Communication

Do You Want to Avoid the Next Fight?

Most people are now aware that high levels of conflict--loud, angry or bitter fighting--can be tremendously destructive not only to marriages and intimate relationships but can cause lasting harm to the children caught in the crossfire.

As painful as divorce can be for kids, what we know now is that excessive fighting is what troubles kids--whether the family remains intact or not. On the flip side, disagreements and differences go hand in hand with any relationship...
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Boundaries

Breaking Free from Your Victim Story

“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.” -Paulo Coelho

How often do you say things out loud or to yourself like: "He makes me feel stupid" or "I'm depressed because she is always criticizing me" or "I would be happy if my partner would only treat me better? He/she won't let me do that, think that,...
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Anxiety

10 Tips to Help Kids Cope with War & Traumatic Events

"I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, 'Mother, what was war?'" ~Eve Merriam

These are uncertain, turbulent times, colored as they are by fears about war and terrorism. As a result, children as well as adults are experiencing higher levels of stress.

When a flu bug is going around, conscientious parents make sure their child is getting plenty of sleep, vitamins, and a healthy diet to build their immune system....
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Anxiety

Could You Be Suffering from the Summertime Blues?

Summer is in full swing and all around you, people seem to be enjoying themselves. Happy to be outdoors, puttering in the garden, reading cheesy novels, going to the beach or nearby parks for picnics. Not only do you not get it, you feel worse just seeing their rosy complexions. Like Scrooge at Christmas, you want to scream "Baaaah humbug!" but nobody wants to hear your complaints.

Or perhaps it's not you but one of your...
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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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