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Family Talk Blog
Larry, a middle aged man, sits in my office, talking about Al-Anon, the 12-step program fashioned after Alcoholics Anonymous for family and friends of individuals with alcoholism or chemical dependency. He tells me his story---“I got a phone call from my son’s school when Joey was 14 years old. He was caught drinking at school with his buddies. At the time, I thought --“boys will be boys”, and didn’t think much of it. The progression of the disease is slow, so it was hard to see. But as time went on, more signs of his drinking problem appeared. I got called in the middle of the night that... Read More
Since January 1, 2011, 10,000 adult have turned 65 years of age every day. This will continue for the next 20 years! By 2020, only 8 years away, 54 million Americans will be 65 and over. During the same year, there will be over 23 million Americans who are 75 and over. These statistics show the ballooning number of aging adults in the years to come. But these numbers do not reflect what this will mean for their adult children, who will be in their midlife.
I had coffee with a good friend and his wife the other day. They wanted to talk to me about some of the challenges they were... Read More
“I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me”—T.S. Elliot
I just completed Atul Gawande’s best selling book—“Being Mortal”. It’s a lyrical work that shares the struggles of older and terminally ill adults facing the final chapter of their lives. Dr. Gawande, a surgeon, shares his perspective as a physician often... Read More
I remember my childhood chum, Dennis. We did everything together. We played ping pong until we fell from exhaustion. A brief snack later, we played Monopoly until his parents sent me home. I returned after dinner to play basketball into the night. Who needed to see the hoop? We were best friends. All we needed was each other.
Ultimately, I moved away, and our friendship faded. But childhood friendships stay alive in adult minds. They bring forth warm memories of innocence, loyalty and love.
Adolescent male relationships have a unique flavor. They taste of adventure and... Read More
This December, Diane and I have been a couple for 42 years! Wow! In this day and age that is quite an accomplishment. Periodically friends want to know--- what are the ingredients in the secret sauce of long-lived relationships?
Here’s my recipe.
Choose wisely. This is a hard one to qualify or quantify. So much of attraction is chemical rather than cerebral. Why are we attracted to one person and not another? Make sure that there is some chemistry to start with---it’s important. Don’t rush into a relationship—take your time. Be on the look out for red flags and when you see... Read More
The other day a co-worker and I were talking at lunch. Pretty soon, she started talking about another person---in a critical way. I started to feel uncomfortable because I realized that she was venting some unexpressed feelings about this third party.
We have all had this experience both as listener and lecturer. Mary talks to you about Jenny. Joe talks to you about John. Your mother talks to you about one of your sisters. You talk to your sister about your brother. Your best friend talks to you about her husband. Sometimes you are trying to work something out in your own mind by... Read More
I recently attended a meeting where one of the presenters was describing the problem of “burnout” among health care providers. A large percentage of health care workers are struggling with work-life balance, enthusiasm for their jobs, and feeling connected to their patients and colleagues. The same might be said about workers in other fields as well. Despite all of our technological advances, employees in the 21st century feel that they are working harder, longer hours, with less satisfaction from their jobs. Human service providers and educators seem to be particularly impacted by these... Read More
Some years ago, I attended a special event. More than 125 men and women, all struggling with a serious psychiatric illness, gathered for a day of sharing and discussion. Organized by a group of mentally ill patients and ex-patients, all the panels and speeches were given by adults with psychiatric disabilities. I was the only mental health professional invited to share in this celebration. It was an honor that I have not forgotten.
The panelists, all of whom suffered from long-term mental illness, spoke of their struggle to overcome stigma and prejudice. They spoke of their... Read More
I recently attended a week long seminar on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) taught by Ed Hallowell M.D. Dr. Hallowell, a Harvard trained psychiatrist, has written 5 best-selling books on ADHD. In addition to being a world renown expert on the subject, he has ADHD himself. He understands this condition from the “inside out”. The seminar focus was on understanding the strengths and special abilities that individuals with ADHD bring to the table. “We want to help kids and adults with ADHD unwrap their gifts” he says. It’s a refreshing and affirming approach. I love it.... Read More