Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year What?

Greetings All:

Has anyone out there made a New Year's Resolution? Has anyone out there broken or laughed at the New Year's Resolution? I do every year.

I no longer make New Year's Resolutions. It just one more then to feel bad about when I don't keep them. However, I do make New Year's Agreements. Yes, Agreements. These Agreements are with myself to be a better person. These Agreements are not necessarily about behavior changes. Mostly, they are about thinking changes.

I agree to be more positive, more forgiving, more understanding, and more creative.

Make a Great Year
Make a new Agreement

Dr. Susan

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I believe

Greetings All:

Merry Christmas to all

As we review the year or perhaps even our entire life, we come face to face with our belief system. Have we valued our belief system or have we violated it? In most cases the answer is YES to both.

I believe in God, goodness of human beings, peace for the soul, laughter, giving, hugs, humility, integrity, dreams, family, harmony, singing, sharing, being positive and respectful to all.

Enjoy each day and find joy in each day and within yourself.

Make a Great Day
Merry Christmas

Dr. Susan

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Stress

Greetings all

I hope you are enjoying this holiday season.

Here are a few ways to reduce some holiday stress:

Be sure to set priorities. Do not overextend. Maybe it is too late for this year. Set some limits and be able to say no - even to people you love.

Plan Ahead: have some cut off dates; after that date things that haven't gotten done will be deferred until next year

Keep it Simple: Do some shopping from home. Keep meals simple and enjoyable. Have others assist in decorating and with food

Stay in Budget: learn to say no to expensive holiday ideas. Choose simple, thoughtful, or useful gifts over elaborate, expensive surprises.

Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster: Be willing to let go of old traditions if they no longer work for your family, and find new ones to do. Do not try to compete with fantasy family gatherings.

Take Care of Yourself: Avoid overindulgence in holiday food, alcohol and caffeine. Think about what the holidays are actually celebrating and stay true to that spirit. Peace and joy can be more than just a department store come-on.

Keep Christ is Christmas. Merry Christmas. May you be blessed with peace and joy this holiday season and always.

Make a Great Day

Dr. Susan

Holiday Stress

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Greetings All

THE HOME THAT ___(You)______________ BUILT

In the world of parenting, there are few owners manuals or handbooks given out. When you buy a microwave, television, VCR, lawnmower, or any other piece of equipment an owners manual is always included. Did you receive an “owners manual” or an instructors manual with your child? I know that I did not. Of course, children are not possessions, and therefore, there should not be an “owners manual.” However, an instruction manual would be nice! There are a lot of pre-parenting activities and materials, and then when the child comes, congratulations are offered, then the parent(s) are left with the well wishes and the child, but NO instructions.
What kind of a “home” environment are you building and living in? Do you live in a “singing” home, or an angry home, or a sad home, or just what kind? A story is told of two different families. One family (the Becks) had a “stay at home mom.” The family didn’t have very many financial resources. The carpet and furnishings were well worn. The children all wore hand-me-downs. The children had chores and responsibilities every day. The children were not allowed to watch a lot of television, and there were no video games in this home. In contrast, the other family (the Frams) lived in a much nicer more expensive house. All of the furnishings were coordinated and new. The children always wore the latest fashions and they had every kind of electronic game and toy available. The Fram children and the Beck children loved to play together. One day the Fram children came home and asked their mom why they didn’t have a “singing home.” Mrs. Fram was confused at the question. The children stated that, “The Beck house is a singing house.”
The following is a great model for “building your home.”

The roof of the house is “Parents in Charge.” Notice that it says “in charge,” NOT “in control.” During pregnancy, women have basically no “control” over what is going on with their body. Few women have any “control” over the birth of the child. And yet, after the child is born, parents think they can control the child.
The parents responsibility is to set up the structure and values that will be taught and practiced in the home. One of the most important components in parenting is STRUCTURE AND CONSISTENCY. Children will grow and thrive better with structure and consistency than they will in an environment with poor structure and chaos. Children need structure in order to build trust, sense of self, problem solving, and identity.

