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    I post insights that I have here about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and various techniques that I've used to help people. Cool as that is, you gotta make your own choices. Its no replacement for professional advice or counseling, so just bear that in mind before you go taking my advice.
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Truth Doesn’t Matter (?)

So I’m sitting with my wife watching a church service from our home, because we had planned on going to church that morning, but she really wasn’t feeling good, so we stayed in (she’s pregnant, she’s allowed). So I decided to go check out my old church, as they stream their church services every Sunday. During the message, the pastor makes a very strong statement, which is the focus of my post today.

The gist of it is this:


People don’t care about the truth anymore. They only care about what makes them feel good, and what they can get out of a situation.

This statement got me thinking, because I didn’t want to believe it was true. Surely there are some people out there who care enough about the truth, and will do so at the cost of feeling good and being selfish. Then I realized that the truth is relative for a lot of people. I mean, I’m a Christian, but if you don’t believe what the  Bible says is true, then you’re not going to agree with me about my version of the truth when it comes to religion. That’s OK, its a free country, you’re more than welcome to believe what you want.

But aside from religion, how can people come to terms with what the truth is? Some would say you come to this determination through science. Surely if you can prove something with science, then you can determine what the truth is that way, right? Then you lay out the global warming/climate change question, and you have people who have data that show both sides of the argument, and both could be considered to be true based on the information presented.

Then you can think about truth in a court of law, and how we are asked in court to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” How then, is truth determined? By facts and evidence, and upon the weighing of that evidence, the judge or jury comes to a determination about what the truth is, and how the court should proceed as a result of that determination. So it would follow, then, that we can determine what truth is based on facts.

But what if we don’t care about that stuff? What if we throw truth out the window because it doesn’t fit our worldview? Do we then disregard those facts because it feels better to keep our worldview? How then do we determine facts, if our perspective is so tainted that we will take false evidence into consideration?


Then there’s the generation of children in this day and age. You’ve seen them haven’t you? The ones that really don’t care much about the truth, and are more concerned with how their friends and their experiences make them feel, and what they can get out of life from others. I shouldn’t fault them too much, but at the same time, there is a line you have to draw at selfishness, so I usually confront teenagers on this as soon as I think they can handle it.

People have said “the Truth hurts,” and I think that’s because for the most part, the truth is difficult to swallow. The truth doesn’t feel good. Its not considerate of your feelings, and it doesn’t give you anything amazing as a result. I’m not sure that people even believe that “the truth will set you free” anymore, because in many respects, its better to be a slave to your own perspective than it is to be free with the difficult truth.

OK, OK, Jim. I get it. But how does that pertain to my life right now?

Since I can only throw my professional opinion at you, I’ll give you my perspective on the truth. First, determine your sphere of  relevance. Are these facts relevant to your life, and your sphere of influence? If not, then perhaps focusing on this area of truth is not necessary for you right now. So determine what truth is relevant to your life.

Second, do your best to seek out the most pertinent truth to your life. Since everyone’s life is different, the truth that is relevant to your life will be different. Do your absolute best to seek out the most truth for your life.

Lastly, do your absolute best to live your life according to the truth. No matter how hard it may be. Even if it makes you change your worldview, live according to the truth.

If I didn’t believe that what I was sharing with you was the truth, and didn’t follow it myself, I wouldn’t be typing it here. Why? Because I do my best to live by what I believe is the truth. I may screw up, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let my screw ups determine who I am and my continued thirst for the truth in my own life.

So my questions to you, and if you comment, please answer these questions: Does Truth Matter? and If so, how do YOU determine what is truth?


So You’ve Had A Bad Day…

Once upon a time there was a therapist who decided to get married, buy a house and get a dog. It seemed like the perfect American dream. But what the therapist didn’t know, was that there was a monster lurking in the basement of his new house.

This monster was none other than the Natural Gas Forced Air Heater.

See once each winter, said heater grows donkey ears and becomes horribly stubborn, and refuses to heat the house.

Dateline: January 4th, 2010 – The heater does just that. So armed with a toothbrush, pliers, dish soap, a wrench and a bucket, I go into the belly of the beast to get the old burro to move.

See, if you know anything about heaters (and I don’t) you would know that some older forced air heaters have a glass gauge that tells you how much water is in the hot water tank. The gauge was dirty, so I figure, what the hey, and cleaned it out (i watched the guy do it last year) so i can see how much water is in there. Once I know, I’ll know whether to add or subtract water to get the house warm. After that, I had to empty the water tank of all the water, then turn one valve to add more water. Nothing worked. So I turn another valve to empty the water, because apparently I had too much (actually the PSI went above 30, and the water flew out of the tank due to too much pressure). So on I go, for 3 hours. Water in, water out. Put water in the bucket, dump it in the sink.

I felt like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and wished that I had an army of magic mops to help me clean up rust colored mess I’d made.

So I call the plumbing/heating folks and they tell me that the cost to come out and diagnose the problem is $175. I tell this to the Mrs., and I might as well have told her that I went to Vegas and gambled the money away.

Here we were, no heat, no money to turn it back on, and an appointment looming like a sunset shadow. I could have lost my cool and flipped out (OK, maybe I did loose my cool and flip out), but once I flipped back, I realized that we could stay upset about the situation or make some choices that could affect the situation.

Back to the WATER Method. What could I change? What couldn’t I change? I could call the plumbing guys and ask my wife to stay home and manage that situation. So we did that. I couldn’t change how much money we had now, but I could work harder to be more aware of what we’ve been paid from insurance and what we haven’t been paid by them.

See, even if difficulty comes your way, eventually you have to make choices about how you’re going to handle them. The sooner you resolve that, and take control of what you can change the better.

By the way, turns out I either have dumb luck or hidden repairman powers (or God heard my cry of frustration), because now the heat works, and it started working before the repairman even showed up (so we called them to cancel the order – something I can change to save money). Don’t know what I did or why, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out next year when the old burro comes out again.

Back To Normal Insanity

You made it! You got through another holiday season! For a lot of people this was a time of stress, parties, presents for family members, and eating a lot of food that you will eventually regret eating. You got through it, and now here you are on a Monday, sending your children back to school and heading back to work to begin a New Year, hopefully refreshed.

So now that things are back to normal, you can begin to focus on the stuff you put on the back burner to manage the holiday season. This is our Normal Insanity, the stuff we deal with on a daily basis without the holidays to use as an excuse. Its the stuff we now must face, or choose to continue to ignore. If we’re not careful, we could find ourselves in a place where continue to stuff our problems and not manage them.

So here are some ways to ease yourself back into the normalcy of post holiday season bliss.

1. Let go of the holiday season. Its over, which means the stress of it is over. If you have really good memories of that time, then give those more weight than the stress you’ve experienced. Remember, you make it through the season, it didn’t kill you, so you’ve made it through the hard part.

2. Take on a new attitude. Remember that your routine is what it was before, and unless something dramatic has changed, you will go through what you normally go through without the holiday stress. However, you can make it better than it was before the holiday season. Your attitude can make a difference.

3. Your time off was a larger example of a smaller concept. Remember that you can take time off in your average day, so long as you can schedule it well. Don’t feel like scheduling your time so you can have a little break here and there? Hey, its your life, but remember that those brief moments here and there are what brings you through the stressful periods. Take care of yourself so you can manage the negative, and relaxed to enjoy the positive.

Let’s not forget that with a new year people often have concerns and worries about the future. I have to say for one that I am scared to death about being a new parent, and what the future is going to hold for me as I move forward. I will have to say though, that using the WATER Method does make it a bit easier. Sure, I can plan for the future, but until I experience it, I’m not going to know exactly what to do until trial and error shows up. I’m going to screw up somewhere, and as long as its not a really nasty screw up, I’m kind of looking forward to it.

I also have to say that finishing my book seems a bit daunting, but I’m going to break it up in small increments to make sure that I accomplish it sooner rather than later. I figure if I can crank out a page every two days, I’ll be on the right track, and should have it done sooner than I think.

So don’t let the new year and the adjustment back to normalcy get you down. You will move on and forward, provided you have a plan in place to keep your wits about you. I know I need one. What about you?

RSS Feed Issue

For those of you who have subscribed to my blog, I have to apologize for my total rookie mistakes. It seems as though I didn’t transfer over my feed I transferred my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. As a result, You’re not getting updates from my blog when I update. Which isn’t cool.

So as a result, I’m presently working on a fix for this, and it should be all set by the end of the weekend. Special thanks to Scott for pointing this out.

Take care and have a great New Year! Looking forward to good stuff as time goes on, and I hope you’ll be there to join me!


Jim Valeri, LMHC

Being Wrong

There’s something missing from this blog, and its my last post. It seems I was wrong about Spalding Gray and the extent of his treatment. I have John Boland, the representative from his estate to thank for setting me straight, and that my research was poorly executed and flat out wrong. To learn more, as I had to, go to the official site for Spalding here:


As a result I want to apologize to him and Spalding’s family for misrepresenting the information about his life and death. He did a lot of great roles and I should have been much more careful in how I discussed his condition. As a result, I think I’m going to quit the whole movie therapist criticism for now, until I can make sure I know what the heck I’m talking about.

Therefore, I deleted the last post out of respect for Spalding and his family. Which brings me to a very important point.

