Ann Frank was born 84 years ago today. As a child, and even today, I remain mesmerized by her remarkable strength, depth of compassion and constant optimism. She is a role model for the ages, continuing to teach us about ourselves, and about perseverance. Shortly before meeting her untimely fate, she wrote in her crumpled notebook “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” Take a moment today to remember Ann.
Angelina Jolie has portrayed the strong and thoughtful character in most of her roles, and we have as an audience rooted for her character to overcome. With a few exceptions from some of her earlier roles and a few real life stumbles (like that Billy Bob thing) this has been her on-screen and off-screen persona. Whether battling tyrants in “Tomb Raider” or seeking to fight a corrupt system in “Girl Interrupted,” Angelina has found a way to be true to herself. As a UNICEF Ambassador, and adoptive parent, she has represented women well, and has set a an example for us all. But yesterday, Angelina took her actions a step further by placing the breast cancer issue even higher on our “social agenda” by demystifying and de-stigmatizing…. As a woman, I think this is your most heroic “role.”
San Diego North County Chapter of CAMFTOctober 2012
“The New Reality of Female Sexuality”
Is October Program TopicBy: Carol Hyde, Professional Development Co-Chair
Join us on Friday, October 19 when Julieann Myers, LCSW will explain how our social and sexual behaviors have changed more in the last 20 years than in the last 10 thousand years! During this engaging and interactive presentation titled “The New Reality of Female Sexuality,” you will learn about how media, social/cultural expectations, life span development and new knowledge about biological issues have affected women’s sexuality. Using science, humor and education you will walk away with an overview of relevant and usable information that can be applied immediately with clients.
Informational highlights of this presentation include physiological factors related to hormones, life span development and how brain research is affecting our changing understanding of sexuality and how we work with female clients. The speaker will also provide information about the topic and controversy of sex, love and relationship addiction, how it looks in females, and ways to identify what is going on underneath the out of control relational behavior in women. Lastly, participants will leave with ideas about how to increase personal/professional comfort in addressing sexuality issues.
Julieann Myers is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California and Colorado, Masters Level Addictions Counselor, EMDR and CSAT Certified therapist. She is a nationally recognized trainer, staff development specialist, consultant and therapist. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level in Human Services Departments, Social Work Programs and Certification Programs for Alcohol and Drug Counselors. She currently lives in San Diego, California where she is in private practice and has been treating adolescents and adults in individual, group and family therapy for over 20 years.
This presentation meets the qualifications for 1.5 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Pre-registration is not required. There is no fee for CEUs for members of the SDNC-CAMFT and San Diego CAMFT. There is a $10 fee for non-members requesting CEUs. Visit www.sdnc-camft.org for more details and directions to the meeting.
Continuing with our last few “nudges” on communication, here are a few techniques that can help de-escalate things quickly, while also getting your point across so it can be heard.
- My intention is to…. Understand, help, be loving, problem solve…. (This bypasses the other persons “filter” about what they think you are about to say and what your intention might be).
- When I’m….
- When I….
- What comes up for me is….
- This is about me….
- I think that I….
- I feel that I….
- My concern is….
STEP 1. REFER TO THE BEHAVIOR NOT THE PERSON:
- When I’m yelled/screamed at I….
- When I’m sworn at I….
- When my needs are not taken into account I….
- When the same things keep happening I ….
- When I am not being listened to, I….
STEP 2. STATE HOW THE BEHAVIOR AFFECTS YOU
Say how you feel when the behavior happens..
- I get anxious when….
- I feel taken for granted when….
- I am worried that something bad will happen if….
- I am concerned that….
- I get scared when….
- I feel frustrated when….
- I feel hurt when….
- I feel tired when….
Try using the following strategies when:
- we need to confront others about a discrepancy, or behavior
- we feel we are not being heard or treated the way we want to be treated
- we feel attacked, defensive or angry
- we feel others are not understanding us or angry
BEFORE YOU SPEAK OR FORMULATE WHAT YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE, LISTEN!
How to listen
- Do not interrupt
- Repeat back to the person what they have just said and try to put it into your own words.
- It is important not to “parrot” their exact words because that can seem condescending or obnoxious
- Use non-verbal encouragers like “uh huh, go on, yes,” to reinforce that you are focused and listening.
