Archive for the ‘counseling’ Category

Relationships: True Intimacy

May 1, 2009

True intimacy is achieved when you feel safe enough to be emotionally naked with your partner.  You know your partner will not try to talk you out of your authentic feelings, will not say you’re “over-reacting”,  will not try to fix it, and will not ignore you. You know you will be supported and validated no matter what you’re feeling and sharing, verbally or otherwise.  You know you will receive empathy.This is love, pure and simple…

Do You Think She Needs Counseling?

February 3, 2009


Psychscribe Quote #52

January 18, 2009





“Nothing worth knowing can be taught”  Oscar Wilde

Would You Want to Know Your Therapist Has Lupus?

December 21, 2008

I struggle with this one since so often I have to cancel people out because I’m flaring.  I advise them that I have a chronic medical condition which unfortunately knocks me out. But I think it also sends the message to patients that my needs are more important than theirs. People are really great about it, but it bothers me that I cannot offer the consistency and dependability people need when they go to therapy. 

For example, I was flaring last week and told people I’d be calling them today, Sunday, to hopefully reschedule tomorrow. Well as it turns out I now have a cold and still need to stay at home.  It sounds so…flaky… and the STRESS of the uncertainty only makes me feel worse .  One thing about lupus is you need to really baby your body when anything comes on because your immune system cannot  defend the body against invading viruses, bacteria, etc.

Therapists are trained to only self disclose for the benefit of the patient.  I’m thinking that if they knew exactly what the medical condition is, they would understand why I have to frequently cancel and the uncertainty of when I can reschedule. But I’m not sure if I’m considering telling them for my benefit, so they won’t think badly of me, or theirs, so they won’t feel blown off and therefore feel badly about themselves. And then I’m afraid that if they understand the seriousness of my condition, it might scare them off…

So I’d really appreciate your input on this, especially if you’ve ever been a therapy patient. Would you want to know its lupus? How do you think this would make you feel? How might you respond?  Or is that way too much information?  Do you think the “chronic medical condition” is enough of an explanation?

Thanks for any help you can offer me here.

Psychscribe Quote # 48

December 16, 2008


Image from



“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.” Author unknown.

Parable of Two Wolves

November 13, 2008



An elderly Cherokee was teaching his grandchildren about life. 

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.” One wolf is evil………..he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. 

The other is good……… he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.” 

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” 

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” 

Am I “addicted” to the Internet?

November 10, 2008

I just read the psychology news brief in my sidebar:  Chinese Issue First Definition of Internet Addiction.  “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.  The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”

Who? Me? Do nights count? Well….I’ve never counted how many hours a day I spend online.  But its a lot. I blog, read others’ blogs, go online for news, weather, telephone numbers, to shop, bid on my ebay beads, and find out lots of other information or research that interests me. I also email lots of friends, and belong to various professional listservs that I read to stay current in my field. The internet has replaced magazines as a source of leisure reading, and most of the major newspapers are now online.

I definitely get irritated when I can’t get at my computer when I want to, and I sometimes yearn to get back to it when I’m in a boring social situation. I doubt its 6 hours a day, but maybe I’m  in denial. Maybe my family will shock me with a group intervention. Though I don’t know where they’d find time since they’re all online too…

What amazes me about this news article is that they were able to tear the people away from their computers and into psychiatric units.  Unless…ew…they were taken involuntarily?

What do you think of this definition? And where do you fall according to these guidelines?

When A Spouse Comes Out

November 5, 2008



I found an interesting column by Garry Cooper  in this month’s Psychotherapy Networker.  

He reports that  Amity Pierce Buxton, founder of The Straight Spouse Network, estimates that as many as two million straight spouses will, often suddenly, traumatically,  and by accident, find themselves discovering that they have a gay or bi spouse. The article also reports that Joe Kort, an Imago therapist specializing in gay issues, has seen couples negotiate arrangements other than splitting.  Some agreed upon solutions have been allowing one or both parters to have relationships outside the marriage, allowing the bi/ gay partner to use porn and webcams but not meet sexual partners face to face, or the bi/gay partner agrees not to indulge in outside sexual behaviors or porn.

