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Preview: Angelo Subida

Dr. Angelo O. Subida, Psychotherapist

REVOLUTION in PSYCHOTHERAPY ... the art of psychotherapy working inside a damaged self and unknowable life * Innovative. Individual. Inspirational. International. * 24/7 Therapy InfoText Hotlines: +63 9090833374 ; +63 9055206951 * Email: psychotherapy@d

Updated: 2018-03-23T02:04:17.740-07:00


Making Peace with Money



It's a most expensive, everyday part of our life. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, "Money often costs too much."

I've observed that lots of us spend money beyond what we earn. We spend it on things we don't need. Or, with it, impress people we don't like.

Money can cost lives. Because of love of money or greed, many pierce themselves with painful sorrows. They damage their lives through unhealthy relationship with money.

Here's another "angle" about our invisible money issues.

My client, Rhodora, grew up in poverty. Deep money deprivation. There was never enough money for basic needs when she's growing up as a child.

She saw anxiety or dread on her parents' faces when they talked about money. She felt worried and scared too about the issue of money.

She didn't finish college due to insufficiency of family finances. She had to work as a clerk for a large  drug manufacturing company.

Over time, Rhodora was promoted and received a big salary. On top of that, commissions from sales the company entrusted to her.

That's where her problem began. Her company sent her to me for assessment and therapy. Rhodora had been having an emotional roller-coaster since her promotion. She's not her usual self.

In-session, Rhodora had to fix her money beliefs. She still believed money was still in severe short supply in her life.

As a result, something inside her was failing to give her new position in the company's business all the energies and resources she has to make it flourish. She felt scared or impure having to handle lots of money in her hands.

The solution?

Rhodora learns to change her money mindset. She takes the path of resolving any negative beliefs and irrational behaviors that impede her business growth.

She needs to let go of any residual childhood-based attitudes that influence the way she does her work and business.  The hang-ups, the ambivalence, the sense of unworthiness.

That's what "making peace with money" is about. And even more!

Living Life Again


We live in a fast-paced age. The world is a smaller place because of technology, internet, and airplanes through our skies.

This advancement has lots of pluses. The speed, the technology, helps. Speaking for myself, I can conduct sessions anywhere I am to attend to those from varied places or nations.

Yet despite the advancement to make life easier, people still feel uneasy. You can see the tension: in their faces, voices, hands, bodies. The way they live.

Now, why is this happening? Well, you proceed to the source of the problem: your mind. Keep your mind alive now. Your imagination.

Do you see a frown of anxiety on the face of your mind? Are your teeth gritting? Your jaw stiffening? Now, in your mind, smile. Choose to shift to a face with joy.

Let me tell you about a man. He won out over his wounds and tensions.

He had undergone a severe family and marital trauma. Abandoned, deprived. He was no youngster. He was already in his 60s, a senior citizen.

What to do with his life and time in which he lived empty, depressed, and tense?

He decided it was moment for action. He had to bring life back into his life. He had to do it in simple, realistic ways.

Well, what could a man his age do?

First, he became a life coach to couples, families, and other adults. He was a wise, talented, and friendly guy. It suited his personality. Soon he had substantial clientele and been earning well.

Second, you see him volunteering as a toddler caregiver in a church's Sunday kids' school. Spending time with children brought him much joy. It makes him feel more alive.

And lastly but not the least, he found peace leading bible studies and joining periodic mission trips through his church. His life leads to more life.

In his 60s, abandoning the passive concepts of retirement, he found healing for his wounds. He used his mind and work to get active. Live life again.

Timely Friendship That Heals


The establishing of true friendship at a critical juncture can transform. Friendliness begets friendships.

And over time in the process, friends can help heal emotional wounds.

As Aristotle put it, "Friendship is a thing most necessary to life. Since without friends, no one would choose to live, though possessed of all other advantages."

On my multiple speaking trips to Korea, I'd always wondered about the state of overseas Filipino workers there.

Away from their families back home, how are they coping?

Both interpersonally and in groups, I discovered the secret window of many into the way out of homesickness, depression, or loneliness.


Amid their sub-ideal situation, many OFWS find the value of quality friendships and social gatherings to survive and thrive.

Such comes at a time when, in their loneliness, they might have turned in on themselves. Worse, engage in vices, addictions, or affairs damaging to themselves and their families.

One ingenious comment of an OFW is, "I have no or little time to be homesick and lonely. Because I'm busy keeping in touch with my family on Skype and spending time with my friends here in church."

