Blogging

15 years and counting

Where I am on a journey to help you discover what it looks life to live a thriving life!

Using the Hand Model of the Brain with Your Kids

I've been talking a lot about the brain in my blog series on The Whole-Brain Child, so I thought it would be helpful to see a simple presentation by Dr. Dan Siegel where he presents a hand model of the brain. I think this will be especially helpful in light of my post...

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Revisiting Strategy #2 of The Whole-Brain Child

Last week I posted on Strategy #2 of The Whole-Brain Child, which is Name it to Tame It: Telling Stories to Calm Big Emotions. But since I posted that blog I've had a few people ask me if I could expound on this strategy in more detail by giving an example. As I...

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Vocation: What/Who is Summoning You?

For the last seven to eight years I've really been exploring this idea of vocation, and it seems that it is a topic that I've had more and more conversations with people as of late. In fact, I blogged on this topic just a couple of months ago. In my opinion, still one...

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The Journey of Forgiveness

Though forgiveness is a journey that rarely boils down to steps, there are some specific guidelines that can help couples navigate the forgiveness process.

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The Meaning of a Word is “Embedded in the Story”?

"Dictionaries are wonderful tools and we would be the poorer without them, but in Gospel matters they are among the lesser helps. The reason is that everything in the Gospel is personal, relational, and embodied in particulars. There are no generalities. Every word is...

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Shutting Down Boy’s Emotions

m currently working on an article for the Fuller Youth Institute on boys and emotions — more specifically how we as a culture tend to sabotage boy’s emotions — making it unsafe for them to express[…]

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Final Thoughts and Resources

I'm a huge believer in the good that can come out of our anxiety. I believe that we too often dismiss anxiety as something bad. We are too quick to try and get over it, or bury it, or pretend it doesn't exist...all things that can lead to high levels of unhealthy...

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Men’s Disconnect with Vulnerability and Connection

The above is a quote from Chapter 8 in my new book (coming out May 1) What it Means to be a Man: God's Design for Us in a World Full of Extremes. Vulnerability is one of the major themes that has emerged over the last 18 years in my work with men. Many men want...

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Anxiety in Relationships

"When we can stand face-to-face with another human being in all of our anxiety, and we don't have to try to run or hide from it, that is the beginning of a true relational connection." One of the areas of life that we often tend to experience the most anxiety is in...

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Grandiosity: Terrence Real on Working with Men in Therapy

To understand the importance of leverage, you have to understand grandiosity, especially male grandiosity. Therapy and self-help have mostly focused on helping people come up from a one-down position of shame. But we don’t really talk much about what it means to help people come down from the one-up position of grandiosity. This is really pivotal in terms of working with men, because they typically tend to lead from the one-up, grandiose position, while women present in the more one-down, victim position.

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Tranforming Your Anxiety: Boundaries and Living Within Your Limits

Tranforming Your Anxiety: Boundaries and Living Within Your Limits

A few weeks ago I spoke to college students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I love speaking to and working with college students. It’s such an amazing time of life…so many opportunities and roads to journey down, but also lots of fear and anxiety over which possibility to choose and which road to journey on. It’s a perfect collision of feeling excited and scared at the same time. I think that’s why I loved being the college pastor for seven years at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. It was an amazing experience to work with students at UCLA, USC, LMU and a number of other schools…as well as the large number of college-aged people in the entertainment industry.

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Getting Intentional

Transforming Your Anxiety: Getting Intentional

“Do you want your marriage to get well?” is the question we ask the four couples that are present. Just because they are there doesn’t mean they want their marriage to get well.

I used to think that the question Jesus posed to the man at the pool was a dumb question. It just didn’t make sense to me.

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Fathers, What Kind of Energy Do You Pass on to Your Sons?

"When a father tells a child that he can do something, he can do it. I don't know why that is, except to say that there is some mysterious energy that passes from the male to his children. It is some sort of creative energy that can make things be when they are not,...

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Wrestling with God

"In many circumstances, as we experience anxiety, we may be tempted not to face it. We may be tempted to turn the other way and not acknowledge that it is there. But if God uses anxiety in our lives as a way to help us grow, then we must not turn away from it....

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How You React When Upset Inhibits Relational Intimacy

  "Thanks to a series of influential research studies, the things people who succeed in intimate relationships do differently from those who fail have been discovered by researchers. One of the most important differences involves how people react when they feel upset....

