CBM Blog

Busting Excuses

by Dustin Morici

What are your goals? More importantly… what is keeping you from them?

In our day-to-day we often find ourselves pushing aside our dreams in favor of what is easy in the moment.

“Want to go for that run?” . . . “It’s too cold. “

“When are you going to start that project?” . . . “I am busy today, maybe tomorrow”

Life’s perfect circumstances rarely fall into our laps. It takes planning to find motivation where you might have none. Here are three easy tips to help you bust excuses before they start.

Plan out your Day

We all know the phrase “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.” There is usually time to find in your day. Setting a time period for tasks can help you move swiftly by giving you a goal to shoot for. Structure will also keep you from acting on a whim and doing something that completely throws off your day.

Meet your Needs

Head off the cravings that pull our attention away from our goals by making sure your needs are met. Maybe you didn’t go on that run because you did not feel safe outside or sheltered from the elements.  Maybe you’re hungry…

Get that warm jacket on, strap on some reflectors and find somewhere to run with plenty of people!


Motivate your Mind

Our brains can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Rather than allowing your head to begin thinking of things it would rather be doing start to visualize yourself completing a step towards your goal or think about how nice it will feel to accomplish that goal.

Self-talk also works! “I will feel good once I accomplish this”

Last winter I thought it was too cold for me to ride my bike. The excuses stared to pour in… “I don’t like to exercise inside…I can’t be expected to train in THIS… my glasses fog up from my breath, it is unsafe to not see.. my face might get frost bitten..I don’t want to pay for a gym membership…”



Be careful what you hide behind, the solution might just be a little ridiculous…

Move to Lose that Bad Mood!


Many people have resolved to move more, get in an exercise routine, or lose weight in 2015. There are plenty of reasons for doing this – general physical health, dealing with a health condition like diabetes or heart disease, or the personal satisfaction of being in shape.

But we have all heard the frustrations of not sticking to these resolutions.

  • The average resolution lasts for 11 days
  • Its too cold outside, and the treadmill/gym/classes are intimidating
  • It takes a long time to see the results of these resolutions and people lose steam, motivation, even hope

Perhaps that is because we are all looking for the wrong results…

What if I told you that you could FEEL better just 10 minutes after exercising? And what if you could experience these GOOD FEELINGS after just a few minutes of activity?

Researchers in exercise science and psychology have been studying the mood boosting effects of bursts of activity and intervals for a while now. Articles have appeared in magazines, journals, and blogs, from the American Psychological Association to the New York Times, talking about how short bursts of activity can improve your mood. Short bursts of activity (as few as 10-15 minutes!) can

  • work as a powerful antidepressant
  • decrease anxiety and stress
  • improve your focus and memory
  • help you sleep better
  • And who doesn’t need a mood boost these days?!?

As a therapist, I’m constantly looking for ways to support clients outside of the appointment. As some of you may know, I also work in research on this very practical question. At Northwestern University’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies (, my colleagues and I use scientific principles to create web and mobile apps to help people treat their symptoms of depression and anxiety.

One of our latest offerings  – MoveMe – encourages users to move for short periods of time to feel a mood boost by providing easy access to

  • Links to exercises that fall in the category of mood boosting bursts to do every day to help you feel healthier, happier and stronger
  • Reminders and notifications to help motivate you to be active in your everyday life
  • Easy scheduling using your calendar to help you plan and do activity that will help your mood

Ultimately, MoveMe can help you remember that a little activity goes a long way to improving your mood. And if you can feel happier and healthier after just 10 minutes of activity, this just might help you keep moving for longer…and see those results you’re looking for in those resolutions!


If you’re interested in trying MoveMe out yourself, head here!


MoveMe is currently only available for Android user systems, but there are other mood-boosting apps out there that seem promising. I’ve reviewed a few, and here are my top two non-MoveMe recommendations (and if you’re downloading MoveMe now, you can link to these from the app!)


The Scientific 7-Minute Workout

Nike Training Club


My message for everyone out there today is this: Getting up and moving for short periods of time – even just 5 minutes – can help you feel happier, healthier, more energized, and boost your mood.  So the next time that couch is calling, ask yourself – Would it be worth doing a little activity to help me feel even better?

