Sunday, May 20, 2018

How Jerks Think

Jerks are known fools. Contemptibly obnoxious persons. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines them as "a stupid person, a person not well liked or who treats others badly."

How do jerks think?

Jonathan is a certified jerk. Even with the slightest provocation, he'll turn a minute or incomplete info into a basis to attack you. Verbally. Emotionally. Physically.

For over a year now, Jonathan has been verbally and emotionally abusing his two teenage children and their mother.

He abandoned his children since their childhood. Only to reappear last year in the guise of offering material support onwards.

Jonathan's true state of mind thereafter is evidenced by his constant control and manipulation. He interprets interpersonal signals consistent with how he sees himself.

For example, when his children missed or forgot calling him, he assumed outright that they're disparaging him. His expectations of them are excessively negative and unrealistic.

He also bad-mouths and blames their mother to no end, reading unverified threatening meaning into remarks or events. His lack of remorse and amend over past sins is so obvious.

Jerks are often deeply shamed-based. Their perceptual focus is always on the negative. All information they receive have symbolic meanings about their personal identity.

Psychologists/authors Dr. James Harper and Dr. Margaret Hoopes said that shame-based individuals guard against others' discovering their shame. Much of it shapes the way they think.

Several cognitive patterns Drs. Harper and Hoopes describe as characteristic of shame-based jerks include:

• belief that "something is wrong with me" (impostor syndrome)
• an inappropriate matching of intensity of emotion with events
• label others negatively as if they're the real thing
• distort incoming information in the perceptual process so that it fits with their world
• intention of others as well as themselves become very distorted
• overgeneralize and magnify
• poor reality testing
• frequent blaming of others and denying of one's personal responsibility
• attributing ill will or motive to others without proper reason
• mind reading to the detriment of others and themselves
• believe even the most benign acts of others are directed against them to highlight their defects

Needless to say, jerks need a lot of help. But mostly, they fight it a lot.

Friday, May 18, 2018



That's German. Like me, you may have a hard time saying or pronouncing it. The word means "community feeling."

According to noted psychoanalyst Dr. Alfred Adler, that feeling is one of the marks of a well-lived life. It signifies the value of social interest in giving meaning and purpose to one's life.

Such may be in the form of varied kinds. Such as: grandparenting, volunteering, philanthropy, ministering, health coaching, devoting one's resources to some social or political cause.

Psychological studies showed that people who are engaged in some form of helping others are far more healthy and satisfied with their lives.

Yesterday, in the mall, a man greeted and tapped me on the back. He was a former patient, who's with his smiling wife. For a year, they underwent personal and marital therapy with me.

It's 5 years ago. Today, they're living a healed, more balanced and happy life as a couple. Gone were their dark days of experiencing infidelity, bankruptcy, and abuses in their marriage.

The man said, "Doc, let's have a selfie photo together!" I obliged, of course.

"We owe a lot to you. Count me and my wife in as one of those who went through a successful therapy and life change with you!", he joyfully remarked.


That's the feeling I felt about what happened to this couple. And each and every time I'm able to have an opportunity to make a difference in other people's lives. Simply priceless!

Most days, I begin with writing tasks, followed by seeing patients in my sessions.

I would then hold court in one of the many coffee shops or hotels around - sharing stories, jokes, Scriptures, deep talks about topics such as life's meaning.

In all of those, my social interest is ever-present. A desire to contribute in whatever way I can to help others - psychologically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually and even physically as well.

Life is beyond self. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and have lived well."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Need for Psychological First Aid

Do you know Red Cross? Most likely. It's known globally to come by first administering physical First Aid to the wounded and traumatized on the spot.

Psychological First Aid resembles Red Cross Physical First Aid. Both is for emergency and prevention. Both teach on-the-spot procedures to avoid much suffering, even death.

When a person got bitten by a snake, for instance, instant Aid must be provided. It's impossible to contact a doctor right away.

To prevent unnecessary emotional trauma leading to suicide, loved ones or friends need to know how to do basic psychological First Aid on the spot.

Then, you bring the person to a doctor or hospital for proper treatment.

The need for widespread training in on-the-scene Psychological (or emotional) First Aid is plainly evident all around us.

We see children being sexually, physically, or verbally abused by toxic parents.

We see marriages and families breaking up.

We see old people lonely, unwanted, sick, homeless.

We see the unemployed suffering severe anxiety and insecurity.

We see people in shock in disaster or war-torn areas.

We see the mentally ill in and out of institutions.

We see students or teenagers becoming disillusioned, self critical, contemplating suicide.

We see people or media "fooling our minds" every day, by misguiding, deceiving, tormenting, scaring, pampering, teasing.

The need is simply overwhelming.

Yet something can be done. During every emotional crisis or traumatic event. On the spot.

Know and learn about it ... before things get too late.

Monday, May 14, 2018

We're All Dying From the Moment We Were Born

Life is temporary. It has expiry. Each breath, each heartbeat, brings us closer to inevitable end. The naked truth is, we're all dying from the moment we were born.

Philosopher Betrand Russell, when he was in his 90s, lamented the ways in which most people waste their lives, as if they'll live forever.

In my work as a psychotherapist, death is a constant enemy. Whether young or old, I deal with death issues every session.

Like life, my sessions are timed to the limit. There is expiration hour. So often, I listen to people utterly "dying" - depressing, denying, making excuses, wasting precious time, hiding.

As I watch the minutes tick by, I wonder about life-and-death issues. Will they do or get or not what they want most in life?

Whatever the age, becoming aware of impending death as soon as possible is very helpful. It avoids wasting time on things that don't really matter.

Of course, this is especially true among older people. With the limited time left on earth. The proximity of death. How randomly any of them could vanish into earth!

We can ask ourselves directly a few questions to help us process this reality more deeply.

•  Although I may struggle, what will make my days worth living to the fullest?

•  How could the quality of my life be improved?

•  What do I consider the most important to achieve given the limited time I have left?

•  What may be my greatest regrets if I die before I get the chance to complete what's truly important to me?

A little carving along the road says, "In the midst of life, we are in death."

That puts things in perspective about what really matters in this life ... while we still have the time and can ask ourselves questions.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

If you don't like the situation, you're free to change it.

We all have a choice.

You never have to think of your self as a victim, for instance. As one abused. As one without the power to make things happen or change.

Author Harry Brown writes in his book "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World:"

"I've often been bored by someone telling me over and over again how his spouse mistreats him, how his friends take advantage of him, how his boss abuses him, how his lover 'uses' him. Why does he permit it? Why doesn't he terminate the relationship rather than allow the same person to 'exploit' him over and over again? ..."

