July 4th: Individuation Day!
When my father was 16, he left home. He never told me the details, but he hinted that he had to go to get away from a tyrannical father. A year later his baby brother left home after a fist fight with their father. These brothers' stories are personal versions of a classic tale. At its heart, July 4th in America is the epic version of this universal process. And it offers very personal inspiration for all of us.
What my father and his brother did on a personal level and what our country's founders did on an international stage is called individuation. The term "individuation" means breaking free from external authority and allowing our own unique and magnificent individual self to blossom.
A wise parent not only allows this freedom. A wise parent not only supports this freedom. A wise parent empowers this freedom.
Unfortunately those in power often don't possess this wisdom. And so like our country's founders, we have to proclaim our independence; our right to personal authority, to personal rule. Our forefathers, in their Declaration of Independence, claimed these rights: "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive...it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it." Because their rulers refused to empower or even support this declaration, the colonists ended up fighting the War of Independence. Sometimes, like they, we even have to fight for ours.
Our Anthetic staff are committed to supporting and empowering your freedom. And so we offer you the Anthetic Master Affirmation: "I have the right to make my own decisions, set my own priorities, establish my own life-style, and be the ultimate judge of my behavior. I have the right to be who I am, whatever that may be."
(Disarming Your Inner Critic, p. 143)
How fabulous to live in a country founded on freedom! This July 4th, we wish for you Happy Individuation Day!
To me, August has always been a month of new beginnings. It brings a new season and, for so much of my life, a new school year. Even though it meant summer was over, I remember being so excited to buy school supplies and new clothes. I was headed toward a new adventure. Of course, there was also some fear. Anytime you aren’t sure what lies ahead, it can be very scary.
Thoughts start swirling…“What if I can’t handle it? What if I’m unhappy? What if I fail? What if the worst happens?” “What if” is one of the Inner Critic’s favorite phrases. It is the perfect way to plant that seed of self-doubt, to get you to conform to its “shoulds.” It is a misguided attempt to keep you safe, but remember that Inner Critic messages are not based on truths.
Fear of change is a universal feeling because the Inner Critic is universal. Let the magnified fear that you feel, in the face of change, be your clue that the Inner Critic is trying to persuade you with negative messages and false predictions. Tell the Inner Critic, “You don’t know that I will fail or that I can’t handle it. You are not a fortune teller. Also, I have the right to be what you call a failure! I am still a good person.” The more you realize that the thing holding you back, the source of your fear, is the Inner Critic, the more you will be able to face change with confidence.
Wishing you a wonderful new beginning,
Kathryn Elliott, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT
Jamboree: 7 Tips for a New Beginning
Jamboree! It’s a word that means “a festive gathering.” I think it’s a perfect word to capture the feeling that comes with the start of the new school year. Although I’m long past my high school days, I have a vivid memory that captures this time of year. I was just entering high school and was going to my first high school football game—the Kiwanis Jamboree. I walked up the steps of the old McNaspy Stadium and emerged onto a wonderful scene—all the major high school teams were gathered on the field. There were jerseys of all colors; green, red, purple, and gold. The bands were playing in the stands. I even remember what I wore! It was a cream-colored corduroy jumper with a matching cream, blue, and brown plaid blouse. I could feel the magic.
As I reminisce here I’m reminded of a Hermann Hesse quotation,
“In all beginnings dwells a magic force for guarding us and helping us to live.”
With the start of the new school year comes that sense of magic. Anything is possible! Perhaps new friends wait. Maybe you’ll discover a whole part of yourself that has yet to be expressed. Imaginably even a new romance will come your way. There certainly is a flow in life that leads to expansion and fulfillment. I like how Hesse described it:
“The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us, But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.”
I want to offer you 7 tips for making the most of the magic of this new beginning:
Smile at others. A smile is the quintessential American greeting! It disarms the fear we each feel in meeting someone new.
Take back your right from your Inner Critic: Say to your Inner Critic, “I have the right to take a risk!”
Be easygoing. Don’t let your Inner Critic magnify your small fear at trying something new. Take a deep breath. Relax. Enjoy this amazing moment.
Be non-judgmental. It’s tempting in an unfamiliar situation to express your anxiety by saying something critical about someone. However, people gravitate to others who are unconditionally accepting.
Learn the name of the person to whom you are talking—and call them by name. Almost universally, people love to be addressed by their name. It communicates that the other person matters to you; that you appreciate their unique individuality.
Ask interested questions.When the person with whom you are talking reveals some bit of information about themselves, dive in! Ask them, “Can you tell me more about that?” If they don’t volunteer anything, inquire about something you want to know about them.
Open yourself to pleasure. Attune yourself to your senses as you enter your new circumstance. What visual delights do your eyes take in? What amazing scents waft to your nostrils? What exciting sounds drift to your ears? What delicious flavors tickle your palate? And of course, what inexpressible pleasures await your touch?
Here’s one last word of encouragement. Are you wondering if everyone else can have that magic about which Hesse wrote, but not you? I want to assure you, that you too deserve magic. Open yourself to it. Jamboree awaits you! (This article also appeared in Face Magazine, August 2013).