In therapy sessions, I've heard some clients mentioning our alliance as some sort of friendship during crushing blows.

Let me call it "timely friendship."

It can be rightly said that the friendship, limited though it may be, saved the hurting from themselves!

A true friend is a trusted confidant. He or she accepts you as you are, warts and all. He or she is to whom you are mutually drawn as a companion and ally, whose love for you is not dependent on your performance.

The wise man of the Proverbs wrote, "There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 RSV).

Find true friendships. They heal. And help transform you into healthy-wholeness.

Can "Hate" Be A Jewel?


"Hate" is a psychological and emotional state. Despite the negative implications it evokes, it could not really be that negative.

In fact, if you look deeper, "hate" can be good!

I once sat across a 28-year-old woman who screamed, "I hate my depression! I hate my condition!" She didn't really like her state and she's lost about what to do with her self.

As we progress together, she's able to use her "hate" as significant motivator to get better. Hating her depression was actually a good thing!

Maybe, "hate" is too strong a word to describe what I'm driving at. But "hate" or dissatisfaction is a jewel we better not miss.

Think about it.

You need to be emotional about where or what you are for you to take action!

You "hate" when you see your marriage crumbling.

You "hate" when you watch your children get addicted to drugs or the wrong crowd.

You "hate" that you couldn't earn enough income to feed your family.

You "hate" when you find your self unable to keep relationships or friendships.

There it is.

Define what you "hate" about where you are right now in your life. Get specific about what changes you need to go where you want to go.

Person, Not Possession


At the time I started to see her, Maria had been in therapy for few months. She saw me for she felt stuck from a previous therapist. She reported that her therapy was not moving anywhere.

When Maria was born, her father and mother looked to her for the fulfillment of their damaged dreams. They pushed her to activities they felt incapable of doing.

Growing up, Maria felt that her parents owned her by the way they spoke to and treated her. When she refused what they wanted her to do, they'd call her demeaning names.

Under such circumstances, Maria developed a shame-prone "core identity." She felt bad because of disastrous consequences of asserting her individuality, own thoughts and feelings.

Toxic parents are shaming. They treat children as possessions. Not persons, but extensions of themselves.

When children  develop their separate and unique identity, they're seen as a threat by their shaming  parents to their personal needs.

The result is, children are not moulded to feel valued as a person. In the shaming process of being treated as a possession rather than a person, wrong behavior and self are the same.

This is the reason why unhealed people who are shame-based end up spreading the shaming process in relationship with others.

Without therapy or intervention, the cycle perpetuates itself all the time. Affirming the mental template of badness - a possession rather than a person.

Rx for Anxiety Before It Breaks You


Anxiety is so common. I'm impressed about how multitudes of humanity lead lives singularly full of or sickened by worries.

Out of it comes nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, stomach ulcers, even cancer and insanity.

Anxiety panic is evidenced by Nicky, one of my long-term counselees. His doctors say there is no organic basis for him to experience panic anxiety in traffic, footbridges, and airplanes.

In therapy, Nicky realized that his panic anxiety attacks lie much on his state of mind and emotional health than his physical condition.

As you and I march across the decades of time, we're going to surely experience discomforts in life. This may include abuse, trauma, or deprivation of varied kinds. It cannot be otherwise.

But we all have a choice. We can either accept them as inevitable and adjust accordingly, or we can ruin our lives with them and suffer mental disorders.

William James has a sage advice for us. He wrote: " Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune."

K.T. Keller, then president of Chrisler Corp, said, "If I am up against a tough situation, if I can do anything about it, I'll do it. If I can't, I just forget it. I never worry about the future, because I know no man living is going to figure out what will happen in the future."

Once, I was prostate with grief and anxiety. Up to that time, life was good to me. Then came a failure, a mistake. My world collapsed. 

How comforting this is to me during those times: " ' For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

God has a plan for me, it's so good, I don't need to be anxious or worried.

Can there be any anti-anxiety medicine better than that?

How to Deal with a Psychopath Co-Parent (Part 2)


A first step in dealing with a psychopath co-parent is knowing his exact "nature." Knowing the enemy  is half the battle.

By nature, psychopaths lack remorse. They lie habitually. They lack empathy. They're incapable of love and respect. Egoistic, selfish. They've delusions of grandeur. Never wrong, always right.

Based on that knowledge, you take appropriate steps to protect your self.

