In the last 10 years, political ideology in the United States has become highly polarized. The right, center, and left seem to live on different planets. During this decade, the government has frequently ground to a halt. No one is interested in compromise. Republicans and Democrats alike are trenched into their positions. Each side is passionate about why they are right and the other side is wrong. The government has been on the brink of financial default several times. It hasn’t been a pretty picture. At times, it’s become downright ugly.How do partisan politics affect you and I in... Read More
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While I’m no Scrooge, during the hubbub of December, I do look forward to January. For one, the lengthening days become particularly noticeable towards the end of month. The longer days herald spring, which comes early to the Northwest. It’s a season I happily greet.
But January has a dark side too. It brings many telephone calls to our behavioral health department requesting appointments for couples whose marriages are falling apart. Couples worked hard to keep everything on an even keel for Christmas. They... Read More
Today many of us will sit down with family and friends and enjoy a feast. Thanksgiving is the most celebrated American holiday. It is one of my favorites too!
I feel very fortunate this holiday because our two daughters, who live in Brooklyn, will be joining us. It has been a long time since they have been able to come home for Thanksgiving. Yearly, we invite a family over who have younger children. Their relatives live in Germany and Israel, so we have become their American family. This year we will all be together. That is my thanksgiving this holiday.
Every year I like to... Read More
The other day, two parents sat in my office, discussing their very different parenting styles. Mary tends to be strict and likes to set clear limits for their 11-year-old daughter, Sarah. Tim appreciates a softer touch--he is sympathetic to Sarah's challenges. He is more likely to give their youngster what she wants, if he feels that she has a good reason. Their problem is not their differences--it’s that they don't support each other on the family battleground. When an issue arises--they argue with each other in front of Sarah about what to do. Or, one rolls their eyes at the other.... Read More
One of my greatest frustrations, as a clinical psychologist, is trying to help couples that have waited way too long before seeking help. Joe and Mary come in for assistance, filled with frustration and resentment. They haven’t made love for seven years. They wonder—can marriage counseling help them? Bill and Sarah haven’t said a kind word to each other in years. They argue about everything. When these couples land in my office, I sigh. There has been so much dirty water under their bridge; it seems impossible to repair the damage.
As a man that has been with the same woman for 42... Read More
Mark and Kim tried to conceive a baby for two years. After some medical tests, the young couple finally accepted that it would be impossible for them to have a baby of their own. After days of anguished discussion, they decided to try AID or Artificial Insemination by Donor. After a few months, Kim became pregnant and later they were both the proud parents of a beautiful baby daughter, Amy. But now they wondered, when Amy is old enough, should they tell her how she was conceived. Should they tell her that Mark is not her biological father?
Most families have had complicated life... Read More
As a child growing up, I felt that few adults really understood me. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel loved—I did. But everyone was so busy. I didn’t think that they really “saw” me. I remember my youngest daughter expressing the same thought when she was a child. And, I have to admit that there were many things about her I didn’t really get. She was right.
Our role as parents obscures our vision. Parenthood is filled with responsibilities, demands, and challenges. These pressures and our inherent lack of objectivity blocks our deeper understanding of our children.
When I was 10,... Read More
Joe and Mary sat on the love seat, tense and angry. “He never tells me he loves me! He doesn’t give me a hug or a kiss. He comes home, nods at me, plays with the kids, watches TV and falls sound asleep”. Joe is confused. “Of course, I love her! We both agreed that our kids come first. I shouldn’t have to tell her something she should know!”
But Mary feels taken for granted. She wants Joe to show her how much he loves her. He feels that she should know how he feels. This kind of conflict is like a jet circling around an airport endlessly. It seems like it will never come in for a... 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