Tag Archives: love

Proximity- How Close Are You?

Posted by: Danielle Lambrecht on August 26, 2016 11:55 am

Proximity is a felt sense of connection to another and is not just within the physical realm, but is also emotional and spiritual. According to Sue Johnson, proximity is one of the laws of attachment. It is not an idea, but a primal need that is built within each of us. We all need a solid attachment to at least one main figure and if we had that in our childhoods, most likely we would have a secure attachment to others as we grow up.sistersclose

When we have safety in connection with others we can grow and develop and live healthy lives. We grow up to be adults who are flexible, creative, balanced and trust those who are either in our lives or entering in. We can develop solid attachments with others without loosing our sense of personal power. We give ourselves permission to live from an authentic place without worry of disapproval and loss of self.

The opposite is true if we did not experience proximity that felt sense of connection, we may fear people and see love as dangerous. We may fear rejection and have difficulty getting close to other people even when we want or need to. We may not be able to calm ourselves from fear of loss and struggle with feeling emotional imbalanced when what we really want is to feel safe and loved.

As a couple’s counselor, it is important to help clients see their relationship through the attachment lens. This attachment point of view allows couples to be encouraged to talk about their longing for attachment with their partner without their own fears of abandonment or rejection getting in their way. Couples learn strategies on how to seek proximity and deal with triggers as they arise. Couples can also develop secure attachments to one another by learning how to be emotional available, responsive to another, and practice ways that encourage continued emotional engagement.

Danielle Lambrecht, RSW, MCC.CCC

Danielle Lambrecht Counselling


Please submit any comments and I will gladly respond. Thank you.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Power of Parental Acceptance

Posted by: Anna Coutts on March 18, 2015 12:00 pm

I recently re-read the award-winning book The Help. While the book carries many important messages, there is one message in particular that really stood out for me. It was the message about the importance of acceptance. I was struck by just how determined the main character Aibileen is to make sure the child she nannies grows up feeling good about herself. In order to make sure this happened, she tells the child daily she is kind, smart and important. Aibileen reflects on how she’s learned over the years the value of giving children messages of love and acceptance, as she has seen how too many pushes for change can devastate a child’s sense of self. It made me realize how powerful feeling accepted by a parent can be for a child.dualism-597093_640

Every parent wants the best for their child. They want them to be happy, healthy and successful. Most parents will bend over backwards trying to give a good life to their child. Unfortunately, sometimes in an effort to make things better, we inadvertently make things more difficult. I see it all the time – parents pushing their kids to excel at school or sports, convinced that pushing them will give them a prosperous life. They will fight tooth and nail with teachers to get their kids out of difficult situations and to protect their kids from perceived harm. They fear the emotional devastation that will be caused if their child doesn’t go to the best school or have the best friends or make the best team. They push for change because they believe it is what will give their child everything they want.

No one can fault them for their good intentions. They are trying to do something wonderful for someone they love. The problem is this constant push for the best often causes us to forget the power of accepting someone as they are now. Unintentionally, the message that is often sent along with the strive for change is that who you are at the moment isn’t good enough. This is of course not at all what parents intend. But unfortunately, it is often the impact.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Rejection Risk Awareness

Posted by: Priya Senroy on March 12, 2015 12:16 pm

February 2015 is a month of many celebration-cultural, mythical and social. I attended an event organized by a local youth group on deconstructing February and demystifying valentine day. I found the concept fascinating and learned that certain days in February are surrounded by folklore, such as the 16th, which supposedly is the day of the Devil’s Dance. On this day, a sorcerer of Tibet was called upon to exorcise demons and evil spirits from the local population. Those Aquarius’s born on this day are said to posses great courage as a result. On the 12th of the month, Diana, the Roman goddess of hunt, was said to spread her protection from the forests near Aricia (her shrine) to all over the world. The event which was held the week prior to Valentine’s Day is called “National Dump Your Significant Jerk Week”, so that one may get rid of their own bad relationship and have a new Valentine. February 7 – 14 is “Rejection Risk Awareness Week”, to raise awareness of social rejection through dating. Apparently this event was founded by syndicated advice columnist Harlen Cohen, to help people know that they are not alone when being rejected for love. R.A.W. is not about getting rejected. It’s about overcoming the fear of rejection and taking the risk that leads to love.


