Counseling Together

Therapeutic Collaborative Conversations  

Individual, Couples, Marriage, and Family Therapy

Jarfa Amirghahari Wabs, M.A. LMFT

(949) 357-0333

Counseling Together

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"Perfection" and its many empty promises!

Posted on February 10, 2015 at 6:08 AM Comments comments (7)
Most of us are way too familiar with "perfection" and its expectations of us as woman, as mothers, as wives. Even our husbands and children are not exempt from the ugly grips that perfection tends to have on them. So how far are we willing to go?

If you are like most of us, you must have had some recent goals, maybe even new years resolutions that are burning you up inside because you are now counting the days to attain them and not only attain them very soon, but do so "perfectly!"

In my practice, I see so many people who have a daily battle with "perfection" and on most days, they "feel like a failure"... or so they express....the anxiety that is caused by the presents of perfection is immense to say the least!

But why all the pressures to measure up, to attain the unthinkable? the "superwoman", "supermom", "superman" and now even "wonder kids" who defy human nature and never make mistakes or have lazy days, or are even able to step away from their 4+ hours of homework...everything other than "perfection" is perceived as "lazy" by society these days

These extremes are a dangerous breading ground for more of the same...the line of "perfection" virtually never ends.... it gets pushed further and further out... and we wonder why our bodies have been shutting down and our adrenals have screamed at us to stop..
We joke about the amount of caffeine we need to survive this race and yet (we know inside that there is no end in site) No amount of caffeine can guarantee an end to this madness of measurement!

Maybe its time we think about the empty "promises" perfection makes to us daily...
1. "If you don't do something perfectly, someone else will" (the trick is this is a never ending process of a false/perceived end, who is actually going to do anything perfectly? and what does "perfectly" even mean, its all based on your expectation of it)
2. "If you don't push yourself, you are lazy" (Okay Moms, I want to ask you how many of you think of yourself as "lazy"? How many days have you said to yourself, "it is what it is today, i can't do anymore than i am doing" i wonder is that is considered lazy to your husbands? how about friends and family? or to the moms in your groups or neighborhoods? You might secretly feel ashamed or guilty for having a house that is not model perfect or a closet that is out of Vogue or maybe even as small as not doing dishes that you set out to do today) You might even lie to your friends that you did all the things you were supposed to today to avoid the shaming that goes on when things don't appear "perfect"
3. "If we don't push our kids, they will be lazy or will not be successful" (We are in a time that our toddlers are starting to develop performance anxiety with what used to be seen as fun projects. Our kids have so much more anxiety and "fears of failure" than ever before...
do I need to say anything more? This is a world we have created for them)
4. "If we don't work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, we haven't worked hard enough, hence we will not succeed"
(the stress rate on both men and women is rising by the minute as we hamster our way to the top of organizations while we might any day have a heart attack from the lack of balance and rest or better yet, not enjoy the fruits of our labors because we are exhausted and sick)
5. "Perfection is Competition and Competition is what America was built on"
(This idea is so ingrained in us that most of us will refuse to admit the potential damage this can cause to us or our families and the future of our kids. No one is saying competition is bad, but to instill that "perfection" is the only way to compete or have success is like saying, "go find the yellow unicorn on the soccer field and bring it back to me or else you have failed" It is no wonder that so many young people and even older people end up with these false promises of perfect that affect every aspect of their young lives!

What if "Perfection" for humans is a lie, a myth, a false sense of achievement created by society to send us on a wild goose chase?

Can women and men have a chance to just be good parents versus "perfect parents"? or is that something hard to even imagine in Orange County? With all the expectations we have of our selves and of each other, its no wonder that most of you will be reading this blog along with checking your email, posting a picture on Instagram, browsing through your news feed on Facebook, looking for new ways to be a better mom on Pinterest (making more and more boards to pin on because you don't want to miss a beat on being a better craft mom, better cook for the husband, or hottest mom with the most trendiest clothes, oh and of course pinning new workout routines to do during the 15 minutes a day you might have for yourselves and while you are at it, add to the list (showering, cooking, cleaning, dieting, working, doing laundry, and the list goes on and on...

What would we do if we didn't have all of these expectations for our selves to "run our own universe of fabulousness and perfection" How much time would we gain back in our day for ourselves and our family if we just could accept being less than perfect?"

we could actually have time to breath! 

awww.... I feel the heavy weights lifting off already....    

Opening the door to the unknown

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 3:18 AM Comments comments (0)
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The mystery of the "Unknown"

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:47 AM Comments comments (0)
Often in sessions we talk about the power that the "unknown" has on our lives....how it offers so much mystery, possible disappointments, and even opportunities as well as wonderful surprises...

Why is it that we get tangled in the promises of disappointments versus the intrigue of hope?
I wonder this often as I encounter clients with "anxiety" about the "unknown"... with all the possibilities, we tend to entertain the worst case scenarios...

