Therapy with Daniel Tiger, MD

Yes, I watch “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Sometimes I watch with Baby Bird. Sometimes I watch by myself during her naps. Don’t judge me — quality programming is quality programming.

I’ve watched and wondered how the Tiger family can afford a beachfront home with three bedrooms and at least two baths on just Dad Tiger’s salary. I’ve wondered why Teacher Harriet and Baker Aker don’t just get together.

And when I actually focused on what Daniel was saying, I learned some things. A lot of it has been eerily similar to advice I’ve received from my therapist.

Are they working together? Is one borrowing ideas from the other? Keep reading — I’ll let you be the judge. (For those who aren’t a fan of the show: Daniel’s words are in bold.)

“Everyone’s job is important. We all help in different ways.”

My therapist (we’ll call her Ms. F) has told me several times that the job I’m doing — staying home and taking care of Baby Bird — is incredibly important.

But that’s sometimes hard for me to accept.

Much of my self-worth is wrapped up in being a working woman, and I’m still trying to learn who I am as Crystal the Mom. The fact that I sometimes question my value isn’t something I’m proud of, but is what it is.

“When you’re feeling frustrated, take a step back and ask for help.”

Ms. F told me just last weekend that when I’m feeling overwhelmed and like the world is crashing, I need to step back and breathe. It’ll all work out, one way or another.

She reminded me that I have Mr. T to take some of the burden, and that I need to learn to lean on him. I’m really, really terrible at asking for help, but I recognize that it’s a problem. That’s the first step in changing, right?

“Find your own way to say I love you.”

During a therapy session a few months ago, Mr. T and I explored our love languages.

They’re not the same.

At all. In any way. Not even close.

But that’s not really a problem, Ms. F explained.

Instead of being put off by our differences, she said, we should pay more attention to the things we do for one another. We could be overlooking simple but meaningful acts of love, and acknowledging those acts could bring us closer.

“When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”

I tend to melt down when situations veer away from my plan.

More traffic than expected? Let’s just go home. Forgot to pack the Baby Bjorn? I’m ready to call it quits. In those moments, Ms. F wants me to find the positive, look for what’s going right. An every-dark-cloud-silver-lining kinda thing.

This is an incredible challenge for me. I have a knack for missing the lining, even if it’s as wide as 10-lane highway.

“Keep trying — you’ll get better. Try, try, try!

Ms. F told me last weekend that I’m doing really well. I’m looking at things differently. I’m thinking about relationships differently. I’m willing to step outside my comfort zone for my sake, my daughter, and my marriage.

I’m trying. And I’m gonna keep trying until I get better.

I hope I don’t get a bill from Dr. Daniel.

Therapy Lessons Learned From Watching 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood'
Therapy Lessons Learned From Watching 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood'

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