Enjoy parenting. It is most difficult, demanding job you will ever LOVE!

Make a great Day

Dr. Susan

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hokey Pokey

Greeting All

What if the Hokey Pokey is what it's all about!

Many of us remember the Hokey Pokey dance/game from our childhood. Whenever we did it, we would laugh and most everyone had a very good time.

I propose that we need to do more of the Hokey Pokey in life. We need to laugh more and enjoy the small moments in life. Most of us spend too much time thinking about, worrying about, or dwelling on things that we have no control over. We want the environment to change to suit us and we want others to "make us happy." We are responsible for our own happiness. We can all spend more time and energy on the little things, and on changing our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

Dance, sing, laugh

Make a great day

Dr. Susan

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Many couple come in for counseling stating that "we don't communicate." Actually, that is pretty much impossible. We are always communicating. Some people just do not spend a lot of time talking. 90-95% of our communication is non-veral.

I want to throw out some communication assumptions. We assume a lot when we communicate. The following can challenge some of those assumptions and help us become more effective communicators.


· Behind every behavior is a positive intent

· Requisite variety – the element of the system with the most flexibility will be the controlling element

· People work perfectly – no one is wrong or broken; it’s simply a matter of finding out how they function now so that you can effectively change that to something more useful or desirable.

· Almost every behavior is useful in some context – what is the positive intent

· Choice is better than no choice

· Energy flows were attention goes

· People already have all the resources they need – what they need is access to those resources at appropriate times

· There is no such thing as failure, only feedback – every response can be utilized

· Communication is redundant – you are always communicating in all three representational systems – visual, auditory, kinesthetic

· The meaning of your communication is the response that you get – communication is not about what you intend, or about saying the right words; it is about creating an experience in, and getting a response from the listener. The bottom line is the response you elicit from the listener or receiver.

· The map is not the territory

· Present behavior is the best possible choice

· Seek first to understand then to be understood

Enjoy all communication - there is a lot going on

Make a Great Day

Dr. Susan

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Anger?

Greetings All:

Why Anger?
Why do so many people use this emotion?

It is is quick, easy, distructive, harms relationships, and usually does not accomplish what the real goal is. So, Why is it such a popular emotion?

It is quick, easy, and it oftentimes controls other for a moment.

Anger is an emotion. Anger usually is covering or compensating another emotion. Many times the driver of anger is disappointment, depression, anxiety, frustration, guilt, shame, hurt, sadness, jealousy, embarrassment and many others.

When you feel angry, ask yourself what thought you are using to create the feeling (this is from Virginia Satir). Events cannot and do not create feelings. It is how we think about or process the event that creates our feeling. You can also ask yourself what REAL emotion you are hiding or avoiding by using anger.

Manage your anger, change your world. No longer let anger manage you. It is a harsh taskmaster with very destructive outcomes.

Smile and Make A Great Day!

Dr. Susan

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Greetings all:

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Whatever You Are, Be a Good One."

I believe this is great advice to learn to love self and enjoy who you are rather than always competing or trying to be better than others.

Each of us should strive to improve self. This does not mean to compete or to be what others expect of us. When we can find joy in who we are, we find more joy in life.

Throughout the different stages of life, we will wear many different hats. We should however focus on the value of was is inside of us.

Be Happy Today

Dr. Susan

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beliefs = Formulas



We can change our beliefs or formulas we have created in our mind.

I know just enough algebra and geometry to be dangerous! When I learned how to count and learned numbers, it thought that was math. When I learned letters and words I thought that was reading and writing. (When did a = 2 and x = 8?) Who knew until algebra that the two are combined in order to make sense and balance in an equation? Actually that is the way the brain operates and makes sense of sensory based information that it receives – through formulas. Sensory based information equals something. These formulas become our belief system. As with algebra, the brain formulas need to balance. If the brain is out of balance or has made an incorrect calculation with the formulas, the person is limited or stuck. Formulas constitute beliefs, thinking patterns, problem solving skills, attitudes, and values.

