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Rachel Hendricks
19/Feb/2018

The Olympics. From the opening ceremonies to the tally of medals, the Olympics is an event we love to watch. The Olympics represents the culmination or continuation of a dream for each athlete attending. A dream that often consumes their lives. And, at times, a dream that causes harm.

As Gracie Gold took a break from ice skating in January, she identified that she needed to pursue treatment for her mental health, broadly, and an eating disorder, more specifically. While we can applaud the courage it took for her to take a break and focus on her wellness, we can also question the environment in which she participated that brought her to that point.

Health, Exercise, and Culture

As a country, we idolize exercise. In fact, attitudes and trends have shifted from women being as focused on “thinspo” to being focused on “fitspo.”  Research also shows that males are being pressured to have “fit” bodies, as well- with an emphasis on bulk and definition. As a result, it is not uncommon for me to see several clients in the same day mentioning they simply want to be “fit” and the role of “healthy” eating and “healthy” exercise to accomplish those goals.

Of course, I am not saying that there is no such thing as healthy eating or healthy exercise. But, as is often the case in our culture, we live in a world of extremes. If one piece of broccoli is good, a whole shake of broccoli (plus all the other so-called super foods) must be better. If running one mile is good, running a marathon must be better. Again, I mean no aspersions towards broccoli or running.

However, there is not an exponential benefit to any one particular food (or food group) or to exercise.

As we watch these athletes who have dedicated their lives to their sport, it is important to recognize what it takes to do so. A balanced and varied diet (purportedly, Michael Phelps eats upwards of 10,000 kcals per day to maintain his stamina). Constant and rigorous physical training (sometimes beyond the point of injury as when Keri Strung completed her second vault after injuring her left leg and had to land on one foot). And, a single-minded focus that when applied elsewhere would be seen as obsessive or compulsive.

Listening to Our Bodies

When we push people to ignore the cues and signals their bodies send them, we set them up for all sorts of problems later on. And, when our criteria of their “wellness” is how well they are performing at their sport, we seriously minimize the reality of the risky world in which these athletes exist.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had someone tell me they cannot recover from their eating disorder because, in their mind, the eating disorder is what makes them excel at their sport. Often, these clients who are living with internal turmoil are getting compliments and positive feedback from others based on their performance.

When our eyes turn towards the Olympics in South Korea, let us do so with greater awareness. And, let us focus on the athlete as a complete, complex, and multi-dimensional person. A person who has worth outside of their sport. A person who deserves to be able to treat their body well. A person who deserves to be celebrated for all that they are.

 

If you are an athlete struggling with eating or exercise behaviors, please don’t hesitate to reach out for additional support. We have a dietitian and several therapists who both specialize in working with athletes as well as being athletes, themselves. Contact our admissions office at (910) 790-9500 for additional information and to get scheduled.

 

Rachel Hendricks, LCSW specializes in working with clients who have had their eating disorder for ten or more years, clients with co-occurring substance use behaviors, as well as working with couples and families. She facilitates two groups: Motivation to Change and Declutter Class, and she is currently accepting referrals for both. She is excited to be making the transition to Wilmington from the Center for Eating Disorders in Baltimore, Maryland. Rachel looks forward to continuing her reputation for providing excellent clinical care in the field of behavioral health.

 



Online games, music, videos, written content, and various social media have reshaped the ways in which our pre-teens and teens interact with the world. In many ways, this is a scary prospect for parents, who did not grow up carrying a powerful computer in their pockets with the capacity to access (or send videos to) the entire world in seconds. While our initial inclination as parents may be to take technology away, we also know that there are many positives that come from technology and like it or not it is an integral part of daily life.

 

Controlling internet use can be more straightforward with younger children where limiting access to technology, blocking non-kid-friendly sites, and setting strict time limits are developmentally appropriate. Unfortunately, much of this changes in the pre-teen and teenage years. Adolescents want and need more independent access to technology than younger children for homework, recreation, and socialization—and severely limiting that can be harmful… but letting it be a free-for-all can be harmful as well. So what does a conscientious parent do?

 

The good news is that there are many ways that we can help our pre-teens and teens learn to be more safe, to avoid perils and to take advantage of positive, age-appropriate opportunities online. Some more good news is that the internet has a lot of great things to offer that will enrich our children’s lives and help them learn key skills for their future. So, how do we make sure that our pre-teens and teens navigate this seemingly limitless online world safely and productively? The answer is us, or more specifically, our relationships with our teens.

