Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rebuilding Trust

For the math aficionados, I provide you with a mathematical formula for building trust. A client game me this one:

Trust =

Consistent behavior


Healthy Anger

Why is happiness any better than anger, especially when it represents how someone feels in a given moment? We are all created to experience the whole spectrum of emotions/feelings. One feeling is not necessarily better than another. Each emotion represents our internal reaction to a given situation. It was we do with our feelings that matters.

When someone you love expresses their anger well, they are giving you a gift. They are allowing you to see who they are in that given moment with the possibility of connection, understanding, and if possible resolution. Conflict and the healthy resolution of it, creates the foundation of a loving and lasting relationship

Embrace your anger as a positive aspect of yourself. Let it be a feeling that brings you closer to authentic relationships. Shape your anger into the an energetic force that resolves conflict nurtures healthy relationships, and creates higher levels of emotional and spiritual health.

Be angry as long as it is good for you; let it serve a purpose...let it empower you.

Who is Really Smart?

The "smartest person" isn't really the person that knows the most about any given subject. Actually, the person who seeks out "smart" people to find out what he/she doesn't know, ends up "smarter" than most.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Choice: Ending or Mending?

Yesterday during a session with one of my clients who is a sex addict, I explained the difference between recovery and abstinence. While explaining this difference, I came up with a simple play on words to drive the concept home: "recovery is to mending as abstinence as to ending."

My intention was to illustrate that just by stopping a drug or choice, the addict is still at risk for relapse. In the recovery field, we consider those who just stop as "dry drunks." These individuals are prone to all the same psychological, emotional, and behavioral maladaptive patterns that preceded the development of their addiction. In fact, many clients use the drug that they eventually become addicted to to "medicate" a history of trauma, loss, grief, low self esteem, etc. Therefore, stopping, or ending, is just not safe. However, starting a recovery program, while remaining sober, creates opportunities to mend those "hurts" that made the addict seek the drug in the first place.

The question then is: to end or mend? I am in the mending business.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Golden Truths 73 Years Later

73 years later and we are still using Dale Carnegie's wisdom. His book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People, has changed many a life. Personally, I learned much from this book during a time when my people skills were less than what I wanted. Periodically, I recommend this book to clients with poor social skills, lower self esteem, or those with social anxiety. i find the the wisdom in this book to be helpful and timeless. Enjoy!

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six ways to make people like you
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Win people to your way of thinking
1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Poem Rewrite: This Old Tree

I originally started this poem in 2004, a time when I struggling to get on my feet. Last night I finished it. Here it is. I attached a photo taken 20 years ago that must have unconsciously inspired me.

This Old Tree

The old oak tree
stands tall
and crooked.
Its cracked,
coarse and
weathered surface
reflects the assault of the seasons.

heat and snow
of seasons past
grated at its surface
with diamond sharp teeth,
digging in,
leaving permanent marks.

In defiance,
the tree stretches,
and moves skyward.
Its roots
reach around rocky obstacles,
firmly anchoring itself to the earth,
exerting strength and desire,
forcing its viability
to grow into yet another season.

With roots
dug deeply
into uninviting
and inhospitable soil,
the tree forcefully establishes its home.

And the tree proclaims:

"I am a tree
I am from the earth.
Neither floods,
nor drought
will tear me away
from where my roots cling.

I remain where I belong
The earth is my home."

Ross Rosenberg

Organic Therapy?

Now a days, everything that is good is supposed to be organic...right? Maybe? Well then...I want to jump on the bandwagon. I offer organic therapy. I work with people from the inside out, providing clients an opportunity to grow into healthy and complete individuals.

How about a definition of "organic"
--Developing in a manner analogous to the natural growth and evolution characteristic of living
organisms; arising as a natural outgrowth.

People who seek my services, often experience unpleasant or negative feelings, behaviors, and/or are involved in unhealthy relationship patterns. Therapy that only relies on self-analysis, talking, and/or venting, may reduce the severity of some symptoms; however, it doesn't always permanently solve or remediate deeper problems, feelings, or behavior patterns.

