Category: Awareness

Apr 19

Readiness for Change

Readiness for Change By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC Many clients come in for therapy expecting the counselor to “fix them.” Yet when the counselor explores the problem(s)—asking critical questions, gently challenging negative or irrational thoughts and beliefs, reframing the meaning of the presenting issue, and then suggesting specific initiatives—clients often resist. They say they have either …

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Feb 13

Congruence of Self

Congruence By Elizabeth O’Brien One of our main objectives as human beings is to reach a state of well-being—a state in which we are deeply comfortable in our own skin. To do this, we must become more fully congruent. What does this mean? Being congruent means embracing our true self and projecting it into the …

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Sep 12

Separation of Self

Separation of Self By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC When human beings suffer trauma, large or small, they generally experience “separation” from themselves, from others, and from the meaning of life. But even when individuals haven’t had a distinct trauma but are simply depressed, anxious or otherwise off-track, the same kind of separation, or alienation, can …

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Jul 25

Social Reciprocity

Social Reciprocity By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC Do you ever go to a party or dinner and spend the entire evening putting out a lot of friendly energy and receiving very little back? I always know when I’ve had a good social experience at a party or gathering when I don’t come home exhausted. I feel …

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Jul 25

The Dissociative Culture

The Dissociative Culture By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC Our culture has become a population of “dissociators.” For much, if not all of our day, we are checking out on smart phones and computers or getting lost in mental to-do lists and daydreams.  Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, video games, shopping, television, movies, books, articles, meetings and projects …

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Mar 23

Procrastination Strategies

Procrastination plagues most of us some of the time, and some of us all the time. It is a recurring issue in therapy, and one of the main ways that clients sabotage their success. In order to confront the problem, it is important to begin by challenging some common cognitive distortions before we can alter …

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Jan 12

Choosing the Path of Resilience

As a therapist, I am struck more and more intensely by the importance of personal responsibility. So many clients come in overwhelmed with despair and helplessness. They express deep feelings of having been treated unfairly by the world. One of my jobs is to help them see that the series of choices they have made …

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Jan 04


What is happiness? As we enter a new year, it seems an appropriate time to reflect upon how we want to live our lives. Happiness means different things to different people: a positive outlook, security, faith in a higher power, good health, meaningful work, love. Many psychologists believe that happiness, versus unhappiness, is a choice. …

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Sep 10


By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC Mirroring is one of the most important concepts in psychology; it is a lynchpin of Attachment Theory. Attachment Theory basically holds that an infant’s attachment to his mother (or primary caregiver) is crucial to his survival.  Not only is attachment a key building block of the baby’s sense of self, …

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Aug 29

Walkin’ the Dog

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC I waited 20 years to get a dog again. After growing up with dogs in my home town of Memphis, taking on such a commitment after I left home was too much for my chaotic, itinerant life: college in Knoxville, TN, first jobs in Miami, all-consuming career and cramped apartments …

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