A Raleigh Therapist's Blog

Thoughts on counseling, healing, and creating the life you want

Looking for a therapist in Raleigh? I'm open for Business!

I can’t believe it.

I have finally found an office (in beautiful Lafayette Village–that’s it over there to the right), signed a lease and moved ye old giant therapist’s couch into my new space. I am all abuzz with plans for how Lotus Therapy Center will work here–the groups and workshops I’ll offer, the new people I’ll meet. But, first I have to let all y’all know I’m officially open for business in Raleigh. And to do that, I have to fill out online therapist profiles. Ugh.

If you haven’t seen them, there are several sites that allow therapists to pay to set up practice profiles so that potential clients will know we exist. This is great for clinicians because it facilitates communication with people we can help, and lets individuals search for us based on our areas of specialty, location,etc. and so forth. But the ick factor comes in setting the thing up. They’re all like cheesy dating profiles in which you add your photo and write a few blurbs about how you like long walks on the beach, marshmallows and Steve DeShazer’s ideas about client resourcefulness. I mean, how can I tell you everything about my practice, clinical philosophy and hopes for your future in such a tiny space?

I can’t. So, I’ll give it a go here on the blog instead.

About me: I have a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy and have been counseling clients for more than 10 years. (As an aside, this is a bit of a misnomer since MFTs work with individuals and groups as well.) Over the course of my career, I have seen individuals from about every walk of life you can imagine. My very first clinical intern position was as a therapist in a group practice that worked with sex offenders and clients adjudicated for domestic violence, anger management and substance abuse. Since then, I have practiced in inpatient facilities, traveled to clients’ homes and schools to provide services and opened my own private practice. I am a published author in the Qualitative Review, and was just interviewed for an article in Women’s Health magazine. I love to speak to groups and would be happy to speak to yours. If you have a topic you need to schedule a guest speaker for, call me and I’ll let you know if it’s something that I can do.

About my Clients: My clients are the coolest. They are resourceful, interesting and just on the brink of big changes–even if they don’t know it yet.Clients come to see me to address everything from relationship problems to anxiety attacks. A few of the concerns I can help with include:

* Depression

* Anxiety

* Relationship Problems

* Singles’ Concerns

* Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

* Grief and Loss

* Self-Harming behaviors

* Self-Esteem issues

* College transition and other young adult issues

* Women’s Issues

I am comfortable working with clients of any sexual orientation. In fact, I am very comfortable talking about sex in general. Over the years, I have realized that not all therapists–even those who hold themselves out to be couples therapists–are alright with talking about sex. I find that puzzling, but it is a common problem in the field all the same.

About My Practice: My office is located in beautiful Lafayette Village. After your session, you can stroll around the grounds of our little European village and have a handmade chocolate and a truly amazing latte. Actually, if you ask him nicely, Jay, our receptionist will grab you a pretty tasty cup of coffee before your session even starts.

I offer individual, couples and group therapy as well as life coaching services. I believe that my clients are smart people who are looking for ways to get unstuck. Trauma, depression, family of origin issues and even stress can lead us to some pretty dark places. It’s my job to walk with you as we figure out how to get you headed in the right direction. You will define your goals for counseling and I will help you articulate how you will know we have arrived at success. I don’t believe that therapy has to take a long time to be helpful, though sometimes it does. I offer free 30-minute sessions for first-time clients so we can see if we will be a good match.

So, there you go! That’s me sans the goofy headshot and catch phrases. Why don’t you give me a ring so that I can tell you how I will be helpful to you?

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

 

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Women's Group Therapy in Raleigh

As my office here in Raleigh comes together, I am looking for good ways to put it to use. The paint will go on the walls tomorrow, the furniture is kinda halfway in and I myself will be there next week. How exciting!

