Monthly Archives: June 2010

natural medicine of the heart


April (2010), my daughter Megan drives me and her daughters Riley and Emily to a new wooden-structure playground, where my g-girls beg me to chase them. Although I run fast, they dodge me left and right, and with laughter eventually I tag one. Megan is sitting on the wooden bench watching us streak by, sipping her ice coffee.

As I dash up a few steps after my grand-girls, my sneaker slips, letting my left shin crash into the corner of a stair: I fall, my elbow scrapes and a deep slash pours blood out of my shin. I am surprised that no tears form, all I can do is breath hard and weakly tell Megan I can’t speak between heavy sighs. My nursing background pushes to the fore, asking Megan to give me her coffee plastic cup which still holds ice. I push the V-shaped-skin-tear together, pressing the icy cup to my shin.

After hobbling to the car, I make the decision not to go to the ER for stitches although I need them to create a pretty leg again. I have no health insurance. I direct Megan to buy some butterfly bandages and Telfa pads that do not stick to the wound, and some anti-bacterial ointment, while the girls and I wait in the car with my leg elevated on the dashboard. When we arrive home, my son-in-law Ben helps me arrange the bandages, while Megan prepares for a BBQ for friends arriving for dinner.

Two days later, I am scheduled to volunteer at Ithaca’s Free Clinic as an RN. I ask the doc to look at my slightly oozing butterfly-bandaged leg, and he says, “That probably should have been stitched, but it’s too late now.” And, it wasn’t the best treatment to be on my feet for the next 4 hours…miraculously, another RN shows up; she mistakenly thought it was her day to be there. Gladly, I left, to support my leg’s healing.

Although I am educated first as a Registered Nurse, I have been in private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist for the past twenty years, avoiding medications for my clients as well as for myself as much as possible. I have encountered many experiences where I have learned that our bodies heal well when our emotional currents are cleared with tears. Still, I am very greatfull for traditional-medicine when I experienced a fractured skull (19 years ago), being hit head-on by a bicyclist. And I’m even more appreciative of my medical knowledge when the plastic surgeon told me I would need a tracheotomy in order to repair my facial fractures and jaw. I was scared to not be able to talk or breathe…I knew how helpless I would feel. I immediately asked for an oral surgeon consult…who thankfully said the tracheotomy was unnecessary. Despite a couple small scars, my head is fully healed (Still working on my mind)

And, my shin has healed as a purple-V-natural-tattoo which for me stands for Vulnerability, Valentine and Victory…I love my scar (that’s a first!) because…
when I returned in May to my daughter Megan’s family who live approximately 6 hours from me…I was asked to go to their friend’s house to pick up the girls. As soon as I entered the front door, Emily, who is 5, ran into my arms, saying “How’s your leg Didi? I want to see it!” (Isn’t this the best medicine?)

Today, (June 26, 2010), I cut rhubarb from my backyard to give to an elderly couple (ex-boyfriend’s parents). Teresa likes to make rhubarb pies and Don loves to eat them, as does their son Daniel. When I arrive at their home, Teresa is still recovering from bronchitis, and finds it difficult to talk, because talking makes her cough. She tells me “I need to get more cough drops: I have run out.”

“Oh, I can bring you some after I get my clothes from the Laundromat.”
Teresa immediately gets up from her kitchen chair to pick up money to pay me. “Absolutely not!” I emphatically reply. She threatens lightly, “Then, I won’t take them when you bring them here.”

As I scurry out the door, avoiding the money in her hand, I hear, “Shame on you!”
Briefly, I hear my mother’s same critical words in my head, then smile to myself, ‘this is the first time I feel good shame.’

Fathers Day meets the summer solstice

I want to acknowledge all the loving fathers out there…and especially my father, Servy Michel Kohl who is no longer with me on this planet, but whose LOVE is with me always! He died in 1977, and I miss him more and more as my tears flow…loving to plant dianthus (close to my name diane)at his grave yesterday. I visit there once a month just to BE especially acknowledging of his specialness to me.

I encourage every son or daughter to have a special time with their dads…a special talk, walk, and I wish my own daughters to come to their granddad’s grave, whom they can barely remember…yet they have my love and his together whether they are aware of it or not.

For those of you who do not have that loving dad…my hope for you is to find an older man who could serve as a second dad…as I have with Bill Wernsing…now gone also…and Barry Vissell who will be the keynote speaker at the International Primal convention/retreat in August. for more info.

And may the summer sun give you pleasure of the flowers and trees and waterfalls of your life! Take time to notice:)
with more love, dianea

men are like women when it comes to FEELINGS

Like to SPY?:)


I wish everyone could ‘be a spyder on the wall’ of my office where confidentiality is essential.

I tend to disagree with psychotherapists who believe that men are different from women in the emotional realm, even John Gray’s popular book, Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus gives us this impression. I’ve worked with many couples over the spam of twenty-plus years, and at least half of my clients are male.

Two weeks ago, Steve came in alone for the first time, after attending sessions with his wife for maybe 6 sessions. Originally, Nancy had been seeing me for about four months; Steve was afraid to enter therapy yet saw the changes in her and decided to be courageous. As with all people, trust has to be built, so I was a bit surprised that Steve had agreed to see me alone after expressing much anxiety (fear) to do so. During that session, I asked if there was anything he could not share with his wife. He embarrassingly admitted there were two things. After he told me about two childhood events, he expressed how relieved he felt, because he had never told anyone, and had thought about those sexual events off and on for forty-some years. The following week I was surprised again when Steve and Nancy came in as a couple and told me that Steve had revealed his secrets to Nancy despite feeling great fear. Nancy said she felt afraid as well when Steve said, “We have to talk.”

Steve tells me with wide eyes, “As soon as I began to tell her, this HUGE weight came off my shoulders,” emphasized by his arms lifting up in the air, which he repeated with varying expressions during the session. Nancy said that Steve repeated his relieved feelings at home several times. It is difficult to describe the swell in my heart to hear Steve; it’s as if the mystical ONEness the Buddhists have long time spoken of is felt.

A couple I helped through a near divorce several years ago was initiated by the man who cried most sessions, while his wife rarely sprang tears.

Another man, who has recently returned to therapy after leaving a few months ago, and who had sobbed in sessions with his wife, (who was more angry than tearful), is crying again although I catch him trying to hold back tears. I ask him what makes him hold onto his tears. He replies, “My dad always says things aren’t so bad, just suck it up. But, I know I want to cry. Yet, I just hide in booze. I don’t want to be angry as I am.”

On the other gender, a 26 year old woman came in four months ago full of rage; she had thrown a garbage can over her husband’s head. She is a social worker who knew she needed help. She had been to another therapist the previous year, coming to me saying, “I need someone to challenge me…I didn’t let them put me on Lexapro. The anger and loss of control are getting worse…I’m scared and don’t want to own up to it.” Now, she is crying openly with her husband and her rage has dissipated thru connecting it to her loss of her dad after a divorce.

Yes, we still hear Fregie sing, “Big girls don’t cry,” and parents telling their sons, “Big boys don’t cry.” But, I am encouraged (and surprised again) by a new male client who had never been in therapy before, saying in his first session: “I am used to bawling myself to sleep.”