Archive for April 2016

Finding Community: Reflections on a Conference Experience || Craig Freund

By Craig Freund, Affordable Counseling Program Intern
New posts every other Tuesday

If you were one of the hundreds of counselors, psychologists and social workers to attend the Colorado Mental Health Professionals Conference this past weekend, you were privileged to an incredible experience.

Through the collaborative efforts of multiple professional membership associations, one of the countries largest mental health conferences did not disappoint.

From Dr. Irvin Yalom’s keynote interview to the wide variety of breakout sessions, it was truly wonderful to witness the strength in community that this profession requires. Psychotherapy can most definitely be considered an art, one in which the finished product is never displayed, sold or advertised. Because of this many psychotherapists have a tendency to feel isolated in their work, especially those that work in private practice settings. It seems that this conference truly overshadowed the sense of isolation that is often inherent in this work. Instead, an opportunity for support, networking, learning and friendship was offered as a much needed refreshment to the difficult work that psychotherapy entails. 

With over 100 breakout sessions offered, professionals were afforded the opportunity to witness and learn from a diverse group of practicing mental health specialists. It is certainly safe to say that the quantity and variety of these breakout sessions was astonishing; ranging from video game addiction, to how diet impacts mood and even how utilizing heroic myths can facilitate therapeutic growth in adolescents. These learning opportunities justified the hefty price tag that a conference admission required, especially considering the many continuing education credits that attendees may have accumulated. While these learning opportunities were quite impressive, these were only the tip of the iceberg.

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Attendees were offered the opportunity to touch base with agencies, professional associations, group practice organizations, treatment facilities and educators. This allowed for professionals to meet with potential employers, strengthen their professional networks and even to simply touch base with old friends. Keynote presentations from inspiring leaders in the field of psychotherapy were found to be both rejuvenating and encouraging. From the infamous wisdom of Dr. Irvin Yalom, to the humor that can facilitate advocacy in the Man Therapy campaign, these keynote presentations did not disappoint. 

In a field of helpers and healers, where compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burnout are prevalent issues, the extent to which this event created community is truly monumental.

Community allows for much needed support, empathy and professional insight in the difficult work that we do. Furthermore, a united community has the strength to influence legislation, bolster advocacy efforts and become evermore effective in helping those that require the support of a caring mental health professional. It becomes increasingly evident that this gathering of caring professionals not only benefits attendees, but more importantly this benefits our communities as we become more effective and better supported in the work that we do.

It has been said that our strength will grow through community and in this instance, the strength of our community has the power to strengthen the hearts and minds of many.

Considering the positive impact that this event has had, those that organized/sponsored this event most definitely deserve some kudos. If it weren’t for the leadership of participating professional organizations, we may have missed the opportunity to gather in support of one another and our community at large. With this being said, to all of the organizers, sponsors, presenters and attendees… Thank You! And for those of you who may have missed out, I would strongly encourage you to make it a priority in the upcoming year. 

 


 

About the Author: Craig is one of the many exceptional interns working in the People House Affordable Counseling Program. With over 4 years of experience as a Mental Health Counselor working in residential, crisis and hospital settings, Craig is a wonderful addition to the People House community. Craig is a gentle, compassionate and genuine person who works to tailor his therapeutic approach to the specific needs of each and every individual. He enjoys working with a wide variety of individuals with various life experiences and personal interests. For more information or to contact Craig, please see his therapist bio.

Spirituality in Daily Life: The Physics of Prayer – Choosing Mystery || Mary Coday Edwards

By Mary Coday Edwards
People House Featured Blogger

Before you scoff, roll your eyes, and close this blog, hear me out.

While living in Mexico, I was a member of a motley online discussion group with members who had too much time on their hands. When group member and retired economist Norm ended up in the hospital with a life-threatening health issue, Catholic Art Professor Darrell wrote Norm that he was praying for him.

In addition to online eye rolling, that phrase released a barrage of harsh and cold-hearted criticisms at Darrell from the agnostics and atheists of the group.