In algebra, when a formula is given both sides may need to be adjusted in order to achieve the correct balance. The brain formulas are much the same. Behavior can be adjusted and shifted, or thinking (believing) patterns can be adjusted and shifted. One of the problems with behavioral modification is that it addresses one side of the formula only – the behavior. When a person is ready to make a change, both sides of their formula must be considered. It is easiest to make a change of the behavior; however often times the behavior is simply the symptom or manifestation of the belief that is driving the behavior. When considering the neurological levels [Environment – Behavior – Capability – Belief – Identity – Spirituality], behavior modification works on the lowest two areas. Most stuck state behaviors are really run at the belief, identity and spiritual levels. This is where the formula comes into play in making adjustment and changes. Richard Bandler suggest “Using Your Brain for a Change.” One of the powerful skills in Neuro Linguistics Programming is that of changing the brain and the thinking patterns and formulas to accelerate and facilitate change.

A strategy is a sequence of internal and external representations that lead to a particular outcome. The way in which we divide experience into “separate” strategies or formulas is to some extent arbitrary. Our thinking patterns affect our behavior. We have formulas that create our beliefs and attitudes which then run our behavior. Assisting a person to identify her/his formulas will assist in identifying limiting beliefs.

Identify a problem state or a situation in which a person would like to have more choices. Put the problem of stuck state into just one word – love, relationship, anger, fear, expectation, procrastination, work, parenting, etc. Share the algebra metaphor as stated above – both sides of the equation must be equal in order to balance. Changes can be made on one or both sides of the equation to facilitate change. Identify what the belief is about that problem in the equation – the formula. Example: love = fear, betrayal, hurt, etc. Identify what else the problem could equal. Example: love = company, fun, accomplishment. Continue changing the formula until the desired response/outcome is reached. Think of places and times where a new formula would be beneficial to assist in having more choices.

Changing formulas can actually be fun and energizing

Make a Great Day

Dr. Susan

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happiness is a Choice

Dear Readers:

Happiness is a choice. Here are some random and timely thoughts about happiness

The happiness of my life depends on the quality of my thoughts.

A sharp tongue can cut my own throat.

If I want my dreams to come true, I mustn’t oversleep

Of all the things I wear, my expression is the most important

The best vitamin for making friends is – B1

The heaviest thing I ca carry is a grudge

One thing I can give and still keep --- my word

I lie the loudest when I lie to myself.
If I lack the courage to start, I have already finished
The one thing I can’t recycle is wasted time

Ideas won’t work unless I do

My mind is like a parachute – it functions only when open

The 10 Commandments are not a multiple choice

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime! It is never too late to become what I might have become

Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you might not get them back. Sometimes we get so busy with our lives and problems that we might not even notice that we have let them fly away. Sometimes we are so caught up in who’s right and who’s wrong; we forget what’s right and wrong. Sometimes we just don’t realize what real friendship is until it is too late.

Practice random acts and thoughts of happiness

Make a Great Day

Dr. Susan

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happiness is a Choice

Greetings All


“As a man thinketh, so is he” Proverbs

What do you like about yourself? Do you view yourself as being as good as others, better than others, or worse than others?

What has happened good in your life today?

What do you like about your family?

“Energy Flows Where Attention Goes”

Happiness doesn’t depend on where you are, it depends on WHO you are.

The one thing that no one has control over, other than you is your brain and your thoughts.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder:
Every day there are clouds and rainbows,
Every day there is sun and raindrops
Which do you see?

A person is literally what s/he thinks
Lift up your eyes
Stand on your feet
Put a smile on your face

Say a few words of appreciation
Be positive

Where ever you go, There you are

I want to feel good
I want to feel God

I see miracles every day
I believe in prosperity and abundance

Change your thoughts and change your world

My perception is my reality – make it good

Reading Resources:
The Bible God

Man's Search for Meaning Victor Frankel

Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy
David Burns
The Four Agreements
Don Miguel Ruiz
The Power of Positive Intention
Wayne Dyer
5 Love Languages Gary Chapman

The Power of Now
Eckart Tolle

Make a Great Day

Dr. Susan

Monday, August 31, 2009

Self Discovery

Good Monday:

Once there was a little girl who was very wise for her years - precocious was the big word that adults used when talking about her. She was tiny in size for her age. Dark brown ringlets abound her head and as she walked on her tip toes her ringlets would bounce with her body rhythm. She had an abundance of curiosity, and her talent for asking questions, to everyone she met, made her appear bigger than life - according to the town’s people.

