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Changing / Growing

Below are the articles in the Changing / Growing category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Changing / Growing

Bounce Back: Developing Emotional Resilience

Resilience is key for successfully navigating the major upsets in our lives. Fortunately we all can enhance this universal capacity.

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Major disruptions are a “gotcha” we all experience at one time or another in our lives. We get fired, laid off or passed over; a loved one dies, leaves or gets into trouble; a project stalls or gets cancelled. The list, unfortunately, is endless.

For some, the impact of these hard times is overwhelming. Recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are admirably able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience—the strength required to adapt to change—acts as our internal compass so we can resourcefully navigate an upset.

When unexpected events turn life upside down, it’s the degree to which our resiliency comes into play that makes these “make-or-break” situations an opportunity for growth. The good news is that each of us has the capacity to reorganize our life after a disruption and to achieve new levels of strength and meaningfulness. Though it’s easy to feel vulnerable in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, life disruptions are not necessarily a bad thing because they help us grow and meet future challenges in our lives. It’s a lot like a bone that was once fragile or broken, and is now strong from being used.

So how can you become more resilient? Here’s a look at seven key characteristics of people who demonstrate resilience during life’s curve balls.

Interpreting Experiences in a New Light

The ability to look at a situation in a new way (a skill called “reframing”) can minimize the impact of a difficult situation. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, and don’t always use an old definition for a new challenge.

Curiosity in Business and Life

Curiosity has been given a bad rap, when in fact it’s a key ingredient for a fulfilling life.

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Perhaps we grew up hearing that asking questions was rude or conveyed ignorance, or that we’d get into trouble if we were like Curious George. We might even have been warned that “Curiosity killed the cat!”

The truth is that curiosity is one of the most vital and life-affirming qualities you can bring to your life and your relationships.

Curiosity in Business

It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong. Consider being curious about your experience rather than critical. For example, instead of beating yourself up for not reaching sales goals—again—try asking yourself what was going on for you that you kept performing below your expectations? With an attitude of “how fascinating that I’ve created this!” you are much more likely to help yourself find new solutions to attaining your goals.

Finding the Gifts of the Shadow

No one likes to admit to a dark side, but that shadow self is a treasure box just waiting to be owned.

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Imagine a résumé for your “shadow”—that unconscious part of us that holds all the stuff we deny, discount, disown, bury or pretend does not exist:

Vengeful, easily victimized, lazy, bad, untrustworthy. Excel at hopelessness and rage, expert on greed. Not creative. Never finish what I start. Stupid, a loner, damaged goods. Nurture murderous thoughts. Definitely unlovable.

No one likes to admit to a dark side—it can be a frightening and shocking experience to our self-image. We spend huge amounts of energy denying and repressing this unwanted inferior self.

What many of us don’t realize is that the shadow can be a helpful aspect of ourselves that holds the key to transformation—a loyal friend bearing the gifts of depth, integrity, vitality and wholeness—if we choose to meet it and love it.

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once, beautiful and brave,” said poet Ranier Maria Rilke. “Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love.”

Hoping is Not a Hopeless Endeavor

Discover the benefits of being hopeful for your health and wellness.

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Having a healthy dose of hope can be motivating and inspiring. It keeps people focused on what's ahead instead of what's in the past. It can also help keep the focus on possibilities, and reframe obstacles as opportunities.

For some, however, being hopeful goes hand-in-hand with feeling naïve or foolish when things don't work out as planned. They would rather not have hope at all if it means later disappointment.

But for others, having hope doesn't mean living in denial of life's difficulties; it simply reminds them there are better times ahead.

The Benefits of Hope

Research indicates that it's more beneficial to have hope than not. Hopeful people tend to show more resilience when faced with difficulties. They have healthier lifestyle habits and, on the whole, are more successful, personally and professionally.

How Emotionally Resilient Are You?

A true or false quiz to help you discover how well you cope with life's many challenges.