Whats the best advice for…

It is the second week of January and I have lost count of how many emails, facebook ads, instagram posts, magazine ads etc I have seen, telling me what I should do for the new year… “cleanse, detox, eat this, 5 things to stay away from in the new year, how to meditate, the only 2 yoga poses you should know, lose belly fat, take this, do this class, find your center…. and my head is spinning. I am so easily persuaded into the newest fad, “best” workouts, “healthiest” foods, “top notch” training programs…. you name it, I have either done it, or at least put A LOT of thought into how I could fit it into my schedule. As I have said before, I am my own research subject, and sometimes its not a good thing. 


As a therapist I often have clients looking for advice, but I am not trained to give advice. I work with people to help them find their OWN way. Advice is a good second step, to come after you have done the work yourself and all you need a is a little nudge. Advice becomes the enemy when it is the main influencer of our actions and then consumes our thoughts and becomes our self-worth, those thoughts in our head saying “you should have, you’re suppose to be…” It’s easy for all of us to seek approval and advice from people we love and people we think to be the expert, and then we forget- we are the only expert of ourselves. I am the only one who knows what I feel- after I eat something, after a good nights sleep, around certain people, events, temperatures, heart rates levels, etc. But there is SO much out there to become victim to.


I fall into the trap of too much health advice all the time. I LOVE health blogs, but they all have different opinions, orientations, and methods. Training for my first marathon it was easy to click on ads, look at other training programs, and question my training run results in comparison, instead of trusting the training program I chose and sticking to it. When working on gaining strength, I was able to work with one trainer, and through training logs and reflection I was able to stay on track with one program and how it worked with me, and not get caught up in what the web said I should do or what other strong lean looking women in the gym were doing.

  Eleanor Rooselvelt

A hypothetical:


Lets say you set a goal to improve your health. Well, if you are a CBM client you most likely will be asked to be more specific. Narrowing it down- “I want to increase my energy, and feel good through out the day”. Ok, what does that mean specifically? “I want to have a healthier diet from morning to night and throughout the week, along with a “good” exercise regimen, and relaxation time”. Awesome.Then you run into dilemmas- there are so many different ways to do this, and you start with the paleo diet or the whole 30 and going to cross-fit, but then there’s an article on why this is bad for you and you should walk and do yoga and be a vegan. You’re only 4 days into your cross-fit regimen and change. And then you crave meat. Then you start to skip out on social gatherings because it doesn’t fit the mold of what you should do according to your new “lifestyle”. Then you come across a new fitness boutique closer to your house and they have juice cleanses. Now your stomach hurts and being hungry becomes a panic attack because you have no idea what you SHOULD eat.

And here is the conclusion… what do you feel, how did your body feel after cross-fit, what did it feel after yoga, do you like the taste of meat and does your stomach feel ok after a good portion? How do you feel emotionally? Should is a made up word, used in extreme and excess, and it drives us mad. “Should” influences shame and anxiety. When instead, we know what feels good when we allow ourselves to do the thinking and not the media, what other people look like, say, etc. We just have to consistently work on developing our sense of self. Letting go of the should and moving more toward what feels good and what we control.

1- Set an intention, a goal. Be specific with what you want, take time to reflect on what changes will have to be made.

2- Decide a simple route of action. Start small and FEEL your way through it.

3- If you want advice or approval- ask it. Prepare yourself for all different views and be ready to be ok with not taking it!

4- Reflect and evaluate your process. Whats working? Whats not? Whats the next adjustment to make?

Instead of advice or falling victim to the newest and greatest, first check in with yourself. Follow your feelings and try to stay on track with one simple destination, and allow the ability to make small adjustments. 


A suggested read: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. 

The Power of Visualization and Dreams

What if you could become a better pianist in your sleep? Or tennis player? Or surgeon? Well, according to a NOVA documentary on dreams, you can do just that. In the 2012 documentary, researchers compared two groups. Each group was tasked with attempting to build a new skill. Although both groups slept for the same amount of time, one group was prevented from dreaming. The result: the dream group showed increased improvement in the practiced skill, reporting dreams involving the target task.

Using mental rehearsal as a tool to build skills is not new. Sport Psychologists have been using the power of visualization to help performers for some time. The interesting part is the similarity. Both dreams and visualization use the power of mental rehearsal to improve skills. Now then…. How should be best use this knowledge to fully harness the power of mental imagery?

Now on a quest, I decided to find a way to integrate the concept of visualization and dreaming into a more powerful tool. Using some basic guidelines on how to better influence your dreams, I set out on a self-study.

