Counselor’s inspirational – – Boundaries for your benefit

Boundaries – – sometimes they are harder to set than others, or even to make at all. However, if a person is stressing you out, making you feel crappy about yourself, or the interaction you have with them is just proving to not be healthy for you; you might benefit from these inspirational quotes.

It may be an easier start setting boundaries for yourself—to make it to a place where you can then set boundaries with others.  See which quote resonates with you for a good place to start.  The hope is that this helps give you the strength or validation you need in order to make decisions that are best for you.


Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirits, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
— Eleanor Brown

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. – – Brene Brown


You best teach others about healthy boundaries by enforcing yours. – – Bryant McGill

Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring (just) because I don’t do things your way. I care about me, too. – – Christine Morgan

Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept. —Anna Taylor

Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams. – – Hal Elrod

Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on. – – Steve Maraboli

Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing. – – Richie Norton

There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it. – – William Gay

There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it. – – William Gay

Every time I have to set a boundary, it stresses me out. But, I do it for the same reason I’ve been building blanket forts since I was a little kid—to create a safe place for myself.—Nanea Hoffman

For more inspiration or strength, this article might also be helpful:

Suggested Readings:

Where to draw the line—Anne Katherine

Boundary Power:  How I Treat You and How I Let You Treat Me—Mike S. O’Neil & Charles E. Newbold

The Gifts of Imperfection—Brene Brown

Please feel free to share with others, or follow my Facebook page for other inspirational quotes, motivation, and ideas at:


The mind/body connection –Why counseling is as important as seeing your doctor

When you are sick, you go to the doctor, possibly take a medication, and hopefully do your best to follow your doctor‘s orders. It’s the same with your mental health. When you are sad, anxious, or feeling like a change is needed, it is reflected in your actions. Both are very important to take care of, as this is the only mind and body you have.  The way your mind processes things may be either causing, or making a physical condition worse.

Stress is associated with many illnesses, which indicates a mind body connection.  A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 60 to 80 percent of illnesses reported to primary care physicians may have a stress component.  Some examples this study indicated of stress being connected to the mind body connection were:  stomach issues, muscle aches and pains, joint and back problems, increased blood pressure, stomach ulcers, increased heart rate, higher cholesterol, and increased risk of heart attack.  Also, mood problems such as anger, irritability, depression, panic, anxiety, headaches, low energy, lower bone density, and loss of libido.  Another connection is a reduced immune response—which makes all illnesses, including cancer, more likely.  If you are diagnosed with cancer, the book Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich might prove helpful, with her promotion of positive thinking.  

A personal example to share here is my aging mother.  She has incurred many different medical concerns.  This has shown me, very close to home, how I learned that elderly illnesses can be highly correlated with depression. 

To become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is to have good emotional health.  Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and then act. When you are anxious, stressed, or upset in some way, your body reacts in a way that might tell you that something isn’t right. To learn healthy ways to cope with stressors and problems in your life is to feel good about yourself, and to have healthy relationships.  It is more of how you can learn to change your reaction to an event, than to the event itself.  We all interpret situations differently.  How we interpret something is influenced by our past experiences, and our interpretation of them.  Do you handle stress in a way so it does not affect your physical health?  Here are some ways you can address situations as they arise for the benefit of--you.

Recognize what you can do.  To start improving your mental or emotional health, for the benefit of your physical health, try to become mindful of your reactions to things that happen, and understand why you do react that way.  Knowledge really can be power, and the beginning of being able to combat ailments before they happen.

Become comfortable with expressing your feelings.  If feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety are causing you physical problems, not doing something about it can only worsen things for you.  It’s okay to let others know when something is going on for you.  Yet, realize that friends and family do not always know what to do to help you cope with things. Someone outside the situation that is trained to understand the relationship between feelings and your health can appropriately help. Your doctor, a counselor, or a spiritual advisor can help you go in the direction towards improving your emotional health and well being.

Is your life,”balanced”?  The power of positive thinking can only be helpful.  What are you grateful for?  When you can focus on the positive, problems at work or home may not feel so daunting.  This takes practice, but making your health a priority can be very beneficial. Check out some tips in my New Year’s Resolution blog here for some tips to help you get started.  What do you feel you could benefit from changing?  Also, here is a blog on overcoming your fears:

Are you resilient?  To be resilient is to be able to cope with stressors in healthy ways.  You can learn to become resilient if you do not feel you are.  You can look towards developing a healthy support network of people in your life.  You can work on not only positive thinking in general, but also on having a positive view of yourself.  You can work on acceptance of things you cannot change, and on putting things into perspective—when to know the difference between what you can change, and what you cannot.  In the same respect, being able to forgive is healthier for you than holding onto anger. This does not mean that you have to allow a person back into your life, but forgiving someone for your own benefit can greatly benefit your health.  What are you holding onto that no longer serves you?

