No End in Sight

Weeks before the collective pandemic upheaval in March 2020, I found myself stepping off the Seattle-to-Bainbridge Island ferry. I am carrying a backpack chock-full of books. Some of the books are mine; others are not. Books are friends, holding words I want to remember. Piles of them are stacked in both my home and therapy…

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Tipping Point

The computer keyboard looked alive, warped and waving as my eyes roamed over the keys. They were everywhere. Ants crawling in and out of the space between the letters and numbers, piling over each other to get to…Where were they going? Wait, where were they coming from? I searched frantically around the desk, my heart…

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Asking for a Do-over

“I know she is capable of offering deep care, but there are moments when I don’t feel she actually listens to me,” my husband Michael says to our marriage counselor. I smile nervously at the irony that he’s married to a professional counselor who at times struggles with listening.

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Tears Week

Years ago, as a first-year counseling student, I attended a course called Fundamental Therapy Skills. It was the introductory class to my upcoming practicum and internship, and the coursework prepared students for counseling real people. The final week was deemed “tears week,” because it had a reputation of eliciting many tears from the students. During…

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Layers First

There I sat. Alone. Silent. And in pain.   During my seven-year marriage, I encountered other couples who had divorced and often wondered, “Why didn’t they try harder? Why didn’t they keep the marriage together at all costs? I just don’t understand.” But, now, on the other side of marriage and trying to pick up the pieces,…

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Comforting My Critical Self

You know you have an internal critic when your therapist tells you that you have an “Integrated Self” and a “Critical Self.”

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The White Dress

Bagpipes resounded “Amazing Grace” as the June rain pounded the roof of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. After the bridesmaids processed in pale pink tea dresses to the tune of “Canon in D,” the large wooden doors shut. Thunder clapped, marking the redemption of this day, the many dark chapters of our stories now expanding and…

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I am a 5-star general.

I haven’t been deployed to another country for battle but have been in my own combat zone. I’ve had to run, hide and plan ingenious strategies to survive.  I was not trained for this war. I was thrust into it and like a savage I had to build my own artillery.

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Scrapper

I want to hold her in my hands and look at her face.  My eyes scroll over the pictures that haven’t moved from the self-adhesive plastic covered pages for years. I am looking for her.  As I turn the page, I take her in and notice a tightening in my stomach. “She’s a pistol,” I…

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