One drizzly, rainy afternoon, Mrs. Tuballow, a stranger in town, was rapidly stepping toward the post office door when the large double doors swept open and before you could say “Johnny jump up,” Mrs. Tuballow ran smack dab into this tiny girl. Momentarily, both lost their balance and dropped the envelopes they held.

Recovering from the unexpected encounter, Mrs. Tuballow straightened her rain hat and asked,

“Just what is your name little girl?”

“IAM,” responded the little girl, as she bent over and picked up the envelopes that had fallen, and began reading the addresses.

“Never you mind!” Mrs. Tuballow stated in a stern voice as she grabbed her mail, adding a scowl on her forehead as she looked directly at IAM.

Matching Mrs. Tuballow’s facial expression, IAM questioned, “Where is Chicago, IL, and who do you know who lives there?”

Holding her envelopes close to her bosom, Mrs. Tuballow replied, “Hush up now, and tell me what you name is.”


“That can’t be your real name. What does your mother call you?”

“I keep telling you, IAM.”

“No mother would call her child that name. It must be a nickname. So what is your full real name?” Mrs. Tuballow asked, her voiced rising along with the color of her cheeks.

“Why is your face going red?” IAM asked, just brimming over with excitement.

“Stop that, this instant! You are a very rude child, and your name is not IAM. You need to learn some manners. Now get out of my way and go find out what your real name is.” Mrs. Tuballow pushed her way past IAM huffing and puffing - which shifted the beautiful ringlets on IAM’s head.

IAM bounced down the post office steps and headed north to the bakery where she always collected a special treat from Mr. Sucrosery. The jolly, round baker had been IAM’s best friend for as long as she could remember and would know what her real name was.

IAM opened the bakery store door and immediately took a deep breath. Her nose told her, yes, her best friend had baked her favorite cookie - golden brown chocolate chips with tasty black walnuts. “Oh, Mr. Sucrosery, how deliciously wonderful today smells.” Her voice matched the sweetness of the treat that was awaiting her arrival.

From the back room, appeared a man wearing a smile as broad as all out doors and eyes that twinkled as bright as the sun. He brought a very large cookie and handed it to IAM, asking,

“What has my best friend learned today to share with me?”

“I have a question for you today, Mr. Sucrosery. I met a stranger today and she said that my real name can’t be IAM. She said it must be a nick name and she told me to find my mother and ask her what my real name is. You knew my mother, what did she call me?”

“Why child, she always called you IAM.”

“Was that a nickname?”

“I don’t know. You were just learning to walk when I met you and your mother. I never heard her call you anything except IAM. I’m sorry I can’t help you.”

“Do you know who might know my real name?”

“I know your mother’s favorite place in town, for you and herself, was the zoo. She loved to visit with the animals. Maybe they could help you.” Mr. Sucrosery sighed as he patted IAM’s beautiful ringlet-covered head.

“Thank you, Mr. Sucrosery. I will visit the zoo this very afternoon.”
Nibbling on the golden brown chocolate chip cookie, IAM skipped down the street heading south toward the zoo, her ringlets dancing with every skip.

The first fenced area IAM came to a stream of water running this way and that with steep mud-packed sides and a worn path leading into the cloudy water. IAM kept her eyes focused on the still water, knowing that soon a familiar nose would appear just to say hello. Seeing tiny ripples appear, it wasn’t long before the nose and two eyes of Mr. Otter came up out of the water. He scurried up the muddy side of the stream, slid in the grass on his belly, and then rolled over, giving IAM a quick smile. Then down the mud packed slide he slid, enjoying every motion his slick body made as he played his favorite moves.