 

The number one thing that we can do to make sure our children are safe is to have conversations with them about their online activity on a regular basis. This engagement likely looks different than what you think. It is not the typical parental grilling: What are you doing? Who are you talking to? Show me everything! Followed by a lecture of why this or that is wrong. This approach often shuts down teens and pre-teens. It can have the negative effect of decreasing communication between parents and teens, which is the opposite of what we want.

 

Instead, we need to foster conversations that are genuinely focused on teens’ online interests and goals, while also setting developmentally appropriate limits on device types and usage time as well as having parental monitoring of use. This means actively engaging our children in the aspects of the internet that are nearest and dearest to them and may be completely foreign (or boring or trivial) to us as parents. This parent-teen dialog is a vital way to open doors and build bridges that ultimately keep them safe and help them make better choices online.

 

The purpose of engaging our youth about their online interests is not so parents can start SnapChatting. The purpose is to stay in a parental role while building a relationship that maximally facilitates our teens coming to us for guidance when they have a question or are in trouble. Rather than fearing that they will be punished, we want our kids to know that we are their allies. Developing a foundation built on a positive relationship about online matters will shift our kids’ perceptions from seeing parents as roadblocks to seeing parents as resources.

 

Exactly how is this done? This is a highly personal matter that differs from family to family and should be centered on your core values. To help support families in this conversation, we are offering seminars for parents and pre-teens/teens ages 12-17 at Chrysalis. Parents and pre-teens will have separate seminars to allow youth and parents to find support and guidance in safe spaces.

 

The purpose of the pre-teen/teen seminar is to open up the conversation and provide a supportive environment for youth to talk about the positive and negative aspects of being online—this will not be a lecture. It will be fun for your pre-teens and teens, while also providing valuable information. In the teen seminar, we will be asking questions to teens to better understand their online experience. A summary of this information will be shared with parents as a window into what teens and pre-teens are experiencing when they are online.

 

The parent seminar that follows the teen seminar will be an opportunity for parents to learn specific tools to open and develop the conversation about technology with teens and pre-teens. Parents will also be able to share their own experiences in a private setting as a way to learn what is most helpful and what to avoid. Following these seminars, opportunities will be available for individual family work to address specific needs, challenges or concerns, all with the goal of strengthening families and keeping our teens and pre-teens safe and healthy.

 

I look forward to seeing you there and starting the conversation! If you are interested you can call the Chrysalis main number 910-790-9500 for seminar dates and times and to sign up.

 


Dr. Kate Brody Nooner is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at UNCW. She also holds an adjunct appointment at Duke University and is the principal investigator of NIH-funded grants aimed at reducing child and adolescent trauma and preventing alcoholism.



On a cloudy, cold and rainy day in November, Tom walks out of his front door at 6:00 AM. He doesn’t have to be at work until 7:30, but as usual, he has a stop to make before work. He pulls into the parking lot of “the clinic” around 6:30 and parks close to the building. There aren’t many people here yet. As he walks in the front door, a middle-aged African American woman greets him, “Hey Tom!” “Good mornin’ Ms. Janey, He responds as he beams at her. They exchange a few quips as she flips through a stack of tickets. She pulls out one and stamps it twice; once with a number indicating his place in line and once with an mark indicating he is required to leave a drug screen today. He looks down at the ticket, and says, “Have a good day, Ms. Janey,” as he takes a seat in the waiting room. The ticket he holds in his hand has his name, the afore mentioned stamps, and a check mark next to something that says, Methadone Dosing. Tom, is a heroin addict and has been for 12 years now. He is being treated for his addiction at a clinic that provides medication-assisted treatment for opiate addiction.

Opiates include drugs like heroin, morphine, and codeine as well as synthetic drugs like oxycodon and hydrocodone. When individuals use large enough amounts of such substances, frequently, over a long enough period of time, their brains become physiologically dependent on (or addicted to) that substance. The chemistry in their brains acclimates to the presence of the substance, and when that substance is no longer present, it takes a while for the brain to reacclimatize to functioning without that substance. The result is withdrawal. Withdrawal from opiates can include a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, sweats, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle pain. Many who decide they want to stop using opiates find that they continue to use simply to prevent the severe withdrawal symptoms. Those who share needles to inject the substance also put themselves at risk for contracting infections like hepatitis C.  Finally, in order to afford to continue using, some find themselves engaging in other risky and illegal activities.

