Washington

The Intentional Peace Project

12513987_10104282772551328_8324470749964982939_o

After continual shock following the violence and fear mongering of politicians, I have decided to start a project. I hope that you will all join in with me in this challenge to spread peace.

My heart grows heavier each time I hear of violence and anger in this world. I then want to shut out the world, become more insular and defended. As the suffering escalates in our country, an instinct in me wants to become numb and turn away, ignore it, leave it up to those in power to fix.  It feels as if we are all asleep, some of us more than others, to the growing suffering of our planet. It is easy to ignore the gravity of fear-based politics and violence happening far from our homes. It is easy to think and do nothing about the growing environmental issues. Because of course, these problems are so big and we are but one individual. If feels as if we cannot make a difference as one.

I am proposing we all wake up from our slumber of inaction, turn peace from passive to active and intentional. I choose to stand in my power as a women who believes peace is intentional and active. Rather than a passive stance, I choose peace in my daily lives, in every moment. So can you. We can choose to be friendly and nice to our neighbors, assume that no matter the struggle, everyone is just doing the best that they can. We can choose to have empathy for, yet set kind and gentle boundaries when we encounter those living their lives and making decisions based in fear and anger. We can choose to spend the extra effort to be peaceful and spread our vision of peace. To encourage a culture of love and compassion as our national collective language and energetic.

I believe that action starts with one and can grow exponentially to become action of many. So, I plan to start practicing intentional peace daily for the next year. I will post once per day to share my intentional action towards peace. I don’t expect you to be able to devote a full year to posting your intentional actions towards peace, so share what you can. Maybe just 15 days of intentional peace.

Let’s create a ripple of intentional peace in our country. Let’s start today, July 18th, 2016. You can follow my intentional peace process as well as share your own via Instagram: @YOURSOULTHERAPY or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YourSoulTherapy/

To ACTIVE AND INTENTIONAL PEACE,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, EMDR, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows personally what it means to embody daily intentional peace and can guide you to peace in yourself in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Fantasy, Dreams, and Falling in Love with Yourself

13418468_10104643854081048_5118802501702350038_o

Artwork by Kim Ottinger 2013

 

Recently an article in the NY Times has been circulating, “WHY YOU WILL MARRY THE WRONG PERSON.” Check it out and let’s delve a little deeper.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/opinion/sunday/why-you-will-marry-the-wrong-person.html?_r=0

Major kudos to the writer Alain de Botton for having the bravery to write such a vulnerable and powerful piece. It has raised eyebrows in the DC area for sure! I am grateful to resonate with many of his points, one of which is the role of the FAIRY TALE in our concept of romantic relationships and marriages.

As children, us millennials grew up on movies about princesses and princes, knights in shining armor, damsels in distress and fantasy.  Our template for relationships is: the man and the woman fall in love and live a fairy tale life, happily ever after.

Shortly after I was separated from my first husband, I came to the realization that romantic relationships and life is not, in fact, a fairy tale. For quite some time I was angry and felt foolish for believing what I was taught as a little girl, that I too was a princess who would meet the one and live happily ever after. With the end of my marriage, I began to question my worthiness and self-respect. What had I done to deserve something different? Was my life always going to be a series of people hurting me and disappointing me? Why was I going through this and what did I need to change in order to deserve a second try at a fairy tale? Was this my path, that I was doomed to experience over and over forever? I spent all of my energy trying to figure out how to set up my next relationship to be my true fairy tale. I dated, I went to therapy, I talked my friends’ ears off trying to find a solution. Finally the truth hit me square in the face.

The truth: Life is not really a fairy tale. Duh, right? I know this logically. AND yet there is the little girl inside of me that insists that it is. She and I had it out, we spent months fighting about how to perceive love and what beliefs to live by. The battle went on until I stopped and began to embrace her pain. The little girl in me had been hurt and disappointed by the misinformation she was fed as a young girl, that life is all unicorns, rainbows, and happily ever afters. Once I grieved this loss, the loss of the fairy tale, I began to heal. I began to learn what living is really about, enjoying the process of ups and downs in relationships and life. Life-force returned to my body and mind as I opened up to new possibilities. I needed a place for fantasy, dreaming, escape and play that was not solely my romantic life. I stopped dating and began to explore other areas of my life where I could experience creativity and dreams. I started to dream about my hobbies and career. Suddenly space opened for me to give energy and love to my career, friendships, self, and recreational activities. For the first time in my life, I fell in love with myself.