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Emotional resilience is the ability to successfully cope with change or misfortune. Even when afraid, resilient people respond to life's challenges with courage and emotional stamina.

While we can't always control what life brings, we can use adversity as an opportunity for growth. Respond True or False to the following statements to discover how well you cope with life's many challenges.

Set 1

1. When bad things happen, I think "why me?" I feel fear and self-pity; I want to find someone to blame.

How to Go from Stuck to Action to Empowerment

Feeling stuck, either in business or in life, can give anyone a sense of helpless futility, making them feel powerless to do anything about it. Any action can seem intimidating and overwhelming, but it can actually be a secret weapon. Here’s how action can be used to fuel someone toward more fulfilling circumstances.

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If you've ever been stuck in a rut of inertia—in business or in life—you know the sense of helpless futility that seems to take over.

You want your business or life to change, but you feel powerless to do anything about it yourself. You may find yourself constantly making plans to improve these areas, but never quite get around to taking action because it seems so intimidating.

Though taking action might feel intimidating and frightening, it's also a secret weapon you can use to empower you and make you fierce! If you learn to use it effectively, it can provide the fuel to keep you moving forward toward more fulfilling circumstances.

When you do this, you realize that there was never anything to fear in the first place, and you’ll quite possibly never get stuck again. Below are three simple steps that show you how to get started:

1. First, be sure you understand that your business and life is the way it is right now because of your hesitation in taking action. This is important, because you’ll understand the importance of moving forward no matter how anxious it makes you feel at first.

How to "Hack" Into Your Own Brainpower

Learn how to overcome self-sabataging tendencies with the power of your brain.

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Much like a computer responds to commands, your brain can be programmed to accept any changes you might want to make in your life. However, many of your current behaviors stem from unconstructive programming you received as a child that may stand in the way of change.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz, in his book Psycho-Cybernetics, published in 1960, says, "Beliefs about ourselves have unconsciously been formed from our past experiences ... especially in early childhood." So keep in mind, when you want to change a particular habit or belief, that the unwanted behavior was built on patterns developed over time.

In this classic book, Dr, Maltz introduced the idea of a mind-body connection and that positive outcomes are achieved through changing our attitudes. Here are some simple steps that can help you overcome self-sabotaging tendencies, much like installing new software into the computer of your mind.

Identify the issue. Write down everything you know about the habit, such as when it started and why. Be as detailed and truthful as possible because it's hard to change what you don't acknowledge. And list all the reasons you want to change. According to Dr. Maltz, "Change the self-image and you change the personality."

How Well Do You Cope With Change?

“Kicking and screaming” or “going with the flow”—this quiz reveals various strategies for dealing with change and offers helpful approaches.

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All change carries with it the risk of the unknown and the unexpected. Some find this exciting and welcome the challenge. Others go down the path of change reluctantly, dragging their heels all the way. But, as songwriter Johnny Rivers said, “The only thing that’s permanent is change.” A conscious, developed awareness of our response to change can help us develop better coping strategies.

Answer the following questions to find out how you cope with change. You won’t be scored at the end, but answer true or false to the following questions, and elaborate a bit on those that feel especially relevant.

T / F 1. I hesitate to make a change until everything is 100 percent right.

T / F 2. I never make changes unless they are forced upon me.

T / F 3. Generally, I look forward to change as exciting and challenging.

How Well Do You Cope with Disappointment?

Disappointment is a normal response everyone experiences. Questions check to see whether you turn against yourself after a disappointment.

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Disappointment is that feeling of being let down by a person, an expectation or a hope. It is a normal response that everyone experiences. But all too often, when we’re disappointed and especially need caring attention, we beat ourselves up instead. Take this quiz to see how well you take care of yourself after a disappointment.

1. I recognize that disappointment is a part of life. When I experience a disappointment, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person or that I deserved it.

