Merry Christmas (or whichever holiday you celebrate)! I hope you enjoy this video.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to enjoy the company of our loved ones, but for many of us (and our clients), it can be more stressful than enjoyable. How can we offer support to ourselves, our family and friends, and our clients during this busy time?

A lot of our relationship patterning gets encoded into our bodies via implicit (unconscious) memory. It influences us behind the scenes. So how do you know when your implicit memory is being triggered?

When your client reverts to those old behaviors from their childhood, you’ll know they’re being triggered. If your client says something like, “I always _____________, but I wish I wouldn’t,” you might ask if the two of you can focus on changing one or two patterns in a therapy session. That way, the client can react in a more positive, constructive way the next time their trigger appears.

You might also take note of your client’s Attachment style and how that style affects their relationships and familial interactions. For instance, Avoidants can go into withdrawal mode when life gets hectic. They might park themselves on the couch when they arrive at a family gathering and barely get up for the entirety of the visit. The goal of your therapy session with an Avoidant, then, would be to help them develop a plan for the gathering. What can they do to avoid automatically reverting to their old patterns? How can they experience more ease and flow between connection and alone time?

So what about you, the therapist? How can you create more meaningful connections during your own family gatherings?

I suggest engaging everyone in activities with a joint focus, such as playing a game or taking a walk together. This can double as self-care, but it’s also a rare opportunity to build and strengthen connections. Most of us don’t see our families that often, so let’s see if we can make this year’s get-together a different, happier experience!

Let’s keep our stress to a minimum this December and stay as securely attached as possible, even when things get crazy. My wish for you is deep compassion, goodwill, health and healing for yourself and others. I look forward to reading your feedback on this video and hearing from you in 2016!


  1. Anna December 25, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Thank you! I was listening to your video before christmas and sent it to american friends who loved it, too… and now after christmas (in Germany the night of the 24 december is the most important time) I listening again to it. I had good phone calls before christmas to my brother… because my mantra was “safe connection” and to friends I will meet today. And now I get other informations out of it… you see, you are nourishing my way a lot! Thank you! You are doing a great job! My family is now like a peace zone and but now the world, the refugees, the middle east and africa are on my mind… uff… holidays!

  2. Donna Steinmetz December 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Your light-heartedness is a blessing to me! Thank you for the uplifting holiday message. It’s amazing to observe how attachments shift now that certain family members are no longer with us. Mourners bond and form new/different types of attachment out of necessity and in order to stay together as a family, now that the folks who were the major “glue” have gone on.
    A blessed Christmas to you and yours,

    • Diane Heller December 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Yes, Donna –

      I KNOW what you mean! May we all be creative to find some new and nourishing family traditions that feed our souls and celebrate the true meaning of the HOLIDAZE!

      Warmly, Diane

  3. Barbara Currano December 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks so much,Diane for your care and wisdom. I really appreciate your ideas and carry them to my clients. Blessings for you this Christmas as well.
    love, Barbara

    • Diane Heller December 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Dear Barbara,

      Thanks for your kind words and so happy this is useful for YOU and your clients this special, and sometimes, challenging – time of year!

      Warmly, diane

  4. margaret thomson December 21, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Diane, your video has to be the best Chrissy card I have ever received. Thank you. It is much loved and appreciated.

    • Diane Heller December 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      WOW – That’s saying something! So happy YOU enjoyed it – Was really fun for me to share too! Warmly, Diane

  5. Lorenza December 21, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Happy Holidays to you and to your family!!! very nice and joyful video!!! Tomorrow I’m going to meet some friends, for a pre-Christmas dinner… and as a little gift I’ll give/share with each one of the tips for a Securely Attached Christmass!… and I’ll let you know!! send you much love, Lorenza

    • Diane Heller December 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Sounds Perfect Lorenza – have a wonderful and connected time together! Warmly diane

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