Having small children was Mildred's excuse to stay in an abusive marriage. And this involved suffering her husband's physical and emotional abuse, including serial sexual infidelities.

In the session, Mildred continually complained of physical hurts, loneliness, and isolation. Crying spells. Anxiety panic attacks. Addiction to food and alcohol.

Indeed, why was she in such dire life state? It's because she'd chosen to permit it.

We teach people how they'll treat us. If you rarely talk to protect your dignity, take care of your needs and wants, you train others to abuse or victimize you.

You don't have to be involved with physical abusers, liars, cheaters, frauds, criminals, controlling or demanding people, or psychopaths who harm you.

It's up to you to choose the people you get involved with. The life situation you're in.

We all have a free choice. Always.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Wounded Inner Child

Christina, one of my patients, recalls how her mother would leave her working and sleeping with the maids. Away from the rest of her siblings in the house.

"The more I tried to please my mother, the more she'd put me down. All throughout my childhood, I wondered about this: I felt like an 'insect' rather than my mother's child," laments Christina.

Christina is a 50-year-old adult now. A wife and mother of 3 grown up boys. But she still feels like an "insect."

Although she looks naturally pretty, she rarely appreciates what people say about her. Mostly she hardly looks people in the eyes.

Somehow, Christina figures that she is that way always. Her life today is safe and comfortable, but it's barren and emotional destitute.

The "inner child" contains memories, images, and feelings of your childhood. Both conscious and unconscious. What is consciously remembered and what's repressed or forgotten.

When a child is abused, traumatized, or deprived, the "inner child" splits from consciousness when being abused. But it carries repressed anger, rage, hurt and fear.

As you grew into adulthood, the repression from childhood and "splits" from consciousness remain. Even now, as an adult, you still have inside you the child you once were - your wounded inner child.

Healing the wounded inner child involves telling the story in therapy. Why is telling the story important?

Dr. Charles Whitfield eloquently explains,

 "We begin to see the connections between what we are doing and what happened to us when we were little. As we share our story, we begin to break free of being a victim or a martyr, of the repetition compulsion."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Are You the Same Person You Used to Be?


Psychology refers to the human self in varied ways. Personality. Identity. Psyche or soul. Deep core.

Since we all age, does the passing of time affect who or what you are? Will you be the same self/person 5 years from now? 10 years? 20 years?


Several days ago, I was in a "graduation." A patient, Anthony, finished our long-term therapy program. And all his family members gathered together for a joyous celebration.

One of Anthony's close cousins remarked publicly, "He changed. He is not the same person I know. Something happened to him."

Anthony's body still has some similarity and continuity with what it was before. But he developed a new, different set of beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral manifestations.

He was seen not to be the same self/person he used to be. For Anthony, therapy facilitated a life change.

When I took my old car before to the mechanic for repairs, he made some replacements. Some parts of my car were changed that made it look new and run better.

Whether via therapy, some other kind of healing experiences, or a negative traumatic event (e.g. stress, depression, abuse), you may not be the same person you used to be.

Either for good or bad. For better or worst.

It's a matter of what parts of the self are chosen to change. It's nature, degree, and dynamics. Depending on how much the parts, connections, and interactions produce the different changes.

You alone can make that choice. The self/person you want to be.

As Stephen Richards writes, "You are essentially who you create your self to be, and all that occurs in your life is a result of your own making."

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Right Livelihood in the One Life You Have

Work is life. It consumes so much time from our limited supply of days. In just a few short decades, the time and energy we spent working adds up to be life itself.

Livelihood is a natural expression of our working life. A source of income. Using our talents and capacities. Doing what we do best.

"I'm looking for something more than money out of my work; I expect deep fulfillment and a little fun too," said an executive of a major American corporation.

Right livelihood - whether via a job, profession, business, or any talent - is as important as mental health and wholeness. Just as the right foods are for our physical bodies.

Buddha described "right livelihood" as work "consciously chosen, done with full awareness and care, and leading to enlightenment."

Surely, I'd not recommend orange robes and vows of poverty for us like Buddha. But I can see the practical psychology of his point.

You (and all of us) need to choose the right livelihood. Your right work. For the only one life you have.

But most people today are "aliens." They're alienated from both their natural talents and potentials. Their proper place and function. Their purpose for life.

Most people merely work for the money. Eight-to-five penance for daily bread! As a result, many get bored, frustrated, constrained or dulled in their days. Some get serious mentally illness.

I met a young woman who drifted into a boring, but high-paying accounting job. After much inner struggle, she left her secure niche to study psychology.

She's getting straight A's in her studies. But having a hard time paying bills. A life state she didn't experience before.

Yet she was sure that she had found the right road for her life. Her right career. Her right livelihood. That allowed her to excel and gave her the power to be resourceful.

Nothing stopped her from becoming a psychologist. So after years of hardship, she completed her graduate studies. She used her former contacts to start practice.

Now a successful, highly paid psychotherapist, she said, "My choice and hardships were so challenging. But I feel at home in this work. For the first time in my life, I'm experiencing joy and fulfillment."

Get Brain-Healthy

Mental health has a physiological aspect. Not just psychological, emotional, or spiritual. Its a matter of physical brain fitness as well.

According to scientific and medical evidences, our brain needs certain nutrients to maintain optimum functioning. 

Vitamin C, for example, protects the brain from toxins, free radical damage, and aging. It also acts as a natural anti-depressant.

Experts also recommend taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, which includes Vitamin D, magnesium, folic acid, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin B-complex.

Brain foods should be added to our diet. This includes avocado, eggs, coconut oil, extra virgin coconut oil, green leafy vegetables, salmon, turmeric, among others.

Exercise also plays a major part in getting brain-fit. Moving our body and taking breathers are one of the best things we can do for our brain.

I experience myself another brain-fitness key: getting enough sleep. Several times, I only needed longer sleeps or "power naps" to recover from brain-exhausting days. And I'll be back kicking!

Some of the most productive persons in history made sleep nap a priority. People like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Winston Churchill, among many others.

So, the next time you feel foggy, depressed, or anxious, skip the pharma drugs and take these natural ways to recharge and refuel your brain.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

The #1 Struggle People Have

A few nights ago, I was watching one of Dr. Chuck Swindoll's public speeches on YouTube.

I liked the the question and theme of his talk: "What is the #1 struggle of people today?"

In my brain, I had several guesses before Dr. Swindoll announced it. Money? Sex? Power? Marriage? Family?

None of those.

Dr. Swindoll pointed to this: WORRY - our #1 struggle.

