenly realize, “I’ve been thinking these same thoughts again and again almost every day without really knowing it.”

Becoming aware of these thoughts is your first step to change and minimizing the damage Ego can cause. When you recognize the voice in your head you are on your way to being more fully aware and more in control of  how you wish to live your life.

And the Ego begins to hold less power over you.

Forget Regret

Erase RegretHow many times have you carried around a burden from a mistake you might have made years ago? As if it is not enough that the world seems to beat you up, you beat yourself up too.

That’s regret!

It’s important that you move past those perceived mistakes by looking at the situation with an objective mind. What was it you think you could have done in that situation? How would you have acted differently? Is it guilt that still drives you? Or do you truly think you would have turned out differently?

Hindsight is 20/20, right? It is always easier, knowing what you know now, to second guess how you would have handled things differently, but when you were in that situation, you may have had no way of knowing what the outcome would be. You need to really look at the situation and see what your real responsibility was. Most of the time, there really wasn’t anything you could have done to change the outcome of that moment.

So once you recognize the burden, how do you release it? You can start with some simple affirmations:

I am always safe taking chances, moving forward.

I love the opportunity to take chances to move forward in my life.

It is safe for me to move forward and take risks.

It is easy to take one step forward at a time.

I can move through this with grace and ease. The Universe always gives me what I need at the time.

Forgiving yourself is the first step to forgetting regret and making the change to become a healthier you.

The Manipulator

Dead TreeOne of my favorite authors, John Randolph Price, has a wonderful book called, “Removing the Masks that Bind Us.” In it, he outlines twelve different behavior patterns and tools for changing them. One of those patterns is The Manipulator.

According to Randolph Price:

A manipulator is a schemer – a devious, shrewd, cunning, trouble-maker. He or she has descended into the lower frequencies of planetary energies. Under the impact to these forces, one has uncontrolled ambition for power, position and prestige. These are crafty and calculating people with intense egotism and purely selfish desires.

In extreme cases, the Manipulators simply do not understand the meaning of compassion, and go through life intolerant of any ideas or views except their own. They will practice destructive criticism, be prone to gossip, and be devoted to petty concerns, whether in the family or workplace.

I’ve also come across manipulators in my counseling practice. For example, one woman was so afraid of not being accepted or loved she needed to control everything to her advantage. She’d lie. Change the truth, deny, and isolate her victim. She’d do anything it took to keep herself in favor. The end result was that at some point she couldn’t remember what she said to who, and slowly the thing she feared the most began to happen. Once again she was rejected and found herself isolated because she drove people away with her behavior.

Her need to control and manipulate came from a deep-seeded fear of rejection and she was so afraid of not being loved, heard, or seen, she would overcompensate by showering those around her with cheap gifts, false compliments and unwelcome advice. She thought that by making people around her succumb to her wishes or feel beholden to her, she would feel safer. Actually, the opposite was true.

Generally, manipulators are completely oblivious to the fact that they are a manipulator. It takes someone pointing out their behavior or standing up to them to call their attention to their destructive behavior. And – surprise! they don’t take to counseling too well. In order for a manipulator to heal, they need to learn how to love themselves enough to allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs and this can be very threatening to a manipulator because deep down they truly hate themselves and feel extremely unlovable.

It takes time and patience to work through this particular behavior, but with a good therapist it’s possible.

The Perfectionist vs The Holidays

Snowman FamilyLots of attention is paid this time of year to giving thanks and expressing gratitude for what we have, and that is wonderful! But unfortunately, a lot of attention is also paid to “creating the perfect holiday meal/gift/home/party/…”

This can pose a huge challenge to those over-achievers and perfectionists out there who strive to give their friends, families and co-workers the best holiday experience ever. Often, they run themselves ragged by getting very little sleep because they’re up all night baking perfect pies, stressing over the minor details including seating arrangements, and running all over town just to find the right flower for the centerpiece.

Relax, not even Martha Stewart can do it herself. She has an army of assistants working to help her dazzle everyone with her “genius”.

Perfectionists obsess over every minor detail when it comes to holiday family gatherings. This can stem from a strong emotional desire to please so their homes need to be clean enough to pass the “white glove test”. Or, they might have something to prove by showing everyone that they are amazing cooks by roasting the perfect turkey, creating the most scrumptious desserts, and making everything by hand. Thinking of others before themselves, they spend days putting together seating charts and creating a list of games to play. By the time the holiday arrives they’re already exhausted.

And to make matters worse, the work is just the beginning. Often, perfectionists spend the entire time in the kitchen or flitting around fixing decorations, organizing coats, and making sure everyone is comfortable to even stop and enjoy their company. Typically, the holidays are over before they realize that they didn’t really get to spend any quality time with their friends and family. Days later – suffering from post-event depression – they think, “I want to ask so-and-so about that” before realizing the gathering is over and the opportunity has passed.

They do all this work to create the perfect day and they don’t even stop to enjoy it.

It’s okay, (and more enjoyable,) to order a pizza one night if it means spending quality time with family because in the end, it’s really more important than creating a table that looks like a magazine cover.