To that end, here’s some information about a new group that I am going to be hosting here at Lotus Therapy Center:

What: Women’s Therapy Group

When: Every other Tuesday  from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Cost: $60

How it works: We will focus on topics including trust, developing, maintaining and sometimes ending relationships, boundaries and expressing and managing emotions.  Group provides time for learning and practicing practical life and communication skills. Everyone is encouraged to work at her own pace towards her personal goals. There is no pressure to reveal private information until you feel ready to do so. Be prepared to have fun and experience the wisdom, camaraderie, and compassion of other women.

Do you want a safe place to process your hopes and fears?

Are you perplexed about how to get what you want out of your relationships?

Does the idea of a collaborative group setting pique your interest?

Well, then give me a call or shoot me an email so that we can get you started in the group!

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

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On Lemonade Stands and Couples Therapy

I always buy lemonade from children at roadside stands.

It doesn’t much matter if it’s pink or yellow. I don’t care if it has ice in it or not. Most of the time, I don’t actually drink the stuff. But, each person has to have a few things in life that she stands for no matter what. This simple act is one of mine.

My job as a couples therapist is to help you find the lemonade stands as you journey down the road together. Couples don’t have to agree about the color, or the amount of sugar or ice needed to make a tasty beverage–these are things that can be adjusted as time goes on, cup by cup. But, if you don’t agree together that a stop needs to be made, we have trouble. What are your common goals?

What are the kinds of things that make you drive right by your lemonade stands? Here is a short, but not exhaustive list:

1) You make sweet, sweet love to your cell phone, laptop gaming system or other technological partner rather than your human one. Unplug from your gadget and check out the person sitting right next to you.

2) You use social media, Internet forums or video gaming buddies to sort out your needs for connection and understanding rather than your real-life partner. This also leads to affairs, both physical and emotional.

3) You have no date nights without the kids (or your friends, elderly parents or whoever else distracts you from focusing on one another). You must have at least one per month, even if it’s just to Burger King.

4) You have little understanding of your partner’s individual goals for the future. If you can’t name at least 3 things that your partner wants to accomplish within the next five years, hurry up and go ask. You might need that trip to Burger King tonight if you don’t have a clue.

5) You are not interacting with kindness. Partners don’t have to agree about everything. Fighting about the nuts and bolts of daily life is simply par for the course in long-term relationships. But, you do have to disagree with kindness.

Do you need help working on this list? Are things going well and you want help keeping it that way? Why don’t you give me a call so we can get started making your life better right now?

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Would you like the short and skinny on how to choose a partner (and friends too for that matter) that won’t let you down? I’m going to let you in on a little-known secret–people will show you through their actions how they intend to treat you.  I’m not being smug. I think this is one of the secrets we keep from ourselves because it enables to hang on to those individuals in our lives who we love, and who could be doing better by us, but for some reason don’t.

Many of us are great at seeing the potential in our partners. Sure, they might be acting like a first-rate goon now. But, there are good moments. Moments with beautiful flashes of intimacy and understandings so clear that we can get glimpses of the wealth of greatness inside them.

That’s nice. But it isn’t helping you avoid the jerks is it? Now hear this.

Every plot of land has the potential to be a beautiful garden of some sort. But without careful watering, weeding and attention, it’s still just a patch of dirt. Are you with a co-gardener who is in process, or someone who is happy to watch the weeds grow? It’s important to evaluate your partner not only by what he or she is capable of, but also what he or she has shown you in present behaviors. It’s a beautiful thing to delight in others’ potential and help them reach it, even when they fall. But it is also a beautiful thing to reach your own potential and realize your own dreams of whole, fulfilling relationships. Are you watering someone else’s garden while watching yours grow over?