Below I have outlined my approach. Join me with your own goals to see how you might be able to better yourself with the power of dreams and visualization.

–My process–

Step 1: outline my intention.
How will I use visualization and dreaming to improve my life? I decided to use a more “classical” psychology goal and also a performance goal.

Goal 1: Improve willingness to engage in emotionally charged discussions.
Having grown up in an emotionally reserved family, I have a strong urge to avoid emotional conflict that directly affects me. Seeing it as a limiter at times, I would like to become more willing and confident in initiating discussions that must be had.

Goal 2: Improve my pack positioning in road bicycle racing
I have a great passion for cycling and am always looking to improve my ability in competition. One of my biggest limiters is positioning at the end of a race, where cycling becomes a full contact sport in order to secure a good position.

Step 2: Create and refine visualization.
Write down what I want to dream about every night before I go to bed. Edit the script as I revisit it every night to create a vivid account of the events that I want to achieve.

Step3: rehearse visualization before going to bed.
I have decided to try using some recordings in addition to text. Reading the text and focusing on imagining what the words say and then listening to a recording of it as I doze off. Keeping the visualization as the last thing I think about that night is important.

Step 4: Reflect on dreams.
Like any skill, practice makes perfect. Remembering and recording dreams will help me chart out progress of my ability to influence my dreams.

I am hoping to report on what I learned in my next post. If you decide to join me in this endeavor, best of luck!

-Dustin Morici

dustin biking

Finding the best therapist for YOU!

by Cynthia Holmes, MA, LCSW

Since I’m in the field and talk openly about loving my work doing therapy, as well as seeking support for myself at times, friends often approach me for recommendations about finding a good therapist. I would love to suggest that first and foremost, ChicagoCBM is an amazing therapeutic practice with a wealth of expertise and a diversity of specializations

I would recommend highly to anyone! However, there are a ton of professionals and practices to research to find the best fit.  With that, here’s some tips on finding the right therapist for you!


First off, your awareness and efforts to be proactive are incredibly admirable!! Those steps alone can often be huge!!! Therapy can be incredibly indulgent and luxurious – to have that safe space and support that is all about you.  Even through hard times, or when you don’t know that you have anything to discuss, it is so nice to have the option. For many, that accountability is key to helping people actually make change. Plus it’s a great place to try new things, review what isn’t working and ultimately grow into your best self, living your best life.


A quick glimpse at the following info:


1. How are you paying? If using insurance start with a list of providers who are in your insurance network.
2. Narrow your list down by location. Parking, public transit, close to work, close to home
3. Check their reviews!
4. Check availability- need to get in now? There are always people with windows of time!
5. If you know what you want to work on and a certain treatment modality that works for you, check their specializations and treatment modalities.
Are you looking for group therapy? Use this in your search as well!



1. If you plan to use your insurance, oftentimes the best place to start is with a list of who is covered.

2. Then from there, you can narrow the list down by location – don’t kid yourself, convenience can be key!


3. Next, it’s helpful to cross check providers with online profiles and reviews – you can simply google folks, check out their websites, and read actual reviews on ZocDoc or even Yelp. Obviously reviews can be very subjective and people are often facing hard times when in therapy, but reviews can definitely be helpful for red flags, details about things like the space, or if there is anything you know in advance won’t work for you. This should get you a good start on your options. On provider’s websites, it can be informative to tune into the language used to see if it resonates with you or if it turns you off to this person or practice.

4. The next step is typically to check out their availability. ZocDoc and other sites can be great for showing this kind of availability. Many people need evening appointments, so those tend to book up first. If you know you can only do a Tuesday or Thursday evening, that can narrow down the options quickly. Some therapists do weekends, some will have availability before work or on lunch hours or during business hours if your schedule is flexible. Many schedule weekly standing appointments, but some can schedule week by week, every other week, or sometimes twice a week, depending on need. It can be important to consider not only your timing options, but what will be best for you emotionally. If you know you have some stuff to work on that could bring you to tears, it might be nice to schedule appointments when you don’t have many obligations after (aka not during your work day). If you find that you leave therapy feeling energized and motivated to take action, maybe a weekend morning would be a good fit so you have the time to utilize your motivation and energy. If work is your big stressor, maybe it would be helpful to schedule an appointment in the middle of the day to really get to the crux of your stress and directly apply actions for change. Some therapists will also have a waiting list to get an appointment – this can mean their services are in great demand or that they only see a few clients at a particular location. It is up to each person to know if they can wait for an appointment or if their window of opportunity or stressor demands urgent attention. Either way, it’s best to get that appointment on the books to have that commitment and accountability to yourself.