Agree. Whatever the life issue or breakdown, too much worrying is so common. A frequent resultant pattern in most people's reactions.

The overworry then produces large doses of anxiety. Paralyzes productivity and problem solving. Causes unnecessary pain in relationships.

Psychologist Dr. Chad LeJeune explains how it works:

When you're hiking along a cliff, for instance, she says your brain may tell you "I might fall" and you picture yourself falling. She says it's a helpful thought because you realize you need to be careful in your walks.

However, "when your anxiety is high," Dr. LeJeune continues, "you'll experience that image not as 'I might fall' but as 'I will fall' "

This shows that, with heightened anxiety, you're less able to discriminate between the thought of "might happen" and reality.

I'm reminded of a patient, Edward, whom I once invited to the MRT city train station. It's part of his anxiety panic "exposure therapy."

Edward retreated. Ran away from the exercise. He had experience being mugged and held up in the MRT many years ago. In his mind, he said it will happen again.

Psychologically, it's called "cognitive fusion." A thought becomes fused with what it refers to. The fused thought is experienced as reality ... outright an inevitability.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Flying to New Adventures

"You can fly, but that cocoon has to go," says a message printed on a poster. The poster shows a picture of a beautiful butterfly.

Many of the individuals I've worked with actually need to hear that message. It's true for all of us going through woundedness.

So we could learn to fly again.

Roberto, whose would-be bride had a two-month affair with a womanizing politician, was stuck. Despite massive remorse and changes in his fiancée, he kept blaming her for his immobilization.

As a result, Roberto found himself severely depressed each day. Obsessing over what can't be undone. Self-medicating thru alcohol and paid sex.

At work, he'd cry buckets of tears that kept him from moving ahead. His psychological and emotional state was like an "immobile cocoon."

Trauma or loss can be compared to two things. It can be a "war zone" and a "safety cocoon" all at the same time.

When you choose to battle beyond trauma or loss, you'll be able to see the big picture. You'll be able to experience the thrill of developing new wings towards new adventures.

When you hug your cocoon to yourself, you can only view life on the surface. It somewhat feels safe staying in the cocoon. But you're not flying.

Are you firmly stuck in your trauma/loss cocoon? Or, have you gently and progressively been trying to develop new wings?

I've met people who are trying to fly while they hang on to their cocoon. It doesn't work. That cocoon has to go before you can freely fly!

Of course, when you're newly traumatized or abused, you need a safety cocoon for awhile. But you don't want to hide there the rest of your life.

You make better progress when flying. Not stuck in the cocoon, walking or crawling.

Is there a beautiful butterfly stuck in your cocoon today? Until when will you wait to spread its wings  and fly into new adventures?

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Superior Natural Anti-Depressant

Substantual evidences from the US National Institute of Mental Health, the International Society of Sport Psychology, and other authorities have declared a best natural anti-depressant.


I remember one of my clients who took up boxing in the gym after taking brain drugs for a time. She reported that her exercise made her feel far better than all the psych drugs she took combined!

In dozens of clinical studies, exercise is proven to have superior supportive psychotherapeutic benefits. A repellant against depression and negativity, such as fear, worry, anger and tension.

Practiced regularly, exercise (aerobic or nonaerobic) helps bring better self esteem, enhanced mental and emotional performance, and resilience against stress.

Exercise "natural anti-depressant" may include: power walking, jogging, running, swimming, basketball, football, boxing, dancing, even gardening and housework.

Of course, a rule is do it safely and don't overdo it to avoid unnecessary injury. Also, don't try to expect to heal your emotional wounds overnight through exercise.

Major depressives in exercise programs spend their time too in psychotherapy. That goes to the internal roots to permanently keep the blues at bay.

Personally and professionally, I love daily power walks. At times, running. To exorcise my own demons! My own bodywork to free my mind so I can be of better help to others. 

I like Henry David Thoreau, who writes:

"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend 4 hours a day at least ... sauntering  through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

"Once a cheater, always a cheater."

It's a common cliche. An old adage.

Is it really true?

One couple came to see me for marital therapy. It's a case of the husband serially cheating on his wife.

The husband admitted having affairs several times in the few years of their marriage. He claimed he had the affairs just for sex and that he loved his wife and had a great sex life with her.

For a time during therapy, the relationship somewhat improved. The husband observed abstinence from his affairs. They learned better skills communicating and loving.

Then, the husband was caught contacting and seeing his affair partner again. Evidently the wife noticed no prior signs of the repeated cheating for he remained privately loving to her.

The wife felt something was wrong which she called an "invisible barrier" between them. But she couldn't put her finger on it.

According to findings presented at an American Psychological Association annual convention, they found that people who cheat on their partners once are approximately 3 1/2 times more likely to cheat again.

I find it interesting that this finding did not apply only on those doing the cheating. They saw that those who were cheated on in one relationship were also more likely to be cheated on again.

Judging from the number of cases I've seen, cheaters do tend to cheat again. But I'd say not everyone. Some do change completely.

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

That gets to be true I must agree ... unless the root psychological wounds or unmet needs of the cheater are sufficiently dealt with.

Here are some possible underlying themes within cheaters I suspect exists:

•  a never-ending quest of the cheater to make up for what he or she did not get as a child

•  the more shame and guilt the cheater experiences, the more it tends to be projected onto the partner

•  the cheating may be used to punish himself/herself or humiliate the partner

•  a "bad me" core belief that leads to addictions for temporary relief

Bad habits are known to be hard to break. That includes the habit of cheating.

In reality, cheaters need clinical intervention to prevent repeated disasters.

(Watch TV Video, ABS CBN SAKTO:  Dr. Subida's talks on cheating/infidelity with Amy Perez and Mark Logan)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Courage Matters

Courage was a big thing for Mother Teresa. She said, "To have courage for whatever comes in life - everything lies in that."

It's essential to the meaningful attainments she made in her life --serving as a missionary against "injustice among the poor" in India.

Wounded souls. That's how we may describe the inner state of individuals after suffering injustices in their personal lives and relationships.

Standing up to these personal injustices and wounds requires courage. Overcoming fear in order to heal. In order to be able to do what gives life.

For years, Maria, a 16-year-old high school girl, received abusive, name-calling text messages. She was pushed around at school. She avoided places in her school in fear for her safety. 

Finally, she broke down. She could no longer bring herself to continue attending classes. Her grades dropped. She suffered from panic anxiety attacks, lack of sleep, and stress headaches.

Her mother brought her to me. She lamented, "My daughter has become emotionally crippled. It takes all my energy to get her out of the car and 'go over there.' "

To get well, Maria needs a healthy dose of courage. Against injustices and its perpetrators.