I have used this concept of Rejection Risk Awareness with my youth group from various diverse backgrounds and cultural groups and find that no matter what the language of love is in no matter how many languages, effects of rejection can be spoken under one universal language and when this rejection is addressed as a group and proceed as a group, the healing is more powerful than celebrating love. So as we celebrate February as a month of mystery, mythology, and romance, lets get our fill of all three before its short span is over with.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on January 16, 2015 8:00 am

“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.”  ~ Abraham Heschel

At this time of the year, we are encouraged to develop our New Year’s Resolutions. The resolutions may play upon our heartstrings, moral compasses, religious ideological viewpoints, or the need for physical and mental improvement. Resolutions are not only geared towards improvement of the individual, but as well as the improvement of societies’ moral and ethical compasses. While many may disagree, I unequivocally believe that the key to moving forward, as well as, establishing new pathways in this life, must begin by forgiving ourselves and forgiving others.


“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

A key to moving forward, is forgiving others, as well as your own person. Forgiveness is not only a state of mind, but it is a state of being. It is woven through the very essence of our being. Forgiveness is a constant attitude occurring through a purposeful action. As humans, we are instinctively designed to forgive. It is only when we choose not to forgive that our minds, bodies, and spirits begin to experience disrepair. Those who choose not to forgive; choose to harbor the wrongs of others and of their own person. Thus, frequently developing physiological and psychological signs and symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and depression. Forgiveness cleanses the body, ridding it of the decay of negativity, disappointment, and heartache. It is through the act of forgiveness, that we can live a balanced and well-adjusted life. Forgiveness is the key to living life productively. Being productive enables us to be effective in this life, by producing the desires and intended results with which we may choose to acquire. Forgiveness is a purposeful action filtered through a permanent attitude.


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.” ~ T. S. Eliot

The basic principle of a resolution is to be firm with one’s decisions, opinions, intentions, and expressions. It is through a resolution that we clarify our stance, becoming a decisive person. Being decisive is intent on settling an issue or a set of issues, by producing a definite result.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

A Life Lived Without Forgiveness

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on October 28, 2014 1:52 pm

“A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.” ~ William Arthur Ward

forgiveA life lived without forgiveness is a life lived in the past. Living in the past is a conscious or an unconscious choice made through a connection to the past. In simple, the past is a time gone by and no longer exists in the present moment, but we choose to allow this past to occupy our minds, our bodies and our very existence. Living in the past is like choosing to cling to a chronic illness. Would you choose to be plagued with a chronic illness? Would you allow yourself to be
injected with a disease that could take your life? Why then, are you allowing yourself to be injected daily with the memories associated with the past? Why have you chosen to cling to the negative memories associated with your life? Have you found comfort with the negative memories, or do you feel incapable of letting go of the past?
Letting go of the past is through purposeful action. The action is the process with which we choose to rid the very essence of our person of the past. The past may be comprised of tragic events, thoughts, or circumstances. Whatever the case, the past is haunting you and it is denying you the freedom of moving forward in this life.
As a clinician and a person, I have been witness to countless individuals who have chosen to cling to the past. Clinging to the past is a purposeful action of recalling, remembering and harboring negative thoughts, deeds or actions. When we harbor the memories associated with the past, we are protecting the negative memories, rather than allowing them to exist no more. Moving beyond the past requires a combination of actions: letting go, forgiveness, and moving forward.


Forgiveness is not only a state of mind, but it is a state of being. It is woven through the very essence of our being. Forgiveness is a constant attitude occurring through a purposeful action. As humans, we are instinctively designed to forgive. It is only when we choose not to forgive that our minds, bodies, and spirits begin to experience disrepair. Those who choose not to forgive; choose to harbor the wrongs of others and of their own person, frequently have physical and psychological signs. Forgiveness cleanses the body, ridding it of the decay of negativity, disappointment, and heartache. It is through the act of forgiveness, that we can live a balanced and well-adjusted life. Forgiveness is the key to living life productively. Being productive enables us to be effective in this life, by producing the desires and intended results with which we may choose to acquire.


