Career Counseling: work – passion or duty

Americans have come to expect work to be a source of meaning in their lives, a job is now a career or a calling. Young people prioritize achieving one’s career passion higher than making money or getting married and consider finding a fulfilling job almost three times more important than having a family.

Unfortunately, most people are guaranteed to fail in this pursuit. Even people who love their jobs will report they must do thankless tasks from time to time. Few experience nonstop bliss, where sheer passion sustains them through long hours on the job. Our high-octane work culture has serious consequences, with Americans overall today engaging in fewer extracurricular social activities than in previous generations.

Consider rejecting the notion that work should consume our lives, define and give meaning to them, and see it instead as an opportunity to fulfill something larger, namely our duty, which can eventually lead to fulfillment. Duty is rooted in self understanding. Frankly assess what you can do, how you are best equipped to serve, and work. Hearing from early childhood that you can be anything you want can be oppressive. Identify the several jobs or roles you are called to do — inside and outside the home — and do them well.

Brainspotting, Life Transitions, Parenting: handling birth trauma

One-third of women experience birth trauma, often during preventable situations. The experience can leave the new mother traumatized and unwilling to have any more children, even though she and her partner may have previously discussed having more.  A “one and done” decision after a harrowing labor and delivery experience isn’t uncommon among women who endure a psychologically traumatic childbirth. Birth is traumatic for 1 out of 3 women due to:

  • Lack or loss of control: 55%
  • Fear for their baby’s life or health: 50%
  • Severe physical pain: 47%
  • Not enough communication from provider: 39%

Brainspotting therapy can help women process the birth trauma and treat PTSD, so that they are no longer triggered by nightmares, fears, or difficult emotions of giving birth.

Career Counseling: women and ageism

Most companies don’t give ageism the same attention as other forms of bias. Nearly two out of three workers in the United States over the age of 45 experienced or witnessed age discrimination. Fifty-five percent say discrimination starts in their 50s. Women over 50 experience it earlier than their male colleagues. As women show visible signs of aging in a society that emphasizes the importance of beauty and youth, they’re perceived as less competent and less valuable in the workplace. These assumptions—often unchallenged—form the basis of decision-making about hiring, firing, and promoting. As a result, older women are diminished, marginalized, and pushed out. It happens every single day, but it’s not on most people’s radar. That’s because companies often disguise these terminations as downsizing, consolidation, and other reasons to mask the unfairness and potential legal liability.

The challenge of stopping psychiatric medications

Here is an interesting article that describes the challenges of getting off psychiatric medications –

Psychiatric drugs are brought to market in clinical trials that typically last less than twelve weeks. Few studies follow patients who take the medications for more than a year. Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke, who chaired the task force for the fourth edition of the DSM, in 1994, told me that the field has neglected questions about how to take patients off drugs—a practice known as “de-prescribing.” He said that “de-prescribing requires a great deal more skill, time, commitment, and knowledge of the patient than prescribing does.” He emphasizes what he called a “cruel paradox: there’s a large population on the severe end of the spectrum who really need the medicine” and either don’t have access to treatment or avoid it because it is stigmatized in their community. At the same time, many others are “being overprescribed and then stay on the medications for years.” There are almost no studies on how or when to go off psychiatric medications, a situation that has created what he calls a “national public-health experiment.”

Brainspotting Therapy: stimulating the vagus nerve

In many sessions with clients we discuss the polyvagal ladder and the role of the vagus nerve in our nervous system. The vagus nerve is the longest of our 12 cranial nerves, shuttling information from the body to the brain and back. It travels through the neck and into the chest, branching into the heart, lungs, stomach, pancreas and nearly every other organ in the abdomen. The management and processing of emotions happens via the vagal nerve between the heart, brain and gut, which is why we have a strong gut reaction to intense mental and emotional states. Stress, fatigue, anxiety and even bad posture can negatively impact the vagus nerve.

This article describes 12 stimulation techniques that can tone and strengthen the vagus nerve:

Financial Therapy: how much to save for retirement

Some Financial therapy clients ask for help to figure out how much they need to save for retirement. The first step is to calculate your annual expenses (noting essential-living, essential-debt, and discretionary). The next step is to use one of the retirement calculators with a Monte Carlo simulation. Here is a helpful article describing these –

10 Useful (and Free) Online Retirement Calculators for Saving Money

Career Counseling, Financial Therapy, Life Transitions: struggles of Gen X women

Gen X women (born between 1965 and 1984) are really struggling with issues in their personal lives and relationships, dealing with their finances, and managing their careers. “They’re smart. They’re grateful for what they have. They’re also exhausted. Some of them are terrified. A few of them are wondering what the point is.”

Career Counseling, Financial Therapy, Brainspotting Therapy: procrastination is not laziness

Procrastination is about emotional regulation and not laziness. It's a way to cope with difficult emotions and negative moods around certain tasks. We can't tell ourselves to just stop procrastinating, we have to rewire our brain to find healthier ways to manage the uncomfortable feelings of boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond. Counseling and Brainspotting Therapy can help people develop awareness and process challenging feelings.