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A Motivational Guide To Therapy

ARE YOU FEELING CONFLICTED OR RELUCTANT ABOUT TRYING THERAPY WITH A PSYCHOLOGIST?

At times, people seek a psychologist because they yearn for something more, something different, something unknown. This cultivation of unfulfilled desires can be an intense and overwhelming experience, often associated by a feeling of fear, reluctance and resistance. In all these cases, seeing a psychologist can be an experience that compels our strengths and stimulates demands on us that we in fact can handle, endure, solve, and even learn to love. These small steps of successes are big.

When you know more, you not only do better, you live better. – Krisztina Lurås

Numerous studies have now found and well documented that psychotherapy is an effective way to help people make positive changes in their lives. To create change and change processes that will last over time is often the ultimate goal of therapy.

THE MOST IMPORTANT SINGLE INVESTMENT WE CAN EVER DO

A motivational guide to therapy.

To work on ourselves might just be the most important single investment we can ever do- not only for ourselves but for our loved ones, the world and ultimately even… humanity. It is never too late to begin to invest in ourselves, in fact, it is the task we should never neglect. However, so many of us do exactly that. We lose track of who we truly are, we get lost in the past, go astray in the present without cultivating the vision for the future. The problem is that in order to know where we are going, we need to know where we are and to some extent, where we have been…

Being is easier then becoming

The only constant thing in life is change. And change isn’t easy, but it is possible, as a process. Whether we welcome it or not, we somehow have to find a way to keep up with it. We resist change, but fear of the unknown can result in clinging to status quo behaviors—no matter how bad they are. One of the first steps toward contacting a psychologist starts with acknowledging this, that we could do better or could want to do better!

When you know better, you most likely will do better. So never hold your self-hostage to your past mistakes, failures or bad choices. You probably didn´t know better, and that is ok

WHY SOMEONE WANTS TO CONTACT A PSYCHOLOGIST

A motivational guide to therapy.

There may be several reasons why someone wants to contact a psychologist. Seeing a psychologist is often associated with ‘being sick’ or ‘weak’.  In truth, we will never show greater courage than in those situations when we embrace our vulnerability. To take ownership of our own vulnerability is what defines the ‘humane’ side of us and makes relationships, interconnectedness and even a sense of belonging to others possible.

WHY THERAPY?

Many of us seek therapy because we want to function at our best and be our most authentic and true self. Many of us go through periods of feeling down and depressed, suddenly feeling anxious about things that didn´t even bother us before. Even more of us experience stress and burnout without understanding what is happening to us, understandably a frightening experience. Some want to evolve and work towards greater personal growth, unleash untapped potentials and resilience. For some, the motivation to see a psychologist lies in a special worry,  a problem, an ongoing conflict, a difficult situation- while for others it could be a general feeling that life is not satisfying at all, a feeling not so uncommon is that ‘life was not supposed to be like it is’. At other times, people seek a psychologist because they yearn for something more, something different, something unknown. This cultivation of unfulfilled desires can be an intense and overwhelming experience, often associated by a feeling of fear, reluctance, and resistance. In all these cases, seeing a psychologist can be an experience that compels our strengths and stimulates demands on us that we can handle, endure, solve, and even learn to love.

Therapy seeks to create a safe but challenging environment where we are encouraged to let go of dysfunctional thoughts, outdated strategies, and bad habits. Sometimes, certain patterns of thoughts and behaviors might have served a function in the past, but do not work so well anymore in the present. In order to change these patterns, we often need further insights and reconditioning ‘positive‘ experiences. Partly this happens through a process where we can experience thoughts and feelings that we may have avoided or been unsure of. Therapy is not something that is done to us as ‘passive passengers’. On the contrary, it is a full engagement, a joint venture as much as a professional collaboration- a process not a quick-fix!

IN THERAPY ONE IS NOT LEFT ALONE

A motivational guide to therapy.

