Sunday, July 19, 2020

Productivity Versus Self Care is a False Dichotomy If... focus on healthy, sustainable practices and let go of attachment to internalized demands and expectations. Easier said than done, of course.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Video Helping is Real Help

This summer, I am a teaching a graduate level course on crisis intervention. Of course, there is no relevance to this course and our current national/global context!!! This week, my students begin working with each other in peer-counseling triads  For four weeks, they will get a flavor for what it is like to help and be helped via video, right now, in the contest of the pandemic, racist violence, uprising, and political/leadership incompetence.

While some of them may be skeptical that helping can happen via video, I know it can. It does, and after ten years of doing it, I firmly believe that I can establish nearly the same quality helping relationship that do when I work “live.” In fact, I have worked with so few client in person during the last decade, I am not even sure how I would do anymore with real live people!

I am writing this as I have seen some posts in social media about people needing help for anxiety and/or depression but not wishing to engage via video. I get the reticence—it is really weird at first. But please—reach out and seek the help you need—give this strange post-modern way of being engaged in help and helping a shot. You own it to yourself.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Lean into Processes, Let go of Productivity

It is one of the great paradoxes of writing--if I let you let go of the need to be productive, and focus on the quality of your processes, you will be more productive. And healthier. And more balanced. Needed in these times.

Healthy sustainably writing sessions. Day by day. Working on relationship to writing. You will be productive without worrying about productivity.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

An Email From A Student

It has been a while since I have posted on my blog—I have been reflecting on how I wished to re-enter this space.

Today, it became clear…I present to you an unedited email from a student (with permission), the kind of student that makes all of what we do worthwhile… it also is a reminder of why compassion should trump rigor night now..


I appreciate you reaching out as a safe place for students to process. I would like to preface my words with the statement that as a white person, my feelings are not even comparable to the utter grief, anger, and exhaustion that my black brothers and sisters are experiencing and have been experiencing for generations. In response to your question, I am angry and overwhelmed. I am tired that our society STILL hasn't figured out how to bring inclusion and equity in society based on race. I got into social work to make a change structurally with my professional and personal efforts. THIS is exactly the type of inequality that I want to see eliminated in society.

I listened to a video recently of a black man explaining that to wake up to the news of a black man being murdered shatters him, yet as a human, he has responsibilities that he must attend to, work to go to, ect. Existing normally in public spheres in the midst of grief and trauma is something that I believe to be almost impossible. I wept at this video, knowing that though individuals experience grief in their daily lives, nothing compares to the collective grief that black individuals feel daily. There is no bereavement for this grief, no opportunity to take a moment, just an expectation to be peaceful and contained.

Needless to say. I am grieved for my nation right now. I am afraid of the future, and I am employing every ounce of my being to be a good ally to my community right now. This quarter has driven me to the edge of myself, and it has been a struggle personally, but more so, nationally, in the last few weeks. I am feeling mentally TAPPED OUT. I'm distracted and have been unable to form thoughts to complete assignments in proper APA format. For many, this is the biggest thing that we have experienced in our entire life. A pandemic, and a nationwide outcry for justice to be served, and for racism to cease in structural oppression. I am at a loss for words, but I know that you are watching the news, and maybe even protesting. I know that you know that things feel unreal right now.

Thank you for reaching out. It means a lot. I am here, trying to give my all, but it doesn't feel like I have much to give, and it definitely doesn't feel like enough. Nevertheless, here we are.

BASW Student, UW Tacoma

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Why Rich Has Not Been Blogging Much

Several of blog readings have emailed me over the last week or two to ask if I was ok—I am grateful for the caring! I am well—as well as any of us can be right now. I tend to do well in crisis—I get steely-calm and push forward. This has always been my way.

Each emailer confessed to being surprised that I was not blogging about the crisis. I wrote about the great recession and its impact on scholars and higher education (on my previous blog), about Trump's war on undocumented immigrants, about his “Muslim-ban”, and about other sociocultural trends and natural disasters, and how they have impacted the psychosocial well being of scholars.

This, has felt different. This is different. I have wanted to catch my breath and consider how I wish to respond. This does not mean that I have been in hiding. I am currently hold three, drop in coaching session for any scholar (PhD students, faculty, university administrators, anyone really) free of charge.  These chats are not just about writing and productivity, I should say. While I do not do “therapy” in my coaching practice, I am a trained clinician (clinical social worker), and certainly can help with suggestions and guideline for non-clinical issues, or explore referrals and treatment options. I like to think of myself as a coach with a therapist's touch, if that makes sense. During our calls, we can talk about any and all issue that academic/scholars are struggling with. We support each other. We share.

I really do wish to be of service right now. You can find the schedule of the chats here.

In any event, these sessions are here to help. They are my most authentic and honest way of responding.

I will write more, as I begin to gain a sense of the voice and tone that I wish to privilege. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

I Am Digesting, Trying To Be Of Service

I am digesting, taking in this crisis. Spending lots of time trying to be of service, to be solid, to reflect.  I will be back to blogging soon.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Challenge #2

Let two people know when you are going to really be able to get to their work. Be honest with them. We often say, "this week" and know there is no way. Being real allows us to put those tasks aside and focus on what we really have to work on this week.  This is not an easy challenge, as many of us dread disappointing others, so instead, we lie to them (although we never see it as such). Consider.