This is basic since a psychopath will attempt to drain you of everything you have - emotional health, money, status, power, reputation, material resources etc.

If they see you as a threat to their abusive/deceptive behavior, they'll attack you. Come after you, blame you, badmouth you, scheme against you.

So always take preemptive measures. Know your self, where you stand, and do not let their evil ways get near you.

I'm reminded of a woman who always gets emotional when confronting her  psychopath husband and father of their children. The more she is emotional, the more her psychopath co-parent enjoys it!

Never get emotional with a psychopath. Stay calm and collected no matter what the other person says or does. Keep all things to your self.

Do not compete with or accuse a psychopath. Nor try to reform them or tell them what's right and wrong. They'll backfire on you. The psychopath only want to have power over you.

Avoid the psychopath. Make it a point to stay away from him. If you're co-parenting with one, keep contact to the barest minimum only for your child's concerns.

Psychological studies show that therapy among psychopaths bear no or little fruit. They just waste time. Use the sessions to sharpen their conning and deceptive skills.

So the experts say, its best to leave them alone. Until they get proper consequences and "conscience," they're beyond reform.

As Jackson MacKenzie quotes, "There is no closure in psychopathic relationships; only acceptance."

How to Deal with a Psychopath Co-Parent (Part 1)


We live in a world of broken families. Such is a very sad reality. Especially when parents separate, committed infidelity or addiction, or have become abusive and neglectful.

Jolie was a mother of two young children. The father of her children had been physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive of her.

One day, Jolie discovered that her partner was having sex with a teenager, who eventually became pregnant. When that happened, her partner kicked her and their children out of their house.

For over 10 years, Jolie's partner totally disappeared from their lives. No communication and financial support at all from him.

Those hard years, Jolie was left alone to feed, nurture, and send their children to school while working on different jobs.

Then, out of the blue, her partner suddenly appeared and started sending the children with small amounts of allowance through a married woman who is his girlfriend.

With only little amount sent, Jolie was still left spending for food, all house and educational expenses, of the children, who have now become teenagers.

Remorseless and abusive, Jolie's ex relaunched his vicious, deadly "game." He hurts both her and her children with severe badmouthing and controlling. Without an iota of care in the world.

Co-parenting with a psychopath is extremely difficult. The other "parent" that is mentally disordered and unstable makes you experience a "special kind of hell," as one writer would put it.

If you're the responsible parent, how do you deal with a psychopath co-parent?

How to Breathe "Life" into Others


I love life.

Just have one life to live. I don't want to waste it. Part of not wasting it is to be a channel of life to others. As I receive life, I desire to breathe this "life" I receive to others.

In the course of my work as a therapist, I'm presented with lots of opportunities to perform this. Of all the gifts I could ever hand over, none holds more potential than giving "life."

Thus, there is no neutral exchange. In every session I have with hurting individuals, I either give life or I drain it.

This is actually the call of every human being. Once really understood and carried out, we brighten our existence by breathing "life" into each other.

It doesn't matter if your encounters are meeting friends or family in conversation, a meal with workmates, an email or Skype exchange, or a business meeting, it offers same opportunity.

You can breathe "life" into others in several ways. Here are some of them.

* Listen more.
* Give hugs.
* Smile often.
* Provide enough space.
* Connect more deeply.
* Give appreciation.
* Apologize for mistakes.
* Show extra understanding.
* Be more compassionate,
* Use kinder language.
* Increase your patience.
* Have a coffee treat.
* Pay a visit or call.
* Forgive more.
* Laugh and joke more.
* Give extra time.
* Help materially when necessary.
* Pray for the other.
* Share God and His Word.
* Celebrate the other's success.
* Give more insights and follow ups.
* Be positive and hopeful.
* Dream bigger dreams for the other person.
* Sing songs.
* Reminisce beautiful memories with the other.
* Speak the truth with love.
* Bless and embrace children.
* Volunteer your talents and gifts.
* Give a surprise gift,
* Say thank you often.
* Focus on common interests rather than differences.
* Offer forgiveness.
* Set healthy boundaries.
* Respect in word and deed.
* Remember details about the other.
* Give more responsibility.
* Empower, not enable.

Yes friend, give more "life" to others. With that, you'll get more for your self.

Unconscious Rage


My client Rebecca has been walking on eggshells for many years. She has a very critical, emotionally abusive husband.

All the time, she kept quiet and unreactive.

