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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Addiction

Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Continues to Fail: How Many Kids Must Die Before We Change?

As I write this article I am disgusted, feel responsible and I am ashamed to be a part of an industry that continues to flourish in spite of continued failure. I reflect on 20 years of being around the drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry and I am appalled how little we do to change an industry that 1) Lives on repeat business; 2) Denies a 95% failure rate; and 3) Takes credit for the 5% success rate but blames the addict for the 95% failure rate.
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Psychotherapy

Tips on Choosing the Right Therapist

Sometimes when confronted with the harsh realities of life and how to effectively cope with such situations, it might be worth it to seek out a qualified therapist who is able to be objective, while helping you resolve any recurring problem, however short or long term you are currently challenged by. Once you do get there, either by referral, word of mouth, or your own research, it is important to give the therapist 2-3 sessions before making your decision to see if it’s the right fit, and would like to continue.
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Children and Teens

5 Ways You Can Emotionally Connect With Your Child


PLUS: The hidden benefits.

We live in a fast-paced society. I hear it all the time in my practice: "How can I connect with my child?"

Parents want to connect with their children more than ever these days. Living in the Bay Area can be demanding, and not leave as much time for your family as you would like to have. You are not alone in feeling this way. I see many families that are going through this.

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Anxiety and Panic

When Do I Need to See Someone about My Anxiety? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

You’re anxious. You have been dealing with anxiety for a long time and you are starting to wonder whether you need to talk to a counselor about what you are experiencing. You feel that talking to a counselor would help, but you don’t want to blow your issue out of proportion. You don’t want to seem weak or incapable of handling your own business, but this is really bothering you. How do you know when it’s time?

There are a lot of people who are or have been in your shoes. I have a lot of experience working with (and experiencing) anxiety, and this exact thought process is more common than you might think.
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Children and Teens

Is Social Media Damaging Your Romantic Relationship?

In today’s world it is almost hard to stay connected if you don’t have social media accounts. Gone are the days when people wrote letters or waited for phone calls (especially on a land line). Face-to-face conversations can even be a rarity. More often than not, communication occurs through apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, DM, and old school texting. Adolescents tend to spend even more time than adults on social medial platforms.
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General

E-therapy Provider Talkspace Under Fire, CEO Oren Frank Responds

Talkspace, one of the latest attempts to try and provide online therapy (a modality available to people since 1996), is under fire yet again. This time it comes from Cat Ferguson writing over at The Verge, questioning Talkspace's patient anonymity protections and the use of freelance therapists to staff their service.

The article, published last week, is based upon first-hand accounts of presentations, emails, and interviews with numerous Talkspace therapists. And despite Talkspace's insistence that therapists are freelancers, the firm apparently forbade therapists from talking to the reporter -- an odd directive if the company isn't your boss.

Let's see what The Verge discovered -- and get exclusive responses from Talkspace's CEO.

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Brain and Behavior

Suddenly, VC Guy Notices Mental Health Care

The quality and resources available to mental health care and treatment in the United States has been on the downswing since the 1980s. It started with the closing of government-run state psychiatric hospitals (putting our most at-need patients at risk, and often, on the streets), without the government offering a comprehensive network of community-based care to take their place.

Then managed care -- companies driven by profit and greed -- came along and mid-level managers with no mental health background started dictating exactly what kind of mental health treatment was appropriate to which patients.

Now we live in a time where venture capital (VC) firms believe that technology can magically solve many of the ills connected with receiving high-quality, timely mental health care. But of course, like the managed care companies that came before them, many too are simply driven by potential profits and their return on investment, all the while offering the "solution" of lower-quality, shoddier care.

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General

On the Destructive Belief That No One Can Make Us Feel Anything

When I studied psychology back in the day, Fritz Perls was very popular. I felt a new sense of empowerment reading his compelling writing about “owning” the self and developing radical self-reliance -- moving from environment support to self-support.

Perls’ views may have been what the doctor ordered when social values encouraged being agreeable and placating others rather than honoring our experience (our feelings and wants) and staying connected to ourselves. Perls cajoled, jolted, and perhaps even shamed people into becoming self-reliant and self-sufficient. One popular view was “No one has or ever will make you feel anything.”

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