Arnold Counseling
Michael Arnold, MS, LIMHP, LPC
8031 W. Center Rd., Ste. 303
Omaha, NE 68124

Inner Directed vs. Outer Directed

The illogical notion that someone else can make you happy is prevalent in our society, in our songs, and inherently in holding faulty beliefs... It basically consists of this magical belief- "if the world and all the people in it would only change, then I'd be happy." In other words, this belief suggests that somehow, in some way, someone other than you is responsible for your happiness. Thinking such as this brings personal growth to a grinding halt and makes contented living all but impossible. 

A committment to inner directed living is the most satisfying and eye opening endeavor one can take. I encourage all my clients to do so, and to catch themselves when they start to blame others for their unhappiness, or that someone other than them is responsible for "making them happy." Typical of this is the unhappy housewife who drags her husband in for therapy, only to find that the husband has no interest in therapy or the notion of changing. When I suggest the wife take responsibility for their own happiness, even to the point of ending the relationship, I have become the bad guy since I can't get their husbands to change. 

Looking for and finding fault with another will do nothing in the long term to make your life better. Focus on what you and only you can do and what you have control over, which is your actions. Since I am action oriented, the shortest route to happiness is acting like you are happy, and recognize that you do not have to entertain negative thoughts in any way, and for any length of time. In actuality, one of the keys to happiness is to disindentify with your mind altogther, as our conditioned mind is like a sentry on a ship and its job is to warn of danger. As Mark Twain once said "I've had thousands of problems, most of which never happened".

Posted on May 30, 2018. Tags: Inner directed, Outer directed, the differences

Avoiding the Drama

How many times have we found ourselves caught up in Drama? I know I have, and it is a common theme in my work as a therapist. The question that arises is what do we mean by Drama and how does it manifest in everyday relationships? I always fall back on a social model conceived by Steven Karpman MD, a student who studied under Eric Berne. Karpman used a triangle to map conflicted or drama intense relationships. The short version or explanation of the mode...l goes something like this- Karpman would say there are 3 "roles" or "actors" in any drama- a persecutor, a rescuer, and a victim. The persecutor can be described as critical, holier than thou, perhaps abusive either physically or emotionally. He or she is the one who plays "one up" in relationships. The rescuer role is synonymous with one who is like a 'caretaker'. In real life, there certainly are heroic rescuers who save people in distress who are legitimate victims. However, the rescuer referred to in the drama triangle is one who does for others without being asked, with an ingrained belief that others need help and cannot take care of themselves. Rescuers tend to seek or attract people who they feel 'need rescued', usually from the grips of a persecutor. On the other hand, the victim role in the Karpman triangle does not describe an actual victim; it is intended to describe someone who acts like of feels like a victim. ("poor me"). Within the drama triangle the actors can switch roles quickly- the rescuer can become the victim "I was only trying to help", the victim can become the persecutor, the persecutor can become the victim, etc. If you are in a relationship where a lot of drama is being played out, be it a love, social, or work relationship, the Karpman Triangle is a good model for understanding dysfunctional dynamics and the role you might be playing in the drama. It may even help you avoid drama in the first place!

The content of this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling. For a free consultation, call 402-401-7567

Posted on March 29, 2017.

Seeing is Believing

How many times in your life have you heard the saying Seeing is Believing? I wonder if that view is entirely true. For instance, how many views are different when people are interviewed as witnesses of a crime or accident? Usually several. My point is this; a more accurate way of describing what we witness is "Believing is seeing." Therefore, what a persons sees depends on the observer, and what the observer believes colors what they see. In other words, in a sense we are co ...creators of our world by what we believe about it. Let's relate this to the discussion yesterday regarding Red Flags in relationships. In the first stage of a relationship, (called the honeymoon stage) most everyone wants to believe only the best about the person they're with. We ignore (deny reality) flaws or red flags that signal or caution us to slow down or end a potentially abusive relationship. Thus, another saying comes to mind, as in "Love is blind" or "he or she will change" or "I can change him or her." My reality in working with clients is that change can be very difficult and people make changes only when they are ready and want to change, debunking the magical belief that we can make our partner (or anyone else) change.

My final point is this: If you sense something is wrong in your relationship, there probably is. If you ignore red flags you do so at your own peril. Seek help if you have a pattern of being in these types of relationships.

Stay tuned as later I will be talking more about the underlying theme of why some of us persist in choosing unhealthy partners.

The content of this post should not be considered as a substitute for Professional Mental Health therapy.

Posted on March 25, 2017.

Red Flags in Relationships

Today is the first day where I will introduce certain topics of interest to persons considering counseling. My first topic is "Red Flags in Relationships". One of the common themes I see in couples counseling is how one or both parties ignore or disregard warning signs (red flags) of their partner in the relationship's initial stage. Some examples of "red flags" you may want to pay attention to (and not ignore) in any potential partner before committing to a long term relationship include the following: a history of financial problems/ poor credit; substance abuse; few friends; having nothing good to say about their "ex" or any past partners; a lack of interest in your friends/family and any type of controlling/abusive behaviors. I've heard too many stories of people who have followed "their heart rather than their head" (or intuition) as a basis to commit to someone and then regretting it later. My "for what it's worth" advice today is this: If you are in the beginning stages of a relationship and any red flags show up, don't ignore them! You may regret it down the road if you do. And consider consultation with a Licensed Professional Counselor for additional help.

Stayed tuned for my next topic entitled "Believing is Seeing"

The content of this post should not be considered as a substitute for Professional Mental Health therapy.

Posted on March 24, 2017.