An "organic" therapy is a holistic and healing approach to helping my clients.. It enables a them to reach a more complete understanding of the origins of the problem(s). Once a person's presenting problem is understood as a symptom created from deeper origins (core), then, lasting and life-altering solutions are possible. Therefore, symptom relief is achieved at the level where the clients were originally hurt, traumatized, and/or psychologically stunted--usually when they were a child. My "organic" approach brings my clients to place of peace, resolution, and/or or serenity.

Solving problems organically is analogous to giving an under-watered and withered plant the right amount of sunshine, water, air, and quality dirt necessary for it become vibrant, healthy and complete. Spraying chemicals on the outside, may make the plant look bigger and better, but as we all know, it is only artificial--and may cause cancer ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Science of Romance/Love Is A Drug

According to the article: "The science of romance: Brains have a love circuit" there is a neuro-chemical aspect to love. Apparently, the feeling of love when analyzed in various medical tests, is chemically related to the same feeling of euphoria elicited by narcotics. It seems that the same dopamine receptors in similar parts of the brain are triggered when you "fall in love" as when you get high off of a drug. Didn't we all know this already? Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music's fame was onto something in his song, "Love is a Drug."

"Jump up bubble up - whats in store
Love is the drug and I need to score
Showing out, showing out, hit and run
Boy meets girl where the beat goes on
Stitched up tight, cant shake free
Love is the drug, got a hook on me
Oh oh catch that buzz
Love is the drug Im thinking of
Oh oh cant you see
Love is the drug for me
Oohhhh Oooooohh

Saturday, February 14, 2009

1988 is the same as 2009

The process of creating my website has been very interesting. Little by little, the website has taken form. What has emerged is a picture of Ross the professional and Ross the person. This has been a very interesting process for me, indeed. Right in front of my eyes, I am getting an opportunity who I was and how I got to be who I am now. In my very own website, I have words and symbols depicting my aspirations, dreams, and accomplishments.

While constructing the "experience" part of the website, I decided to post a newspaper article written about me and printed by the Boone (Iowa) News Repulbican in 1988. It highlighted me as a new counselor working with with chemically dependent teens and their families (still do!). I was blown away when I reread it. I am still the same guy! Wow! Who would have thought that my thoughts and idealism would have survived 21 years. And they have... I am greatful and blessed.

Pics and Words

I just added a new element to my website. I converted the "poetry" tab to "pics and words" tab. Now I am showcasing some of my favorite photos. There was a time, long before I knew how to reflect a feeling, paraphrase, or understand why everything starts with our mother, I just took photos.

Check out the link to my pics. is:


A Conspiring Universe

I am constantly amazed at the seemingly unexplainable events that occur with my clients during our work. The old me, would have discounted the unexplainable events as mere coincidence. The blossoming metaphysical side of Ross is starting to understands how the universe works. Now I know that seemingly random events are often messages from the "universe." I live by the words of Paul Coelho, as written his book the Alchemist: "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. (p23)"

My last two clients on Friday spoke specifically in incredible detail about a personal issue I am having with my life. For purposes of confidentiality on both sides (clients and family) I have to leave it as a generalization. But the messages were perfect. My goal as a therapist continues to be: develop my intuition, and to continue to interpret certain "coincidental" events as messages.

Now that I put that out there, I have to draw back to my research and scientific roots of psychology. I swing in all ways: a scientific, a mystical, and an intuitive person.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed L.C.P.C.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Parent In Training

Who would have guessed that my son would educate me so well in the art of understanding the disaffected, misunderstood, and disgruntled adolescents. No graduate class could have prepared me for this! Once I get past the mumbling, the looks like my IQ borders around 50, and the rolling of his eyes, I am still seemingly an alien in his world. The complicated thought process of a 15 year old is before my eyes...every day. I actually have looked forward to this time. As many who know me professionally, I truly enjoy working with teens. I like the way they talk, I like their drama, and I like their egocentric sense of urgency, and the constant sense that people are looking at them. The good thing about my son, he really is not much work--yet. He actually is a good kid. Lets hope he keeps that way! If not, I may have to use a few techniques on him :)