Preparing for an Online Session

Online Coaching | Online Counseling | Online Therapy

There's not a lot you have to do to prepare for our first session together, but taking a couple minutes to get clear and set up will make things run much more smoothly.  

Before setting up an online session schedule a free call with me to see if I'm a good fit for the couples support you're looking for.

Use the checklist below to get ready for our first online meeting:

Mental Preparation 

The most important part of our work together is your mindset.  Consider the following:

  • What are you hoping to get out of this session?  Are there time-sensitive areas you'd like to focus on?
  • What are you willing to try?  What have you already tried?  
  • Where do you feel most stuck?
  • Where do you feel most resistant to change?  How are you standing in your own way?

Physical Preparation

It might sound simple but having a solid baseline of self-care will greatly improve the efficacy of our work.  Here are a couple things to do before we meet:

  • Get some rest
  • Take your vitamins
  • Eat a meal
  • Stretch your body
  • Drink some water

Space Preparation

Finally, one of the most challenging parts of meeting online is the space limitations clients can feel.  Often folks are distracted in their own homes.  Use the checklist below to prep your space:

  • Find a space without distractions (cleaning or organizing your space, pets or children)
  • Turn off your phone ringer or other distracting technology (as you might in an in-person session)
  • Find somewhere you can sit comfortably for the time we're meeting
  • Make sure your space has reliable internet or cell reception coverage so we can stay in contact
  • Try a test call on google hangouts before we meet so you can be sure you'll be able to talk with me.

online counseling | coaching onlline

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

Seven Fun and Free Stress Relief Apps

Seven Stress Free Apps | Apps for Stress

 

This time of year everyone is thinking about change.  Either changing for the new year- or changing the holiday stress we're feeling.  

Either way, change is good.  

But implementing real change in our lives isn't always easy. Adopting new habits and creating lasting change takes focus and support. 

Without help many of us slip back into old patterns- or resist creating change altogether.  

The solution is to find a way to introduce change gently, incorporating it into our daily lives in a way that makes it as simple as possible, so by the time we realize we've made a significant change, it's already become comfortable.

Coaching help lots of us create change.  But if you're looking for support off the couch several apps can contribute to creating focus, stay mindful, meditate, and even reward you for meeting goals.  

I've listed some of my favorite stress relief apps here.  Use them to introduce some small changes into your day and let the momentum carry you on to bigger and better things.

Worry Box-Anxiety Self-Help App

This app lets you put your worries away for safe-keeping.  Use the worry cognitive diary to help you determine how to cope with the worry. If it's controllable, you can list the steps you can take to manage the worry. If it's not controllable, select from the list of coping statements to help you think about it differently.

SAM App

SAM is a friendly app that offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety.  It helps you notice anxiety and manage it with several simple tools.  

Happier

This app includes a course for happiness, a gratitude journal and a large community of supporters ready to cheer you on to happiness.  Get it totally free on your phone or online.  

Coach.me

Coach.me helps you reach your goals through coaching, community, and data to help you make daily progress on things that matter. On the most basic level, you add habits to your Coach.me dashboard and check in on them daily when you complete them. This basic accountability provides a surprisingly powerful incentive to keep you on track. 

Track your progress toward goals with clarity using this coach-in-your-pocket style app.  

Headspace

If you're new to meditation or mindfulness this is a great app to help you start.  Using scientifically proven meditation and mindfulness techniques they'll show you how to train your mind for a healthier, happier, more enjoyable life.

Omvana

Omvana makes meditation fun, much easier, more effective, and powerful and puts you in particular states of mind to be more productive, focused, and creative.  Use this app to help you relax, meditate, and sleep better.

Calm

Guided meditations to help you sleep, relax, and enjoy life.  Relax with Calm, a simple mindfulness meditation app featured in the New York Times and LifeHacker, that will bring more clarity, joy, and peace of mind into your life, at work or at home.

If you want more help relaxing this season schedule a consultation to see if working with me 1:1 might help.  


