4 therapy on the fly…

Home for the Holidays December 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 8:04 pm


Home for the holidays and we are warming up more than just food. All our feelings get warmed up as well. Sometimes they are feelings of joy but when they are feelings of pressure, sadness, discontent, they are even harder to deal with against that backdrop of Joy. They act as a marker for where we are in our lives. The holidays with all of the mixes of pressure to spend money when the majority of the country does not have any. Pressure to spend time with people we do not see very often or perhaps to spend time with ourselves. Pressure to perform. To have holidays that look, feel and experience the way that we see them represented on the Hallmark channel and in every Target ad. These elements can all come together to create a challenging time of year. So the question is how do you want, that’s right folks, want to spend your days.

Often our holidays are prescribed to us. We always go to our parent’s house they never come to our house. Or we always spend them with Aunt Sadie, she cooks, drives us all crazy and is generally really mean. Then if that is the case why in the world are you spending your time with someone you don’t even like? Often the answer is “because that is how we always spend our holidays.” Well maybe this needs to be the first time you spend your holidays differently.

There are our families that we are born into and then the families we choose. I suggest spending at least some time with the family you choose. Your friends, hand picked family members, spouses, your kids, etc.

When we are going home for the holidays, remember no matter how old you are, you are an adult. Often we walk through the front door of our parent’s house and we feel 12 again. Bring things with you that ground you. A friend, book, dog, your partner and your kids. And keep telling yourself I am an adult. It sounds silly but it’s really easy to forget. For example. I worked with a client who reported that every time he would sit down at the dinner table his father would start ranting about some subject that was stressful, from politic to wall street, whatever it was he would get loud, and it would get uncomfortable. I said, “Get up from the table.” “What do you mean?”he said. I said, “Get up from the table you don’t have to listen. You are not a prisoner. You are 29 yrs old.” “Oh.” he said, “I never thought of that.”

So how do you get up from the table? You can be direct “Dad please, you are getting really loud and I am uncomfortable”. Go to the bathroom. Say you feel sick. I’m not big on lying but you do feel sick in way so let’s call this the path of least resistance approach.

Along the same lines most of us although not screenplay writers could write a fairly accurate screenplay of our family holiday experience. So prepare ahead of time. If your uncle always gets drunk and loud then decide how you want to handle that ahead of time If your mother always comments on your son’s weight think about how you want to respond to her. If you are looking for a job but haven’t found one yet think about how you want to answer questions inquiring about the subject. You can say, “I don’t really want to talk about that but thank you for your concern.” You may have to say it a couple of times before you are heard. Stand your ground

Manage the time you do spend with people. Especially if they are stressful for you. If you are going away, stay in a hotel, spend fewer nights. Arrive later, leave earlier. While you are there do a little sight seeing, see friends, take little trips to the movies, go for walks etc. Break up your time. You do have some control over this time even if you have never exercised it before.

Pressure to spend. Our culture is so based on on bigger equals better. There is such a pressure to buy, buy, buy, in some ways even more now because our country needs the economic boost so much. Resist! I tell you. Resist! Purchase thoughtfully, slowly. Try to ease the pressure. If this is going to be a season where you cannot spend money because you do not have it then you need to honor that. You are not alone. Try informing people in your life now so you do not feel so much pressure. Maybe just buy for the kids. Or bake for everyone. Write a personal card to the people in your life to say the things that you don’t usually. You really can give love at the holidays.

I know some of you are saying really? Give just love at the holidays? Tell that to my 12 year old or my over-bearing, high maintenance mother-in-law. You tell them. Remember you are the one that sets the tone. Especially with your kids and perhaps even with your mother- in-law but definitely with your self. Bake with your children. Do Pollyanna gift giving. Do one gift bought and one gift made.

Start your own traditions. Ice skating, cookie baking, watching special movies, throw a party yourself.

Know at this time of year feelings really do come up. And they can feel really hard and magnified. Not to minimize but remember these, in the end , are just days. There isn’t anyone spying on you and saying you aren’t spending them correctly. On the other hand plenty of people will ask you how you will be spending them. It is perfectly acceptable to say you are not sure. It is really tough to feel sad at this time of year but it is also OK. Let yourself feel it. Ask for some help from friends, family or seek professional help if it feels unmanageable. Remember other people’s lives often look one way from the outside and completely different from the inside. Come back to your own life when you begin to compare and think about what you want to do. You are not alone in how you feel. And sometimes these feelings are just our entry into having the holidays that we do want.

