Sunday, March 13, 2016

I Married My Own Nancy Ragan

Nancy Ragan was put to rest at the Ragan Library in California, and much has been said about her leading up to the burial.  I was listening to an interview with the revered political analyst Charles Krauthammer, and he described her as being the backbone of President Ronald Ragan.  Mr. Krauthammer went on to describe Mrs. Ragan as having a combination of “Elegance, Style, and Steel”.  Ronald Ragan found a best friend in Nancy; despite having an administration full of consultants and advisors went to his wife to process and find the solution. 

Elegance, style, steel, backbone, and a best friend are all attributes that would describe my incredible wife, Katie.  She is not only the love of my life, but also my grounding force.  Katie has shown me what real love is supposed to be, and what a true partnership is.  Her acceptance of all of my abilities and disabilities has helped develop a self-confidence I have never had before.

I will never be the President of the United States, I will never have an airport named after me, and generations of people will not adopt my philosophy as theirs, but I do have the kind of love story Mr. Ragan had… and will cherish it for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dealing with feelings is very inefficient

One of the most frequently asked questions for people who enter therapy is “How long will this take?” tries to answer this by writing

“The length of therapy really depends mainly on the issues being addressed and the desire of the individual to feel better. Other factors play a role, such as support from friends and family, stressors, intelligence, and amount of insight. Typically, however, some disorders require only short-term treatment such as simple phobias, impotence, and other very specific issues. Some disorders can take years to get to a resolution such as with victims of severe sexual or physical abuse, bipolar disorder, or some personality disorders. During this time, however, treatment can wax and wane, so to speak, with periods of really good days, weeks, and months, and periods of not so good days. Treatment can also progress more stepwise, with small gains being made at a steady pace.”

But what does this mean?  It means that the road to mental health is individual to you, and it takes time to get there.  You can’t simply take medication, can’t just change your diet, or can’t exercise more, you HAVE to process your feelings… and that takes time. 

If you decide to keep your feelings to yourself, tough it out, or simply just burying them, it will come back to haunt you.  Troublesome dreams, depression, anxiety, or physical issues have been reported as symptoms to unresolved emotions.

Just like you put aside time to grocery shop, work out, and clean the house, take time to process your feelings.  It will be an investment in yourself that will pay off in unlimited amount of ways. 

Enjoy the Journey

Monday, March 7, 2016


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 74% of people have anxiety about speaking in public; and 19% have a full fledge phobia called Glassophobia.

This means that, in general, people are more afraid of speaking in public than death, spiders, flying, and confined spaces. 

Common symptoms may include dry mouth, knees knocking, hands trembling, voice quivering, sweating (WebMD). 

To overcome this, WebMD suggests visualizing and practicing, but counseling is the best option if the anxiety or phobia is too strong or physically debilitating.

I contend that even though visualizing and practicing does help, to some degree, nothing will help with the speaking anxiety or phobia like an emotional corrective experience.

This route is harder and much riskier, because in order to benefit, we literally have to put ourselves out-there.  It’s worth taking the risk though, because of the long lasting emotional growth, these corrective experiences are astronomically more impactful.  So, start with a SAFE audience first, and take more risks after that.

There is no doubt that speaking in public is a real fear and difficult to overcome, but having an emotional corrective experience could dramatically change your life. 

Emotional corrective experiences could unlock hidden potential, help you move forward in your career, or help you share your personal story with others. 

No matter the reason, tackling this anxiety will improve your confidence and ultimately your Mental Health.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Emotional Corrective Experience – at Home

Recently I had a political discussion with some friends.  Initially it was an innocent conversation about things we hear about in the news. Quickly it turned to sharing contrasting views on both policies and politicians.  In the middle of the discussion, I noticed that one friend stopped interjecting her opinion, and then she stood up, and finally excused herself from the room. 

It turns out that she has a long history of family members engaging in political talk that ends in personal fighting and insults.  Her emotional experience is very negative in these situations, so to her, there was no question that this conversation would lead to personal hardship. 

Rationalizing the situation in her head had no impact on her, avoiding the situation did not help either; but living through the conversation and seeing that all of us were friends at the end, was incredibly relieving and stress reducing.  She had an emotional corrective experience that contradicted her previous belief that “Political conversations always lead to personal hardship”. 

The next time we all gathered my friend took a chance by enduring the political talk until the very end.  Based on her past positive experience, she knew we might not agree politically but our personal relationship would not affected.  With more of these Emotional Corrective Experiences, my friend will become much more confidant and comfortable; soon she may also feel safe enough to share her own opinion: even if others disagree.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Emotional Corrective Experience - Definition

One of the most powerful influences that helps each of us to grow and change is something called “Emotional Corrective Experience”.  Dr. Hurd defined this therapeutic term as “a first-hand experience that challenges a previously held, and false or distorted, belief.”

The Medical Dictionary defined this phenomenon as, when a person changes his or her opinion, belief, or behavior pattern based on a positive experience.  In other words, there is a change in the ability to cope with something difficult based on this new and positive emotional information.  It is not enough to “reason” a bad experience away, or a past pattern away; the most sustainable impact happens when a person re-experiences it in a favorable way.

Human beings are emotional beings, and so much of how we interpret the world around us is based on our emotional experience.  So, reflect on some of your negative thoughts and patterns in order to find out how they became so bad; and ultimately how you can “change” them to have a good experience instead.

To be continued…