In therapy, the client is never left alone. The psychologist’s role is amongst others to stimulate. To inspire, challenge and assist to sort out thoughts and experiences that can be difficult to sort out by the client himself. Common to all people is that thoughts and behavioral patterns may have made us blind to how we perceive, think about and construct our world- and also blind to how we socialize with others. Many couples wish to learn how to communicate better and to get the spark back into their relationship again. Also, some things of intimate character are often not so easy to talk about and we need help from a third party. In many cases, a psychologist might be the right professional- being neutral and objective- to assist people in dealing with these sensitive and confidential issues. We can ensure the strictest confidentiality each and every step on the way.

Therapy is not something that is done to us as ‘passive passengers’. On the contrary, it is a full engagement, a joint venture as much as a professional collaboration- a process, not a quick-fix!

Getting started is easy!

We offer free, phone or online face-to-face consultations with the psychologist to ensure that we are the right fit for you

Book your session online now. You can find more information about rates here. Or, if you have any questions feel free to get in touch.

A Motivational Guide To Therapy • Canwillbebetter™

Do we really want or desire happiness? At the first glance, this question seems contra-intuitive and meaningless to ask as we assume that happiness is what we want and desire the uttermost. According to Lacan, our fantasies have to be unrealistic. Because the moment, the second that you get what you seek, you don’t, you can’t want it anymore.

In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent. It is not the “it” that you want, it is the fantasy of “it”. So, desire usually supports crazy fantasies…

According to Pascal, we are only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness. Meaning to say, ‘the hunt is sweeter than the kill’. Or, be careful what you wish for, not because you will get it…but because you are doomed not to want it once you do.

So the lesson of Lacan is: Living by your wants will never make you happy. The scientific word for this phenomenon is “Hedonic adaptation”: you quickly get used to better circumstances (your ‘perfect’ partner, your new job and promotion, etc…), losing the capacity to enjoy them.
Recent research points to four strategies that can help us not getting used to it, our perceived happiness:

1. GIVE IT UP AND REVIRGINIZE YOURSELF
Jordi Quoidbach, one of a recent study in Social, Psychological, and Personality Science, recommends a ‘temporary-deprivation strategy, f example committing yourself going without your favorite food or activity (shopping) for a few weeks’.
What you get: this will help you to savor and appreciate it more when you have it and you will be way more grateful for it than before leading to greater happiness!

2. REVISIT YOUR LIFE without what you think you desire and for the brave, going one step further: Try living as you did before having all your desires fulfilled! Research has shown that we tend to take things and people around us for granted. Meaning to say, we quickly adapt to the ‘new norms’ and launch new rockets of desires just as quick… Because we take things for granted: Try to picture your life without an improvement!!! In her book, The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky advises: Try living as you did when you were a starving and poor student, going without ALL your electronid gadgets, without phoning your best friend, without indulging in all your comfortable activities. Your reward: You will learn to appreciate you, your life and your good fortune all the more!

3. TAKE A BREAK- INTRODUCE INTERVAL THINKING
In order not to get used to your happiness or adjust to quick to something good, by interrupting a pleasurable activity, even for a minute or so, will make it more enjoyable!
This applies to everything from massages to TV-shows…. Even time-off! Hot tip: Try multiple short trips rather than one long, suggests Quoidbach. Your reward: You will hold on to that happy feeling longer and perceive a much greater sense of happiness than without taking breaks! You will now be in a lower risk of adapting to your happiness!

4. RELISH AMATEUR STATUS- Don’t be an expert of anything! New research indicates that if you consider yourself an expert of anything-from gourmet food to traveling- you will savor it less! So, don’t take yourself to seriously, take a chill-pill  You will be rewarded with a burst of happiness before you know it…

So, now you don’t have to try to be happier, but you can be Happy

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

*see for the theme of hedonic adaptetion also Psychology Today, December 2013

Check this very interesting article by Clifton B. Parker which shortly describes a project carried out at the University of Stanford on the key differences between lives of happiness and meaningfulness.

“While lives of meaningfulness and happiness overlap, they are distinctly different, according to Stanford research.

In a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Jennifer Aaker of Stanford Graduate School of Business, along with colleagues, found answers about life in how people spend their time and what experiences they cultivate.

Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker,” Aaker said.

