Making Decisions With Ease

Only make decisions that support your self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth. - Oprah Winfrey

Not being able to decide is a very frustrating place to be.  Indecision shows up for a number of factors.  Sometimes we are paralyzed by fear. Other times we are looking at a decision that requires we compromise our values in some way.  And sometimes we are just faced with so many decisions that we become overwhelmed. Whatever the reason, indecision sucks.  Let's take a look at some thing that make for a really good decision.  

1. Start With The End In Mind

Goal setting is useful in all aspects of our lives big and small.  Start asking yourself the questions that are going to clarify your goals.  For example, what is the overall feel you want to have in your home?  It will make picking paint colors easier if you want your home to feel calm versus cheerful.  And for the bigger stuff like "Where should I invest my money?" start thinking about what guides your investment decisions. Is it a particular amount of money?  Maybe you are more interested in only investing in companies that share your values.  

Big or small, it's important to start asking questions to clarify your goals. 

2. Set Fear Aside

From my experience, making decisions from fear has just not turned out that well for me.  This article from Bustle breaks down the term "decidaphobia" which was coined in 1973.  Fear can stop us from moving forward. In order to make good decisions we all have to develop habits that reduce our anxieties and allow us to feel safe in our lives.  Once fear has been removed, your real motives can goals can shine through and guide you to the perfect choice. 

3. Make Decisions With Your Wellbeing As A Focus

Are you someone that always makes decisions with others in mind?  Possibly you are the biggest people pleaser you know.  Well, coming to therapy...or reading this blog is a big reminder to stop that.  Yes it's good to be nice.  Yes it's good to keep people in mind.  But your decisions should always be guided from a place of self love first.  Remember, just like I tell my clinicians and my clients- You are the most important person in the room, wherever you go. 

Before we wrap up I just want to take a look at one more thing.  Maybe you are in a situation where you really want to make a relationship better or maybe you want to move forward with something but in reality you have dome everything you can.  In those moments it's important to remember that your deicison-making isn't flawed...rather, it's your ability to manage uncertainty that needs a closer look.  To manage uncertainty is to tame your fear.  And after all, the reality is, all of us are walking around just trying to figure things out the best way we can.  We cannot predict the future and we can only do what we believe is best with the most information we have.  Beyond that, our practice is to let go. 

How well do you manage uncertainty?

Tell me what you think in the comments below...




Three Tips To Finding Your Dream Job

 By Kacie Mitterando, LMSW

(opinion article)

How often have we heard the phrase, “Find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life?” For many of us, it’s a phrase that has been drilled into us - being reiterated over and over again by parents, friends, and employers. This phrase has seemed to put us on this never ending path of searching for what we love. It has instilled in us that if we don’t find this, the alternative is to work a job that we hate every single day and well, who wants to do that? How do we search for our passion when student loans exist? We don’t have the capability of jumping from job to job or education to education because quite frankly, its unrealistic, impractical and well, takes up too much time! While this phrase may have been intended to give us motivation to pursue our dreams and never give up on our future, it is reasonably possible that it has become a phrase eliciting pressure and anxiety in many of us, especially those of us in our 20’s.

Finding your dream job can seem like an impossible task. After spending years in a classroom, hours studying and pulling all nighters, we want to feel that there is a reward at the end of the hard work put into our career path. So, how do we actually find our dream job? And how do we calm the anxiety that comes along with this journey?

Be Confident In Who You Are

You have just spent years working tirelessly towards your goals! And while “good things come to those who wait,” good things definitely come to those who work hard. Be confident in the work that you have done and know that if you continue to do the good you are doing, you will continue to be rewarded.

Embrace The Fear of Failure

Is it possible that failure can be a good thing and we should embrace this fear, rather than run from it? Maybe we have been taught wrong all of these years. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that failing is OK. Failing is often a great time to learn and grow from your experiences. If the fear of failing and not finding a job is creating stress and anxiety, practice embracing this concept.

Tap Into Your Values and Beliefs

Put extra focus and attention into what your belief system is. Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? If so, find faith in trusting the process and knowing that what is meant for you will eventually come. Do you believe in destiny? If you do, then you know that your purpose is consistently seeking to be fulfilled and discovered. Therefore, hold strong in obtaining this discovery. Do you believe that we have control over the events in our lives? If this is the case then continue your job search efforts and hard work! Overall, figure out what it is that you believe is meant for you, and push forward with this system.

If the fear and anxiety of finding employment upon graduating is dragging you down, hold strong in who you are, remember that failure is OK and tap into your belief systems. In the interim, don’t forget to de-stress by enjoying time with friends and family and embracing the simple parts of life that are meaningful to you.

