christian therapist

How to set appropriate boundaries in your relationships

If you follow me on social media, I talk about boundaries A LOT. Why? Well because boundaries either create a sense of safety or they provide a sense of vulnerability and insecurity. We all have boundaries- even if we don't know it. Some people have very rigid boundaries that keep them safe, yet keep people out. And others have very porous, open boundaries that let lots of good (as well as bad) in. But porous boundaries hurt you in the process. Having both types of boundaries serves a specific function. Rigid boundaries will definitely keep you safe-especially if you've had loss and hurt in the past. It's a great way to protect yourself when you've experienced lots of bad. The problem is that rigid boundaries also keep good, safe people out. So you'll definitely feel safe, but you might end up being lonely.

With porous boundaries you will get lots of good people coming into your life, but the bad will also be able to come in. It's a great way to get to know lots of acquaintances and have tons of fun, but it means you don't have a screening process to let the good in and keep the bad out. Many people I talk to don't give much thought to boundary setting. I suggest that you start to think more about it. If you don't think about boundaries, you might open your world and your heart to people who aren't a good fit- thereby causing you a world of pain, confusion and frustration. In reality you want healthy, flexible boundaries so you can keep the bad out and allow the good in. And once the good is in, flexible boundaries allow them to stay in.

So, how do you begin to set boundaries?

1) Get clear on what your values are: If you've never decided what your values are, you'll open your life up to just anyone and everyone. So sit and think, "What are my top 5 non negotiable values?" These will serve as a guide when you're on the hunt for friendships, acquaintances, business partners and romantic partners. Because boundaries aren't just for marriages, boundaries affect every aspect of your life. If your values include honesty, sobriety, patience, family togetherness and love, then you will instantly screen out anyone who doesn't have the same values. Does this mean all your friends have to be just like you? Nope. It just means your friends should have similar values- even if their personalities are different from yours. If you value sobriety, but everyone you hang out with is using substances, chances are you'll always feel uncomfortable around them and might even end up using just like them. You are who you hang out with after all.

2) Know what your people limit is: How many people do you want in your life? Sometimes you might feel the need to have 100 close friends. Well, not everyone can tolerate a full social life. Be honest with yourself. If you feel exhausted being with a lot of people or always being on the phone to check up on the people in your life, then perhaps you don't need a huge list to fulfill your social needs. But if you have a few close friends and a yearning to open your life up to more people then perhaps you need to do just that. But be honest with yourself. Are you expanding your social list because you think it's the thing to do, or will adding more people bring you more joy? It's your life. You get to set the limit regardless of what others think.

3) Write a detailed list of the type of people you deserve: Now that you're clear on your values and how many close friendships you can comfortably tolerate, the best step is to dig deeper and write out the specific qualities you want in your people. Realize that hot every person is your person, and that's just okay. Even if the people around you believe both of you would make great friends or acquaintances, you don't have an obligation to include everyone in your life. So, what are the qualities you deserve in a friend, acquaintance or partner? Write them down, review them regularly and study them. This list will set you up for boundary success.

4) Write a list of the type of people you don't deserve: After you've created a list of the qualities you'd love in someone who is a part of your inner circle, what qualities do you absolutely not deserve in a person? Think about habits and character traits that drive you nuts. Or think back to people who have caused you pain. What qualities do you need to be protected from? Of course, you should add things related to abusive and controlling traits as those will only bring you pain- no one deserves abuse and mistreatment.  

5) Figure out what type of person you need to be to attract the right people: Like attracts like. The next step is to figure out what type of person you need to be in order to attract people with your desired traits. Why do you need to do this even for friendships? Well because your friends will either raise your self esteem or completely tear it down.  You need good quality friends who will fill you with joy, give you sound advice and help your journey through life be better. The people you spend majority of your time with will do a great job of shaping your ideas about who you are- so pick wisely. Many women think they can attract nice, respectful friends, but are they also nice and respectful? You see, if you want to attract good people, you also have to work on building your character. Sometimes coaching or therapy- depending on what your needs are- can help you with this.

