DOES MY CLIENT HAVE TO DIE?

August 31, 2014

I have been invited to be on a panel when the American Criminology Society conference meets here in San Francisco the middle of November.  The panel’s title is Empowerment: The Resilience of Women in Various Crisis Situations.    I’ll be speaking about my client who is a domestic violence survivor.  She has not only survived the violence perpetrated on her by her now ex-spouse, she has also survived the emotional and mental  violence perpetrated on her by the very government agencies which are supposed to help and protect her. The actions of these agencies has caused her to constantly relapse into her PTSD symptoms as well as her Battered Wife Syndrome.

I’m sure that my client is not the only one to be suffering in this way.  I would be honored to hear from any of you who are willing to share your similar stories. or who have ideas on some of the actions needed to correct these egregious injustices.  There is power in numbers. Please call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at zkolkeymft@therapywithzora.com.

Warmly

Zora

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There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~ Ben Williams

July 6, 2014

I was thinking about a client of mine when I found this quote which is so appropriate.  I don’t know whether you’ve seen my co-therapist, Dafka.  There’s a picture of him on my web site.  Dafka, my client (who gave me permission to tell you this story) and the quote all go together.

About an hour before his scheduled appointment time, my client called to say that he wasn’t coming.

I, of course, asked him, “Why not?”.

His answer was, “I’m full of rage.  I don’t want to see anyone.  I don’t want to do anything.  I’m just going to stay in my room.”

My response, “This is exactly the time when it would be most helpful for you to come in.”

His answer, “No.  I’m not coming.”

I said, “Okay.  I’ll miss you and Dafka will miss you.”

He questioned, “Dafka will miss me?”

My answer, “Of course Dafka will miss you.”

He said, “I’ll be there on time.”

And he was.  Dafka greeted him affectionately and warmly with his tongue and his tail wagging vigorously.

We had a very good session, the three of us.

This is not my only client who finds comfort and reassurance from having Dafka in the room.  If  you would like to meet me and Dafka, please feel free to call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at zkolkeymft@lmi.net.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly

Zora

An Addict in the Family

July 1, 2014

As someone who has treated people with alcohol and drug problems, as well as other issues, I never dreamed that I would one day have an addict in my family. The addict in my family is my dog, Dafka. If you’ve looked at my web site, you’ll know that he is my co-therapist. He is addicted to his soccer ball.  It used to be his kong, and now it’s the ball.  He can keep playing with it for hours.  You can see him on YouTube playing soccer. I realized that he was addicted to it one day when I let him out and I was carrying the ball. He sat and started to shake all over before I gave it to him. It was kind of funny, seeing this big black dog so totally and absolutely focused on this black and white round thing in my hand. He never concentrated on anything else, except the kong, in that way. If he is offered a treat, he totally ignores it if he has the ball. The ball comes before eating. The biggest surprise was discovering that the ball came before a walk. Previously, when he heard his leash, he would be all excited and come running. Now, if he has the ball, he’ll stop and consider which is more fun.

When I started to write this, I thought that it would be kind of a cute story. I came to realize that it is actually an almost perfect metaphor for someone with an addiction, and it is neither funny nor cute. As anyone who has dealt with addiction in any form knows, whether it be drug or process, whatever the addiction, feeding the addiction comes before anything else–family, friends, work, play, sex, health, food–you name it.

An integral part of addiction includes the ritual involved in obtaining the coveted item. A person with an addiction may or may not include others in her/his ritual. I, of course, am an inseparable part of Dafka’s addiction ritual. He cannot get his beloved ball without me, and we do have a ritual. When he gets up, he has to go outside without the ball; come back in when he’s ready and eat. When he is finished eating, he comes into the kitchen and sits and stares at the backdoor waiting for me to let him out. He absolutely does not move anything except his rib cage as he is breathing. When I finally open the door, he dashes down the stairs to get his beloved ball.  I guess that you could say that I’m being codependent, and enabling him.

If you see yourself in any of this, either as  someone suffering from addiction or as a codependent, I would strongly urge you to find someone to talk with. You deserve to take care of yourself. I have worked with addicts and alcoholics for many years. Please call me at 415-474-6707, or email me at zkolkeymft@therapywithzora.com. I would be honored to accompany you on your healing journey. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,
Zora

Zora L. Kolkey, MFT
License #MFC 23012
Web Site: http://www.BayAreaCounselingWithZora.com

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BEING ASSERTIVE: GETTING YOUR NEEDS MET

June 22, 2014

Being assertive means doing what you need  to do in order to get your needs met.  It doesn’t necessarily mean confrontation, getting angry, being aggressive.  It means taking care of yourself.  This is true for all relationships–not just the intimate ones of family and friends.

I haven’t written for a very long time and, usually, I don’t share personal circumstances.  However, I recently had experiences that confirmed for me, again, the importance of being assertive, not aggressive, when it means taking care of myself, and I want to share them with you.