A holiday is a vacation day in it’s most basic form. A vacation is defined as leisure time away from work devoted to rest and pleasure. Incorporate this into your holidays. This year make your holidays what you want them to be. Make them your own.

(c) Cori Grachek, 12/6/2010


Practice makes Imperfect: Yoga 101 July 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 4:57 pm


My client said to me the other day, “Well your just a relaxed were just born that way.” I laughed. Hard. “No I am not”, I replied. “ I practice being this way.” Maybe there are people who are born naturally calm. It just so happens that I am not one of those people. I have had to learn how to cultivate peace inside of myself. Every day. Again and again.

One of the ways in which I work on that “peace” of my life is through meditation. I am going to write about different types of meditation as they apply to your mental health. First I will begin with the one I have been practicing the longest, yoga. Cultivating a meditative practice can be helpful to anyone. In a study done at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine, at The Mindfulness Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, after 8 weeks of meditation, presentation of symptoms of anxiety decreased by 45%, and presentation of symptoms of depression decreased by 35%. For more information on these studies Google Digital Commons at Jefferson University and then plug into the search engine, Dr. Diane K. Reibel Director of the center and, or Don McCown, mindfulness based psychotherapist, teacher and trainer.

When I first came to my yoga mat, it took me 32 years to get there, but when I finally did it felt like coming home. Before this point I just thought yoga was kind of cheesy. Some things are just like that. You start and you feel as if you have been doing it forever. My first class was my best friend’s qualifying class as a teacher. She offered, “Hey, you want to come take my class?” I said, “sure”, being up for anything physical and wanting to support her, “why not?” What she failed to tell me was that the class was comprised of every yoga position she had learned and was to be taught to her classmates and 30 other yoga teachers. Uh yeah, that was my first yoga class. Me and the 40 yoga teachers. I should have known. My best friend was notorious for understating things. It was a hell of a jumping in. I remember looking around as one leg after another popped up into head stand, hand stand, arm balances. It was a regular Cirque de Soleil. So I went for it. I did every pose, blocked everyone out. Had no idea what I was doing and had a ball. I started practicing then and have not stopped since.

Corpse pose, or Shavasana, in Sanskrit, is a pose that we take at the end of each class. You lay your body down. You can take a blanket to cover yourself and then the lights are turned low. When I first experienced this I thought to myself, Yay! It’s nap time. Sneaking a look at all of the sleeping bodies around me. Then it happened. The teacher came around and gently placed the cool, form-fitting, silk eye pillow across my eyes. The smell of lavender sifted to my senses as she anointed my shoulder with the oil. “I am a princess”, I thought to myself.

So ask yourself is that cheesy? I couldn’t remember another time in recent years when I had felt so cared for in this very specific way. When was the last time you felt like a prince or princess? We do not usually allow the time for us to feel this way. We consider it indulgent. I tell you it is essential to feel this way. There is a reason that it felt like nap time. When we care for children well, this is how we treat them. Carefully. Preciously. And the fact that we did this for ourselves, not a massage therapist or even a therapist, but that it is our own practice is what makes a meditation practice unique.

Practice: Yoga Practice is called a practice because it is just that, something you practice. You practice being accepting of yourself when you are doing yoga, of others in your class and in your life. And man does that require a lot of practice!

Beginner Mind: You will get better as you practice. It is pretty cool to see how you start to master different poses and watch your body and your mind change. But the goal is not to get better but to accept wherever you are. Every time you come to the mat your practice will be different. This is called a Beginner Mind, because each time you come to your mat in some ways it is as if you are a beginner again. You may do a pose really well in one practice and you want to hold onto that great feeling. But when you go to do that pose again it is going to be different, maybe not better or worse but definitely different. Certainly, as in life we want to hold onto the good, and feel it feel it feel it forever. But a meditative practice helps you to really appreciate it when it’s here and to take it easy on yourself when we are wobbly in our heads, bodies etc. This is what we practice. Acceptance.

