[ Trisha’s Blog ]

3 Ways to Turn your Wounds into Wisdom

Oprah Winfrey once said, ” Turn your wounds into wisdom.” As a Marriage and Family Counselor I have the honor of working with individuals and families as they strive to better their lives and relationships. I have the great privilege of seeing people turning their wounds into wisdom. This requires courage, a willingness to think about times that were difficult and a decision to heal. There are many ways to accomplish this and here are three ways to begin:

  • Acknowledge that you have wounds. It is difficult to heal a broken leg if you try to walk around all day pretending it isn’t broken and it doesn’t hurt. Emotional wounds are the same. The first step is acknowledging and identifying your wounds. Some may be from long ago and some may have occurred yesterday. Regardless of when the injuries occurred, if they are ignored or minimized they are difficult to heal.
  • Heal your wounds. This may be through tears, anger or radical self love. This may begin with the decision to stop abusing yourself with chemicals or harmful relationships. Some find answers in prayer or meditation, others through support groups, time in nature or artistic expression. There are countless ways to heal. As you come to accept that you were wounded and that you want to heal, you will most likely know what you need to do for this. This does not mean you have to go it alone, only that the answers are often times found within yourself.
  • Share your experience with others to offer them the hope and possibility of healing. This can be done by working with others who may have experienced similar struggles. It might mean telling your story through words, music or painting. Perhaps you will share your time or resources with programs which are set up to help others heal.

Ideally there would not be the wounds in the first place. It would be easier and far less painful to gain wisdom in other ways. This is not the reality for most people though, and so the belief that we can turn wounds into wisdom is powerful indeed. I am grateful to be able to walk the journey with those who are courageous enough to acknowledge and heal their wounds. It is in doing so that they themselves, and all of us, benefit from their wisdom gained in the process.

If you are looking for a therapist in the Twin Cities area please contact Trisha Falvey, LMFT




Vote FOR Marriage!

It is election day in the United States. This is the time to exercise one of our greatest privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. It is also the time I get to give unselfishly to my spouse. I have the opportunity to forsake absolutely anything I find enjoyable and watch hours upon hours of election day results. This is the night, my spouse, an early to bed early to rise kind of person, stays up until her eyes are burning as she watches the screen reveal one result after the other. She is as interested in Mississippi as she is Minnesota.

Her excitement began building last week when she excitedly declared  “6 more days until the best night of the year. I will make popcorn and we can watch the results come in together!” Oh, how I wished she hadn’t said that! Listen, I know we can’t change people and it would be cruel to try to diminish her joy about election day. However it was the “together” part of the sentence which let me know, for the sake of our relationship, I would be giving up a night doing the things I love to do, or even enjoy to watch hours and hours of election night coverage.

I will survive the night, and if I can be gracious about it, I know it will strengthen our bond as a couple. This is an example of one of the easier ways to be generous. Sometimes much harder compromises and sacrifices are required. Regardless, it is often difficult to give up our likes or wants for someone else and yet marriage requires each person to do this daily in some way. Every time we do something that takes energy and may not be what we want to do such as: dishes, listening to the same worry again and again or going to our spouse’s favorite restaurant, we are choosing to strengthen our marriage.

Diane Sawyer once said, “A Good Marriage is a contest is generosity” I love this quote because research has proved this true and because a contest requires two people. Both partners in the relationship have to be willing to be generous and act accordingly.

One definition of the word “vote”  is “A formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made by an individual.” Each day we vote to enrich or weaken our marriage. Today I will vote for my country and tonight I will vote FOR my marriage. Tonight I will put my likes second and spend an evening doing something my spouse enjoys. Most likely tomorrow she will do the same for me. As a nation we may not agree on politicians however we can all agree that a good marriage requires generosity by both people. I encourage all of you to vote “YES” for YOUR marriage today and everyday!

Weight a minute! Food, Body Image and Eating Disorders

Did you know that the most fatal mental health disorder is an Eating Disorder? According to the NIMH  Anorexia Nervosa has an estimated fatality rate of 10%.

Last week I heard a presentation by Keri Clifton, from The Emily Program. She spoke about Eating Disorders and the approximately 200,000 people with disordered eating in Minnesota, and some treatment options available. I went to the workshop hoping to learn more about updated treatment models and to learn about new research in the field. I left with a renewed commitment to helping families navigate disordered eating and receiving a much needed awakening about the relationship between food, negative body image and eating disorders. We were given an excerpt from the book by Neumark-Sztainer “I’m like SO Fat! Helping your Teen Make Healthy Choices About Eating and Exercise in a Weight Obsessed World”.  I would like to share some of the most meaningful pieces of the excerpt. They offer concrete advice for change. It is my hope to follow these suggestions and encourage you to consider following them as well.

1)  Talk less about food and weight. Avoid making comments about dietary habits and intake, including weight and physical appearance. Imagine a world where nothing was said about physical appearance for an entire month and how different that would be – especially for girls and women.

2)Remember that losing weight does not necessarily mean improving health. Focus on giving positive feedback for improvements in self esteem and self image. Avoid feedback on weight changes.

