“We’re hardwired for connection.”  This is one of my favorite quotes from a shero in our field, Brené Brown. Through her work on shame and vulnerability, we are able to get a closer look at aspects of the human condition that are often overlooked. Her quote reminds me that an authentic connection with others is comforting and reaffirming. It invites a sense of security into our world…security about who we are and where we fit. Connection with others solidifies our sense of identity and belonging. We want to belong to something...

My client said, “I’m bored and agitated. It isn’t a good combination because it makes me reckless.” His thoughtful insight rings true: The country’s foundation is defined by COVID-19 with recommendations for social and physical distancing, combined with little sense of a communal endgame (the political polarization and fragmentation is staggering). We are living in the presence of uncertainty. The psychological nature of uncertainty causes tremendous anxiety. Our survival brain is always updating the world, making judgments about what is safe and what it not. When we are uncertain about what...

Working as a mental health professional can be described as rewarding, exuberating, encouraging and self-satisfying. It can be described as mind-blowing as the picture above illustrates, but also tedious, exhausting and overwhelming. I wanted to write this blog post to share tips with my colleagues and those in our industry so that we can take care of ourselves, while helping others. As a mental health professional, it is important to remember that you are working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are continuously providing encouragement to the clients and...

Around the age of 12, I lifted my hands from the handlebars of my bike for the first time and rode down the street behind my friends who also rode with “no hands”.  It was quite the accomplishment at that time. We rode everywhere on our bikes -- to friends’ houses, the pond, the pool, the creek, to our forts in the woods, to the convenience store on the corner. Bike riding was no big deal. We had been riding bikes for years, but during the summer of 1987, as...

It’s times like this when I miss morning coffee with friends the most. We all feel so stressed from working during a pandemic, worrying about the health of our families and the people we serve. We fear for our health, our finances, and our lives – worst of all we feel we are alone without the hugs and handshakes of our friends, family, and co-workers. I don’t talk about my experience in the Army that often, but I wanted to share one quick story with that I think about often: “When we...

Back to School. Usually this likely makes you think of picking out an outfit for your first day or packing your backpack with supplies. This year, depending on where you live, it looks more like checking Zoom to make sure you have the latest updates installed and a good desk area prepared. Just like everything else in 2020, back to school season is going to be different and probably a little difficult. CHRIS 180 is looking to help ease the difficulty of virtual learning by providing school supplies to students...

Stories tell us something about ourselves, others, and our experiences. Our therapists have the pleasure to sit with all kinds of people at different stages of their life and hear their stories. One approach CHRIS 180 clinicians often take with clients is to listen to the stories you share about yourself, others, and your experiences. Dan McAdams, a professor of psychology and human development, asserts that “people living in modern societies provide their lives with unity and purpose by constructing internalized and evolving narratives of the self.” Simply put, we are...

“It’s easier being in each other’s presence, or in each other’s absence, than in the constant presence of each other’s absence.”–Gianpiero Petriglieri Yes, Zoom Exhaustion is real. As we continue to work from home, visit family and friends on the screen, or go to school virtually, we are spending a lot more time on Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google Meet and the list goes on…and this is exhausting. But why so exhausting?  Is it that hard to spend hours in front of a screen interacting with people while sitting in the comfort of...

One of my favorite meditations is a short guided one by Deepak Chopra. In the middle of  this meditation he asks repeatedly in his soothing voice, “What am I grateful for?” I hear his hypnotic tone sometimes in my head when I need a good, positive reminder. We are living in a time where the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of our regular daily activities and comfort. Many of us are not happy with the way things are happening, and the way we want to live is out of our control. We cannot...

Joy. Such a small word.  A word that seems out of place in a world rocked by death, destruction, violence and oppression.  An experience that seems so far away as we are struggling to survive, or fight racism, or cure and prevent disease, or heal ourselves and others, or all the above.  And we are tired. Our struggle takes energy, and our fuel tanks may feel near empty.  Yet somehow, we endure – and we must endure for the long haul.  Change does not happen quickly enough. Where do we get the strength...