If we idealize our romantic relationships, they will likely end in disappointment. Relying solely on romantic relationships for our dreams and fantasy also diminishes the opportunity for us to fall in love with ourselves and other domains of our lives. We can create more space for romance with ourselves and our other life arenas by releasing the energy focused on idealization in our relationships. We can then allow more focus in our relationships to be around realistic experience of present connections in our relationships. We can then work to communicate openly, be vulnerable, be brave, and respect our partners. We can enjoy the messiness and mistakes and even the repairs in relationships, not expecting perfection or romance to be the sole experience of love. We can love fully while clearly communicating the boundaries of our own needs. Romantic partnerships are more about compassion, compromise, and communication. As a friend called it, a never ending conversation.

So I am proposing we consider a more balanced use of play, fantasy, and escape in our lives, not solely focused on idealizing romantic relationships. Rather than idealizing any one domain of life, spreading the dreaming and visioning equally throughout.

Humans need to take time to escape, to dream, to vision, and to play. Fantasy and escape are an important opportunity to turn off anxiety and connect with our souls on a deep level. This is where growth happens, through creative process which enlighten us to new possibilities. It is where the light peaks in and illuminates and opens up more space. We can connect with new possibilities for a personal fairy tale beyond just romance by taking time to create, participating in rituals, imagining, playing, envisioning, and connecting to something spiritually. Meditation is a great way to dream and it can even be done through playful and creative means like art making, walking, dancing, and music. Let’s fall in love with ourselves.

To FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows what is like to fall in love with yourself in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

THE INCREDIBLE HEALING POWER OF EMDR

 

11209503_10103703668749988_3196154297101013811_n (1)

 

If you are looking for a powerful intervention to release haunting memories and release you from the grips of your history, look no further!

EMDR – If you live in the DC area, you automatically assume it is some sort of fancy government acronym. Actually it is a form of psychotherapy which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. My first experience with EMDR was as a client some 10 or 15 years ago. I sat in the therapist’s office mesmerized by this process which seemed to magically remove the distress attached to old memories that haunted my mind daily. The memories that seemed so palpable and painful became almost fuzzy and hard to remember, no longer feeling painful or anxiety provoking. It was then that I decided one day I would learn to be the magician behind the curtain, helping others heal and recover.

If you have tried other methods and they have not worked for you, I highly recommend this process, based on personal experience as well the many successes I have seen with clients. Often clients will leave the session explaining, “I don’t know why that felt so scary before” or with a renewed sense of motivation or freedom. This efficient process releases you from limiting beliefs and fears.

It feels a bit like a science experiment when you first try it. You either follow a focal point (a pointer, a hand, a light) with your eyes side to side or you hold alternatively vibrating squares in your hand or listen to alternating beeps from headphones, all while recalling a memory. You think, how could this possibly make a difference? The stimulation of your brain, both hemispheres and increased electrical current, along with the process meant to hone in on specific feelings/beliefs and memories seems to be the perfect recipe for healing. Just shifting your energy and attention in this manner can alleviate years of pain and suffering. Clients often have spiritual experiences and awakenings as a result of this relief. Life becomes easier to manage and energy becomes spacious. 

While this can be a very clinical protocol, I find that there is room for spiritual and relational experiences as well. When there is space to move and grow, your soul can align to its journey and live it fully.

Check the EMDRIA website for more information about the process, research, and the impact of this method https://emdria.site-ym.com/?120

 

To FREEDOM from HAUNTING memories and your history,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, EMDR, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows personally the healing power of EMDR and can guide you through recovery in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Why Badass Women Come to Therapy

In our private practice, we see some of the brightest and most ambitious women in Washington. They are well read, highly accomplished, and typically have checked off most items on their bucket lists. Outside of a deep wanderlust, what is missing in the lives of these women who know how to fully live? If you’re their friend, colleague, acquaintance, it looks like they have it all. These women would agree that most of the time, their lives feel amazing.

One might wonder why are badass women coming to therapy? Relationships.

2015-06-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-llove-hands-water-santalla

Whether they are single, dating, partnered, or divorced, these women don’t feel like themselves in intimate relationships.   They feel anything but badass.

Exhausted, Frustrated, and at times Heartbroken by a Never Ending Dating Process

Many single women have no problem dating, but they have not found the one despite many dates or relationships. A number of these women date the same partner twice, for 3 weeks, or things end by month 4.

Each time they meet a new someone, they continue to walk on what feels like the tight rope of dating. Should I be excited on the first date even though it probably won’t lead to anything? Maybe I should take a break from dating because it all feels like too much? They have no idea why they continue to get the same results.

They can’t understand why so many women around them are happily dating or partnered. They feel that something is innately wrong with them.

Women Dating Unavailable People

This often starts with dating the most charming, passionate, or promise-you-everything man or woman. The initial dating process is mind-blowing on many levels.

Then a shift happens. The women see that their man or woman is unavailable in one or more ways. The partners live in different countries and won’t move or meet in the middle. They may be workaholics and prioritize work over the relationship.   They may be in the pull me close, push me away dance with touch, play, interest, and intimacy on many levels.

Where there previously was all passion, spark, and play, there can be equal amounts of disappearing, confusion, passive aggressiveness, or anger. These women find that most of their partners are not just emotionally unavailable but are not wanting to make any promises or commitments.

They don’t understand why the continually find themselves with the same unavailable partners and burned at the end of the short lived relationships. When they dig deeper, parts of them don’t feel that they know how to be close to a healthy partner.

Women Who Struggle to Believe that Their Partners Love Them

For many partnered women in our practice, they cannot believe that their partner could love them as much as they do. Their partners continually show up, believe in them, and love them even in some of the most challenging situations.

These clients struggle with receiving love from their partners.

No matter what they read or how hard they try, they don’t know how to let love in. They don’t know how to feel the love that their partners are consistently giving them.   They are blocked for many reasons from trusting themselves and the person that wants to be close to them.   Fear, longing, anger, and grief along with chatter laced everyday worthlessness can be some things that take these women down emotionally.

 

Partnered Women: Who Want More

These women are in relationships that aren’t working anymore. Often the relationship was what they needed for months, years or even decades.

In recent months or years, these women have experienced a deeper sense of self awareness about their needs and desires or may have even had a spiritual awakening. Their partners have struggled to pace with them or grow in their own ways.

These women are wanting more for themselves, their relationships, and lives. It is often complex because families, friends and even children are intertwined. Some of the women are torn between taking care of someone who isn’t fully able to emotionally care for themselves. The dance of overfunctioning and underfunctioning resentment is released with forgiveness and compassion with the work.

Other women are able to finally take a stand for themselves. They have learned that taking up space in a relationship is a brave and healthy decision.

Moving from the Fight to Being ALL IN

None of the decisions or paths is easy, but these women have walked through the one or more dark nights of the soul in their relationships and dating experiences. In our work together, they learn the meaning and purpose of suffering. They connect with themselves as not to recreate that path or dance as means of waking themselves into consciousness. They have taken their learning and stepped into deeper connection with life, themselves and the people they care most. This process of transformation is radical and subtle at the same time. Badass women might fight this quest at the beginning, but are all in by the end.

If you are wanting to be ALL IN in your relationships, connect with Kim@yoursoultherapy.com or Amy@yoursoultherapy.com

Walking My Talk…Dreaming Big

costa-rica-yoga-deck

As a woman, wife, mother, psychotherapist, supervisor, and business owner, practicing self care is a must. Over the past few years, I have worked to align myself with my values with much gratitude to The Daring Way community, the metaphysical teachings of Tosha Silver and my Jungian analyst for this. Cultivating practices that are embedded with vulnerability, courage, connection, integrity, rest, play, awe and wonder keep me honest, grounded, and real. I #walkmytalk and this has changed my personal and professional life beyond my wildest dreams. I live into heart-mind-body-soul wisdom in daily practices and decisions, as well as big huge vulnerable leaps (like writing this blog post). My vulnerability is guided by aligning with my values and a force much larger than me. This way of living and showing up in the world is an imperfect process that I wouldn’t have any other way.

When working with women in psychotherapy, art therapy, sandplay, urban retreats, supervision, consultation, or practice building, I support them through the lens of walking their own talk. My clients learn to source themselves from the inside out into their deep confidence. Each woman’s flow, process and outcomes are unique, but what they have been seeking or felt blocked by (fear, shame, failure, impostor syndrome, heartbreak, loneliness…) dissolves through through this work. Witnessing their transformations is the most profound work of my life and of the deepest honor.

I have taken the leap to share more about how I work today because I’m on the brink of taking one the biggest professional leap’s of my career. Tomorrow, I am headed to Costa Rica for a business retreat filled with all things wanderlust, sisterhood, yoga, big dreaming, horseback riding, surfing, waterfalls, and beyond. My intentions are to recharge, replenish, reconnect, surrender, and be open to receiving. I hope to return to pay forward this experience by offering my own retreat later this year.  I will be fully unplugged for the next week.  I would love to connect with you for a free 20 minute phone consult when I return on 3/10.  Email me amy@amytatsumi.com to schedule your consult.

~In walking my talk & dreaming big,
Amy

Does the Fear or Worry of What Others Think of You Stop You From Living Your Life?

You are not alone if you fear or worry about what others think of you.  Even as early as middle school,  tweens can easily relate to what it means to the belong as compared to feeling like they fit in.  Adults, teens, and tweens alike know when they are free to be themselves in contrast to what and how they should talk, look, talk, and act in the various family, social, academic, and career arenas.

Why do we worry and fear about what others think of us?  When what we want most is to be deeply connected to the people that are most important to us and have an impact on the areas of of the life that are most meaningful and rewarding for us: relationships, parenthood, professional identity, health, and/or spirituality.   Part of the answer can be found in our fear of being and feeling vulnerable.

What is vulnerability?

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness ~ Brene Brown.

Everyone is susceptible to feeling vulnerable.  Most of us are going to great lengths to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable via perfectionism, people pleasing, and pushing through at any cost even with our health and at the cost of our own values and damaging relationships.  Even though people are struggling with vulnerability, it is rarely discussed along with its close partners in crime: shame and fear.

Vulnerability-Brene-Brown

 

When I start exploring these feelings and experiences with clients, I often share Brene Brown’s work.  She is a researcher, storyteller, and expert in vulnerability, fear, shame, and courage.  She has an incredible capacity to language people’s experiences and feelings, and people often deeply connect to her words.  My client is starting to talk around/about vulnerability, I will offer Brene’s first TEDx talk on The Power of Vulnerability.

After watching this TEDx talk, I would like to hear how you connected with it.  Tell me in the comments section below.

I am also being trained by Brene Brown and her Connections Team.  If you are interested in working with me individually or in group with me and Jen Kogan, please call 202.540.0796 or email me amy@tatsumiandjones.com for a free 15 minute consultation on how we might be able to work together.

 

FAQ: How Long Is Therapy?

During my free consultation calls with potential clients, I recognize that it takes much courage to contact me.  Many people have a lot of anxiety about contacting a therapist, scheduling the first session, and being in therapy.  After discussing what their needs, concerns, and challenges are and what to expect in a first session, they are able to ask questions about working with me.

the-work-of-therapy


One 
FAQ people ask is: How long is therapy?

The duration of therapy is a very personal process.  How long you stay in therapy is ultimately up to you.  I individualize each client’s process based on their needs, strengths and goals.  The work of therapy is a collaborative process between the client and therapist.  The duration and goals of therapy are addressed on an ongoing basis between us to ensure that you are being supported in achieving your positive outcomes.

 

Some clients come to therapy to address one area or goal in their life.  This may be resolved in a short period of time, and the client may decide to end at that point or continue to work on deeper feelings and larger goals.  While other clients may come to therapy feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, knowing that something needs to change, or wanting to live a different life.  The work for these clients tends to take more time and commitment to have the most long lasting changes.

Regardless of the length of the therapy process, I recommend that the final session be planned.   In the last session, we summarize the work that has been done in therapy and say “good-bye.”   There are numerous positive long-term outcomes for the clients when ending in this manner.  A few months or a year after therapy has ended, clients are also able to schedule“tune-up” sessions to help get back on track if needed.  

