Saturday, March 25, 2017

INFP mantra for the day...

I invite everyone, but **ESPECIALLY my INFP people** to always try and remember the following mantras: 
  • mistakes do not equate to failure
  • there is no such thing as perfection
  • feelings are not facts
  • you are enough 
  • you are worthy 
  • you are valued

....repeat, ad infinitum



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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Clean Your Emotional House




Spring Special for Newsletter Subscribers!
(Must be STL local; these specials don't apply to distance coaching) 

(If you're not a newsletter subscriber, click here to add your email to our mailing list. You may unsubscribe at any time.)

When talking about improving relationships, it is important to accept that we can only change ourselves. As much as we may wish it were otherwise, other people's behavior is entirely out of our control. And often we are contributing to whatever behavior they are displaying, as we continually trigger and influence people around us. So our best bet is to take inventory of what our contribution is to every interaction, and figure out how we can do it better each time. Basically, I say this a lot: "You've got to make sure your house is clean before you can invite anybody to move in."

I do this work because I truly believe that incredible changes can happen by doing some deep, courageous self-reflection AND learning new skills to communicate more effectively. These efforts, in tandem, will always lead to significant improvement in all areas of life.

That said, I know that finances can be tight sometimes and we may set our own needs aside for other things. Many of you have expressed interest in the workshops we offer or in doing individual (or couples) work with me, but have found the costs prohibitive.

As such, for the first time ever I'm offering a discounted package. Consider it "Spring Cleaning for your Emotional House". Between now and April 30, subscribers to MCC's mailing list can receive:

three (3) individual sessions (normally $270)
+
two (2) workshops of your choice (normally $110)

= $380 


for $325, a savings of $55 (so basically it's like receiving a free class)

Fine print: The only catch is you must pay in full to initiate discount, and you must use the individual sessions within 90 days (assuming we can find mutually agreeable times). However, the class credits never expire, since I know scheduling can be difficult with our busy lives. I offer each class approximately quarterly, and the current schedule is linked here.

Just a little present for you guys to show how much I appreciate you! Hope you all are well.
~amy~



Monday, March 6, 2017

INFJ/ENFP relationship

INFJ and ENFP are basically the perfect pairing for friendship and/or romance, and here's why: 
They both lead with information-gathering (iNtuition) so they are both, first and foremost, curious about ideas, concepts, issues, and understanding what motivates other people's behavior. But their intuition goes in opposite directions, so each sees what the other misses, which sparks rich dialogue. 
Both are also NF types, so they share genuine care and concern for others as well, but it's secondary. So neither is *overly* emotional, and in most cases, a neutral "oh that's interesting" or "let me see if I understand" is (eventually) going to override "that hurts my feelings" or "I want to hurt you back" in any conflict situation. They also share a desire to exchange ideas and to explore intellectual possibilities (even as they relate to emotion) *more* than they desire to talk about feelings purely for their own sake. Any conflict that arises, once both have moved through the initial reflex of feelings, is going to end up in a rather clinical analysis of "what just happened" and "how do we not do that again" and "what improvements can we make for next time".

Both types report a difficulty with feeling understood and a desire to be "seen" and so the other person's sincere desire and effort to see and understand them is a key element to the ease of this relationship. In terms of the cognitive functions, between the two types, all EIGHT functions are represented. What this means, functionally, is that each has what the other is missing.




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INFP/INFJ relationship

INFJ and INFP are a pretty great pairing for friendship, and a pretty terrible pairing for romance, and here's why: 
They both abhor small talk, and share a desire for peace, harmony, and deep understanding of the world and the people in it, so conversation will be easy and satisfying. INFP will experience INFJ as very safe and understanding, and so INFP will open up in a way that is unfamiliar or difficult for them. INFJ will experience INFP as similarly safe and understanding, and that is great in a friendship. A friendship between these types will be fruitful and pleasurable and mutually beneficial. They will entertain each other with the ways in which they are similar, and different, and they'll likely bring out positive qualities in one another. Any conflict will be short-lived and/or issues will be intentionally ignored as to not cause rifts. 
However, in romantic situations, the difficulty may arise over time if theINFP doesn't endeavor to dig into the INFJ's depths, as the INFJ finds it hard to open up without the other person making a great deal of effort.INFP will assume (mistakenly, because they filter everything through how *they* do things) that INFJ will share what they want to share, whereasINFJ will actually be hurt that INFP isn't asking the right questions. INFJwill end up feeling like they are doing more work than INFPINFP is very sensitive, and so will likely find INFJ overly critical and harsh, which will frustrate INFJ because they do not see themselves as such. INFP will withdraw, which INFJ experiences as rejection/abandonment even thoughINFP doesn't intend to have that impact and then feels guilty they were harmful, which makes them withdraw more. INFJ can become needy, which is annoying to them both because it's out of character. Both are likely to be hurt by being misunderstood by the other.

Friday, March 3, 2017

SPRING 2017 CLASS SCHEDULE

Updated Class Schedule: Spring 2017

Personality Types 101: 
Saturday, April 8
1-3 p.m. 
This classes serves as an introduction to Myers-Briggs Personality Type and Jungian temperament theory. It includes working toward a basic understanding of cognitive functions, which is useful when learning how to type yourself and others accurately, why it’s useful, and its limitations. We also review all of the 16 archetypes briefly

Communication for New & Expectant Parents: 
Saturday, April 15 
1-3 p.m. 

This class will focus on navigating common communication difficulties (in general), as well as specific issues that may arise during pregnancy, and early babyhood. We will also discuss strategies for maintaining intimate connection between partners during the turmoil of this period.  