While shopping in a mall one day, she discovered something uncharacteristic about her.

Just with a slight oversight from a sales lady, she suddenly burst into a whirlwind of anger and tears.

What happened to Rebecca? Where was her sudden rage coming from?

Too often, we behave uncharacteristically when we experience overwhelming unmet needs. Usually, psychological and emotional.

Intimate betrayal or abuse can make it very hard to be your self. Even the slightest provocation or memory can unleash your intense emotions that may be generalized to others you interact with.

The automatic emotional reactivity is unconsciously motivated. In the case of Rebecca, it's evidenced by her public embarrassment and remorse.

She knew it's not the "real" her!

Previous to me, Rebecca saw two psychiatrists who merely prescribed brain drugs to her. Her taking the drugs did not make her problems go away.

My approach to emotional healing is quite different. Brain drugs don't cure to the core. They may actually be harmful to your health in the long run.

So, I don't believe in it.

I assured Rebecca that her emotional reactions were normal. Quite common, understandable. They were a natural result of a sense of self scraped raw by emotional abuse and wounding.

The "roots" of her recovery then lie in resolving these underlying emotional wounds. They're non-physical or non-chemical.  It's psychological, emotional, and spiritual.

On Being a Widow


Author Helen Raley writes on widowhood,

"In loving, you and I assume the risk of loss ... We're so happy now, but we must accept the fact that one of us will have to live without the other some day."

From whatever vantage point you see it, widowhood is anything but happy. Psychologists and research statistics actually reveal it's a top life sorrow and stress.

It's not morbid to accept and prepare for such reality. Rather it's psychologically healthy and wise to do so.

In one of my men's group sessions, Jimmy recounted his reaction whose wife died several years ago. Even as a God-trusting man, he still found himself in a state of blank bewilderment.

He still missed her. No matter how he emotionally and spiritually prepared himself in his mind, Jimmy continued to "see and feel" her wherever he goes.

Speaking from experience, he described the wonderful years he had with his wife that are no longer replaceable. His wife is no longer present to love and be loved.

An aching void for Jimmy. It felt somehow as if you're a half-person or non-person.

How I wished the men in the group as well as my self can do something more for Jimmy. But there is a very real sense in which the pain of widowhood must be borne alone.

Soren Kierkegaard once asserted that suffering is inexpressible. He spoke of a cry, when "there is not one who really understands, no one to enter in to what I feel."

Years after his actual transition from widowhood, Jimmy shared his ultimate healer. Quoting a verse in Scripture, he stated where he is now:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Psychology describes such an experience "transcendence" - a state which surpasses the physical world and the nature of material presence. The self "going beyond."

Unemployment: A Private Trauma


Jeff is unemployed. He has bills to meet. Two teenagers and one child to feed. And his wife waits anxiously for some response from job applications.

Weeks roll into months. Months roll into years. The clouds get darker as time passes.

Unemployment drains Jeff. Emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

The social stigma is also evident. His relatives and friends often withdraw, or don't know how to react. As if he's less than a real person.

Jeff used to be a confident, self assured man. But all that is stripped away ... by the horrors of unwanted lack of employment.

Understandably, Jeff feels devastated. His self esteem crashes. He feels worthless to himself, his wife and children, his friends, and society.

Unemployment. A personal, private trauma wound.

In my country and in many other places, the trauma of unemployment is a distressing personal malady. It's known to invade and wound a lot of people.

No totally satisfying cure has been found yet by politicians, businessmen, or doctors. The numbers of sufferers keep increasing in our era.

As one of the suffering unemployed several times before, I've found that what we look for in this trauma or crisis are these 3 major keys: wisdom, patience, and faith.

When you're down in the depths of despair, you're put to the test. In those 3 major keys and areas. Make sure they're well covered in your surviving and thriving.

As a Christian myself, I realize that I could not depend on man for solutions. Only God can be my ultimate solution, my ultimate mental, emotional, and spiritual anchor in trying times.

I know how it works. And able to say, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed ..."

That is a far more lasting and real therapy to unemployment. It yields practical results as well beyond what you can imagine.

The Effects of Loneliness on Health


It's heavy. The weight it places inside your heart can be too much to bear.

It plays no favorites. No respecter of persons, borders, or barriers. It's an epidemic all over the world.

Loneliness. That's what it is - the big L.

When it's acute and unrelieved, the effects of loneliness on health are deadly. Specialists in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health affirm such reality.

