Grounding Time: Building Peace into a Stressful Life

English: Sunrise through morning mist

English: Sunrise through morning mist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing this sitting in my business office, which, because it is a psychotherapy office, is set up to resemble a comfortable living area in a home. It is 7:40 am as I write this, and I have already done my dishes, made my daily dose of chai tea, and started working on the notes I didn't finish last night. I also have a Sims 3 simulation running in the backgound (some days I have music, instead).

This time in the morning from 7 am to 8 or 9 am, depending on when my first appointment is, provides me with quiet reflection time, usually productive as well as I finish up notes, write a blog post or story, return phone calls, and check emails. Every morning, as much as possible, I build grounding time like this into my day.  Continue reading

Noodling the 2014 Hugo Award Novella Nominees

Science Fiction Museum

Science Fiction Museum (Photo credit: Sebastian Bergmann)

I decided to buy my membership to Worldcon this year after seeing the flap about some authors using their power to get some works on the Hugo award list based solely on the politics of their creators. Now, y'all know I'm a political animal. I can spend hours a day in discussions on a wide range of advocacies. However, art is art, and while politics clearly influences art, because in the end we are all political animals, politics should not trump art.

So I read the five Hugo Award Novella candidates with the idea that I was going to simply try to enjoy them as story, and I was going to examine them as political vehicles as well. I read them in alphabetical order as they were presented on the Hugo nominees list. As you'll probably be able to tell, my own feminist, civil rights and LGBT and poverty rights activist political leanings influenced my enjoyment of the stories, as did my years and years (three decades) of reading science fiction and finding far too few books that made me feel like I was a part of that world. Continue reading

Daily Dance: The Right Tools Make the Job

the very small office

the very small office (Photo credit: Pedro Moura Pinheiro)

I'm in the middle of auditing to determine which insurance companies to prioritize going after for overdue billing. It's the unpleasant part of owning my own therapy business, and I don't enjoy it.

For the last several months, doing this part of my job has been much more difficult because my old computer was getting unreliable, and the internet connection in my office was also unreliable.

A new computer and wireless signal booster later, I now am up and running in my office five minutes after getting there, with the ability to print what I need without having to do workarounds, and able to work in the part of my office where I sit during sessions, which allows me to do collaborative documentation and to use the internet as needed during sessions with minimal disruptions.

Hours per week spent fiddling with technical issues can now be spent on following up on issues with insurance companies, advocating for participants, and building my business. I might even have more time for writing.

And yes, I did buy a gaming computer for work. Multitasking, baby. Multitasking.  (The links above go to the specific items I got. I'm thrilled with both. The computer has a great "action" on its keyboard and can play the games I like to play at max settings, cool as a cucumber. And the cheap little wireless extender gets me five bars in my subterranean office. Sweet.)

Off for my busy day. See you later.

Spend the money on the right tool. They matter.

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Elliot Rodger and the “Magical Therapy” Myth

(content may be triggering to some for discussion of violence)

more paper bag art therapy

more paper bag art therapy (Photo credit: peregrine blue)

Elliot Rodger killed six people and himself. He did so after years (decades?) of the best mental health treatment money can buy, and of a family life that, while just as imperfect as the rest of ours, wasn't particularly traumatic, abusive, or neglectful.

I really feel for his mental health workers. He named several of them by name in his manifesto, and the temptation for many people must be huge to blame them for what he did, or at least for not stopping him. And frankly, that's ridiculous.

We have this tendency to believe that therapy is magical, that it can fix anything, that all you have to do is show up, receive the wisdom of the therapist, and go home a better person, “cured” of whatever ails you. Oh, honey, I wish it were that simple.

The truth is that the mental health system is complex and imperfect, filled with complex and imperfect people on both the helper and helpee sides. That's the nature of the beast. And it means that sometimes, even when it's working well, it doesn't work well enough. Continue reading