Navigating Transitions

By Brittany Dursi, LMSW

Life is based around transition.  Transitions can be anywhere from exciting and empowering to catalysts for feelings of embarrassment, lack of self-worth and a loss of identity.  However, no matter the transition it is an opportunity of self-growth if you approach it in a healthy way.

Most of us have convinced ourselves that sometimes, a transitioning phase is a dangerous territory. Venturing there long enough labels you “lost.”  We formed this idea that we are supposed to always know our next move and if we don’t, what are we actually doing with our life?

The thing is, transition is the constant.  Because of that it’s important to find our unique way of effortlessly navigating transitions.  In fact, transitions can be a time to reconnect with ourselves and explore the parts of our lives that are preparing to bloom. Instead of living in anxiety, we can focus on watering and nurturing those parts. 

Whether you are getting out of a ten-year relationship, getting married, changing careers, graduating college, having children, learning you are unable to have children, moving in, being kicked out etc.  These are all changes, a transition is the process we go through in order to accept and understand the effects the change has on us. (1)

It’s okay to feel lost, its okay to feel sad

Sometimes we have a distorted comfort in familiarity. We may stay consistent as a way to not “fall off the map.”  Other times we reach for consistency because we genuinely enjoy where we are.  Change can bring us out of our comfort, distorted or not and it can lead us to feeling sad, lost and anxious.  Those feelings are genuine, real and should be acknowledged.  Acknowledge them.  Talk about them, because avoiding them is putting a bandaid on a deeper routed cut.

Seek Support 

Whether you’re introverted or extroverted having support from friends, family or others who have been in a similar situation can help alleviate some stress.  Talk, ask questions, open your mind up to learn and expand.  Once you close your mind off from learning, you have closed yourself off from growing. 

Explore and be Educated

Assess the situation, ask yourself: what do I have control over and what do I not have control over?  Do not allow the areas you cannot control, control you.  Instead focus on what you can do.  Research, plan, expand.

Realistic Roads

Set yourself a realistic timeline and realistic goals.  You can’t feed an infant hard food before they have teeth. Start small, work on being patient and accepting that great things take time.  Work on not losing track of yourself based on what you see others doing. You don’t know their truth, do not let what they present and what you perceive of them dictate how you view yourself. Stay true to you, set realistic, obtainable goals and work up. (2)

Transition is beautiful.  Transition is self-growth. Transition is okay.




Set Better Boundaries for Emotional Safety

“No" is a complete sentence.” 
- Ann Lamott

Boundaries are the basis of our ability to stay safe physically and emotionally.  Boundary setting includes a number of things ranging from understanding our limits to practicing assertiveness. What's most important is that the outcome of not holding boundaries is not good. This includes physical and emotional harm, low self worth, depression and anxiety.  Inability to hold boundaries can also lead to dangerous behaviors such as substance abuse and self harm.

We first learn about boundaries as children in our nuclear family.   Aside from our families we also have unique ways of relating to others.  Over time we learn ways that keep us safe and capable of avoiding pain.  Sometimes our best attempts are not the best.  Therapy is a good place to explore our boundaries.  You and your therapist can learn areas of your life where boundaries are easily held and supportive as well as those that may need strengthened.  

Another aspect to understanding boundaries is the impact of trauma on our ability to protect ourselves.  According to Friedman and Boumil, any type of abuse is a boundary invasion. Families with poor communication styles reinforce confusion around when to be close and when to protect. Children from abusive homes have a tremendous amount of confusion around whether or not their body and thoughts are their own. (1)

Some barriers to boundary setting include: 

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of confrontation
  • Guilt
  • Not being taught healthy boundaries
  • Safety Concerns

If you are dealing with someone who is physically dangerous or threatening to you, it may not be safe to attempt to set explicit boundaries with them. If you are in this situation, it can be helpful to work with a counselor, therapist or advocate to create a safety plan and boundary setting may be a part of this. (2)

Trauma impacts our ability to make decisions to keep us safe.  Finding a trauma focused therapist to help you slow down and stay with overwhelming and confusing thoughts can allow for the healing you need to start recognizing the possibility of boundary violations before they occur. 

Tips For Setting Better Boundaries

1. Learn to define your needs.  By clearly understanding your needs, you will be able to begin defining them for those around you. 

2. Cultivate the ability to trust yourself and your decisions.  In order to have healthy boundaries we must stop questioning ourselves. 

3. Cultivate decisiveness. As your confidence grows you will feel more empowered by good decisions as well as more forgiving of the bad. 

4. Learn that you are not responsible for the emotions of others.  Outside of not harming another person you have no responsibility for the feelings of those around you.  When we set healthy boundaries we realize we are only responsible for our emotions. 

5. Learn to value reciprocal relationships.  You deserve respect in every interaction. 


Resources for learning healthy boundaries

Where to Draw The Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life

Take Action today

What are some simple steps you can take today to understand your boundaries? 

Call today to speak with someone that can help. 



1. Betrayal of Trust: Sex and Power in Professional Relationships Joel Friedman Praeger, Jan 1, 1995 - Family & Relationships - 142 pages

2. How to Create Healthy Boundaries


Overcoming #FOMO in Your Twenties

Written by Amanda Polster, LMSW

#Fomo. Fear of missing out. The modern plague of our 20s. What should be our decade of wonder, our prime and our time, is often a decade of endless memes reflecting back to us what our life is missing. Fresh out of school we quickly realize that we have to get our $#!% together because if we don’t have a job, aren’t paying our own rent, and can’t affording a social life, then we have completely failed.

Our 20s are full of societal expectations. And those are a contradiction.  We are told to be free spirits while also being pressured to pick a career and settle down (aka put a ring on it).

The insecurity, ambivalence, and ambiguity of this stage of life becomes a fluctuating decade of judgment and jealousy, evaluating our success based on our achievements compared to others. To make it even more confusing, we are in constant “split energy” where we have one foot in and one foot out in the choices we are faced with; where we want something and doubt it at the same time; we want something and resent others who have already achieved it.[1]

Some people’s 20s are defined by fear. The fear that our youth is ending and we have taken life too seriously, or that we haven’t been serious enough to settle down. The fear that we may never get what we want and our entire life is ending.

The good thing is… we do not have to look back on our twenties and realize it was rules by fear. We have an opportunity at this time in our lives to reframe what this stage in development means for our relationship to ourselves and to others. Below are some tips that can help center us when we begin to the worry too much about the fear of missing out.

Recognize You Are Not Alone

I don’t know about you, but it always brings me satisfaction to go on Instagram and see a meme reach half a million likes stating “being in your 20’s is like playing a video game where you skip the tutorial and you just sort of run around with no idea how anything works.” Acknowledging this stage of development as not only a phase of growth but also a mutual stage of complicated decision making brings security and comfort. Understanding that no matter how aspired someone else’s life seems from the outside does not deny the difficult and likely struggle they took to reach this point, while also acknowledging that their presentation is not always an appropriate reflection of their happiness and satisfaction with their success. We are all pushing and pulling to make decisions that are meant to better ourselves, and we are not alone in this rambunctious and competitive race.

Focus Less on What You Are Missing and More on What You Have[2]

This may sound very Buddhist, but it actually is a way of incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy into our perceptions of the world we live in. One of my closest friends always tells me that “life happens for you, not to you.” When we acknowledge that the choices we are making are a reflection of how we are perceiving ourselves and others, we are able to reframe and reshape the lens we are using. When we look at the world with insecurity and fear of potentially missing out on an opportunity or constantly question the choices we are making, we have lost focus of the things we already have in our lives and the accomplishments we have made. The more energy and momentum we put forth towards focusing on what we have achieved, the easier it will be to continue growing on that spectrum. What this really means is… when we focus more on what we already have gained for ourselves, our confidence continues to grow and we are capable of growing at a faster rate than when we are persistently questioning our success and our decision making.

Reevaluate Your Capacity by Focusing on What is Important to You

This is one of my favorites, and has helped me reframe and understand that where I am right now in my life makes complete sense in the context of my beliefs, values and capacity. The progress we make in our life is a reflection of what we have chosen to prioritize, and at the same time a reflection of the amount of responsibility we can physically, emotionally, and mentally handle. When we choose to direct our energy and attention to one area of our life (i.e. progressing in our career), this may cause us to put on hold other things that we desire to accomplish, yet are willing to compromise at this time (i.e. settling down and starting a family). This is not to say there aren’t people out there who are tackling everything at once like superstars, but it is perfectly acceptable, and often encouraged, to slow ourselves down and focus on longevity and sustainability.

Reflect on What You Are Seeking

There are many tips that can fall under coping with the fear of missing out, yet all methods to a degree culminate to this all-encompassing self-awareness practice of reflection. When we live in a world of social media and technology, it is easy to get wrapped up in seeking validation from others to overcome our insecurities about our state of being at this present moment. “Let me post a selfie to the gram before my job interview” #soready #professional. When we seek positive reinforcements from others to validate our stability, we can lose sight of our intrinsic worth and self-gratification. Our interest in seeking attention externally distracts us from our strength to evoke this confidence from within. Once we understand that #Fomo includes our insecurities of not making the right choices, we can reevaluate what it is we are searching for and where we are searching. Love, self-worth, self-acceptance, and affirmation starts from within, and the sooner we acknowledge our resilience and growth, the quicker we will achieve our desired goals.

Blog written by Amanda Polster LMSW.  You can learn more about Amanda here. 

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash



Tools For Managing School Anxiety

Post By Amanda Polster, LMSW

Test, essays, project deadlines, pop quiz! Whether you’re in high school or college, managing a rigorous schedule can cause a lot anxiety. People experience school anxiety in different forms - test anxiety, difficulty studying, trouble focusing which leads to procrastination. Anxiety is the most common mental health challenge of children, teens, and adults in the United States. (1)

Some stress is actually necessary (and can be helpful) for students. . Performance anxiety can actually motive us to prepare and focus harder to achieve our high expectations. The stress of poor performance can encourage us to study longer or prepare harder for say… a presentation worth 30% of our grade. This type of stress is called eustress - the feeling good stress! Eustress can actually help boost motivation, focus, and energy, and can improve overall performance and decision making. (2)

You’re probably thinking, “why do I not usually feel good when I’m stressed?” Eustress is often short-term in nature and only occurs when we are able to rationalize and organize the tasks we have to complete without feeling a sense of overwhelm. And…dondadadon! This is where distress seeps in. Distress is the experience of stress that feels like overwhelm, confusion and difficulty completing tasks.

When we think about the amount of work required of us in such a short period of time we often start neglecting self care. We might reach for that fourth cup of coffee because… who has time for sleep? It’s easy to understand why this would happen if it feels like our lives might literally be over if we don’t pass an exam. Many of us have been there, including me.

Perfectionism often accompanies distress. This can prevent us from actually enjoying the process. Doesn’t it seem unreasonable to think the quality of an entire year’s work is determined by one letter written at the top of a test page?

Now that we are on the same page (pun intended), I want to share why I love using cognitive therapy to help students with school anxiety. It’s amazing to see how a student’s life can change when they realize they have complete control over their school experience. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to gain more control of school anxiety:


1.      Breathe!

One way we can rethink the amount of work we have to achieve in such a short period of time is to take a step back and recognize when we begin to rush our thoughts. Breathing allows us to hear our thoughts more clearly. After we recognize them, breathing allows us to stop spiraling into self-defeating thoughts that counter our capability and resilience.

2.   Reframe Stress

When thinking about the two types of stress - distress and eustress, we often categorize all stress as problematic and want to run away from it as quick as possible. However, being mindful and present with our stress is a helpful way of shifting our stress from an unpleasant experience to a productive and motivating experience. Reframing our stress can help us begin categorizing our tasks and motivate us to learn effective time management tools, which leads me into the next possible strategy.

3.   Creating a To-Do List

My personal favorite! Some people prefer the standard planner, but I’m more of a color coordinated, few doodles on the side type or organizer. I began creating a to-do list after grad school when I recognized planners did not have enough space for me to write down the amount of tasks I needed to complete each day. Creating a to-do list not only helped me prioritize my most important daily tasks, but also it helped me feel accomplished each day when I was able to check off all the things I completed. Having this list also helped me enjoy the process of completing larger tasks because I could recognize the steps I was achieving along the way. Yes, there are times when I didn’t get to everything - I’m not superwoman unfortunately - but I was able to start my to-do list for the next day prioritizing those things first to ensure I got everything done in a timely manner.

4.  Develop Realistic Expectations

This is where cognitive therapy steps in. Cognitive therapy helps address the pressure of family and society to meet educational demands. Understanding our thoughts, feelings and actions more clearly can help in overcoming the apprehension of not knowing if we will get a job once we graduate. Cognitive therapy teaches us how to give ourselves a break, re-evaluate our expectations of what we need to accomplish to stay above water, yet the most important.

5.   Practicing Self Care

You may be thinking right now… who has time for self care when there are 4 essays due and 3 exams? The bottom line is we cannot do our best work if we are not energized and revitalized. Taking time for ourselves to recharge is the most important part of achieving our goals and sustaining a healthy learning environment and practice.

Does your son or daughter need help with school anxiety?

I’m happy to help! Connect with me here –