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Stuck in a Rut

"According to recent brain studies, we are literally stuck in a rut: As a result, we choose our most instinctual coping behavior when certain feelings arise. We often choose this path because it is also the direction that confronts us with the least anxiety."(The...

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Mumford and Sons and the Apostle Paul on Boundaries

"Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine Together we can see what we will find." I have had this lyric from Mumford and Sons playing around in my head for the last couple of months. Probably because those two lines remind me a lot of the concept of boundaries and...

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Embrace Your Anxiety

"Anxiety has been a part of our human condition from the earliest beginnings. When we experience anxiety we are in that space where a world of freedom and possibility is opened up before us by God. And in that space we have the choice to run and hide, covering up in...

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Emotional Affair — Are You Having One?

The topic of emotional infidelity is a very common one in therapy. Sometimes the topic comes up because one spouse has a friendship with someone of the opposite sex that their other spouse feels is inappropriate...lots of texting...hanging out at work too...

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Transforming Your Anxiety: Anxiety and Your Story

Every anxiety has a story attached to it. There are many stories to my anxiety, but The Story that I tell and that has most often come to define my struggle with anxiety is a story about "The Day I Became a Stutterer." I write about this story in the introduction to...

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What Do You Look for in a Therapist?

“Good therapists” tend to embody qualities that you would look for, perhaps, in a mentor: They believe in you and in the possibility of things going well for you, they want to hear what you have to say, and they redirect you from cynicism to hope and expectancy.   The...

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Mindfulness — Taking Time to Breathe

"Breathe...just breathe. Slow down and breathe." I find myself repeating this phrase quite a bit in my life, but in two very different contexts. One is in my office when a client is about to be overcome by anxiety and they feel like they are about to succumb to a...

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Baby Steps to Self-Care

Last week I began talking about this issue of self-care in our lives. But what usually happens when I talk about this issue is that we try to take on too much too quickly. We get all excited about changing our lives -- not only for ourselves -- but so that we can be...

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Finding Ultra — Conversations on Self-Care

Last Friday I briefly touched on the topic of self-care because I think it is a super important issue. I know that in my work just as a marriage and family therapist, that one of the main issues that keeps couples in an endless loop of conflict is their inability to...

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The DIY Clear “Whiteboard”

"How did you make that clear whiteboard?" There are a lot of questions I get as a therapist, but the above question is one I get a lot of from clients...and from other therapists. I would like to say that I came up with the idea myself, but I didn't. Rather, my good...

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“Frantic Family” Question #3…

"How do you talk about and use the answers to these questions?" So last week I began a five-part series on Patrick Lencioni's book, The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family. First, we looked at Question #1: What makes your family unique? Second, we looked at Question...

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“Frantic Family” Question #2…

"What is your family's top priority--rallying cry--right now?" This is the third post in a series on Patrick Lencioni's awesome book, The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity to the Most Important Organization in Your Life....

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“Frantic Family” Question #1…

"What makes your family unique?" In his book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family, Patrick Lencioni writes this about that question: "Another way to phrase this question is, what differentiates your family from every other one on your block, or at your school, or...

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Why Men Need To Identify And Develop Their Emotions

"Helping boys and men learn how to be both tender and tough, strong and bighearted, is a new ideal that will take some time to digest. But, having worked with men day in and day out for decades, I know from experience that they can reclaim the language of...

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Fighting the Fear of Missing Out

A couple of weeks ago I wrote the post, Laptops and Mobile Phones: Creating the New Deficit In Our Kid's Lives. In the post I talked about the emotional deficits that parent's use of technology can often create in their kid's lives. One of the articles that I...

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Anxiety Makes Humanity Unique

Eric Chinski at the Paris Review, has a great interview with Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive. The article is a fascinating look at the interaction between humans, computers and AI...

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Disabilities: “Jesus loves me just as I am”

In the previous few weeks I had the privilege of being interviewed on the topic of anxiety in church ministry by Dr. Grcevich over at his blog Church4EveryChild. He runs a ministry called Key Ministry which aims to help kids with hidden disabilities and their...

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The 9 Letter Dirty Word in the Church

Introvert. Yes, if you don't know that that has often been/and is a dirty word in the Evangelical and faith communities, then you are probably an extrovert. I didn't realize it was a dirty word until I read Adam McHugh's insightful and powerful book, Introverts in the...

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Today is the Day

The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?. I thought that writing the book was the long and tough part, and that when I handed my manuscript in...I was sort of done. Wrong. There is so much more work to do, and I'm excited about all the conversations...