Forgiving others, especially our enemies, is a challenge indeed. What if, you had committed a wrong against another? Would you not have a deep desire to be forgiven? Have you ever experienced the denial of your repentance? What sort of effect did this have on your person? Were you shattered by the unwavering and unyielding of the person or persons you had wronged?
As a clinician, I have met a variety of patients / clients who’s hearts ache to be forgiven. As an individual, I too have had the experience of others denying the acceptance of my repentance. The denial of our repentance can have a penetrating effect, plunging like a dagger deep into the very core of our being. For so many, forgiveness and the lack of forgiveness, can prove a major stumbling block.
If we deny accepting the repentance of another, then we are intentionally and purposefully hanging on to the wrongs of the past. The wrongs of the past serve as a coat-of-arms. We identify our coat-of-arms as a shield of honor, but the reality is, our coat-of-arms is shielding the very nature of our person from allowing others to enter. It is serving as a warning sign, informing others to tread lightly because I will remove them from my life, if they wrong me.
For people who long for the acceptance of their repentance, they will continue to be haunted by their past wrongs as long as they choose to hang onto them.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Beauty of Children

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on June 17, 2014 12:00 pm

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I was completely unaware of the absolute beauty of life until I became a father.  Fatherhood has opened my eyes beyond my own imagination.  As a father, I have learned more about myself, life, and the meaning of life; simply by viewing the physical beings gifted unto me.  Children are the window to our futures and a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world.

As a father, I have learned to appreciate each moment that I am granted to spend with my children.  Whether they are happy or sad, full of energy or laying down for a nap; I am amazed by the life that radiates out of their little bodies.


“With children the clock is reset.  We forget what came before”
~ Jhumpa Lahiri

As a father, we need to actively listen to our children.  Fathers who actively listen will be the recipients of an unbelievable education, going well beyond one’s wildest of dreams.  The gift of a child goes well beyond that most descriptive of words.  Children are the essence of life.  They are capable of proving resilient in the most troubling of times, and rebounding from the greatest of falls.  They have an ability of bringing a smile on the gloomiest of faces.   It is awesome how the very life of a child is capable of resetting our thought patterns, our mindsets, and our very outlook upon the world.  The gift of a child is capable of completely changing our worldview and perceptions of life. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Expressive Love

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on December 20, 2013 10:33 am

“Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking.  The one is the shadow of the other.”
~ Carl Gustav Jung

Love is an intense emotion expressed through a natural instinctive state of mind, which is derived from the heart, mind, and spirit.  As parents, we are the first impression and expression that our children will experience love.  It is through our love that children learn how to express and experience love. If we fail to express appropriate forms of affection, then we will most assuredly leave our children seeking out love. If we fail to express appropriate forms of affection, then our children will be left to seek love from other sources. This can lead to a lifetime of unfulfilled emotion, not only for our own children but also for subsequent generations.

Many religions speak of an expressive love.  While each religion, and the subsets within those religions hold to a similar concept of love; it is not uncommon that religious subsets differ on their unique perspective of love.  Most religious ideological perspectives revere the expression of love.  In the New International Version of the Christian Bible, it expresses love as being an unconditional state. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”  What are we speaking of if love never can fail according to the Christian text?

In the Muslim faith, love between a couple is highly regarded.  In the Quran, love is discussed as being a creation.  Chapter (30) sūrat l-rūm (The Romans), Muhammad Sarwar “His creating spouses for you out of yourselves so that you might take comfort in them and His creating love and mercy among you.”   Love is the unifying of the hearts, souls, and minds of others together.

The absence of love in many homes has become so commonplace, that when we hear of this absence, we are neither distressed nor bewildered by the lack of love in a home. The anomaly has become a loving family that shares affection in appropriate and healthy ways. So unusual is the healthy expression of love, that it has become mocked and an object of derision within most cultures. Rather than embrace and celebrate the love of a family, it is the punch line of jokes, or even worse, it is eyed with suspicion and mistrust. The lack of love is common place and accepted while healthy, loving expression is eyed with contempt.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Effects of Belittling

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on September 27, 2013 4:03 pm

“A strong man cannot help a weaker unless the weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself; he must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition.”            ~ James Allen

We most commonly associate abuse with sexual and physical deeds.  Rarely do we consider the ramifications that psychological and emotional abuse can have on the life of another.  “It may be the most common kind of child abuse — and the most challenging to deal with. But psychological abuse, or emotional abuse, rarely gets the kind of attention that sexual or physical abuse receives.” (Blue, 2012, Online)

Psychological and emotional abuse are most commonly associated with intentional or grave harm, but psychological and emotional abuse can be as sneaky as a snake.  If you consider the emotional upheaval that occurs within a person’s being when he/she receive a threat, perceive a threat, or vicariously experience a threat; it is as life shattering as being harmed.   A simple threat can accelerate an individual’s desire to find a place of safety and care.  “Keeping a child in a constant state of fear is abuse…” (Blue, 2012, Online) If a child fears being spanked, and/or some other egregious form of punishment, then you create an environment of fear based parenting. 