Many of us have left the traditional religions of our younger selves. Prayer conjures up images of an old white guy with a beard, whom we diligently hoped to placate/coerce in order to keep the bad things at bay and get the good things we wanted. 

And I understand that need, the need to turn to something, especially in times of desperation. When I lived in Tanzania, a drought hit the region. We could see the thunderous rain clouds billowing and building in the hills around us, so close it was if we could lasso them and drag them to our patch of rapidly dying crops and cattle. I knew it was illogical, but I was ready to slaughter a chicken against the tire of my car if that would nudge those rain clouds our way.  Could I dance a certain way that would move the gods and hence draw the rain? (Note 1)

ME

Rain dances aside, my reality is informed by ideas from quantum physics.  I don’t purport to understand the math behind the theory; however, renowned physicist Ricard Feynman is quoted as saying, “I think I can safely say that no one understands quantum mechanics”, so I know I’m in good company.

But through studying and contemplating the implications of quantum ideas, my reality now includes an interconnected universe, full of potentialities and one where my efforts matter, as I mentioned in last month’s blog.

I will refer to three concepts from quantum mechanics (QM) in this blog (Note 2):

Neil Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity;

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle; and

The EPR Paradox (or the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox)

Bohr’s Principle of Complementarity grew out of the understanding that light can behave as a wave or a particle – both of which are mutually exclusive. Scientists choose an experiment to show that light is a wave or one that shows light is a particle. And it’s not known what light may be doing when it’s not forced to behave one way or another. The scientist no longer stands outside what he/she is observing (classical, Newtonian physics) but the scientist becomes part of the experiment; this is often referred to as an observer-influenced reality.

In addition, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle sheds some light on the subject. It is impossible to measure simultaneously both position and momentum, which are fundamental physical attribute of a sub-atomic particle – only probabilities can be known. Due to the particle’s minuteness, any attempt to measure the location will change its velocity.  

The verdict isn’t in yet – is this a reflection of the limitations of our measuring devices (Einstein)? Or is it ontological, fundamental aspects of nature (Werner Heisenberg)? Philosophically, Heisenberg and others suggest that these probabilities of QM refer to tendencies in nature that include a range of possibilities (within the limitations of that entity being studied). More than one alternative is open and there is some opportunity for unpredictable novelty. And of QM, Heisenberg said what we observe is not nature itself, but rather nature exposed to our method of questioning.

An easy example – stress. Medically we now know that stress can make our bodies really sick. On a sub-atomic level, what’s that doing to our cells? And so we do make choices; i.e., am I going to let my anger make me ill or am I going to do something constructive about it, such as exercise, which alleviates those chemicals that are throwing my  cells into havoc. We talk about genetic tendencies – for example, there is a genetic tendency for alcoholism but choices can still be made to mitigate that tendency. In other words – there’s potentiality in those cells – but it isn’t determined yet – the future hasn’t been decided.

In addition, from the ERP Paradox ideas have emerged implying action at a distance and quantum entanglement, as well as system laws that are not derived from the entity’s individual parts.  

All we need is Love

So back to Norman – his cells were running amuck. Darrell was obviously feeling compassion for a suffering Norman. Who knows what sort of “divine” energy – and energy is what keeps all of our parts moving – may be represented in that compassion that is coming from somewhere within Darrell.

Therefore, Darrell’s prayers: Can they have an “observer-influenced” effect? And if so, then what impact did that energy have on Norman’s body?

Or are we humans so limited in our vision of reality that it only includes that which our physical senses detect? And other ways of “knowing”, such as intuition, don’t exist? And that we can’t influence the “energy” coming off of our own person?

My guess is that Darrell, out of his compassion, wanted wholeness, health, and recovery for Norman, a noble and a good thing.  But other distresses were also at work in Norman’s body.  Maybe that range of possibilities within Norman’s cells/entire system had been reduced, compromised.

