Change ahead

change

Transition…We all experience it. Every day is a transition from the past into the present looking forward into our future journey. Some transitions are more difficult. Some easier. Some are good. Some are not so good.

New relationships–be they romantics or platonic–are transitions. Endings of relationships are transitions. Some of those relationships end in the passing of a loved one which is another transition. New babies create transition.

New jobs/careers are transitions. Education, both formal and informal, brings new knowledge which is transitional. A new health diagnosis is yet another transition.

I don’t watch Keeping up with the Kardashians except on the rare occasion when my youngest daughter happens to be watching and I’m in the room. I have, however, been fascinated with Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition. As a therapist, I was encouraged to hear that Caitlyn had been in therapy for quite some time in preparation for her transition from Bruce to Caitlyn.

My daughter texted me yesterday telling me she was watching an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians where pre-transition Bruce was having a walk-and-talk therapy session on the beach with a therapist whose practice is called Mind in Motion. I was excited to know of yet another therapist conducting walk-and-talk therapy. And so, Caitlyn has known all her life that she was living a life not true to her authentic self and yet she needed someone to walk, literally and figuratively, beside her as she very publicly transitioned into her “new normal.”

Your transition may not be as drastic as Caitlyn Jenner’s; however, if you feel you might benefit from having some extra support through the journey as you transition to your new normal, give me a call (404-895-1525) or drop me an email (Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com) and we’ll walk through your transition together.

Welcome to my office, part 4: Symbolism

During my walks/runs through the park I enjoy looking at the trees. I love the varieties. I love the benefits they provide such as shade and fresh oxygen to breathe. I also love the stages they go through with the seasons, and the symbolism related to family and life stages.

How many of you have created a family tree to depict your own heritage? You know the type of diagram to which I’m referring. The roots and trunk represent a specific individual or couple and the branches represent the children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I am actually partial to family therapy theories that examine intergenerational influence. Good or bad, our past, and our interactions with our families have shaped who we are today and how we view life and our circumstance. Sometimes our family trees are pretty gnarly and ugly, yet proper nourishment, pruning, and care can produce good outcomes and every tree has a unique and special story to tell.

I am sure you’re also familiar with how trees change with the seasons. Right now, in the midst of summer, trees are full and green representing growth and strength. In the fall the leaves will turn the familiar golds, reds, oranges, and browns and fall off, representing change. During the winter many trees will be bare. Although many people believe this stage to represent death and grieving I have viewed trees in this stage a little differently. It is during the winter when we can really see a trees structure, it’s skeleton so to speak. It is then when we can see any scars or grafts, but also its potential. Underneath the dormant exterior lies strength and life that is merely taking a break in preparation for the seasons ahead. I also love seeing the bare outstretched branches reaching to the sky as if reaching for its life source. And finally, spring brings new buds and new growth symbolizing new beginnings and hope.

I am also fascinated by the types of trees native to different locations. The pictures included today are three views of one of many magnolia trees in Piedmont Park. Magnolia trees remind me of the several years I lived in Mississippi as a newlywed and where our oldest daughter was born. Another tree that reminds me of our time there on the Mississippi coast is the water oak. Seeing these trees reminds me of a time of new beginnings and on getting by on nearly no income. Palmetto trees remind me of South Carolina where I went to college and met my husband. The remind me of a newfound independence being away from home for the first time, but also remind me of many hot, sweaty band practices. Pine, dogwood, and peach trees remind me of my own roots as a Georgia girl…one who is ever thankful to be back home.

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Come take a walk with me and explore your roots or the stage of life in which you are currently. You might be surprised how your past has shaped the person you are right now. I can be reached at 404-895-1525 or Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com.

Welcome to my office, part 3: Unloading

“Take a load off, Fanny.
Take a load for free.
Take a load off, Fanny.
And….you can put the load right on me.”
(The Weight. J. R. Robertson, 1968)

Today’s installment includes yet another therapeutic metaphor.

Sometimes you need to unload–your burdens, your troubles, your frustrations, your feelings. Sometimes, quite plain and simple, you just need a listening ear while you bitch. You need someone who will sit with (or next to) you and create space where you may retreat from your hectic life and find a place of solace and rest.

Someone told me recently they loved the idea of walk-and-talk therapy but in this person’s self-awareness there was the understanding that when and if a difficult topic arose there would need to be a place to stop and process. This person confessed a need to process and worried walking would distract from focusing on the issue at hand. That’s reasonable. Besides, another benefit and goal of therapy is raising self-awareness so this individual was ahead of the game.

