What do you Need to Succeed?

Relationship is an art.

Relationship is an art. The dream that(1)

I practice a specific type of Relationship Coaching that helps couples design their dreams together.  I’d love to share with you about this. Please contact me through my website CoachingThroughChaos.com Motivation, Achievement and Recovery Coaching.  Dr. Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT. Psychotherapy and Coaching in San Diego.

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immature love vs mature love

Do you ever look back at a relationship and think, “I thought I loved them, but now I don’t think I did.”  This can be because you mistook need for love.  We often “need” the person we pair up for various reasons: they meet some needs, they are familiar to us, they help support us (in various ways).  It is tough to separate that “need” from love.  But when we can be our own, developed, mature, autonomous persons and truly love a person, then we “need” them becuase we love them, not vice versa.

If you would like to know more about this, give me a call at (619) 702-5571 or email me through my website at CoachingThroughChaos.com  Motivation, Achievement and Recovery Coaching- I specialize in helping individuals and couples have healthy relationships with themselves…and with their chosen partners.

Dr. Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT

Psychotherapy and Coaching in San Diego

Red Rock Blog post

I went hiking the other day at Red Rock Canyon during a weekend away visiting friends in Las Vegas. One of my favorite things to do is to go hiking by myself. It makes me feel at peace, I feel more centered, and I end up feeling like I listened to my own need for silent connection with nature.

It was while on this hike, that I got reminded that our society tells us it’s not O.K. to do things alone. Being that I am a therapist/coach by profession and I live with my husband and several animals, I rarely get time alone. This weekend away was to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I arrived in Las Vegas on Friday and met up with said friend and family. On Saturday morning I wanted to get out a do a decent-length quiet hike before all the birthday festivities began  – I was looking forward to taking in the desert air and scenery. The Red Rock Canyon has a 13-mile through road which has multiple trail heads along it. I purposely went to the visitor center to find out which trails may be less populated. I was instructed to head out to Ice Box Canyon trail head about 8 miles up the road. As I drove father away from the visitor center, I did find that the parking lots at the trail heads were less populated. I was excited to think I may be heading to one where I really could feel somewhat isolated.

According to the visitor guide, the hike was to take about 2.5 hours and be of “moderate” difficulty. Sounded great to me! I had water and a charged up phone packed in my bag. I was ready to go! I was about 20 minutes into the hike when I came across a group of people who were on their way back to the trailhead. I said, “Hello”, in passing and moved out of the way for the group to get past me. One of the ladies asked me, “Are you by yourself?” When I told her I was, she let out a sympathetic, “Awwww!” I let her know I was out there alone by choice and was enjoying the quiet and continued on with my hike. About another 20 minutes pass by and I get to a section of the trail with some more difficult rocks to step/climb up and over. I ran into a party of 3 at this juncture. Again, one of the ladies in the group commented to me during a quick verbal exchange, “I wouldn’t come out here alone”. I again, assured her I actually looked forward to this experience and went about my business. It was about 10 minutes later that I came across some rocks that I did not want to venture up and over without help, so I turned around at that point and began my hike back to the starting point.

Both of these exchanges had me thinking as I hiked about our society’s attitudes about being alone. I be no means am a “loner” or even an “introvert”. In fact, I love social interaction and get plenty of it. I do however, enjoy some quiet times alone. Exercise is one of my regular ways to get that fill and when I have time, I love to find local hikes to try by myself. As a therapist, I talk frequently with my clients about finding time for themselves, often framed as “self-care” time. I explore with my clients ways in which they can take some time alone to regroup and touch base with themselves. For some, this can be finding time for a 5-minute mediation in the morning, or carving out 15 minutes during their work day to break away from all the “noise”. On bigger levels, I help them discover what their needs are for personal time alone from others and help them plan that into their life. I think people understand that concept of “me time” or even “self-care” time, but I think something shifts when people think about doing activities alone. I also enjoy beaches, coffee houses (for quiet people-watching) and movies alone, but exercise feeds a lot of my emotional and spiritual needs so I tend to engage in that more frequently. For some, the 2 hour hike I embark on may be the equivalent of getting a massage and their nails done. Which, I assume if the same woman who gave me the sympathetic “Awwww!” in passing on the trail had actually crossed my path at the massage appointment; I don’t think she would have asked me why I went there alone. 

