Love and Relationships I cannot for the life of me imagine why it has taken me nearly twenty years of therapy practice to finally write a blog post on something as “basic” and important as Love. I mean, I am not just a therapist. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist! You’d think I’d…

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A few years ago, I attended a half-day meditation retreat. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d been going to this meditation center with some frequency. The center offered a weekly Buddhist-based 12-step support group that gave me some different perspectives on what has now become a tried and true but well-worn path to…

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Self-doubt is one of the most confusing and yet constant feelings we experience. It is everywhere, in nearly everything we do, big and small. Self-doubt is that little voice that says, “are you sure you should…? [have whole milk in your latte], or [text an old romantic partner who’s sent you a seemingly harmless text],…

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Now that you have some tools for accessing your inner self (See the previous blog post, Introspection Part 4), what are you supposed to do once you are “in there” (looking around within yourself)? Answer: find your “inner narrative”—the story you tell yourself about you and your world. That’s really it. Sounds simple, and it…

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I hope I made a convincing case in Part 2 of this discussion on introspection—that exploring your inner life has some very tangible (and intrinsic) benefits, including predictability and flexibility (in how you interact with others). I hope I also made it clear that, without introspection, there is really no way for a person to…

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A friend recently read my book, Firewalking on Jupiter. He liked it. He thought it was useful in a variety of ways. He thought the book did a pretty good job of explaining how to address different issues you might need to address depending on who you are and what you discover about yourself—things like…

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I am always thrilled when a client brings an insight to me that reflects an understanding of their issues at a fairly deep level, especially when they are able to use language they find helpful to explain how they use their insights to address their own difficulties. So, please, if you are either a client…

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“You can only coast in one direction.” In case the meaning of this statement doesn’t sink in right away, take a moment and think about it. Imagine you’re on a bicycle. You’ve stopped pedaling. You’re coasting. This won’t last long unless you are going down, only down. Going straight or uphill, you’ll stop coasting pretty…

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I have for some time been considering how to approach more directly my thoughts on morality—on what is “good” and “bad” when it comes to human decisions, including their behavior, beliefs, attitudes, and judgments. I have wanted to write about this topic directly, but have hesitated. The problem has been that is in my nature…

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I am in the mood to offer a very ambitious thought and then try to explain it, knowing the thought is far too broad and complex to have any hope of an adequate explanation in just a few pages. It is likely that the subject will occupy my thoughts to some degree for the rest…

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The process of therapy is different for every client.  All clients have different needs, goals, issues, personalities, levels of development, self-awareness and expectations.  It is important for me to cater my approach and processes in therapy to the individual needs of all unique clients.  No one approach fits everyone. At the same time, there are…

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What kind of therapist am I? There are many different kinds of “therapy.”  There is “physical therapy,” “massage therapy,” “art therapy,” and the list goes on.  Technically speaking (and I do not like this term because it is sounds so weird), I am a “psychotherapist.”  Would you want to call yourself a “psychotherapist?” I am…

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What is therapy? As a therapist, I continually ask myself basic questions about therapy.  What is “therapy?”  When does therapy work?  How do I know it is working?  What is the ultimate point of therapy?  Am I doing all the things I should be doing to help make the process as valuable and beneficial to…

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This is a story of a Christmas Miracle about our precious little dog, Julian. For those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, either because it is not consistent with your culture or belief system, or because you for other reasons simply choose not to participate in this holiday, please bear with me. I actually…

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Kurt Vonnegut, that great American writer and thinker, once said that humanity’s greatest inventions included the United States Constitution and 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (he also included Robert’s Rules of Order—but that seems really weird and isn’t relevant to this blog’s topic).  As someone who was engaged in a legal career for over 15…

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Several years ago, I started saying to myself “I’m just some guy” in therapy to remember I don’t know more about my client than they know about themselves. The phrase was also a reminder that there are other therapists who are just as good or better therapists than I am, and a client is always…

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Clients are often (justifiably) concerned about getting stuck or dwelling on their past for months or years as part of the therapy process. Sometimes clients have a concern that therapy might encourage them to rely on their past as “an excuse” for whatever their issues might be in their current lives (“I can’t get my…

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One of the most important things I think I do as a therapist is to remind clients that their feelings are almost never either all “good” or all “bad.”  When I discuss feelings with clients, I do not merely ask, “how does that make you feel.”  I ask, “what does that feeling tell you?”  “What…

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With Lincoln’s birthday coming up, I want to thank him for his great influence on me, my life, and my therapeutic philosophy. It might be a bit of a cliché or just plain obvious to be a big fan of Abraham Lincoln.  I mean, who isn’t, right?  Hating Abraham Lincoln would be like hating cute…

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For many of us the Holidays are a time of happy memories and family-focused fun. The planning of extended family get-togethers can be a chance to see people we miss and love and only see once or twice a year. For others, it is a time of difficult memories, of disappointments, or just general stress,…

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In part 1 of this series of blogs on the relationship between depression and anxiety, I discuss how they are often related by their both being a response to a difficult task or issue.  In Part 2, I describe how depression and anxiety become such problems when dealing with difficult tasks or issues. Finally, in…

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In part 1 of this series of blogs on the relationship between depression and anxiety, I discuss how they are often related by their both being a response to a difficult task or issue.  In Part 2, I describe how depression and anxiety become such problems when dealing with difficult tasks or issues. Finally, in…

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In part 1 of this series of blogs on the relationship between depression and anxiety, I discuss how they are often related by their both being a response to a difficult task or issue.  In Part 2, I describe how depression and anxiety become such problems when dealing with difficult tasks or issues. Finally, in…

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During my first blog entry on authenticity, I explained what the word and concept of “authenticity” means to me.  I left unanswered the question of why “Authenticity” is important.  My aim here is to take a shot at trying to answer that question. I want to thank a client who offered to allow me to…

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Why do we have anxiety? We experience anxiety when we want control over outcomes that are important to us. In this sense, anxiety itself is not a problem. A professor back in graduate school had a saying about anxiety: “without anxiety all rabbits would be dead on the railroad tracks” (if they didn’t jump like…

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Of course it is, but sometimes you wouldn’t know it by what clients tell me during their narratives of how they feel about themselves or other family members who become angry. Listening to an interview on NPR a few years ago, a psychologist said, “anger is a moral feeling.” I can’t remember anything else he…

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Clients often express either doubts about not loving themselves or outright inability to feel love for themselves, which in all cases has been related to physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse.  Its as if they’ve learned that experiencing this kind of trauma prevents them from loving themselves, which in turn prevents them from loving others and…

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