Why don’t you give me a ring so we can talk about it? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Your partner in healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

 

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Taking a Chance on Change

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better  by change.” –Jim Rohn

If I had any one mantra for living life in a satisfying manner, this would be it. Go ahead and read it again because it’s important stuff. When you’re ready to throw up your hands and let life happen to you, that’s probably the time you need this particular quote tattooed on the back of your eyelids. As a matter of fact, I needed to reread ol’ Jim myself this morning. I am in the middle of choosing a new office here in Raleigh, and it’s not going well. Seriously, I have been ready to just abandon the whole process and start the Triangle’s first mobile therapy service. I’m thinking I’ll just get an old ice cream truck and ride around offering 15-minute mini-sessions downtown. Maybe I’ll actually hand out cones too. In other words, sometimes, even I would rather just think silly, discouraged thoughts and pine away for something to magically materialize.

Sugar-coated counseling sessions aside, I love this saying by business coach and author, Jim Rohn, because it is a call to action. And action, my friends, is what gets us out of muddles we have now and into the future we want most. Any client that I see, from folks presenting with OCD to those coming to alleviate poor relationship patterns, are asked this important question: “What would be the first, smallest change that would let you know your goal is starting to happen?” And then we start about instituting that tiniest change right away. I love rooting around in the past and looking at patterns and memories that will, when understood, help shine the light of understanding on a murky problem. But, I believe that contemplation has to be paired with the empowering sensation of forward motion. Otherwise, the reflection can begin to seem like all there is. And no matter what you are facing, wherever you are now is never all there is.

Here are a few tips to get you on the road to change:

1) Identify that first smallest step and recognize that there is never a step that is too small: I once treated an woman who struggled with a fear of leaving her home. She was so paralyzed by her terror that she could not go grocery shopping, attend appointments in person, or visit friends and family. Though we talked quite a bit about how this fear crept up on her, we paired it with action. She decided that her first, smallest step would be to open the front door and then close it again. That was all, and that was enough. Eventually, through adding many other smallest steps onto that first one, she was able to drive herself around again and resume a life she recognized as joyful and fulfilling. No first step is ever too small.

2) Put me in coach, I’m ready to play: I happen to think that I’m a pretty great coach and therapist even when I don’t offer frozen treats. But, I’m no match for your interior motivator. Find a quote that matches your situation and counteracts the internal voice that tells you that nothing can be different. Now, write it down on a card and cut it out. Now, put it in your pants pocket. Read it to yourself every time you go to the bathroom. There you go–it’s scheduled for a time when you’re already fumbling around with your pants and have some quiet time alone. Voila!

3) Get a room you two: Schedule some time to meet with a therapist or coach who can help you articulate clear goals that are in alignment with the future that you want. When most people do this alone they choose initial goals that are too big out of a sense of shame that the goal hasn’t already been accomplished. With someone to help you break it down into intelligent parts, you can get some wins under your belt that will guide you to that larger goal.

Why don’t you come on in so that we can get you on the way to your goals?

Your Partner in Healing,

Dr. Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

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Title Optional

When I log in here to write a blog, these two words are what I see in title bar: “Title (Optional). As I was sitting here this afternoon, batting around ideas for my newest piece, I got to thinking about that. I mean, did the WordPress people know they were conjuring up some deep existential pondering kind of thing? Go with me here…

Words are important. Words are sacred. Without speech, writing, singing or poetry, most of the greatest parts of the human condition could never be expressed. So, therefore the people in our lives who get to occupy one of the more important words–for instance, partner or friend, have something quite special they should be living up to, right? Why do so many people put individuals in those slots who rob them of their joy and potential? What should we do instead with the people who damage and disparage us? Well, to them I say: TITLE OPTIONAL.

We don’t choose relationships based on which ones we think will sap our energy and deplete our reserves. Rather, we have some pretty good criteria most of the time. But, if that criteria is informed by old patterns that don’t work, it’s so easy to put your best foot forward and still not reap the relational fruit you want. You don’t have to go back and relive all the old hurts to move forward. (Though having those kinds of conversations often does help.) Rather, you can get very clear about your own best hopes and dreams so that you will be able to remove with kindness whomever isn’t going to partner with you in those things.

Therapy is a great place to talk about how to move your future into the now. Why don’t you let me help?

Your Partner in Healing,

Dr. Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in the Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com.

 

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