Do I Have Trauma? Why Do the Same Things Keep Happening?

Does it feel like the same destructive things keep happening, that you date the same people, leave jobs for the same reason? We learn early how to make decisions, deal with things and even as we mature and get more sophisticated, sometimes old habits get stuck. What about when it’s a general feeling of unease? The first criteria of PTSD is some sort of experience of an event that is in some way life or personhood...

complex trauma

How to Respond to the Week from Hell?

As a trauma therapist, I may feel some duty to respond.  As a person, I have no idea how.  Charles Blow, an acclaimed writer whose own son, a Yale student, was held at gunpoint by police after being mistaken for a burglary suspect, called this A Week from Hell.  I can think of no better name.  I have decided to get out of the way and let others in...

cross-cultural psychology

Finding the Right Therapist

Maybe you’re considering whether to see a peer therapist. And despite knowing some of the drawbacks, maybe you decide you want someone who shares some experience or characteristic with you.  Maybe it’s the rigor of your education or career.  Maybe it’s someone of your race.  Maybe it’s your history of abuse.  Others want someone of their religious orientation. These desires are valid. In some ways it would be great to have someone...


How Can My Therapist Know What It’s Like to Be Me?

It’s not at all unusual to want a therapist who really understands our experiences, perhaps has even shared them.   Is that reasonable?  Is it realistic? Obviously there are many things we would never know about our therapist (assuming they have appropriate boundaries), but there are certainly there are some things that couldn’t be hidden if someone tried—race, age, geographic and educational history.

Peer support is support that comes from people who share our experiences, like in 12 step programs.  Professional support comes...


How (Not to) Mourn Shootings on Social Media

What are we supposed to say when a far away tragedy occurs?  Does it matter if it was a natural disaster or an act of terror?  If the victims were random versus extra vulnerable (like children) or minorities, like the most recent Pulse shooting?

I don’t know what your social media feeds look like but responding to a tragic event in a sensitive way can be really difficult.  When someone...


5 Tips for Surviving Major Life Changes

After several months away from a reliable internet connection, and sometimes electricity and therefore my blog, I am back.

As I write this first post saying “hello” again, saying, “I am so excited to be back in so many different ways,” I am also grieving.

As Semisonic sang almost 20 years ago, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”  I re-begin my blog and my life in the United States only by ending and leaving many people...


3 Reasons Why “Fake It Til You Make It” is Great Advice

Change. Loss. A Slump. Trauma. There’s a lot of ways to get thrown off balance and feel like you’ll never get up. We often think that healing will bring back our equilibrium but sometimes, in order to heal, we need to get some equilibrium first.

I know a lot of people who spend all their time acting like they’re feeling great when they’re not, and that’s a terrible way to live. I’m not talking about a...

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