Jeff Levy, LCSW
Mental Health, Relationships, Trauma, Identity
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally posted on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, August 2016)
Monica had been adopted when she was days old. She knows nothing about her biological family, but came to therapy because of years of abuse and neglect in her adoptive family. She describes her mother as cold, critical, and dismissive. Her father was physically and verbally abusive. In retrospect, she believes he had a drinking problem, but as a child, she assumed the abuse and neglect she endured were related to something wrong with her; that if she behaved better, got better grades, anticipated her parents’ needs more quickly, she would be rewarded.
At 42, Monica is a professor at a local university, owns her own home, and has published numerous articles. Still, she believes she is unworthy of giving or receiving love. And to make matters more complicated, she believes that she needs to love herself before anyone else can love her and before she can love anyone else.
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally posted on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, September 2014)
I received a phone call earlier this week from Ray, a long time client. He rarely calls between sessions so when I listened to his voicemail asking me to call him back, I knew there was something important happening in his life. When we eventually spoke, it was through tears he told me his dog had been very ill and, for the first time the prior evening, she had been unable to walk.
I’ve written about Ray before, a long time survivor of HIV and someone whose health has steadily declined during the 20 plus years he has been HIV positive. Now, he is mostly home-bound and his primary companion is his 7 year old terrier mix named Rosie. He describes her as quiet and loving, following Ray from room to room, sleeping on his bed each night.
All AIDS Anger Apologizing Asking Questions In Sessions Authenticity Beginnings And Endings Being The Expert Boundaries Boundary Crossing Boundary Violations Breaks From Therapy Collaboration Between Therapists Coming Out Compassion Fatigue Contact Between Sessions Continuity Between Sessions Courage Crying Death Depression Disclosure Disclosure And Technology Dogs Email Emotional Support Animals Emotions Empathy Ending Psychotherapy Endings Expectations Experiments Failure Finances Forgiveness Framing Therapy Fraudulence Gifts Goals Grief Happiness Healing Rituals HIV Holding Back Homework Honesty Hope Human Animal Bond Identity Imposter Injuries Interpersonal Neurobiology Intersectionality Long Term Therapy Loss Loving Yourself Memory Metaphors In Psychotherapy Microaggressions Money Multiple Identities Neurophysiology New Information New Normal Normal Not Knowing Pain Physical Contact Positive Emotions Present Moment Priorities Privacy Questions Rage Real Relationships Resentment Resolution Rites Of Passage Rituals Rupture And Repair Sadness Safe Spaces Safety Safety Plan Safety Versus Comfort Secrecy Session Structure Short Term Therapy Silence Stigma And Mental Health Suicide Survival Strategies Themes In Psychotherapy Therapist Client Relationships Touch Trauma Trigger Warnings Values Vicarious Resilience Vicarious Trauma