Teachers: People you must really like your teacher. You are taking time to nurture yourself, away from loved ones, your kids, careers. You must like who you are spending time with. I had a client tell me once how much she had enjoyed her first yoga class except that she felt that the teacher had snapped at her when she was trying to do a position. “ But its OK”, she said. No it’s not! Look for the right teacher. As with anything else it may take some time to find the right one.

Flexibility: “I can’t do yoga because I am not flexible.” This is the sentence I hear uttered most frequently when discussing yoga. You mean you can’t be flexible in your mind or heart? Because that is all it takes folks. A yoga Teacher Trainer once said: “People who are less flexible physically actually tend to get more out of yoga because they have to work harder to not be judgmental of themselves which is the core of the practice of yoga. People who are very limber and slide easily into poses, do not encounter the same kind of resistance and are at greater risk of missing this very important piece of yoga.”

Beginner classes: If you are beginner take only what is labeled a beginner class. Steer clear of classes labeled All Levels. These classes often focus on more advanced poses and forget entirely about beginners. Every teacher is supposed to teach to the lowest level in the class. Often this does not happen. As a beginner you need to learn about the foundation of poses and how to do them without hurting yourself.

Empty Your Mind: The other thing that people say about practicing yoga, “I am not very good at this because I cannot get my mind to stop thinking.” Yeah, well, welcome to life. Who can? Our minds are made to think. It’s what we do. The point is to accept this. Not to use it as yet another opportunity to beat ourselves up.

Noticing: Every time that you notice that your mind has wandered away you have a choice. You can allow your mind to follow the thought or you can gently request yourself to return to your practice.  You might do this 100 times in a pose or practice.  Just keep working it.  Our minds vary in their business.

Gentle: One of my clients asked me what I mean by gentle. Good question. Gentle means being loving and kind towards yourself and others. Not screaming at yourself in your head. Not cursing, calling yourself names or saying mean things to yourself.

All of this: All of these moments that you notice that your mind has wandered away and all of the moments you are focused on your yoga practice, and everything in between, all of this is the practice of meditation.

There is an allegory that I have used when doing training on yoga that describes the experience of yoga.

A student comes to his Yoga Teacher and he says,“Teacher, I don’t get it. My practice is horrible, my mind is all over the place, I’m falling out of my poses…I feel like I’m doing it all wrong.” The teacher responds, “This shall pass. Go and practice. Come back to speak with me in two weeks.” Two weeks later the student returns to speak with his teacher. “Teacher my practice has been incredible. I hold my poses the intended time. My mind is calm and I am peaceful.” The teacher responds, “This too shall pass. Go and practice. Come back to speak with me in two weeks.”

So what is the point of this allegory and all of this you ask? Each time you practice you are taking time out of your day to practice accepting where you are. So much of our lives are focused on where we are going and what we do not have. Which is not a bad thing. But sometimes when we spend so much time wishing we were somewhere else it can cause anxiety, depression and most of all we miss what we actually have. In a meditation practice we are working on accepting wherever we are: happy, joyful, content, angry, frustrated.  When we accept where we are it makes it easier to be there. But most of all because it helps us to get down to the business of enjoying the life we already have.


Looking for love in all the Right Places May 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 9:33 pm

When you are ready for love and you have not found it, it can be rough. The last blog was for those of you who are committed (or should be), smile. This blog is for those of you who are looking to get committed. These ideas can also be applied to meeting new people in general. Often I hear  “I am not attracted to most of the people that I meet” or “there aren’t any good men/women left out there”. That’s bubkas. First of all you only need one.Second, I would wonder about you if you were attracted to everyone you met. There are people out there for you. Finding them entails a strange combination of being open, taking risks and learning about what you want and how to make yourself as happy as possible on your own.

I know and remember how hard it is when you are really ready to share your life with a partner and you have not found that person yet. You ache for it. This can feel very lonely. These days people are looking for their life mates at an older age because of career and school. As we get older we have more of an idea of what we are looking for. This is helpful in finding the person for you but you also need to make sure that you are not closing yourself off to possibilities because of these ideas.

Finding the right Places:

3 kinds of loneliness: Of course there are many more types than this but for the purpose of this article we will focus on 3. There is the loneliness of the human condition. Meaning most of us humans feel lonely from time to time. We have to learn how to sit with the loneliness allowing it to pass when it is ready. There is the lonely of not having a partner, which is very true and very real. And then there can be the loneliness of our past. How we might have felt as a child if we were left alone often, left period, neglected, abused, overlooked. This lonely is really powerful and loves to mix with the other two types furthering muddying the waters of loneliness.