“Mr. Otter? Mr. Otter? I have a question for you,” IAM called out, hoping her friend would return.

Sensing a curiosity in the air, Mr. Otter swirled around in the water and returned near the water’s edge where IAM stood.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Otter. You remember my mother? Do you know what she named me?”
Mr. Otter cocked his head and looking up at IAM, he said, “Your mother always called you IAM.” She would smile and I would say, “I’m full of fun and play for always and today.”
IAM thanked her friend and continued on toward the bird sanctuary. She knew Mr. Owl was older than old and very wise, so he would remember what her real name was.

Mr. Owl gave a loud hoot upon recognizing a familiar friend and recalled a young mother and little girl, called IAM, visiting often. The young mother would question the owl and he would respond, “I’m oodles old and worldly wise, I see many points of view for my size.”
IAM thanked the owl and decided to go directly to the cage which housed the king of beasts - the lion. The king would definitely have all the answers.

As IAM came upon the lion’s cage she noticed he was asleep. Not knowing if she should wake the lion from his afternoon nap, she stood very still, thinking. The king opened one eye then the other and zeroed in on IAM standing very still. The lion blinked both eyes and asked with a roar.

“What brings you here, child? Could it be another question?”

“Oh please, King Lion, I really need to know my real name. Can you tell me what it is?”

“I’m the king of the jungle. I’m protector of the entire kingdom. You must know your own name.” The lion’s voice shook the entire cage as he spoke.

“I thought my name was IAM. But this stranger told me that wasn’t my name. I don’t know anymore,” cried the young girl as her ringlets fell on her cheeks wiping away her tears.

“What do you know?” yawned the king, getting ready to return to his nap.

IAM thought for a moment. Throwing back her shoulders and lifting her head, she smiled, “I know lots of things. I’m happy, I’m a good friend, I’m fun to play with, I’m smart and I’m pretty with my dark, brown ringlets that dance with me. I’m......”

The lion opened his mouth and roared a very loud laugh. “See! You really do know who you are and what you can be. So goes your name. IAM.”

The tiny girl, with bouncing brown ringlets turned toward the east, singing as she skipped, “IAM, I say, IAM!” (Vivian Ford)

Who are you? What kinds of things do you say to and about yourself? Are you kind to yourself in the self talk you engage in? Have you let others influence how you view yourself and who you are?

Make a great day and begin to discover who you REALLY are and what you like about yourself

Dr. Susan

Monday, August 24, 2009

Worry Window

Are you a worrier? If so, I have a great skill for you to learn and to practice

First of all write your worries down. Identify a 15 minute "worry time" per day. When you begin to worry, stop and be sure that it is "worry time." If it is not time to worry, think about something else, or do something else until it is "worry time." This may sound simple and ridiculous, but go ahead a try it! It really works.

A second technique is to divide a paper into 4 sections. Label one section, "I Can Control; Important to Me." Label another section "I Cannot Control; Important to Me" Label a third section "Not Important to Me; I Can Control" Label the final section "I Cannot Control; Not Important to Me."

Now list all worries, people, issues, etc. Put them in the proper section. In section one, "I Can Control; Important to Me" - your name should appear. In the secotion "I Cannot Control; Important to Me" - other people's name should appear.

Once we discover what we can control and are willing to release the time, energy and focus of what we cannot control and that is important to us, we spend more quality time making the changes to need to our self, and we are much happier with our self and our life.

"Energy flows where attention goes"

Happy letting go of worry

Dr. Susan

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daily Joy

Good Morning:

What have you seen today that has brought you joy?

We become what we think about all day long.

There are rainbows and clouds, sunshine and rain every day. What are you looking for and where is your attention placed.

I am too blessed to be depressed.

Make a Great Day

Dr. Susan

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Make a Great Day

Good evening readers:

I am a PhD psychotherapist. I have an office in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Rock Springs, WY. Each of us face each new day with different outlooks. I prefer to look for as many positive things in the world and in people as possible. The one thing we can always control is our thinking and whether we look for the positive or the negative.

Make a great day

Dr. Susan