Gina Senarighi Online Couples Therapist

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

Five Ways to Slay Self-Doubt

Get Over Self-Doubt

How to slay self-doubt

Nearly everyone I know faces self-doubt now and again.  It's normal for even the most confident folks to have a doubt attack here or there.   But just because it's normal doesn't mean it feels good.  

Self-doubt often sucks the power right out of us.  When we're are plagued by annoying, nagging voices inside our heads who tell us we aren’t capable of or worthy enough to do the things we want to do it's pretty hard to find the courage to do it.

So how do we get over our self-doubt and claim the life we’ve always dreamed of?

We should first recognize that self-doubt is usually about fear and fear is a survival mechanism, not a character flaw.

Most anxiety and belief systems are an adaptation to stressful or traumatic situations we learned earlier in life. So we just need to upgrade our fear-survival systems. Here's how.

1. Redefine fear as positive.

Courage does not mean the absence of fear. Courage means being afraid, but doing it anyway. Fear is a core emotion that gives life much of its color. If we had no fear, there would be no potential for growth.

Start viewing fear as a opportunity to learn, grow, or change instead of focusing on the possible negative outcomes.

2. Remember that real fear has a purpose.

Ninety-nine percent of the time the fear you’re feeling is not based on any immediate physical danger. Knowing this we can face it more fully to interact with it- instead of running from it.

When you're feeling afraid you should consider the likelihood of your worst fear coming true. Most of the time, you'll see that it's unlikely ever to happen.

Instead of ruminating about the worst case scenario you can start to ask your fear what it wants to teach you.  Understanding it's purpose can help you take action- instead of being paralyzed by it.

3. Face fears gradually and gently.

Instead of trying to respond to the large scale worries break down insurmountable fears so they become manageable. Use baby steps and follow a schedule that isn’t overwhelming.

For example, if you're worried your partner will leave you for someone funnier, smarter, or more charismatic this could mean you want to invest in growth in one of these areas so you feel more confident.  Or it could mean you want to ask for some reassurance from a partner about your sense of humor, smarts, or character.  

Being able to take small action steps can make overcoming fear much more manageable.

4. Become friends with failure.

Mistakes are necessary for learning and growth.  We can't innovate, change, or improve ourselves without mistakes- but most of us let mistakes define us.  

The more you can create compassionate space for mistakes the less present your self-doubt will be in the process. 

5. Celebrate everyday accomplishments

Sometimes self-doubt visits because we're too busy overlooking our many other accomplishments.  Start keeping track of your many daily, weekly, and monthly accomplishments and really allow yourself to savor them.  

Over time self-doubt will lose strength in comparison to this self-compassion practice.


online couples counseling | couples counseling online

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

Four Great Posts on Relationship Boundaries

Relationship Boundaries | Resources on Relationships

Every week I read (often saving and re-reading) great materials from others about healthy relationships and strong relationship boundaries.  Here's a quick list of four of my all-time favorites.

Six Steps to Setting Boundaries in Relationships by Jennifer Twardowski

For all of you wanting a step-by-step guide to making boundaries work this is the basic primer for you.  Jennifer spells it out in six easy steps to get clear and ask for what you need.

Healthy Relationships: Setting Boundaries from Love is Respect

Love is respect is FULL of great resources on healthy relationships.  I strongly recommend checking out just about everything on their site.  If you want one easy to read starting place this article is great for outlining the kinds of spaces to consider boundaries (in-person and online in particular).  Start here and then use the rest of their site to dive deeper in relationship 101. 

How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 3 Critical First Steps from Tiny Buddha

Tiny Buddha is always a great resource for personal narratives and self-reflection.  I love this post because it outlines three great ways to get clear internally and do a little self-assessment when considering boundaries with other people.

Boundaries in Relationships from Life Esteem

Life esteem may not be the prettiest site out there, but for all of you wondering why setting boundaries is so dang hard, this article literally spells it out.  If you keep wondering why boundaries are tripping you up, there might be some useful tips in here.

If you want help setting and maintaining boundaries that work for you in relationships give me a call for a free consultation.  I'm happy to support you in creating healthy boundaries that work for you and your loved ones.