A definition of compassion includes entering into someone else’s suffering.  Not only is that a powerful value, but it keeps us human. And we humans have a lot more power/energy/life than we give ourselves credit for.

And this compassion we feel: is it Divine Love moving within us? At our deepest self, have we tapped into the Universal Being, this holy spirit which permeates all? Again, as I noted in last month’s blog, this is my “as if” function, which isn’t based on magic, but on how our universe appears to be operating. My efforts DO matter in an interconnected cosmos.

_____

Note 1: During the height of the Cold War, when the United States and the USSR competed for world dominance, left-leaning Tanzania experienced a devastating drought. The administration of then President J.F. Kennedy sent boatloads of food to the starving nation. Therefore, when I was there in the 1990s, although groundwater supplies were easily accessible, the people were waiting for the U.S. government to come to their rescue again. This is also an example of aid gone wrong.

Note 2: Many books are available explaining the ideas behind QM in a non-mathematical format. John Polkinghourne’s “Quantum Theory, A Very Short Introduction,” is a good place to start.


About the Author: Mary Coday Edwards is a Spiritual Growth Facilitator and People House Minister. A life-long student of spirituality, Mary spent almost 20 years living, working and sojourning abroad in Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America before finding her People House “tribe” and completing its Ministerial Program. Past studies include postgraduate studies from the University of South Africa in Theological Ethics/Ecological Justice, focusing on the spiritual and physical interconnectedness of all things. With her MA in Environmental Studies from Boston University, abroad she worked and wrote on environmental sustainability issues at both global and local levels, in addition to working in refugee repatriation.

The Power of the Puny or how the Meek Shall Inherit the Earth || Lora Cheadle

By Lora Cheadle
New posts every other Tuesday

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Rome wasn’t built in a day. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! We have countless phrases in our culture that remind us that the way to succeed is to take small, consistent steps over time. Yet when we talk of physical, mental or spiritual or growth for ourselves, we tend to talk in terms of great gains. We talk of the people who lose 100 pounds and compete in marathons. We talk of former prisoners who find enlightenment through the prison yoga program and go on to dig wells in Africa. In short, we talk about the miraculous. Consequently, when we think of growth for ourselves, we think in miraculous terms. We will get into bikini shape by June. We will read and understand Chaucer. We will contemplate the teachings of Jesus and we will never, ever lose our temper again.

And sometimes we do. But sometimes we have laundry and kids and bosses and spouses that take a lot of our time and attention. Sometimes we are just worn out living or we just want to relax and have some fun.

That’s where the Power of the Puny comes into play.

 I like to think of it as how the meek (me) shall inherit the earth (whatever it is I want) and I instantly feel empowered. Mini-moves done consistently over time add up to big changes.

Even though it doesn’t sound very sexy to say that you walked around the block last night, even though it’s way more exciting to brag that you summited a fourteener, walking around the block every night after dinner gets you a lot further than periodically summiting a fourteener.  

Since I’m a mom, pregnancy is my favorite example of how small steps yield big results. Every day the baby grows such a tiny amount that it’s barely discernible, yet in nine months an entire human has been formed. Day to day, both on the inside and on the outside, not much seems to be happening. The changes are so gradual that nobody really notices at all, but at the end of nine months, everything is completely different! The same is true for whatever it is you wish to accomplish. Mini-moves, taken consistently over time, yield phenomenal results.

Say you want a bikini-body, or say you want to be able to sit in a full lotus position or do 10 full push-ups. Every day do something that moves you closer to that goal. Not something earth shattering, but something. Swap out one unhealthy food choice and replace it with a healthy one. Do one 15-minute block of exercise. Stay in lotus position 30 seconds longer than you normally do while pulling your legs in a bit tighter. Hold yourself in a plank position, do micro bends with your elbows or do push-ups with one knee bent and one straight. You don’t have to train for an hour, just do something.

Mini-moves done consistently over time add up to big changes.