If your schedule is flexible or you find several providers with good reviews and times that work for you, you’ll need to get a bit more nitty-gritty – and it’s not a bad idea to go there regardless, as hopefully the more research you do will increase the chances that the person you pick will be a good fit. With that in mind, it’s time to look at the details.


5. Most providers will list their modalities; whether they will see individuals, couples, families, or run groups; and what ages they work with. They will also often list their specializations, such as depression and anxiety – which most will specialize in, as these are the most common reasons people seek therapy. This can be a good way to narrow things down as well because it can be very helpful to find a therapist who understands the many facets of your experience. For example, if you have a history of disordered eating, are facing a chronic medical condition, or identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc., it can be great to work with a therapist who if familiar with some of the nuances or ways to support these arenas. You shouldn’t have to educate your therapist about something that is fundamental to who you are as a person. With that being said, your experience is also unique and as much as we can be familiar with something, you are the expert on your experience and we want to learn about that from you. You may also decide that you want to avoid a provider with experience in an area so that your therapeutic experience isn’t clouded by that – for example, someone in recovery from addiction may find it helpful to work with a therapist who is familiar with recovery, while another person may prefer to rely on their 12-step community for recovery and pick a therapist who is a better fit for the primary issues they would like to work through. Also, straight folks can work with LGBTQ therapists and vice versa. You can also look at the level of education (although more doesn’t always mean better – for example, most Psychiatrists act as medical doctors and don’t provide talk therapy, and a master’s level clinician could be just as great of a fit for you as a PhD or PsyD), years in practice (keeping in mind there can be both sides to that coin too), and type of degree (for example, social work training tends to have a different view than counselors, but a clinician’s practice can vary greatly from their training). Finally, if you want to get technical, take a look at a providers’ therapeutic approach or treatment modality. If you don’t have clinical training, be as cautious with this one as you would (or probably should) with looking up medical information on the internet. Most therapists will likely use multiple theories in practice, and again, training doesn’t exclusively dictate their delivery style. There are some treatment approaches that are empirically a better clinical fit with certain presenting issues. For example, some methods are meant to be used over longer periods of time, so if you know that you have limited time, that method may not be clinically appropriate. It is also important to note that as clinicians, we are ethically bound to help you find the best fit for your needs, which may mean referring you elsewhere if our expertise is not a good match for your needs. Many therapists will also do a free brief phone (or sometimes email) consultations, and it is completely ok to reach out to them and take advantage of that! Keep in mind, they are usually in sessions with other clients, so they may not be able to respond to you immediately, but we are often happy to answer your questions on the front end and know that sometimes just hearing our voice can set clients at ease or make them feel more comfortable. Websites like Psychology Today will have lots of this info listed for you.

Ultimately, whether a therapist is a good fit is 150% up to you. You may attend your first or second session and decide that the therapist may be nice or seem smart, but for whatever reason, you don’t think that you will be comfortable in the space or sharing with this person. That is a totally normal part of the process and we as clinicians are aware of this. You may be hesitant to tell us your whole life story in the first session because you are feeling out the situation to see if you’ll be comfortable first – this too is completely understandable. Some people will try several therapists before they find the right fit, some will work with the first person they try, some just need my help for now and will work with another person at another time in their life for another reason, and all of these scenarios are completely acceptable. Try not to judge yourself if you find that you don’t think you’ll feel comfortable working with someone older, younger or too much different from yourself – you may be pleasantly surprised if you are able to try a provider outside what you imagined, but really, getting you connected to support is what matters most here. As much as it’s great to do your homework, things in writing can feel very different in practice and you will have to try someone for yourself to see if they’re a good fit. Try to be patient (this process can unfortunately take longer than we’d like), try to remain open minded (not much is black and white in therapy), try to trust yourself and take advantage of support where you can. Ideally everyone will have a fast and easy connection to the best therapist for them, who has the right schedule, location and accepts the payment method they prefer, but as you can imagine, it can get complicated. I wish you all the success with your journey and hope you get connected to the right support for you. Kudos again for taking the first step!!


