• Unstuck Psychological Blog


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Tired Of Singing The Same Old Song?

Do you notice yourself doing the same darn thing over and over again? How many times have you said, “I need to stop doing______________.” (Fill in the blank with any type of pattern that keeps coming up.) The next question you probably ask is, “Why do I keep doing __________?” Your answer goes something like this, “because I’m an idiot, stupid, crazy, not good enough, weak, unlovable.” Continually, thoughts like these seem to swirl around in your head. They wear you out and make you feel crappy.

You believe there’s only two options. The first option is to make another plan to tackle the pattern (the plan usually doesn’t go well). The second, is to give up the fight. All of a sudden, you find yourself singing along to the 1990’s pop chart hit, Oops, I did it again. Yes, you’re back in the pattern. You’re a living, breathing, walking, talking Britney song. Now you’re asking, “How in the world did this happen?” Good question. We’re glad you asked.

Watching The Same Netflix Series Over Again?

Here’s how folks get stuck on repeat. Our brains are wired for survival. Its primary job is to keep us alive by learning and adapting. Most of our learning goes unnoticed. It doesn’t even have language. For example, learning to ride a bike doesn’t require language, but rather an unconscious coordination of all of physical and mental abilities. The first time someone falls off a bike, their brain took note and made some adjustments. As a result, they’re less likely to skin a knee for a second time. Okay, so the brain is amazing, but how did you get stuck dating different versions of your nasty ex?

The Brain, The Bodyguard

As we said, the brain’s first priority is to keep you alive. Using the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound), your hunk of grey matter notices everything. In particular, it’s interested in what works to keep you calm and chivin’ on. If something worked in the past, the brain is more likely to do it again. In particular, the brain responds to highly charged situations, (emotionally and/or physically), by defaulting to one of seven defense mechanisms. If the threat isn’t alleviated by responding one way, the brain will keep trying until you’re safe. It’s simply doing its job. Tripping a default safety-mode is meant to protect you. Okay, still not answering your question, right? Hold on. We’re almost there.

What About The Pattern?

Unannounced to you, your brain just created a pattern of response. The brain works on the principle of it worked before, so it’ll work again. It loves easy, quick and effective results. When similar situations come up, your brain guides you to do the same thing again. As needed, the brain updates the patterns. Of course, this happens without you knowing it.  All of a sudden, you’re the proud owner of a new response pattern. Before you know it, your emotions, thoughts and behaviors changed.

Feeling Pushed Off The Swing Set?

Here’s a quick story to illustrate the point. Two little friends, Britney and Martha are playing on the swings. The girls are about 4 years-old. It’s fun to be swishing through the air together. However, the fun stops when Martha pushes Britney off the swing. Britney’s shocked. She sees blood on her elbow, feels the burning sting and starts to cry. Britney’s brain tries to make sense of the push, the pain and the emotions. Her brain works hard to organize this unusual experience. Eureka! Within milliseconds, it occurs to Britney that it was her fault. There’s no other explanation that makes sense. Britney obviously did something wrong and deserved the push. (All 4 year-olds  go through a normal developmental stage of egocentric thinking.)

The Never-Again Commitment

Britney must do something. Britney never wants that to happen again. It’s too painful. Britney’s brain is on full alert. A response is needed. In order to avoid future pain, it creates a plan. The plan is brilliant. Britney’s going to be perfect! If she’s perfect, she’ll never feel that kind of pain again. Britney’s brain is just warming up. It starts implementing strategies to achieve the new goal of perfection. After all, what good is a plan without action? So, Britney starts doing things. Over-commitment is now her middle name. She finds it difficult to say no and falls into the trap of pleasing others. She feels responsible for the feelings and actions of other people. Pretty soon, she starts to do what others want, even when it feels wrong.

The Perfect Storm

As Britney enters adulthood, she strives to be the perfect employee, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect mother, etc. You get the picture. As an adult, she logically knows that she can’t be perfect. However, she still feels the need to be perfect. These high expectations are never met. It feels awful. It plays on her self-esteem. She starts to avoid new situations because she might fail. As a result, shame and guilt rule the day. Over and over she sets herself up for failure. Even though she knows she’s doing it, she can’t stop! It leaves her feeling like a failure and believing that she’s not good enough. As a result, shame and guilt rule the day. It feels quite hopeless. Don’t worry though, Brittany’s not doomed.

Sing A Different Tune

The good news for Britney, is that the human brain loves learning. The brain updates, and even discards, patterns that don’t work very well. Its job is to adapt to new information. So with some help, patterns like perfectionism, depression, anxiety, etc. can be discarded– at the very least, the patterns will be updated to be less intense.

The tricky part is that most of this occurs unconsciously. The unconscious need for the pattern is strong. Only when the brain is satisfied that there’s a better way to respond, will it change the pattern. Here’s where we come in. We help the Britneys of the world get rid of the need for the pattern. If there’s no need, there’s no pattern. No more “Oops, I did it again” for Britney. Can you imagine what life will look like when Britney no longer needs to be perfect? We can. Mic drop.


Depression. Anxiety. PTSD. Stuckness.

Prepare to meet your match.


It’s all about You: Adult Individual Therapy

The Unstuck method is designed for people like you–people who want real change.

Our method has two phases. In the first phase, we track down how the pattern began. Once that’s figured out, we develop goals and create your customized treatment plan.

After your treatment plan is in place, we move to the second phase. In this phase, we break out our best skills to help you achieve your goals. We use advanced EMDR interventions to neutralize the need for the pattern. If there’s no need, there’s no pattern ;O)

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Thinking About Going To Couples Counselling?

Even with the help of a psychologist, couples therapy helps only half the time. At a 4 year follow up, the couples who went to couples therapy, had a divorce rate of 38%!

Our philosophy is that the best work on relationships is done one person at a time. Individual therapy is where the magic really happens. Curious about why?

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Remote Therapy: For When Life Gets In The Way Of Getting The Help You Want.

We recognize that you may need to access therapy by phone or video conference, so that’s why we offer remote therapy. Perhaps you need to access therapy remotely because you live out of town, work remotely, or are waiting for a COVID-19 test result. Well whatever the reason, we’re here to help!

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