I had occasion to be in a rehab facility after undergoing some major surgery.  I have special dietary needs which were not being met.  At first, I decided not to say anything.  However, I began to feel ill, and realized I had to say something to get my needs met.  It was quite a process because some of the people didn’t want to listen nor hear.  I was persistent, however, and eventually they realized that I wasn’t going to give up, and I got what I needed.

My message to you is if taking care of yourself means being assertive, don’t give up, whether it be with a partner, friend, your doctor, the plumber–anyone.  If you don’t know how, you can learn.  If you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, you can tell her/him that that is not your intention and this is what you need.  Feeling empowered builds your self-esteem and contributes to feelings of self-worth.

Have you ever experienced this kind of situation–and few of us haven’t?  I’d very much like to hear your comments and experiences.  If you need help in learning to take care of yourself, I’d be very happy to meet with you.  Please feel free to call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at zkolkeymft@therapywithzora.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Peace

Zora

Don’t “Should” on Me

June 15, 2014

The above statement is one of my favorite bumper stickers. It is a reminder of one of the ways in which we both allow others to tyrannize us and tyrannize ourselves. When partners try to “should” on each other, intense conflict almost always results. “Shoulds” come from cultural, parental and peer expectations and we accept them because we need to feel loved, to belong, and to feel safe and good about ourselves.

We act on “shoulds” because we believe that they are true, and that’s how we give them power over us. If we don’t live up to our “shoulds” or to someone else’s “shoulds”, we feel that we are unworthy–a bad person. Our self-esteem is impacted and we torture ourselves with self-blame and guilt.

Look over the following list of “shoulds” and notice which impact on your feelings about yourself:

~ I should be strong or you should be strong,
~ I should always be kind or you should always be kind.
~ I should never make a mistake or you should never make a mistake.
~ I should be perfect (a particular curse) or you should be perfect.
~ I should never feel angry or you shouldn’t be angry.
~ I should always be helpful or you should always be helpful.
~ I should never feel sexually attracted to_______or you should never feel sexually attracted to anyone else.
~ I should never be afraid or you should never be afraid.
~ I should always be happy or you should always be happy.
~ I should always help others or you should always help others.
~I should never say “NO” or you should never say NO.

I would guess that you probably have some additional “shoulds” that I haven’t thought about.  If you do, I’d love to hear them.  Either way, I’d love to hear from you.  If these or any other “shoulds” are keeping you from living your life to the fullest in the way that you want to live it, I invite you to explore healthy ways of dealing with them.  Some of these “shoulds’ can feel really abusive.  I know.  I’ve been there.   It isn’t necessary to carry these burdens alone–and I definitely do not mean that you should get rid of them. It’s your choice.  I would be honored to talk with you and accompany you on your healing journey.  Please call me at 415-474-6707.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,

Zora

Zora L. Kolkey, MFT
License #23012
Web Site:  BayAreaCounselingWithZora.com

AN ADDICT IN THE FAMILY

July 5, 2011

As someone who has treated people with alcohol and drug problems, as well as other issues, I never dreamed that I would one day have an addict in my family. The addict in my family is my dog, Dafka.  If you’ve looked at my web site, you’ll know that he is my co-therapist.  He is addicted to his kong. For those of you who don’t know what a kong is, it is round, three-tiered and pyramid-shaped. It is made of very heavy rubber which is puncture resistant, very bouncy and chewer friendly. He can keep playing with it for hours. I realized that he was addicted to it one day when I let him out and I was carrying the kong. He sat and started to shake all over before I gave it to him. It was kind of funny, seeing this big black dog so totally and absolutely focused on this little red rubber thing in my hand. He never concentrated on anything else in that way. If he is offered a treat, he totally ignores it if he has the kong. The kong comes before eating. The biggest surprise was discovering that the kong came before a walk. Previously, when he heard his leash, he would be all excited and come running. Now, if he has the kong, forget about the walk.

When I started to write this, I thought that it would be kind of a cute story. I came to realize that it is actually an almost perfect metaphor for someone with an addiction, and it is neither funny nor cute. As anyone who has dealt with addiction in any form knows, whether it be drug or process, whatever the addiction, feeding the addiction comes before anything else–family, friends, work, play, sex, health, food–you name it.

An integral part of addiction includes the ritual involved in obtaining the coveted item. A person with an addiction may or may not include others in her/his ritual. I, of course, am an inseparable part of Dafka’s addiction ritual. He cannot get his beloved kong without me, and we do have a ritual. When he gets up, he has to go outside without the kong; come back in when he’s ready and eat. When he is finished eating, he comes into the kitchen and just stares at the kong on the kitchen counter. He absolutely does not move anything except his rib cage as he is breathing. When I finally pick up the kong, we go to the back door. I open it. He has to sit quietly (very hard for him to do as he is already shaking), no barking, and I give him the kong. I guess that you could say that I’m being codependent, and enabling him.

