December 31, 2018

Forget about New Years Resolutions, try this technique instead for a much happier 2019


Criticism leads to shame. Self-compassion leads to action.


This year, instead of making a resolution that I won't keep, I am resolving to focus on being more compassionate to myself. Sounds hokey, I know. "What does that even mean?" you may be asking. Self-compassion is largely about treating yourself with the same compassion you would treat others you care about even when you fail.

So, for example, instead of berating myself for parts of my body that I don't like, I can acknowledge that I work hard and use my body well and that I am a work in progress. It's okay if parts of me are not what I want them to be at all times. That compassionate attitude towards myself allows me to work on what I want to change without shaming me. Shame, after all,  just leads to inaction and poorer self-esteem.


"Suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience." --Dr. Kristin Neff


Kristin Neff is a researcher and professor who has done great work to help people nurture more self-compassion. If you want to learn how to be more self-compassionate, I recommend using these exercises from her.

Dr. Neff says the following about self-compassion:

"Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. 'There but for fortune go I.'
Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a 'stiff upper lip' mentality, you stop to tell yourself 'this is really difficult right now,' how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment? 
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?" 

How can we apply Dr. Neff's advice? Try noticing when you are suffering. Are you moved by your own suffering? Do you offer understanding and kindness rather than judgment when you fail or make mistakes? Next time you feel like judging yourself, try mindfully acknowledging the distress, pain or suffering you are experiencing. Acknowledge how hard life can really be and offer kindness and compassion for yourself. Ask yourself, "What advice or kindness would I offer to my best friend in this situation," and then offer that to yourself.

If you can acknowledge your shortcomings without harsh judgment, you will have more energy left for changing those shortcomings




It may sound as if compassion toward self is just excusing one's own bad behavior or laziness. Maybe for some people, that's true. But in my experience, most people are overly critical of themselves, and that critical spirit can lead to two crucial outcomes:

1. Self-compassion gives us more energy to change what we don't like about ourselves.


Not only can self-criticism lead to criticism of others, but it may actually prevent us from changing the things that we don't like about ourselves. We only have so much energy, and we use up a lot of that energy in self-criticism. If we can acknowledge our shortcomings without harsh judgment, we will have more energy left for changing those shortcomings.

2. Self-compassion fosters true community.


Self-compassion creates an opportunity for people to be human and still work on themselves. It also allows people to live more authentically in community with other flawed people because they don't feel the need to hide the flawed parts of themselves. And they don't expect others to be perfect, either. Recognizing and being loving towards the flawed parts of yourself allows you to be open and loving to the flawed parts of others, as well.

When we are self-critical, we tend to be other-critical, as well. In other words, being critical of ourselves can lead us to being critical of those around us. And that outward criticism of others prevents the true community that most of us are seeking.

Trade judgment for compassionate observation



In 2019, I hope to be kinder to myself and to all the people I interact with. Harsh criticism and judgment are exhausting, and I don't have space for that in my life. I will choose instead to practice compassion internally to myself and externally to others. And when I fail, I will get back up and try again the next moment. That is my New Year's resolution.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Wishing you all an abundance of resilience, kindness, and love in the new year.

If you are feeling stuck and need to speak to a counselor, Wilson Counseling has a Houston Therapist who can help you make the changes you want to make in your life. You can contact us by phone at 713 - 591- 3612 or via email at Nancy@Wilsoncounseling. org.

December 4, 2018

Legacy

I was attending church, and during announcements, one of the members (who happened to be George H W Bush’s grandson) got up to encourage people to get involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. It is an organization that he himself was very involved with and was passionate about. He talked about how his grandfather had taught him that he is responsible for being a point of light in the world. 


When 41 spoke about the 1,000 points of light, I always assumed it was just a political talking point. But, I realized at that moment, that it was more than just a talking point. It was part of the Bush legacy, something he passed on to those who were willing to listen, including his grandchildren. 