Like the pastor who heard his wife saying these words: "I don't love you anymore." Sobbing during sessions, he wondered about what now, his children, his ministry.

His health deteriorated. Left church, became addicted to alcohol, and raging at home.

How does he face tomorrow?

He is never alone. Like countless others, this wounded minister echoes the words of composer Peter Tchaikovsky who once wrote,

"None but the lonely heart can feel my anguish ...."

There is a vital link between loneliness and sickness/death.

A 9-year study by researchers at the University of California shows that loneliness has a greater impact on death rate than smoking, drinking, eating, or exercise.

The special study found that people without spouses or friends had a death rate twice as high as those with social ties.

For this reason alone, loneliness must be viewed as a serious and even deadly health hazard. As many have experienced to their dismay, it's repercussions affect the whole person.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. That's where severe, untreated loneliness can induce the most painful and harmful effects.

So it's a matter of urgency.

If you're lonely and unable to cope well enough, it's emergency that you diligently seek appropriate help and therapy ... before it gets too late.

There is no need for loneliness to become your sickbed or prison. It's possible for your mind and soul to rise above your circumstances and heal.

Healing from Betrayal


"Anung gagawin ko?" "Saan ako pupunta?"

One woman broke down and cried, "Ayoko ng mabuhay!"

Betrayal. Violation of the intimate bond.

For many years, I've done "battle" in my sessions helping individuals heal from this deepest cut.

Infidelity. Emotional abuse. Verbal aggression. Physical Violence. Deception.

It's tragic to note that most suicides and homicides are borne out of the betrayal wound. If left untreated, it can lead to irretrievable destruction.

Yet, there are so few places you can go to where you can truly heal. More so, very few professional and personal supports competently able to provide help.

I've always noticed that when people suffer the betrayal wound, they tend to focus more on the perpetrator of the hurt - one's partner.

However, the real work does not lie on the other person. It lies on one's self and the process that needs to be started, sustained, and completed to heal.

If you're experiencing this pain, would you like to join me in a travel, hiking, or adventure healing journey?

I call it "Healing from Betrayal: How to Be Free from Infidelity, Abuse, Deception, and Bitterness."

In this journey, you receive priceless gifts of wisdom, insight, and tools, such as:

... my own personal and professional story
... intimate betrayal and psycho-trauma stress:
        footprints in the heart and soul
... 5 common reasons why betrayal happens
... 3 steps to develop your healing identity
... 4 basic tools to start healing and empowerment
... 7 keys to retraining your betrayed heart and soul
... how to live and love again!
... top 1 secret for total recovery: final thoughts on healing from betrayal

Feel free to drop me a note for further information or a discovery call!

Truth About Your Self


I don't know what has happened. Or, where it has come from.

Last night's group session, I had the truth in my mind. Yet I failed to express it. Something held me back.

It's my personal blinder. A mistake. A negation of my personal sense of truth about my self.

As human as my struggling patients, it's senseless to pretend perfection.

Therapy is self truth. It's a process of seeking the truth about your self.

In the midst of the busyness of life and our world, we need to find a focus to make it happen.

It's good, of course, to focus on healing our blinders or mistakes. You look into your self as you are with your faults - objectively.

But this is not enough.

You also need to focus on your assets. Your positives. Your gifts.

You must develop and cherish these assets. And work with them.

It's also essential to look into your past. If you can do this deep enough, you see your mistakes again. And be in a position to learn from and avoid them.

I do not mean you obsess over your past mistakes and untruths, leading you to blame your self.

The real purpose of seeing your past is to live today with clear truths about your self.

Finally, plan for today's possibilities. That will impact your future.

The primary excitement of knowing the truth about your self is becoming mature. Whole. Healthy.

Take stock of your self. Seek real truths about your self.

Look behind you, before you, and within you.

Remember that your self and life belongs to you. Especially, your truths.

Keep discovering.

Overcoming the "Monkey Mind"


Is your mind like a "monkey?"

A monkey jumps up and down. Even with the slightest provocation, it can get scared. In rested state, the monkey wanders.

"Maligalig!" as described in Filipino.

Not too long ago, I had a Skype session with a young woman. She serves as 24/7 caregiver of her 87 year old grandmother since almost a decade ago now.

As I spoke with her during session, I could sense her deep sense of burnout, futility, and desperation. I felt for her.

Given her unsupportive, rejecting family, who would not be?

