[in this piece there is reference to looking, this is meant literally and figuratively. The use of looking is not meant to exclude those who are blind, or those restricted in movement]

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

It is OK to find yourself sitting, or standing, and falling into the moment.

It is OK to find yourself right here, right now, even if that means you are spinning in the center of all and everything else that is happening.

I was recently moved, in all directions, by this article There Is No Such Thing as a White Ally.

Please read it — please do not feel that you might not need to read it, nothing I say here will give you the ‘cliff notes’ to the work already done by Catherine Pugh, Esq.

Reading it woke me out of a place I did not entirely know I had been, although I had most certainly been stuck there for some time. …

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

In Memoriam A.H.H is a Victorian era poem by Alfred Tennyson — it contains the line: ’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Growing up in England the above line was lauded as a high functioning insight toward themes of love and loss. The generality being that one’s life is given profound meaning by experiencing love, even if that love ends in pain. It was used in favor of the other conversation ending platitude: Plenty more fish in the sea.

Tennyson is not wrong, ’tis better to have experienced love in one’s lifetime…

On Veterans, and Sacrifice.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

In my role as a social worker, and as a therapist, I have had the privilege and the honor of working with veterans. I also trained with them, as I did with nurses.

I’ve never said ‘thank you for your service’ to them.

Service was never something we discussed.

We spoke about displacement, about suffering, we spoke about loss, and we spoke about sacrifice.

I have family members who have served, beyond grandparents who fought. I have friends and coworkers who have also joined with the legacy of servicemen and servicewomen throughout history.

I think the…

October 2019 — eleven elephants drowned at the base of a waterfall in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. A baby elephant had fallen into the water, causing members of the herd to try and help, they also fell. Rangers at the national park reported finding eleven dead elephants, and two surviving. An absolute tragedy.

I saw the title link on the Washington post — Dead Elephants. Hovering over the link my imagination span through scenarios: hunters, environmental tragedy, poisoning, disaster at a zoo, train crash involving a traveling circus. …

Racism represents the abandonment of humanity, it is a virus that destroys, but it (as a term) has become problematic. Racists and apologists have attempted to derail conversations around structural-racism by claiming and feigning reverse-racism — diverting conversation and obscuring the larger issue that bigotry is an over-arching theme; the man behind the curtain of racism.

Racialism: a pejorative agenda driven by a belief that one group (through association) is inherently superior or inferior to an other, and that membership of that group, through definition, lends an individual (or group) to be marginalized, discriminated, stigmatized, and or demonized for possession…

I try to frequently remind myself of these things, and follow my own advice as much as I can. Over the years these have stood the test of time — reading or hearing similar advice from authors / supervisors serves to underline the importance of perspective, and of self-care in this profession.

While this list is more suited for social workers in traditional roles, the majority of the tips remain valid for psychotherapy practitioners also.

1 — Remember that nothing you experience as you take on your client is your fault; these things were happening before you arrived, and will…

*This entry is a deviation from my usual writing, I decided to be more forthcoming about myself — a somewhat autobiographical piece follows.

I have been meditating (on and off) for 20+ years, it started out of curiosity and with an intention of adopting a practice that aligned itself with my conception of ‘things that a spiritual person does’. I desperately wanted to live a waking life of spiritual awareness, one in opposition to the distressing and omnipresent phenomena of a world in suffering. I wanted to bring that light into my own life, in the hope that I would…

Dear white folks…

I often read and hear white people reacting defensively with regard to people of color speaking about their experiences within Eurocentric environments, and in referencing a generalized view of experiencing ‘white people’ as a social (and global) phenomenon. I see white authors and commentators venting their frustrations at being ‘lumped in’ with themes of white supremacy, or being identified as benefiting from white privilage. I read through the push-back and the denials of what is being told to them (by many, many people of color) — that it cannot possibly be accurate, or a fair representation. I…

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Hello,

I’m a licensed Clinical Social Worker, a mental health professional, and I’d like to talk to you about something that has been concerning me — I’ve seen an increase in people writing articles about psychology who are not psychologists, or mental health professionals. This really concerns me, mainly because when I read these articles I see some common mistakes that are potentially damaging, or misleading at best.

  • caveat — I am not a psychologist, I am a psychotherapist and a social worker. Psychology permeates through my work, as does sociology and other related fields that center around human behavior…

Daniel J O'Connell, LCSW

Transatlantic LCSW. Complex cases - child protection, mental health, addiction, community & advocacy. Clinical consultant, shrink, existentialist, humanist.

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