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Can Depression Offer Us a Gift?

In Thomas Moore's book, Care of the Soul, he writes eloquently about the gift that depression may offer people. It's an opportunity to embrace emotions that we often don't deal with, leading us to a better understanding of ourselves and how we want to direct our life....

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Pressed to the Ground: A Theological Re-Frame of Depression

In my continuation on the topic of depression, especially male depression (here and here), I wanted to share something with you by Parker Palmer. In his wonderful book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (a must read), Parker has one of the most...

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The Angry…I Mean, Depressed Male: Do You Know Him?

Over the last several months when I have gathered for lunch with a few of my friends, we joke about the idea of me writing a follow up book to The Anxious Christian called The Angry Christian. Don't worry, that is not on my to do list, but our conversation hints at an...

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The Anxious Christian is Coming Soon….Sneak Peek

This has been an exciting month for me as I have been wrapping up some details on the soon to be publication of The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?. The book will be released by Moody Publishers on March 1. I'm very thankful for the amazing group...

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Can You Tolerate Your Own Anxiety Long Enough to Grow?

[image by Phil Schatz] The ability to live in the question long enough for genius to emerge is a touchstone of creative success. In fact, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Creative Behavior revealed tolerance for ambiguity to be “significantly and positively...

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Anxiety is Good…

Philosophers and Poets, from their perch on the cutting edge of reason, have always seen the advantage of anxiety. It is the "dizziness of reason," argued Soren Kierkegaard; "the handmaiden of creativity," said T.S. Eliot; "the beginning of conscience," observed...

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Encountering the Other in Sacred Space

“Our relationship lives in the space between us – it doesn’t live in me or in you or even in the dialogue between the two us – it lives in the space we live together and that space is sacred space.” --Martin Buber   Such a beautiful quote by the Jewish philosopher...

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Shane and Shane New Album Winners…

Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment on the blog entry this week to win the new Shane and Shane album. There were so many good comments and I'm hoping to comment on all of them over the next few days. But after the random drawing of commenter's names we came up...

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One Woman’s Journey to Help Others Share Their Stories

A few months ago, a friend of mine pointed me towards the blog and online shop of Katie Clemons. My friend knew that I love to journal and thought I would like her stuff and her story. And he was right. I love the story of how Katie came into journaling and how that...

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Openness and Authenticity Are Not Enough

I'm currently reading a really great book, Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy by Terry D. Hargrave and Franz Pfitzer. In fact, I can't recommend it enough. But as I was reading last night this section of the book...

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Our Emotions and Grace

“Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional...

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Writings on Marriage, Katy Perry and Grace…

Here's a list of three pretty distinct articles that I wrote or contributed to in the last month. Check them out and let me know what you think. Transform Your Marriage at the Start Marriage Right blog. Katy Perry's Comments Prompt the Question: How Strict Is Too...

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Why ‘Pastors’ Become Therapists

Several weeks ago I was at The Hideaway Experience doing co-therapy along with another former 'pastor' turned therapist. It's not unusual to find therapists and counselors who were former pastors, but I think that vocational movement is often looked at with a sense of...

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Don’t Place Your Anxiety on Your Kids

A few weeks ago I taught a parenting class at Highland Park Presbyterian Church where I made the claim that many of the anxieties that children experience are due to issues within the family and marital unit at large, rather than just in the individual kid. This isn't...

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Daily Dose #20: Teenagers and Sexting

High-Tech Flirting Turns Explicit, Altering Young Lives But adults face a hard truth. For teenagers, who have ready access to technology and are growing up in a culture that celebrates body flaunting, sexting is laughably easy, unremarkable and even compelling: the...

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Daily Dose #19: Facebook and Depression in Teens

Doctors Warn About 'Facebook Depression' in Teens Dr. Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medicine specialist who has studied online social networking among college students, said using Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among...

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Daily Dose #18: Padded Bikini Top For 7-Year-Olds

I was pretty much speechless when I saw this news story this morning.  And as the father of a little girl I was saddened to think about all the pressure by marketers that will be aimed at her to look a certain way. That's why we have an important job as parents. ...

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Daily Dose #14: That’s An Amazing Friend

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can...

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Daily Dose #12: Are You a Happy Mom?

Yesterday Dave Ramsey had author Dr. Meg Meeker on his radio program talking about her new book The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity. It was a phenomenal interview with her on the ways that mother's can..as she writes...