No one who does anything of importance has a spotless or perfect record. That’s not what life is really about anyways. Life is messy, love is messy, caring and fighting for what you believe in is messy. 



But, when it’s my time to go, I would like to know that my legacy will be one of having given hope to people, one person, at a time. Connecting, empathizing, and caring enough to lift people up to reach their purpose and potential. I hope that I will strive to be a point of light and not just another cynical point of darkness. 

What do you want your legacy to be?

September 27, 2018

I died that day - An account of sexual abuse

Andrew was just 11 years old when it happened. His mom had to work nights, so him and his twin brother Jack were being watched by a close family friend, Florence. She was kind of an Aunt figure to the boys. She woke the boys sometime in the dark of night, and said one horrifying word he can not forget, "Fuck." She forced him and then his brother to repeatedly perform cunnilingus and then have intercourse with her. Each time saying "again, and again, and again."

Andrew remembers her musty smell, the chill in the air and the glow from the moon in the hall. He remembers desperately hoping that someone would hear them through the opening in the door and rescue them, but a rescuer never showed.

Trauma can work in strange ways. There are some parts of the traumatic event that can imprint in your brain as clear as if you are watching them on TV right in front of you. Other memories get buried and can be hard to access.

Keeping the secret of abuse


After Andrew and his twin brother were molested by Florence, they never mentioned a word to anyone. Andrew was scared and ashamed. He felt as if he had done something wrong to make this happen. Him and his brother never spoke of it to each other, either. It became a secret he held onto closely and shaped how he felt about himself. To this day, he has never told his mom what happened that night, and he can't bear for her to know because it will be painful for her to hear.

Sex was always a dirty thing


As a teenager, Andrew became hyper sexual. He was a fit, handsome boy and a star athlete, and it was never hard to find sexual partners. Later in adulthood, he lost all interest in sex. He never felt he was good enough in bed.  And it was difficult for him to become aroused if his partner was not  dominating him. Sex was always a dirty thing to Andrew after his own abuse.

"I am a failure"


There are things from that night that Andrew can never forget. The image of Florence making him go down on her and then fuck her saying repeatedly, "again and again" is burned into his brain. His young mind read those words as a kind of condemnation of him. As if she was saying, you're not good enough, so you better do it again and again until you get it right. He felt like a failure. And he has felt like a failure ever since.



"I feel like I died that night"


When we worked on the abuse in therapy, Andrew talked about the sense of hopelessness, anger and confusion he still feels now as a middle aged man when he thinks of his abuse. He says, "I feel like I died that day, 31 years ago."

As a human being, and as a parent, it breaks my heart to hear these stories. As a therapist, I am grateful there are tools that can help people like Andrew start to heal from his trauma. Healing from sexual abuse takes work. Andrew was not freed from the burden of his abuse overnight, but he committed himself to healing. It has been wonderful to see him start to be able to recover his life.


I am a survivor


One of the tools I used with Andrew is a type of psychotherapy often used with trauma victims called EMDR. EMDR can help people heal by removing blocks that prevent emotional healing. Through therapy, Andrew went from saying "I feel like I died that night" to "I am living," "My words are the words of a survivalist," ""I am not to blame," and "I'm free."

We are in the era of the #MeToo movement. It is a time when people are sometimes more open about the abuse they have experienced. There is an expression in the addiction world, "You are only as sick as your secrets." With secrets comes the idea that you or your actions are shameful and should be hidden from everyone.  But it can be freeing to open up about our secrets.



We believe you


I worry that the downside of all of the revelations of abuse is that it is also triggering for survivors. I worry too about the backlash against victims who speak up. It can be a secondary trauma to be abused and then when you have the courage to speak up after years of living with the trauma, to be questioned, ridiculed, shamed, or harassed.

To all the victims of abuse who are reading this, please know that we hear you, we believe you, and that there is hope for healing. If you are a victim, please consider contacting a therapist and maybe telling a trusted friend.

We also have Houston Counselors at Wilson Counseling who can help you begin your journey to healing. If you feel stuck, please contact us at 713-591-3612, or via email at Nancy @ wilsoncounsleing.  org.