Old: The old loneliness is so hard to deal with that it can make us feel desperate. Out of the desperation we often start dating the next person to come along regardless of how good they are for us. There are other types of love and when we feel like this it is a great time to search them out. Get a dog or cat. Unconditional love is so healing. Go volunteer. Get out of your head and heart for a little while. Don’t date when you feel desperate. Wait until you heal up a bit.

Storyline: What is your story of love. Is it that you are doomed and you will never find someone? That everyone you find will leave you? That everyone you find must be your love? Check these story-lines. Are you acting from these beliefs. When you are dating someone and you view all of their actions through this story it can be very detrimental.For example, I’m going on a business trip can become he is leaving me for good. Finally. I always knew he would. Instead acknowledge what your storyline is. Assess how your story has and does affect your dating life.

Package: It’s great to know what you want but not when it closes you off to possibilities. Look around you. People’s matches come in the most astonishing combinations. Someone who thought she would marry a man may find her life partner in a woman. Someone who thought they had to marry a doctor may find themselves with a jewelry maker who balances them completely. Open yourself beyond your laundry list and you might be surprised at what you find.

Open the door: When you are frustrated with finding love ask yourself are there any doors that you have kept closed? “ I would never date someone without a college degree because I am a lawyer.” “I would never try internet dating because it is weird”. It is weird. You are right. But really tell me one aspect of dating that isn’t weird. The point is. Open yourself. Get out of your box.  Take a risk. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Go places you wouldn’t normally go.

Feed Yourself: Take a class you have always wanted to take. Bored with your job start looking for something that is going to fulfill you. As we learn about ourselves and grow and change we create opportunities for meeting new people. You never know who those people are and who those people know. And at the very least you are having fun and pursuing your own dreams.

Language of love: Check your body language. Do you walk with your shoulders back, head held high? Do you say hello to people on the street? Return greetings? Smile? We send out messages with our bodies and thoughts. ‘I am available for friendship or more” or “I am closed and not interested.” What message are you sending when you are out and about?

Everybody Else: This is your story. Do not worry so much about everyone elses. It is difficult when everyone else is paired up and you are not. But your path is different. We all do things when we are ready. Comparison only makes us feel as if we are doing something wrong and places a ton of pressure on us.

In closing be gentle. Remember this is a new and different way for you to think about love. We never know how long this pursuit will take might as well have a really good time along the way. This time alone is most likely temporary. Treasure the time you have alone rather than dreading it. Its darn nice to not have to compromise all the time. Value this now because that will change when you and your match find each other. And remember you only need one. And right now you are the one. Make each day as fulfilling for you as possible. Opening yourself to each new experience even if its walking out the door with your new attitude and body language and greeting the day differently.


Under water: Navigating your relationship in times of trouble May 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 7:21 pm

Relationships are hard. Everyone laughs knowingly when I say that. But you can’t really remember just how hard they are until yours is hard once again. They are precious and therefor require a lot of work. Everyone talks about the fear of leaving a relationship which of course is scary. But the real work sets in when you decide you are going to stay. Maybe you decide this every day, picking your partner over and over again.

When we feel like we are under water in our relationship often it is because we are bumping up against each others “baggage”. My stepmother once said to me “Everyone brings baggage to a relationship we just have to make sure that our baggage matches up.” We all come into a relationship with beliefs about the relationship that…you got it…often come from your first relationships…your parents. We experience what is called transference. Which means we transfer our feelings from our primary caretakers to other important people in our lives like our partners. So if your dad was really strict you may find yourself submitting to your partner all the time and feeling really angry and resistant about it. If your mother left your family when you were young everything and anything that even slightly seems like a leaving will be much deeper and darker for you. In essence you are working out the power of what has happened to you in the past in your present relationship. This is supposed to happen. You are supposed to grow. Sometimes that growing can be very painful. The key is to work together on not working it out all over one another.

And of course there will be you folks out there who will say we never fight. To which I say Uh Oh. Are you holding stuff in? Do you say how you feel? All couples have disagreements. And then there are the glorious times…and those can and often do occur in the most simple of moments. An “I love you” from your sleepy partner when you have been up all night. The first few moments of coming home from your long day to your family and breathing a sigh of relief.