What a tough and painful situation for everyone involved…particularly where there are children…or the spouses still love each other…  What would you do?

Staying Present- A Life Lesson

October 14, 2008

Copyright Jupiter Images 2008

“Look not back in anger nor ahead in fear, but think of now with awareness.” Author Unknown 

I chose this quote for my high school yearbook. I have no idea how it surfaced through the years to my conscious memory, but wow!  That 18 year old girl must have had some precognition that the quoted lesson  would be one I so needed to eventually learn (and teach my future clients).

 And learning it I am. Even more aware of the beauty of nature than I’ve been all my life (if thats posssible),seeing it, smelling it, feeling it on my skin,  melding with it, morphing with it, feeling it in every inch of my body and soul. Its a beautiful autumn here in the northeast…

How long are YOU able to stay in the present moment? Have you thought about that? Have you thought about the fact that when you are TRULY in the present moment you can’t worry or feel anxious because that’s about the future? Are you letting the simple joys of the present moment slip away into tomorrows that may never come?

What are your favorite ways of staying present? Staying in the present is a present you give to yourself.

Psychscribe Quote #38

July 9, 2008

“Would the little child you were look up to the adult you have become?” Joe Kort

If so, great!!!! If not…why not?

Couples Clue Phone #6

July 3, 2008

Too often, as adults, we forget to say three little words that mean so much to our partners. No, not the obvious ones.

I mean “I’m proud of you.” For some reason, we forget to say that, almost as if its a given to our partner. It isn’t. Trust me. Try saying it. Please be sure you have a particular example in mind because its absolutely certain he or she will ask, “Why???”.

Then when you say it, watch the subtle change of facial expression.  You will see that you have given a powerfully tender gift to the person you love.

Psychscribe Quote #34

June 13, 2008

Copyright 2008 JupiterImages

         “Love dies only when growth stops.” Pearl S. Buck

Why is Empty Frame/Inner Guidance so Popular?

May 6, 2008

This is one of my highest rated posts, with many searches for it every day, yet no comments are left. Are people finding it to be a disappointment, or or you getting something out of it? Soooooo curious. Thanks.

Psychscribe Quote #31

April 29, 2008

“Sometimes you don’t realize how miserable you were until you’re not anymore.”  Dorothea Benton Frank from her novel Shem Creek.


Couples Clue Phone #5

April 2, 2008


Artist: Dante Gabriel Rosetti

I hate when I hear clients or professionals talking about having to “work at” a sexual relationship. That sounds about as exciting as cleaning the bathroom. Maintaining (or resurrecting) the sexual chemistry in a relationship is an art. Repeat: art. Its about flirting and seduction. 

I ask you, does this lovely lady look like she’s working?

Hypnotherapist Fires Her Hpnotherapist

March 31, 2008

Just an update….a colleague told me she’d had great success with hypnotherapy and medical conditions, including lupus. I waited 2 months for her to get back from a vacation. She’s a BIG cahuna in the hypnosis field. And she proceeds to give me a different kind of therapy altogether. Completely different intervention. When I, a colleague, questioned her on this, she interpreted it as resistance! Now I can understand why the general public often has such negativity toward therapists. Bottom line, if you agree to a certain kind of therapy with your therapist, you’re supposed to get it, people!  Thus my exit from that path and new forage into the world of accupressure….

Psychscribe Quote #26

March 28, 2008

“No one ever said life would be a bowl of cherries.” Frank Spinale (my father)

Do You Watch “In Treatment”?

March 27, 2008

In case you’re not familiar with it, its an HBO series about a  fictional therapist and his client sessions, as well as his own sessions in marriage counseling with his wife. As a shrink I think its great,  but many of my colleagues do not agree with me. We are not psychoanalytically trained, as the therapist Paul seems to be, but I still think its so real….Anybody out there watch it? Any reactions? To the therapist? Or do you identify with any of the characters?

How Have Your Therapy Experiences Been?

March 24, 2008

Here’s your chance to rant….or rave….I am curious…what was (or is)  helpful in your therapy? What was not? Studies show that clients rate the relationship with the therapist to be the single most healing factor, over and above methods used. Do you agree with this?