One way to break this cycle is “medication-assisted treatment.” This means that an individual is prescribed a medication by a physician in an amount that will stop withdrawal symptoms and will decrease or eliminate cravings to use. This allows a person to discontinue use of the substance, without going through withdrawals, while they are making lifestyle changes, developing a support system, and learning skills for coping. It also promotes discontinuation of illegal and/or risky activities.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that research has shown participation in a medication-assisted treatment program using methadone is most effective when the individual remains engaged for a minimum of one year. Some individuals remain on medication-assisted treatment for many years because they are unable to maintain abstinence any other way. Others use this treatment for a period of time and then eventually taper off of the medication, i.e. they are prescribed smaller and smaller doses over time until they are no longer in need of the prescription. This slow taper allows a person to discontinue the need for the prescription without triggering an onset of severe withdrawal symptoms.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “For optimal results, patients should also participate in a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program that includes counseling and social support.”

Tom, mentioned at the outset, looks down at his ticket, “Drug screen,” he mutters to himself. He is a little annoyed thinking about the extra time it is going to take and how that means he won’t be able to get out of the clinic before the heavy traffic kicks in. On the other hand, he is looking forward to it. The person who was in line in front of him comes back down the hall. He gets up and walks down the hall and around the corner to the window where a nurse is waiting. “Morning Judy! He says with a light-hearted grin. “Looks like you’ve got a drug screen today, Tom” “Yes ma’am.” As his grin widens, Judy raises her eye brows. “This will be my first clean drug screen!” She smiles back. “Keep up the good work, Tom,” she says as she watches him drink today’s dose of liquid methadone. As he walks away from the window, he smiles again to himself, “I’m clean.” A reminder pops up on his cell phone, “Therapy appointment at 6:00 PM.” “That’s right,” he says to himself, “and I have my home group NA (narcotics anonymous) meeting after that.

*I am a Psychologist and Clinical Addictions Specialist at the Chrysalis Center. I specialize in working with individuals with addiction challenges as well as those with binge eating, anxiety, trauma, depression and other mental health challenges. Feel free to call to schedule an appointment. –Lillian Hood, LPA, LCAS

References:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone

National Institute on Drug Abu7se

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment


Rachel Hendricks
19/Feb/2018

Hoarding and Shame

Working as a therapist, it is not unusual for me to hear clients share stories where they are experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, and sadness. Many clients express feelings of hopelessness and helplessness at least some of the time. But, there is also a sense of shared experience. Therapy is seen as a safe place where they can explore those feelings. Hoarding disorder can test this idea.

When working with clients who hoard, learning about the hoarding can take more trust than you might expect. I have worked with clients for years before they are ready to share what is happening in their homes. Clients who have felt safe disclosing trauma, substance abuse, and their eating disorder have struggled to talk about their hoarding. All the same, it is an equally important issue that impacts them daily. Hoarding may be, to them, their most shameful behavior.

Hoarding Disorder: Statistics

Research shows that individuals experiencing hoarding disorder often feel judged and isolated from friends and family. This happens at rates that are even higher than those experiencing schizophrenia. As a result, it is not surprising that hoarding is a secret that is closely kept.

Hoarding disorder affects between 2 and 5% of the population. It is more common than many people are aware, and there are levels of severity as with any illness. Often times, when working with clients, they will reassure me, “I’m not like the show. I’m not that bad.” I always try to emphasize that no matter the hoard, I will not judge them. This is crucial.

Many times, before the work on addressing the hoarding can begin, there has to be a clear understanding that there is no judgment or critique of what is happening in their home. Rather, there is an understanding and acceptance of the internal distress and frustration hoarding causes. Whether their hoarding is causing health problems, issues with environmental safety, or is a source of embarrassment, the primary concern is the pain it is causing and how to address it.

Hoarding disorder also does not exist in isolation or as a stand-alone illness; rather, it is significantly correlated with anxiety, depression, OCD, and ADHD. These co-morbid disorders can often be the primary reason clients seek out support initially, and clients may be hesitant or reticent to start to address the hoarding, itself. Further, for many, there is a significant discrepancy between their external presentation- professional and put together- and their deeply protected, often completely hidden from others, personal space. When all of these factors are combined, it is clear why hoarding disorder is such a hidden illness and why, for those experiencing it, it can feel so hard to overcome.

What Can Be Done?

