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Come in! Come in, settle down on the comfy couch, and let me pour you a cup of tea. Curl up under this snuggly blanket and let’s talk about self-care.

It’s been rough out there, hasn’t it? You’ve spent a lot of time supporting, resourcing, reframing, and containing, creating safe holding spaces for all the feelings that people are bringing into your office (or your virtual office). You’ve also been managing the moving parts at home, plus feeling all your own feelings about the various crises in our world.

So, what about YOU? How do you take care of yourself? Or maybe you are so busy, or so tired, or so overwhelmed that you can’t even imagine it.

Sometimes we need to take a step back to assess exactly what…

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Anyone can be struck by a wave of impostor syndrome. It is that wave of shame and self-doubt that washes over you when you have stuck your neck out, or made a statement of some kind, or have taken a social risk. Generally it happens in the context of your profession, hence the term “impostor.” That is, I am not a REAL…whatever it is you are.

Psychotherapists can be prone to impostor syndrome that hits you hard enough for whiplash. There is a very real reason for this and, not surprisingly, it has roots in our childhood experiences.

Alice Miller…

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I have been a practitioner of mindfulness and of mindfulness meditation since accidentally tripping over some lectures by Pema Chodron about twenty years ago. My interest was piqued, but I found the actual practice of sitting in meditation was difficult: far more difficult than the marathon I had run the year before. Simply to sit in non-doing was a challenge that I wasn’t sure I’d ever master. Since then, I have learned that mastery isn’t the goal, but the comment itself was a reflection on my struggle. My practice was enhanced and supported by taking a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)…

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I now see my clients on a video screen. How do we create a container for therapy when we are not in the same space as our clients?

Therapy offices are contained places. They are spaces in which people can feel and express and experience themselves in a safe and protected way, held safely by the space and the therapist.

Clients come to therapy because something isn’t working in their lives. They feel miserable, or empty, or distraught, or numb. We can work with that. In the body-centered psychotherapy of bioenergetics*, we work with people’s somatic structure to create a container to be free to express and explore their deepest emotional experiences. This might mean helping them to release constriction in their bodies so that they can feel…

It’s not about the pedicure. It is about taking note of how you are feeling.

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The term “self-care” is all over the internet, aimed at first (I think) at women who probably don’t take care of themselves particularly well, but more recently becoming a buzzword designed to sell products and services.

Radical care of the self isn’t about buying things or even about buying a service, such as massage or even psychotherapy. Radical self-care is about taking care of yourself as if you counted, as if you are as important as the other most important people in your life.

So let’s deconstruct this. What do you do to take care of other people’s selves?


Three simple practices to help you calm down

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Most people are a little more stressed and tense now, during the COVID crisis, than usual. Some people are a lot more distressed. Everywhere you look there are articles about how to calm yourself, how to soothe yourself and your children, and how to cope and take good care of yourself.

It is a good idea to manage our stress. When we are stressed, we are not our best selves. We are less able to make good decisions. We are less flexible in our thinking. We may be short of temper or spacey and dissociated. …

Here is a radical suggestion. Instead of DOING more, try doing less.

Try resting.

But not just any resting; try constructive rest.

If you are a high achiever, or someone who likes to Get Things Done, constructive rest might be just the ticket. You get to rest and allow your body and nervous system to downshift, and you are doing something constructive!

Do you do too much? Most of us do a lot; we care for family members, work at a job, do mundane chores like laundry, shopping, yard work. We may also take courses, do workouts, volunteer, have social…

Developing your tolerance for distress

Black and white image of woman with long hair, downcast eyes, and tear streaked face
Black and white image of woman with long hair, downcast eyes, and tear streaked face
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Distress tolerance is our ability to stay with our own uncomfortable feelings. Everyone can benefit from having a tolerance for distress. This article will tell you why and how.

Developing our skills in tolerating our own distress is part of the work in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (Linehan 2014), a well-supported model for helping people who struggle with overwhelming emotion. Even if this isn't a feature of your everyday life, everyone knows what it can feel like to be emotionally overwhelmed.

When this emotional overwhelm happens, the knee-jerk, immediate reaction is avoidance; to get away from it as fast as possible. We’ll do almost anything to avoid feeling our own distress: laugh about things that are terrible, bury our feelings in compulsive behaviours, go deeply down that well-known river De…

How I know for sure that I am being shaped by the unseen world of the internet

Forearm of a white man with a watch with a dark square face and white band.
Forearm of a white man with a watch with a dark square face and white band.
Photo by Kamil S on Unsplash

Well, I know now for certain that technology is shaping how I live my everyday life. Thanks to my spouse, I have a new device to help keep track of my running. I am happy to keep track of my distance and pace without fuss. However, this device has changed me in unanticipated ways. Unanticipated and maybe not so great.

So what is different?

My new “wearable” tracks my everyday activity, as well as my identified runs. It buzzes me with reminders to do something (“Move!”) and vibrates with joy when I am successful. As a result, I am glued to the damn thing.

Shhh…it’s not what you think

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In my work as a psychotherapist, people often tell me that they have low self-esteem, and that this is the source of their difficulties. There is no doubt that they know this about themselves. A person with low self-esteem doesn’t respect himself, looks to other people for validation, and often has difficulty in making decisions, taking responsibility and behaving autonomously. You can see how that gets in the way of living the life you want. …

Leslie Ann Costello

Psychologist, bioenergetic psychotherapist, and trainer. Watch for my forthcoming book, Somatic Perinatal Psychotherapy. On Instagram at somatic_perinatal.

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