Staying above water: Points of navigation

Childish: When you bump up against each other’s baggage in the relationship chances are it feels really intense. That is because things from your childhood tend to feel much more overwhelming and encompassing than emotions from the present or recent past. It is important to understand this because these issues will feel harder to navigate. Do not mistake these feelings as having to do solely with your current relationship.

Cognitive Scale: Using a cognitive scale can help. Cognitive refers to your thoughts about yourself in reference to the world, situations, and people in your life. A simple scale starts with 1-10, 1=completely content and relaxed, 10 = feelings you experience during traumatic events, Physical Assaults, Natural Disasters, Murder, Death of a child etc. The way you use this is when you have feelings about a situation that fall between 7- 10 which is not a traumatic event this means that something that happened in the past is probably coming up for you. For example you have a disagreement with your boss which falls between a 7-10 in terms of your feelings. Maybe your father was very abusive to you and therefor any male authority figure triggers this kind of reaction. The enormity of your response to a pretty average experience can be scary. Therefor simply knowing what is happening by using this scale can help the situation feel more manageable.

Inquiry: When your feelings are registering in the higher range on the cognitive scale here are questions to ask yourself that can be helpful. How do I feel?(be as specific as possible). When have I felt like this before in my life? If you are not sure take five minutes to write or meditate on the feelings you are having in your body and heart. When you had this experience before what happened? How did you react? How can you handle the present situation differently?

Recovery: When you have the answers to these questions give yourself some time to recover from the feelings especially if they are the first time you are encountering them. Write them, draw them, express them. Remember these feelings will eventually stop and you will get through this. It can be hard as hell. Be gentle!

Space another dimension: Space really does bring another dimension to your relationship, always, but especially when you are fighting. Get out. Change your environment. Go see your friend. Take your kids to a movie. Experience something different. When things are good this gives the relationship texture and enrichment giving yourselves something else to share with one another. When the relationship is tough it brings a renewed perspective. Sometimes things get so dark between two people that you need a break from one another if only for an hour or two.

Fill in name here interruptous: This is something that we do to each other all the time. We do not fully listen to the other person, we interrupt them because we are so sure we know what they are going to say. Not only do we interrupt their flow of thoughts and expression but we do not know what that person is going to say unless we listen to them.

Emotional mad libs: This goes really well with interruptous. We think we know how someone is feeling or how they are going to finish a sentence so we finish it our own heads and assume that we are right and act off that information. I had a couple the other day who had decided to come in for more couples counseling. Reba said lets make another appointment. John assumed that Reba meant the following week. Reacted to his own incorrect assumption before clarifying his thought with her. In a matter of moments both people were not talking. Reba clarified that she had meant 3 or 4 weeks from that moment and John apologized for not clarifying. This a perfect example of how communication breaks down when we think we know what our partner is going to say without asking them. The assumptions often have nothing to do with our partners and thus the old saying assuming makes an ass out of u and me.

Jumping ship: Don’t talk about leaving unless that is really what you are contemplating doing. This constant “should I stay or go” approach wreaks havoc on the stability of your life. It also blinds us to what is actually the problem at that moment. It leaves us crushed about the prospect of possibly needing to leave the person we love and then ill equipped to deal with the actual problem, picking the kids up late constantly, needing date nights, needing to listen to each other without making assumptions.

Much like being underwater when sounds and sights become murky and tend to take on a form of their own so do our thoughts during times of trouble in our relationships especially when we are encountering feelings from the past. Talk to your partner. Tell them what is happening and how your are feeling. Listen to each other and fully allow one another to finish thoughts before speaking. Remember love is the greatest force and it is resilient when cared for. When you come up from under water breaking through the surface into a bright and seemingly other world this is often how it feels when we have come through something together as a couple. Renewed. Excited. Slightly tired but mostly hopeful. Often from trouble we grow together, become closer than before and come out trusting one another more.