In September of 2017, a new group protocol was released to address hoarding disorder in a group format. Chrysalis Center is excited to be among the first offering this “Declutter Class”. The group provides resources, strategies, and hope for change with hoarding disorder. This treatment is research driven, proven to provide results, and addresses 7 “targets” or areas of functioning to reduce the impact of hoarding and improve functioning, overall. While seeking treatment and support for hoarding can be difficult, we are hopeful that this group will offer a safe, non-judgmental space where hoarding can be addressed effectively.

 

For Follow Up

If you are interested in the group or would like more information, please contact Rachel Hendricks, LCSW at (910) 790-9500. You can also reach her via email at Rachel.Hendricks@chrysaliscenter-nc.com.

Rachel Hendricks, LCSW specializes in working with clients who have had their eating disorder for ten or more years, clients with co-occurring substance use behaviors, as well as working with couples and families. She facilitates two groups: Motivation to Change and Declutter Class, and she is currently accepting referrals for both. Rachel is excited to be making the transition to Wilmington from the Center for Eating Disorders in Baltimore, Maryland. She looks forward to continuing her reputation for providing excellent clinical care in the field of behavioral health.



Back in my second year of graduate school, I felt that I had a pretty good idea of the type of student I was.  Put me in front of a lecture with my book and notes, ask me to do a few presentations or projects, and I’m golden.  Despite a preference for small settings, I have to say to anonymity in a group of people created a sense of safety conducive to my learning.  When my group therapy class was offered either in-person or online, I elected to do the class in person rather than the self-teaching that online classes would entail.

As I arrived for the first class expecting to review the syllabus and hunker down into familiarity, I was informed that the class would be conducted slightly different than what my 19 years of being a student had been like.  “Set your books and papers aside, let’s circle up the chairs.  This class about group is going to be run in the format of a group”.  Wait, what?  What does that mean?  What did I sign up for? How am I supposed to learn without my lecture, books, and paper?  Tugging at my collar, I decided to open my mind to the experience.

There were awkward silences, uncertainties, and adjustments.  Slowly, we settled into the format and found a cadence for interacting in this learning environment.  I found myself seeing my peers differently, trying to impress my instructor, and using my brain in ways that I had never previously done to learn something new.  Hmmm, I thought, what is this about?  I leaned into anxiety, payed attention to my behavior towards people, and found confidence in myself as a student.  In the end, hands down, my group therapy class was the most influential class I have ever taken.  Interestingly, I never took a single written note.

The way that my class was taught would be an example of a psycho-education group.  In this group format, members are given direct education and skill-building on a specific topic in a relatively structured way.  Members use the information for personal development and growth and incorporate it into their lives.  Examples of psycho-education therapy groups would be a parenting skills group or social skills group.  The group leader takes on the role of the teacher in these groups and then leads discussions among group members.

Another type of therapy group, often referred to as processing or counseling group, provides support to its’ members to help resolve difficult problems in life.  Process groups have a high emphasis on the interpersonal process, which is experienced through group members supporting and challenging one another.  They may be created based on a specific diagnosis (such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress), a shared characteristic (like age or gender), or a life struggle (such as divorce or grief).  Here, the group leader is less direct and more of a facilitator of the process.

Some groups may blend psycho-education and processing styles together.  Group members receive information or interventions and then go into a discussion about how it applies in the context of the group.  Group members give their support and feedback using the education they are receiving in the group.  They also will hold their peers accountable for change or push one another to the edges of their own awareness.

Regardless of the type, all group therapies are led by one or more licensed professionals.  There is an emphasis on self-exploration and intention towards making changes in one’s life.  Group members stand to benefit from learning about themselves in a way that no other format provides, much like my group class experience.  Most importantly, the validation and understanding received through shared experience is powerfully therapeutic.

If you are considering seeking out or joining a therapy group, I encourage you to speak with a professional to find a group that is right for you.  If you decide to join, my #1 tip is to open your mind and just show up!

Leanne Christian is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a facilitator of groups at The Chrysalis Center.



It’s holiday time again where we were flooded with excessive goodies, tempting aromas and multiple food-focused commitments.  Let’s brainstorm a few ways to make this wonderful time a year pleasurable and nutritious!

Choose to focus your attention on friends and family; they are some of the most important gifts in our lives.

Choose to socialize away from the sight of food.  This will help you not graze and avoid mindlessly munching during the event.  Change your environment by stepping outside, putting your napkin on your finished plate or sitting with your back to the food table.