Its OK to be wrong, so long as you realize it, take responsibility for it, and make changes in your life. If I sat there and got all bent out of shape, I would spill myself down a further spiral of nonsense. I’ve seen this happen to others, and I’ve seen this happen to me.

If you know you’re wrong, I suggest just admitting it, and making the changes you need to make sure that never happens again. That is how change takes place, by making a stand with yourself and a decision to ensure that your life goes in a different direction today than it did yesterday.

Anywho, short and bittersweet today. I’ll do another post tomorrow and this time I’ll stick to what I do best and leave the critiquing to the critics. Please forgive my supidity and carelessness and I hope I haven’t lost you as a result.

Change Is Gradual

I recently had a client come into my office and tell me that counseling wasn’t working. They said that they try the methods, and it works for a while, but after that time period they fall back into the same pattern. I understood his frustration and it was clear that something else needed to change in order for them to get the results they wanted.

In all of this though, I recognized a very simple truth that needed to be passed on.

Change takes time.

You can make a decision to be someone different, do something different, or feel something different. But the fact still remains, that despite those changes, they have do be done over time.

No duh, Jim. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Too right. But think about that saying in and of itself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but somebody had to plan the building of Rome, so that a day wasn’t wasted in its construction. Without that plan, the workers could meander aimlessly with no plan, and what could have taken years might have taken generations to accomplish.

So where’s the happy medium? I mean, you’re not trying to build Rome, are you? Any change that you take on needs to have a couple of things: Time and Planning.

These must go hand in hand. If you have all the time in the world, and don’t plan, you could go on forever “trying” to change, and that’s exactly what you’d be doing…trying. You could have the best plan in the world, but without the time to implement it, its merely a good intention.

So in order to change, you need to take the time to enact that change AND have a plan for change so that when you take the time to do it, you’re not wasting that time.

So if there’s something you’re looking to change, give yourself a reasonable amount of time, and point yourself in the right direction. Then continue take the time and implement the plan so that you don’t experience frustration in the plan “not working.” It only works if you keep the plan going.

What do you think? Ever had a failed plan? I’m all ears.

The WATER Method Addendum: Openness and Awareness


So I’ve come to a revelation during my time here. I’ve realized that my approach to problems works for most people and most situations. However, when it comes to relationships, or family members, its really difficult for people to separate their problems into what they can and can’t change when they feel as though their relationships influence their lives too strongly. I had a hard time trying to tell people that you can set boundaries with your family, and you’re really not in control of how someone feels. You’re not in control of how your spouse feels, and they’re not in control of how you feel. People weren’t buying it, and it was all a mystery to me, until this week.

It just came to me. Flash of insight, God inspired…call it what you will. I finally figured out how to explain this in a way that makes sense, and also allows us to apply the WATER Method effectively.

I’ve officially adopted 2 New Concepts to the WATER Method: Openness and Awareness.

Openness is recognizing how much you allow other people’s WATER to affect yours. Think of this like a door to a house, with the house being your WATER. If you left the door to your house open all day, all kinds of things could come in: bugs, animals, leaves, wind, dirt, etc. The same thing is true with your WATER. The more open you are to other people, the more you allow them to affect your WATER.

For example, if your spouse comes home from work, happily chattering like a squirrel, its really easy to take on that good mood as your own isn’t it? But when s/he comes home lumbering like a grizzly bear, the same kind of thing happens. We’re in a bad mood too, and we’re not really sure how we got there sometimes. That’s how Openness works, you take on the other person’s Words, Actions, Thoughts, Emotions and Results (or WATER for short) as your own.

Awareness is the idea that people you are close to can be affected by your WATER. Its basically acknowledging that other people have houses with open doors, and that if they open their door to you and your WATER, then you can have an influence on them. The purpose of Awareness is deciding if you want to take certain actions that can affect a loved one’s WATER.

For example, you know that when you come home from work chittering like a squirrel, your spouse is suddenly in a good mood. Imagine that! Did you do anything to make that happen? No, that’s all them, but they’re open to your Emotions. On the other hand, when you come in lumbering like a grizzly bear, things don’t go so well do they? All of the sudden you’re fighting, and you don’t even know what you’re fighting about. How did that happen? Being Aware of how Open others are to you can be key to communication.

So think about how your Openness to others Emotions changed your Emotions. Or your Thoughts…or Actions. Think about how your Words affected someone else, and maybe now that you have Awareness about how they affect that person, you can make decisions to choose whether or not you want to use those Words in the future.

I could go on and on about this, but I think just that alone is enough to chew on. What do you think? I’d really like to hear what you have to say about this, as this concept is going into the WATER Method book. So your interaction is greatly appreciated!