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Laura Giles, LCSW

honoring your shadow

Honoring Your Shadow

The longer I am a trauma therapist, the more deeply I believe in honoring your Shadow. So much pain comes from wanting to not face reality. It's like we will do anything to avoid guilt, shame, and pain. We push those things into Shadow and unconsciously act from that place when we can simply Be. It may sound like I am speaking as if I am outside of that cycle, but I do it too. We all do. Just some of us do it more than others. Some of us do it more unconsciously than others. The first step to healing the Shadow is to make it conscious. Accept that we all have a Shadow. It's the part of us that we don't want to see. The second step is to choose...

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self-love quotes

35 Self Love Quotes to Pick You Up

Who doesn't love quotes? Quotes encapsulate an inspiring thought that can motivate you, remind you of your purpose, remind you who you are, and keep you going. Self love has to be cultivated. It comes from your thoughts and your habits. If you need some help getting there, enjoy these 35 self love quotes often. Revisit them when you're beating yourself up, feeling down, or you're feeling good and want to keep riding that wave. When you find the one that really speaks to you, make it your mantra. "Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept." ~Anna Taylor “Act as if what you do makes a difference....

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betraying myself

Why Am I Betraying Myself?

If you think about it, there are two main reasons why people betray themselves. 1) for approval and 2) to belong or fit in. It can make you feel like you walk around wearing a mask. Neither feeling is generally worth the loss of self that it costs you. Acting for Approval Everybody enjoys approval. We all want to feel that we are good, competent, kind, and valued. However, when we need it, it becomes problematic because the power over our happiness always lies in someone else's hands. The person wielding the power can feel manipulated or obligated to care for you. That can feel like a burden. And you can feel slighted when you don't get approval when and how you want it. Both people can end up resenting the other. What you...

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pandemic induced depression

7 Tips for Dealing With Pandemic Induced Depression

Sheltering in place for months is taking a toll on mental health. We're not engaging in many of the things that create stability and happiness. We don't have clear facts about when it will end or what life will look like a month from now so we can't plan. It can feel like an endless Groundhog Day where nothing changes. So how can we deal with or avoid pandemic induced depression? Here are some tips. Maintain a Routine By far the most common thing I am encountering among clients is a lack of routine. There's no reason to get up at a certain time and no reason to go to bed. So why bother? Unfortunately, our bodies need routine. When we start sleeping when we want to, eating when we want to,...

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emotional safety

Want to Connect? Do This.

A really common statement that I hear in my office when dealing with couples is, "When things get tough, all I need is for you to hold me." That's a request for emotional safety. So why is it so hard for our partners to do this? It's about safety. When you're in an argument with someone and you don't feel safe, the last thing you want to do is move into that discomfort. It's like violating your own feelings. This is true in non-romantic relationships too: parent/child, co-workers, friends, and communities. Remember being a kid and fighting with your brother? Your parents made you hug and say you're sorry? What about your anger? Your feelings? Don't they mean anything? When you are ignored, it's invalidating. When you're feeling like you're not...

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raised by wolves

The Hidden Pain of Not Having a Healthy Mother

Okay, I am not literally talking about being an orphan. What I mean by "not having a mother" is when your parents are physically or emotionally absent. Maybe you were a latchkey kid. Maybe you had a helicopter mom. This can happen if your mom was preoccupied with a sick child, parent, or spouse. If your parents were mentally ill, had substance abuse issues, were workaholics, or were children of dysfunctional families and just didn't know how to be healthy adults or parents, that could also qualify. I am surprised at how dismissive mainstream society is about the value of healthy parenting. I see so many people who were neglected who don't know they were neglected so they don't see how harmful that was. Some don't see their...

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resting bitch face

Is Resting Bitch Face (RBF) a Real Thing?

Do you have resting bitch face (RBF)? Don’t know what that is? Here are some symptoms:  people frequently ask you to smile morepeople think you’re angry or sad even when you’re notyour friends tell you that when they first saw you, they thought you were a bitchpictures of your face never look the way you feelpeople often ask what’s wrongwhen people get to know you, they remark about how pleasantly surprised they are to find you’re actually nicepeople avoid you “Resting” means that the face looks this way when the person is unprovoked. It’s an every day look. “Bitch” refers to the unapproachable, hostile interpretation of the facial expression. It can also be perceived as contemptuous or annoyed. Either way, it is not warm and welcoming. The overall effect is that viewers are...

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Tips for Handling Invalidating Comments

If you’re in an environment of disrespect, it can make it really hard for you to function. This is really stressful. There are some thing you can do to make it easier. Here are some tips for handling invalidating comments. Give responses that: reflect YOUR thoughts, feeling, and needsshow respect – both self-respect and respect for all other partiesacknowledge the feelings of others. These things will help to keep the situation from escalating. They also model effective communication skills. It could be that the person that you are speaking to comes from an invalidating environment and hasn’t learned how to speak in other ways. Your example will give them other choices. Other guidelines: ask for clarification if anything has the potential of being unclearif you jump to conclusions, err on the side of a positive assumptionstay away from...

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dealing with racism

How I Am Dealing With Racism

There is a push for business owners to make a public statement to proclaim how we are dealing with racism by working to change systemic racism, educating ourselves about how to not be racist, and changing policies to more make services and work opportunities available to minorities and the disadvantaged. So here is my statement. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't really share my story because I'm private. It's not about me, and frankly, it's none of your business. So this is very uncomfortable for me. But when I was a child, other children used to ask me, "What are you?" I didn't understand the question. "What" is a word we use with objects. I would have thought it was obvious. "I'm a girl," I replied. "What are you?" I wasn't trying to be a wise ass....

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is PTSD incurable

Is PTSD Incurable?

I was recently slammed by a war veteran for saying that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be cured. He said I was irresponsible for giving the hope to the hopeless. Apparently someone – or maybe lots of someones – who treat soldiers is telling them that PTSD is incurable. Jeez. What a shame. I generally do not argue with colleagues. I am not the expert on everything. I don’t know everything. What works for one person may not work for another, and I respect that. However, when it comes to this, PLEASE STOP TELLING PEOPLE PTSD IS INCURABLE. It's damaging and just not true. Lack of Progress Probably Means You’ve Got an Ineffective Treatment or Ineffective Provider If you’re getting treatment for PTSD and are not getting symptom reduction, blame the treatment...

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