Are you ready to overcome a certain fear or phobia that’s been holding you back? Do you want to be able to put your head under water or fly without fear? Practice something every day, whether it’s actually getting in water or simply imagining, visualizing or pretending that you are dunking your head under water. Watch videos of flying in an airplane, visit an airport or write affirmations. It doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that you do something!

Craving a spiritual connection or a wishing for a deeper understanding of self? Pray. Even if it’s only for two minutes while you wait for the light to change. Meditate while you wait for you pasta water to boil. Take five conscious breaths every time you visit the restroom. Read a daily affirmation. You don’t have to finish a whole chapter, meditate on a mountaintop or be involved in Bible study in order to grow spiritually; you simply have to take mini steps, consistently, over time.

Don’t forget to make it fun and reward yourself either! Put a gold star on your calendar every day that you do something that nurtures you and your dream. Team up with a friend and reward yourselves with a visit or a coffee date after so many days of consistent behavior. Tell people what you are doing and ask for them to support you. Not only will you increase your chances of success, but you might motivate them too!

Not that there’s anything wrong with dreaming BIG or taking gigantic steps if you are able to.

Dream as big as you want, tackle big things when you are able, but always remember the Power of the Puny!

Remember that an elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time, and focus on consistently doing things one small step at a time.

 


About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here! See more on her website. 

6 Ways to Get Affordable Mental-Health Services

Here is a great post from Michelle Andrews published on U.S. News on affordable mental health. You can access the original article at http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/on-health-and-money/2009/04/15/6-ways-to-get-affordable-mental-health-services


Times are tough. Everywhere you look, people are stressed out, anxious, depressed. But at a time when addressing some people’s mental-health problems may be even more important than ministering to their physical aches and pains, two thirds of primary-care doctors say they have a tough time getting mental-health services for their patients. Doctors in a new Health Affairs study said several factors, from a shortage of professionals in some regions or in some specialties to problems with insurance coverage, make getting mental-health services challenging. (The study data came from 2004 and 2005, so chances are it’s even more difficult now.) “It’s a big problem,” says Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, who says referrals are toughest in rural areas and the urban inner city.

There are no easy answers. Safety net organizations are feeling the pinch of increased demand and funding shortfalls. Meanwhile, if you’ve lost your job and your health insurance, you’re most likely struggling with funding shortfalls of your own. But here are options that you (or even your doctor) may not be aware of:

1. Mental Health America, an advocacy organization with over 300 affiliates in 41 states, works with people to connect them with affordable mental-health services in their communities. Click on “local MHAs” on their homepage to find services in your area. “We spend an enormous amount of time helping people navigate the system, doing problem solving,” says David Shern, the group’s president and CEO.

2. Community health centers. Currently operating in more than 7,000 locations nationwide, these centers got a $155 million boost under the economic stimulus package to add another 126 centers. In addition to primary-care services, they are increasingly offering mental-health services. Fees are charged on a sliding scale based on income. Find a center in your area here.

3. Community mental-health centers. These centers serve Medicaid and other low-income patients. State income limits vary. Click on “find a provider” here, and call to find out whether you may qualify.
4. Employee Assistance Programs. Many employers offer a limited number of counseling sessions and referrals to mental-health professionals through an EAP service. For some people, this may be all they need. “A short-term intervention may help someone develop the flexibility they need to deal with the problem,” says Lynn Bufka, a psychologist who is the assistant executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association.

5. Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship. Clergy members are trained in counseling, and their services are generally free.

6. Group therapy. Many therapists offer group sessions, which are often a less expensive alternative to traditional one-on-one counseling. You can find a psychologist in your area here through the APA or through U.S. News‘s Find a Therapist search engine.

Remember, one of the best—and most affordable—ways to manage stress and anxiety is by taking care of your physical health. Get regular exercise, stick to a healthful diet, and get enough sleep. Although job and other worries may ignite cravings for all kinds of unwholesome mood modifiers—gin and tonic, anyone?—try to steer clear. And remember: Even if you don’t get professional counseling, discussing your troubles with friends and family can help make problems seem more manageable. “Just being able to talk, there’s therapy in that,” says Epperly.