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Daily Dose #11: ‘The Longevity Project’

How to Keep Going and Going: In an eight-decade study, parental divorce in childhood was the strongest predictor of early death in adulthood. There are no magic potions on offer here, but many of the findings are provocative. The best childhood predictor of longevity,...

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Daily Dose #7: Dealing With Sex Addiction

Sex addiction is a big topic in the news headlines these days, especially as more prominent celebrity figures have checked themselves into rehab for it. So it's not surprising that this last month TIME Magazine ran a lengthy article, Sex Addiction: A Read Disease or a...

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Daily Dose #6: Be Who You Are

He discovers how much of his life is guided by what he thinks he should be, not by what he is. Often he discovers that he exists only in response to the demands of others, that he seems to have no self of his own, that he is only trying to think, and feel, and behave...

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Daily Dose #1: Hold Me Tight by Susan Johnson

I'm always looking for good marriage books to read and learn from. And one of the ways that I know it is a great marriage book is that it has a profound transforming affect on my own marital relationship. Such is the case with Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a...

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The Chemistry of a Church Staff

This is a guest post from my good friend Justin Lathrop whose company Help Staff Me in January of 2011 united with Vanderbloemen Search Group in an effort to serve the church with all their staffing needs. Whether it is a Jr. High Pastor a Lead Pastor or an Executive...

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Note to Men: It’s About Being Intentional

I'm not sure why I wanted to write about this topic now. Because in reality, I have been thinking about it for a long time. Maybe it's because I work with a lot of men. And maybe because a lot of the men I work with (both in counseling and in ministry) struggle...

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Do You Have A Social Media “Mirror”?

I do that with satire, which is a tremendous vehicle for truth. It’s like a big mirror: You take an issue and you blow it up so it’s big enough and obvious enough for everyone to see. Then you stand next to it and ask: “Is that us? Are we OK with that? I love that...

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The Influence of Technology in Our Lives

“The technology is rewiring our brains,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and one of the world’s leading brain scientists. She and other researchers compare the lure of digital stimulation less to that of drugs and alcohol than to...

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Establish Your Boundaries in Youth Ministry…Early!

I wouldn't have known what to call it then, what questions to ask, nor what to say since it wasn't even a topic on my radar. But looking back at that ministry I would have framed it around the topic of boundaries and self-care. The only pastoral advice I had been...

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Anxiety as a Tool for Growth

"Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate." —Søren Kierkegaard in The Concept of Anxiety Anxiety can be a very helpful tool in our lives. Unfortunately we have too often thought of anxiety as an indication of something wrong in us....

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My Advice to Husbands on the Topic of Counseling…GO!

If your wife EVER...I mean EVER, suggests to you, that you, or that the two of you should seek counseling. GO! "Couples don't run to therapy at the first sign of trouble. Researchers estimate it often takes 5 to 7 yrs for some to seek help." Marriage and Family/Sex...

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Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries…Boundaries

"Without truth there can be no intimacy, because without truth you wind up sharing lies or delusions. Without intimacy there can be no relationship. When two partners share their true selves, protecting self and others by the correct practice of boundaries, the...

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The Continuing Work in Haiti

This last February I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti with Adventures in Missions and some really amazing people. You can read some of the posts that I wrote about that experience here. I was hoping to get back to Haiti by this point, but I had to decline a...

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Holy Vocation: Encountering the Other in Front of You

I recently just finished a really great book by Ronald Rolheiser, The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness. In one section of the book Rolheiser writes about a conversation he had with a nun. In that conversation the nun said the...

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Technology: Connected, Yet Lonelier Than Ever

[image by Bidrohi Hirok] Technological Paradox One of the glaring paradoxes in my use of technology/social media, is that it has both the ability to make me feel connected and intimate with others, while at the same time feeling isolated, alienated and lonely. I think...

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Overlooking People in Ministry (for number’s sake)

Unfortunately, one of the ministry lessons that has been drilled into my head over the years is that numbers matter. Specifically large numbers. I was rarely asked by my supervisors how an event went, or what stories I could tell about the ministry. It always seemed...

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A Book Resource for Steering Through Chaos

No, the irony is not lost on me that my last post was called ENOUGH: Put Down Those Ministry and Self-Help Books and Pick Up A Novel. But remember my caveat: So you don’t have to give up on your ministry and self-help books, but put them down for a season, and pick up...

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About Rhett

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MDIV, MSMFT, LMFT), Speaker, Author and Coach, in private practice in Plano, TX. Read more...

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