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As you can see from today’s pictures there are benches in the park. If you have need to rest and “take a load off” we can pull up a park bench and do that. There are benches in the sun (for those days when it is particularly cold which I know is hard to imagine right now), and benches in the shade. I also offer the option of an air-conditioned office space or online, video-conference therapy.

If you or someone you know needs to “unload,” you may reach me at 404-895-1525 or Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com.

Welcome to my office, part 2: Everything changes

Yes, today’s picture is another view of the midtown skyline from one of the vantage points surrounding Lake Clara Meer in Piedmont Park. However, if you look closely you can see a red crane just to the right of the middle gap in the skyline. The Atlanta skyline, as is true with every big city, is ever changing. A new high-rise apartment complex is being built and it’s outline will likely fill in the gap between these two sets of buildings.

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Like this skyline, life is full of change. Some are immediately noticeable. Some, like the construction of this building, happen over time. Some are welcome while some are not. Some changes are new and exciting while others induce fear and worry. And some cause both at the same time. Some of the residents of surrounding buildings are not thrilled with this new development in anticipation of the increase in traffic and the obstruction of their view of the park that will also result; however, this development could serve to increase surrounding property values. The developers of this complex are undoubtedly excited about this new building and the income that will likely result; however, what happens if they are not able to rent enough units to realize a profit?

How do we manage change? Do we sit back and see how things unfold and then if there’s a problem deal with it then? Are we proactive in controlling what we can control along the way? Both tactics can be beneficial at various times for different reasons.

Therapy is about change: managing the changing skyline of our lives as it happens, or as issues arise as a result. It is also about purposing to make a change: clearing out the lot, digging the footings, and bringing in the machinery to build the life we want in the long run. What story does the skyline of your life tell to others? What would you like for others to see?

Come take a walk with me and process how you might bring about the good changes you desire in your life. I can be reached at 404-895-1525 or Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com

Not every office has four walls

Welcome to my office!

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This week I’ll be giving your a tour of my “office” and offering some commentary on the scenery. Today’s picture is obviously part of the midtown Atlanta skyline as seen from the eastern end of the upper meadow in Piedmont Park….”nearby nature” within walking distance of midtown.

Come join me for a walk-and-talk session and enjoy this view too. You may reach me at 404-895-1525 or Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com.

Let’s get moving!

In a 2014 interview conducted by David Letterman regarding the internet series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld commented that part of the show’s success is based on his theory that, “Moving people around keeps them awake.”

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What better reason to participate in walk and talk therapy? To keep client (and therapist) awake. smile emoticon

In all seriousness, however, there are some metaphorical parallels to movement in therapy.

Therapy is all about moving. Moving forward in life. Moving out of a place of “stuck-ness.” Moving outside of our comfort zones. Moving into new opportunities. Moving beyond fear. Continuing to move through ongoing difficult circumstances and struggles.

But what about staying awake? Awake to what? Awake to our options and the outside world. Awake to reality and our potential.

When people encounter extreme difficulty a common response is to want to curl up into the fetal position and check out of all activity. Or, when life is going smoothly inertia takes over, we shift into cruise mode, and greater potential is not pursued or realized.

Therapy can help wake us up and move us forward. Walk and talk therapy can do this in more than one way.

Interested in scheduling a walk and talk therapy session? Contact Denice at 404-895-1525 or Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com.

Ready for adventure

What are your favorite shoes?

my chacos

My favorite shoes are my Chacos. I have worn my Chacos all over the world. I have even had to have a pair re-webbed after a vacation mishap; however, that just allowed me to purchase a second pair since I didn’t have any other casual shoes with me on that trip.

Besides being comfortable, my Chacos are durable and call for adventure. They’re not my prettiest shoes. On the contrary, they’re quite clunky looking. But they get me where I’m going. I also have awesome criss-cross tan lines on my feet that are reminders of where I’ve been and all the fun things I’ve done while wearing them.

Life is an adventure and we all experience it very differently. Some of us need more support/equipment to endure our journey than others. Sometimes that support takes the form of therapy.

Therapy is not just for those experiencing severe mental illness or major life crises. Therapy is useful for greater self-discovery, for help in making decisions, for overcoming fear, for coping with a new life stressor (even the good ones!), or for helping make the good things in life–like our relationships–even better.

Could you or someone you know could use a little extra support in their life’s journey/adventure? Put on your favorite shoes and join me for a walk-and-talk therapy session.

For an appointment or more information you may contact me at Denice@WalkAndTalkAtlanta.com.