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November 13th, 2020

have you ever seen a ghost? icebreaker questions


GREAT question. Unlike other healthcare professionals, you actually need to like your therapist. It won't matter if you connect to your cardiologist or gynecologist on a human level, but that is absolutely vital to a therapeutic relationship.

A good therapist is anybody you feel you can connect to in a genuine way. Sometimes that is a person who's demographics/background look nothing like yours, sometimes that is a person who seems familiar to you. Key qualities in an experienced and effective therapist:

They disarm you and put you at ease

They facilitate sharing so you open up naturally

They make you feel safe and unjudged

They can leap tall buildings in a single bound

They are comfortable with humor to put your at ease

You don't dread visiting with them

They have their own podcast and know how to reddit

If you feel stuck with your current therapist here are a few suggestions:

Share with the therapist that you feel like you've hit a lull in your personal growth. Don't necessarily blame the therapist, just reflect on feeling stuck as if its a weather system and ask them if they have any ideas or challenges for you to take the next step in your work.

Ask your therapist if you can revisit your goals with them. Tell them you want to identify some new areas to develop in and ask them for suggestions.

If you're not feeling good with your therapist because you just don't feel a good connection to them, or their style isn't really a good fit for you, its ok to go back to the pool and start looking around again. Lots of people do different work with different therapists, and we therapists are pretty comfortable with you cheating on us - er, collaborating with other professionals - on your quest for personal growth.

Designing Better D&D Traps DM Skills

Sometimes, when putting together a dungeon, specifically design traps that target things the party is immune to/good against. The villain wouldn't necessarily know that they would survive and it creates an opportunity for the players to have a cool character development moment

Allow characters to react to avoid traps. Just being smashed in the face randomly isn't fun; rolling to see if they can spring out of the way could potentially be fun.

I plan two things:

What does the NPC think of the players?

What does the NPC want?

With those two things, you can handle pretty much any dialogue.

This uses Book/Worth the Candle as an example

In the case of Doris Finch it's achieving relatability in layers. Now that I phrase it that way, they did a very similar thing in Video/Movie/Shrek.

Chapter 201:

We were expecting a double cross. You had to, when Doris Finch was involved. The attack came when I was ten feet away, but it wasn’t the attack I expected, not an attack against us, but an attack against them, Doris against Doris. .float-right Book/Worth the Candle

So, you come in with an expectation, a stereotype, and the character lives up to it.

The first scene in Shrek is showing Shrek to live up to the stereotype of an Ogre: he's disgusting, scary, and hates people (except maybe for dinner). A couple of times, it looks like it's going to contradict that, but then: nope, the thing he's painting is a "Keep out" sign.

Similarly, Doris is shown to be a serial defector, and, in the first chapter, lives up to that every step of the way.

Chapter 202:


“I don’t have the fucking time for this. You understand they’ll shoot me if I don’t do my best?” “And deprive themselves of a star mage?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “I split before I came in here. If I fail, then they kill me and keep her. If I succeed, they keep me and kill her. Either way, they keep their star mage, this is just incentive for me to actually do the work. If they didn’t have a guard, they would torture me for information first.” .float-right Book/Worth the Candle

You've set up your character as a loathsome creature. The next step is to make it clear that this is miserable for them. So, you take your character and put them in a situation where it's clear that they know the consequences of being loathsome, but are helpless to change. So, you get a sort of sympathy for them, but at the same time, they're no less of an awful person

In Shrek, this is the whole sequence where the swamp gets invaded by the other fantasy creatures, up until the fight in Dulac. He tries to deal with his problems by scaring them away, because he doesn't know any other way of dealing with them. The problem is, he's just not scary enough for that to work on everyone. But he keeps trying, being especially awful to Donkey.

In Book/Worth the Candle, we see a prime example of the pressure that a Doris faces: everything, even a simple magic lesson, is a life-or-death struggle, and if you fail, you die, and some other Doris will live in your place. And all along the way, Doris is still, plainly, thinking of stabbing them in the back.

Chapter 204:


She sighed, then nodded. “Look,” she said. “You told me that you would let me out if I told you the truth. You promised.”

“You’re something different,” I said. “What have you been doing here, just waiting? I don’t believe for a second that you couldn’t open that hatch on your own. And this blood, that’s your work. The blood worms, also probably your work.”

“Are you letting me out, yes or no?” asked Doris, stepping toward the ward and pressing her hand against it.

“No,” said Amaryllis.

The character's problem is based on a mistaken apprehension of the world, which gets confirmed. They are betrayed, the way that they have always been betrayed, so, fuck it, go back to the normal way of life.

So Shrek spends a good couple of days with Fiona, and actually starts to think that things could be different... but then he overhears her say something and mistakenly thinks it's about him. He summons Farquaad to pick up Fiona, and goes back to his swamp.

Doris is expecting betrayal, and probably is ready to go on a rampage here. If she isn't let out, she's breaking out, and then she's going to be the one in charge.

Chapter 205:

I was explaining that the Dorises, as people, are completely fucked up. They’ve been suffering here, for a long time, at their own hands. And for this particular one, who is probably better off never splitting again, if that’s even something she could do, if it even matters given her presumed skill — for her, it’s important that she understands that she’s in a position where it doesn’t have to be how it was. Once she’s there, once she’s traipsed up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, then we can start talking to her about what her life should be like, how and why to break herself of her current terrible habits that have been learned over the course of a lifetime of pain and suffering. But I think what comes first is just saying, ‘hey, it can be okay now’.

In a word: therapy.

Things are at their absolute lowest for Shrek, and we can see that while he's gotten what he says he wants, it's not what he actually wants. Then, Donkey shows up and shows Shrek a different way the world could be. Fighting his instincts (and with the help of people who care about him), he manages to break his habit and actually believe things could be different, and along with a chance to start things over, that's enough to make things better.

Likewise, Blood God Doris is probably among the most traumatized of any of the Dorises, ready to come out and rule as brutally as anything she's been through. That's her next move, even though she doesn't really want that. Then, Juniper comes along and shows her a vision of a world where life isn't just killing yourself over, and over, and over, and gives her a chance to make that vision a reality.

Loathsome, to pitiable, to relatable, to likable (and even someone you'd root for), each layer being peeled away to reveal the next.

Long story short, if you want a character with nuance and depth, give them flaws, and make them struggle to overcome them. Not to the extent that they no longer have those flaws, but to the point where the flaws no longer define them.

When stating rules or guidelines frame them to promote the good behavior you want not the poor behavior to avoid. This orients the listener towards the 'correct' behavior.