It's not for her own good that she allows her self to be humiliated and shamed in school. To do so only harms her psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

"Be men of courage; be strong," the Bible says (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Courage matters. 

It helps us correct injustices and wrongs. It gives us power over risk and its associated fears. It leads us to be better persons, spouses, parents, children, friends and citizens.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Escape from Motherhood

Motherhood. You don't have to be a psychologist to know that quality of mothering is crucial to every human. It can make or break children.

The mother-relationship is a most important relationship in every human being's life. Her character, personality, and method of child rearing have more influence on a child than all other forces combined.

As writer Rita Kramer of the New York Times magazine put it:

"It's in this relationship that the child begins to develop security and trust - a good feeling about himself and a sense that the world is worth moving out into and exploring."

Yet despite its basic, top-level importance, lots of mothers escape from mothering. The symptoms are all around us. It's a most disturbing deterioration of our time.

We see it reflected today in growing numbers.

Women not wanting children. Inability of mothers to communicate with their children. Unhappiness of the children.

Growing teenage drug problem. Increase in youth suicides and runaways. Vandalism. Teen promiscuity and crime.

I'm reminded of a 33-year-old mother who fled to another country to pursue an affair and a career. She left behind a 4-year old daughter and two teenage son and daughter.

Prior to her retreat, she became an agent of an entertainment company. In her business, she worked with a director and actors and actresses with loosened restraints on sexual impulses.

And so that's where her retreat from motherhood took root in fertile ground. Her degeneration of sexual morals and a new career philosophy made mothering a drag for her.

Obviously, popular culture, media, and society play a role here. They exert great influence on women's attitudes toward the value of motherhood.

Fidelity, maternity, and family values are curbed in favor of materialism, romanticism, and sexual "free love" alternate lifestyle.

But these polluted cultural values and repressions - beside personal factors - have little to do with what is real. They're lies we tell ourselves. They damage mothers. They ruin lives.

Good mothering then needs adequate psychological, emotional, and spiritual support to make it thrive. From God. From men. From family. From media. From culture and society.

Psychologist Dr. Eric Fromm writes,

"The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent."

Our next generations depend on healthy mothering. The survival of humankind and civilization hangs on it.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Facing Bullies

Hollywood actor, Tom Cruise, battled the effects of childhood bullying. For many years he struggled with anxiety panic at home and at school.

Cruise says of his father, Thomas  C. Mapother III:

"He was a bully and a coward ... the kind of a person who, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life - how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe, and then, bang! ... Big bully comes up, pushes you. Your heart's pounding, you sweat, and you feel like you're going to vomit ..."

Bullies have a strong urge to dominate. They lack empathy. Untroubled by anxiety or guilt over the suffering they inflict on others. They blame others for their offenses.

Males are more prone to physically bully. Females bully by picking on appearances, social status, and relationships.

Generally, bullies attack - through damaging, manipulating, or controlling relationships and situations.

How about the victim?

Some victims of bullies are "blind." They refuse to defend themselves. Offer healthy boundaries. They allow themselves to be bound by the bully to isolation, humiliation, and despair.

A case in point is Martha, one of my clients who is repeatedly abused verbally and physically by her husband. For years, she displays pain, which fueled further attacks from her bullying spouse.

It impresses me how much Martha readily acquiesce too quickly to her husband's demands. She'd just cry and cower. She's so submissive before she's picked on and bullied.

Dealing with bullies is not avoiding conflict. Running away, pretending bullying or abuse is not happening, hiding it, or being afraid to talk about it is actually destructive.

Facing bullies is taking responsibility to speak up to them. You walk tall so they don't perceive you as weak or easily manipulated.

You set and state limits on bullies. Healthy boundaries so they know your thresholds. You don't volunteer to be a victim.

You remove yourself from a relationship in which a bully tries to control or own you. You don't allow bullies to undermine your sanity ... or that of your children, loved ones.

Face bullies. Protect yourself. Seek support. Be brave. Have faith.

Are You Possessive?

A lot of persons are hindered by possessiveness. Not able to hold things loosely. Let go. Release the squeeze.

Smothering rather than loving is typical. Parting cannot happen without internal bleeding.

If you ask Nora, she gets blown away with the thought of relaxing her grip on her young adult daughter. Who is leaving and getting married.

Deep inside, she admits fearing surrendering her prized "possession." Even though she must say goodbye eventually.

Because releasing introduces the panic of losing control. The terror of risk. Uncertainty. Concern for safety.

It applies to friendship too. Friendship needs letting your friend have the freedom to be and to do. A space for the other person to grow.

Also, in releasing a dream. At times, we need to come to grips with reality. What really is. So we can let go. And move forward to a new story.

What maturity all this requires!

Dr. Chuck Swindoll once wrote, "The greater the possessiveness, the greater the pain."

What is it that can bring peace to a possessive heart? To turn loose. To let go. Because, in fact, there's nothing or no one that we can truly own.

Everything goes. Sooner or later. Child. Job. Wealth. Romance. Friend. Future. Dream. Health. Even this life.

Things get really safe only when we learn the art of holding things loosely. Everything is safe which is so dedicated to God.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Search for Meaning

"I don't see any reason to live. I better disappear," said Charles in one of our sessions. In front of his sobbing wife, he was expressing what he felt.

This may look absurd to you. Charles is CEO of a world class company. He is well known and respected in the business community. He is loved by his wife and children.

Still, he could not find meaning in his life.

Often, psychiatrist Dr. Victor Frankl, Nazi camp survivor and author of the worldwide bestseller book "Man's Search for Meaning," got asked this question by media:

"Dr. Frankl, your book has become a true best seller, how do you feel about such a success?"

To that, Dr. Frankl would always respond:

"I do not at all see in the best seller status of my book an achievement on my part, but rather an expression of the misery of our time."

He went on to add:

"If hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails."

I found the same thing in my psychotherapy practice. Misery does abound around us. Suicides, depression, addiction, and corruptions are at an all-time high.

We have a global "meaning crisis." No doubt about it.

Shallowness runs rampant in our culture. In a world of technology/material advancements, education, and connectivity, countless people still lack depth. Lack of depth leads to lack of meaning in life.

If I could only share then one thing with you or anyone who see me in my sessions, it's this: depth leads to meaning. Meaning needs depth.

That's a recurring mission point of my therapy hour.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

It's Time to Pick Your Self

It's time to pick your self.

A lot of people don't pick themselves. They endlessly wait for others - parents, relatives, teachers, friends, employers, etc. - to pick them.