INFJ: How to Make Yourself Known:
Saturday, April 29
1-3 p.m. 

Boundaries:
Saturday, May 6
1-3 p.m. 
This class focuses on defining boundaries, and discussing what can happen when we fail (or overachieve) in setting boundaries. We will discuss boundaries from the perspective of our personal and professional lives, including how to shift codependent relationships into healthier interdependent ones. 


Communication INTENSIVE: 
Saturday, May 13th 
12-4 p.m. 

The first half of this class will be "Use Your Words" aka "Say What The F*** You Mean" (focusing on passive-aggressive behavior, apologies, identifying how you feel and how to express it, etc).

The second half of this class will be "How to Do Conflict Well"  aka "Don't Be An A**hole" (focusing on practical strategies for having difficult conversations, how to fight fairly, how to communicate clearly and concisely in a way that is respectful).

We will offer these classes on the same day. Please note: you may attend one or both, as there will be a short break between the sections. There is a discounted rate for attending the entire workshop. 

**Rates for these workshops vary. Email amy@millercounseling.org or text 314.502.9275 for more information, or to register.** 

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We are also now offering a bi-weekly drop-in "therapy" group for iNtuitive Feeler types; it's organic and open to anyone identifying as an NF. Intended to be a safe space for like-minded people to process their feelings, talk about issues, etc. Email me for more information. 

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FINE PRINT: All of these workshops are informal and interactive, but only to the extent that you wish to participate. If you're very shy or introverted and would like to come and merely observe and learn, you are welcome to do that. Also, I provide candy. 

You must register and pay in advance in order to hold your spot. We accept payment via cash, check, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, or credit/debit card. If you're a current client of MCC, we can just bill your card on file. There are no refunds offered, but if you need to cancel at the last minute, you can use the credit anytime for another class. Its value never expires. 

We reserve the right to reschedule if enrollment is low 24-48 hours before the class is to be held, but we will do our  best to reschedule it at a time that is convenient for you as a preregistered participant. 



Thursday, March 2, 2017

Don't be a jerk...But if you are already being one, stop.

I wrote this as a comment a few years ago on someone else's page, (where the blog was shared with the comment "this woman is awful," which for the record, I can totally appreciate as one interpretation!) but figured y'all might appreciate it: 
I'm a counselor who works with a lot of couples, and I would like to offer an alternate interpretation of this blog post. I am SUPER IMPRESSED with this woman's revelation and the effort she's putting into shifting it. There are so many couples stuck in cycles like this, where they're failing to notice and appreciate the things they love about each other, and just consistently focused on all the irritations in their different ways of being. I repeat: there are SO MANY COUPLES LIKE THIS. Yes, she's behaving in a terrible way, but I could give any number of reasons why she might be acting that way. Not to excuse it, but to contextualize how people go from being decent human beings that are in love with their partner, to this. 
They are actually probably a great fit, as it's always preferable for there to be one person in a couple that is chill and laid back and not easily activated or anxious (in this case the man). She is the more high-strung one who probably makes sure the details of the house run smoothly, and there is a clear need for that person in a balanced relationship, too. The problem was that she was *so* focused on the minutiae that she stopped appreciating the fact that it was actually great that her husband didn't give a shit about that stuff. Too, my guess is he actually probably didn't care that much when she bitched about things (men generally are better at just letting people be who they are and not trying to change them) except to the extent that it's tiresome and annoying to be criticized all the time. 
In my experience, the part where he begins to avoid dealing with her is the point at which the relationship is definitely in crisis and the point at which he will be most likely to cheat on her if he's going to. Which many, many people in relationships like this do. Not because he's a terrible person, but because he's not getting any positive feedback or appreciation at home, and so if he finds that elsewhere he's likely to eat it up like a starving man. Then they have a whole new set of problems and issues. Even if no one cheats, this is the breaking point of a relationship, where it is just easier to avoid each other than do the same old thing for the millionth time that makes neither person feel good. 
So the fact that she realized she was being awful to him, and she shifted, is great. It's exactly what I would tell her to do if they came to me for couples' counseling. I would be like, "nobody wants to come home to that". And to him, I'd be like, "maybe put a little more effort into taking note of details, because it really means a lot to her when you do." I'd talk to them about love languages and appreciation and taking the time to reconnect with each other and remember why they're together in the first place. Having kids can be a huge strain on the healthiest relationships. 
But it sounds like she's been able to get there on her own, and I think that's great. Most people never manage *or bother* to see themselves clearly. She not only saw herself clearly, but called herself out on it, and offered a blueprint for others to do the same. I don't see how this is negative.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sensing v. Intuiting

IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR PARTNER, READ THIS AND THEN SEND ME MONEY FOR SAVING YOUR MARRIAGE: 
While I fundamentally believe that any two people can *make* a relationship *work*, the words "make" and "work" suggest effort, and there are definitely certain combinations that are going to require less of that than others. 
Understanding personality types is one of the most useful tools in my arsenal for working with couples, particularly when they struggle with communication. My personal theory is that the biggest predictable difficulty in a relationship stems from one person in the partnership being an S ("Sensing") type and the other being an N ("iNtuitive" type). Sensing and Intuition refer to the methods by which we prefer to gather information, which then informs how we communicate and how we understand the world (and other people). 

THE REST OF THIS POST HAS MOVED TO ITS NEW HOME






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Visit www.millercounseling.org, read more of my blog for other random pieces of relationship advice, or email me at amy@millercounseling.org to make an appointment IRL or over the phone. :)