Do you listen to your need for quiet when it calls? How do you connect with yourself when you need to? Feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear about what you do when you need to be alone.
P.S. I recognize that hiking alone can be dangerous. Please note that I take appropriate precautions, but I try not to live my life from a fear-driven perspective. No therapists were injured in the data-collection of this blog post 

CoachingThroughChaos.com Motivation, Achievement and Recovery Coaching

Psychotherapy and Coaching in San Diego, CA.

Colleen Mullen, Psy.D. LMFT

Motivation Achievement Recovery

The work I do with my clients focuses on Motivation, Achievement and Recovery aspects of their lives.  I thought I would take a minute to explain this.

If you were to come to me with a change you want to make, the first place I’d start with you is assessing your Motivation to change.  You have already sought out my services, so you are aware of what you want, but you haven’t yet been able to put any action into your change. I will assess and guide you through mindfully identifying and working through your obstacles to action until you are ready to put the change in motion.

The Achievement aspect of my work focuses on helping you design realistic and attainable short-term goals in addition to more grandiose long-term goals.  These goals will be measurable and designed to keep you motivated.

Recovery means a lot of things to a lot of people.  Traditionally, recovery refers to persons “in recovery” from addictions.  Yes, I do a lot of addiction recovery work with my clients, however, the term recovery can also mean recovery from a trauma, recovery from a relationship break-up, or recovering from some other type of loss.  Very often, we don’t realize just how much emotional stress we carry around everyday which can block us in the area of motivation by way of emotional obstacles we need to overcome.

I see motivation, achievement and recovery as a cumulative work process.  If one does not recover adequately from traumas. break-ups, addictions or what have you, there will most likely be motivational blocks in the form of emotional obstacles (apathy, depression, panic or anxiety,etc.) which will leave you struggling to achieve the changes you wish to implement in your life.

If this connects with you and you’d like to find out more, please contact me through my website: CoachingThroughChaos.com or call me at (619) 702-5571.

Please share this post with anyone you think may benefit from my services.  Thank you!

Best wishes for success!

Dr. Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT

me with ctc cap before raceBack in November I completed the Destination Races Temecula Half Marathon at the South Coast Winery.  As my friends who are active half and full marathon participants have called it, it was my “first” half marathon.  I, however, have not decided if I will put myself through that again!  I have such mixed emotions about it.  I learned a couple of really cool things about myself through this experience.  But first, Ill tell you a bit about the experience…..

I signed up for this race with a friend who I wanted to run a race with a few years ago, but a ligament injury got in the way.  My friend went on to run that particular race and has since completed several half marathons.  Last March, she basically said, “Colleen, you keep talking about wanting to run a Half, here’s one in Temecula – let’s sign up!” So, we did, and I began training.  My friend actually had to cancel herself out of the race soon after signing up when she realized she would be out of the state at a family function that day.  I decided to go it alone and just try to complete this personal goal I’ve had for a few years.

I’ve been running for many many years, but never more than about 4 miles with the exception of one 10K (6m) race a few years ago.  I found a training guide online and began following it.  I did really well for the first few months.  On my 44th birthday in August, I ran 8.4 miles around Mission Bay.  As a side note, I have a tradition of going for a powerful run on my birthday – it doesn’t always have to be long, but I like to do some sort of local destination run – I started on my 40th birthday, so it felt great to run this far on my 44th!! I was on FIRE!

But then…..I took a series of trips to visit family and for work training.  I was away at least one week of Aug, Sept, and Oct.  This threw my training off.  It was no one’s fault but my own.  I didn’t run nearly as much as I should have during these months.  In fact, my birthday run remained my farthest run until the actual day of the race. Because my training was not up to par, I decided 3 weeks before the race to really put it into full gear – and I did, but actually did some temporary damage by doing too much too soon.  I set 6 miles as my shortest runs and within the first 10 days of heavy training again, I found I had some severe metatarsal pain. I sought out the advice of a couple of personal trainer pals and the result was that I was not going to run until the race.  The thinking was that since I know I can do at least the 8.4 miles, if I take care of my body, I should be able to get through the race the next week.