Noel waits for his family to call him. His parents won't pick him to receive or manage inheritance. Much less, pick him to occupy a position in their company.

For years now, he is immobilized. By his waiting for others to pick him. Especially his family. Instead of moving on, he allows himself to get stuck at home.

As a beginning therapist many years ago, I felt insecure in my practice. I was in the company of top psychologists and psychiatrists in the land.

I got intimidated by titles. I wondered, who'd pick me in the midst of my more experienced/ educated, "celebrity" MHPs (mental health pros).  I was diseased with "comparisonitis."

Seeing this, I resolved a mindshift. Focusing and competing only with my self. Realizing who I am. Expressing my own unique identity.

That's when I started to pick my self. Stopped waiting for others to pick me. It's amazing what great blessings and impact "picking my self" give to my life and practice!

When I chose to pick my self, I produced my best work. The gatekeepers kept pouring in to my door. It's as if the choice I made was a golden act that drew the universe to me!

Often, those with lingering mental/emotional disorders have one thing in common: They don't pick themselves. They wait for others to pick them. It shows. In their reactions, words, feelings, relationships.

All of this - the process of picking your self - starts not with your hands or heart. Mostly it's a mind  game.

As Steven Pressfield put it in his book War of Art, you have to "turn pro" in your head before you can become one.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Therapy: The Cost of Doing Nothing

People need therapy. Especially in severe, destructive, or unmanageable situations.

In fact, each one of us needs it for lifetime personal wholeness. No one is exempted from growing.

We all want to be happy. We strive to reach our goals. Our desire is to worry or stress less. We want peace of mind.

It's one reality about the human condition that doesn't change. Yet, for some reasons, many tend to resist therapy.

We can be fine spending thousands on gadgets, clothes, dinners, or travels. But still, many find themselves hesitant to spend on therapy ... on "self-investment."

Joseph and Carol were fighting in big ways. And have been ever since. He was smart and outspoken. As for Carol, she's no longer caring to Joseph, but materialistic and know-it-all.

"You mean, we just talk. How long?" Carol asked asked during their marital session. She simply wanted to know how quick the process will be.

They never returned to continue their therapy. About a year after, I received a text message from Carol. Her husband had become an alcoholic and been having sex with his secretary.

There is no quick fix in mental and emotional healing. The cost of doing nothing is heavy and long-lasting.

"Men are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them," said the ancient philosopher Epictetus. His implication is that our feelings are caused by our thoughts.

When you think of Therapy as "quick fix," frivolous, or a waste of time and money, you're not seeing life as it really is. You're not fully aware of your thoughts and how it harms your reality.

Life, as in therapy, requires us to show up. We "do work" developmentally over a period of time - over months or years. There is no magic, miracle, or overnight cure.

Consider the "costs" of doing nothing.

Where will you be a year, 2 years or 5 years from now, with the same old wounds and patterns stealing your happiness now? What's the cost of inaction or remaining stuck?

Clinical and anecdotal evidences show that the "costs" are really high. Much higher - financially, relationally, mentally, emotionally, spiritually - than temporary therapy processes.

What is your health "worth" to you?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Do You Avoid Problems?

In life and relationships, we have a lot of "avoiders." Most likely, more than "facers."

Matthew struggles with this impulse with his wife Dana. He's used to ignore problems Dana would bring up for them to handle: their time together, mother-in-law conflict, finances etc.

So Dana's frustrations accumulate each day. The problems avoided just don't go away. Because they need to be handled.

As a result, Dana chose to separate from him. And Matthew felt hurt and depressed.

With the situation turning worse, the problems would now have to be faced in marital and individual therapy.

Indeed, life has a way of becoming more painful if problems are avoided and allowed to pile up day after day. We ask for emotional wounds if we believe problems go away when we avoid them.

Dr. Scott Peck, noted therapist-writer, wrote in his book, "The Road Less Traveled:"

"Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping that they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist ... We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them. This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness."

I myself struggled with this impulse of "rescuing" my youngest daughter, Angel, from problems. I wished she'd go through life without a need to cry, frown, or get sad.

I realized that's an impossible wish. Barring certain severe situations beyond her ability, Angel needs to learn to be responsible for facing her own problems.

So I stucked it out. Got out of the way. I faced my impulse, confronted my pain, and allowed Angel to face hers as she grows up through her teenage years to adulthood.

Those who avoid problems and pains end up with more problems and pains in the long run. Those who face problems and pains save themselves a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

The principle is as simple as that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Every Human Has an "Invisible"

Every person has an "invisible." It's easy for us to miss this essential part of every human being.

We miss looking at the promise of an immature youth. We dismiss the hurting unemployed. We ignore the aged.

In so many instances, we take people for granted. Especially those who appear useless, sick, or disabled by trauma.

We can often miss the potential for healing and wholeness of these people.

Each of us is capable of committing this bias or mistake. To not see the "invisible" in the other.

I read of a poor, old woman who died in a nursing home. Among the things she left was a poem she wrote.

She expressed her "invisible" in her poem:

"What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes.
I'm a small child of 10 with a mother and father,
Brothers and sisters who love one another,
A bride in her 20s - my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vow that I promised to keep.
A woman of 30, my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At 40, my sons have grown and have gone,
But my man is beside me, to see I don't mourn.
At 50, once more babies play around my knees;
Again we know children, my husband and me.
I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel;
' Tis her jest to make old age like a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart;
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, and I remember the pains;
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few - gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see
Not a crabbed old woman;  look closer - see me."

It's exactly what can happen in therapy. Persons are seen, not as they appear. But as they really were and are.

Old or young, poor or rich. Whatever color or station in life, there is an "invisible" treasure in every one of us.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Inner Healing and Youth

He was the teenage son of a well-known politician. Much of his life was exposed to the brilliance and celebrity of his lawyer-parent. He learned to want to be like her.

This young man failed to pass the law entrance of the country's premier university. This was where his parent-Mom finished law school with the highest of honors.

Just a few days after he learned of his failed law entrance exam, he committed suicide inside his room. He left a note to his parents, "Sorry."

This young person is part of a very disturbing trend nowadays. Based on world health statistics, the rates of teen suicide deaths and suicide attempts have skyrocketed since 2011.

The feeling of shame can be too overwhelming a burden to carry for any young person. Destructive. The feeling could be "not good enough, "not achieving enough."

Today's youth needs to be helped on understanding the family system. It's through it where they grew up and got molded first.

Without this proper understanding, they may find themselves dangerously vulnerable. For example, just a withering look or disapproving glance from a parent can leave a young person broken.

Most importantly, after knowing there was family dysfunction, the young person gets guidance. Whether through professional or informal therapy/counseling.

