Finding One’s Way When Lost in a Parenting Power Struggle

When working with parents who are feeling frustrated, bewildered, and sometimes ashamed in relation to their parenting struggles, I will ask them what they wished for in their child before they were born. We talk about the origins of those dreams and longings. This question often opens up a whole landscape of pain points and areas of pride from their own childhood. This can include ways the parents felt let down or invisible to their own caregivers. It often also reflects a striving to undo and redo, so they can repair their own unresolved wounds from the past. In my

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Addressing Unfairness in Your Relationship

Listening to assertions of unfairness can be a daily occurrence for relationship therapists. Whether it is about household chores, how a decision was made, or how one’s partner reacts to them when angry, feelings of injustice are ubiquitous in close relationships.  At first glance, the concept of fairness can seem quite straightforward.  In a narrow situation within a time-limited relationship, a fair outcome or fair procedure can be identified, and the participants can move on after the event. However, when it comes to long-term intimate relationships, perspectives on what is fair or unfair are complex and not easily resolved. Perceived

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“Can Our Relationship Be Fixed?” My honest answer when couples ask me that very question

When some couples begin the therapy process, they want me to spare them the time, money, and agony of opening up their relationship for examination. If I would just tell them if it will be “worth the effort” then they could decide if they want to engage.  They are scared, understandably so, that their vulnerability and pain will be exposed, their wounds reopened, and the closeness, reassurance and love that they are longing for from their partner will never materialize.  There is probably some measure of ambivalence in every couple that begins therapy for that very reason.  It is a

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“Why Is This So Hard?” A closer look at couples therapy

Couple therapy is really really hard. Some couples might even call it excruciating at times. Why? Because it means taking the riskiest of risks, opening yourself up to find out the answers to some of these difficult questions: Am I truly loveable? Do I really count and matter to you? Will you ever be able to forgive me fully and trust me again? Can I forgive you and open my heart again to trust you? Some partners have never learned how to accept, convey or give love in honest and vulnerable ways. For those who have not been lucky enough

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My Approach to Therapy

My approach to psychotherapy is grounded in my belief that we are all doing the best we can at any given moment.  But when our best at a given time falls below our self-expectations, we can be left feeling confused, sad, afraid, angry and ashamed.  My curiosity lies in determining what has interfered in that space between who we want to be and how we are behaving, feeling and thinking in the present. Often, what has interfered is intimately tied to difficulties in our relationships with family, friends, partners, and colleagues.  As social beings, we are built for connection. We

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Couples Therapy

Couples therapy is a step towards improving your relationship and your life. A healthy relationship, in which each partner feels loved, understood and supported, is intimately tied to one’s overall life satisfaction. The converse is true as well: an unhappy relationship can impact all areas of one’s life. It adds stress, anger, sadness and distractions. Many couples can recall a happier time and are sometimes confused as to how they have landed in disconnection and pain.  Some of the reasons couples seek treatment with me include: loss of intimacy (sexual and emotional) communication problems infidelity financial disagreements and betrayals illness

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Presentations and Workshops

Collaborating with organizations and groups is a passion of mine. I have conducted presentations and workshops for mental health professionals, non-profit organizations, groups re-entering the workforce, allied health professionals, teachers, and trainees. Topics have included: Promoting resilience after trauma The impact of trauma on youth Money and psychotherapy: helping clinicians address this taboo topic with clients Preventing burn-out in the workplace Mindfulness at work Recovering from vicarious trauma Navigating difficult relationships at work Attachment Theory: Implications for student-teacher relationships Connection and discipline for caregivers Get in touch if you are interested in discussing your group’s presentation or workshop needs.

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Curiosity: An Essential Part of Love

I first saw this YouTube Clip of the Still Face Experiment when I attended the Emotionally Focused Therapy Summit in NYC in 2013:   I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I ended up watching it maybe 15 times and sharing it with friends and colleagues. In the clip a baby and mother are engaging in a playful interaction, when the mother – instructed to do so – goes blank. All the emotion and responsiveness drains from her face. The baby is confused, then upset. She finally shows quite a bit of distress at the fact that her mother

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Clinical Supervision

Becoming and being a therapist isn’t easy! There is so much to track and manage: our own feelings and reactions, the needs and emotions of our clients, along with all the external factors that influence us. But, like almost everything else in life, we can increase our capacity and skill when we don’t go it alone. I have sharpened my therapeutic skills and experienced the greatest the gains with clients when I have had supervisors who were nonjudgmental, caring, and able to build an authentic relationship with me.  Those influential supervisors taught me that establishing a trusting supervisory relationship is

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Order of Operations: Getting It Right With Your Partner

I have been using the phrase ‘order of operations’ lately with the couples I treat.  If you recall, order of operations refers to a set of rules regarding which math procedure to apply to a math problem and in what order to complete each procedure.  You may not have used the concept ‘order of operations’ since your grade school math classes. But it’s a concept worth resurrecting when it comes to being attuned and compassionate in your relationships.   It’s not obvious on the surface, but expressing love and support requires attention to how you order your responses.   Here’s a classic

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