Disclaimer: If you are not safe and need immediate support, consider calling 911 or going to your nearest Emergency Room or Behavioral Health Hospital (where you may have less of a wait). If your needs are urgent, but you are currently safe, you might want to call your insurance and ask who is covered in behavioral health for an assessment for higher levels of care (Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and other levels of treatment). If you are safe and need to talk while you wait for your therapy appointment, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime 24/7 for free, or check out their website: 


Final plug: Chicago CBM is awesome! If you’re in the Chicago area, we have offices downtown, flexible hours and accept a range of insurances. At Chicago CBM every therapist offers a unique skill set and is passionate about helping every individual and/or group instill change in their lives. Each one of us comes from a different background. We aim for guiding you through holistic change in mind and body. Our diverse areas of specializations include: Addictions, Bariatric Assessments, Eating Disorders, Exercise Psychology, Family and Adolescents, Health Psychology, LGBTQ, Life Transitions, Mental Skills Training, Sports, Stress and Anxiety, Weight Management and MORE. We have been helping people from Chicago and around the world for 25 years. Give us a call or contact us online to see if we can help you too.

Taking Care of Yourself, Both Mind and Body

Tree pose

Most of us tend to view our physical and emotional/mental health as very separate things. The truth is, our physical and mental health are very intimately connected. One way I find helpful in remembering this basic truth is to consider infants’ behavior. If a baby is crying, what’s wrong? Is the baby hungry, tired, sick? Every infant’s emotional distress is linked in some way to not getting a basic physical need met. Although we don’t always think about things this way, the same is true for adults! When our basic needs haven’t been met, we are much more vulnerable to emotional distress and difficulty coping with daily stressors.

One helpful device to remember is “PLEASE MASTER”, this comes from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based therapeutic treatment modality created by Marsha Linehan. If we follow the guidelines below, paying attention and attending to our basic needs, we are much more likely to cope well with challenges and feel more emotionally resilient.


Treat Physical Illness: If you aren’t feeling well, take some time to rest! If we don’t take care of ourselves when we’re sick, we’re likely to be more sad, anxious and overwhelmed.


Balance Eating: Have you ever heard the term “hangry”? This is how I (and many others) get when they haven’t had enough to eat. Not getting enough carbs, fats, protein, etc can also have an effect on our moods, and we are generally the most emotionally stable when we are well nourished.


Avoid mood altering substances: Drugs like alcohol and marijuana are called mood altering substances for a reason. If you’ve ever noticed feeling more sad or anxious after a night of drinking alcohol, it’s likely that the alcohol is having a negative impact on your mood. It is, after all, a depressant. 


Balance Sleep: Many studies have shown that our brains do not function as highly when we are sleep deprived. We are also less resilient to emotional stressors that may come our way when we haven’t gotten enough sleep (ie. Bursting into tears when there’s miscommunication at work or when we lose our keys). We can also be emotionally compromised by getting too much sleep, feeling low energy, sluggish and sad. To be best prepared for the day-to-day challenges life throws at us, most of us need 8-9 hours of sleep. 


Get Exercise: Getting regular exercise tends to boost our energy and keep us emotionally stable. Many studies have shown that regular moderate exercise can even have the equivalent mental health benefits of a low dose anti-depressant.


Build MASTER-y: The idea of building mastery means doing one thing every day that helps you to feel competent and in control. For me, this is cooking and having a regular yoga practice. For others it might be learning how to knit or how to play guitar. It can even be as simple as sending that email you’ve been avoiding or flossing your teeth every morning.

serenity rocks Written by: Caitlin Liddle. Read more about Caitlin here!


Thank you.

Wow – ChicagoCBM is almost 2 years strong! And we want to say thank you for it!

So much to give thanks for!

Isn’t it interesting that we take the busiest, most stressful, and coldest time of year to stop in our tracks and realize how much we have, how much we know, all we can do, all we have done, and everything we want to get done? Well, busy or not, it is good to take time to reflect. ChicagoCBM has so much thanks to give, cheer to spread, and joy to shout.

Our clients, who believe in themselves enough to continue to put effort and time into changing their lives – no matter how challenging or scary..

Our fellow passionate health care providers, who give all they can to help us and our clients achieve their goals.

Our network of administrative providers who help us understand politics, economics and the real workings of a business.

Our therapists, who continue to challenge themselves in their work and personal development, make extra time for early meetings, reach out to clients to make positive connections, and instill positive change in everyone they work with.