The hurting young person needs healing from the resultant psychological wounds. He or she needs to make different choices in the present onwards.

That help is absolutely necessary ... before it gets too late.

"When it is darkest, we can see the stars," says Ralph Waldo Emerson. Let our youth experience this with the kind of help we give them.

Psychiatry: The Ultimate Betrayal

Drugs. They're either prescription or nonprescription drugs. This includes vaccines, psych drugs, and other types of chemicals put into the body by medical procedures.

According to well-documented cases and statistics, hundreds of thousands of people die taking even the proper dosage of prescription and nonprescription drugs.

When one of my clients, Domingo, saw me, he was already full of nonprescription and prescription drugs in his body. He's been taking them, including Ritalin (a psych drug), for over 3 years now.

What horrified him was the "side effects." Since taking the drugs, he noticed how he progressively developed other long-term medical and mental health conditions.

It's alarming. To say the least.

Drugs are poisons! That's what this is showing us.  They can make you sick and develop disease!

In psychiatry, this is especially so. Statistics show that majority of people who are treated by psychiatrists actually get worse! Psychiatrists always prescribe drugs to patients.

Brain drugs are some of the deadliest pharmaceuticals available today. Since psychiatrists prescribe these drugs, avoid them at all costs.

Do you know that virtually every violent act committed in schools was perpetrated by one on psychiatric medication? Research also shows that certain psychiatric drugs actually increase the propensity to commit suicide.

Each week, I'm with Dr. Galvez, a former health department secretary of the President. In our frequent health talks with other men in our group, he's always advocating "natural cures."

One of the very few MDs who practice medicine outside the mainstream, Dr. Galvez champions preventing and curing any disease through natural means.

In my opinion, we should take drugs only as a last resort. Only in severe or emergency cases, involving life and death. But not as a first resort. 

There are natural cures more effective than drugs. There are nondrug and nonsurgical methods to prevent and cure almost all illness.

Especially mental illness.

But these natural cures are being suppressed and hidden from us by the pharmaceutical industry. Big business pharma.

You figure out the motive for such a thing. It's as clear as what makes the world go round!

Saturday, April 07, 2018

My Art ... One Masterpiece At A Time

Time passes swiftly. And I started late.

A desert of time to heal from trauma. The ending of a particular career. Entrance to a new calling. The maturation of children. Widowhood.

Then, freshly gained channels that permit expression of my "real" self. Bursting in recent years with previously unknown capacities.

It took me twenty or more years to realize that my prior years were not wasted or lost. It's part of a grand plan to acquire special wisdom. To spur to grow. To be of greater use for others.

I feel good about being me. A personality in my "late blooming." Somewhat arriving at fuller identity.

Nowadays, I'm a daily artist. My art is psychotherapy. I practice my art making sense of life experiences. I write about it, driven to understand the human condition.

My art of psychotherapy blends. The fusion of personal and professional dimensions affects me extraordinarily. My values. My lifestyle. My emotional stability.

Thus this work is not merely a way to earn a living. It has become the essence of my life. There are very, very few careers with this fruit of permeability.

It's a best therapy ever. Possibly its most exciting facet is some heady sense of contribution to humankind. To a purpose greater than my own.

Every person I meet brings a prospect of a bright, beautiful painting. For revival. For redemption.

I do not do my art to get rich. I do it in order to live.

One masterpiece at a time. One life at a time.

Courage to be Happy

It's odd. At least, it seems.

Most people don't choose to be happy. They lack courage.

It's a puzzle I discovered. And it has taken me time to understand this puzzle. My in-sessions demonstrate a lot of examples regarding this.

Why would people not choose to be happy?

I'm reminded of two clients I served several years apart. Both of these women were devout believers in the local church.

One appeared to be a wellspring of joy. She enjoyed being alive. The other woman could be seen best by the word "long-suffering." Life seemed a burden to her always.

Here's the contrast these two women demonstrated.

The one who's full of joy lived life with a chronically sick husband and modest finances to support two children.

The "long-suffering" woman was a daughter of millionaire parents. She held a good job with a devoted husband and family.

Happiness or the lack of it for these two women evidenced the fact that it has nothing to do with the circumstances of their lives.

It's clear to me that our capacity for happiness is tied up inextricably with health and wholeness of our body, mind, and spirit.

It takes courage to be happy. The mystery revolves around the exercise of our power to choose. Most of us self-justify, which blocks our courage to choose to be happy.

Norman Cousins, author of the bestseller "Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient," practiced this self-prescribed therapy of courage to choose to be happy.

He found a pertinent text in Jeremiah 46:11, which states, "In vain, you choose many medicines; there is no healing for you."

In contrast, Cousins referenced Proverbs 17:22, which tells us "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones."

If we're going to have the courage to choose to be happy, no matter the circumstances, we need the Presence. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put it: "Joy is the surest sign of the presence of God."

Both psychology and science affirm this truth. The courage to choose to be happy or joyful comes from the Source and Giver of life.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

When was the first time you felt you're important and valued?

In an intake session about 4 years ago, a father and son visited me. They went for help since they'd not been on speaking terms for so long a time.

Most of the father's conversations consisted of his demands and expectations. "You forgot your homework again!" or "You should have a job by now!" or "Stupid, what's that!"

The 20-year-old son had deeply resented his father for years of verbal and physical abuse. It turned to rage and addictions now. He never felt worth or importance as a person.

Towards the end of our meeting, both father and son were sobbing. Tears just flowed freely. They missed loving themselves and loving each other.

Psychotherapists' calendar is full of people who have been mentally and emotionally crippled. One top reason is because they've never been loved enough or unconditionally in their lives.

Unfortunately, most of us have been exposed to very few parents, teachers, or friends who have the capacity to make us feel valued. We all need to know that we're truly loved.

If we are loved, we can feel important and valued.

Earlier in my previous posts, I'd quote Dr. Karl Menninger's statement that "love is the medicine for the sickness of the world."

The medical, psychological, or healthcare field is increasingly acknowledging the power of love to heal the body and mind. It's an essential ingredient of the cure.

No matter how things get terrible, we can make it. If at least one person communicates to us that he or she loves us. And therefore, we feel important and valued.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Transcending "Labels"

Diagnostic labels are typical. You enter a hospital, consult a doctor, and take lab tests. Then, you're given a Label of your condition.

In psychological care or mental health, labels abound. They emanate mostly from DSM. It's a doctor's guide on mental health disorders used by MHP (mental health practitioners) around the world.

Yesterday, I was reading a psychological report on Marino, a teenage client. It's issued by a registered drug-based professional mental health agency based in Manila.