Abuse is the intentional or the unintentional emotional fraying of another’s personhood.  It is emotional abuse that can have a dire impact upon a person’s self-esteem and the development of his/her personal ego. It is through this development of the ego that an individual gains an individualistic impression of his/her self-importance and his/her inner person.   

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Creating Life

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on August 30, 2013 3:05 pm

“Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings – is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”             ~ Maria Shriver

As a couple, there are many challenges that you will face simply being within a relationship.  Your relationship may tinker between the off-and-on again paradigm.  You may dislike your spouse’s personal habits, hygiene, mindsets, and/or belief systems. 

There are many variables that can cause a couple to have relationship strife.  If an individual within the relationship has an addiction or addictive personality; the nonaddictive partner may feel neglected or barricade from getting to “really” know their spouse. 

Unfortunately, we live in an era of global financial hardships and economic woes.  The lack of employment opportunities and corporation layoffs has become the norm within of our society.  Infuse the societal troubles with a lack of time and you will create the perfect storm for a newly formed or broken relationship. 

Not all are facing the hardships of financial woes or employment layoffs.  In some cases, the challenges for a relationship may center around a lack of intimacy or unrealistic expectations about sex.   Sexual expectations and intimacy are all too often intertwined.  While sexual expectations are often developed early on within a relationship, we seldom speak of our sexual desires early on.  Unfortunately, sexual conversations most commonly occur when the relationship is in an unhealthy state.  The couples discussions are often filled with anger, frustration, bitterness, rage, and confusion about the relationship and the sexuality within. When the sexuality of a relationship is discussed between a couple; there are commonly feelings of despair, resentment, and hopelessness until the matter is resolved in a healthy manner.  It is vitally important to avoid creating life if your sexual and/or your personal relationship is unhealthy.

If a couple is doing well, then-and-only-then, should they consider the possibility of having children.  Having a child can prove the greatest stressor of a relationship.  Even the very discussion of having a child, can spur heated debates and personal battles. 


“I’m sorry, it’s true.  Having children really changes your view on these things.  We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die.  It’s been happening for a long time.  Technology is not changing it much – if at all.”   
       ~ Steve Jobs

As a therapist, I have counselled a number of individual’s on the decision to have or not to have children.  “If you’re a couple, the decision to have a child or remain childless is a joint decision.” (Wade & Kovacs, 2005, p. 28) Having children will have a significant impact upon your relationship.  It is paramount that if-and-only-if, you, as a nucleus couple, decide to create life; then-and-only-then should you even consider undertaking the obligation of forming such life.   Regrettably, not every couple has been equal players in the creation of life, nor has every person within a relationship known about the lives that are being created.   Of course, if we wanted, we could open Pandora’s box to all the possible discussions about sex and sexuality, but the intent of this article is and has been solely designed to discuss creating life and the meaning therein. 

The challenges are unlimited when considering the creation of life.   If I decide to have a child, then I must consider whether or not I want to be eternally connected to my partner.  Even the legendary Dr. Albert Ellis was once quoted as saying, “I would have liked having children to some degree, but frankly I haven’t got the time to take the kids to the (swear word) ballgame.”

Sadly, the possibility of a relationship ceasing does exist.  Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that to consider whether or not we would like to be forever connected or linked to our partner.   We seldom consider the implications of a relationship ceasing, but if so, the ramifications of creating life can have a dire effect upon the life of the child.   For some the creation of life is a good idea at the time; for others, there are religious implications behind the creation of children; while for others, there remains little explanation or consideration.  


Children are not the answer to a bad relationship.  Unfortunately, I have encountered more than one couple or partner who has decided to have a baby to mend or repair their unhealthy relationship.  Having a child should never be the remedy for a broken relationship, no more than having sex should be about forgiveness.

