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Q & A with Dr. B. – In the last year you have focused a lot on loving self-care. Why is that?

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this website, my book, and the Community Education course I teach at the College of Marin, is to teach people how to live a vibrant, meaningful life through the cultivation of self-empowerment and self-efficacy. In this weekly Q&A column, I post questions from students and from people who attend my presentations along with my answers.

Here is this week’s question:

QUESTION: In the last year you have focused a lot on loving self-care. Why is that?

ANSWER: As I described on the My Personal Story page under the About Me button on this website, my thinking gradually changed from a focus on mind training to a focus on self-compassion. Initially, I had thought the mind-training practices were sufficient. I eventually came to realize that my clients had not been practicing what I had been teaching them and I explored the reasons with them. Finally, I came to realize that the reason they were not practicing was because they did not love and value themselves enough to stimulate sufficient motivation to practice. It was then that I came to realize that I really wanted to teach self-compassion in order to give them the motivation to infuse their lives with the mind-training practices I had been teaching.

Self-caring is essential. Self-compassion, in and of itself, improves health. Self-efficacy (the belief that you are capable of achieving your goals) is also essential because if you do not believe that you have the power to improve your own mental and physical health, you will not be motivated to work on it. Therefore, the foci of the class my colleague and I co-teach are on the cultivation of loving self-care, self-empowerment, and self-efficacy.

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