In the report I found lots of familiar DSM labels. Depression. Agoraphobia. Social anxiety. Depersonalization Disorder. Schizophrenia.

As usual, aside from the labels, the agency required the client to take brain drugs. When the drugs manifested serious side effects on the teen client, his mother chose to stop it.

When the mother reported about it to the agency, she was simply told to comply. Without drugs, they said, no psychotherapy will be allowed for his son.

Labels and the pharmaceutical industry usually go together in psychiatry. Describing who you are as "depressive" or "BPD" or "schizoid" is an attitude often encouraged by the big pharma.

In my initial session with Marino, I'd noticed how much the "labels" given him have already affected his sense of himself. Mostly in our talks, he spoke of who he is as the "labels," the sickness.

Sadly, in my observation, Marino has come to see himself as inherently dysfunctional. A major part of it was the result of the way he was labeled and boxed in.

Framing one's identity around some drug-based label is dangerous. It harms one's overall health. Worse, it can destroy even the core of one's self identity.

You are more than any diagnostic  "label." You are a person, not an object. The label is just a temporary state or external behavior. It does not exclusively define you.

Transcending "labels" means looking at life beyond them. Labels can be useful in a way. But they can also shape your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

Be careful then. Discern differences. Labels stick, but they can also be unwrapped. You and any label are two different things.

Most importantly, you can be stronger than the "label."

Monday, April 02, 2018

My 3-Step Cure

A client consulted me for his frequent panic anxiety attacks. It's after he went through medical diagnostics. Doctors found nothing wrong with his body.

Despite medical assurance, my client remained unsatisfied. He still believed and felt that something was wrong with him.

My client was a worrier. A people-pleaser, to be more exact. He lived life through what other people say. Their expectations matter more to him than his.

Thus, even a little discouraging word from his mother or cousin will make him fear, worry, and sleepless. It's no wonder he wakes up dejected, anxious to do things.

If you find yourself having the same experience as the client I described, there are healing steps you can take. There is a "cure" to your condition but it will need your determination.

Here's a 3-step cure that I usually processed in depth with my clients:

Step 1:  Screw what people say.

Be yourself. Claim your own voice. Refuse to live up to others' expectations. They're not you. The only person you need to worry about is you!

Step 2:  Do what gives you life.

Gain information about what's healthy - mind, body, spirit. In your relationships, your emotions. And take action. Truth without action is dead!

Step 3:  Practice is everything.

Do a little purging. Cut out distractions and noise in your life. And focus on what matters: practicing new habits that give you life (not death!). If you persevere without excuses, life gets exciting!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Failure is Not Forever

This Easter Sunday, I've a thought. A reflection on something so commonly experienced among us.

It's about failure. Missing the mark. Committing a mistake. A fall.

Such may take its form in varied ways. Depression. Relationship breakdowns. Bankruptcy. Family alienation. Unemployment. Rejections. Addictions. And much more ...

I think of Peter. He failed his Friend. Betrayed Him. Not just once, but three times. The pain of his failure was too much, "he went out and wept bitterly" (Luke 22:62).

But once Peter realized his failure more deeply, he wallowed in remorse. He wished he could correct his error ... but he couldn't.

Yet somewhere in the midst of it, Peter heard the Lord telling him somehow, "Peter, I forgive you. I understand. Retrace your steps. Use it to strengthen yourself and others."

That's how it turned out in my Easter reflection.

Peter described his post-failure "come back" experience when he wrote:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again through a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).

What tender grace! What a victorious resurrection!

It can also happen to you and I. Despite our failures, messes, and dysfunctions, we can find a new living hope. Like Peter, even our worst failures can be transformed in a great way!

Failure is not forever. There is hope beyond failure. There is the Resurrection waiting for you.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Taking My Daily Walks

For the past years that I've been a psychotherapist, I've loved taking my longer daily walks. Around city streets, malls, train stations, or parks. 

Amid terrible traffic in Manila, I've preferred more to walk if possible than commute or drive. It appears to me to be a superior alternative to using a car that adds only to the traffic.

Having to constantly deal with the stresses and wounds in people's lives, walking keeps my sanity. It protects my physical health too. 

My daily walks are good for helping me solve problems. It's like my two feet are little psychotherapists!

Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, says, "Walking is man's best medicine." He's proven right by scientific and medical health studies.

Research shows that regular and longer walks not only increase your chances of living longer. It's also found to help get more energy, lose weight, and stay healthy and positive.

Once, in a group session, my client Paul suddenly stood up and walked away. He couldn't stand the heat. But after several minutes of a longer walk, he came back to the session. 

As a writer would describe it, "The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk." Thoughts come clearly when one walks.

I take my daily walks for mental, spiritual, and physical health. It's a sure prescription for everyone of us searching for overall well being. 

Heed Soren Kierkegaard's words:

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day, I walk my self into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked my self into my best thoughts. And I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it."

Thursday, March 29, 2018

When the Cure is the Problem

When is cure the problem?

Connie once consulted a psychiatrist. She's experiencing severe bouts of depression, loneliness, anxiety, pain, and compromised life satisfaction.

After about 30 seconds, the psychiatrist interrupted Connie. She left the doctor's clinic with a variety of prescription drugs, to be tried one after another.

Connie is not alone. It happens much of the time.

In our session, Connie expressed disappointment over her prior psychiatric consultation. She's not given the chance to finish her story before being dismissed.

She simply wanted to talk about what's bothering her.

In addition, Connie found out how brain drugs don't cure to the core. They're even dangerous and damaging to one's brain/mental health.

According to studies, majority of patients around the world, not just in psychiatry, are taking drugs that they don't actually need - and can't afford.

It's a sad state of affairs for those seeking appropriate health care. Many follow blindly, just to comply with medical treatment protocol.

Add to that the pharmaceutical industry spends more money in marketing than in actual product development and scientific research.

The lesson is, we take charge of our health. We do research, learn to make informed decisions. To truly heal, we focus on the roots (illness) and not on the fruit (symptom).

Otherwise, the so-called cure becomes our problem.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


I'm writing these words on a Holy Week.

A day of reflection ... just another beautiful reminder of what Christ has done to wipe away humankind's death fears.

When Christianity is brought to therapy, death is no longer a deadline but a lifeline. Fears dissolve. That's because of the gift of eternal life from God in Christ Jesus.

Stop and reflect. 

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will never die" (John11:25).

Obviously, by that, death is not final. It's just the beginning.

Now let me caution you. Don't expect this lifeline to come into you with automatic delivery. It isn't like that.

