What the “Beautiful Boy” Movie Left Out (And Families Facing Addiction Need to Know)

I'm a big fan of David Sheff's book "Beautiful Boy" and was excited to finally come up for air after the holidays and watch the movie. While I don't have an addicted family member, I've worked with many parents who do, and I couldn't help imagining what they'd feel as they watched.

The message seemed to be: Nic Sheff was a beautiful, perfect boy overtaken by the monster of drug addiction. How he found his way back? That was left unexplored, and a very significant part of the narrative that could have engendered hope was left out.

So I wanted to highlight that missing part of the story for all the families struggling out there.


How to Recognize a Safe Ally for Disclosing Trauma

Over the past year, many have become aware of just how common trauma really is. That includes sexual trauma, other forms of violence, and abuse (physical, verbal, and emotional.) This is a nation in pain, a culture in crisis.

But there's also enormous capacity for healing. Because awareness has increased, there are more safe spaces than possibly ever before. While people can heal without talking to others, healing is more likely when you share.

Here are some thoughts on who to talk to, and under what circumstances.


Make This the Summer of Stronger Relationships

The school year is a grind for many. It's hard to catch your breath, let alone be thoughtful about what you want to create in terms of your relationships. Just get things done, get through it, and look forward to the summer.

But what kind of summer?

As the school year is winding down and the summer is beginning, there's an opportunity to be mindful, to reflect on where you are with those you love and to make sure you strengthen those bonds. That way, when the madness starts up again, you're feeling grounded, individually and relationally.


Citizen Rose: Fighting Hurt

Rose McGowan is one of the more polarizing figures within the #MeToo movement. For one thing, she'll call out some of her fellow activists, like Alyssa Milano. Then there's her presentation. She's unpolished, and unapologetic about it. She doesn't always choose to hide her anger, and at times, it's not a choice. It just bursts out.

The second episode of her show CITIZEN ROSE just aired, and she continues to emphasize that trauma isn't pretty, and it isn't over. She can't always contain it; nor can she be contained. Continuing to fight while hurt is a truly heroic endeavor, and I'm grateful to her.

CITIZEN ROSE is powerful. It's important. But is it recommended viewing for those who've been through trauma? Not necessarily.


Why Self-Awareness is the Best Parenting Tool

Parenting is a triggering experience. When we deal with our kids, we're also interfacing with ourselves as children, and the remnants of how we were parented (for better and for worse.)

As parents, we're inundated with tips on how to manage our children's problematic behavior. But the #1 tip doesn't have to do with your kids; it's all about you.


Getting Married? Get Counseling, NOW

So Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux just announced their split after two and a half years of marriage. As a couples therapist, what I always think when I hear of a short duration like that is that the seeds of discontent were already present by the time of the engagement, and most likely a lot sooner.

That's why I'm a proponent of premarital counseling.

If you've never heard of it but you're thinking about marriage, planning for it, or just hoping, you might want to read on.


Hidden Reasons You’re Allowing Your Kids to Mistreat You

Kids act out sometimes, and they don't always listen; sometimes they'll defy you or lie; depending on their age, they may not show a whole lot of appreciation. That's just misbehavior. Mistreatment is about repetitive patterns of being demeaned, disrespected, dehumanized, and taken advantage of.

The reason I said you're "allowing" it--and there's no judgment in that word--is because you're more powerful than you may think. And when children get away with habitually mistreating anyone, including you, they're learning very dangerous lessons.

Read on for the most common subconscious reasons that parents don't assert themselves in the ways they need to. It can be with younger children, adolescents, or adult children.  I point out these reasons with compassion, but also with a sense of hope: Our subconscious is powerful; making our emotional rationales conscious is even more powerful.


How to Help Your Kids Handle Cyberbullying

I watched the first episode of the A & E's docuseries "Undercover High" where young adults go undercover in a Kansas high school to let the rest of us know what's changed since we were there. What grabbed me was the behind the scenes afterward featuring two insightful adolescent therapists, Dr. Stacy Kaiser and Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble.

I wanted to share what resonated most with me as a therapist and the mother of a future teenager girl (my little one just turned six.) Hope it resonates with you, too.


A New Understanding of Sexual Desire

Recently, in my sessions with couples, I've had the opportunity to explain an important concept we all missed in sex education, and it's an incredibly liberating one: responsive desire.

If you or your partner find that you don't tend to want sex but then you enjoy it once you're having it, fear not. It's entirely normal. For women, it's common. Knowing you have responsive desire and adjusting accordingly can really jump-start your sex life.

Read on to learn more.