Insights from Atlanta Counselor Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT

Atlanta therapist Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT for helpful discussion about sensitive personal issues.

Here's a collection of little essays and observations about a variety of topics related to personal growth, emotional development, relationship enhancenment and other topics I find meaningful and interesting. There's probably enough for an e-book but for now here they are.  

You can read small snippets of each blog post below: click the title of any that interest you to read the entire post.  Each entry has also been loosely grouped into categories which can help guide your viewing.

"No" Is a Complete Sentence

I recently heard a phrase that is brilliant in its simplicity:"No" is a complete sentence.

Some people don't seem to have any trouble saying "no", but for those of us who can struggle with temporary surges of codependency, this simple word can be a challenge to utter. Instead, it's tempting to give a lot of explanations when declining an offer or request, instead of simply saying "no".

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Reasons vs. Excuses

This is another in a series of what I call "therapeutic distinctions", pairs of words that initilly seem to be similar but which actually have subtle but important differences in meaning that are often helpful to consider. One such example is the relationship between "reasons" and "excuses".

Did You Make Your Bed Today?

 

It’s difficult to know exactly what each day will bring for you to face: if life shows us anything it’s that uncertainties abound and challenges may spring up when least expected or desired.  Sometimes it may seem like every minute is filled with a task to accomplish…..a need to meet…..a fire to put out.

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Forging Iron In The Furnace of Crisis

When a person experiences a life crisis, much of what was once familiar is no longer recognizable.What used to be stable is rocked to the core and the old familiar ways of living no longer seem to work.

I'm speaking not about the direst tragedies of life, such as the sudden death of a loved one, a brutal assault or similarly terrifying event.  These are "Big-T" traumas that threaten to a person's very ability to function and generally result in some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.  This is an entirely different category of pain deserving specialized treatment, and not the source of any 'life lesson'.  

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The Difference That Really Makes a Difference

"If you want something different, you have to do something different." This seems like a straight-forward aphorism, doesn't it? But there's an important corollary to this rule, which is that not every difference makes a difference

It's probably fair to say that anyone who walks into a counselor's office wants something to be different: to be less depressed, have a better marriage, break free of a destructive addiction, and on and on.

The Most Difficult Year In A Marriage

I recently saw a humorous refrigerator magnet with a sentence that I thought was brilliantly true:

"The most difficult year of marriage is THIS one."

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Explain or Explore

What does it mean to explain?

Whether it's outside yourself ("This is how it works") or within yourself ("This is what I believe/think/feel"), an explanation deals with certaintyTo explain is to find something through knowledge.  Explanations can only go in one direction, i.e. "Let me explain that to you."

On the other hand.............

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Strength vs. Discernment

A common measure of progress in any endeavor is the development of enhanced strength or power.

  • In competitive sports such as wrestling, boxing or football, the person who is physically stronger almost always has an advantage. 
  • It's obviously good for people to be strong enough to withstand dangerous urges or impulses, such as the need for an addict to resist the compulsion to engage in addictive behavior.
  • Similarly, a person with a history of excessive anger must be strong enough to successfully resist the urge to become verbally abusive during an argument.

No Courage Without Fear

I once heard someone say admiringly of another: "He was very  courageous; he didn't know the meaning of fear." While I appreciate this sentiment I've come to the conclusion that this is not really a very good definition of true courage, for it seems to me that an action can only be brave in the presence of fear. People are most courageous when they are willing to face their greatest fears. Notice that the key phrase is "willing to", not "wanting to"! As has often been noted, the willingness to engage in behavior you don't want to do is the pathway to the greatest personal growth.

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Long Train, Big Mountain

Since I've worked as an Atlanta counselor and psychotherapist for decades I've been fortunate to frequently witness people making heroic changes in their lives. Sometimes these are major transformations that are evident to anyone close enough to notice, but often the kinds of changes that make the most difference in the long run are subtle and not immediately evident to anyone other than the person who is undertaking them. One of the many challenges along your journey of personal growth occurs during the initial period when other people either don't notice the change you're making or don't believe that it's real.

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