Firstly, the lifeline comes privately as you receive the free gift of eternal life from God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23).

By faith. It's purely a work of His grace, not out of your own merit or deeds.

That's how you can live forever without being religious.

Then, you apply His wisdom in your life. That involves right choices, godly thoughts and emotions, and the application of scriptural principles to daily circumstances.

Wholeness, based on this ultimate lifeline, comes from anticipating the fruit of a disciplined faith. Not from trying to earn it ... but more from a living relationship with your Savior.

One time, a night club owner came over to see me with his wife. They're on the verge of divorce due to the husband's infidelity and alcoholism.

After about a year of sessions, the couple brought Christianity into their therapy. The man ended up reading the Daily Bread each day and putting his faith in Christ.

The lifeline gave the man and his wife a new life. Healed. Changed. Whole.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

How to Catch a Lie

Lying - such actually hurts people. Relationships. Especially one's self.

A recent psychological study reveals that it takes more mental or cognitive energy to lie than being truthful. It's so for one has to work harder to remember invented details than to recall real data.

"I can't remember," says Mario to his wife. Interestingly, his "claims of faulty memory" have become way too often. When it comes to personal matters, it's Mario's favorite excuse.

During session, when I asked him about details of transactions in his business, he could remember very well. His wife frowned.

Eventually, Mario's wife caught him, convinced that in reality, it's only the lies Mario was having trouble telling her.

Psychologist Jacqueline Evans of the University of Texas developed a set of "lie-detection guidelines" to read tell-tale cues of lying and even deception.

Here are some.

Missing Details: a liar skips many details or flourishes that are difficult to admit or construct

Corrections or Contradictions: a liar backtrack in retelling to cover up, so he has to heavily edit

Effortful Thinking: a liar seems unsure or putting a great deal of effort explaining

Nerves or Tension: it takes a great liar or psychopath to pull off falsehoods with a poker face

Unusually Slow Speed: a liar usually takes a bit longer responding to self-edit and trying to be consistent

Friday, March 23, 2018

Making Peace with Money


It's a most expensive, everyday part of our life. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, "Money often costs too much."

I've observed that lots of us spend money beyond what we earn. We spend it on things we don't need. Or, with it, impress people we don't like.

Money can cost lives. Because of love of money or greed, many pierce themselves with painful sorrows. They damage their lives through unhealthy relationship with money.

Here's another "angle" about our invisible money issues.

My client, Rhodora, grew up in poverty. Deep money deprivation. There was never enough money for basic needs when she's growing up as a child.

She saw anxiety or dread on her parents' faces when they talked about money. She felt worried and scared too about the issue of money.

She didn't finish college due to insufficiency of family finances. She had to work as a clerk for a large  drug manufacturing company.

Over time, Rhodora was promoted and received a big salary. On top of that, commissions from sales the company entrusted to her.

That's where her problem began. Her company sent her to me for assessment and therapy. Rhodora had been having an emotional roller-coaster since her promotion. She's not her usual self.

In-session, Rhodora had to fix her money beliefs. She still believed money was still in severe short supply in her life.

She said, "Somewhere inside of me is a belief and feeling that I can't make money more than my parents."

As a result, this something has been failing to give her new position in the company's business all the energies and resources she has to make it flourish. She felt scared or impure having to handle lots of money in her hands.

The solution?

Rhodora learns to change her money mindset. She takes the path of resolving any negative beliefs and irrational behaviors that impede her business growth.

She needs to let go of any residual childhood-based attitudes that influence the way she does her work and business.  The hang-ups, the ambivalence, the sense of unworthiness.

That's part of what "making peace with money" is about. Plus ... more!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Living Life Again

We live in a fast-paced age. The world is a smaller place because of technology, internet, and airplanes through our skies.

This advancement has lots of pluses. The speed, the technology, helps. Speaking for myself, I can conduct sessions anywhere I am to attend to those from varied places or nations.

Yet despite the advancement to make life easier, people still feel uneasy. You can see the tension: in their faces, voices, hands, bodies. The way they live.

Now, why is this happening? Well, you proceed to the source of the problem: your mind. Keep your mind alive now. Your imagination.

Do you see a frown of anxiety on the face of your mind? Are your teeth gritting? Your jaw stiffening? Now, in your mind, smile. Choose to shift to a face with joy.

Let me tell you about a man. He won out over his wounds and tensions.

He had undergone a severe family and marital trauma. Abandoned, deprived. He was no youngster. He was already in his 60s, a senior citizen.

What to do with his life and time in which he lived empty, depressed, and tense?

He decided it was moment for action. He had to bring life back into his life. He had to do it in simple, realistic ways.

Well, what could a man his age do?

First, he became a life coach to couples, families, and other adults. He was a wise, talented, and friendly guy. It suited his personality. Soon he had substantial clientele and been earning well.

Second, you see him volunteering as a toddler caregiver in a church's Sunday kids' school. Spending time with children brought him much joy. It makes him feel more alive.

And lastly but not the least, he found peace leading bible studies and joining periodic mission trips through his church. His life leads to more life.

In his 60s, abandoning the passive concepts of retirement, he found healing for his wounds. He used his mind and work to get active. Live life again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Timely Friendship That Heals

The establishing of true friendship at a critical juncture can transform. Friendliness begets friendships.

And over time in the process, friends can help heal emotional wounds.

As Aristotle put it, "Friendship is a thing most necessary to life. Since without friends, no one would choose to live, though possessed of all other advantages."

On my multiple speaking trips to Korea, I'd always wondered about the state of overseas Filipino workers there.

Away from their families back home, how are they coping?

Both interpersonally and in groups, I discovered the secret window of many into the way out of homesickness, depression, or loneliness.


Amid their sub-ideal situation, many OFWS find the value of quality friendships and social gatherings to survive and thrive.

Such comes at a time when, in their loneliness, they might have turned in on themselves. Worse, engage in vices, addictions, or affairs damaging to themselves and their families.

One ingenious comment of an OFW is, "I have no or little time to be homesick and lonely. Because I'm busy keeping in touch with my family on Skype and spending time with my friends here in church."

In therapy sessions, I've heard some clients mentioning our alliance as some sort of friendship during crushing blows.

Let me call it "timely friendship."

It can be rightly said that the friendship, limited though it may be, saved the hurting from themselves!

A true friend is a trusted confidant. He or she accepts you as you are, warts and all. He or she is to whom you are mutually drawn as a companion and ally, whose love for you is not dependent on your performance.

The wise man of the Proverbs wrote, "There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 RSV).

Find true friendships. They heal. And help transform you into healthy-wholeness.