- Make sure your body language shows that you are listening. Indicators that you are listening are good eye contact, sitting facing the speaker, open body language (unfolded arms, head up, not fidgeting)
- PUT DOWN YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES (Smile)
- What I’m hearing is….
- Did you say….
- I understand that….
- Just to clarify what I heard you say is….
- So you say that….
- Help me understand what you meant when you said….
Follow up with… Did I miss anything?
Our relationships do not have to be so difficult. One simple “fix” is communicate! So many times people come into counseling saying their partner does not meet their needs. The first thing I ask is, “have you said this to your partner?” More often than not I hear “well not really,” or “they should know after all this time!” The truth is we either begin relationships with poor communication or we develop poor communication patterns over time. Sometimes it is just a matter of using simple strategies such as listening, or using “I statements.” Effective Communication Strategies – Using “you” messages tends to put people on the defensive. If we feel someone is blaming or attacking we will become defensive. It’s part of our natural defense drive. As animals we are wired to protect ourselves! Once someone becomes defensive or angry it becomes more difficult to have effective communication because we are fighting against nature. See some really useful strategies in the next blog post!
Recently there has been a lot written about the emotion “fear.” Topics such as “how to live without fear, fearless living, be fearless” and many other books about fear. This poses the question “why would we want to live without fear?” The point is; rather than living without fear, let’s acknowledge and understand it. The reality is, fear serves a purpose and is part of the human condition. Fear is actually hard-wired in our brains to help with the most basic need of our survival. Without it, we could have reduced inhibitions to the point of doing things in spite of the danger or consequences. Fear helps us avoid taking potentially dangerous or risky decisions and that can be helpful! Although when fear paralyzes us from getting what we need or want it can be destructive! Fear is just another emotion! It does not cause us to have an unhappy life, it’s how we deal with fear that can! Examples of allowing fear to be destructive in our lives include: Avoiding situations that have a “perceived” threat of pain or punishment. A perceived threat is fear of what you think might happen without real proof to back it up. Avoiding situations where we “could” fail. Feeling fearful about the possibility of failure can keep us from doing what we need or want to do. Examples include finding a job, being assertive, and making decisions Believing that fear is the equivalent of being weak or vulnerable. This can lead us to unhealthy or unsafe life choices. Think about how you deal with fear. How does it work for you or against you? Take some small risks and see.
To understand how this works, try the following:
Think about someone in your past who you can remember very well. How did you know them? Where did you meet them? Was it a positive experience or a negative experience? What made it pleasant or unpleasant? What other things can you remember that may have affected how you experienced them and the situation? Our brain learns by Association, even in our relationships with people!
Now, think about someone else that you have met that reminds you of the person from your past. If your initial meeting with the person from your past was negative, you may start out with some hesitation or negative feelings towards the more recent person. Likewise, if your first encounter was positive you may feel a more positive anticipation or association.
Knowing how we associate doesn’t mean we will stop associating new people and situations with past situations, but being aware of how this works can help us be more responsible about how we might be relating to people around us based on other relational associations. If our associations are positive, they may help us in new relationships but if they are negative it may keep us from having new relationships that could be more positive.
Evaluate who you are relating to in your life based on the past. Is it helpful or unhelpful? Give them a second chance to create a new association!
- I can’t stop smoking. I keep trying to quit, but I just can’t do it.
- I need to get exercise, but I just don’t have time.
- I will never have a fulfilling relationship.
- I just can’t, don’t, or won’t ever ……
The natural tendency of human beings is to seek what makes sense to them, and then make it fit it into our current understanding of reality. So, if we believe we can’t do something, we will seek out information or situations that validate that belief.
Changing our focus does not change the external reality of our world; however, it does change our “internal” understanding of our reality. Being aware of our focus helps us to take responsibility for what we believe is possible in our lives and gives us the energy to create what we want instead of recreating what we don’t want. Consider the following examples of a change in focus (Note that the external reality is not different, just the focus!):
- I have tried to quit smoking in the past; maybe I haven’t found the method that works for me!
- Exercise helps me feel better, what are options within my busy schedule
- I want a fulfilling relationship.
- I want, I can, and I do know the answers.
If you believe you can’t do something, even if you begin to experience some level of progress, you still are not likely change your perspective, and will in most cases fall back to what you believe. It is also quite possible that you will find a way to verify, confirm or otherwise force-fit it to your current reality and belief systems.