Trust me, it is so freeing!

The Addictive Personality

addictive personalityVolumes have been written about addiction – the causes, cures, much more. But what it really boils down to is this: Addiction is the problem you use to fix yourself.

Of course, that’s an extremely simplified answer to what can be a very complicated problem, but it doesn’t matter if you’re addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, food, whatever. These things are the blanket of comfort you turn to when life is out of control, painful, or you’re angry.

Addicts engage in this type of behavior because they literally get a chemical high from their “drug of choice”. There is a momentary feeling of, “ahh, that feels better” as the chemicals rush to the brain to calm whatever uncomfortable emotions were beginning to surface.

Unfortunately, this rush doesn’t last and the more addicts turn to an outside source for comfort, the bigger that comfort has to be the next time they turn to it. This is why addictions are so destructive. No longer is it a glass of wine to relax, it’s a bottle of wine before every social situation. A line of cocaine doesn’t do it anymore, now several are needed to get the same high. When a piece of cake used to do the trick, now the whole cake needs to be eaten in order to feel better.

The cycle goes on and on and on and for someone with an addictive personality, it can be extremely difficult to release this type of behavior because often it has gone on for so long, it has become a habit. The person engaging in this behavior may no longer even remember why they started doing it in the first place and it finally reaches a point where the addict can no longer control their behavior. Their auto-pilot takes over and before they know it, they are drunk, high, gambling, etc. The guilt that follows is often so debilitating, that the addict just keeps the cycle going.

The key to any successful recovery program is to first identify the addiction, then uncover the trigger, and finally get to the root of the feeling that lives at the heart of the addiction – that first hurt.

If an addict is willing to really, truly look at themselves and their issues, then real recovery is possible. But it takes a lot of courage and a supportive nurturing environment to help the addict feel comfortable enough to forgive themselves – which is ultimately what needs to happen to overcome the addiction.

A little self-love and forgiveness can go a long way.

The Healing Process

Birdbath in the gardenIt only takes a few minutes to hurt someone, but sometimes it takes years to repair the damage.

I work with clients on a daily basis who are still trying to heal from emotional, mental, and physical wounds inflicted upon them years ago. Of course, we can look at a woman who has been beaten by her spouse and say, “Well obviously, she has wounds she needs to heal from,” but rarely do we look at the obese mother, or acne-covered teenager, or socially withdrawn co-worker and wonder, “What happened to them?”

Typically, our first response is, “you eat too much,” or “you should take better care of your skin,” or “just lighten up,” instead of going to that space of compassion and understanding. I am a strong believer in the idea that what you see physically is the final manifestation of deep-seeded anger, guilt, or self-loathing.

The obese mother may be coping with the fact that she was teased relentlessly throughout her college years by friends and family when she gained the “Freshman Fifteen.” What most people see as a joke, or light teasing, she took to heart, and from that point forward began building a wall – literally – around herself so that the hurtful words wouldn’t hurt so much.

In the case of the acne-ed teenager, maybe he was told by someone, (usually a person of importance) that he was ugly and would never be good-looking enough to “get the girl”. Again, he internalizes this statement, gets angry but doesn’t show it, and it ends up on his face in the form of bright red spots.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When I work with clients who are carrying old hurts, we often begin with the straight facts of the story. Then we dig into the emotion of the situation. How did they feel? How did they react at the time? What choices did they make – consciously or sub-consciously – as a result of the situation? Did they even realize that they were still carrying this hurt?

Once we can begin to identify the cause, then we can begin to heal the pain, and ultimately release the words that have harmed us for so long, allowing us to become more light-hearted, free, and loved individuals.

So be kind. You never know what type of damage you might inflict upon others – or for how long – and that can be a heavy burden to carry for the person on the other end.

An Ah-Ha Moment

ocean, reflection, self-helpOne of the most exciting things about working with my clients is when they suddenly realize something that’s been staring them in the face for months. I call these, “Ah-Ha Moments.”

We may be discussing why a current relationship isn’t working or some issue with a family member and I may have had them journal or diagram the problem. Usually, we have been discussing reasons why they think it’s not working during our sessions together. We might repeat this process for months and then all of a sudden my client hears a song on the radio and suddenly it all falls into place, “Ah-Ha! Now I get it. This is what Susan has been trying to get me to see.” (Or more than likely, they come to their next session eager to share their most recent breakthrough, not realizing that this what I’ve been trying to get them to see, only for me to internally slap my forehead and say, “Finally! They got it!” “Yay Client!”)

My point being, that just because you don’t feel as though you’re moving forward, breaking down walls, or achieving the outcome you wanted from counseling, therapy, readings or working with a life coach, doesn’t mean that your subconscious has stopped working on your issue.

These wonderful breakthroughs can happen at any moment and they are proof that you are continuing to heal yourself, to improve yourself, and move forward. So don’t beat yourself up just because you don’t think you’re getting it.

Your moment of truth will come when you are truly ready for it!