6) Figure out a system to push out the bad: Once you've set your values, figured out who you deserve around you, and worked on building your character, the next thing to do is to weed out the bad. When someone tries to date you, but you realize they don't meet your character standards, then you simply turn away (or run!) in the other direction. It's that simple. You don't owe anyone anything. What if the person is family? Well it's time to learn how to spend less time with that person and reduce the impact they have in your life. Remember, bad boundaries could even affect your self esteem.

So are you ready to start creating healthy boundaries? Which one of the above works best for you? And if you'd like to work with me on setting clear boundaries so you can become a confident women, click here to schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation call. Life is too short to spend it with people who don't life you up. I also offer online counseling or therapy sessions for women who live anywhere within California.

How your thoughts are making you anxious

You spend a lot of time trying to keep the butterflies in your tummy at bay. You've tried breathing, yoga and reading every self help book out there, but nothing is working out for you. Your anxiety is off the rails. You wonder if you are broken, because every day is a challenge. You think to yourself, "Why am I the only one who struggles so much?"

Well, maybe your thoughts are holding you back. There is a belief among therapists that your thoughts, your feelings and your behavior are all linked. If you change one, you can change the others. Let's say you really want to begin a new, exciting career. If you say to yourself, "I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to succeed in this new career," those thoughts would lead to feelings of frustration, sadness and maybe even insecurity. In essence, you've defeated yourself before the battle has even begun. The feelings of frustration, sadness and insecurity would lead to procrastinating on filling out applications, staying up late while worrying about your future, and just generally feeling sorry for yourself. And even if you're able to break into that new career, when you have a defeatist attitude, you will not be bold enough to pursue your career fully and put in all your effort.

You get it? Your sucky thoughts might be dragging you down.

So how do you begin to change this downward spiral?

Start by challenging your thoughts. First figure out if indeed your thoughts are true. If they aren't, figure out what the truth is. So if you're saying to yourself, "I won't succeed in my new career," what is the proof that this is actually true? Have you ever tried that career? Have you ever succeeded at a career or job in the past? Do you have skills that could help you succeed? Is it really truly that you won't succeed? How do you know that you won't succeed? Where's the logical proof? You see most of us think irrational unhelpful thoughts but we convince ourselves that these thoughts are true.

Next, what is the proof that your thoughts are false? Think of the reasons why your thoughts are false. Think of all the times you've succeeded at a job. Actually write them down so that you can remind yourself that you do well at some tasks. It might be helpful to write your thought at the top of a piece of paper, then draw a line right down the middle of the paper. On the left write out 'Why my thoughts are true.' Then on the right, write out 'Why my thoughts are false.'

Once you're done with both columns, come up with other thoughts to support your conclusion. So if you realize that you do have what it takes to break through in a new career, you can tell yourself, "Even though this career change will be difficult, I have succeeded in other things before and I have a great chance of succeeding now." Say this to yourself as often as possible. This will help you feel more motivated to take action. So do not discount the fact that you will face difficulties. Acknowledge that and then include your reason why you will be okay. 

Don't get it wrong. Positive thoughts alone will not get you anywhere-you must also take the necessary steps to set yourself up for success. In our example above, if you're not trying to learn about the new career, you definitely will fail.

So try this out and let me know how it goes. You can comment below. If you have been struggling with anxious thoughts and you're sick and tired of feeling like the world is about to crumble around you, now's the time to get help. I help anxious women regain their sense of self esteem and live boldly. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation. Let's get you from frazzled to calm.

What is therapy?

Therapy or psychotherapy or counseling is simply treating mental health disorders while keeping the person's individual relationships and environment in mind. It doesn't matter if you call me a therapist, a psychotherapist or a counselor-I'm fine with all three titles. 'Mental health disorders' sounds really harsh, but what that simply means is some type of psychological problem one has which is causing him or her distress. Depression causes distress, so does anxiety, so does anorexia, so does OCD, and so do schizophrenia, phobias, PTSD, insomnia and Bipolar disorder. Some mental health disorders are very severe and people struggle with them for a lifetime. While others last for a few weeks or a few months at a time. Some are recurrent and come back after a while, and some show up for a few weeks and never return. A mental health diagnosis does not make you 'crazy.' In fact millions of people work and raise families while living with a mental health disorder. 

Think of it this way-there are also millions of people around the world who struggle with physical health disorders and who live fruitful lives. Would you call them crazy? I'd hope not.

