The Mindful, Vulnerable, Connected Life

Mindfulness is about being intentionally present in a moment, observing one’s experience with nonjudgmental acceptance, releasing attachment to outcome, thereby releasing suffering. Vulnerability is about allowing yourself to be seen for exactly who you are, thereby allowing true intimacy. Connection is the marble arch. It is the thread. The lifeblood. Whether we are talking about attachment that begins in utero, or about neural connections, mind-body-spirit connections, connection to a friend, to a loved one, to a pet, to nature, to your yoga practice, to your breath, your higher power, or to your wallet, that drug, that store, that abusive relationship, that job, the past, the inner critic, the self-sabotage, your fear, the control; within all of it there is a the central tenet of connection and relating, and all of it has a profound effect on your life.

So how do we manage our mindfulness, vulnerability, and connections and strive to embody our core healthy self? Continue reading

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The Truth About Love Addiction (by Haylee Corrales, Psy D)

The way we now look at love addiction has changed. Two decades ago, our understanding of love addiction was evolving from what we knew about co-dependency. Back then the two were viewed synonymously. However we now understand that they are not one in the same. Let me further distinguish. “A co-dependent person is someone whose core identity is undeveloped or unknown, and who maintains a false identity built from dependent attachments to external sources, this could be a partner, spouse or child” (Kasl, 1989, p. 31). Addiction is toxic and runs deeper; it is a behavior that one feels unable to control and is used as a way to numb oneself and escape from the powerless feelings of codependency. A love addict has difficulty with symptoms of codependency, and then chooses addictive behaviors to compensate. Love addiction, similar to other addictions (i.e. alcohol, sex, gambling) involves a cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions used as a means to numb or medicate their present painful feelings and avoid their current reality. A love addict wants to fuse and cling on to the other person, often seeming desperate. The love addict has a fear of abandonment and a fear of healthy intimacy. When a codependent person changes their behavior and learns to individuate, they can manage their life. Yet with the love addict, the process is more arduous and comes with them experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms when not in a relationship.

Love addiction is when Continue reading

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HEAVY AND LIGHT: A Felt and Connected Experience.

I first learned about TWLOHA when I was visiting my family in London in 2008. Someone had been passing out these little notes on my cousin’s university campus: a little card that said simply, “YOU ARE LOVED”. My cousin gave me one, and it crossed the big blue sea with me back to California and went straight up on the wall of my therapy office. That little and powerful card created a pull in me to reach out to TWLOHA and connect. I wanted to offer my services to their cause. I wanted to be involved. So I made a call. I then had the great experience of meeting with two of their representatives when they were visiting L.A., and I have been involved ever since. As a singer, writer, and therapist, everything about TWLOHA’s movement resonates with me on such a deep level. So when I heard about HEAVY AND LIGHT coming to L.A., it was a night I was not going to miss.

The evening I spent at HEAVY AND LIGHT was an incredible experience. It felt like being a witness; like being a part of something extraordinary that was our secret in that moment. A secret we couldn’t wait to share. The energy was indescribable. On a personal note, Christina Perri truly struck a chord with me. I was already a fan of hers walking into the event, but when she Continue reading

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BREAKTHROUGH Newsletter featuring ‘The Power of Validation’

BREAKTHROUGH is a therapy e-newsletter from the Office of Clinical Psychologist Georgina K. Smith, Ph.D.

We will be focusing on mental health issues and overall wellbeing, topical social issues, interviewing experts in the field of addiction, trauma, and more, and spreading the word about local and global community resources. With each edition we will also be featuring our BREAKTHROUGH Inspiration, an individual who will be telling their story of recovery, courage and hope. Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

In this edition:

– ‘The Power of Validation’

– Resource Corner

– Our featured BREAKTHROUGH Inspiration

The Power of Validation – Georgina K. Smith, Ph.D.

On Oprah’s final show, she made the following statement: “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted vali­dation. If I could reach through this tele­vision and sit on your sofa or sit on a stool in your kitchen right now, I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’

Back in my graduate school days and a painstaking 225 page dissertation later, I lived and breathed this topic. I researched the effects of chronic invalidation of emotional experiences in childhood and it’s relation to later emotional dysregulation, impulsivity and self-harming behaviors in adulthood. How can being invalidated, unheard, misunderstood, subtly dismissed, and criticized be so harmful, as compared to verbal, physical and sexual abuse? Because as a child, we are not born knowing what we feel. We do not know that sad is sad and happy is happy. We have not yet developed a sense of self. We internalize that of what we see and experience. We learn from the parents or primary caregivers in our life, and then also from our social environment. If someone told you your entire life that the blue sky is red, you would think Continue reading

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