If you see yourself in any of this, either as as someone suffering from addiction or as a codependent, I would strongly urge you to find someone to talk with.  You deserve to take care of yourself.  I have worked with addicts and alcoholics for many years.  Please call me at 415-474-6707.  I would be honored to accompany you on your healing journey.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,
Zora

Zora L. Kolkey, MFT
License #MFC 23012
Web Site: http://www.therapywithzora.com

PRISONER TRAUMA, SOCIETAL IMPACT

June 6, 2011

The American Society of Criminology has accepted my proposal for a presentation on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at their annual conference in November.  My abstract is below.  If you or someone you know would like to be a part of this, I encourage and invite you to get in touch with me.

PTSD:  INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE WALLS  

It took a very long time and a very difficult struggle by Vietnam Veterans to get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recognized as a serious and debilitating disorder. Eventually it was acknowledged that people suffering from other kinds of trauma and abuse – physical, emotional, sexual – could also display symptoms of PTSD. Only relatively recently are mental health professionals beginning to realize that incarceration and the variety of forms of institutional abuse that occurs within the prison setting can lead to someone suffering from PTSD. The purpose of this paper is to explore further the connection between PTSD and institutional as well as post-release behavior. A variety of recommendations for the treatment needs of those with PTSD along with policy considerations will be presented.

 

Thanks for reading this.  I would love to hear from you–any questions, comments, feedback.  All would be welcome.                                        Warmly,                                                                                        Zora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Stressful Times

December 29, 2010

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Holiday, and that you have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

This time of year, in spite of the joy, can be very stressful.  Now, in addition to the usual Holiday stresses, we are faced with external circumstances which can be exceedingly stressful, the economy, the wars.  During this times, there often are additional conflicts in relationships.  I know.  I’ve been there.

The most important thing to do is to take care of yourself.  We cannot care for others if we do not care for ourselves.  Here are five actions which you can take so that you will feel less tense and calmer:

  • *Honor the person within you:  treat yourself as your own best friend.
  • *Let yourself grieve and mourn for any losses you may be suffering.
  • *Let yourself feel all of your feelings:  there are no good or bad feelings;  they just are.
  • *Spend time doing what you dearly love to do whether it is a walk in nature, going to the theater, dancing–something that you truly enjoy.
  • *Talk about what’s going on with you with someone you trust–a friend, a co- worker, a therapist:  talking can help you decide what’s important and what is no longer important for you and can help you work through some of your feelings.

I would very much like to know whether or not this has been helpful, and would be honored to support you in following through on any of these actions.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at 415-474-6707 or email:  zkolkeymft@lmi.net

Again, I wish you Health and Peace in the New Year.

Warmly,

Zora

Questions that I Don’t Have Answers To

October 1, 2010

I was just appalled and saddened when I read about the suicide of the young Rutger’s student and the reasons behind it.  Then I heard about more young people committing suicide after being bullied about their sexuality.  I don’t understand.  What ever happened to respecting someone’s privacy and confidentiality?

When my children were young, I would never think of opening their mail.  I didn’t go into their rooms without knocking.  I didn’t share any of their “secrets’ with anyone else unless they said okay.

What ever happened to empathy and compassion?  Does our society’s use of technology, and the value we place on it, have something to do with the disappearance of these human values?

As I stated above, I don’t have answers to these questions.  Have these issues ever troubled you and impacted  your life?   I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts and feelings about any of these concerns.

I invite you to get in touch with me.

Warmly,

Zora

A DAY OF REMEMBERANCE: September 11, 2001

September 8, 2010

September 11, 2001.  It was a little after 6:00 am on Tuesday morning.  Do you remember where you were?  Who were you with, if anyone?  What were you doing?

I remember very clearly what I was doing.  My roommate’s door, at the end of the hall, was open.  The television was on, and it did not appear to be the usual morning news.  Just the fact that my roommate was up at that hour was unusual, let alone having his door open.  I hadn’t yet had my morning coffee so I was not fully awake.  I sort of shuffled down the hall, glanced at his TV, and saw a plane flying into a very tall building.  I turned and went into the bathroom wondering to myself why in the world he was watching such a trashy movie at that hour of the morning.  He called to me and told me to really come and look;  that this was really happening;  it wasn’t a movie;  a plane was actually flying into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  I was shocked and  full of disbelief, almost immobilized.  The image of that plane flying into that tower is engraved in my memory and implanted in my body.

Nine years have now passed since that horrendous event, and as its anniversary approaches, that image is just as clear in my memory and held in my body as if I were looking at it right now.  This is a normal reaction to an overwhelming event.  It may also be happening to you.  However, for me, it feels less threatening now than it did then.  I can remember it and not react to it.

That’s what trauma does.  It affects every part of our being.  It becomes locked and held in our bodies unless we get treatment.  It causes us to feel anxious, fearful, full of stress.  It can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with its many symptoms.  All of these concerns can prevent us from living full and meaningful lives.

If you have suffered from accidents, natural disasters, physical, mental or emotional abuse, war-related injuries (both physical and/or emotional). or any one of the myriad blows that befall us everyday, find someone to talk to.  You do not have to endure these torments alone.  I am available to speak with you.  Please call me at 415-474-6707, and/or email me at zkolkeymft@lmi.net.  I would be honored to have you share with me so that you become empowered to live your life fully, the way that you want it to be.