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         Psychotherapy; Salisbury Area  

For Adults, Children, & Couples by Jakota Herring LCSW-C



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Posted on October 31, 2018 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (6)

"Don't believe everything you think!!"

You've Come a Long Way Baby

Posted on May 31, 2018 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Whenever I re-watch an old loved movie from many years ago I’m often surprised to find how little I relate to it now. It’s dated. Which means I’m dated.

And the movies keep becoming progressively irrelevant to the times. This is no criticism of any movies. It just means I’m getting older. That’s fine with me when I consider the alternative. I’d prefer to be able to keep my 30 year old body, but doctors keep telling me, “You’re just getting older” as one body part after another let’s me down. What happened to loyalty? Seriously, I continue to re-examine my thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors in the context of my changing life manifestation. I think that sounds fancier than saying my body is going downhill.

I notice the topics of aging, death, and dying popping up more frequently amongst my same age cohorts. We’ve arrived to the point in time we had looked forwards to when younger and full of ambitions, hopes and dreams. A point at which we all hoped to survey our successes, achievements, and bask in our circle of loved ones. Facing disappointed dreams complicates aging well.

Despite an endless variety of individual circumstances, aging gracefully can be accomplished. Several factors are worth considering.

Acceptance and Self Forgiveness

Many of us have regrets in life, of mistakes made, or roads not taken.

We learn by trying things and seeing how they work out. Like school, mistakes are expected and also that we will learn from them.

The Chinese pictogram for crisis is the same as that for opportunity. This is important wisdom. Burdening ourselves by dwelling on the past, or roads not taken robs us of opportunities to discover a new future and leads to more difficulty accepting aging in the present and future. Understanding we are constantly evolving as individuals can help us forgive ourselves for past mistakes. We were a different version of ourselves then. Don’t assume that the road (regretfully) not taken would have led to a better life. Thoughts of the past done differently are a mirage of conjecture in our minds. What matters is to re-see ourselves in the present context.

Re-defining Who We Are Now

It’ll probably be necessary to rock our own boat a bit so that we don’t cling to an old identity that no longer serves us well. To keep the boat from tipping over, we’ll have to discover new ways of being and doing. We’ll have constant opportunities for choices, learning and discovering our new selves right up until death.

As Mary Pipher PhD writes, (Psychotherapy Networker; mar/apr 2018) “….We require fresh visions, better navigational skills, and new paradigms for framing our experiences. What worked yesterday will not be sufficient for tomorrow.”

Attitude by Choice

If not already resilient, we need to learn how to be so. I encourage you - google William Ernest Henley’s famous poem “Invictus”! It refers to our capability of re-training our own attitudes to be more positive and life affirming no matter what.

Both my parents recently defied medically predicted imminent death. I believe it’s very telling that Mom had taped the poem, “Invictus” onto her refrigerator about a week before a series of critical heart attacks. Similarly, Dad told cancer he refused to just give up.

Read Invictus!




Holiday Blues

Posted on December 26, 2017 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

If Holidays are painful or depressing for you, Remember, when it comes down to it, Christmas (New Years, etc) is just another day on the calendar- equal to any other day, and over with in 24 hours.  It is only our expectations that they be special days or match the (ridiculous) media's presentation of what they "should" be.  The media is mostly trying to sell things.  If you are lucky enough to have family or friends to enjoy holidays with- great. If not, either find a small way to treat yourself, or just enjoy the day your way. If working be grateful for the paycheck.  After all the hoopla, Christmas 2017 is already in the books.  New Years will be the same in  week.  And so on for all holidays. The best expectation to have is to make every day the best you can for yourself and people around you.

to remember......

Posted on November 11, 2017 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (2)

When someone says something to you that is very upsetting and unfair/untue, remember the old saw,  "Consider the source!"

Inspired by Joy Jordan-Lake's novel, A Tangled Mercy

Posted on November 11, 2017 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

“A life worth living is one of compassion. And a life of compassion will include many tears.” Writer, Joy Jordan-Lake

“You got some kind of slippery grip on your stack of nice”

Character in Joy Jordan-Lake’s novel, A Tangled Mercy”

“That’s the wrong slice of why.”

Character in Joy Jordan-Lake’s novel, A Tangled Mercy”


“Anything that expects a polish just for sitting there is a mite too high on itself.” Character in Joy Jordan-Lake’s novel, A Tangled Mercy”


4 of my All Time Favorite Quotes

Posted on November 2, 2017 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

“People may forget what you say, people may forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   -  Maya Angelou

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."    Elie Wiesel

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."   ~ Lao Tzu

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin

How facebook can Depress You

Posted on November 2, 2017 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Have you ever found yourself feeling depressed after flipping through facebook posts? That’s not surprising. Although facebook can be a great way of staying connected to people, or re-connecting, it can also be a vehicle for feeling left out, inadequate, worse off than others, ignored, devalued, or unappreciated by others.