Well, the couple of days before the race, I found myself extremely anxious- I’m not usually an anxious person, so, I focused on positive intentions of completing the race – that was the intention – I let go of needing to complete it within a certain time or even holding myself to running the entire course – I just wanted to complete it – period. Well, I did complete it.  I set a personal record of running 10 miles without stopping.  Oh, but wait! I bet you’re thinking – “Uh, Colleen, a Half Marathon is 13.1 miles, not 10!” Right you are! But first things first – I RAN 10 MILES!!!! HOLY COW! OK…and then the metatarsal pain kicked in so badly I had to walk the next 2 miles.  Those were pretty slow miles – I had to keep stopping to stretch the bottom of my feet to lessen the pain.  Then, at the beginning of mile `12, I thought, “I got this! I can run the last 1.1 miles!” Well, my mind was definitely fighting against my body – I tried to jog and realized I was so dehydrated that my calves started to seize and cramp, so I was left to walk to the finish line.  Ah well – crossing the finish line did happen, but the screaming rock star I envisioned myself to be in my fantasies wasn’t there.  The scream was more of a cry of relief when I saw my husband standing there waiting for me.   I remember just grabbing his shoulders and crying – there were definitely tears of pride and joy in there, mixed with ones of fear because my body never really felt the way it did for about the past hour.   There was a party going on at the winery.  People looked happy.  There was live music.  Lots of racers were walking around with their complimentary wine and goodie bags.  Me?  I collapsed on the ground and hoped no one would step on me while I tried to talk my body into calming down! It eventually did and about 20 minutes after I finished the race, I requested that we just pick up our belongings at the hotel and head on home because I wanted to go to bed…no after-race party for me!…lol..After dealing with a few hours of severe dehydration, my body was quite fine and I was quite proud of my accomplishment 🙂

Here’s what I learned about the experience:

1.  There’s no such thing as drinking too much water! (Seriously!)

2.  For as much as I didn’t gracefully run across the finish line as I dreamed of, I still hit a very significant personal best of running the 10 miles.

3.  I was able to let go of needing to finish by a certain time or needing to run the entire race.  I always hold myself to very high standards.  I can be very self-critical.  In this case, the needs of my body over-ruled whatever I wanted to put it through to meet my goal – and that was OK. If I want to do this again in the future (notice I said do, not try) I will definitely be prepared to train more consistently – that lesson was definitely learned!

4.  Before the race, I would say, “I’m training for my first half marathon” rather than “I’m training for a half marathon” – like this was just the beginning…lol….I think for now, I’m good with just one – that is something new for me –  my competitive nature usually forces my hand in these situations, but I’m going to sit with this accomplishment for now and enjoy it for what it is before I move on to the next 🙂

CoachingThroughChaos.com

Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT

Be Good to Yourself :)

Be Good to Yourself

This weekend focus on something that makes you feel energized!

Is there a place in town you haven’t been to in a while?  Do you have a home project you’ve been putting off? Me, I’m going to get to a local lake to get in a jog in a lovely setting – that makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself. Life can get sooo busy! Yes- we all have obligations that take up our time and can feel like we don’t have time for the things that energize us, but there are often ways in which we can steal a little time for something we really want.

Tonight, before you go to sleep- think about how you want to spend your time this weekend.  Maybe even write out a plan for yourself.  Do you need to get up earlier in the morning to get some self-care in?  Do you need to elicit some support from your partner or a friend in order to feel like you can take care of yourself as well as your family this weekend.  Think about what you need, and then figure out how to make it happen 🙂

Best wishes for success!

CoachingThroughChaos.com

Colleen Mullen,Psy.D., LMFT

experience is not what happens to a man

CoachingThroughChaos.com

Colleen Mullen, Psy.D. LMFT