The Olive Branch Blog's Blog (337)

Encouraging Lateral Thinking to Problem Solve

Our model of thinking in the Western world is based on linear logic – which is entirely derived from the left side of the brain.

Now don’t get me wrong. Linear thinkers are important — they keep us on track in a methodical, sequential and focused way, which is great for lots of problem solving situations.

Linear thinkers tend to see the world as black and white and are comfortable with a singular answer to a problem.

Lateral thinkers, on the…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 29, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

When Is Conflict Worth It?

Have you ever been around someone who creates conflict even over the smallest events or problems? It’s as if this person might be hunting for conflict or complaint and seizes on every opportunity to “have it out.”

Even though that’s the extreme, it IS hard to know when lodging a complaint might be worth the conflict that ensues. And, knowing when conflict is appropriate is even harder for those who feel they didn’t have a “voice” growing up (now that I’m a grown-up, I get to…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 25, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Leaders: Would you rather be liked or respected?

Leadership is hard and lonely.

Creating a vision and direction can impact many – like shaking up the status quo. So, as you forge a new leadership role or build on an existing one … would you feel better if you are liked or respected?

That’s a tricky question — because most of us would answer that we want both.

However, if we worry too much about being liked, it will start to cloud our ability to lead.

The fact is that your decisions…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 22, 2017 at 3:49pm — No Comments

Does Long Distance = Less Conflict?

When it comes to long-distance relationships, the generally-accepted philosophy is that they’re not a good idea and often lead to conflict and break-ups. But, is that really the case?

The latest studies actually show the opposite. The authors of one study written about in Psychology Today surveyed married couples who were living partly or entirely apart and found some pretty surprising results: Not only were they as satisfied with their marriages, they actually reported LESS…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 18, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Civil Conversations

A colleague recently told me about relationships he had that were being strained by the negative public discourse in our country.…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 15, 2017 at 4:40pm — No Comments

Had a Chaotic Childhood? Why You May Have an Advantage

For so many years, we mental health professionals have empathized with clients who came from emotionally chaotic childhoods and homes. After all, it’s been shown that coming from a chaotic home can set you up for all sorts of problems later on (a pursuit of immediate gratification, etc.).

But, what if I told you that crazy childhood may actually be an ADVANTAGE? Well, the researchers have been busy these past few years trying to figure out why some folks who report chaotic…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 11, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Hitting P A U S E

You’ve just been hit with a fistful of words and your immediate reaction is to hit back with a barrage of your own.

Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, once said “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”

Being so reactionary, with your fists raised, isn’t the best way to be. It just escalates the situation.

So … what is an alternative response?

My suggestion is to activate…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 8, 2017 at 12:54pm — No Comments

“Even If… That Doesn’t Mean…

Inner conflict is one of the toughest battles to fight – after all, when we have an inner conflict, we can’t blame someone else or schedule a fist fight in the parking lot. Instead, it’s up to us and us alone to figure things out. And, that can be a tall order.

At the root of most inner conflict is anxiety – the idea that, even without evidence, something bad will happen. Although many people don’t think anxiety can be debilitating, let me assure it can be.…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 4, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Tempted to Give Advice? Think Again.

It’s bound to happen. Someone with a marital or relationship problem is going to come to you and ask for advice.

How do you best support that person now that you have been put into this “first responder” role?Your first reaction might be to offer your advice, but according to William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, the most effective thing that you can do is pretty darn simple … just listen!

His theory is…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on May 1, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Are You Having A.R.E. Discussions? Why You Should

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone – only to discover a)he/she isn’t listening at all 2) he/she is distracted by technology or c) he/she is already getting defensive even before you start to speak?

If so, you’re certainly not alone (and, let’s face it, you’ve probably been a less-than-attentive listener, too!). In fact, lots of folks who come through my office complain about not feeling “heard,” and the lack of communication is creating pretty intense…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 27, 2017 at 9:29am — No Comments

When is Feeling Bad Good?

We’ve all heard of the “power of positive thinking.” But sometimes it’s just hard to turn that frown upside down.

So what then?

Sometimes negative feelings persist.