(c) Cori Grachek, 2010


Springing Right out of Your Head March 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 6:48 pm

So suddenly Spring is upon us and I do mean suddenly…layers of insulation and warmth have been let go, only to be replaced by the warm sun and everyone out racing around enjoying every bit of it. Now you see all of the people emerge that you haven’t seen in, hmmm…that’s right, since Fall. People calling your name left and right, kids going to their outdoor sports, everyone at noisy cafes, gabbing on Facebook about Spring, Spring, Spring. It is a time of great change and it can be wonderfully overwhelming. Deaths, births, movings, finals or just adjusting to longer days, more time and the feeling of speed, speed, speed…I must, I must, I must.


During this time you can feel yourself being pulled in every direction. Deadlines are due. The plans we made during the winter are now coming to fruition. We are making decisions about many things in our lives…seemingly all at once. So here’s the are not alone in this..which is great, but it also means that the people that you come in contact with will not only be pulling on you but will be being pulled themselves. As we are springing forward into this glorious weather all of these components can work together in a way that makes us feel excited and overwhelmed.


When you are feeling overwhelmed and like your head is no longer attached to your body, check these:


1.Center: What do you do to center? Make sure you have some moments of stillness. Now I know you have infants, grandkids, grants, deadlines, classes to teach,attend, etc. but take 5-10 minutes to take 5-10 breaths in the morning to center. Technique: breath in and out of your nose. On your inhale count the length of the breath, on the exhale double the number. If your inhale count is 3, your exhale count will be 6. Your inhale will vary in length and count. The goal is to stretch out your breath, open your lungs fully in order to activate your Para-sympathetic nervous system, your sleep-calm response. For a more noticeable change practice this in the morning and evening and any time you feel as if you are moving too quickly or begin to feel anxious. This will slow your overall breath which moves you away from the shortened stress breathing that occurs when we feel stressed or anxious.


2.Urgency: There is a sense of urgency, must get done now, must move, change jobs, finish school, go to Haiti, now, now, now. No. You do not have to do everything at once. Stop for a moment. Get the facts. Really examine each piece of what you are trying to do. Does your child need to change schools this year, while you are moving out of your house and changing jobs? Do all of your colleagues have to consult with you all at the same time about their personal issues? Decide what needs to be done now and what you can let go of for now.


3.Pace: Move more slowly. As you feel more piling on at work, deadlines coming near, colleagues asking you to do more and more the tendency is to want to speak faster and move faster. Doing this does not mean that you actually get more done. More often you find yourself zipping around and around, feeling slightly crazy and at the very least exhausted. First slow your breath. Then pay attention to how fast you are speaking and moving. You can still accomplish a lot while breathing and speaking more slowly.


4. Multi-tasking, mono-tasking: Can you really multi-task? Is it really possible? This is why people come into my office thinking that they have ADD. And most of them don’t. We try to accomplish so many things at once that we become unfocused. Let your multi-tasking  be turning on music and sitting on the couch. Opening a window, cleaning and singing as you work. Practice doing one and only one task at a time: sitting, eating, walking, or washing dishes. Concentrate on your task. The feeling of the water on your hands, the strength you need to turn the faucet on, the texture of the soap, the smoothness of the plate. You can ground yourself with this practice throughout the day.


5. Loosing Time: I luv a good techno high. Texting, social networking is fantastic. It’s a great short hand to the universe, the closeness of our pasts and present, our thumb on the pulse of the people we care about all at once. But do you ever get off whatever is your chosen techno-tool of the moment(or all 3 going at once) and feel as if you have lost hours? Well you have… because wherever you are, you are not here and that can make you feel a bit whoosoly and out of it. So watch your intake of the techno and spend some time here with us, with yourself.


6. Distance: When things begin to feel overwhelming try to get some distance. A change of scenery is always helpful. Take a bike ride, a walk, experience somewhere else or someone else other than what is involved in making you feel overwhelmed. This helps us with perspective. Sometimes we have thought as much as we can about the multiple things that are overwhelming us and we just need a break in order to see things differently.


So enjoy yourselves folks, it is so darn gorgeous out right now you just want to eat it. So do it, but try to do it at a pace that works for you. Watch your balance between downtime and up-time. Breath. Take the pressure off and do one thing at a time. Know that your decisions are what they are. And as my father says to me, “This decision, in the larger scheme of things isn’t going to make or break your life”. Have a great time springing forward instead of springing right out of your head.

**If you like this blog please share it (use the SHARE button)…we all know somebody who could use a little help…:)**

Psychobabble4u signing off:)

(c) Cori Grachek,: March, 2010

If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at .