“You’re Dead to Me” – Family Conflicts

March 19, 2008

Those are pretty strong words.  But in families where the solution to conflict is to cut each other off that’s basically what they’re saying. I used to think it was an Italian thing, since that’s who we are in my  family. But as a therapist I learned in grad school that this is a multigenerational type of family dysfunction, in people of many ethnicities. I see this in my office all the time.  I also see that the pattern in families is that there are the cut-offers and the cut-offees, if you will.  Each knows who they are, and each knows who has the power: the cut-offer. Because the cut-offee will often eat a lot of bad behavior in order to “keep the peace”,  causing terrible emotional indigestion!

In our family my father and his brother did not speak for over 20 years (I think my father was the one who did the cut-off, over money…) They reunited when my father was on his death bed and my uncle came to not only say good-bye and make peace, but also to reassure my father that he’d look after my mother financially. Funny how the money thing came full circle… Right now my mother is not speaking to her sister, my brother is not speaking to me, my kids are not speaking to each other, and my 99 year old grandmother, one of 5 sisters, will go to her grave  having cut off for over 20 years  a sister who lives 10 minutes away.

Growing up, the absolute worst punishment we could get was my mother not speaking to us, looking through us as if we were dead, totally ignoring our existence.  Talk about abandonment issues!!!

Sad, isn’t it?

Psychscribe Quote #24

March 18, 2008

“Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.” Author Unknown

Shrink’s View from the Couch

March 4, 2008

Well I told you all that I’m trying hypnotherapy for my lupus, in order to hopefully kill the psychological dragons that are lying in wait to attack my body…I’ve been in therapy before (as any good therapist should) but this is really really hard. Because my therapist is all about releasing the trapped emotions in the body which are causing the disease (needing to be expressed). Makes sense, doesn’t it? Only thing is, I hate it! You can’t get away from your emotions when you’re focused on where they are in your body the whole entire session, and I know this as a shrink, I always tell my clients “you have to feel in order to heal” but I sure don’t like doing it myself!  Avoiding painful emotional trauma  is something I learned in childhood, of course, a wonderful coping mechanism at the time, so I’m really not liking to have to go there now….on the other hand, if it can save my life I can’t thing of a better motivator! So I truly feel forced to go deeper than I ever have before…and I don’t like feeling forced to do anything.

Signed with painful honesty, Psychscribe

Couples Clue Phone #3 by Psychscribe

March 1, 2008


 What NOT to say: “Do you wanna go upstairs and fool around?” or “Do you feel like having sex tonight?”  Such direct approaches generally yield zip in the bedroom because they’re not exactly a turn on.  Better: when you’re feeling amorous, be seductive and romantic. I don’t have to tell you how. You know you  remember, and isn’t your partner worth the trouble? Not to mention the money you’ll save on marriage counselors.

Copyright 2008 Psychscribe

Couples Clue Phone #2 by Psychscribe

February 19, 2008


 No matter how much your partner criticizes or complains about his or her extended family, don’t chime in. If you do, your partner will turn on you like a wolf foaming at the mouth.  We can’t help it. Its our nature to defend our blood kin. Must be some kind of evolutionary thing for safety.  Better to wait for another time to tactfully complain about a particular behavior to the person who bothers you. That way you keep your partner out of a nasty triangle which cannot do your relationships any good at all.

Copyright 2008 by Psychscribe

Couples Clue Phone #1 by Psychscribe

February 15, 2008


cluphoneNOIntro: I’ve decided to periodically give some very brief tips which may seem obvious to some, but not so to others who are embroiled in a battleground relationship…or at the other end of the spectrum, frozen solid….

 Never try to talk your partner out of his or her feelings. Just last night for the umpteenth time a spouse in my office said  “But you really shouldn’t feel that way!” This never works because it is logic speaking to emotion.  Totally different languages.  You may think what you think, but feelings are feelings and the person has a right to them. No one ever talked a person out of how they feel. They may succumb to your logic out of sheer weariness, but trust me the emotion that follows will probably be worse than the one that is now stuffed. Better to try to understand, and express empathy. Your partner will love you for it, and love is what this is supposed to be all about, isn’t it?

Copyright 2008 by Psychscribe