September 19, 2018

Feeling sad? Let the music heal you.




Sometimes the darkness feels closer than the light. Sometimes the depressive voice in your head is loud and persistent and convincing. Sometimes when you compare the sad, tough moments in your life and the happy joyful moments, it feels like the hard moments win out. Sometimes you feel alone and misunderstood. And in those times, you can wonder if life is worth it. 

Your mind can play tricks on you and make you feel that things will never get better, when, in truth, it almost always will. 


What can you do to break the spell and start to feel hopeful again? Lots of things, but today I want to suggest you plug in to the power of music to open you up and give you hope. Get on YouTube or Spotify and find some of your favorite songs. They can be sad songs or more upbeat ones.


An artist whose music I have been appreciating lately is Milck. I first heard her when listening to the NPR Podcast All Songs Considered. They played the song "Black Sheep." It is a song about someone who feels alienated,  alone and stuck, a black sheep. For me, when I listen to it, I feel both the sadness and hope all at the same time. My favorite line is 

"Every warrior grows from her battles and scars. "




I love the image of the female warrior, battered and bruised and yet strengthened by her struggles. That gives me hope that whatever I am going through makes me stronger. And to take it a step further than the song does, that the strength I have from my battles will equip me to love and serve and care for others who are in the thick of the battle. This idea is fortifying to me. 

Feel the healing balm of hope through music


Sit back, close your eyes and turn up the volume on this. Take it in. Feel the healing balm of hope through music. Sometimes art can pierce the brokenness when other things can't. I have hit the repeat button on this song more times than I can count,  and I love it every time. 



And after you listen to "Black Sheep", try listening to this redemptive, joyful song, also by Milck, "Oh My My (What a Life)," about falling in love, growing up, and being surprised by happiness. Milck's smile and laughter in this video feel contagious. I love those moments when you catch yourself feeling happy and connected and content. Open yourself to be mindful of these small moments of joy and you might find they are happening more often than you think. 


Whatever your favorite songs are, play them today. Give yourself permission to sit and do nothing but be with the music. Notice how it affects your mood. Give thanks for the gift of song. 


What songs do you like to listen to when you are sad or happy?

If you are struggling with feelings of despair, sadness, or anxiety, we have Houston Therapists who can help you. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Wilson Counseling at 713 - 591 - 3612 or email us at Nancy@wilsoncounseling. org. 

August 21, 2018

When you pass through the waters: Reflections on Hurricane Harvey a year later.

It is hard to believe it has been almost a year since Hurricane Harvey rolled through our beloved city and dropped 50 inches of rain, flooding entire swaths of Houston. Even a year later, I still feel shocked when I see the dramatic photographs of freeways and homes and cars submerged, of what looks like all of Houston under water. I feel sad when I see the pictures of homes gutted and belongings tossed in large piles on the sidewalk.



I still remember the feeling of dread when my husband woke me at 5am on August 27th, 2017, looked me in the eyes and said, "the water is coming in." I remember walking on our wet wood floors to wake up my daughters, scrambling to try to move things off the ground and then all of us sitting on our sofa as the waters rose and wondering "What are we going to do now?" I remember moving to higher ground at a neighbor's second story home, and then, when it became clear the rain would not stop, being evacuated from the second story of that home by boat to the Kroger grocery store.

I remember the sense of disbelief when I saw the helicopters, men in uniform, and my neighbors with only the clothes on their backs waiting to be rescued. I remember sitting in the back of a National Guard truck, cold from the pelting rains and weary from the day, packed in tight with strangers we had never seen before and would never see again, and realizing that, just like that, your life can change. I remember the force of the flood waters in front of the convention center blowing the manhole covers ten feet into the air, almost as if they were guarding the space to keep us out. I remember the sense of relief at arriving at the Red Cross shelter and knowing we were safe, and that soon, we would be dry.  I remember every vivid detail as if it happened yesterday.