Our families, who continue to support us in our decisions and give tremendous amounts of advice and direction as we continue to develop and achieve our goals – to de-stigmatize mental health, and encourage a healthy world where people believing in themselves and create meaningful lives.

Most importantly, our partnership, which fuels our motivation, courage and perseverance through stress and doubt. We thank ourselves, although we know it sounds silly. However, with gratitude towards each other as business partners, Kristina and I continue to challenge each other and build confidence towards making decisions, building connections, working with our clients, and picking each other up!


Gratitude is not always the easiest thing to give – it is emotionally charged, takes effort to dig down, and courage to follow through. Sometimes gratitude brings up new feelings of resentment, questions about justified actions and relationships – are they or were they meaningful, love-based, truthful, honest? Finding the answers begins, we think, with gratitude toward oneself; and then towards the people around you who have given so much to you (despite incentives or motives, which we may never know and we will never control).

Giving thanks to yourself includes all things mental, physical, emotional, and sometimes material. Feeling grateful for yourself helps clear away the need for questioning other’s motives or intentions – you can just say thanks and mean it. Because giving thanks to yourself means you believe in your gifts, your time, your meaning, and your worth. When you believe in yourself, its easier to accept others’ favors, compliments, and support.

That being said, this week I have started to give my clients the homework of giving themselves gratitude.

  • What is it about you that you are thankful for?
  • The body you live in, which helps you achieve tasks, physical challenges?
  • Your brain, always ticking, sending commands you aren’t even aware of?
  • Your feet?
  • Your hands?
  • What about your hard work in life?
  • Getting up this morning? The friends you have made?
  • Maybe the pets you have?

Anything…big or small, material or abstract, experiences you have had…everything counts!

So what are you thankful for about yourself?

Try this on your own before giving thanks to others. Dig deep for your self-gratitude and see if you can practice it as much as you practice saying thanks to everyone around you.

gratitude   IMG_1470 600717_559158550768808_1300897826_n

Getting out the door

I am a winter runner – meaning I run outside in the Chicago cold. Don’t get me wrong, I run in all seasons, but I wear winter running like a badge of pride. And because of last winter and what’s looking like the one coming, I’ve started considering this hobby my version of a superpower.

So, I was talking with another winter running friend the other day, and he reminded me of a powerful statement:

“The hardest part is getting out the door.”


This struck me as true not only for winter running, but any action that takes some kind of courage, will power, commitment, or strength…including therapy.

Since Sara and I started this business back in the winter of 2013, I have been surprised by the number of people taking that first step out their own doors -  willing to work on themselves, seeking self-improvement, advice, a gentle supportive hand while going through a tough time, or just a listening ear for current problems. You come to us with your lives in transition, placing your very real foot within our supportive confines, asking us to help you place the next step in the right/good/healthy place.  Some people have no problem getting out the door and starting the journey.

Others are not so enthusiastic about it. For some, its hard to recognize they need help, so wrapped up are they in their stresses, difficulties, relationships. Others make the first move, schedule an appointment, and almost immediately take a step back, saying maybe they weren’t ready, maybe they don’t need to move forward, maybe they are ok right here and now where they are.

For those who struggle, let me share some of my own tips and tricks for getting out the door and beginning work on your life. I hope they help!

If you’re dealing with a certain person or situation that has you stuck – Close your eyes and imagine yourself without this stress in your life. What does this other version of yourself look like? How do you feel in your heart and stomach? Is that version of you worth working toward? (and what could a possible first step be toward you?)

Make a list of all the things in the past two weeks that have held you back – what didn’t work out? What weighed you down? What kept you from your goals? What could you stop doing immediately? (this is your first step!)



Codependence: An Epidemic of Our Generation

Written by: Casey Burden

Read more on Casey here

A patient recently asked me how I would define the term codependence. I responded with, “I look at codependence as the caretaking of other’s emotions over your own.” My patient responded to this simplified definition with, “so it’s essentially not having your own sense of boundaries?” Exactly.


