Insights from Atlanta Counselor Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT

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Over the years I've enjoyed writing 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. I hope you enjoy them! 

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.

Pigs and Chickens (Part One)

Once upon a time a poor villager lived in a small and crowded hut along with his wife, his children and a large number of relatives. His days were filled with toil and drudgery and at night he lay awake on his hard mat feeling very unhappy.

Finally the poor fellow sought the guidance of the wisest man in the village, who considered the  villager's plight for several minutes and then solemnly told him that he must herd all of his pigs and chickens into his hut, and then return after the next moon.

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10 Steps To Better Emotional Health

Picture of man climbing steps

The hectic pace of life can present a real challenge to the maintenance of good emotional health on a day-to-day basis. It’s no wonder that many of the most-prescribed medications treat symptoms related to stress that arises from “lifestyle” problems such as insomnia, high blood pressure and cholesterol, depression, sexual dysfunction….. the list goes on and on. But a few simple steps can help preserve emotional balance in the face of all the challenges and demands of modern life. Here are ten suggestions to help you insure the maintenance of good emotional health in your daily life:

Now or Later?

True conscious growth is often difficult to achieve. Whether it's exercising regularly to grow stronger physically, studying a difficult subject to gain deeper knowledge, facing deep fears to transform to develop greater courage, going through the discomfort of withdrawal to break free of addiction or working through an emotional conflict to improve a relationship with a person you care about, there is generally a lot of pain on the front end. The first push-ups are the hardest.

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"No" Is a Complete Sentence

The word "No"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."

Long-term relationships take work, and that's what makes them worthwhile. The idea that a marriage is easy probably accounts for the high percentage of divorces in this country. People get disillusioned because the initial chemical high of early love wears off. It often takes the consistent and long-term work of real attachment for couples to maintain stability, to say nothing of the effort required to maintain true dynamic growth in the relationship.

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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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