The researchers surveyed 397 people over a month-long period, examining whether people thought their lives were meaningful or happy, as well as their choices, beliefs and values. They found five key differences between meaningfulness and happiness:

Getting what you want and need: While satisfying desires was a reliable source of happiness, it had nothing to do with a sense of meaning. For example, healthy people are happier than sick people, but the lives of sick people do not lack meaning.

Past, present and future: Happiness is about the present, and meaning is about linking the past, present and future. When people spend time thinking about the future or past, the more meaningful, and less happy, their lives become. On the other hand, if people think about the here and now, they are happier.

Social life: Connections to other people are important both for meaning and happiness. But the nature of those relationships is how they differ. Deep relationships – such as family – increase meaning, while spending time with friends may increase happiness but had little effect on meaning. Time with loved ones involves hashing out problems or challenges, while time with friends may simply foster good feelings without much responsibility.

Struggles and stresses: Highly meaningful lives encounter lots of negative events and issues, which can result in unhappiness. Raising children can be joyful but it is also connected to high stress – thus meaningfulness – and not always happiness. While the lack of stress may make one happier – like when people retire and no longer have the pressure of work demands – meaningfulness drops.

Self and personal identity: If happiness is about getting what you want, then meaningfulness is about expressing and defining yourself. A life of meaning is more deeply tied to a valued sense of self and one’s purpose in the larger context of life and community.

One can find meaning in life and be unhappy at the same time.

Aaker points out that this type of life has received less attention in the media, which has recently focused on how to cultivate the happy life. Examples of highly meaningful, but not necessarily happy, lives may include nursing, social work or even activism.

The unhappy but meaningful life involves difficult undertakings and can be characterized by stress, struggle and challenges. However, while sometimes unhappy in the moment, these people – connected to a larger sense of purpose and value – make positive contributions to society.

Happiness without meaning is characterized by a relatively shallow and often self-oriented life, in which things go well, needs and desires are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided, the report noted.

And so, the meaningful life guides actions from the past through the present to the future, giving one a sense of direction. It offers ways to value good and bad alike, and gives us justifications for our aspirations. From achieving our goals to regarding ourselves in a positive light, a life of meaningfulness is considerably different than mere happiness.

“People have strong inner desires that shape their lives with purpose and focus – qualities that ultimately make for a uniquely human experience,” said Aaker.

The research team included Roy Baumeister at Florida State University, Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota and Stanford doctoral student Emily Garbinsky”.

From https://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/january/meaningful-happy-life-010114.html

Martin Heidegger

The Richest Human Possibility – Martin Heidegger

“Why is love beyond all measure of other human possibilities so rich and such a sweet burden for the one who has been struck by it? Because we change ourselves into that which we love, and yet remain ourselves. Then we would like to thank the beloved, but find nothing that would do it adequately. We can only be thankful to ourselves. Love transforms gratitude into faithfulness to ourselves and into an unconditional faith in the Other. Thus love steadily expands its most intimate secret. Closeness here is existence in the greatest distance from the other- the distance that allows nothing to dissolve – but rather presents the “thou” in the transparent, but “incomprehensible” revelation of the “just there”. That the presence of the other breaks into our own life – this is what no feeling can fully encompass. Human fate gives itself to human fate, and it is the task of pure love to keep this self-surrender as vital as on the first day.”
Martin Heidegger

 

Martin Heidegger

 

It’s not always black or white

All the staff warmly congratulates Lurås for the launch of her new book: It’s not always black or white Lambert Academic Publishing, 2013. The book addresses the complex theme of the psychology of reconciliation, starting from an empirical study carried out by Psykolog Lurås in South-Africa. The book is already  available through www.waterstones.com. 

It’s not always black or white’ : An explorative study on the psychology of reconciliation, based on South African experiences

SUMMARY

The purpose of this empirical study is to explore the meaning(s) of reconciliation in the aftermath of the South-African Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work. Based on informants’ accounts, the aim was to achieve an understanding of the ‘phenomenon’ of reconciliation in context, without excluding the possibility that these experiences also might contribute to our understanding of survivors’ experiences and understandings of the meaning of reconciliation, in similar situations but different contexts. I will explore and describe the survivors’ feelings, thoughts and views of reconciliation, both before and after their interaction with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SATRC). Their feelings about and opinions on the relationship between reconciliation and issues such as truth, justice, amnesty, reparations and healing are described, analyzed and discussed.