Check out recent posts on using meditation to help reduce stress, the new COBRA subsidy that may make it easier to hang on to health insurance after a layoff, and on expanded mental-health coveragefor kids under the new SCHIP law.


 

People House offers therapy on a sliding fee scale, with rates ranging between $20-$50.  We use masters level counseling interns in our Affordable Counseling Program. To see a full list of all of these therapists click here

A Look at Codependency || Craig Freund

By Craig Freund, Affordable Counseling Program Intern
New posts every other Tuesday

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As inherently social creatures, relationships are an integral aspect of our daily lives. From various relationships, we gain information about our surrounding environments, receive support as well as validation in our personal experiences and can even find a sense of purpose in our engagements with others. It is true that some of this should come from an internal sense of self; however, relational experiences greatly influence our self-perceptions and emotional experiences. When relational experiences aren’t positive or helpful, we are more susceptible to negative self-perceptions, which in some instances may contribute to mental illness. Those that experience isolation and a lack of connection often struggle with feelings of loneliness and depression. If this need isn’t met, we might look to unhealthy or addictive behaviors as a means of coping with the associated difficult feelings. Similar to a hunger pain, loneliness is a signal that something crucial to our survival is absent. It has been thought that our large brains, language skills and emotional intelligence are all tailored to navigate complex interpersonal relationships.

After all, what is the point of having group relationships if we are unable to share ideas, support one another and problem solve together.

As a species, we have evolved to survive by functioning as a group, making interpersonal connections is crucial to our happiness and ability to thrive. Many social psychologists would agree that relationships are our greatest source of happiness, while they may also be our greater source of stress when those relationships are absent or in distress. Despite our knowledge of the importance of relationships, we often stigmatize our innate need and genuine care for others. In a culture that places a high priority on independence, the term codependency gets a bad rap, all despite a universal and inherent need for interpersonal relationship.

The truth becomes that we are all codependent and that this can actually be a healthy aspect of the ways in which we strive to meet our needs.

Think of your family and closest friends, most of us have emotional reactions to their struggles and consequently possess a desire to offer care, as well as support during these times. Similarly, when we experience pain in our own lives, we often turn to our closest allies for support, advice, or consolation. As we can see, some degree of interdependence is necessary, healthy, and often helpful to our ability to survive and thrive. Despite this, there are times when codependency can become problematic. The true question becomes, when is codependency problematic?

The term codependency has become somewhat of a buzzword. It was originally brought into focus in regards to partners in relationship with alcoholics or addicts. The role of the codependent in these relationships relates to the ways in which they might enable the alcoholic to avoid the negative implications of their addiction. For example, the enabling partner might call the workplace of the alcoholic claiming he/she is sick. Or, the enabling partner may stay in the relationship despite the alcoholic’s inability to contribute emotionally or financially. The enabling partner strives to maintain the relationship despite their own suffering as a result of the alcoholic’s inability to be accountable to their behaviors and responsibilities.

Codependency becomes a point for concern when an enabling dynamic further facilitates the problematic behaviors of an involved party.

Additionally, issues with codependency arise when this dynamic fosters the suffering of another, or prevents involved parties from being capable of meeting their individual needs due to overextending themselves for others. Another indication that relationship dynamics may be unhealthy relates to a lack of mutual, genuine and empathic care. If you find yourself consistently overextending yourself for your partner, you may benefit from more closely examining these relationship dynamics. Signs and symptoms of unhealthy codependency: 

-You’re constantly playing the role of caregiver. 

-You consistently require approval, recognition and validation from others. 

-You fear abandonment and loneliness. 

-You feel guilty when advocating for yourself.

-You stay in relationships with hurtful/unhealthy people.