However, she over-stressed and over-talked dealing with her challenges. Her mind kept wildly wandering during session.

Jumping from one topic to another, she recited a litany of maltreatments and offenses from others. Each time, her emotions got beyond roof.

She despaired for help!

And it's pretty understandable. But she couldn't focus. Her mind sabotaged her efforts to remain clutter-free, positive, and focused.

(image) How do you overcome the "monkey mind?"

Here are simple steps.

First, recognize that the mind is like a muscle. It needs training.

In order to overcome the "monkey mind," you need to bring it to the gym!

Second, practice the attitude of acceptance rather than resistance. That doesn't mean you should allow your mind go jumping rampantly.

But simply you know, you're familiar with the "monkey" in your mind.

And thirdly, find an anchor. An anchor is something that helps you stay focused.

It can be focusing on a mental image, a word, a meaningful quote, a prayer, or even your breathing.

Of course, this is just a tip of the iceberg.

It's worth it to learn more not just the "fruit" but also, more importantly, the "roots" that drive or fuel the mind to be like a monkey.

Andy's Journey


(image) Andy, 15 years old, experienced a number of family situations that made him feel unproductive, failing, or not good enough.

First, he received a lower average grade in school instead of his usual.

Second, he showed his Dad the medals he won from a chess tilt. But his Dad got mad, threw away his  chess set.

Third, he came home once to tell Mom about a concern he has about his friends. But he found a note that Mom would not be home due to a trip.

Andy became rageful. He stormed around the house. He felt worthless and humiliated. His need for attention and affirmation for his "products" was unmet.

In the session, Andy was always in tears. The anger and lack of nurturance plunged him into feeling of worthlessness. He said that since childhood the "deficits" he experienced at home were a recurring painful pattern.

For therapists, the healing of wounded emotions and identity of ones like Andy's cannot be completed in one session. It's a process. Not a single event.

Affirmations, healing rituals, guided new-habit formations, stories with metaphors of personal power,  reframing thoughts, emotional internal dialogue, and healing of the inner child, and spirituality are appropriate interventions.

Meditation: Exercise for Your Brain


Meditation is brain-nourishing. It promotes mental, emotional, physical, as well as spiritual  health.

You exercise it, you develop life health overall.

Dante was an over-worrier and overthinker. When he first entered session with me, he got anxious a lot about too many things at the same time.

Also, his perceptual focus had always been on the negative. He responded to other people's labels as if they were the real thing.

From this kind of thinking, he took labels and opinions from others literally. And, all the time, he'd assume he somehow knew about his "badness" or attribute ill will to others.

One of the first key new habits Dante learned in our work together is meditation.

Mindful meditation. Taking control of intrusive thoughts. Refocusing, when the "monkey mind" jumps again.

With this new habit, Dante has noticed that, on days that he exercises meditation, he is pretty less anxious and agitated.

His meditation breaks help him relax and be more focused on his work.

In my weekend geriatrics group session with aging men, we do a lot of meditation. Training the mind.  Taking control of one's thoughts.

How such a simple activity improve symptoms of depression and anxiety common among the aged! It promotes their learning new things to grow. It preserves the aging brain.

Meditation. Its benefits are profound.

Not only demonstrated by thousands of years of anecdotal evidences.  But it's also solidly validated by exhaustive scientific research.

Doing Conscious Deep Breathing


Breathing. We humans breathe about 20,000 breaths each day. That's a lot.

You don't think about it when you breathe. You don't count. The breaths just happen automatically.

How come, when under severe stress, we tend to hyperventilate? Breathe faster. Breathe more. Or, feel shortness of breath.

That happened to Connie. When she arrived home, she found her husband and 4-year-old daughter gone from their house.

While contacting her husband over the phone, she could hardly breathe. Her husband wasn't answering. Weeks before, Connie's husband confessed to an affair with a woman living in another country.

Such change in breathing is usually a first sign of overwhelming thoughts and feelings. In situations of fear, anxiety, or crisis.

What can you do in sensitive or painful moments like this?

Do your "first aid:" Conscious breathing.

Focus your mind on breathing deeply.

"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor," writes Thic Nhat Hanh.

Your slow, deep, rhythmic conscious breathing is one of the best ways to detach from your negative thoughts and feelings. You exercise shifting your awareness from your worry.

Dr. Herbert Benson, from Harvard Mind-Body Medical Institute, calls it "relaxation response." He describes it this way:

"The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changed the physical and emotional responses to stress ... and the opposite of the flight or fight response."