Disarm Your Inner Critic
“It’s very gradual. You’re standing at a precipice and there’s a voice, a quiet little voice that goes ‘jump.’ It’s the same voice that [says] ‘just one…’ It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think ‘It’s fine now. I’m ok.’ And the next thing you know it’s not ok. It’s not going so well.”
~ Robin Williams in an interview with Diane Sawyer, 2006
In this interview with Diane Sawyer, Robin Williams identified his Inner Critic. We feel so sad that he could label it but wasn’t able to get free. He was absolutely right that it was the Inner Critic leading him. At Anthetic Therapy Center it is our mission to help people who have a virulent Inner Critic to get free.
When in the grip of our Inner Critic, we end up being hard on ourselves; even in hating ourselves. Suicide is such an act of self-hatred. Dr. James Elliott and Dr. Kathryn Elliott wrote of the Inner Critic’s role in self-harm and how to get free in Disarming Your Inner Critic.
Here are some signs from their book that the Inner Critic is tormenting you:
Anger at yourself. If you sense (or say) that you are angry at yourself, this is an Inner Critic statement; that is, it’s your Inner Critic that is angry at you.
Self-critical body language. If you hit yourself (e.g., striking the side of your head with the heel of your hand or slapping your thigh), or if you talk about hitting yourself (e.g., “I could just kick myself” or “I just need a kick in the pants”) – it is your Inner Critic beating up on you. In addition, if you bite your lower lip after saying something, it’s almost always a sign that your Inner Critic is chiding you for your audacity.”
(Disarming, p. 124)
Likewise, if someone ties a rope or belt around his or her neck or enacts any other suicidal gesture or self-harm, that is the Inner Critic leading them to do so.
In Anthetic Therapy, our goal is to help each person disarm their Inner Critic, because we know:
Disarming your Inner Critic, then, consists of one single strategy; refusing to buy into its messages.
(Disarming, p. 174)
If you or anyone you know struggles with Inner Critic pain, we want to help you get free. Please give us a call. You don’t deserve to suffer.
~ Anthetics Staff
My beloved Jim,
On July 21, 1989, as you flew from Berkeley to marry me, you wrote in your journal:
"How strange my life has become and will be! Moving to Louisiana. Getting married. Superficially it feels risky--each one--until I think about them--and then they seem exactly the right thing to do. The time for bold decisions has come. Without holding back.
The result--my new life
--Kathy. My beloved wife by my side.
--Disarming Your Inner Critic book
--A fully staffed office
My dear Jim, as I reread your journal entry, I reflect that for 22 years you and I worked together to achieve this goal of bringing Anthetics and its gift of inner freedom to the world. Since your passing, I've continued this work. Now, we have that fully staffed office you envisioned, who love Anthetics and are committed to furthering your work.
Sweetheart, your birthday is coming May 10th. For the second year we are going to honor you with National Inner Freedom Day. It will be a celebration of your life and your work.
We are becoming what you intended as the father of Anthetics:
I know you will be with us as we celebrate.
Thank you from our heart and soul for your great gift of inner freedom and high-voltage relationships.
I love you forever.
Blossom with us
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin
This is one of our favorite quotes at Anthetic Therapy Center. We love the concept of blossoming so much it’s in our name. Anthetic is from the Greek word anthein which is defined as the blossoming of a flower from bud to full bloom.
If you have been following us on Facebook, you may have seen some of our “petals” opening in our growth over the past few years:
We expanded our staff by moving from two therapists, Kathryn Elliott and Misty Hencke, to four, adding Sara Sullivan and Tamra Griffin.
Last year, we doubled our office space creating a warm, inviting spa-like feeling. We’ve been able to accommodate workshops as well as our first Louisiana Counseling Association approved Continuing Education Seminars for professional counselors.
This year, we are continuing to grow and have added another staff member to help support our growth. Marianne Prejean, our Anthetic Ambassador, will be working with us to ensure that your phone calls are taken with great loving care. Our director, Dr. Kathryn Elliott was awarded a book contract with Rowman & Littlefield, publishers of professional psychotherapy books, for Drs. James Elliott and Kathryn Elliott’s book, "Creating Optimal Relationships: The Voltage Concept for Couples." In a year, our unique couple therapy approach will be available to therapists all over the world!
Breaking news! Beginning April 1st, we will have a talented, Anthetic children’s therapist on our staff! Diane Dodt is a Counselor Intern who will use creativity and kindness to help even the youngest client get free of Inner Critic contamination and heal from the pain they may be experiencing.
Upcoming: This year, we are going to bring you even more ways to connect with us. Each therapist will be writing a monthly blog. We want to see you grow with us. By that we mean, we’d love to see you blossom by using the skills we are providing you.
If you’re not already following us on Facebook, please join us by clicking here,
https://www.facebook.com/Anthetic. We provide multiple tips daily that will enhance your relationships and happiness. You will also stay up to date on our latest events and group meetings. On that note, you can now register in three convenient ways for our Anthetic events:
In a few months, each therapist will have their own professional Facebook page that you can follow for even more tips and tricks for better living.
We’re growing and we invite you to grow with us!
3110 W. PInhook Rd., Suite 101
Lafayette, LA 70508