• Mindful Made SimpleLucky  

      There was never any confusion about my dog’s and my desire to please each other. Both of us did whatever was necessary to create happy days. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we did displease each other from time to time and we each had our own particular ways of expressing that displeasure. She, Lucky, peed on the Oriental rug and sulked, and I, impulsively yelled at her, and at other times I iced her out for as long as I could bear it.

      The awesome thing about Lucky is that she instinctively knew how to love everyone. What I mean by that is – she knew how to precisely show she cared about how each person felt. Her touch to humans, as well as to other dogs, seemed magical. The therapist that I am knows that a precisely honed expression of caring often feels like magic to people. In my office, or anywhere at all, Lucky, my little Yorkshire terrier, was so preciously gifted at knowing just what to do as well as when and how to do it.

      I had a patient who was suffering with pancreatic cancer. When she was still able to bring her frail and hurting body to the office she would lay on the couch. Each time she did that, much to her and my amazement, Lucky would jump up onto the couch and lay her little body on the exact spot of my patient’s bodily pain. With other patients, Lucky might be in a deep sleep and if a specific patient began to cry, Lucky was up and at those tears with her lovely little licks. However, she was not remotely insensitive. If, in a distinct moment, Lucky sensed that someone would not be receptive to her attention she would not move an iota to offer licks.

      A friend of mine brought her grieving dog, Poppy to my home. She thought it might be helpful for Poppy since Poppy’s dog sister, Q.T. had passed away and Poppy was not doing very well adapting to the loss. Lucky and Poppy knew each other from when Q.T. was well so this visit was not atypical for either dog. My friend brought Poppy’s bed and food bowl along with Poppy since she was going to spend a few days with Lucky and me. Nothing outstanding took place that first day until it was time for sleep. As dogs do, and before deciding on her resting spot, Poppy sniffed everything and she, to my surprise, chose Lucky’s bed to sleep in, not her own. Lucky noted that, looked at me, evaluated the situation and simply, gently, walked over to Poppy’s bed and lay her sweet body down to rest. She intuited what Poppy needed and was kind enough to allow Poppy her needy gesture.

      The next morning, Lucky let Poppy eat from her bowl! If you know dogs, this is not a minor doggie gesture just as accepting the bed switch was not. Lucky’s ability to overcome her instinctive impulses to fight and protect her own territory was awe-inspiring.

      Lucky’s intention was always to love and boy did she know how! Mindful in each moment of life, she is the perfect role model for what it means to be present. The Now, oops - just gone, is so precious since it is how we experience life if we really want to live it. This is what I teach and Lucky was, is, my supervisor.

      Whether in therapeutic relationships offered in my office, in schools, organizations or in personal relationships, this type of evaluation of the needs of others is a guiding principle. If I listen well in my office, I am considered a great therapist. If I do it as a teacher, I am considered a great teacher. If I do it as a consultant, I am considered a great consultant. If I do it in the context of my personal relationships, I am deeply valued. YOU have the same ability and opportunities to listen, precisely and build positive relationships using that skill.

      My bottom line advice regarding mindful is - Listen in a way that shows you really want to hear someone and supply what you evaluate that person might need in a given moment. And, as Lucky did with Poppy, give beyond your own impulses, examine, think. This is not to suggest you deny your own needs or go against your basic values, but it is to suggest there are moments when it is wise to be able to control your impulsive responses to things.

      Yes, that does take practice. Yes, you can do it. Can you do it all the time? None of us can. But can you do it most of the time?

      Definitely.

      Love from Lucky…and me, drb.

      Lucky
  • Psychological Caution Required

      If we cannot proudly point to our American President as a role model for our children, than one of his/her major roles, is, indeed, thwarted.

      You were once a child. Who did you look up to? If it was to the local bully, or you were the local bully, then I am certain of your insecurities and I wish I could, as I do with bullies and victims I treat, offer you compassion and steer you to real ways to find real strength. This would assuage your need to flail about scrambling for power since power is only the masquerade of strength that lights the interior of the weak…for brief moments.

      Of course, there are things to be angry about. And of course, many are angry about losses in this time of turbulence. But, passionate expressions of one’s anger and ideology and venomously spewing them are worlds apart. Historically, as most of us know, venomously spewing and demonizing others has led to horrors for humanity. But, we are now at a tipping point and our individual actions are vital for shaping the tenor of our present and affecting the future.

      The bully will not fool the strong. The weak will follow him/her hoping for a ticket past their own pain. Be strong, hold onto your true values; the bully gives only to himself/herself and when his/her need is satiated, you are no longer relevant to him/her.