Psycho-Cybernetics and Self Image


Dr. Maxwell Maltz, MD was a cosmetic surgeon. In his practice, he operated on improving the facial or physical appearances of individuals.

It's a drive too on his part to improve people's self image through his specialized work.

What he discovered was, despite evidenced improvements in appearance, "gains" in self image do not necessarily follow in the minds of patients.

A lot of his patients would still feel "ugly" and dismayed about themselves, even after their successful surgeries.

In his famous long-time bestseller, "Psycho-Cybernetics and Self-Fulfillment," Dr. Maltz teaches about self image, goals, and happiness.

It's interesting, Dr. Maltz's coining of the term "psycho-cybernetics."

In original Greek roots, the word "psycho" refers to mind or soul, whereas "cybernetics" to system of control in machines.

Psycho-Cyberneyics was a system born out of Dr. Maltz's experience with his patients that struggled with their self image.

A few weeks ago, a brother of one of my long-term clients sent me an email. He's an IT specialist working in Europe.

In his query, he seemed subscribing to the idea that therapy can be reduced to a "machine," with precise or well-defined measurements, milestones, and results.

Dr. Maltz's Psycho-Cybernetics bridges the gap between mechanistic models of our mind (brain as a computer!) and the knowledge of the nature of our humanity as a lot more than machine.

We're uniquely human. And we can never be essentially reduced to machine analogies.

That is, although the dynamics of our psychological development and self growth might be best described in mechanistic terms, we're far more than that.

Such an orientation is definitely a natural part of the human process of psychotherapy and soul care.

I believe in revolution for the vast inner space of our mind and self.

Our Creator gave us brains and internal systems more wonderful than any electronic computer or guidance machine that man produces.

Such knowledge should encourage and empower us to rise above mere physical circumstances or problems.

Jon's Financial Therapy


Jon, a multi-millionaire. Now he's a "financial therapist," sharing to and empowering others worldwide how he made it.

Only a few years ago, he was a financial disaster. In just 12 months, he quickly lost 1.1 million pesos in savings and accumulated 1.5 million in debt.

As a result, he went back to employment. Mopping floors. Selling cell phones at the mall.

This was after having previously worked as a professional in an office desk with a nice salary! Jon was humiliated and dismayed.

But the failures didn't stop Jon.

He decided to start an online business. Selling digital products. To make it work, he woke up as early as 4 am and work for 12-15 hours with a paid employment on the side.

That's Jon's "seed."

Gradually, his part time online business picked up and started earning $ 5,000 or p250,000 per month.  After only about a year, he was making $ 10,000 or about half a million pesos a month ... while he was still employed.

Finally, he bid goodbye to his 9 to 5 job. At last, he escaped the prison of the corporate world! Jon calls it escape from "modern day slavery."

His other "seed" is Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It healed his mindset from employee to entrepreneur.

For Jon, the heavens opened up and the voice of God revealed to him what's financial freedom and his best life ever since then.

Facing Futility


The task of caregiving can be draining. At times, it leads to feelings of despondency. One daughter describes how the futility of her caring for her chronically sick, disabled mother precipitated a major depressive episode.

"She's not improving. No matter what I do or how well I do it, my efforts are wasted. It hurts seeing my Mom getting worse. I'm tortured, I could not put things right."

It happens. This feeling of futility. That despite your best efforts to be helpful, in spite of even the desire of one you're caring to get well, he or she may remain sick.

A sense of futility can lead a person to lose freshness. Innocence. Compassion. And eventually, one's identity as a genuine helper.

We can all understand that it can be beyond our means to help a person heal or get better. We simply need to carry more realistic expectations of what is within our human capacities.

Yet such realization does not protect us from thoughts like, "She should work hard her self as I do taking care of her," "She must appreciate my efforts," or "I must be doing something wrong here."

As a therapist, I sometimes feel that. I just cannot get through to some people when they resist, put up with games, defensive reactions, and stubbornness. Part of it, because of my own human limits.

Still I've to face reality. My sense of futility, if it happens. I still have to deal with the disease states of the mind or emotions of those I try to help. I need to be rational in knowing my capacities and not take things personally.

Acceptance. That's another key in facing futility. When you resist the reality of a bad situation, you add another layer of suffering in your mind.

I'm reminded of a Mom I spoke to yesterday who struggled caring for her autistic teenage son. She's worrying, depressing, or guilting her self into a solution!