You might be wondering why would someone remain in such an unhealthy relationship. The reason for this often lies within the individuals’ sense of self. Often, unhealthy codependent relationships stem from the enabling individuals negative self image. They may feel that if they do not overextend themselves in the relationship, that they will become lonely, or that they aren’t worthy of a healthier relationship.

The broken sense of self derives validation from the dysfunctional relationship.

Codependency becomes unhealthy when it prevents the individual from advocating for themselves in the relationship. This relates to a certain fear of losing the relationship simply because they also have needs. In this way, the unhealthy codependent continues to find themselves in unsatisfying relationships where their needs for connection and genuine care are not met. These maladaptive relationship strategies perpetuate the core belief that the individual is not worthy of a healthy and satisfying relationship. Generally, these unhealthy codependent relationships impair personal growth and elicit a great deal of emotional, as well as psychological pain.

We all possess a need for social connection and support, with this, we are all to some extent naturally codependent. However, certain unhealthy relational dynamics greatly contribute to interpersonal distress and emotional suffering. You may have heard the old adage- if it hurts, don’t do it. These words of wisdom most definitely apply to our relationships. If you find yourself continually in a relationship that leaves you feeling used, hurt, and taken advantage of, then it may be beneficial to take a close look at a possible unhealthy codependent situation.

It’s important to remember that you deserve a healthy, balanced and supportive relationship.

Why you ask? Well, because… you are enough just the way you are! We are all entitled to our own happiness, with happiness and relationships so closely related we all deserve healthy, supportive relationships. If you find yourself in an unhealthy codependent relationship, although it may take a great deal of courage, there is a way out and that first step can most definitely lead to a more satisfying interpersonal situation. It is possible to limit enabling behaviors, advocate for your needs, set clear boundaries, find healthier relationships and regain a positive sense of self.

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Finally, if you feel that you would benefit from some support in improving your relationship dynamics, a qualified psychotherapist may be the key to more satisfying relational situation. Most importantly, never forget that you are enough and you deserve happy, healthy relationships.

 


About the Author: Craig is one of the many exceptional interns working in the People House Affordable Counseling Program. With over 4 years of experience as a Mental Health Counselor working in residential, crisis and hospital settings, Craig is a wonderful addition to the People House community. Craig is a gentle, compassionate and genuine person who works to tailor his therapeutic approach to the specific needs of each and every individual. He enjoys working with a wide variety of individuals with various life experiences and personal interests. For more information or to contact Craig, please see his therapist bio.

The Most Dangerous Moment: Marie’s Story || Janet Ferguson

By Janet Ferguson
Guest Blogger

 

It was right around 3 a.m. on October 28 when the phone rang in my dorm room. “They’re calling all of us to the sorority house. It’s an emergency,” the voice on the other end of the line said. I honestly, to this day, can’t recall who called me or any of the details of what was said in the hours after that. But, I can tell you what I learned, what’s been written in the papers, and what friends shared.  And I can tell you how it impacted my world view, how I advise friends, and what I do in my work with clients.

It was 1988. Articles, classes and workshops about teen dating violence and relationships weren’t a “thing.” Facebook didn’t exist. The hashtag #ThatsNotLove meant absolutely nothing (http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/24/health/teen-dating-abuse-thatsnotlove-one-love-foundation/). I was in college. Guys were either nice or not nice… there wasn’t a lot of nuance or discussion around the psychological profiles of other students. We didn’t talk about “emotional or psychological abuse,” “controlling relationships,” and certainly not “narcissistic abuse.” We just dated someone. Or we broke up with them.

In this case, that choice meant life… or death.

Marie Pompilio was just 18, a freshman at Northwestern University, the college I had already attended for more than 2 years. She and my little sister had recently joined the sorority to which I belonged. Peter Weber, Marie’s 20-year-old boyfriend of 8 months, was an honors student, studying engineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago. According to many reports, he had been demanding of Marie’s time and was very jealous of anything that took her away from him. Marie just wanted to dedicate more of her energy to her new school and new friends.