      Bullies, running for President or running for self-aggrandizement in the schoolyard appear larger than life. Yet, we know it’s impossible to be larger than life. So, what are bullies larger than? They are larger than our expectations for them to extend reasonable empathy toward others. We are shocked that bullies can be so cruel to others and take whatever they want. Wouldn’t we love to take what we want and not give a hoot about anyone in our way? Sure, but we don’t do that because we care that our behaviors might cause harm to others. Some don’t seem able to care. But they can be helped!1

      Our children are our future. On their tiny shoulders and in their dear hearts they carry their experiences of us. Would that we were all more conscious of the impact of our attitudes and behaviors on them. That’s a great place to begin, trying to be more conscious of our attitudes and behaviors on others. Oh, what tides we can turn.

      This is, indeed, a warning. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to place before them the best of us. Come on, let’s do it.

      1 See my forthcoming book on Bullying. Will keep you posted on its journey.

  • Affairs of the Heart

      The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller

      Everything affects our health and happiness. A whole lot of people suffer in secret silence from a lonely, disconnectedness - from themselves, and, therefore, from others. That disconnectedness, in its myriad emotional, spiritual, mental and physical forms, creates our aching hearts. Those aches, if not assuaged, create the multitude of diagnosable classifications (i.e. depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions) we are familiar with. And there is, of course, research that indicates there are statistically probable relationships between depression, anxiety, anger levels and heart disease.

      Helping people to connect their divergent internal pieces is a unique gift of Dr. Becker’s. The heart, she claims, must be touched if there is to be real healing. When people come to therapy laden with all sorts of symptoms, what they are looking for, besides immediate relief from torment, is themselves. They are searching for tools to help them re-connect with the lost pieces of themselves that consciously or unconsciously, yearn to be outed and freed.

      Our interactions with lovers, spouses, children, parents, family members, friends, and colleagues, often leave us mentally and emotionally confused and heartsick. It would be great if we had condoms for the mind and heart each time we are to encounter a difficult situation! We do have them, actually. Those are the self-protective tools one learns in Dr. Becker’s office. These tools are long lasting.

      Life is not easy. Children demand, spouses disappoint, friends test you, job realities shift, our bodies are vulnerable and our spirits can grow weary. Not unusual experiences. But any challenge can be faced more easily when your internal life has coagulated. It does so, through knowledgeable, precise touches to your heart and mind.

      In order to be mindful, one must be present. To be present one must have grown comfortable accepting conflicting pieces of self. Making those internal connections will smooth and nurture your external connections and the affairs of your heart will be enhanced. Without question.

      Inherent in the concept of inner connectedness, is the positive concept of CHANGE. We all must be open to our individual responsibility to do so in order to add to our individual and collective joy buckets.

      Men, women, children, employers, employees - keep your heart and mind OPEN to CHANGE. You have the power to help all of us have a more compassionate and caring society. Watch for Dr. Becker’s forthcoming book. It teaches us how to accomplish these goals. We’ll keep you posted as to timeline.

  • Psychologist, Writer, Executive Services Provider, Expert on Bullying and Spiritual Guide

      For over 25 years drb has been helping children, families, individuals, couples, educational and corporate personnel find their way to happier and more compassionate ways of interacting with themselves and, therefore, with others.

      This she does with great intelligence, empathy, knowledge, wit and compassionate guidance. You will, actually, enjoy the journey even through your pains.There is no stone left unturned in the pursuit of a patient's freedom of heart, mind and soul in their pursuit of their development.

      The heart DOES NOT have to be a lonely hunter. Existentially, we are all lonely explorers. Yet, along the way, we find our internal and external guides. In Dr. Becker's office you will find an extraordinary guide. You will be given personal tools for emotional successes.

      Fear is normal, but it doesn't have to be part of your existence. It's just a visitor you learn to deal with. You will, ultimately, look forward to the challenges of CHANGE, which is an extraordinary constant gift.

  • Some information regarding dr.b's work in the helping professions

      1. Social Group Work - All age groups- from nursery to elders- she ran normed groups, supervised social workers, designed, implemented and evaluated groups. Assistant Director of nursery summer program. Group work included special workshops for parents.

      2. Teacher of Special Education - New York City Public School System

      3. Clinician and Assistant Director for a division of Private New York City School. Much work done with parents, children and staff.

      4. Media Coverage of work with children (i.e. Phil Donahue show/Runaways, New York Times articles regarding work with children, Quoted in Parent's Magazine, WBAI/ show on Spiritual Development of Children, panels on children and media).

      5. Instructor - Childhood Psychopathology , Supervision

      6. Private Practice - All ages. (Patients do graduate.)

      7. Workshops, Seminars - i.e. Parents are People Too, Not Everything is Urgent, What Do You Exactly Mean? Learning To Love The Bully.

      8. Flex - fees & schedules, where needed.

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