What I wonder is how other cultures besides western culture contend with the "unknown" whether they embrace it or fear it as such...Do they find the "unknown" enriching?

As we go through the years, are we taught by our parents that the "unknown" is something to fear...or do the wise allow the waves of the "unknown" to carry them in a ride that they would never have experienced...Do they anticipate discovery on this ride?

What if we allow "fear" and "anxiety" to blind us when the "unknown" offers experiences, life changing opportunities, exploration, happiness, lessons learned...what then....

What do we do when we are faced looking at a door that has yet to be opened...how long do we look at it before we attempt to open it...and what if we decide to walk away...what do we miss out on?

I am not saying that we will live "fearlessly", what I am suggesting is to allow for possibilities, opportunities, and perspective as we are offered mystery on a daily basis...

Living in the present versus the past nor the anticipation of what disappointments the future might bring... allowing one's self to relish in all that surrounds them in that moment and breathing in that "space" that the open door offers...

and learning to embrace the "unknown"





What is PERSPECTIVE when we are talking about therapy

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)
What is PERSPECTIVE when we are talking about therapy?

So often, I think about this question when I am working with clients, and realize the importance of perspective in relation to the person and the "problems" we talk about.

When you think of the word "Perspective" and look up the definition in the English language, here is an example of a definition you might see below from Merriam Webster online...

Definition of PERSPECTIVE
1 a:  the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically:  representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance b:  a picture in perspective
2 a:  the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also:  point of viewb :  the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>
3 a:  a visible scene; especially:  one giving a distinctive impression of distance:  vistab:  a mental view or prospect <to gain a broader perspective on the international scene — Current Biography>
4:  the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perspective

It is interesting that "perspective" is defined on a visual scale to describe how objects might appear to the eye and also as a "point of view" but the definition that really hits home for me is "the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance"...

When you think about this meaning, it makes the definition sound very simple, yet when we are communicating with others and we use the term "perspective", we lose a part of this meaning it seems....

From my experience especially working with couples, I have come to know this word very well and use it often...I have noticed that people tend to dismiss the part of the definition that talks about "true relations or relative importance"..... to me, this means honoring the context of what is being discussed...

So often we take a stance on something or an issue... we have a "perspective" yet, we don't have the "true relation" or complete backdrop to that stance we just took...

It is like looking at a painting with blinders on....You miss each side of the painting and might essentially miss an important object or point that the artist wanted you to see...

When we take a stance on something in our relationships, we need to take into consideration the "context" of how the other is situating themselves against our stance...The other person's context or painting might include ideas around a topic adopted from their family values, their culture, their socioeconomic status, their gender, their friends view, and so much more....remember how much detail there could be in a painting...

A good question to always ask yourself is..."am I looking at the whole painting before I take a stance or pick a perspective?" or "have I spent enough time to investigate the context (backdrop) before coming to this conclusion?"

This step alone will help you communicate your view point to others around you without seeming like you have "missed something" and in essence offend your friends, family, or partner. 

Always taking time first to examine what needs to be seen will give you a new "perspective"
We as humans have many facets to us and it would be a shame to see each other "one dimensionally"....those facets that we have could be like looking at an unpolished crystal and every time you turn the rock or crystal carefully, you notice a new line or crack that you didn't notice before! It is not only more beautiful in its original form, but it is respectful to honor each side of this rock as you turn it to inspect it and appreciate it slowly. Each side tells a different story about where the rock has been and what it has experienced. Each story could carry so much detail about strength, endurance, character, and much more. Honoring each side would mean honoring each story as if it bears the same importance as the last story paying close attention to details that might have been previously missed....This is learning to see "perspective" at its best...

Honor each other, investigate carefully, communicate within the context, stand back and look at the picture in its full glory as the "Artist" intended it to be seen....

We are the "Artists" to each of our own paintings....

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are" Anais Nin
Maybe this is what needs to be changed!  The "Perspective" on these "problems"



Welcome to my blog!

Posted on July 6, 2013 at 12:39 AM Comments comments (0)
Welcome to my blog!  

This will be a place for me to share information with my visitors. This will also be a place where the visitor can ask questions or bring up issues that  interests them and they want to know more about. I will be the first one to say that I have learned the most from my clients and when we have conversations where we are both sharing ideas, the "roads" are endless! I love collaborative therapy so please feel free to share your "stories" if you are comfortable to do so. The "stories" we carry with us often times have great importance to us and this blog might be an opportunity to have a place to tell these stories.

There will be many topics that I will be writing about that interest me, but mainly, I will share with you my "stories" and the stories that I have found value in recently. It might be a topic that catches my attention that day or an ongoing topic that requires the readers to ponder for much longer.

Some of the topics that I will discuss on here might be topics that you "confront" on a day to day basis but maybe the way I might discuss them might be different. You might notice that my language will be different at times or I might show a different perspective on things.... let me know what you think....

I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you and I hope that you do the same! Here is to doing "Counseling Together!"

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