The power of presence

Recently I have been reading a lot about the Western States 100 race that took place two weeks ago. Western States is a 100 mile trail race through some of the hottest and most rugged areas of California. Of course, as a trail runner, this race and the incredible athletes it draws always fascinates me. I was reading an interview with Kaci Lickteig who was the female winner (Article Here) talking about her training and race strategy.

What stood out to me was that in her description of her training and race day there is such a large emphasis on attitude. And I think what goes with intentional attitude is presence. Kaci set out on race day to “smile, smile, smile” and in a hot 100 mile trail race I would think that would take a lot conscious effort to keep doing. On top of that, she was maintaining focus on staying fueled and hydrated.

To me, this describes the power of being present. Kaci’s strategy wasn’t to fantasize about the finish line or dwell on past race outcomes. She kept smiling and staying focused on the incredible task of keeping her body running like a machine and a smile on her face. With that present awareness she was able to be pleasantly surprised the more she gained a lead on the other competitors. Even then, it wasn’t until mile 98 that she shares she started to think, “maybe I could win this.”

On the contrary, one of the male competitors who had set out to set a course record lead the race until a fateful wrong turn! I don’t know his full story, but I do know that speaks to being distracted in some capacity. Whether it was wondering thoughts or not staying properly fueled to keep focused, it is evidence of not being in the present moment.

The present moment is the only place that we are offered both good and bad opportunities and can enjoy respite from the anxiety or worry of being trapped in the future or the depression and regret of being trapped in the past. The present moment allows us flexibility to continually create our lives with what we are being handed at any moment.

Central Oregon Pride

Our booth at Pride was a huge success!!! Thank you to everyone who came by and contributed to our art project and podcast. Here on some pictures of the art project:


As for the podcast… stay tuned! We have been going through the responses to our question, “what does pride mean to you?” and have been blown away by the beautiful heartfelt responses. We cannot wait to share them!

Therapy and Athletic Performance

Here is a wonderful and well written example of how therapy can improve athletic performance.

Self talk and mental health play a large role in athletic performance. Most athletes have a natural ability to push themselves but not all athletes know how to encourage themselves. In my experience as an athlete and a therapist, I have seen how the mind can work to make or break a race. So what is the answer?

The first step is to acknowledge that the mind and body are not two separate areas. They are deeply connected parts of you and they both inform your experience.

The second is to look at your self talk. It is one thing to improve your self talk and begin to be more kind to yourself. It is a whole other undertaking to reorient yourself around this new self perspective enough that in the most exhausting, hungry, and depleted state you can maintain this positive perspective. The article shared above, while it’s a great outline of her success, glosses over the hard work to get to that point. It isn’t just about replacing negative thoughts it is resetting your default. If your default setting sounds like “I really messed that up” or “I am so slow” it takes some insight and self understanding to change to a new default that sounds more like “that isn’t like me, I know I can do better,” or “not as fast as I want to be but getting there.”

I often describe it to clients in terms of fuel. Negative self talk can be like gasoline on a fire. It will explode at first but it will also burn out quickly. Positive self talk and high regard for oneself is a much longer lasting fuel. It spreads to all areas of life and increases performance for the long haul.

Don’t burn out, find a new fuel.




Gorillas and the Unknown

By now we have all heard a little too much about the recent issue of a Gorilla being killed after a four year old child fell into his enclosure. Certainly it was frightening for everyone involved. But, here are my two cents…

Too often in my work as a therapist I am confronted by working with adults who put their children in harms way especially in my past role working with families in the juvenile justice system. This story does not strike me as one of those moments. Nor am I attempting to criticize anyone for their actions. Instead, what stands out to me is that our society has become so harsh and critical that seemingly overnight, a story about an accident, can have thousands of people placing blame in so many different directions. How about a moment of compassion? A moment to pause and think about how quickly life can change?

It is clear to me that as a society we have reached a critical point. A point at which the unknown is absolutely intolerable. We have become so accustom to a false sense control in our everyday lives that we not only need a saying like “you only live once (yolo)” to try to shake us awake but in the split second of a accident it easier to kill first and ask questions later. This gorilla incident is not the first we have heard of something like this and unfortunately, it may not be the last.

As with many of my blogs, I will end with a suggestion for change. Perhaps if we all took a moment to be present in our lives, slow down, and maybe cut back on the caffeine a bit, we could see all of the beauty that can happen in the unknown. For me, I see it often; the client that commits to change, the parent that finds support in the community, the teen who begins to hear their own inner voice instead of the pressure of their peers, and many other ways that I see people over come adversity everyday. These moments of unknown can be scary and sometimes they don’t go our way, but sometimes if we stop to listen they can produce beautiful moments.

New Service Offered at CFT

Cascadia Family Therapy is now offering consultation for newly graduated therapists and counselors near or far. It has taken some work to build a frame work but it is now ready to launch!

I have eight years of experience in the private sector on top of my four years of private practice experience to share! For years I learned the ins and outs of small business first as an administrative assistant and later a marketing director for two different entrepreneurs. I have been involved with privately owned companies from start up to take off and even in retirement planning. I have done this consultation work for colleagues that I graduated with as many of them over time made the shift from agency settings to private practice. Many were shocked at the complexity of mixing legal and ethical standards of care with administrative tasks and graduate education. Private practice is it’s own world and many believe the myth that agency experience will leave them licensed and prepared.

When I opened my first private practice in Washington State I had a mentor who had over 15 years of private practice experience to guide me through the process. It had a major impact on getting my business up and running with little overhead cost. It gave me confidence to step into the role of private practice therapist right after graduate school.

Now I have created a framework that will help guide new counselors and therapists into an ethically sound and successful practice of their own. Don’t reinvent the wheel, schedule your consultation today and feel the confidence of starting out on the right foot!