It is not uncommon for someone to think that a baby will rekindle the flame.  For many, it is thought that a baby will reunite or repair a broken relationship.   First of all, if a baby is born healthy, then it might serve as a positive measure within the relationship.  However, if the baby is born unhealthy, then the couple’s level of stress and anxiety will reach peak heights.  A child’s life should never be considered as a healing aide within a relationship.  “If a baby is brought into a relationship in which one partner is opposed to having a baby, the relationship will usually suffer, and as a result so does the child.” (Wade & Kovacs, 2005, p. 28)

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for those in bad relationships to manipulate their partner by the discussing the possibility of having a child.   I have encountered both men and women who have used “a baby” as a source of manipulation within their relationship.  Baby manipulation is one of the most common themes of bad relationships.  

  • “I will have a baby with you, if you…”
  • “I should have a baby with my partner, because this will heal our relationship.”
  • “I really can’t stand the guilt of denying him or her the right to a child.”
  • “While I really do not care for children, I will have a child so that we remain a couple.”
  • “My faith insists that we have children, so I think I will have a child to appease my faith.”

As a potential parent, your priorities should shift.  You are no longer alone in this world.  You are now forever bonded to another person on this planet.  As a potential parent, you are creating a life that will forever need your unwavering guidance. 


“Restaurants are like having children:  it’s fun to make them, maybe, but then you have them for good and bad.  You are going to have to raise them and if something goes wrong when they are 30 years old, they will still be your little boy.”                   ~ Wolfgang Puck

Children are the greatest teachers you will ever encounter.  I have personally attended more than 13 1/2 years of university, but you can rest assured; that my greatest teachers have yet to set a foot in a university classroom.  Children can serve as your most profound teacher, guide, and inspiration.  It is amazing how a child who has been egregiously harmed in this life, can serve as an awe-inspiring motivator of life.  The life of a child is typically filled with an abundance of resiliency.

Children should never be considered as a remedy for a bad relationship.  If you are struggling within your relationship, it is prudent that you consider seeking the counsell of a therapist.   Furthermore, be certain that you and your partner can be intricate players within the counselling environment.   If not, your problems may continue to exist.  

A child is a mirage, often appearing to be less complex than they really are.  No child has ever been born with an owner’s manual.   No child has ever sat down at their birth and discussed the meaning of life or the purpose of their own life.   Yet, many who have a fantasy of sharing their life with another, rarely give great debate or heated discussion before bringing forth life. 

Children are magical creatures who seem to bring forth our maternal and paternal instincts. “Yes, a baby is so powerfully appealing that people are even entertained watching it sleep.  Just notice how grown people tiptoe to a crib and look down at a baby.” (Cosby, 1987, p. 22)   Baby’s are undoubtedly alluring.  It is often this mystical side to babyhood that we mistake their incredible powers as being capable of healing or bringing aide to our relationship.  Be more than certain that if you decide to have a child, that it is a decision made with a clear consciousness and a sound mind.   

Children are forever.   

Authors:  Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M.



Brown, A. D. (2010) Waiting to live, Bloomington, IN:  IUniverse

Cosby, B. (1987) Fatherhood. New York, NY:  Berkley Books

Forward, S. (2001) Emotional blackmail, When the people in your life use fear, obligation, and guilt to manipulate you.  New York, NY:  HarperCollins Publishers

McCoy, D. (2006) The manipulative man, Identify his behavior, counter the abuse, regain control. Avon, MA:  Adams Media

Wade, D. & Kovacs, L. (2005) I want a baby, He doesn’t, How both partners can make the right decision at the right time. Avon, MA:  Adams Media

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Oppositional Children

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on September 11, 2012 4:40 pm

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

                                                                                     ~ Mahatma Gandhi  


Children who act out in an oppositional manner, are frequently drawing upon an internal struggle to oppose or reject something in their lives.  Oppositional children are often blamed for their defiant behaviors, but are not always offered a listening ear, to hear why they are acting out in a disobedient and uncooperative way.

It is important to recognize that not all children who are acting out or behaving in an oppositional manner, should be diagnosed.  In fact, it is of extreme importance that children who act out in negative ways be given an opportunity to discuss the problems that plague their young lives.  Moreover, as a good clinician, we should be looking at the entire scope of the child’s life, including the psychosocial and economic perspective.  Unfortunately, in some egregious cases, children are reacting rather than simply acting out.  Therefore, as a clinician we must offer our best detective skills when looking at the life of a child. 

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA