A Mother’s Story: When Joy and Grief Collide

Individual counseling

A year ago in December, my former husband of 20 years, died at the young age of 63.  Ross was diagnosed 9 months earlier with metastatic melanoma, a silent and deadly disease he had overcome twice before. This time there was no way out.  After months of experimental treatment and tough side effects, he opted for palliative care which provided comfort for six more weeks before he passed away. In the midst of the grief and fear, there was a happy surprise – my daughter’s boyfriend proposed in Ross’ hospital … Read More

Underground Motherhood

Divorce Counseling

For reasons that keep unfolding, my story continues to matter. And when I tell it, it holds the power to change the narrative of the listener – and that is important work. Today, I am sharing openly about a piece of my story that needs to be told, for my own growth and hopefully to help another. There are times as a therapist, we choose to share our story if we feel it may benefit our client, but, sharing is not always easy, even for us. However, I see too many … Read More

What is your word for the New Year?

plano counseling

Yesterday I was asked “what is your word for the new year?” and my response was weak at best. However, that question engaged my brain in a way that I didn’t expect… This past year was a learning experience. Learning how to establish boundaries between work and home. Learning how to juggle the roles of leader, husband, requirements-gatherer, father, expectation-setter, friend, developer and implementer. I learned to tune out everything and push through adversity — all the while feeling like I was never able to really “finish” anything and battling … Read More

A Therapist’s Resolution for the New Year

Megha Pulianda

I speak about my role-juggling act often. Many of you know that I am a teacher, a student, and a therapist. I am also a partner, daughter, parent, friend, peer, and colleague. Clearly I wear many hats, as we all do. In an effort to get through each week or semester I sometimes attend to just a few of these identities at a time. Sometimes I lose sight of the other meaningful parts of my life. Sometimes I lose sight of myself. In academic settings, we are taught that the best lessons come from teachers and textbooks. … Read More

We all have Stories – Including Therapists

relationship help

I listen to stories for a living. It’s important work. The stories are important and so are the clients who tell them, which is why we, at the Montfort Group, are dedicating the first part of 2018 to blogging about our own stories, and those that have moved us. We all have stories – including therapists. And today, this therapist’s story is that she can’t stand writing. I’d rather drop to the floor and grunt through 50 push-ups than write. But here I am with a deadline to meet by … Read More

Stories Matter

Last year was difficult for many. It was filled with divisiveness, exclusion, and fear. However, I also noticed an increase in people working together, speaking up for tolerance and open-mindedness – something that takes a great deal of courage. As I think about the New Year, I feel optimistic.  I also feel a keen sense of urgency and obligation to be a source of healing within families and communities. To help clients listen effectively and speak courageously. We need more of this in 2018 and I am determined to ensure … Read More

Interview Your Therapist

The therapist-client relationship is a unique bond based on trust, safety, collaboration, and communication. It’s okay to ask your therapist questions beyond the logistics of fees and scheduling. Here are some “interview” questions to consider when you attend your first session. 1. What is your philosophy? Because of training, education background, and personality, therapists often connect with a particular theory (or multiple) to help inform their work. You could ask, “what’s your theory?” but asking about a philosophy will give you a much richer response. For instance, some therapists will … Read More

Picking Up The Pieces – Post Election

Being an actual person this week has been a challenge, let alone a therapist who is supposed to help others process their feelings. I promised myself that I would be strong no matter what the election outcome was. I told myself that I needed to get up, get dressed, go to work, and go about my business as usual. A different feeling crept over me on Wednesday, though. It is one I am all too familiar with—fear. Before I am a student, therapist, friend, partner, or daughter, I am a … Read More

Deserving Therapy

Do you need a specific reason to go to therapy? The answer might surprise you. We all have those wonderful friends. You know, the ones you won’t see for weeks or months but still make you feel like not a day has passed since your last reunion? Several months ago, a college friend and I finally nailed down a specific date and time to meet. It was a miracle with our hectic lives. As if on the brink of bursting, we collapsed in our café chairs and immediately fell into … Read More

Resistance

As a doctoral student and therapist, I constantly come across challenging material. I have learned that my coursework is far more than a checklist of assignments, papers, and projects. It enhances my practice by exposing me to new ideas. It keeps me inquisitive, and it fosters a thirst for knowledge that can never quite be satisfied. A professor recently assigned a project that completely changed my perspective on cultural competency and professional responsibility. My cohort was asked to write an in-depth paper about a group we felt resistant toward. For … Read More

The First Session: An Interview with a Male Client

I can speak to therapy as a professional (and I often do, as my friends, family, and partner will probably roll their eyes and tell you), but sometimes the most interesting perspective on the process can be offered by clients. Therapy can indeed be an intimidating endeavor. Many clients have expressed that just the thought of opening up to someone unfamiliar prevented them from coming in sooner. I decided to dig deeper into this perspective, and I was especially curious about what male clients experience. After all, we do live … Read More

Pressing Pause

It was a mundane Monday evening. My hair was in a messy bun atop my head. My arms were elbow deep in dishes. It was a night like so many others. Every hour was occupied, every moment planned. In that quiet moment my mind began to drift. I wondered what was happening to us. In our brief serene moments, we made big plans that we would promptly cancel when the pace picked up again. We broke our own rules. We made exceptions. “No phones at dinner” became “No phones, unless … Read More

Roller Coasters and Concrete

The Texas Giant. What a roller coaster. The new one is simply my favorite. You know that moment before you get on when you debate the risk and excitement? You get on next to some stranger and watch them buckle in. You look at the cement next to you and think, “I could just get off now if I wanted. Maybe I’ll ask this guy to let me squeeze by him and just exit for now. I’m not ready. That hill looks awfully steep. Wonder if anyone has ever died … Read More

Let’s Make A Deal

Growing up, I loved this show. I remember getting anxious for the contestants as they squeamishly chose a door to open. Would it be the best one? Would they regret their decision? There are many times I have regretted the choices I have made. These regrets range from eating a calorie loaded cheeseburger..to being in a bad relationship..to being in a job I hated. I started thinking this morning about those choices. You know, at the time I was making those decisions, I felt pretty darn certain I was doing … Read More