Category Archive: Uncategorized

Oct 05

The 3 Simple Hallmarks of Well-Being

What do we mean by “well-being?” Dr. Martin Seligman, the positive psychology guru at the University of Pennsylvania, uses this term instead of “happiness,” as it’s a more accurate and less charged term describing the human state of relative peace and contentment to which most of us aspire. Imbedded in the term is self-compassion as …

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Sep 07

What IS Therapy, Anyway? Part 2

Once clients have addressed their original, presenting issues, it’s time to move into deeper waters. Inevitably, new challenges will continue to emerge and it’s important to explore the unconscious processes that are fueling self-defeating thoughts and behaviors—and causing depression and anxiety. Although few clients pursue long-term analysis anymore, therapists generally spend some valuable time exploring …

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Sep 04

What IS Therapy, Anyway? Part 1

What goes on in a therapist’s office is a mystery to many who have never pursued psychotherapy. First-timers are often nervous and uncertain, not knowing what to expect. A common misconception is that therapy is some sort of cathartic, secular confessional, or that the therapist will magically “fix” the client—cure depression, anxiety, grief, social isolation, …

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Dec 13

What’s Your Story/St. Edward’s University Commencement Speech/Masters in Counseling Graduates

What’s Your Story? Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC I’m telling my story today as a vehicle for giving you guideposts, or a kind of road map, through internship to full licensure. Ch. 1: Honoring Your Roots Everyone Has a Story Each of YOU has a story about how you found your way from your previous life to …

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Aug 25

Why I Left New York By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S

I was keen to stay home and raise our three children. Happily, in New York City, where we were living in the 80s and 90s, it made more economic sense for me to quit work. But this choice was fraught: women in New York who leave their jobs to raise their children generally vaporize into …

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Aug 25

The Post-Mommy Abyss/By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S

When our youngest child, Sam, was a high school sophomore, I became superfluous. He got his driver’s license and the family’s battered old Toyota, and peeled off into the teenage cosmos. Jesse and Owen were away at college. I was left without a job. While I had spent the child-rearing years doing volunteer work and …

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Mar 23

Making the Bed

Most of us have a morning ritual that kicks off our day: drinking coffee or tea, eating breakfast, feeding the dog, reading or listening to the news, exercising, even meditating. But among the things I do in order to begin the day in the right spirit, making the bed is by far the most important. …

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Dec 22

The Cosmos Barks

If one is stuck, and struggling with life, choosing a good therapist—one who’s a good fit and who, in the words of my old college English professor, “speaks to your condition”—is paramount. Recently I had to make such a choice. As a therapist myself, with many colleagues in the field, the search was especially fraught. …

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Dec 22

Rearranging My Face

Whenever I allow myself to conjure my mother, who died in Memphis on Christmas Day 2013, I think of Pond’s cold cream. I say “allow” because her absence is still so wrenching that I cannot linger there. When I feel the need for a “visit,” I hole up alone in my private space—one of my …

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