10 Tips for Surviving Holiday Family Gatherings

It's the start of the holiday season. which for many people means lots of family time.

If you're struggling with a mental illness, you might feel overwhelmed with to-do lists, gifts, cookies, meals, decorations, and get-togethers. A lot is packed into a few short months.

Here are 10 ways to help you make it through these next few months.

Remember (and state) the positive. Sure, Uncle Hector might belch at inopportune times, but he taught you how to...


Teaching Kids the Value of No: Consent Matters at All Ages

Anyone who has interacted with children can relate to the frustration that comes with being asked, begged, and pleaded with for something over and over.

Kids are notorious for not taking 'no' for an answer. They wear us down by the constant questions they repeat until we give in.

As a mom, I'm guilty of this. "Can I have one?" "No." "Please!" "No!" "Just one?" "NO!"  "I promise I won't ever ask you for one again!!!" And...

Mental Health

Could Online Therapy Be for You?

Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist and turned down the idea because you couldn't find a therapist you liked closeby, or the therapist didn't have hours that matched with your schedule? Maybe you're intrigued by the idea of online counseling and don't know where to start. Ads for online counseling services are popping up everywhere lately, touting the benefits of using technology to provide a service that is usually linked to a one-on-one meeting...


Speak Wisely! 17 Phrases That Can Destroy Your Relationship

Words are powerful. They can fortify, strengthen, and encourage, or they can break down, harm and destroy. Sometimes words are wielded as weapons. Other times they convey love and kindness.

One of my jobs as a couples therapist is to notice the words spoken in session and to find better, healthier ways of speaking. Fights, disagreements, and arguments happen. So as you feel your anger or frustration level rising, pay close attention to the wording that you...


Is Your Child Being Bullied? 12 Signs for Parents to Look For

The new school year has begun! For some kids, starting school is a welcome way to end summer's boredom. Others have no desire to get back to the learning and structure of school. But there are some kids for whom the idea of going back to school brings fear because they are being bullied.

The first step in helping a child who is being bullied is to understand what some of the signs are. Once you notice one...


Put Your Camera Away! 6 Things to Consider Before You Take Any More Pictures

I have a love/hate relationship with cameras. Life can be beautiful and amazing and we want to remember it. Taking a picture is one of those ways. But holding a phone in front of your face and looking through a viewfinder means seeing things differently, and often not in a good way.

The basic premise of photography means that there is always a distance between the photographer and the subject. Taking a picture of a child playing in...


The Importance of Family History on Mental Health

When I do an intake session with a new client, one thing we always cover is family history. Family history relates any relatives who have a mental illness, what a client's relationship with his or her mom, dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, the environment one grows up in, and much more. Family history is significant for many reasons.

Learned behaviors. As children, people are exposed to a variety of interactions between family members. For better...


8 Important Truths About Grief

My father died a month ago, after a short and painful descent into dementia.

While I expected his death, what surprised me was the path of grief that the loss of my father took me on. I found myself consulting colleagues, friends, and even Google in an attempt to identify if what I was experiencing was normal.

What I discovered is that there is no normal in grief. Each grieving person has his or her individual journey to take....


7 Unique Ways to Say “I Love You” This Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is widely acknowledged as a day to celebrate love, but actually has quite tragic and macabre origins regarding ritual sacrifice and more. It is far too complicated to go into here, but for a very interesting read, head over to NPR's article about it.

As it stands now,Valentine's Day is a time for people to show their love to each other. Many people have complained that it has become too commercial; with school children passing out...