Now, let me be clear. I am not talking about emotions like hopelessness, despair or worthlessness. These are referred to as “empty emotions” and can be signs of depression that need to be treated.…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 24, 2017 at 9:06am — No Comments

Why “You’re OK” Can Feel NOT OK

I’ve watched my children fall down quite a bit – both literally and figuratively. And, I’ve learned it’s not always easy to know what to say. Should I tell them, “You’re OK” and wait for them to get up? Or, should I fling myself onto them protectively and help them to their feet? (For the record, I usually act on a case-by-case basis).

But, the reaction of Mothers around the world got me thinking – how would I feel if I hurt myself, and someone told me “You’re OK, just get…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 20, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Why Do Women Apologize So Much?

I was standing in a hallway of a restaurant waiting for my turn to use a women’s restroom. The door was locked and within 10 seconds it opened and a lady appeared. She looked at me and said “I’m sorry.” And I thought … for what?

Why would this person think to say she was sorry in this situation?

It turns out that women believe that being apologetic is a way to demonstrate that you are being polite. And saying sorry means that you aren’t being…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 17, 2017 at 9:26am — No Comments

Conflict Over Rules? Maybe It’s Time To Back-Off

As a Mom of three (and living in a community of kid-excellence, to say the least), it’s hard for me to NOT feel insecure about what my kids AREN’T doing. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t overhear another Mom talking about their child excelling at the best private school in town or see another child drilled endlessly on the tennis court.

It’s enough to drive you mad – unless you know something I just learned: Turns out, the most creative children have fewer rules at home and…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 13, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

8 Tips to Healthy Communication with Your Teen

Being a teenager can be confusing — it’s a time filled with significant changes, growth and uncertainty.

It’s easy to forget what that felt like. And this can impact your ability to communicate with your teen. Your world view is so different.

Here are a few tips that I found online that can perhaps help you to bridge the communication divide with your teenager.…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 10, 2017 at 5:37pm — No Comments

Lovin’ a “Mediocre” Life

I don’t often “click here” when someone posts an article on Facebook, but when I saw the topic of a recent article posted by a friend, I just had to see what it was all about. It was called “What If All I Want Is a Mediocre Life?’, and it had me intrigued.

The question on the table was this: Is it enough to be a pretty good wife (husband), Mother (Father), Sister (Brother), Community Member, etc.? Or do I need to be all of that PLUS the CEO of a company, the BEST at whatever…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 6, 2017 at 12:30pm — No Comments

When Conflict Escalates …

Conflicts will grow over time if unaddressed.Friedrich Glasl published a conflict escalation model in the 90s that include nine levels.

Before you read these, please put yourself in the mindset of a conflict you have, or are, experiencing or have witnessed. I think you will be amazed how real the words become.

Stage 1: Tension – This is the starting point, when there are occasional clashes of opinion, however, the tension can still…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on April 3, 2017 at 9:38am — No Comments

We Need to be Needed

The Dalai Lama recently co–authored an op-ed in the New York Times that I put aside for a bit.

And I reread it this week after speaking to someone about helping people who are homeless.…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on March 28, 2017 at 1:06am — No Comments

Who Comes First? It Matters…

When I counsel couples in my practice, I always try and get a “feel” for who gets what priority in the family. Are spouses each other’s priority? Or do the kids come first? Most importantly, what is the family structure, and are things a bit wonky?

For families with small children, I’ll ask the question, “who comes first,” and nine out of ten times, each parent will say “the children.” It’s not surprising, since we’ve been taught that children’s needs should always come…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on March 23, 2017 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Do You Trust Your Own Judgement?

Anyone out there remember the weird cults of the ’80’s and ’90’s? I do – and I REALLY remember wondering: Why would all these seemingly normal people follow someone preaching such a bizarre doctrine?

After a while, I figured out the followers weren’t your usual run-of-the-mill folks – oftentimes, they were former drug addicts, formerly incarcerated folks, and generally misguided souls. So, why were these particular types of people so attracted to what we most of us consider a…


Added by The Olive Branch Blog on March 16, 2017 at 12:00pm — No Comments

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