I hear people talk about how Houston is "getting over it" and "moving on." Those terms always make me uncomfortable because I know that so many people have not moved on. I can still walk around my neighborhood on the weekends and it feels like a ghost town. On the weekdays, it is busy with construction trucks and laborers demolishing and building and renovating. Some people are just now getting money from insurance or cobbling together enough to start to fix their homes.

When we go through traumatic things, the memories can be stored in our bodies, locked away. 


That, of course, is just the physical rebuilding. There is an emotional toll that a natural disaster takes on you, too. Emotional healing is much more difficult to achieve than the rebuilding of the physical structures we occupy. When we go through traumatic things, the memories can be stored in our bodies, locked away. We can't just wish them away with our strength and grit and positive outlook. It takes active work to start to heal.


If you have been through a natural disaster like Harvey, you might be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You can read more about the signs and symptoms of PTSD here.

I remember sitting in a training session at a hotel meeting room off the Katy Freeway when the rain started pouring down. Ironically, it was a training on how to treat trauma with a therapy called EMDR. I remember feeling a sense of panic and wondering if I would be able to get home. My mind was racing with the thought of what I needed to do if the building started to flood. I felt the sense of fear and couldn't stop the tears rolling down my cheeks. I realized my reaction was based on my own trauma from flooding.

That quiet voice inside can tell you that you are not safe, not in control of your life. 


I resolved to do my own emotional work to deal with it. I was able to effectively work through the trauma with the help of an EMDR therapist. I recognized that especially when there was a heavy rain, my internal dialogue would tell me that I was not safe and couldn't control my life. A pretty logical conclusion given the fact that everything in my life was running along smoothly and then, overnight, we lost our home, our possessions, and our community. And there was nothing I could have done to change that.


But through the work, I also came to some realizations. During an EMDR session, the lyrics of a song based on the Christian Scriptures in Isiah 43:2  came to me. The words are:

"When you pass through the waters I will be with you 
And the Waves will not consume you
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you
I have called you by name
You are mine"

I love the water metaphor. When you pass through the waters (which you inevitably will), I (God) will be with you. And I realized that that is enough. It is enough for me to have the sense of peace that comes with knowing I am not alone when hard things happen.



You are stronger than you think.


It's true that I don't have ultimate control over my life. Nobody really does. But I realized that the night our home flooded, I did have control over the things that mattered.  I made sure we had somewhere to go and that we were making decisions to stay safe. And I realized that I am stronger than I sometimes think I am or feel that I am. Most of the people I know who flooded have had to fight to get their lives back in order. They had to deal with insurance companies and FEMA and tough decisions about remodeling or rebuilding or moving away from neighborhoods they loved and risk losing their communities. And they may have struggled and faltered and cried their way through it sometimes, but they keep fighting.

It is enough for me to have the sense of peace that comes with knowing I am not alone when hard things happen. 


People say everything happens for a reason. I have grown to hate that expression in some ways because it feels dismissive of people's pain and suffering. And ultimately, we don't really know if everything happens for a reason. I do, however,  understand the need to make sense of hard things, to redeem them. I think that is a part of how we were created.

As a person of faith, I believe my life is about loving God and loving people. It is a simple command, yet impossible to fully live it out. But it is not about loving perfectly; it is just about showing up and being there for people. Anyone who has experienced deep pain or depression has probably asked themselves, "Is life worth it?"  "Do I want to keep on going?" "What is the point of my life?" For me, I always come back to the same thing. I am on this Earth to accomplish the good works that are set out for me. And I feel that my life has meaning when I do so. I feel that my struggle has meaning when I do those good works. There is some relief in knowing there can be purpose that comes out of the pain.


People who have suffered have the deepest wells of compassion. 


In my experience, people who have suffered have the deepest wells of compassion. I believe it is very difficult to be a compassionate person without having gone through your own suffering. Now, when I hear stories on the news of fires or floods or tornadoes or tsunamis, I think about the individual behind every story. I think about their possessions being burned to ash.  I think about the fear and terror they may have felt when the fires came. I think about the sense of loss and the tears and the shock. I think about the strength it takes to rebuild. I measure the emotional and human cost behind the headline.