Her mother Anne (now deceased) said that Marie had called her the evening before we all got that 3 a.m. call — around 6:30 on October 27. “She told me Peter was coming over and she was going to break up with him.” Friends reported she told them her plans, as well. And that was the last anyone heard from Marie.

The next call Marie’s mother “received was later that night from Peter. He said that he’d had an argument with Marie and her keys had fallen from her hand just before she jumped out of his car a couple of blocks from her sorority… Weber returned to Marie’s dorm room at 10 p.m. to drop off her keys and surreptitiously gather a ring and other mementos. He told Marie’s roommate that Marie would likely be spending the night with a friend.” (source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-10-07/features/9003230492_1_clothing-peter-weber-police-station)

Her mother reported her missing a little after midnight. Weber, in a move that would later astound and horrify everyone, joined the family in the search for her.

Her body was finally found the next evening two miles from campus — “lying face down beneath a bush near an alley. Her clothes had been torn from her body and her throat and hands had been deeply and repeatedly slashed.” Later, Weber, “who outweighed Marie by 65 pounds, said he had accidentally strangled her in self-defense after she attacked him wildly during their argument. He’d later removed her clothing, he said, and cut her throat in an effort to conceal the accident and make it appear that she had been sexually attacked.” He was convicted of first-degree murder in 1990 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was eligible for release in 2005. I have been unable to find any information about his release or whereabouts. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-07-27/news/9003030256_1_peter-weber-murder-or-involuntary-manslaughter-prosecutors)

What does a young college student DO with this horror… a crime so shocking that took away the life of someone who, just yesterday, had been so vibrant and energetic, full of excitement for her bright future?

As I said earlier, I don’t remember much about those days. I’m sure I was in the same fog of shock that many others were in. I think I remember counseling being offered. I hope some students took that suggestion. I did not. I remembered it. But I had “gotten over it.”

Until I realized I hadn’t.

In 1991, a work colleague and I had become close friends, taking lunch and smoke breaks together from our downtown Denver high rise office. We often talked about our dating woes and, one day, she told me that she was planning to break up with her boyfriend that night. I freaked. “Do NOT do it somewhere where you are alone with him!” I demanded. She was horrified, “He would never hurt me! He’s never done anything like that…”

It was at that moment that I realized my entire worldview had changed when Marie was murdered. I had met my colleague’s boyfriend. He was quite lovely. But, I remembered that, just a year before, Iliinois Assistant State`s Atty. Sander Klapman said of Peter Weber: “He’s intelligent. He’s good looking. He’s a killer.” I realized that I truly believed… and still do… that ANYONE can snap. Anyone. Mother Theresa? Sure. The Pope? Yup. YOUR boyfriend or husband? Absofreakinlutely!

I read about and hear the same story over and over again. Man kills girlfriend. Man kills boyfriend. Man kills wife. Wife kills husband. And when does it happen? AT THE MOMENT OF BREAKUP. And family, friends, colleagues, neighbors all say, “But, he/she was so nice/successful/well-groomed/helpful/perfect/funny/well-spoken/gregarious… he/she couldn’t KILL someone!” Ya. Ya they could. Leaving an abusive partner may be the most dangerous time in that relationship. “Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship.” (source: http://www.dvipiowa.org/myths-facts-about-domestic-violence/)

Now, it’s the one message I am VERY clear on with clients…and friends.
“He’s sending me threatening texts messages.” Believe him.
“She says I will regret this.” Believe her.
“I need to go back to the house to get a few things.” Take a police escort.
I tell them WHY they should believe it. I tell them her story. Marie’s story… The story of The Most Dangerous Moment.

Then, we plan. Carefully.

