Ali Miller, MFT - Helping you live an authentic, empowered & connected life
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There's Room for Everyone to Complain
“Hear me!”: Some Thoughts on Listening and the Longing to be Heard
The Foundation of Self-Compassion
When Life Sucks: Buddhism, NVC, and Mourning
The #1 Key to Better Relationships

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Nonviolent Communication

There's Room for Everyone to Complain

I hear it all the time. People starting to share that they're not feeling so great, that they're struggling, having a hard time. And then - boom - they switch gears.

"But other people have it much worse, so I shouldn't complain."

If it's a therapy client of mine saying this, I'll often say something like, "This is your therapy hour. You get to complain all you want!"

I encourage my clients to complain, especially those for whom sharing their struggles doesn't come easy.

“Hear me!”: Some Thoughts on Listening and the Longing to be Heard

“Hear me!”: Some Thoughts on Listening and the Longing to be Heard

Here’s what I think: There is a serious lack of listening going on in our world. Would you agree? I’m pretty confident that if humans were listening more, we wouldn’t still be using bombs and guns to try to solve our conflicts. I’m pretty sure that if we were listening more, we wouldn’t be spending so much time fighting wars, big and small, external and internal. I truly believe that if we were listening more, we’d have more peace.

When Life Sucks: Buddhism, NVC, and Mourning

As I sit at my desk in California, awaiting the trick-or-treaters, an e-mail my sister just sent me is reverberating through my mind. She wrote from New York, "No power. No school. Halloween postponed 'til next Friday."  I picture my little niece and nephew all dressed up in their adorable costumes, having to wait over a week to celebrate one of their favorite holidays.
 
As the Buddha taught, sometimes life really sucks.
 
I'm writing this in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and am struck by the theme of loss that seems to be calling out for my attention this month, so I thought I'd muse on the topic of mourning, and offer some insight and support I've learned from my adventures in both Buddhism and Nonviolent Communication (NVC).

The #1 Key to Better Relationships

The #1 Key to Better Relationships
 
Yesterday it hit me that there really isonething I believe is the key to better relationships, so I wanted to share it with you immediately. I hope it leads to more moments of connection for you!
 
I’m going to keep it short and sweet, because it’s really simple (though definitely not easy).
 
If you want to improve your relationships, stop making other people responsible for your feelings.
 
That’s it. That’s the key.
 
As long as you are making other people responsible for your feelings, you are caught in the blame game.

When You Can't Relax: 7 Tips to Try

I was recently featured in an article on PsychCentral.com about what to do when you're having a hard time relaxing.  Here is the article, written by Margarita Tartakovsky. Click here to read the article on Psychcentral.com.

When You Can't Relax: 7 Tips to Try
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Many of us feel a constant pressure or prodding to be productive. As we sit down on the couch, we’re met with 50 reasons why we need to get back up. Fifty reasons, which include folding laundry, washing dishes, checking email, calling so-and-so about such-and-such, and so on.

Transforming "Not Enough" Thoughts with Mindfulness and Compassion

What lies about your "not enough-ness" did your mind tell you today? How did you respond?

While scrolling through Facebook this evening, I noticed a sinking feeling in my chest and could sense my upper body contracting. Luckily, thanks to my mindfulness practice, I was able to notice the unpleasant feeling right away and trace the feeling back to the thought that went something like, "I'm not informed enough."

I felt relief in noticing the thought and identifying it as one of those pesky "not enough" thoughts.

What is Nonviolent Communication Therapy?

I was interviewed about NVC-inspired therapy earlier in the year by an editor named Tammisan Mason at CareersInPsychology.org. Below is the interview, and you can find the piece on their website  here.

WHAT IS NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION (NVC) THERAPY?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a methodology pioneered by Marshall Rosenberg. NVC is used to help people understand and connect with themselves and with others. It is also called Compassionate Communication in that it fosters a compassionate perspective toward our own actions and the actions of others.

Obstacles to Assertiveness

I was recently featured in an article on PsychCentral.com about obstacles to assertiveness. Here is the article, written by Margarita Tartakovsky.  Click here to read the article on Psychcentral.com.

5 More Obstacles that Prevent You from Being Assertive
by Margarita Tartakovsky

Many things can squelch our attempts at being assertive — before we ever even start to express ourselves. In a previous piece we talked about three obstacles that stall assertiveness: a sinking self-worth; our fear of disconnecting with the other person; and lack of communication and emotional management skills.

Assertiveness: The Art of Respecting Your Needs While Also Respecting Others' Needs

I was recently featured in an article on PsychCentral.com about the art of assertiveness. Here is the article, written by Margarita Tartakovsky.  Click here to read the article on Psychcentral.com.

Assertiveness: The Art of Respecting Your Needs While Also Respecting Others' Needs
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. 

Assertiveness lies on a spectrum. On one extreme you’ll find passivity. On the other extreme is aggressiveness. According to psychotherapist Ali Miller, MFT, “Passivity often results from the belief that ‘

What Do My Feelings Have to Do with Nonviolence?

What Do My Feelings Have to Do with Nonviolence?

When people come to Nonviolent Communication (NVC) classes I teach, some students are surprised by how much attention we invite them to put on their own feelings. The sentiment goes something like, “I thought I was here to learn how to communicate better. What do my feelings have to do with it?” If you’ve ever wondered about this, I hope this piece will help draw out the connection for you.
 
Some background: I was inspired to write about the connection between our inner lives (our thoughts, feelings, and needs) and violence/nonviolence after reading a discussion today on a family member’s Facebook page.