What do you do to calm yourself?  A calm mind makes for a calm body.  I personally keep myself very regimented with listening to music that keeps me calm at the beginning of my day, and have learned the art of meditation through consistently practicing yoga.  But, you have to find what works for you.  There is also Tai Chi and guided meditations that help focus your thoughts.  Getting out in nature is also something that has been personally helpful.

What else can you do?  Being a former personal trainer, I know how cardiorespiratory exercise can strengthen your heart so it does not have to work as hard, and how endorphins are released in your body when you exercise. After about ten minutes of cardiorespiratory exercise, you can feel what is known as a, “runners high”, which can be correlated with a positive and energizing outlook on life.  The saying I created underneath my picture on the gym wall said, “Laughter is good for the abs!”  I believe laughter is good medicine, and always made a point to make my clients laugh!  Working out does not have to be so serious.  After all, here we are talking about feeling good for our health.  Always seek out the assistance of a doctor before you start any exercise program. Also, do you have a regular routine for healthy meals?  Please seek out the assistance of a nutritionist if you need advisement on healthy eating. Do you get enough sleep? Do you overindulge in food, alcohol, or drugs?—which can lead to bigger problems in long term.

Know when to seek out help.  Minimal stress can be a natural part of your life, but when it becomes overwhelming, or if your negative feelings are not going away, and are affecting your quality of life, please talk with your doctor.  You may benefit from the assistance of your doctor, a counselor, or both. 

You do not have to allow your emotions to get the best of you. Taking a first step of getting the help you need, and doing things to help yourself, could be the best decisions you’ve ever made.  Choose to get your body moving, get out in our beautiful Florida sunshine, and eat healthy foods. If you find yourself feeling down, anxious, stressed, or are not sure what you can do to improve the quality of your life, please reach out for therapy.  Your mind and your body are both important to take care of. 


 1.   Recognize what you can do.

2.   Become comfortable with expressing your feelings.

3.   Is your life balanced?

4.   Are you resilient?

5.   What do you do to calm yourself?

6.   What else can you do?

7.   Know when to seek out help.



Burn out—Counselors need counseling too.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”--Confucius

Each week, I listen to what people say—with my clients, and in my everyday life.  I listen to myself too.  We tend to do that as therapists! This week, a theme kept coming up with my colleagues about burn out. I thought this would be an excellent topic to write about, both for the benefit of fellow therapists, and for our clients.

When I was a personal trainer, it seemed as though everyone in the gym thought that we were all physically perfect. No matter what profession you’re in, there’s not one person that we can put in the middle of a room, look at, and say, “That person is perfect.” It’s the same with therapists. We are not perfect.  We make mistakes, have life problems, and have to find our own ways to move through them.

At one of the universities I attended, a psychologist did not get the therapy they very much could have benefited from, started acting in an unethical way, and was stripped of that license to practice therapy that we all work so hard for.  When it was suggested that this person get their own therapy, the response was, “Who am I going to see?  I’m a psychologist.”  Knowing when you need to seek out help is crucial to your well being—and your career.

As I listened to my fellow therapist’s stories and journeys, I heard why one left a long-standing private practice after more than a decade.  I heard others, just starting out in private practice, already feeling exhaustion from trying to figure out how to think like both an entrepreneur, and a therapist. Others were having trouble emotionally holding onto the role a therapist needs in order to best serve our clients, and still others feeling the, “imposter syndrome”.  Did they really know how to therapeutically treat their clients?   

I feel, as therapists, it is extremely important to seek out our own help at the first hint of burn out before we fizzle out. We know the questions. We ask the questions. There are a lot of things you can question to identify what might be going on for you, and what direction you may need may to go in. At a time of struggle or strife, as we know, it can be harder to see things with clarity. 