In my work as an individual and group psychotherapist, a common denominator I observe amongst many individuals is this theme of having poor boundaries. What results when we do not maintain healthy and functional boundaries with those around us? This is where the concept of resentment shows up. When we feel resentment towards others, we have failed to set a boundary. Resentment is the haunting concept that codependent adults experience on a daily and even hourly basis. Not setting boundaries and living in resentment is essentially committing to consistently identifying with the “victim role.” Many of us are survivors of trauma, abuse, and/or dysfunctional/less than nurturing parenting. How can we allow ourselves space for healing if we are continuously committed to the “victim role?” The answer, I believe, is that we cannot have corrective experiences if we have this commitment to shame. Unfortunately, I often see individuals who are unaware that they are indeed allowing themselves to be placed in that role over and over. What results is what is described as “victim anger.” The individual believes (incorrectly) that she has no control over what to do in response to her boundaries being violated. The belief is often that one cannot do anything about the boundary violation. Because of this common response, I often ask my clients, “What is your role in the resentment? What is it that you have control over in this particular situation?” Survivors of trauma often feel as though they have no choices. I explain to my clients that this thought response is a trauma reenactment.

You have choices.

Much of the work  I do involves providing psycho-education and applying real life experiences in order to help explain the disease of codependence. Once we learn how to keep our boundaries healthy enough,  and only our truth is allowed in, we can no longer be victimized. In turn, we can then stop pointing the finger/ blaming others for “making” us feel the way we do. As adult survivors, we now define what it is we feel. The trauma of the past does not have to define us anymore and it is the internal boundaries we develop in recovery which allow us to detach from the abuse and codependent ways of our past.

An essential component to the work I do is to help people understand their true potential and capacity for growth. Assisting others in developing healthy boundaries not only leads to a better life on a daily basis for my clients, but to a spiritual growth that empowers individuals to face life’s challenges by not trying to fix, manage and control others…but by taking a look in the mirror and focusing on what it is that he or she actually has control over. If we take ownership for our decisions and the boundaries we set with others and with ourselves, we can begin to get rid of this ubiquitous, toxic feeling of codependence, that haunts so many of us and seemingly takes control over our lives without us even knowing.


Recommended readings: “Facing Codependence” by Pia Mellody, “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie

November Project


ChicagoCBM is back, offering our “refreshments”. This time, we have more voices! We have brought on new therapists with an array of specialties and we are so excited for our growth. More voices means more help, health and happiness.


Our new view at ChicagoCBM HQ :)

To start things off right I wanted to tell everyone about my experience at the November Project.

I was excited to wake up in the dark make my way over the the lake front to meet a group of energetic and lively people, dressed in costume for halloween, ready to get in an hour work out…TOGETHER. The together thing is the best part and what seems to be the driving force behind the thriving 3 years of the November project growing all over the country. I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t do much research. I was happy to accept the invitation from a friend to go to a group workout. Disclaimer about me, I love workouts and I have learned that I am a better person throughout the day when I get my sweat on in the morning. Even better when I have some one who wants to do it with me. This past Wednesday was “PR day”, which is every last Wednesday of the month, where you try to beat your previous time in a workout. We had 20 minutes to complete as many rounds of running soccer goal to soccer goal to do jumping jacks, burpees, and push ups before running up the hill and down for the next round. It was awesome! People cheering you on, making sure they know your name, challenging you, and just being in good spirits, no level of fitness required.

Disclaimer: This was a fun group work out from the summer. Just more proof that group workouts are the best, and make it easier to push yourself harder (notice the pull ups!!)


It is “free” fitness. Well, all fitness can technically be free, but the November project makes it so much more than that. It started in Boston three years ago (this week, I believe!) and is now 17 cities strong, including Edmonton in Alberta, Canada! As of right now the Chicago group meets every Wednesday at 6:30 am. By commenting “verbal” on their Facebook sight you are strictly committed to showing up… no excuses! The bigger the group becomes, the more days they will be able to meet, and possibly locations.


The concept is so great. Fitness is hard these days because its easy to make an excuse, or simply skip it as a priority because…

1- Gym memberships are crazy expensive

2- Work schedules are insane

3- But really… committing to work out alone just isn’t enough accountability

4- No goals are being set… so what are you aiming for?

5- Fun Group workouts are hard to find

6- Some groups are intimidating to join

7- The weather- this group toughs it up, so if you give a “verbal” you’ve got a group to make sure you get through the work out without disappointment.



The list can go on really. It was a great experience and I hope to be back. I look forward to watching the group grow! I recommend giving it a try.. If not November project, trying out any group fitness, training group, or getting some friends together to accomplish a common goal is a great way to battle the “gym blues” or whatever the recent excuse is for not getting in your daily dose of greatness (I mean workout) ;).