Depression

Even Therapists Get the Blues

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them -- every day begin the task anew." -Saint Francis de Sales
My first depressive episode came at the age of 19, again at 23 and then again at 27. A decade later I would graduate with a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In that time came pharmacology and psychotherapy.  I also found what behaviors and beliefs helped me take care of myself and have allowed me to maintain my mental health ever since.
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Marriage and Divorce

Why Men Give Up Their Identity in a Relationship

Over the past 30 years of working as a psychologist with men doing individual and group therapy, I have often seen men struggling to maintain either the romance or friendship or both in their intimate relationships. It’s a subject I’ve been investigating and exploring for much of my professional and personal life. I’ve often noticed my men clients complaining about their relationships in a way that is troubling. Why is my wife so controlling? I feel like I never do things right by her, and she always finds something to criticize; is there such a thing as the-glass-is-always-half-empty syndrome?  It feels like she doesn’t appreciate me. She controls what restaurants we go to and where we go on vacation. Why doesn’t she value my input on how to raise our kids? I don’t know why I have to send the kids to private school; it puts so much pressure on us financially. I didn’t want to travel for one of my two-week’s vacation with my wife’s parents. I don’t know how to make her happy.  
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Aspergers

Seven Surprising Lessons a “Helicopter” Parent Learned from Her Asperger Child

I felt utterly helpless. There was something profoundly wrong with my daughter, but I couldn’t help her -- me the trained psychologist, the one with the master’s degree in social work and a doctoral degree in psychology. But this was long before the Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis became official in the United States. (Now it’s classified as a high functioning form Autism Spectrum Disorder.)
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Inspiration & Hope

The Most Powerful Question You Will Ever Be Asked

I am a therapist. My job is to talk to people and help them to solve their problems. Throughout the course of therapy I ask clients many, many questions.

Questions are the heart of therapy, as they require an individual to think. That thinking process stimulates the brain and perhaps can provide a new way of seeing an old problem. Some questions are deep, such as “what do you believe is the meaning of life?” and some are not quite as profound, such as, “What is your favorite TV show?”

There is one question though, that I ask clients early and often. It’s a question that is pervasive in my sessions and becomes part of my regular conversations with my clients. I will ask a client within the first twenty minutes of the first session, “What do you want?”
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Habits

The Remarkable Power of Momentum: Using It to Change Your Life One Small Step at a Time

I’ve always been thrilled by the feeling of a plane taking off. No matter how often I fly I am amazed by the experience of the plane barreling down the runway with increasing velocity until it reaches such speeds that it begins to lift into the sky.

That feeling of becoming airborne, of the momentum of takeoff, is nothing short of incredible. But I have to go no farther than the local soccer field or basketball court to witness the power of momentum. As a spectator of many high school sports over the years, I find it fascinating to witness how powerful momentum is on the field. Sometimes all it takes is one goal, or basket, or home run, to completely change the energy of the game and send a team that had been struggling to score, to ultimate victory.
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Bullying

Transgender Trauma

Where did the idea come from that it is acceptable to hate or judge someone because of their gender identity? I spoke with a transwoman today who fears leaving her home since she has been verbally attacked and threatened with physical harm. She has also been criticized by others who are trans because she has not embraced a gender binary.

A few years ago, she began the transition to what she perceives as her true self and not the gender assigned at birth as male. She had lived as a man for much of her life, married and had three children; all of whom she loves and who are supportive. She is a professional who lost her job, once she came out and is now seeking other employment, albeit with trepidation.
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Children and Teens

‘Help Me Figure Myself Out’: The Paved Road to the Adolescent Mind

“What do I do? I don’t know what to do with him anymore!” This is one of the many scenarios of a frantic parent knocking on the therapist’s door. Teenage years are tough, let’s not kid ourselves. We have been there, we remember.

In my practice I’ve consulted numerous parents on teens’ presenting problems such as: indifference, apathy, resistance, verbal/physical aggressiveness, destructive behavior, mood swings and a complete emotional shutdown expressed by their teenage sons and daughters.
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Bipolar

How to Find Accurate, Evidence-Based Information on Mood Disorders


If I had to choose just one piece of advice to give to the person disabled by depression or any mood disorder, it would be this: Work with the right professionals and seek out accurate, evidence-based information.

In 2006, having spent years absorbing inaccurate information and working with amateurs, I needed a miracle. I was dangerously close to taking my life. I made an appointment with the
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Addiction

Repaving the Road

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” - Lewis Carroll
Yesterday, I spent 12 hours sitting in my therapy office as I worked with clients who brought with them, a collective steamer trunk of challenges, trauma history, pain, triumphs to celebrate, healing stories, insights, and wisdom. Thank goodness for those last few items, since if all I saw were the first, I’m not sure how I could have continued my career for the 38 years I have logged. If calculated in dog years, that would equal 342 turns of the calendar pages.
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