Choose to bring a healthy dish to the gathering; it can still be seasonal and fun such as pumpkin dip made with yogurt, shrimp cocktail or a veggie tray arranged as a turkey or Christmas tree. Pinterest has ample ideas to help you be creative.

Choose to be mindful.  Appreciate the smells, textures and flavors; savor each bite.  Pay close attention to your body’s signals.  Our holiday foods are special, eat them that way.

Choose to say “No thank you” to food pushers.  Eat the type and portion of food that makes you feel good physically.  Don’t feel obligated to eat it because it’s left on your plate or someone made it for you.

Choose to keep your normal routine with eating before and after events.  This will help you feel more in charge of portioning and getting the right amount that makes your pouch feel comfortably full. It will also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and metabolic function.

Most importantly, choose to embrace your body through the holidays.  Celebrate all your successes, non-scale victories and the best gift of all, your health!

“The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one.”


Ed Cochard, LPA
19/Feb/2018

“People are disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them.” Epictitus.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Shakespeare.

One of the key ingredients to living well is thinking well.  Our perspectives about ourselves, others and life in general will influence what we feel and what we do.  Our perspectives are our lens to the world.  This lens is shaped by our life experiences-which in turn shapes how we experience life.  All of us has a different lens to the world which will impact our experience of the world.

Issues with our experience of life however may occur due to distortions in this lens. These distortions may skew how we view ourselves, others and life. At times, we may not view things in a healthy, realistic or accurate manner due to these distortions.  In many of these cases, this may result in unhealthy emotions and/or behaviors.  Every emotion has a central core element that should be identified if you are experiencing unhealthy emotions-these are summarized below:

Anxiety=fear of a certain outcome occurring

Anger=the perceived violation of expectations

Depression=perceiving ourselves as hopeless, helpless and worthless as well as perceiving others and life in an unfounded negative manner.

To overcome unhealthy emotions and/or behaviors, it is important to reflect upon our perspectives.  We need to step back and objectively evaluate how we are thinking about things in our life. We need to identify any possible distortions on our lenses that may be creating our negative experience of life.  Once these have been identified, it is not effective to simply focus on “not thinking about it.”  It is important to identify healthier, more realistic or more accurate ways of viewing your world.

If you would like assistance with exploring these concepts as they apply to issues with which you may be struggling, contact the Chrysalis Center at 910-790-9500 and schedule an intake with one of our clinicians.



Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. While today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, it continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table—albeit with some updates to pilgrim’s menu.

With so much emphasis on the fat, calories, and potential dietary pitfalls of Thanksgiving dinner I thought I’d put a positive spin on the indulgent meal. I mean, with all the eating you’ve got to be getting some kind of nutrients, right? And, with the exception of canned cranberry sauce, (Uncle Joe insists on having it) everything on the table at my families’ Thanksgiving is homemade, and that has got to count for something!

Read on to see the HEALTH BENEFITS of Thanksgiving dinner!

  • Just 5oz of turkey provides half the recommended daily allowance of folic acid and 32g of protein.
  • 5oz of mashed potatoes pack 27mg of vitamin C—that’s 45% of the RDA.
  • String Bean Casserole made with frozen or canned vegetables maintains most of the nutrients including beta-carotene and B-vitamins
  • A half-cup serving of sweet potatoesprovides 330% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A!
  • One half-inch slice (about 1/8th of a can) of cranberry sauce is only 86 calories and .1g of fat. Even better, make your own for the full antioxidant, and infection-fighting benefits of cranberries!
  • Traditional stuffing doesn’t offer much but cook it in a separate dish, outside the turkey, to save yourself 70 calories per tablespoon!
  • A 5oz glass of wine is packed with the antioxidant reservatrol, which reduces bad cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
  • 1/8th of a 9” pumpkin pie packs 4.2g of fiber and 288mg of potassium, which helps counteract the high levels of sodium in a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 

Now you know what you stand to gain from a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—aside from pounds.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 



“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, the Man in the Arena. Delivered at the Sorbonne (Paris) on April 23rd, 1910.

I wanted to dedicate a blog post to a topic I have encountered numerous times in sessions with clients, as well as wrestled with myself as a developing therapist continuing to explore her therapeutic style and sense of self; external and inner criticism. When covering this ground, I turn to the work of Brene Brown. Brown is an American scholar, author, and public speaker, who is currently a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent over a decade researching courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers and her labor has been featured on PBS, NPR, TED, and CNN.