2. When I have suffered a disappointment, I let myself have my feelings. I realize that when you give feelings the time and attention they need and deserve, they tend to fade on their own.

3. With a therapist or in another safe setting, I work through other feelings that disappointment brings to the surface. These feelings often include shock, hurt and anger.

How Well Do You Let Go and Move On?

Letting go can be an empowering act, as it forces you to develop important resources such as courage, compassion, forgiveness and love. This quiz helps readers explore releasing what's no longer viable to make room for the new.

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Whether you're letting go of a cherished idea or person or a vision of how life was supposed to be, it can feel excruciating to leave something or someone behind. It can feel as though you're losing a part of yourself. Sometimes you might even feel attached to your anger and resentment.

However, letting go can be an empowering act, as it forces you to develop important resources like courage, compassion, forgiveness and love. Answer the following true/false questions to discover how well you release what's no longer viable:

Set 1

1. I have a hard time letting go of grudges. When someone does me wrong, they are permanently on my "bad" list.

Leaps of Faith: Can We Afford Not to Take Them?

Every day offers forks in the road where we can either take a risk or do what we’ve always done.

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Some people go their whole life without taking a risk, without straying from the path they’re on, no matter how unpleasant it is. Others leap from one adventure to the next, seemingly with no need for security or routine.

Most of us, though, fall somewhere in the middle. We choose our leaps of faith carefully, sometimes agonizing for years before taking one and sometimes regretting missed opportunities for years after the fact.

Where would we be today if people like Charles Darwin or Henry Ford hadn’t taken the leap? Darwin withheld his theory of natural selection for years, knowing the impact it would have. And what if Henry Ford had listened to naysayers and never tried to mass-produce an affordable car?

Life Lessons from the Garden

Reviled by many as a bothersome weed, the dandelion nevertheless continues to display its pert, yellow self in lawns everywhere, thriving in the face of adversity. What are the lessons there?

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Where, in our own lives, do we face adversity? How do we carry ourselves through it: head down, beating ourselves up or feeling defensive and resentful? Or head up and face open, like the dandelion, sure of our intrinsic worthiness, knowing our gifts to the world, even if the world doesn’t necessarily recognize them?

For those who know how to look and wait, the garden teems with other such life lessons. As spring awakens this year, turn your awareness to the wise teachings of your garden. If you don’t have a conventional garden, a container garden on your porch or potted plants in your home still offer valuable lessons. Here are a few:

It’s OK to be imperfect. Trying to grow the perfect rose, or the perfect cabbage, is an exhausting, never-ending quest for flawlessness. “Imperfect” roses are still beautiful and “imperfect” cabbages still burst with flavor, just like we humans. With our myriad imperfections, we still contribute our own beauty and zest to the world.

Pruning improves growth. Removing old habits that don’t serve us opens new possibilities for growth in areas that do serve us.

Life Stages: Changes, Choices and Challenges

Life’s passages aren’t as predictable as they once were. Individuals have more choices and more freedom, but freedom can come with complications.

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In times past, we measured significant life events by the age most people experienced them. Graduation, first job, marriage, first child, empty nest, retirement, widowhood, and finally death. All of these milestones happened at fairly predictable ages from 18 through 80 or so. But times have changed drastically in the last quarter century, and using chronological age as markers for life stages is no longer relevant.

Adolescence now extends into the late twenties, middle age happens somewhere in the fifties, and old age is more a state of mind than a physical reality.

The TwentiesWhile previous generations graduated from college (if they went), settled into careers, had children and bought their first home during their twenties, today this decade is a time of prolonged adolescence. Some in this age group still live with their parents and remain happily single.

Living a Guilt-Free Life!

Guilt is a conditioned response—which means we can change it. The article explores how.

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Guilt is handed on, person to person, as surely as the baton in a relay race. Each generation receives it and passes it on to the next. Parents, teachers, spouses, businesses, governments, and religions have used it—consciously or not—for behavior modification or punishment. It is such a part of the fabric of our culture that we don’t question its validity.

What is Guilt?

“Guilt is the source of sorrow, the avenging fiend…with whips and stings,” wrote the 17th century dramatist, Nicholas Rowe. Rowe’s words are hardly over-dramatized. Guilt is like a ball and chain that weighs us down and keeps us from being who we are.

Guilt is a secondary emotion. That means it’s a feeling that stems from other thoughts or feelings. Guilt comes from thinking that you have done, or want to do, something wrong. Those thoughts of guilt infect and suppress your real feelings, such as anger, grief, desire, or happiness.

Optimizing Your Life Energy

Learn to focus on what’s truly important.

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Dr. Richard Carlson helped millions of people create lives of greater peace, connection and caring by focusing on the more important things in life. The last chapter of one of his books is titled “Live This Day As If It Might Be Your Last. It Might Be!” Ironically and sadly, Carlson died unexpectedly at age 45 on a plane flight to New York.

How better to drive home his point? ...

How much energy would we free up by living more in the now? How can we optimize the time we have? Here are some ideas:

Clarify your values and create a personal mission statement. The clearer you are about what’s deeply important to you (your values) and who you are at your core, the more likely you will succeed in living your life “on purpose.” Your mission statement is the guidepost for knowing if you’re going in the right direction and provides information to put you back on course if you’re not acting in alignment with your values and mission.

Speaking Your Truth

How to speak your mind without alienating others.

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Heather, a baker for a catering company, began having issues with one of her co-workers after he bulldozed over her experience and capability in the kitchen. After her resentment had built up to a nearly unmanageable level, she called for a meeting, during which she explained to him how she was feeling.

"I made sure to speak my truth," says Heather. "By that I mean that I spoke with him in a completely honest way about my discomfort, without trying to minimize or play down the fact that I felt disrespected. I used 'I' statements, but was also clear about why the work environment had become unbearable."

Although the lead up to the talk was terrifying—Heather cried in her car on the way to work and nearly turned around—since the meeting, things have been much better at work.

Take Healthy Control

Healthy control is a means of empowerment; a fourfold strategy.

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We all know people who need control and put all their energies into asserting and maintaining it—often with unfortunate results. That kind of control can lead to rigidity, stifled relationships and, ironically, elevated stress, as life in all its messiness continues on its own course despite all attempts to make it mind.

Taking healthy control of your life is another matter. When you do that, you feel empowered and confident. The trick is recognizing when and where to grab the reins and when to surrender.

Here, then, is a four-fold strategy for taking control in ways that enrich your life.

1. Limit the Area You Seek To Control

A big part of healthy control is focus, knowing what to pursue and what to let go. Overly general and ambitious goals can increase feelings of helplessness or anxiety. Narrow your focus to what’s most important.

The Power of Intention

Victoria wants to stay sober. She’s quit before, only to relapse. But this time, she has two things in her favor, a young child counting on her to “get better,” and rather than just wistfully wishing for things to be different, she’s declared an intention.

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“Conscious change is brought about by the two qualities inherent in consciousness: attention and intention,” writes Deepak Chopra in Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. “Attention energizes, and intention transforms. Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life…. Intention, on the other hand, triggers transformation of energy and information. Intention organizes its own fulfillment.”

When you declare an intention, you gain the support of your subconscious mind. Here are some suggestions for how to work with intentions in order to bring what you need into your life.

• Get clear on what you want and why. It’s not enough to know what you don’t want. You can’t get what you want until you know what that is. Steven Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, writes that all things are created twice. “There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.”

• Imagine it. See it as happening. “Your imagination creates the inner picture that allows you to participate in the act of creation,” writes Dr. Wayne Dyer in his best-selling book The Power of Intention. “Your willpower is much less effective than your imagination, which is your link to the power of intention.”

The Powerful Act of Asking for What You Want

Asking for what one wants is more effective when four important elements are in place.

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Asking for what you want is a powerful, empowering act that can send strong ripples through your life. While it may seem simple enough, four things need to be in place first:

1. You know what you want.

2. You fully believe you deserve it.

3. You are prepared to accept the answer “No.”

4. You have the communication skills needed for an effective request.

What Do You Want?

Wants emerge from needs you are experiencing, for example: the need to be heard, the need for respect, expedience, beauty, intimacy. Knowing the need helps you be clear about what you are requesting. It’s helpful to distinguish between needs that move us towards well-being and those that never really bring happiness, such as the desire for approval or to be right.

The Top 6 Mindset Shifts You Need for Success

Is your mindset working to your advantage or holding you back? Explores a “fixed mindset” versus a “growth mindset.”

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Rollo The Clown: [singing] "If you will just believe it's true/ Then there is nothing you can't do/ There's not a mountain that you can't climb/ There's not a river you can't make it over/ There's no tomorrow that you can't find if you try."

Tillie, The Little Engine That Could: "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!"

As even children's characters will attest, a winning mindset is a trait to adopt. It attracts happiness, health, fulfilment and success. But what is a mindset, really?

What's on Your Mind?

A mindset is a person's established set of attitudes that are based on their assumptions. These assumptions predetermine a person's reactions to and interpretations of any event, environment or situation.

Whether positive or negative, a person's mindset is habitual and affects all aspects of his or her professional and personal life.

Think Positively for Maximum Growth

When someone harnesses a positive mindset, the sky is the limit. These tips and ideas can help anyone think positively in tough times so they can continue to grow and succeed.

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Turn on the news and you’ll get an earful of how bad things are—not only in your community but around the world. Head to the coffee shop and conversations will battle for your attention as folks around you discuss their woes. It's enough to make you want to bury your head in the sand.

Yet, when you can harness a positive mindset, the sky is the limit. A positive mindset not only helps you get through the tough times, it helps you profit from them and continue to grow and succeed.

The trick, of course, is actually being able to think positively in tough times. Here are a few tips and ideas to help.


Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions human beings are capable of. It’s right up there with love as a potent and significant emotion. It can transform the worst experience, erase a negative mindset and set you up on a path of continuous positivity.

Top 10 Practices that Support Talk Therapy

How to supplement and receive full benefit from those hours of therapy.

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Therapy can be a vital part of your healing. To get even more benefit from your therapy experience, consider adding one or all of these 10 practices to your life:

1. Physical self-care. A diet rich in protein, whole grains and vegetables and low in processed sugars will help keep your blood sugar stable so that you can be more clear in your thinking and more present in therapy. Also, exercising has been proven effective at relieving mild to moderate depression, which can be a barrier to confronting challenging issues.

2. Meditation. Sitting peacefully with our thoughts increases our capacity for insight and self-awareness—a real asset in therapy.

3. Support groups. Groups convey many benefits, including providing continuity between therapy sessions and greater clarity of your issues. They’re also about taking action and getting help, two key aspects of healing.

Top 10 Self-Help Mobile Apps

The top 10 self-help apps to download on your smart phone to track happiness, gratitude, sleep patterns, habits and more.

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Use of technology to enhance well-being is on the upswing. These new apps can be helpful, but please see a therapist for serious emotional / mental health issues. (Search the name on your app finder to get it for yourself.)

1. Gratitude JournalForgetting gratitude? This app offers daily reminders and iCloud syncing. Add photos, share what you're grateful for.

2. The Habit FactorYes, an app for breaking annoying habits. Set goals, create new positive behaviors, track your success.

3. iZen Garden 2A virtual zen garden in your palm—the tranquility that comes from being in a real one, without the messy sand!

Top 10 Signs of Strength

Master these ten signs of strength and improve your relationships with others—and yourself.

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Flash the Morse Code signal SOS and help is sure to come your way. Master these 10 signs of strength (SOS) and the help may be in the form of improved relationships, greater joy and connection with yourself, better self care and enhanced communication. All in all, quite a life raft!

1. Respond instead of react. When we react, we give away our personal power.

2. Identify and learn from your judgments. Judgments are often a reflection of our own inner needs and values.

3. Reach out when you need it. Asking for help is not a weakness.

4. Keep your word—especially to yourself. Beautiful palaces are built on this foundation of integrity.

Top 10 Ways to Cope with Change

They say nothing is certain but change. Whether that thought fills a person with excitement or dread, these suggestions offer opportunities to thrive.

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All change carries with it the risk of the unknown and the unexpected. Some find this exciting and welcome the challenge. Others go down the path of change reluctantly, dragging their heels all the way. But, as many a poet or songwriter has written, the only thing that’s permanent is change. Here are 10 ways to help you deal with it.

1. Understand your response to change. Do you tend to leap before you look or to imagine the worst?

2. Take responsibility for your reaction to change. You may not be able to control the events, but you can control your reaction to them.

3. Keep other changes to a minimum. Coming to terms with major changes is physically and emotionally taxing. Conserve your energy.

What Does It Mean to Be Vulnerable? (And Why Is It Empowering?)

Often we believe that keeping a stiff upper lip will keep us strong, but more likely it separates us from others. Fortunately, there is another way.

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Leslie is terrified of getting older, of her children leaving home, of being alone. These feelings scare her so much, she invents ways not to face her fears. Mostly, she lashes out at others for “making” her feel bad. She wonders why she has so few friends and can’t find a mate....

It hurts to admit we are vulnerable. For so many of us, it means we are weak, helpless and open to attack by others or by whatever life throws at us. Our culture demands that we be strong, so we try our best to hide our fears and cover up our weak spots. We don’t want to be seen as failures.

But there can be beauty in vulnerability and value in exploring so-called weaknesses. By exploring our “dark” side, we can turn our fears and vulnerabilities into strengths. To paraphrase author Matthew Fox, “Our demons aren’t in the way; they are the way!”

When Bad Is Good: Finding Meaning in Negative Events

How to find the silver lining when adversity strikes.

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There's a Taoist story of an old farmer whose horse inexplicably ran away. His neighbors said, "What bad luck!" to which he replied, "Perhaps."

The next day, the horse returned, bringing with it a wild horse. The farmer's son tried to ride it, fell, and broke his leg. Once again, the neighbors sent their sympathy: "How terrible this is." "Perhaps," the farmer said.

The following day, military officials came to the village to draft every young man into the army. With his leg broken, the farmer's son was spared from service.

There's always more than one way to look at what life brings you, and for every event that seems negative there is a way to reframe it so that you can see the positive.

Why Therapy? Exploring the Strengths of Seeking Help

Suffering in silence, out of society’s gaze, no longer is the rule. Now, going to a therapist is seen as a positive step in people’s lives.

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Long before there were therapists, there were family members. Grandpa and Aunt Jane listened, or gave us advice, or sometimes just told us to buck up. If family couldn’t help, there were friends or a clergy member. But most likely, we were also warned not to broadcast our troubles, and many people suffered their mental problems silently.

Times change, and so has society’s acceptance of seeking help. The old stigma of being seen as weak or incapable is largely gone, helped by many well-known writers, actors and politicians being open about their struggles with, and treatments for, everything from depression to chronic shoplifting. Going to a therapist is now seen as a positive step in most people’s lives.

“Therapy is a unique relationship and what makes it valuable sets it apart from friendships, working partnerships, family connections and love affairs,” says Carl Sherman, author of How to Go to Therapy: Making the Most of Professional Help.

In his book, author Sherman describes therapy as a balance in which two people are “collaborating on a single project: helping you deal with your problems and achieve the change you want. There is no other agenda.”

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