The nature of facebook is that the vast majority of people post only brag-worthy events, achievements, photos or comments. It can be hurtful to see post after post of people smiling with their significant others, family, or friends, when you never see the balance of reality. No one posts photos of themselves and partners glaring angrily at each other after a fight, or of their kids having a screaming hissy fit, or family sitting stone faced and looking bored together at dinner. No one posts culinary failure photos, or when they look their worst. You however are viewing all those happy bubbly photos and posts from your own real life context that includes the good, bad, and the ugly. Without realizing it you can be “sold” on the “advertising” that they have it all and that everyone is happier than you. And that’s just for starters.

No one seems to totally understand facebook’s formula for who shows up in whose feed. You will see your own posts, but not know who else did or didn’t see them. You also don’t know how often others are checking their facebook page during any given time period. That is seldom the first thought though when you get a disappointing response of “likes.” There is a certain amount of social politics behind who gets a lot of likes to their posts also. Its hard not to notice comparisons and feel bad if others consistently get more “likes” than you do. Whatever the reasons are, it’s a sure fire formula to feel down if you are not one of the lucky ones who got liked all over the place.

On top of everything else, are the personality differences in people as far as things like whether or not a person watches relationship status closely, or doesn’t bother with it. It seems that as a general rule (at least in my therapy practice experience) women are much more sensitive to relationship status postings than are men. Some people change their status after every big argument. Others let it sit as is one way or another, forgotten and ignored. In a relationship in which the partners utilize facebook very differently than each other, this can obviously be a fertile field for doubts, worries, anger, or depression.
My advice? If following facebook is making you upset, try ignoring it for awhile. If you want to see what is going on with someone or let them know about what’s happening in your life- call them. If you don’t know them well enough to call, then dial back how often you look at their posts. It will also save you a LOT of time!!

Of Serendipity and Such

Posted on March 8, 2016 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

By Jakota Herring, LCSW


For years I have been fascinated by not only, the "therapy process," but also the question of, "what is good therapy?" How is it that we actually facilitate meaningful and lasting change? Of course we have our various theoretical frameworks, models, modalities, and techniques, but are those sufficient to induce a real shift in paradigm?

Or- is there something more? …. Something beyond books, conferences, and personalities?

What or where is the core, or kernals of truths, or the process that really matters? As I have reflected on what I consider to have been some of my more successful moments as a therapist, some thoughts bounce around that I'd like to share with you.


The first is the concept of "responsibility," in its definitive sense. That is the ability to respond- responsibly. It seems to me that this is a shared process, like dancing. The client presents something, the therapist "responds," and the client hopefully responds in turn. For example, as the client and therapist discuss a dynamic and events of the client's life, the therapist's subconscious may respond with a symbolic metaphor drawn directly from the client's words. The client hears her situation as a differently coded, yet same language description of herself. This strikes a chord of response, whether an emotional reaction, insight, cognitive shift, or whatever. The dance of responsivity continues. It is within this kind of conceptualization that I most often experience along with my clients, unanticipated "happenings" that could never have been learned, planned, or studied.


Those who know me are used to seeing various birds and cats around. My inclusion of pets in therapy often elicits such serendipitous occasions. As an example, years ago I carried a tiny, tame finch to the office with me everyday. He rode in my pocket. (During that time period, he also accompanied me to Nashville stores and restaurants, unseen in my pocket.) The week that my cat did what cats are prone to doing, there were many intense responses from my clients. One man in particular broke through his stoic and insular intellectualization as he raged against "that damn cat," the predator. He then for the first time cried for himself- the long ago pounced upon and wounded little bird.


And who can account for the why and how, when my parrot, Clarence chose the very last termination session after a year of therapy to finally jump onto the shoulder of a surprised child with severe behavior problems. The child had been diligently, patiently, gently, and unsuccessfully trying all year to win Clarence's trust. As a child with ADHD, who was fascinated by the birds, this was a marvelous re-inforcement for patience and perseverance. It was a magical moment for us both. Nothing "therapeutic" was necessary to say.


For the second concept, let me refer to the zoom in/ zoom out feature of computerized maps. I often view myself as a tour guide for the client. I reflect back to him the same map he has presented to me, with the view either zoomed in closer, for deeper understanding, or zoomed out farther, for a different cognitive perspective. Zooming in to illuminate- zooming out to survey the context, towards embracing the largeness of life, with its ambiguities, unknowns, and paradoxes.


I wish I had a nice tidy bow with which to wrap this all together and conclude, but as I caveated in the beginning, these are just some thoughts. Respond to them as you will,



Published in Nashville Psychotherapy Institute's Feb/March 2002 newsletter, "Psychobits"