Thinking Out Loud

Something Shifted

“I’m not sure how to describe it, but something shifted.” That statement is the most consistent description used by people in counseling to describe a positive change. Something shifted signifies movement, not resolution—as in fixing or settling an issue. When something shifts internally, perspective changes and whatever shifted is no longer stuck. When we are stuck, some of our troubling behavior and/or feelings operate on automatic pilot. We repeat self-defeating behavior patterns that drive us nuts. But until something shifts, we continue to operate in a way that contributes to our unhappiness with ourselves, although often that unhappiness is projected onto outside sources. Read More

Holding the Other in Trust

For real communication to take place in an intimate friendship or love relationship, there must be trust. Trust is one of those states that we experience—we must be able to trust and the other must demonstrate trustworthiness. So what does it mean “to be able to trust” and to “demonstrate trustworthiness”? Read More

Where Does the Story Begin?

I could be glib and say, “at the beginning,” but that’s the point. Where is the beginning of any story? I spend a lot of time listening to stories that begin with, “Here’s what happened . . .” When two (or more) people are involved, there are usually related but different accounts. Of course, most of us try to establish that our account is the accurate (real) story, and experience tells us that this process generally goes nowhere and continues to breed defensiveness. Read More


Although this may seem overstated, misunderstanding is the norm. I don’t mean that pessimistically. The process of giving and receiving information is complex. We use words as a primary vehicle for communicating ideas, information, and personal experience. Those words are like brush strokes on a canvas, gradually illuminating a picture that has literal elements as well as an essence and mood that are invisible to the eye. Read More