Dan Knoepfler, MC, LMHC
Individual, group, and family therapy
Thoughts for the Day
Links to the archives of previous months are at the bottom of the page.

Today I host a monthly consultation group at my office.    I really enjoy and respect my colleagues and their opinions.  It makes work more rewarding.

Earlier in the week I gave some unsolicited feedback.  There are days when I think "Why did I do that?"  I guess because I had an opinion that I wanted to express.   That probably isn't a good enough reason to offer one's opinion.   Hopefully it will be accepted with the spirit intended which is to improve things.

Today is my brother's birthday.   I hope he has a happy birthday.

Today is the first day of two that George Clinton and Parliament / Funkadelic shows in Seattle.  I hope I make both, but I should make at least one of the shows.

Those of you who know me, know my love of the musician/artist known as Prince and his work.   He wrote the song "Manic Monday" for The Bangles.  Today I am feeling that song.  Wishing it was Sunday, " 'cuz that's my funday."  Once I am work, things are great.  It's getting up Monday morning and getting out the door that is difficult.

Behavior change can be difficult.  There are many strategies to impact one's behaviors, but one that seems to be universally helpful is having support.   Some people are embarrassed talking to another about their personal struggle.  if you have a real life support person it really helps.  Some people can talk to their friends.  Other people rely on 12-Step programs because these are people they don't have to face in day to day life.   If that seems like it is too anxiety provoking, many people choose on-line forums for support  This is a more anonymous way to gain support.   But in the end it's the support that we all need as we work on our issues.    Consider who you can rely on as you embark on changing your life.  Ideally it helps to have more than one option in case one isn't available.  

As the new year rapidly approaches many people think about making New Year's resolutions.    Many people consider things they want to stop doing.   I would encourage you to think about something you want to increase in the new year.  Rather than stopping your smoking, how about increasing your gum chewing.  This may sound like a goofy way to approach things.   But if gum chewing gives your mouth something to do instead of smoking, increasing the amount of time doing this behavior may distract you from smoking.  And rather than feeling deprived from smoking you have green-lighted yourself to increase a different behavior.

At work I assist many men who have high sex drives.  One of the interesting things that is offered for consideration is the use of an SSRI anti-depressant.   This is because many help with compulsive behaviors.  But the other part is that what many consider a negative side effect (lowering their libido) can be a benefit for a person who has a sex drive and/or someone compulsively using sex as a coping mechanism.   This option isn't for everyone.  And if you are considering this, you have to be careful if you choose to come off of the SSRI.  This is because many people believe that the medication hasn't really had that much of an effect.  However, coming off of it, they have a rebound effect when it comes to their sexual behavior.  And what was a more manageable issues becomes overwhelming.   So.   be careful if you are considering using an SSRI as part of helping yourself manage compulsive sexual behavior.  And almost be more careful if you are on an SSRI and decide to stop.

This weekend there is a marathon of the TV show "Ru Paul's Drag Race" on TV.   Although I have been to drag shows, I don't have much knowledge about what it takes behind the scenes for a person to create the illusion of being the opposite gender.   I like shows that explain how things work.   I am impressed at the work it takes to do it well.  It reminds me of the Dolly Parton quote, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!"  While some drag queens are trying to truly pass as female many create a caricature of what it means to look female.  And that's when Dolly's quote seems to apply.   Anyway, I have a lot of respect for how much time and effort the queens put into their transformations.

Midweek slump day.  Sometimes "hump" day doesn't feel like you are halfway to the weekend.   What can you do to put a little pep in your step to make it through the end of your week?   I get cracking on smaller tasks on my to-do list. That way as I cross them off the list it feels like I am accomplishing something and getting some forward momentum.   

I was watching a judge show where two people who had run against each other for a school board position in Mississippi claimed the other did damage to the other  (ruining campaign signs, and doing doughnuts in the other's yard).  The primary platform issue was about sex education.  The abstinence-only promoting candidate was for a process where they pass around a sugar cookie in class and then ask if anyone will eat it.  Of course no one does, and the analogy the teacher  uses is "No one wants a dirty cookie."   It's surprising in this day and age that that passes for sex education.   In addition to creating shame about sex because it's "dirty", it seems the even more problematic aspect is that it is focusing on the "dirty cookie".   Why is it that it would make the girl dirty, but there is no focus on males and what it makes them?  Fortunately the person who promotes accurate sex education won.  Maybe that will help decrease the high levels of STIs and teen pregnancies they are dealing with.

Living one's life in the present.  How often do you live this way?  When you look back on your life, will you be able to do so without many regrets?   How meaningful does your life feel?   If you have many regrets, start living your life in ways that change this.   You don't have to do something on the magnitude of Bill and Melinda Gates to have a meaningful life.  For example, I used to collect garbage during my daily walk.   It made my neighborhood look better.   I always try to do something meaningful each and every day.   This is not an overwhelming task when you define it in ways that make this goal manageable.

As you are out and about this month, remember what the spirit of the holiday season is about.  It's about kindness, caring, and treating each other well.  This is true whether you celebrate Christmas, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah,  another holiday, or none at all.  And if you do nothing else, have a little extra patience with others, even if they don't show you any in return.  It costs you nothing.

It's World AIDS Day.   In spite of many things improving when it comes to preventing and treating people with HIV, it is still an issue.  If you are HIV- and engaging in higher-risk sexual behavior, consider taking PREP which may reduce your chances of contracting HIV.   This is one of the advances that is a positive step towards reducing the number of new cases of HIV.