When you are on the lookout for a therapist, expect that each therapist you talk to will be very different. Don't expect to instantly form a connection with every therapist you call- simply because they have a master's degree or a doctorate. Some people will talk too slowly for you, some will be too pushy and then one will be just right.

Different therapists work from different perspectives. Some work from a cognitive perspective, which means they focus on the way you think. Others work from a behavioral perspective-they are more concerned with how you act. Still others work from a systemic perspective- taking into account your family background, your upbringing and your environment. Some rely heavily on helping you tap into your emotions, while others will never even mention the word 'emotions.'

Some therapists will take notes as you are talking, others will use a tablet or a laptop and still some will not take any notes. Typically when you walk into a therapist's office, expect him or her to ask you lots of questions about your medical history, childhood history and mental health history. This information is golden for us as we use it to figure out how best to help you. The more honest you are, the easier it will be for us to get you to your goal.

So therapy isn't this weird mysterious thing. It just looks very much like 2 people sitting across from each other and having conversations until the other person begins to feel better. You are free to ask questions and your therapist is your ally.

For a free 15 minute phone consultation with me, click here to email me or call me at 951-905-3181. You can ask me all the questions you want so we can figure out how therapy can help you. And if you decide I'm not the best fit for you, that's okay too. It's all a normal part of the process. But give yourself a chance to be free of anxiety and find the calm you deserve.

Can a therapist help you?

You've felt lost and confused for years. Even though you put on a brave face for the people around you, your life feels miserable. You've lost your voice snd you're not sure how to find it again. You pour all the energy you have into your family, but at the end of the night, you feel like you're left with nothing.

 This is where therapy comes in. The first step is to find a therapist you trust. Finding a therapist is very much like learning to ride a bike. You fall a few times until you finally get it right. Don't be afraid to ask the therapist a million questions. "Do you take my insurance?" "How many years have you practiced for?" "What's your specialty?" "Tell me how you work." "What's your cancellation policy?""Can you help me with my goal?" "How long will our sessions be?"

 A therapist will help you sort through your thoughts and feelings and get you to your goal. I always encourage people to have a specific goal when they start therapy. This goal will ensure that both you and the therapist are clear on what exactly you're trying to accomplish. That way you can decide if you are on the right track and you can measure your progress.

Therapy can be uncomfortable as you might end up remembering painful memories or uncomfortable feelings, however a flower cannot grow without being buried in dirt. Sometimes it takes some discomfort to get you to your desired place. Also realize that during your first few sessions, you're only trying to see if you're a good fit with this therapist. Don't be afraid to let the therapist know if something isn't working for you-openness leads to great results. Also don't feel bad if you don't click with the therapist. Keep searching until you find your person. 

 So could therapy be right for you? Call today at 951-905-3181 or email me for a complimentary phone consultation and let's talk about achieving your goals. In this free 15 minute phone call, we will talk about what issues are bothering you, when they started, and you can also ask me whatever questions you need to know me better. It's your time to interview me as see if I'm a good fit for you.

Can premarital counseling save your marriage?

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You've dreamed about this day all your life. You're walking down the aisle as you see your beloved with tears of joy in his eyes. You know your life together will be a fairytale. But have you had the tough conversations with him? Do you know the areas of strength and weaknesses in your relationship?

This is why premarital counseling is important. Even though so many people gloss over its importance, effective pre-marital counseling helps you and your loved one figure out how your pasts, values, ideals and beliefs could cause possible problems in the future. In session, you'll discuss important topics such as money, children, religion, in laws, how to handle disagreements, the role of friends and how your backgrounds affect your relationship.

Before the session, you'll both fill out a comprehensive Prepare/Enrich assessment form online. After that is done, a report, tailored to your specific situation is generated and sent to your counselor. The counselor then has an individualized system to discuss the actual strengths and weaknesses of your relationship. No guesswork here, the results are tailored to you. Doing this simple thing can reduce your chances of marital squabbles in the future.

So are you actually ready for marriage? Click here to contact me so you can schedule a free 15 minute consultation call for your first premarital counseling session in Murrieta or online. Start your marriage off on a stable foundation so you don't make the same mistakes others have made.