Singing the Blues in Springtime March 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 8:13 pm

Each year I am surprised when the light comes back. I noticed just the other day. It was 6:00 , there was a warm breeze and this magical quality to the light. And then I realized there was light, that was the magic. Now I know intellectually that each day after December 21st the days grow incrementally lighter and longer. But every year I am surprised. Why? Because each year there is a fear that this will be the year when the darkness does not recede. This is a lot like feeling depressed. You know intellectually that there will be a time when you will not feel this way but it feels as if the darkness will never recede.

As the world around us lightens, literally, it can be extremely hard to feel dark on the inside. The contrast to the colorful flowers popping their heads through the ground, and everyone walking around with giddy smiles on their faces can be a lot to bear when you are hurting. My dad once said, “I prefer a good winter, spring is a gaudy, show off, with all of it’s colors and smells.” The truth is we need both. The light and the dark. The winter and the spring. Here are some points to consider while making this transition.

Disease: If you are depressed or unsure if you are, seek the professional help of a Psychotherapist and a Psychiatrist. Why? Because Depression is serious and something that you cannot expect yourself to handle on your own. Most of us who have been depressed did not arrive there by ourselves. Whether we had the loss of someone dear to us, or the divorce or breakup of an important relationship, are dealing with the abusive wars of our childhoods, or chemicals have aligned in our bodies in a way that creates great, literal depression, or some combination, we did not arrive here alone therefor it is not fair to ourselves to think that we can “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” and lift ourselves up and out. At best we are going to get really bad leather burn from too much resistance to that pulling. This is serious but manageable with the help of a professional. If someone had a serious disease you would never say to them, “Aww, come on, you can get better, just try harder.”

Sadness: Sadness is not depression. Sadness is a feeling. A feeling that we feel during a depression. Depression is a state of mind and body. The difference is that we can feel great sadness without actually being depressed.

Temporary: For most people sadness and depression are temporary. Even if the depression is chemical when you and it are treated appropriately the actual depression can be temporary. This is important because it so often feels like it will never end which is one of the reasons it is so painful. When we think to ourselves this is temporary it is easier to accept how we are feeling.

Acceptance: For many people feeling sad or being depressed feels shameful. There is a great deal of beating up of yourself that goes on about feeling this way. We need to feel this way sometimes. I am not saying that if you feel this way that you shouldn’t seek help, but that it is normal as a human being to go through transitions. We change. And sometimes these changes come through a great sadness or depression. As a therapist I look at this as “there is work to do here”. Acceptance makes that work easier to do. Without resistance we move through the experience we are having to the other side of what we need to learn from it.

How do I know if I am depressed? Is each day like walking through water? A struggle to get up to do everything and anything? Your body and every function actually feels depressed. I always say that depression is not a feeling it is a physical and emotional condition. There are all different kinds of depressions: Short term, long-term, low-grade, situational, bereavement to name a few. Have you felt like this all day, more days than not for more than two weeks? If so seek help.

Avoidance: Not all sadness and depression look sad. Sometimes it comes in the form of a great deal of activity. The person who never stops moving. Who is always doing for everyone but never for themselves. Especially if this is on the heals of a great loss of some kind this can be the avoidance of really difficult feelings. Now I am not saying don’t be a giving person. What I am saying is set aside some time to be with your own feelings. And don’t tell me you can’t. I know you have kids or an extremely important job. Things to take care of. All I am suggesting is that you are one of those things to take care of.

Darkness: We all need a little darkness. It is what adds literal depth to us. If you think of bright orange, without darkness we would never have the burnt sienna of the sun setting. As the days darkened all over our country our days became shorter. In the west people came in earlier from their day, spending time on their own and with friends and family. In the east we escaped the mounds of snow at first gratefully cabined in and then by what we hope is the last snow storm, feverishly cabined in. This is the time during which we take stock of ourselves. It is a natural coming in. Sometimes that is painful, but whatever it is it is not without learning. We need that rest and time to prepare us for the Spring.

Spring is here. And we hope we are saying goodbye to the darkness for good, or at least for this year. Someone once said at a celebration that I attended, “It is not the darkness that we are scared of but the light. It is not the failing that we are scared of but the success.” It is hard sometimes to believe that we should take up room. We are so scared of stepping on other people’s success that we sometimes don’t allow ourselves to stretch our arms out and be successful. Go ahead now. Stretch your arms. Be successful at whatever you put your mind to: Gardener, mother, reader, writer, construction worker, baseball player. And consider your successes carefully. Your doing being your success. There is enough room for all of us in this gradually enlightening world.