We all need a decluttetered brain, a calm spirit, to handle bad situations.

Also, it is never unusual for us to encounter a power greater than we are capable of seeing or doing.

Marrriage Doesn't Mean Happiness


Is marriage a solution to your personal unhappiness?

Fely, at 30, thought so. Even while depressive and suicidal for years, she met Robert, a foreigner she found in an online dating site. The guy traveled to and fro in order to see and court her.

Each new visit, Robert would treat Fely to dinners out, roses, and surprise gifts. He became Fely's generous lover and "caretaker."

Eventually, despite her unprocessed depressive spirals and suicidal thoughts, Fely agreed to marry Robert. She said she felt "happy" when with him and marriage would make them be together permanently.

Only a few weeks after marriage, Fely was found half-naked on a drug overdose inside the bedroom. She also got drunk.

Coming from work, Robert felt devastated witnessing what was happening to his new wife. He thought she had already found "happiness" when they got married.

I agree with marital therapists/authors, Sally and Jim Conway. They wrote in their book "When A Mate Wants Out:"

"An unhappy person before marriage is likely to be an unhappy person after marriage. Marriage may provide a temporary change in happiness because of the novelty of the situation, but eventually each mate will settle back into the level of happiness experienced as a single adult."

Marriage is life.

A mixture of good and bad. If a partner believes marriage is just good or like in courtship, he or she is going to be disappointed. Possibly, blaming or whiny too.

So, if you're unhappy or in a disease state now as a single adult, ultimately it may mean there is double the unhappiness or disease when and after you get married.

It's all the more "doubles" when two unhappy persons are put together in a marriage!

Something to think about. Seriously.

Freeing Your Self from Emotional Imprisonment


Sometimes, walking in the street, I passed by armored vans delivering/transporting money to or from the bank.

They have a treasure inside that they're guarding with great vigilance.

The vigilance is of course a necessity.

It's interesting that Maria guards her feelings so well. Even those that continue to damage her core being.

As a result, she lost the ability to experience joy in her life. Her personality is unnecessarily locked up by her emotions.

Expectedly, during sessions, Maria gets tight.

Must she lock up her injured emotions and avoid seeing what they really are? Must she imprison her personality?

Of course not.

As in the case of almost all with psychological wounding, Maria must learn to free her self. From a type of prison outside brick-and-mortar penitentiary.

It's a call towards liberation from emotional imprisonment.

So how then do you free your self from this life-damaging internal prison? How do you find joy, peace, and fulfillment?

Answer: self-acceptance.

That means, self-liking, self-caring.

If you can be vigilant guarding your self from being hurt or damaged by your wounded emotions, surely you can be vigilant and enthusiastic for the greatest task of guarding your best treasure.

That is, the healing and growth of your capacity for self-acceptance.

Accepting your self amid the inevitable ups and downs of life. Accepting your self in a troubled world. Accepting your self -- both in triumphs and tragedies.

Psychological Care in Physical Illness


One of my clients, Cynthia, who underwent several brain surgeries, commented: "I'm not sure if some of the operations were necessary. I think it's more about the money!"

Such is a sad case of sensing how health providers can put economic gain above patient needs.

I suppose we can't automatically assume that hospital, medical, or health care providers are our agents or advocates. Resolutely looking out for our best interests, I mean.

Nowadays, we live in a culture where tasks are given priority over mercy or humane service. Sadly, if we're discerning enough, there are schemes that allow doctors and health care providers to profit by denying essential care.

Decades ago, I visited my sister in the ICU of a hospital. She had kidney cancer. After a few complications since being hospitalized several weeks before, she died. Painful, I saw how lonely and depressed she was in her medical setting.

How I noticed a succession of 7 different nurses who saw my sister. Two or three doctors would check on her. Each one of them spent a few seconds or minutes with my sister -- but nobody looked at her as a whole person.

I think our whole health care system is too specialized. Too responsible for an incredible number of patients, with very little time to spend with each. Much less, the training and competence to provide basic psychological care to those in chronic illness.

No wonder, one of my medical doctor-friends once remarked, "You can die faster in the hospital!" How ironic, isn't it?

Proper psychological and spiritual care need to be basic in health care. It always spells the difference between life and death. Longevity of the patient while ill hangs on it.

When someone is frightened or in pain, personal and compassionate care of the doctors etc can be a best medication.