Category: Uncategorized

Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S Last Monday evening, June 15th, restored my faith in our country. No sooner did the Supreme Court rule against discrimination of LGBTQ individuals in the workplace than we were regaled, near sunset, with the most spectacular rainbow fanning across the big Texas sky. From my back deck, …

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I Can’t Breathe

“I Can’t Breathe” By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S (Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor) I’ve been thinking a lot about George Floyd. His plaintive cry of “I can’t breathe”—when Minnesota policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, with two colleagues restraining his back, resulting in his murder—speaks volumes. It has become emblematic of the …

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COVID Journal 4/8/20

COVID Journal 4/8/20 I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning. Some days are dark, ominous—even when the sun is out—and others, like today, are more promising. We dodged a bullet in our family when our daughter and her husband, who came down with the virus in March, …

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COVID Journal 4/3/20

My husband Michael and I begin the days normally: coffee, smoothie, 3-mile dog walk. Only the  walk is different than in pre-pandemic days, in that it’s the morning’s main event and one of 2-3 long walks we take in the ‘hood to keep from going mad. Mind you, we’ve had to “borrow” Jamie, the chocolate …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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