“Keynotes” are my brief comments about life and recovery and are intended to provide insight, inspiration, wisdom or humor to your day.

I’m reminded of what I heard from Dr. Cliff Mitchell at a conference I attended last September (2015), in Dallas, the city that I live in. Dr. Mitchell spoke about his area of expertise which is “Priming” our thoughts. His premise that day was:

“The mind moves you and your listener in the direction of the dominant thought regardless of whether it is stated in the positive or the negative.”

I happen to work as a Psychotherapist and I agree with Dr. Mitchell’s comments, as our dominant thoughts and the direction of our thoughts will hopefully be given careful consideration in light of the senseless and violent loss of life that we’ve experienced lately in our city and throughout other cities in the United States and in the world we live in.

My dominant thought is that we have an opportunity to focus (or refocus) our collective dominant thoughts and energy toward thoughts and behaviors that are therapeutic in nature, where the demonstration of appropriate acts of care, attention, help, service, ministry, etc. will move all of us toward the healing experience that could help us as a human race. The good thing is that thinking about and practicing therapeutic behaviors that help is not limited to my profession, my office, my license nor is it limited to your parish, church, mosque, synagogue or political affiliation.

My specific training as a Psychologist helps me to see things from an “Ecological” perspective. That simply means that when I’m provided the opportunity to assist people, I take into consideration the person, their history, the family they grew up in and the family they live in now, the neighborhood they live in, the schools they attend, the churches they worship at in addition to their places of work and the communities they strive to make better.

That being the case, my role is to assist the person to examine the “multiple systems” that he or she lives in and identify dominant thoughts that could eventually help them to make their micro (marriage or family) or macro (school, community, city) systems a better place to live in. Thats my focus and during times like this, in this city and country, perhaps we all could benefit from a refocus such as this. Remember, you don’t have to be a Therapist to pull this off.

So today, the question I have for you is how will you use your energy? What is the dominant thought that you’ll give time, effort and attention to because your family, friend or community needs your positive energy and effort to create therapeutic outcomes, especially in the city you live in? I choose to believe that you and the people around you are not the problem but you and the people around you hold the answers to the true diseases that impact all of us systemically on this Earth. I choose to champion people and help them to identify, implement and celebrate therapeutic behaviors that end in healthy and healing outcomes in our micro and macro systems. How about you? What will you focus on developing with the best use of your energy?


Here’s a few suggestions that come to mind that I’m going to put into action:

  1. Grieve tenderly with others.
  2. Hug tightly and seek to comfort others repeatedly.
  3. Listen intently to the thoughts and feelings of others.
  4. Communicate respectfully and civilly.
  5. Brainstorm and dialogue about ideas that empower, protect and heal.
  6. Plan simply with the best intent and intentions in mind.
  7. Use my available energy to collaborate (or “co-labor”) to develop these effective outcomes.
  8. Think creatively when our ideas, situations, actions or the systems we endeavor to change need revision.
  9. Encourage others to keep their focus on pollination versus contamination.
  10. Celebrate any victory, great or small, due to our collective and creative efforts!

This list is not exhaustive; there are hundreds of ways for us to use our energy to focus our dominant thoughts on achieving better outcomes with one another. May God bless you in your efforts!

Dr. Ken McGill 

What could I do?



TeleHealth/Video counseling sessions are available for those who prefer to meet online – Dr. McGill

Businesswoman presses button psychological counseling online on virtual screens. technology, internet and networking concept.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Thank you Dr. McGill for this very poignant blog post!
    Eric Belsterling, MA, LPC, LCAS, CSAT, SP-I
    Heart and Soul Recovery, PLLC
    370 N. Louisiana Ave., Suite D-4
    Asheville, NC 28804
    (828) 337-0391


  2. Awesome thoughts. You hit the nail square on the head. Then, the picture at the bottom served as an EXCLAMATION POINT!! Great article



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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.