Change

The Aftermath of the Isla Vista Massacre: What Can Be Learned

The tragedy in Isla Vista has left my precious Santa Barbara community—and the nation—reeling. The senseless violence, claiming the lives of innocent young people, has stimulated many different conversations…Conversations about mental illness, about more stringent gun control laws, about violence against women, about inappropriate parenting and the rise of narcissism.

No one, myself included, wants to accept that we are utterly powerless, and that the rising tide of mass murders cannot be stopped. We should all...
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Change

How to Eliminate Envy & Practice Empathy


The White family overwhelms my office with noise and activity from the first moment they arrive for family therapy. The three boys, aged 6, 10, and 13, immediately begin to argue over who sits where.

Pouncing on one another's laps, they push and poke. The youngest one screams as though he has been mortally wounded. Mom and Dad make a feeble attempt to create order out of chaos but they are clearly outnumbered.

Is this normal sibling...
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Depression

Depressed? 6 Tips to Help Find Your Soul

Ashley burst into tears within a few moments of sitting down in my office. "I don't know why I'm crying. I have a loving husband and two precious children. I work out a lot and I eat well--at least most of the time. I have really great girlfriends although I never get enough time with them. I just don't know who I am any I don't know where I lost myself."

It didn't take long...
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Communication

6 Tips for Breaking the Blame Barrier

Hardly a day ever goes by when I don't hear someone blaming someone for something. It is one of the most common--and one of the most frustrating patterns that confront couples and families. Blame can destroy a good marriage, wreak havoc on our friendships, and put innocent kids in the middle of their parents' arguments.

Not only are families besieged by this destructive pattern, the whole culture is mired in it. We blame the...
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Anxiety

10 Tips to Manage Stress More Effectively

—Countless research studies have underscored how anxiety and depression correlate significantly with an individual's sense of control or lack of control over his or her own destiny. The same thing is true when it comes to stress.

In fact, given our mortality combined with our lack of control over so much of life, stress goes hand in hand with being human. Although we can't make all our stresses disappear with a magic wand, we can...
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Anxiety

Stressed to the Limit. No End in Sight.

"Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time." -Alvin Toffler

I received a call from a distressed mother last week asking if her whole family could come to see me. "I'm really worried," she explained. "Every one of us in the family is completely stressed out, and we need to find out how to cope better."

I am...
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Anxiety

We Are Only As Sick as Our Secrets

"Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also--if you love them enough."  -George Washington Carver

I've been a psychotherapist for over thirty years. I have long ago lost count of...
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Change

Confronting Your Ghosts of the Past: How to Assess Your Relationship

"In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, the bridge to our future." -Alex Haley
If you were one of the lucky people, raised in a happy loving family, you've most likely emerged with many of the skills and strengths necessary to form lasting healthy you are probably NOT reading this blog right now.
Unfortunately, far too many people were raised by parents filled...
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Boundaries

Drowning in Love: What’s Too Much of a Good Thing?

Definitions of smothering love: To express your love for someone too much; to cover someone or something completely; to insulate, to overwhelm.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs around. Especially here, especially now, in our rapidly moving, constantly changing modern world. Most parents seek out this job willingly and joyfully with the best of intentions. Doesn't everyone want to raise happy healthy children who grow up into competent independent adults? Of course. So...
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Anxiety

Unhappy Relationships and Depression Go Hand in Hand

"What is the opposite of two? A lonely me. A lonely you." -Richard Wilbur

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." -Friedrich Nietzsche

The TV ads would have all of us believe that the best cure for depression is the latest and greatest medication. First it was Prozac and now it's Pristiq and Abilify. Although medication is a life saver for many, for others the side effects are...
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