Getting To Know Who Lives in Your Skin

August 7, 2018

One of the most important journeys I have ever made has been to get to know me. It appears to me that the greatest asset I have is me, so why not spend some time and energy getting to know me. I was taught early in my life that the most important things in this life were money, power, and appearance. How was I to know that these were impostors?

Many years later it became clear that these big 3 were not what I thought. After years of pain and hunger to find what I wanted in this life, I embarked on a new journey–to explore who lived in my skin. As I did, and as I learned to value and practice honesty and openness, not something as a male I was told was important, I found an energy and liberty in my life I had not known.

As I worked with therapists and spiritual directors, I began to get to know better who lived in my skin. Along the way I began to become more comfortable in my skin, accepting the different parts that came up, the beautiful and the ugly. Then I began to grow in clarity about who I was and what was really important. Next came new courage to make the hard decisions to align my behavior with my thinking.

The beauty of this process led to more clarity and courage in my relationships, my work, and my life as a whole. Life has not become easier, just more fruitful and fulfilling.

I believe as we get to know who lives in our skin and get more comfortable in our skin, clarity and courage grows and brings deeper meaning and fulfillment.


June 15, 2017

Two of the most important experiences of this life is letting another person know us and being known by another. It’s like letting someone come inside and feel like what it’s like to live and be inside our skin.  Be clear, this is no easy journey; in fact, many of us have been taught NOT to let others get that close. Yet, in my opinion, this experience surpasses most others in our life.

Intimacy is much more than having sex; it is risking letting another know what is honestly going on inside us. Couple therapy, when done well, gives partners the opportunity to let protective parts relax back and be openhearted.

There are times when we need to be protective and not be openhearted; these are times when we do not feel safe with those we are around or the time is just not right.  On the whole, the most satisfying relationships are those whose partners can risk being openhearted when feeling safe.

How About a New Way of Having a Conversation?

December 27, 2016

Dr. Croninger recently (late 2016) completed 72 hours of training experience with Toni Herbine-Blank, which focused on helping couples have a new way of having a conversation, whatever the content. Because 80% of disagreements between couples (actually between most persons) often occur because the message sent is not the one received, learning a new way to have a conversation becomes quite important.

Learning how to have an open-hearted conversation with persons close to us increases intimacy (closeness). As couples learn their patterns in conversations, they gain clarity as to how to get more of what they want for their lives. Because all of us have parts (Internal Family Systems), and those parts are often immature or unskilled, our behavior often gets us precisely the opposite of what we desire. As we learn a new way to have a conversation, we strengthen the Self within us, which is seeks to give leadership to all our parts and bring us more of what we want.

Call Dr. Croninger (405-226-8509) to set an appointment so you can receive more of what you want in your important relationships.

What is co-dependency?

July 20, 2012

Co-dependency is a concept that was first used in a Minnesota Treatment Center in 1979 for family members of alcoholics and drug addicts.  (Overcomers Outreach, Bob and Pauline Bartosch)  The definition describes people in a family relationship with an alcoholic whose lives have become unmanageable as a result of living with the alcoholic.  Melody Beattie describes a co-dependent as a person who has become hyper-focused on controlling another person’s behavior.  (CoDependent No More)

Sometimes called “caretakers” or “enablers,” co-dependent persons believe they can change a problem drinker’s behavior and make life better for all involved.  What they fail to realize is that no one can change another person; change comes from within and is accomplished by not only a desire to change, but courage do what it takes.

Alcoholism and co-dependency are diseases that affect families in fairly consistent ways.  When a family member begins abusing chemicals, spouse and children and other family members begin to cover for the drinker.  They call his/her boss and tell him/her that their drinker is sick when they actually are hung over.  When large amounts of money are spent on alcohol, the pleading and begging are dramatic, usually to no avail.  Some co-dependents have been known to drink with the alcoholic to try to keep them from consuming all the alcohol in the house.  It doesn’t work.

Children in these kinds of homes are what are called para-dependents because they are unable to leave.  Their coping behaviors can become bizarre, just to make it through the day.  They make up stories to friends to make sure they don’t visit their home and see the chaos, and they isolate and live by the motto of, “Don’t trust, don’t talk, don’t feel.”  They, along with their co-dependent, parent become frozen in time as far as emotional development.  It is only when they enter treatment and “thaw out” that they begin to grow and mature again.

There are usually many family secrets that are being kept in these families, and they have had more than their share of trauma.  Interestingly, where children are trapped and can’t leave, spouses often suffer from “learned helplessness” and choose not to leave.  It seems that the familiarity of the chaos looks better than the risk of the unknown that comes with changing.  Co-dependent persons often develop their own set of compulsive behaviors, including denial, to cope with their pain.

Seeking out a knowledgeable friend or therapist is a healthy step in finding the hope and courage to heal.  I have had many years of experience helping alcoholics and family members heal from the hurts of addiction.  Call me and let’s visit.  The first phone call or visit is free.

Secrets to couples communication

July 13, 2012

Living with someone is not much fun if there is little meaningful communication happening.

The most important experience for most of us is feeling understood.  With understanding comes a deep sense of well-being and hope for the future.  Many couples try to get their partners to agree with them, without much success.  Agreement is not nearly as important as understanding.  Actually, there are very few human beings who agree on their favorite flavor of ice cream, vacation destination, or most effective ways of investing money.  Good thing that intimacy does not depend on agreement.

Seeking to understand your partner and feeling understood sparks feelings of intimacy and closeness like no other experience.  I have assisted numerous couples in their journey to a more meaningful relationship.  For sure there are many obstacles that prevent intimacy and many life experiences that have hurt us.  I have been able to help couples heal from deep hurts, let go of frustrations and losses, and come out of traumatic experiences to places of deep satisfaction.

I would love to visit more with you about the things in your life that are most important.  I think I can assist you in deepening your love for your partner and getting the love you want.  Call me and let’s visit.

Addiction is a family disease

July 6, 2012

About 10% of people who, when they choose to drink, will eventually become an alcoholic.  Those who have a parent or close relative who have struggled with addiction are at higher risk to become addicted if they drink.  When alcohol reaches the pleasure center of the brain, a craving is set up that leads to compulsive use.

Addiction is a brain disease that is strongly linked to family history.  A person usually goes through four stages in their journey into addiction.  First, they learn the mood swing (euphoria) which comes with a first drink; a strong desire follows to repeat the experience.  Second, this person plans another mood swing and arranges their schedule to use again.  It is around this time that they cross the line into compulsive use. Third, they enter a time of increased use with periodic loss of control that results in blackouts, loss of insight, and growing delusion.  A person has to consume more to get the desired mood swing.  Fourth, a person enters a black hole where they consume more but experience very little euphoria; they have to use just to feel normal.  At this point a person is experiencing a systematic and comprehensive unraveling of their lives.

An intervention is a process that helps “raise the bottom” for a person, encouraging them to enter treatment.  An interventionist meets several times with family members and friends to help the alcoholic see clearly and feel what has been happening in the lives of those around them, and gives the person the opportunity to get help.


  • July 2022
    M T W T F S S

5100 N. Brookline, Suite 620
Oklahoma City, OK 73112


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