Gina Senarighi Portland Therapist | Online Counseling for Couples

 

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

 

Therapist Book Review: Rising Strong, by Brene Brown- September 2015

Rising Strong Book Review | Recommended Books for Therapists

What Your Therapist is Re-reading: Rising Strong by Brene Brown

As you know, if you have read my previous blogs, Brene’ Brown’s best-selling “Daring Greatly” (2012) and the connected curriculum changed my life- and started changing client’s lives through my sessions and workshops a few years ago. 

That book focused on vulnerability and the difficult but rewarding process of stepping into the arena and letting yourself be seen. But many clients asked me, “what happens if I get out there and fail?”

Last year Brene’ released her new book “Rising Strong,” a guide to getting back up after trying and failing to answer those clients’ question.  I've read and re-read it since- the book is THAT GOOD.

In the book Brene outlines three main steps to getting back out there again after a hardship. Read more about the steps below.

I plan to start leading more workshops incorporating her three-step process for getting back up this fall.  If you can’t wait for a retreat read the brief outline below or call me for a consultation to apply it to your own life.

The Reckoning

The Reckoning means recognize and acknowledge our emotions, rather than denying them when we struggle, make mistakes, or fail. It doesn’t help us to offload them by acting out, shutting down, or getting hamstrung by shame.

To recognize our emotions associated with failure, we need to get curious. It takes vulnerability and uncertainty to get curious about ourselves- which isn’t always easy. It can be so much easier to get defensive, act superior, numb out, or overreact and give a quick response we’ll regret later.

It is a courageous act to acknowledge our feelings rather than deny them.

The Rumble

We all make up stories about our struggles based on incomplete information. It’s critical we reality-check our stories with a little critical thinking. When we rumble with our story, we move from our gut responses and defenses to seek a deeper understanding of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors about who we are and how we engage with others.

First, Brene recommends we identify the story we are making up by writing out what she calls a “shitty first draft” (SFD). She says the value of writing down our thoughts and feelings helps us to organize the experience.

When writing the SFD its really important we don’t filter the experience or worry about how our story makes us look. We hold it lightly, using the SFD as a tool to search for the hidden story we’re telling ourselves about our emotions.

After we identify the story we’re making up with our SFD, it’s time to check our (often self-defeating) assumptions. Brene’ recommends asking these questions for a little critical analysis:

  • What do I know objectively?

  • What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?

  • What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

Then we can look for the delta – or space- between the story we make up and a more objective truth.

The Revolution

The Revolution is using the Rising Strong process to create revolutionary, rather than incremental transformation.  This means making it a daily practice and way of engaging with the world to build u our skills and resiliency.

Brene’ says, “We know that rumbling is going to be tough, but we head straight into it because we know running [away] is harder. We wade into the brackish delta with open hearts and minds because we’ve come to learn that the wisdom in the stories of our falls makes us braver.”

We know avoiding the issue only means we'll have to face it later.  Learning to rumble with integrity and grace is the core of the Rising Strong and Daring Way curriculum.

Join me to dare greatly and rise strong with a weekend retreat in 2017


Gina Senarighi Couples Counselor | Online Couples Therapy

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

30 Creative Ways to Say I Love You (Part 2)

How to Say I Love You | Amplified Good Positive Psychology Coaching and Counseling in Portland

Click here to see the first 15 ideas

  • Make a modern mixtape. Curate hand-picked tracks for your honey, to let them know you’re thinking of them!
  • Hand write a letter explaining why you love someone—and be specific.
  • Dedicate and perform a karaoke song to your beloved.  Dance moves always help.
  • Goodnight love note. Hide a love note under their pillow.  Better yet, make them alove note pillow.
  • Go international.  Surprise them with an “I love you” in another language.  Usegoogle translate to get your pronunciation right!
  • Host a personalized movie marathon. Arrange a marathon of your sweetheart’s favorite films from their childhood or college days.  Don’t forget the popcorn!
  • Home movies. Use iMovie to piece together a collection of reasons why you appreciate your sweetheart and upload to vimeo.
  • Breakfast in bed.  You can even make pancakes or toast that say it for you.
  • Written on the body.  Write a love note on your body and have a scavenger hunt for your lover to find it!
  • Make a love map.  Not the Gottman Love Map you hear me talking about all the time, instead this time get a map and stick a pin in it for each of your travels.  If you have yet to go far, stick another color in for your future travels!
  • Play it out.  Make a crossword or word search puzzle of your favorite inside jokes.
  • Send a panty-gram.  Yes.  That’s what it said.

Start loving more creatively today!  Pick something above, or submit your own creative way to say I love you in the comments.


Counseling for Entrepreneurial Couples

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

30 Creative Ways to Say I Love You (Part 1)

Ways to Say I Love You | Amplified Good Positive Psychology Coaching and Counseling in Portland

All too often we forget to show the ones we love how important they are to us. So here are 31 creative ways to say “I love you” to get you through the start of 2017.

Hopefully these starters will get ideas rolling to last you the next 365!

Creative Ways to Say I Love You

  • Watch a sunset or sunrise together and bring a picnic or background music to set the mood.  Check for sunrise or sunset times in advance!

  • Make a love note scavenger hunt hiding sweet reminders and rewards in your home, office, or neighborhood.

  • Read bedtime stories. Pick a favorite book and read aloud together. Quality time together and the expansion of your individual/collective knowledge bases.

  • Send an e-greeting.  Someecards is my personal favorite for snarkiness, and you can personalize them!

  • Write it in the sand.  Or the fall leaves, or seashells, or shoes boxes, or rose petals….

  • Unplug.  Set up a media free night and focus 100% of your attention on your honey.

  • Write it in lipstick on the mirror.  Even if you aren’t the one who wears lipstick (or neither of you do).

  • Share five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. Try it and see what happens.

  • Throw a surprise appreciation party with close friends where everyone gives a short speech about why someone is loved.

  • Plan your sweetheart’s dream date. Do exactly what they love to do, with no strings attached.

  • Write it in the snow (no, not like that).  If you live somewhere cold, use food coloring and a spray bottle to write sweet words in your love’s yard. These folks did it with spray paint.

  • Make a calendar.  Use your google or iCal or Outlook or whatever, and make a note every day of one thing you appreciate about your special someone.  Make sure you share it so they can see!

  • Re-live your first date, or meeting.  Remember the details and try to line things up with meaning.  If it was awkward, stage a re-do.

  • Love all over.  Trace your sweetie’s body and fill in the outline with all the awesome things you appreciate about their body.

  • Make a homemade thank you card.  Get out your markers, glitter, and crayons!  What a sweet (and sparkly) way to say something kind to someone you love!

  • Write out an alphabet of appreciation. Make a list of something you appreciate about your sweetheart for every letter of the alphabet.

  • Be the Grocery Fairy.  For those of you who prefer “acts of service” as your love language- surprise a lover with a week’s worth of fresh groceries.  Don’t forget the note from Grocery Fairy!

  • Bake it.  Say it in cookies, frosting, cakes, or pie tops.  Make your sweeties favorite sugary treat and top it with your love.

Click here to read more ideas!


How to Stop Obsessing

How to Stop Obsessing | Amplified Good Positive Psychology Portland

If you constantly replay or obsess over negative situations, you're doing what's known as rumination. Your mind goes over and over a play-by-play of that horrific breakup, a fight with your mom, or your boss calling you out in a meeting.

Often getting stuck in these cyclical thought patterns only increases the frustration or anxiety you're feeling.

Reflecting on the past can be helpful in problem-solving but getting stuck in rumination takes it to the next level. Most often it serves to intensifies negative feelings and leaves us without any real solutions.

These thoughts keep us from being present or focusing- and stop us form moving forward. 

Over time, we become hyperfocused on the things that aren't going well instead of seeing the larger picture. 

How to stop ruminating

Here are some of my favorite tips to help you change your obsessive thought patterns.