I hope that my experience of flooding has made me a more compassionate person. I can find a sense of redemption in that. I can find a sense of redemption in the idea that I can be more empathetic, patient, and more compassionate because of my experiences in Hurricane Harvey. There is hope in that. Especially for someone like me, a professional therapist, whose job it is to guide people through their journey of healing. Empathy is pretty much a prerequisite.


But even though things are redeemed, it does not mean there won't still be sadness and anger and tears.


But even though things are redeemed, it does not mean there won't still be sadness and anger and tears. I want everyone reading this to hear that. It is okay to be sad a year later. It is okay if the tears well up when the barrage of news stories come about the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. And it is okay to change the channel if that helps you.

Sometimes love and healing comes in the most unexpected ways. It comes in the form of my daughter snuggling up next to me, or an unexpected call from a friend right when I need it, or sharing a joke with someone that makes me laugh with my whole body, or the joy of watching a blue jay chirping right outside my window, or a rainbow crowning the 610 freeway after the summer rain and a hard day at work. Subtle things. If you're not looking, you may miss the chance to commune with this kind of love. Expressing gratitude for these simple things can be a wonderful antidote to the melancholy.

"To love is to want and to want is to want to be here. " 


I recommend you keep a gratitude log and add 5 new things every day that you are thankful for. Gratitude helps you notice and really experience what you love. Scott Erickson said "To love is to want and to want is to want to be here. " When you list out the things you love in your life it helps you recognize the good things that already exist. The things worth fighting for. It can help you feel both grateful and grounded in the here and now. It can help you connect with joy.


If you are struggling with trauma from your past, please reach out to someone. It is a sign of health to get help when you need it. At Wilson Counseling, we have Houston based therapists who can meet with you and help you heal. Please contact us 713- 591 - 3612 or via email at Nancy@wilsoncounseling.org if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment.



#HoustonRising
#HoustonStrong

I have done two other posts on Harvey which you can find here and here. 



June 30, 2018

Wilson Counseling is pleased to offer counseling in Mandarin Chinese and Saturday hours!




Wilson Counseling is pleased to welcome our newest contract therapist, Dr. Xin Wang. Dr. Wang is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has experience in both academia and clinical practice. She is passionate about helping people reach their goals and get rid depression, stress and grief. 
Dr. Wang has experience in counseling various age groups including adolescents, young adults, and seniors from diverse cultural backgrounds. She draws on client's own strengths and a variety of techniques to collaborate with clients and help them feel better and gain control of their lives. Her specialties and interests include:
·            Stress management
·            Chronic disease, particularly cancer
·            Grief and loss
·            Depression and anxiety
·            Parenting
·            Trauma
·            Career coaching
·            Relationship concerns
During the therapy sessions, Dr. Wang provides a safe and caring environment to help identify causes of your struggles or challenges, process feelings, develop problem solving skills, and move closer to having the life they wish for. 
Dr. Wang received her Master in Social Work (MSW) at University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She also received her PhD in Pharmacognosy in China. Dr. Wang has been working in academic setting for almost 20 years. Social Work is her second career following her career in medical research. Her passion is helping people to achieve their full potential.  
Fluent in English and Mandarin. Appointments with Dr. Wang are available for evening and Saturdays. Brief phone consultations are provided free of charge. 
If you know someone who could benefit from Dr.Wang's expertise or who is looking for a Houston Mandarin Counselor, or who needs to be able to come in on the weekends,  please contact Wilson Counseling at 713 - 591 - 3612 or via email at Nancy @ wilsoncounseling. org. 

May 29, 2018

Relax And Destress With Deep Breathing In 5 Minutes Or Less

If you are feeling stressed, check out my video with an easy breathing technique. It has been enormously helpful to almost all of my clients. You can use it proactively to keep anxiety down or as needed when something stressful comes up. Take control of your life 5 minutes at a time!


March 16, 2018

Do You Need to Write Yourself a Permission Slip?

You are worn out

You work hard. You put your partner, your kid, and your work before yourself because that is what you think a grownup is supposed to do. And you're tired. Your emotional and physical health are compromised.

I talk to clients and friends all the time who feel worn thin, but they believe they don't have any choice but to keep doing what they're doing because if they don't, their world might fall apart. Their kids won't get to the doctor or the after-school activity. The laundry won't get done, the house won't get cleaned, the dinners won't get cooked.

Life is not fun. And whether we recognize it or not, sometimes we're not effective because we're running on fumes.


Give yourself permission to take care of yourself

In her book Braving The Wilderness, Brene Brown talks about the idea of giving ourselves permission slips. When my daughter goes on a field trip for school, I have to sign a permission slip saying it is okay for her to go. So, Brene writes herself permission slips on Post-it notes. There is something about writing down the permissions that emboldens us to follow through. It is a gentle way of saying that it's okay for us to take care of ourselves. It sounds so simple, but very few of us follow through with this.


What do you need?

I was thinking about my clients this week and the things they wanted or needed to do but felt guilty about:

  • Permission to attend a support group for herself to deal with her transgendered partner's transition, even when feeling guilty about not focusing on supporting her partner.
  • Permission to stop multitasking to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Permission to leave work at 6 p.m. every night even if some of your coworkers stay later.
  • Permission not to check work email when at home in the evenings or on weekends.
  • Permission to exercise even though it takes away from family time.
  • Permission to eat meat, fattening foods, desert, or other "bad" foods.
  • Permission to say "no" to activities.
  • Permission to sit and read a book just for fun.
  • Permission to take time out and meet with a therapist.
  • Permission to be honest with your partner about sexual fantasies and interests.
  • Permission to throw yourself a party for your accomplishments.
  • Permission to rest when you are not feeling well.
  • Permission to buy that dog you've been researching and dreaming about.
  • Permission to be silly and play sometimes.
And on and on.


Take action today -- It's fun!

Here is your homework: write yourself some permission slips for things your want and need in your life and sign them. Then remove guilt and instead congratulate yourself for taking care of yourself and for modeling healthy choices. The things on your to-do list will still be there when you get back, but you will have the energy to start enjoying your life again.

You are worth it. You are enough. You matter, too!

March 4, 2018

Are you doing these 4 things that hurt your relationships?


Most people starting couples therapy come in focused on their partners’ flaws. Few people come into my office and say, “We’re here because I complain too often, I yell all the time and don’t help out around the house.” It’s understandable that when you’ve been repeatedly hurt by your partner, you would be defensive and see the need for change in them. Nevertheless, the only changes you can make happen are changes in the way you show up in the relationship during the good times and the bad. You take control of your relationships by learning to change yourself first.

4 Relationship Patterns to Look Out For


Renowned couples therapists, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have identified four communication patterns that are detrimental to relationships and often result in divorce. These are called the Four Horsemen:

 1. Criticism – a verbal attack often disguised as a critique or complaint

 2. Contempt – behaviors aimed at making your partner feel worthless, such as sarcasm, name-calling, insulting, mocking

 3. Defensiveness – making excuses usually in response to feeling accused or blamed 

4. Stonewalling/Withdrawing – physical or emotional avoidance, distance, separation

4 Ways to Mend Communication Mistakes

 Thankfully, the Gottmans have identified specific antidotes for each of the Four Horsemen. Once you take the first step in identifying your own unhealthy communication patterns, you can replace them with the following antidotes: 

1. Antidote for Criticism: Gentle Start-up.

Be cognizant of how you’re feeling and avoid voicing complaints when you’re tired or already frustrated or angry. Talk about what you’re feeling and make specific requests for what you need.

2. Antidote for Contempt: Build Appreciation 

Remind yourself and your partner of the reasons you love and appreciate them by verbalizing it on a regular basis. 