 

Why Art Therapy Works When You Are Feeling Stuck

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. ~ Albert Einstein

unstuck-butterflies

When I tell people that I’m an art therapist, they often ask lots of questions about the field.  One of the most common questions I receive is, “Why Art Therapy?”  The conversation can unfold in numerous directions depending on who is inquiring about art therapy.  We typically spend at least part of the discussion exploring: Why Art Therapy Works When You Are Feeling Stuck.

In my work across settings in public mental health and private practice, I have seen that art therapy can be effective for adults, teens, children, and their families when they are feeling stuck.  This can occur in problems with identity, relationships, depression, anxiety, play, work, school, faith, community, and countless others.  Often, clients report that they have seen a problem from many different perspectives and tried various ways to address and solve it.  No matter how hard they try, stuckness seems to prevail.  Albert Einstein offers a great explanation of why people remain stuck: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Art therapy via the creative process offers access to untapped levels of consciousness.

When clients engage in the art making process, they start to see their problem and themselves from previously unknown perspectives.  Whether it is painting, drawing, sewing, building, or beading, the problem and its characteristics are being embedded in the art making process and product.  Once the client and I see it from multiple perspectives, the subsequent discussion can illuminate new levels of consciousness. From perspective taking to consciousness expansion, people begin to shift out of feeling stuck. What do these shifts from a new conscious level look like? People begin taking healthy risks from a place of authenticity, courage, compassion, and vulnerability, rather than making decisions from shame, fear, or unworthiness.

Reconnecting to YOU through the Creative Process

We moms are so busy that sometimes we lose the connection to our creative selves. Read on for some thoughts/resources on how to find your “flow” and help bring your heart and mind together from Guest Blogger, Amy Tatsumi.

What makes you feel alive?  What allows you to be connected to your true self? For some, it is singing or dancing when no one is watching. It could also be reading, swimming in the ocean, stargazing, running, enjoying spa time, or eating fresh strawberries.  Others may relish old traditions kept alive: Baking bread, knitting, family dinners, or making art.  All of these activities involve the action of creating directly or indirectly for ourselves.

Sometimes we, as mothers, are so busy with all of our responsibilities that we can get disconnected from our true selves.  We may begin to view life from an intellectual or pragmatic place where we over-think or rationalize the same scripts over and over in our heads.

We tend to put everyone’s needs before ours because that is what mothers, wives, single parents, or outstanding employees are supposed to do (no matter how tired or burnt out we are).

The mom wars of our time seem to reinforce this script that no matter what path of motherhood you choose, someone may find fault with you.

From internal and external pressures and criticisms, we can see our brilliant light dimming.  We don’t make time for ourselves or for the pastimes or activities that help us to feel alive.  We then experience less joy, satisfaction, contentment, and equanimity in our daily lives and relationships.

What can we do to bring our hearts and minds closer together?  The creative process supports both those who have the words and those who don’t. Art therapy provides a healing space for children, teens, and adults alike to connect with images, the creative process, and words to better understand how and why they are feeling disconnected.

Art Therapy helps people who struggle with anxiety, depression, grief & loss, trauma, chronic illness, relationship issues, major life changes, and decision-making. It is practiced in schools, hospitals, wellness centers, the military, and in mental health centers. It is important to note that you don’t need to be artistic to benefit from art therapy.

Art therapists are master’s level credentialed clinicians with training in counseling and art.  They offer various mediums (e.g., paint, digital photography, sewing, sculpture, etc.) to help their clients create solutions for the hows and whys of their lives.

Recently, I met with a mother who was feeling unfulfilled and overworked.  She began reconnecting to her hopes and wishes through talking and exploring metaphors in watercolors.  The fluidity of the watercolor medium helped this mother to make decisions for herself and family that flowed with balance and joy most of the time.

Another woman contacted me because she was feeling anxious about returning to the work force after being home with her child for some time.  She was stuck in feelings of guilt and anxiety about her home and work balance.  Through exploring a variety of art mediums, this mother used the art making process and her personal metaphors and imagery to feel more grounded and balanced in her everyday life.

Tapping into the creative process can help you reconnect with your authentic self. Try it to discover how your heart and mind can work together to live a life filled with possibilities.

This blog was originally published on http://jenniferkogan.com/archives/764