Design and Method

The data, which form the backbone of this work, were obtained from interviews with fifteen survivors in the aftermath of atrocities and political violence committed under the apartheid government in South Africa. Data were collected using open and in-depth interviews with audio recordings and were subsequently transcribed. I used the principles of Grounded Theory as the methodological guide to structure my research. The survey is an independent research project, and I have personally conducted all aspects of the process. The study was approved by the Norwegian Ethical Research Committee.

Results

The study shows that those who interacted with the SATRC held a large range of expectations; most expected, at the very least, that they would get some truth and justice about their case. Some had initial doubts about the reconciliation part, due to reasons such as not knowing what it meant or what it would entail from their part to achieve it. Many are currently left with a sense of resignation and feel disappointed by the SATRC process, despite its claimed successes at fostering national reconciliation. For many, the SATRC process came too early and stopped too soon. For many, it did not address the victims preferred and much needed forms of redress, such as reparation, apology and even punishment. For some, the experience itself became just another burden to carry, as many felt victimized, again. The individual healing as an outcome of the SATRC work remains unaccounted for. The findings show then, that the relationship between the reconciliation process as carried out by the SATRC, the only mechanism to deal with past atrocities in South Africa, and healing is not clear. The commonly assumed linear relationship between truth, justice, healing and reconciliation is questionable. For survivors, truth does not automatically lead to reconciliation according to a linear process.

Conclusions

Reconciliation is a dynamic and non-linear process of endurance, suffering, readjustment and, only under some conditions, healing. It must be understood as a voluntary process. Acceptance is an important element, a starting point to retrieve a sense of perceived present control over life after traumatic events. It is necessary to arrange a space/time where deep emotions are integrated. An adequate reparations’ context must be provided to meet the very diverse needs of survivors. An integrated understanding of the reconciliation process will enable psychologists to plan and provide an effective professional help for survivors, for meaningful recovery from the cognitive and emotional effects of trauma.

Picture by Krisztina Lurås, 2004, Ceres, South-Sfrica

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Remember who you are? One of our greatest fears is not to be accepted by others for who we are. Even greater is the fear to accept ourselves for ‘all that, that we truly are, both our worst and best parts equally’. How much truth can (or should) we carry on our shoulders about ourselves?

Only if you are selfish enough to care how you feel, you can bear the fear of self-acceptance and the risk of self-judgment. Selfish enough to be loyal to your emotions. Selfish enough to not surrender to the ‘stranger behind the wall’. Selfish enough to surrender to yourself. Selfish enough to not be loyal to your masks, façades, appearances, personas, truths. Rather be self-full than self-less, it serves you well.

What if you possess every trait that you see in others, both ‘good and bad’? And not only that, what if exactly these bad or negative characteristics comes bearing gifts to you? Only when your heart opens up to yourself and others, and you practice yourself into being grateful for being just like you are, you can find the gifts of every trait, both in others and ultimately in YOU!

Your pain comes from the very meanings you make and assign to their every word, gesture or glance. At the end, is it fair to expect to be accepted by others, when we are no able to accept ourselves? Only when you make peace with the “best” and “worst” of you, can you make peace with others and vice versa.
“Shake yourself free from the manikin you create out of a false interpretation of what you do and what you feel, and you’ll at once see that the manikin you make yourself is nothing at all like what you really are or what you really can be!” L. Pirandello, Each in His Own Way.
“Woe to him who doesn’t know how to wear his mask, be he king or pope!” L. Pirandello, Henry IV.

Psykolog Krisztina Lurås has been awarded with a prestigious scholarship by LEVE-interfaculty research area on livelihoods in developing countries at University of Oslo. The scholarship is meant to support a research on psychology of reconciliation which will be carried out the next months by Psykolog Lurås. The research will then be published in an international scientific journal.

All the staff of Psykologen i Oslo congratulates Krisztina for this remarkable achievement, aware that the scientific value of this work will soon enrich the quality of our psychological services.