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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The Best (and Worst) Times to Address Anxiety

We are collectively experiencing unprecedented levels of stress as a society. A pandemic, social unrest, political strain, economic pressures. It has been relentless for nearly 8 months and most of my clients are longing for relief. To arrive at much-needed relief, we must understand what is happening to us when we feel those distressing emotions. It starts in our brains. Our brains have been brilliantly designed as astute detectors of threat, ready to prepare our bodies for self-preservation. This all happens deep within the primitive recesses of our brains, out of view of our consciousness. As our brains detect threat,

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When We Hurt Others

Taking responsibility for harm we have caused others is essential to living an authentic life. We’ve all been there: a dispute between yourself and a grade school classmate. Next, the teacher intervenes, forces you both to “say you are sorry” and sometimes with the added “and say it like you mean it.” Then you both go on your way, likely with the sense that you participated in some strange ritual that was supposed to absolve both the harmer and the harmed…somehow you simply move on and do not have to give it another thought. This is the American way of apology. Whether

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Therapy as Slowing Down

Have you ever tried to slow down your activity level so much so that you became aware of every micro-movement you are making? This was a mindfulness exercise I participated in with a group. One group member commented that the experience was “destabilizing but informative.” That description stuck with me. It seemed to shed light on what might  be a core truth: opportunities to learn about ourselves may grow best when we are not at our best. The exercise was indeed destabilizing – when we try to walk so slowly that for a brief moment it feels like both feet

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Managing Anxiety When the Bear is Us (and our emotions)

I often tell individuals I am working with that if their goal is to completely obliterate any anxiety they are experiencing, they will fail. Of course, this is not meant to be discouraging or to deny their feelings or experience. I too know the discomfort and sometimes agony of anxiety, like all humans do. However, we need anxiety to survive in the world. That often used example of the bear chasing us in the forest works well to illustrate the usefulness of anxiety: all the cognitive, physical and affective systems that shift into high gear when we instinctively run away,

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Family Building

There is a lot of information out there about third-party reproduction and infertility, and it is not easy to sift through it all – all the while determining what is accurate or not. The resources below are vetted websites that provide accurate and up-to-date information. American Society for Reproductive Medicine Patient Resources Parents via Egg Donation Donor Conception Network RESOLVE: The National Infertility Organization

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Navigating Grief

Words cannot adequately capture the experience of the death of a loved one. This may be why so many experiencing grief have told me they long to connect with others who have also lost a loved one, with the hope that they can feel less alone and afraid. While of course there are no shortcuts when it comes to grieving, these resources about grief and loss, the related emotional responses and strategies for coping, may provide some comfort and understanding of the process. Websites: American Psychological Association : Information on grief The Center for Complicated Grief : Resources for complicated grief,

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Parenting: Resources to Support You

Parenting trips up even the most self-assured among us. The good news is we don’t have to figure it out from scratch or alone. What all these resources have in common is an emphasis on the relationship between caregivers and children, rather an a prescriptive approach telling you what to do and how to do it. No book, podcast or blog can cover every possible challenge that will arise. However, developing a framework for thinking about your identity as a parent is essential to getting to the heart of parenting challenges. These resources include strategies on how to understand and

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