3. Antidote for Defensiveness: Take Responsibility 

Recognize the validity of your partner’s perspective and offer an apology when needed 

4. Antidote for Stonewalling/Withdrawal: Self-Soothe and Rejoin 

Take a time out to recognize any overwhelming emotions. Self-soothe and practice self-care but then return to the conversation when you’re ready.


How Healthy Are Your Communication Habits? 

Next time you find yourself consumed in an argument or a difficult conversation with your partner, take a step back and consider which of the four horsemen are showing up in your own behavior and make some changes. It can be easy to focus on your partner’s hurtful behaviors but it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture: this is a relationship you’ve created together and if you want to make positive changes, you’ll have to do that together, too. Think before you react, and remember that you’re talking to someone you love.

                                                                                                                   
-By Guest Writer Ashley Giles, LCSW                                                                                                                              

If you need help with your relationships and would like to schedule an appointment with a Houston Therapist , you can contact us at 713-591-3612 or nancy@wilsoncounseling.org. 

February 8, 2018

Need to get motivated? Try this simple tip.

I hit the snooze button and then I hit it again until I absolutely have to get out of bed. I have trouble cleaning my home even though it bothers me to see it dirty. I avoid making that phone call to schedule a doctor's appointment. I keep speaking sarcastically to my partner when I wish I was being kind instead. 

How can you change your bad habits and learn to feel more in control?



Mel Robbins describes one simple tip for moving from idea to action. She recommends you count down 5-4-3-2-1, and then spring into action. If you wait any longer to act, your brain will sabotage any changes in your behavior you are trying to make. As humans we are wired to want comfort, pleasure and familiarity, so we resist change. Pausing like you do when you hit the snooze button effectively stops you from making changes. You can use this technique called the 5 second rule to outsmart your brain.

Using the rule, you interrupt habit loops that get encoded in the brain. Counting down, when you get to one, your habit has been interrupted and you have awakened the part of your brain you need to make changes. According to Robbins, this type of counting is a starting ritual that triggers you to act with confidence and shift gears. The ability to act with confidence and to feel that sense of movement is necessary for change. 

Check out her talk and then try this technique for yourself. You have the capacity to change your life one action, once choice, one step at a time. You can do this!



January 25, 2018

Encouragement Quotes From Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

Last week we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. He is inspiring for many reasons. One of the things I personally find the most inspiring is that he devoted his life to something--civil rights--even though it was incredibly hard and even dangerous. In the end, he paid the ultimate price, his life, but his legacy has has brought our society one step closer to the promises of our democracy. 

You may not be trying to change the entire course of our country, but you do have hard things in your life that you want to accomplish. Nothing worthwhile was ever done without hard work, persistence, thought, and time. And everything important thing worth doing will be met with resistance. Fight through that resistance, fight the people who criticize, persist in the things that matter. You will always feel stronger when you do hard things. 

Here are some quotes from MLK to encourage you in your journey as you try to make changes and take charge of your life. I hope you will be as inspired and as encouraged as I have been by Dr. King. Every time I listen to  his I have a dream speech, I am stopped in my tracks.

I recommend you read these quotes, and if one speaks to you, write it down, put it on your phone, pin it to your mirror, and then repeat it to yourself in the quiet of the morning or the darkness of the night. Use it like a mantra to guide and encourage you when you feel frustrated and want to give up on something. 







If you would like to schedule an appointment you can contact us at 713-591-3612 or nancy@wilsoncounseling.org. 

January 16, 2018

How Stress Affects Your Brain

I came across this video the other day talking about how stress affects your brain. If you have ever wondered how stress affects your brain I would recommend you check it out.



One of the most proven ways to deal with stress is through meditation. If you have been interested in meditating but need some help getting started or staying on schedule I recommend you use a meditation app like headspace. They are having a 40% off discount that you can take advantage of or use the free version.

If you would like to schedule an appointment contact us at 713-591-3612 or nancy@wilsoncounseling.org.