Identify the underlying thought or fear. What is your biggest fear? Maybe you are afraid of getting fired or looking foolish in front of others. Try journaling to clarify and write out your list of big fears.  Putting words to worries often takes some of their power away.

Think about the worst-case scenario. This may sound like an awful suggestion, but we can often handle the worst-case scenario, which takes away the power of the original thought.  Again, putting worry into words takes their power away.

Ask yourself:  What is the worst thing that can happen?  Can I handle that?  Odds are in your favor- human beings are very resilient. Remember, sometimes our biggest hardships can turn into our biggest growth experiences. 

Let go of what you can’t control. Ask yourself “what can I change, if anything?” If you cannot change the situation, breathe to let it go. For things you can change, set up a list of small incremental goals and start to make the appropriate changes to move toward what you want (and away from fear).

Reinterpret mistakes as learning opportunities.   If you made a mistake ask yourself what you would do differently in the future.  Then look at what you can do to support yourself in making a different choice next time.  

For example, I once left my rain barrels in storm season and they flooded my basement. I felt terrible about the financial and emotional energy lost in the clean up and found myself ruminating about rainstorms.  Instead of ruminating, I researched drainage and set up the rain barrels on a different system so I wouldn't have to worry (I also apologized to my partner for all his hard work).  In time rumination went away.

In addition, frequently remind yourself how far you’ve come. Every time you make a mistake, you learn something new.

Schedule a worry break. Schedule 20 to 30 minutes a day to worry and make the most of it.  Write it out, entertain ridiculous thoughts, call a friend- whatever helps you get all the worry out in that time period. This allows for a time and place to think about all your biggest insecurities while containing it to a specific period of time.

At other times of the day, remind yourself that you will have time to contemplate later.  Save a journal page to write down worries that show up at other times of the day and tell them you'll get back to them during your worry appointment.

Exercise. Go for a walk. A change of scenery and fresh air can quickly interrupt our stuck thoughts and give new perspective.

Get help. If ruminative thoughts are interfering with living the life you want to live, consider meeting with a professional. Consulting an expert is a great way to learn how to use these techniques with the help and guidance of a trained professional. 


Gina Senarighi Couples Counselor in Portland

Gina Senarighi works in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She supports entrepreneurial couples in balancing their busy lives with their relationship needs in couples retreats, communication workshops, and coaching sessions.  Click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

Winter Relationship Bucket List

Relationship Bucket List | Stronger Relationship | Reconnect

We all need new adventures to keep things lively- relationships are no different.  

Every couple I work with creates a relationship bucket list of their own, filled with ideas and dreams to share.  It helps you get to know one another, reconnect, and build a shared vision of your future. 

Plus it's fun.

Check out the spring list here.

Check out the summer list here.

Check out the fall list here.

If you need some ideas to get started writing your relationship bucket list here are a few from my winter-themed list to get you going.  

Just download the image below and use it to help you try something new together.

This season's relationship bucket list: 

DSC_0495 cropped.jpg

Gina Senarighi is a therapist in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She provides couples counseling in North Portland and Southeast Portland click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.

Fall Relationship Bucket List

Fall Relationship Bucket List.jpg

We all need new adventures to keep things lively- relationships are no different.  

Every couple I work with creates a relationship bucket list of their own, filled with ideas and dreams to share.  It helps you get to know one another, reconnect, and build a shared vision of your future. 

Plus it's fun.

Check out the spring list here.

Check out the summer list here.

If you need some ideas to get started writing your own fall list here are a few from my autumn-themed bucket list to get you going this season.  

Just download the image below and use it to help you try something new together.

This season's relationship bucket list: 

Gina Senarighi | Couples Counseling in Portland | Portland Couples Therapy

Gina Senarighi is a therapist in Portland, Oregon specializing in positive psychology, living with integrity, building resilience, and strengthening relationships.  

She provides couples counseling in North Portland and Southeast Portland click here to schedule a consultation with her.

Click to join one of her upcoming retreats or workshops.