We are always becoming.  I found my first mentor in the field during an undergraduate field work position.  We only know the theories behind the practice at this point.  I was amazed, sitting in group sessions, how she immediately knew how to respond, or what to say to client’s comments and concerns.  I would sit with her after every group, and ask her about this.  She said that the thing about our field is that we are always growing and learning.  Once licensed, we are required to get our CEU’s.  We have tons of books we’ve collected.  I know I could use a bigger bookcase!  If you are feeling that imposter syndrome, it might be helpful to refresh yourself through our old textbooks, or ask yourself some of the questions below. Also, always remember self compassion.

Are you in your ideal environment? Some of us work in agencies serving a specific population.  Some of us work in hospitals or facilities.  Some of us start out working under a licensed therapist in a private or group practice.  Some of us do contract work, and others go from home to home serving families.  Are you in an environment where you thrive the most?  Are you in your best fit? 

Through my experiences in the field, I found that my personal answer was that I needed to be autonomous. With this, I could really delve into using my right-brained creativity in serving my clients.  I feel my choice affords me to feel that I’m doing my best to both stay connected to, and keep growing, in my field--and write blogs like this.  It became fun again!  I felt like I did when I first decided that I wanted to enter the field to empower people.  I had found my purpose, and now my passion was back!

How is your personal life? We know that striving towards balance in our lives is important.  It can feel like a constant teeter-totter at times, or a Ferris wheel that makes you dizzy!    We also know how important self care is, but are you consistently doing it?  I know if I do not get enough sleep, or miss a workout or my favorite yoga class, I feel crappy.  It’s also okay to know when you need a day off from self care to self care.  Sometimes that means zoning out on the sofa watching the, “boob tube”.  How are your personal relationships?  Is there anything or anyone toxic that you could benefit from letting go of?  Are there friends you wish you could see more of, and want to reach out to? What might be getting in your way, or needs to be out of your way?

Are you keeping that, “therapeutic distance”?  Therapy is quite personal, yet it’s not to be taken personal.  Just as thinking like an entrepreneur when trained to be a therapist, being able to keep that therapeutic stance in order to best serve our clients will only assist us with combating burnout.  Empathic people can have a difficult time with this.  You may need to find reminders that, while our caring can certainly serve our clients, we need to serve ourselves first in order to be there for them.

Are you taking on too much?  Everyone has their own meter that says when they are, “full”.  I know some therapists that can see ten clients a day.  For others, it seems five a day is a comfortable number for them. Some need a good break in between clients.  Do you know your limit?

Do you need support? This week, myself and three other therapists started a support group on how to build our ideal private practices. This is something I’ve wanted to find since I went out on my own private practice venture. Being autonomous in private practice can feel lonely for some. Not only does joining some type of support group give you support—whether it’s for personal mental health reasons, or building an ideal practice--but it also is a way to better serve our community by collaborating with others to gain different viewpoints and perspectives to be at our personal best. Our clients are our community. To look at the bigger picture of being able to have everyone working at their best capacity can only better serve the community as a whole. Although we’ve made it through our graduate programs, our hours of supervised experience before we were licensed, and took our own paths in the field, it does not mean we still do not need the support of our peers. Collaboration is never a bad idea in any profession.


If you are struggling, I hope these questions and maybe simple, yet important, reminders sparked something, or were helpful for you.  Please feel free to share with others if you sense they may be feeling burnt out or stressed.  Also, please feel free to reach out to me.  If we have a community of support, we can only better serve our community of healthy clients.




1.  We are always becoming.

2.  Are you in your ideal environment?

3.  How is your personal life?

4.  Are you keeping that, "therapeutic distance"?

5.  Are you taking on too much?

6.  Do you need support?

Marijuana--The good and the not so good for your mental health

There have been many questions since medicinal marijuana became legal in our state of Florida.  There are important things you need to know--both about being able to get it legally through a physician, and also what the effects of recreational marijuana are if you choose to use it as a means of self-medicating.  It is important to know what you are putting into your body, and what those effects may be for you.

After attending a training through our local mental health counselors chapter on this subject, I felt this beneficial knowledge to share --especially since we were informed that we learned more than a general physician would in a training required for them to write a letter for you recommending medicinal marijuana. Physicians cannot write an actual prescription. Physicians also are only required to be trained on the legalities of this alternative medicine, not the actual knowledge Dr. Gregory Smith of Tampa shared with us.  Dr. Smith has extensively focused on researching both the effects and the benefits of being treated with medicinal marijuana, along with what the risks can be when trying to treat yourself with recreational marijuana. If you are recommended for medicinal marijuana by your doctor, and go to a dispensary, know that dispensary staff has no training, so they cannot additionally advise you. 

Marijuana is a combination of CBD and THC.  There are two components to marijuana--CBD and THC.  CBD is non-euphoric, and has minimal adverse effects.  It does not get you high; yet it holds 80% of the therapeutic effects cannabis has. THC is euphoric, and gets you high, but it is also associated with major adverse effects. What you get that is not bought in a dispensary is mostly THC.  Recreational-grade cannabis has much more THC than CBD. Medical grade cannabis has equal or greater amounts of CBD and THC. In a nutshell, it was explained CBD is beneficial, but THC you get on the street is not what is needed to help with medical or mental health concerns you may have. What you get in dispensaries is medical grade for the purpose of treating medical and mental conditions.  The by-products of smoked plant material you get on the street can lead to such things as respiratory infections, coughing, and wheezing.  Too high of a dose of THC can cause dysphoria—a highly unpleasant feeling as though, “I am going to die”.

Cannabis is addictive.  Despite what has been talked about frequently under the area of substance abuse, marijuana can be addictive.  There are several enzymes in your body that impact how CBD and THC are metabolized that impact efficacy, adverse effects, and the likelihood of developing dependency.  Without getting too technical, if you have a certain gene, you are more likely to become dependent.  Also, when you cease using marijuana, there are withdrawal symptoms.  It is similar to caffeine withdrawal.  You most likely will be, “grumpy”. My professional knowledge is that when there is withdrawal, there is addiction.

There are different forms for different conditions.  CBD topical gels, extracts, oils, sprays, edibles and skin patches have proven beneficial for your auto immune system, and with mental health concerns.  It can help with swelling and inflammation for such things as psoriasis and eczema.  It can also be used in areas where you have physical pain.  For mental health concerns, CBD is fat soluble, so it is best absorbed in the mouth, not in the liver—where things are processed in your body.  The best is to absorb it underneath your tongue or in your mouth.  Yet, for anxiety, using a vapor with CBD works best, and will last for about an hour and a half. 

Getting the correct dosage for you is important.  There is something called an MDI inhaler, which will give an exact dose of what your body needs.  If you are getting high, it means your dose is too high. There are still personal risk factors to be concerned with. It is of benefit to work with a doctor that can work on what dosage is right for you. If you have consistently been a marijuana smoker, or if you have smoked very little or never, makes a difference.  Your doctor should have you keep a cannabis diary, and re-evaluate how you have been responding after your first two weeks.* 

Here are some examples of why the difference between CBD and THC matter. If you have insomnia, the best treatment is for CBD to go in through your stomach in the form of a tea. This way, the effects can last for six hours in an edible form of CBD.  If you are on a sleep medication, research has shown that CBD works well in place of more addictive barbiturates, and also gives you more restorative sleep.  If you are getting THC, your REM sleep will be compromised.  If you have anxiety, too much THC can cause panic attacks, or cause you to become paranoid or agitated.

Women that are pregnant or nursing are at risk.  Just as if you smoke cigarettes when you are pregnant, higher THC levels are associated with low birth weight. The research is questioning treating anyone under the age of 25 due to the developing brain.  While positive mood effects of cannabis are particularly noticeable, it is more challenging due to an increased risk of adverse effects, and to find the right dosage for the senior population.

There is also a risk of dependency and developing psychosis. Many of the same psychological symptoms that can be treated with cannabis (CBD), such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, agitation, schizophrenia, hallucinations, hyperarousal, eating disorders, OCD (obsessive- compulsive disorder) or insomnia can also be temporarily caused by rapid or excessive intake of THC. 

Also, if you have a family history of schizophrenia, a prior history of having a psychotic episode or schizophrenia, prior history of panic, prior or current history of alcohol or drug dependency, a prior psychotic episode from recreational cannabis use, you can also be at risk by using THC.  There is also a rare disorder from chronic, heavy use of recreational marijuana, where you will feel bouts of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.  But, the adverse effects are rare with medical grade cannabis and medical doses of CBD.  Recent studies also suggest that CBD may be helpful in treating addictive disorders involving opioids, cocaine, stimulants, and also tobacco.

There are still things to be ironed out.  Medicinal marijuana is new to our state.  The cost of getting accepted to receive it’s treatment is higher now than it may be at a later date.  Keeping up to date on the cost and efficiency of something new is to be considered.  If you choose to find out if this is right for you, it is now a choice you have. Choose wisely.

*This is meant to be a summary of my understanding of what I learned through attending a seminar.  Please do not use this article to make any medical decisions.  Please consult with a physician.

If you found this summary informative, please feel free to share it with others you feel could benefit from this beginning knowledge.


Suggested reading:


1.    Marijuana is a combination of CBD and THC. 


2.    Cannabis is addictive. 


3.   There are different forms for different conditions.


4.   Getting the correct dosage for you is important. 


5.   Here are some examples of why the difference between CBD and THC matter.


6.   There are still things to be ironed out. 

FEAR— How to overcome the anxiety of it all

“Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”  --Martin Luther King, Jr.

Are there changes you’d like to make, but your nerves are getting the best of you? Are you having difficulty adjusting after the end of a relationship?  Are you not happy in your job, or nervous about an upcoming move—not being sure how it will go once you get there?

The top three fears people have are: the fear of the unknown, death, and speech anxiety.  Here, we are talking about the fear of the unknown. It’s all those, “what if” questions you ask yourself that can allow you to talk yourself out of anything.  Change can be hard.  You can allow yourself to talk yourself out of trying something new.  But, what if you didn’t? What would happen?  How would you benefit from making a change, or changes? If you’re not happy with where you are right now in any area of your life, change really might be something to look at.  Here are some ideas on how you can move away from your fears, and into a new way of life, for the benefit of your happiness.

Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  What you tell yourself, or your interpretation you make about something, is what’s behind why many people do not do things they otherwise would.  What you imagine has the ability to stop you in your tracks. You may have heard that your perception is your reality. It is. Fear is that uncertainty you feel about what the outcome of your choices may be, and the unpredictability of it all. 

Understand your fear.  The first step to conquering anything is to understand where it’s coming from. If you can understand where your fear is coming from, you can then take small steps towards being able to acknowledge it, and then come to a place to address it.  Thinking back to what messages you were given growing up may be a good place to start.  Did your fear stem from something you encountered, or was it maybe the way you were taught to think?  It could be those, “Oh, no!” reactions from people you grew up with--if you fell of of your bike, for example. Think what the consequences of holding onto your fear may be. What could you gain if you successfully conquered that fear?

Re-frame your thoughts.  If there is not someone else that is holding you back, it’s your thoughts that are. Reframing your thoughts into something that will allow you to move forward is a good step to take before you are able to physically take that step. My blog that includes the basics of a technique called thought stopping might be beneficial to turn to here.

Practice overcoming your fear.  I have one of the top three fears--speech anxiety.  I have ran substance abuse groups, counseling twenty maximum security inmate males in the Pinellas County Jail.  Yet, if you ask me to give a speech to an audience, I immediately am a ball of nerves!  I spoke with a couple of my professors about this in the past. What one of them said made the most sense to me.  He asked how many times I had been required to give a speech.  I could not count beyond my ten fingers.  I must have lucked out to have made it that far without many speeches!  While talking with my ex clinical supervisor recently,  he disclosed that he still feels nervous, even though he has given more speeches that he can count.  What he still does to overcome his nerves is to sing a song to himself as he is walking up to a podium.  That song eases his mind, and he is able to make it through his presentation.  He continues to face his fear, even though it is not 100% gone. Maybe you can find your own song. 


Use your foresight.  Now that we’ve talked about the hindsight of where your fear may have stemmed from, planning ahead before you decide to face your fear can help you feel more prepared for it.  You may feel more ready once you have created a more manageable state about it in your mind. Try going back to the common question of, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”  Once you have that answer, or answers, you can plan what you will do in those instances. Planning for the worst, but expecting the best, may be a good mindset for you.  You could also visualize yourself overcoming your fear as many times as you need to feel more prepared.  When you have replayed yourself successfully doing something over and over in your mind, that power of positive thinking can be helpful. 

There are more in depth discoveries that can be made in order to find ways to stop your worrisome thoughts, so you can then move forward from fear.  I hope this was a good start for you. If you can understand where your fear is coming from, you can then move towards a new path, a new goal, or a new life altogether. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, but if you don’t change what you’d really like to, everything will remain the same.  If you are struggling with change or making any kind of life transition, always feel free to reach out—or share this with someone else you know is struggling too. 


1.      Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.   

2.      Understand your fear. 

3.      Re-frame your thoughts.  

4.      Practice overcoming your fear.

5.       Use your foresight.