In one of her presentations entitled, “Why Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count” delivered in front of an audience at the 99 Conference, she covers this topic and highlights:
• Why (creative) human beings must embrace their vulnerability
• How to handle (external and inner) criticism and public scrutiny that accompanies exposure
• Which feedback matters, and which does not, in the “public arena”

Criticism can stifle creativity and can anchor people from daring greatly and taking risks. Brown poses the question: What would you try if you knew people wouldn’t say ___ (fill in the blank) about you? She explores the benefits of not allowing fear of criticism to inhibit the display of one’s own work. Brown conceptualizes this through “the arena.” When a person is thinking about or preparing to enter the arena, there is fear, self-doubt, comparison, anxiety, uncertainty, and shame. People tend to “armor up” emotionally and psychologically and when they do, they shield themselves from vulnerability. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, belonging, trust, empathy, creation and innovation.

When a (courageous) person chooses to enter the arena, they are greeted with rows of seats and people. The three seats that will always be filled in the arena are: shame, scarcity, and comparison – 1). Shame (which Brown describes as a “universal human emotion”), 2). Scarcity (Does this matter? Is this important or original?) and 3). Comparison. The fourth seat is reserved for a teacher, ex-coworker, family member. Brown summons the audience to recognize that the critics will be there and to invite them in, however one may not be interested in their feedback. Brown believes by taking the stance that unless your critics are also exposing themselves and exhibiting vulnerability, their opinions and feedback are extraneous – using the dialogue: “I see you, I hear you, but I am going to show up and do this anyway.” In addition, Brown shares that we are often our own worst critic, so she advises us to save a seat in the arena for ourselves. Brown says, “We orphan the parts of us that don’t fit the ideal… leaving only the critic. On the contrary, the person (or the part of us) who believes in what we are doing and why we are doing it should be in that chair.”

Choosing to be seen in the arena is no easy feat. Brown encourages a clarity of one’s own values and having a support person that is willing to pick them up and dust them off when they fail or make mistakes. Brown notes, “if one isn’t making mistakes, then one isn’t really showing up!” She explores why “not caring what people think” sends a huge red flag as human beings are “hard-wired for connection.” However, when a person becomes defined by what their critics think, they lose their willingness to be vulnerable.

Is it petrifying to show up and be seen? Yes, absolutely. But remember to make space in the arena for the people and part of you that values courage and creativity.

Disclaimer: Some profanity is used in the following video.
Brene Brown; Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count:

Brene Brown’s Official Website: http://brenebrown.com/

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Me Too! The social media phenomena of women announcing that they too have been subjected to sexual harassment has taken the world by storm. Yes, the world. This is not hyperbole, women from Germany, Italy, the Arab countries even Nairobi have been posting Me Too! Not that anyone should be surprised that women all over the world are subjected to sexual harassment. This abuse extends way beyond celebrity casting or factory work. However, in addition to the global Me Too! response is something that is different. Men are responding. And men are responding positively: not with rationalizations or minimizations. With tweets of “I hear you! “or even “I was guilty!” Guilty of not standing up, of not saying something when they observed another man making a lewd comment, of shaming the victim who dared to say stoop. This is not just the celebrities rallying against Harvey Weinstein. Everyday men are saying “I understand.”
Women have long been united in trying to empower other women. In the marches, the protests or gatherings there is always a small percentage of men who will stand up for women’s rights. Is this a change to more global activism? We can only hope that men and women unite against all forms of abuse. The message needs to change. One recent article noted that we have depersonalized violence to being out there, as if the perpetrators are some alien force, not human. It’s domestic violence not significant others attacking their loved one What if we read, there was X number of men raping women or X number of teenage boys impregnating teenage girls. Can men join women in standing up to other men or calling expressing their own victimization without shame. Can we hope that someday it will not be Women’s empowerment but Human Empowerment? Well, we just might have taken a step. I look forward to the day it is not about men, women, or any other group. May the next blogger be able to comment “We treat all living being with respect”
Sexual harassment is abuse. Often the dynamics are the same as with more physical forms of sexual violence. The same power differential and the same intimidation. Unfortunately, it can lead to the same lasting PTSD difficulties as well as loss of employment, opportunity and potential. Disclosure can be as difficult as the harassment and lead to even further difficulties. Reading the stories of Me Too posts expose harassment for what it is… simply a longer word for abuse.


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