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Happiness

How to Win Even When You Fail

What do the premier designer Vera Wang, the famous 1800s scientist and author of “On the Origin of Species” Charles Darwin, and NPR radio icon Terry Gross have in common? They all failed. And it wasn’t just the trial-and-error, have-to-pay-your-dues kind of failures that most anyone has to endure in order to succeed in any given field. These talented people actually failed to reach their initial dreams, aspirations that were based on entirely different professions than what they are so famously known for!
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Anxiety and Panic

The Damage of Fearing Failure

We are taught from a young age that failure is bad.

Our performance is measured and graded, and we are often defined by our level of success as others perceive it. We are conditioned to fear failure because it is anti-success and therefore downgrades our worth as a person.

Doesn’t it?

The short answer is no, it doesn’t. But the fear of failing can cause a lot of problems.

Fear of failure can be paralyzing. People may turn down new opportunities and opt out of everything from a new job to a new relationship because they are too afraid that they will fail. Yet failing can often be a blessing in disguise. And it is very often the precursor to amazing success and breakthroughs. So why is it so hard to see failure as an acceptable risk?
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Bullying

Victim Shaming and Blaming

With all the allegations coming to light about sexual abuse perpetrated by celebrities, including Harvey Weinstein (no relation to the author of this article), Roy Moore, Louie CK and Kevin Spacey, it seems timely to write an article, about supporting survivors, how to avoid victim shaming, even if it took years to speak up, ways to prevent abuse, as well as means to deal with disillusionment when our icons commit such crimes.

First and foremost is the acknowledgment that sexual assault, whether it comes in the form of words or touch, is about power and control. Sex is merely the vehicle of transmission. It dehumanizes. It steals sovereignty. It robs a person of their sense of safety in their own environment and their own skin. There is no ability to consent when someone has power over another, whether it is economic, legal or by virtue of having given birth to the victim.
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Anorexia

Eating Disorders Breed Disconnection

I have worked with hundreds of women who struggle with disordered eating and poor body image. Some clients obsessively track calories or Weight Watcher’s points. Some try to restrict their food intake all day then order large quantities of food to binge on at night. Some purge after meals or excessively exercise. Others restrict entire food groups. Some have tried every fad diet. Some say mean things to themselves when they look in the mirror, in hopes that this will motivate change. Some have found a community -- in Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous -- to hold them accountable or to reinforce their guilt after a weekly weigh in. Some have convinced themselves that a juice cleanse is necessary for detox. Some only eat “clean” foods. Some only eat purple foods. Some never eat purple foods... (Those last two I haven’t come across, but I imagine someday I will).
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Habits

4 Steps to Making Any Change You Desire

Lucy was drawing to a close in her counseling work with me when she said, "You know, this isn’t how I thought I would feel."

"What do you mean?" I asked her.

"When I started counseling," she said, "I thought I’d have to become a completely different person in order to be happier. That I had to fix a deficiency in some way that seemed impossible and overwhelming. But it turns out that this feeling I have now -- of lightness, of possibility, of more confidence and trust in myself -- I just needed to lean into that more. Asking myself ‘in the moment’ if something is right for me is not selfish, but is actually kinder to others as well as me. I’m pleasantly surprised and so relieved that I didn’t need to transform into someone else to be more content."
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Depression

Looking for Hope in 195 Places


I'm not sure about you, but I've felt hopeless plenty of times in my life. Like really, really hopeless. Enough for a suicide attempt in my early 20's, and enough so that I made a firm commitment to figure out what, exactly, creates a hopeful mindset, and what I can do to foster and grow it in my life and the others around me.

It is through our deepest pain we find our brightest light.
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Happiness

Bringing Your Shadow to Light

In order to lead a rich, full life, you want to bring the fullness of all that you are into the light and out into the world. Our shadow selves are not just those traits that we define as "bad", they are also aspects of our personality that have simply receded into the darkness for a lack of awareness and understanding.

Shadows are the parts of us that we keep hidden because we had been given the message early on that they are dangerous, shameful, or unrealistic. The roots of our shadow begins early in childhood; traits and feelings such as anger, boldness, flamboyance, and sexuality were seen as "bad" or dangerous and therefore repressed.
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Children and Teens

Behind the Mask: What the ‘Good Daughter’ of the Narcissistic Mother Would Tell You if She Could

As a psychotherapist treating Adult Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, I see how her daughter, trapped in the role of the "Good daughter," hides her true self behind a mask of faux perfection. In this article, I explain how she becomes disconnected from her essential self to please her mother and lives a life that is not her own. 

You might miss her unless you know what to look for.

Plastering on a beauty queen, camera-ready smile that functions more like a mask than an expression of joy. It's the smile that insists, “I’m fine, perfect in fact. Why would you ask?”

There is no joy, nor ease in that smile. It is more militant than confident. The smile is designed to keep you out rather than invite you in.
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Friends

Why Seeking Reassurance Is a Good Thing

When we talk to a friend about a personal concern, what are we really seeking? Advice? Direction? Or maybe something else?

If we feel muddled about a difficult relationship or a job search, we might use a friend as a sounding board to sort things out. We may get clearer about what we want to say to our partner as we talk it out. We might blow off steam by venting about today’s political situation and find it helpful that others feel similarly.

We may not realize it, but often there’s a deeper reason we like to talk things out: we want reassurance.

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Aging

The Mind Games We Play with Aging

Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized that you have changed? Maybe there is suddenly a wrinkle that you never noticed, or you are finally spotting some grey hairs, or even more common, you realize that your body has changed, and not in a favorable way?

Aging is the great equalizer in many ways, we all go through it. And as we age changes occur. Some we can’t help, some we can camouflage, and some we have to fight for the sake of our health.

The realization that we have to make a concerted effort at these things can stir up lots of confusing feelings as well as some startling realizations. We all seem to go through some variation of the same stages as we are coming to terms with our changing forms.
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Friends

3 More Things That Keep Us Lonely


In a recent article, I discussed three things that may keep us lonely: Being critical of others, our tendency to shame people, and believing that we should be perfect. Here are some additional reasons we may find ourselves feeling isolated.

Fear of Taking Risks

If we hold the unrealistic belief that we should be perfect, we may be unwilling to do anything that might expose our imperfections. We may be so paralyzed by the fear of failing that we won’t take steps that might alleviate our loneliness. We might think, “Yeah, I should go out more or write a personal ad for a dating site… and some day I’ll get around to it.” But that day never comes.

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