Click here to create an interactive Safety Plan: http://www.loveisrespect.org/for-yourself/safety-planning


 

Sources:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-10-07/features/9003230492_1_clothing-peter-weber-police-station

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-11-06/news/9711060069_1_weber-marie-murdered

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-07-27/news/9003030256_1_peter-weber-murder-or-involuntary-manslaughter-prosecutors


Janet’s counseling style is Client-Centered/Systemic. When working with children, she uses a  combination of play therapy, solution-focused therapy, trauma-informed sensorimotor therapy, and attachment theory. When working with couples, she primarily employ Gottman’s marital principles and Sue Johnson’s Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT). With all clients,she uses narrative theory as her foundation and she is always conceptualizing using a systemic, multi-cultural lens.

Janet’s Specialties:

  • Couples/relationship counseling: Couples, friends, traditional relationships, non-traditional relationships, LGBT, etc.
  • Family therapy
  • Emotional, verbal and/or narcissistic abuse
  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Trauma and abuse victims, PTSD, C-PTSD
  • Adult children of alcoholics

To find more information on Janet you can go to her website www.jfergusoncounseling.com

Domestic Violence

Spring Cleaning Part Two– Cleansing/Loving our Bodies|| Lora Cheadle

By Lora Cheadle
New posts every other Tuesday

My last post was a short and sweet post on spring cleaning with a twist. The twist was to make your surroundings pleasant to you by keeping only that which made you happy, whether that was minimalistic and bare or comfortably full. My premise was that since we take care of what we love, the words cleaning and loving ware interchangeable, and spring cleaning really meant spring loving. This post takes that concept and applies it to cleansing our bodies by doing that which shows love for our bodies.  

spring loving part 2

 

Like I said previously, I’m not going into the specifics of why it’s important to cleanse our bodies, nor am I providing you with details of what to eat, for how long or why. Volumes have been written about cleansing and there are many different theories and directions available on line. What I want to do is provide you with a slightly different perspective about cleansing and loving our bodies.

Everything we eat, drink, breathe or put on our skin is absorbed in our bodies in some way.

We are truly products of our environment and everything around us and everything we interact with literally becomes part of our bodies in some way. Unfortunately, we have little control over many aspects of our environment and it’s exhausting and expensive to monitor every cleaning product, personal care item, and food and beverage item we ingest. That’s why we need spring cleansing with a twist.

Spring cleansing/loving our body means doing what feels divine and wonderful and cutting out that which feels negative, bad or unhealthy.

It’s not about some program to be followed for a prescribed period of time or cutting out anything in particular. Your personal preferences are your personal preferences and nothing is right or wrong. Take some time and notice what feels good to you and make changes based on that.

Do cleaning products make you feel ill? Do they make your hands dry and cracked or your lungs and eyes burn? Then get rid of them and find an organic line that you adore. Does eating meat make your stomach feel full and heavy? Then quit eating it or reduce the amount you eat until you figure out how much sits well with you. Does alcohol or soda make your mouth and sweat sticky? See how it feels to drink sparkly water with fruit instead. Does your soap, lotion or shampoo make you itch or feel clogged up? Invest in a line that doesn’t.

Make changes that make you happy and that honor your body, don’t worry about somebody else’s program.

It doesn’t matter if you buy a water filter and improve the quality of your water, if you cut out meat, dairy, wheat, caffeine, sugar or alcohol or if you start using organic cleaners or personal care items. What matters is that you notice what feels bad and you stop doing it. Notice what feels good, healthy or what makes you happy and start doing that. 

Do what makes you feel good and stop eating/drinking/using/breathing anything that doesn’t. It’s that simple!

 

 

 


About the Author: Not sure what lights your fire, or do you know exactly what lights your fire, but you keep spinning your wheels? Either way, Lora’s got you covered! Whether it’s through an Angel Reading or through hypnotherapy, where the subconscious mind is brought on board with the conscious mind, working with Lora reveals your divine path and gets you chugging down the road in no time. As a former lawyer, (She knows firsthand the courage it takes to following a new path!) Lora is very straight forward and process- oriented, using modalities that that yield results. No crystal balls or goddess robes here! See more on her website. 

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth