All posts by drbettina

Recommended Reading

I am often asked for recommendations on books that address some of the concerns we may discuss in our sessions.  Below is a quick list.

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Resentment, Anger and Forgiveness

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Unknown).

When someone hurts us, it is easy to dwell on the feelings of hurt or the injustice of the situation.

When we do this we become stuck in the past and we are likely to either miss the present or affect it negatively with our bitterness.

Life is too short to harbor resentment.

Each moment of our lives is on a use it or lose it basis, we can either enjoy each moment or not, resentment gets in the way of that.

Forgiveness is the key to overcoming resentment.

Forgiveness does not involve changing the person who hurt you and you can forgive the other person even if he or she does not take responsibility, or express sorrow or regret.

Understanding and compassion lead to forgiveness and a more healthy, peaceful existence.

When you forgive someone, you resolve to treat those who hurt you with empathy, compassion and respect.

Even if you feel the person or people who hurt you are not necessarily deserving of it, it serves no one to harbor resentment and treat people with disrespect, instead treat them with kindness (what I like to call killing negativity with kindness).

Obviously there are always times when you have to confront negative behavior (for example if you have tried being kind and it is not helping, or you are trying to find ways to stop the negative behavior from having a continuing effect on you or others who are more vulnerable) but since you cannot control the behavior of others, only your own behavior: “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Negative behavior can be confronted respectfully, it does not help to match negative behavior with the same.

What helps you overcome resentment and anger?

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Letting Go

I recently discovered this and thought it might be helpful to many of us:

Letting Go -
 Author unknown

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring, 
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off, 
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable, 
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, 
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another, 
it’s to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for, 
but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix, 
but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge, 
but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes, 
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to be protective, 
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny, 
but to accept.

To “let go” it not to nag, scold or argue, 
but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires 
but to take each day as it comes, 
and cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody 
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past, 
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less, 
and love more.


In what ways are you holding on to things you shouldn’t?

Why do you think it is so hard to let go sometimes?


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Getting to the root of the problem

A popular form of treatment for many things is behavioral treatment (and it’s more sophisticated cousin, cognitive-behavioral treatment).  While I think both of these sorts of treatments can be very useful, in some cases, they may just be a temporary solution to the problem.  If you think of your life as a garden and the weeds are the problems in your life, just changing the behavior is analogous to cutting the weed off at the soil.  The problem with that of course is that if you don’t get to the root of the problem (many problem behaviors have roots in the past, which behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatments typically don’t address) the weed is likely to come back (even if it doesn’t look exactly the same).  That’s why it is often important to dig in the past to get to the root of problems.  The past can stay in the past, as long as it is not getting in your way in the form of negative thinking or negative behaviors, but if is getting in your way—then you need to address it.
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Building Good Relationships

Psychologist John Van Epp, after working with couples and studying the topic for years developed a model for building good relationships.  His model makes a lot of sense to me and I often refer to it in my work.  He talks about his “Relationship Attachment Model” as being like an equalizer.  Each of the “5 universal human dynamics” in his model is at a certain level in any relationship.  The 5 dynamics are the extent to which you know, trust, rely upon, commit to and touch another person.  His idea is that ideally the first dynamic should be equal to or higher than all subsequent dynamics (visualize each of the dynamics as lever on an equalizer, with the first lever being higher or equal to the subsequent ones).  They build on each other. In other words, you shouldn’t trust someone you don’t know, you shouldn’t rely upon someone you don’t trust,  you shouldn’t commit to someone you can’t rely upon and you shouldn’t be intimate with someone you don’t commit to (if only all of this were as simple as it sounds!).  Obviously a lot of people do not follow this model, but his point is, that if you do follow this model you will be building a good foundation for a relationship.  There is much more to his model in terms of what to look for in a mate to ensure you are a good match.  I will post more on this in subsequent posts.

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