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Counseling/Friend and Issues


I am a 34- year old woman, living with my widowed mother, while getting started with a business I recently opened.  I have a friend (Corrine) who is a neighbor of my mother.  Being raised an only child, which I am beyond grateful for, but still sometimes needed a mentor, Corrine has been kind of like my big sister... she is older than me, actually a very young grandma, as she started really young, in terms of having children.  For the most part, Corrine has been a very good friend, but lately, I have been getting the sensation that she maybe wants to call it quits.  For a long time, I was going to Sunday services with Corrine at her church.  I love it, as it gives me a chance to spend time with her.  However, until yesterday, she did not attend for 6 weeks.  I was actually shocked that she wanted to go out to breakfast with me, but worked nicely, since neither of us have a living father.  It was a nice time, but I did question some of her comments.  She has been worrying about me, and all my health problems (or so she says).  Corrine said that she is praying for me all the time, and "giving me to God."  Also said I don't seem to love myself, and hopes that learning to do that will be the one thing she can teach me.  Although I took everything with a grain of salt, it does concern me, but what bothered me the most was that she tried to sell the idea to me of going to a Sunday event, where lots of people in their 20s attend, and I have to be honest that it really does not appeal (especially since my 30s are moving a lot faster than I can keep up).  I get tired, and it is in the evening, and being a self-employed freelancer, I am always under the gun on Sunday evenings.  I am going to have to tell her that it won't work, but I want her to know that in actuality, our Sunday meetings are the biggest motivator for me during the week.  As a start, I sent her a thank you note, and put that in so many words, however, I think it's going to take more than written communication.   She did ask me if I was tight with my possible stepdadís children, which I like them, but they are not here, and I don't know them on a personal level.  That said, I have very little room for friends in my life right now, so going to lots of events is not easy, with health problems, and trying to run a business totally on my own.  However, Corrine is my most important friend right now.  I think the reason I gravitated to her so naturally is b/c she reminds me of my mother's BFF (Rachelle), although I don't have a clear, concrete answers as to why.  Rachelle is like my surrogate aunt, since my dad's sister and I just really don't get along.  I am not the best at getting my thoughts out without looking like a sap.   I want to be honest, but I'm scared.  Bottom line, I am not interested in spending time with my generation, but even if I were, Sunday nights would not work out right now.  11 AM services are the best for me, with my work anyway. I like my time with Corrine, and I donít know how I can go on, if it ends.  Itís too much for me emotionally.  I am already so down, and going and hanging out with a bunch of young people is going to make me more depressed.  As of right now, my one friend in Iceland from my generation is good enough.  How should I handle myself with Corrine?  I cannot snap out of my anxiety, and itís not fair to my clients either, as it interferes with my work.

April, this is much too long for me to read and respond.  If you want me to address this issue, please use the following format:  1 paragraph of no more than 4 sentences outlining the issue.  One paragraph of one or 2 sentences with your question that you wish me to answer.  If I need additional information in order to respond, I will let you know, otherwise I'll do my best to provide a useful response.  Joel


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Joel Simon


General questions about counseling, psychotherapy and mental health.


Over 30 years as a therapist, clinical supervisor and solution-focused trainer. I've worked in a variety of settings including adolescent day treatment, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics, and hospice. Further information is available on my website:

A founding member of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association, Academy of Certified Social Workers, Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York State.

Co-authored "Solution-Focused Brief Practice With Long-Term Clients in Mental Health Services: I'm More Than My Label." Authored: "Solution-Focused Practice in End-of-Life and Grief Counseling" Several articles published in professional journals including 2 with Insoo Kim Berg. Further details are available at

Masters of Social Work (Yeshiva University 1978). 5 years training in Transactional Analysis, certified in Advanced Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis with the New York Society (NYSEPH), Advanced training and advanced supervision seminar in solution-focused brief therapy with the co-developers of the approach, Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer

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