3) Encourage language change about other’s weight and your own. Commenting negatively or positively about weight can set people up for eating disorders and obesity in the future.

4) Keep the focus on overall health, especially with children. Share about the benefits of healthy behaviors as opposed to weight loss. Focus on the amazing things our bodies can do, not appearance.

Let’s be honest, I am not a Plastic Surgeon, nor a Fashion designer; I am a Family Therapist. As such, I can’t help but wonder what we lose by a constant focus on physical appearance and weight. What do we lose in the time spent praising or berating our own or others bodies? What could we be thinking or talking about instead? Ideally we might focus more attention on building connections with each other, increasing empathy for one another, being aware of and expressing our feelings and having FUN! In addition to missed opportunities, our talk of weight may inadvertently be increasing the chances of our children, loved ones, or even ourselves developing disordered eating. It is just not worth it. Next time you are tempted to belittle your own or another’s body see if you can wait and give yourself time to come up with something more life sustaining and meaningful to share. This change will do every BODY good!

If you or someone you love is experiencing disordered eating there is help and support available through The Emily Program or Park Nicollet Melrose Center.





Maybe Baby? YES! – A workshop for GLBTQ folks considering parenthood

Registration is now open for Maybe Baby 2014. This will be the third year that the Family Equality Council has sponsored the series for GLBT people considering parenting. I have had the privilege of  facilitating the series and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Here are the top 4 reasons why I encourage GLBT people considering parenthood to attend this workshop series.

1) Maybe Baby is one stop shopping. Maybe Baby is a great way to learn about the many options available for family creation. Past speaker topics have  included adoption, foster parenting, surrogacy, donor egg  and/or sperm,  and other alternative methods for conception.  Within 4 meetings you will gain information and resources related to the cost, legalities and options for family creation.

2) Maybe Baby is FREE! Due to the generosity of the Family Equality Council, Enlightened Wellness and the speakers there is no cost to attend the series. Not one penny. This is the only time your possible children won’t cost you anything!

3) Friends for life.  There is no doubt about it – deciding to have a family is a personal decision and family creation becomes more personal yet. It has been my experience that the bonds made in this workshop can last while navigating family creation and the sometimes rough waters of parenting. For the participants whose Maybe evolves into a “No” there is still the connection of being on this intentional journey together.

4) Maybe Baby gives you the time, space and support you deserve while you ponder whether parenting is for you. Each week time is given to discussion and targeted ( and fun ) exercises to focus on your dreams for the future in relation to becoming a parent or remaining child free by choice.

It is difficult to limit the benefits to these four, as I believe the benefits of this series are numerous. However, if you are GLBT or love someone who is, I feel that these reasons alone are reason enough to register and attend the series. GLBTQ people have a place to gain valuable information, resources and personal insights into how parenting and family creation may impact their lives. It is an honor to be on this journey with them, and after the workshop,whether participants decide to parent or not, they will never be the same. Please join us, beginning October 20, 2014 for Maybe Baby 2014. Registration is required and may be completed online at Family Equality Council

I would never tell people Yes or No to parenthood but if they asked if they should attend Maybe Baby in order to give themselves time to consider parenthood  I would wholeheartedly say, ” Maybe Baby? YES!”

If you are looking for a therapist who specializes in family planning and reproductive health for ALL families please contact Trisha Falvey, LMFT

3 Tips for Human “BE” ing.

Recently I spent time with a friend who is forging a path frowned upon by many these days – She did not sign her children up for summer activities. You heard me right, not one single activity. No sports teams, camps or any scheduled obligations away from home. When she told me this somewhat sheepishly, as if waiting for an attack, I could not help but think she was brilliant and told her so. She then began to tell me all the benefits of putting the brakes on outside obligations for the summer. The result has been a happier Mama and happier children. They leisurely begin each day and choose what they would like to do together  that day. Seeing her peaceful children, and their peaceful Mom made me think more about the value of the fast paced, do everything lifestyle that is expected of us. What is lost in the shuffle as we feel compelled to do something all of the time? This post would like to encourage you to BE rather than DO. Here are three tips for putting the “BE” back in Human Beings.

1) Schedule a day for NOTHING. Give you and your family one day without any obligations to others or any planned in advance activities. A day of Nothing offers the possibility of peace, creativity and conversation with those you love – and that is SOMETHING!

2)Place cell phones at a charging station when you arrive home. Cell phones distract us, especially the ones with internet access and emails. They can prevent us from relaxing and from connecting with those who are physically present and right in front of us at home. Try this as a family for one night and see if you notice a difference.

3) Breathe. This is a great reminder that you are a human “BE” ing. Taking three intentional deep breathes has been shown to change difficult emotional states and reduce stress. Breathing brings us back to basics and to something so important – LIFE!

We are not Human DOings, rather we are Human BEings and time with a wise friend has reminded me why this is so important.

If you or someone you love is looking for a therapist in the Twin Cities please contact Trisha Falvey, M.A.,LMFT