A word from the Tao Te Ching (loosely translated):

All life embodies Yin(dark) and embraces Yang(light), through their union achieving harmony.”

-Tao 42, Lao Tzu – Founder of Taoism(570-490 BC)

**I know this a little different from my other blogs and could stir up some serious emotion. If you need help finding help or just have a question, I am here. Your business will be held in confidence.

(c) Cori Grachek,: February, 2010

**If you like this blog please share it (use the SHARE button)…we all know somebody who could use a little help…:)**

Psychobabble4u signing off:)

(c) Cori Grachek,: February, 2010

If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at .


The Home Stretch: Express yourself 101, the final step March 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — corigrachek @ 8:11 pm

So this is the final step folks, the final frontier. Just a couple of pointers and then you are ready to go forth and express yourself. Remember the first two steps: 1. Identify how you feel and 2. Decide if you want to express that feeling(s). The final step, step 3, is the actual expression of that feeling(s). Here are 10 points to consider to make the expression of your feelings as affective as possible.

1.Frequency: Often I hear “I don’t want to be the person who never shuts up…” You do not need to tell someone every little thing that you feel, all of the time, but you do need to tell them some of the time.

 2.Importance: Decide if this is important enough to say something about. Have you felt this way with this person more than once before? Do you feel strongly about this?

 3.Precedent: It may not be that what you have to express is so important but more that the timing is right. You want to change the nature of a relationship you already have. Or you are beginning a new relationship and in your past romantic relationships or business relationships you have not been direct about how you feel and now you would like to be.

 4.The Right Time: Picking the time to express yourself is empowering. However, if you suspect that it may be difficult for you and the other person, you might want to ask them when they have time to speak. Other times it may be most helpful to wait until the situation arises again and then express yourself in the moment.

 5.Danger Zone: It never really works out all that well to speak to someone early in the morning, late at night, when they are sick, extremely tired or feeling very overwhelmed.

6.Living in this world: All this preparation is great but the truth is sometimes you need to express yourself and the ideal time may not present itself. Be gentle. Go for it.

 7.Goal: Consider the goal of your expression.

 a)Sometimes you want to express your feelings only because you need to get them off your chest. “Suzie you need to be on time. Next time you are late you are fired”.

 b)Other times you want to express your feelings because you really want the other person to hear and understand how you feel. Ex: “Suzie you have been late the last 3 out of 4 times that you have babysat for us. This makes us late. It makes us not trust you even though we really like how you take care of our children.”

 c)Sometimes you want both. Ex: “Suzy you have been late 3 out 4 times this past month. This is making it hard for us to utilize your services. Is there something going on? Is there something that you and I could do differently that might help you get here on time?”

d)Sometimes you are done!: “Suzy your fired.”

8.Be specific: I have been angry at you for the last 4 days does not tell the person much about why. Give an example of something that they have done that has made you feel angry.

9.Be gentle: You can be clear, firm and gentle all at the same time when telling someone how you feel. If you are telling someone that you are angry about something that does not mean that you have to act angry at them while you are telling them, be mean, or raise your voice.

10.Go no further: Sometimes you do not want to express your feelings to the person you are feeling them about. Express them to a friend, draw, paint, write your feelings. If they are really intense try engaging in some physical activity: running, walking, hiking, sports, yoga, dance, etc. I find the more aerobic the better. Feelings carry a lot of energy when you expend your own physical energy it helps to expend the emotional energy as well.

Alright folks, that’s it, you are ready to express yourselves. And boy am I glad to be done writing about it. Similar to how it feels after you have expressed yourself. You are glad to be done with it and let it go. And you can because you took care of your business. You expressed yourself and now its time to get on with the next moment in your life and have some darn fun while you are at it! As always, make your way gently in this world, with yourself and others.

**If you like this blog please share it (use the SHARE button)…we all know somebody who could use a little help…:)**

Psychobabble4u signing off:)

(c) Cori Grachek,: February, 2010

If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at .

**This is not and can never be a replacement for therapy