The New Middle Age

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Consider these phrases: “Middle Aged”. “Over the Hill”. “Past Your Prime”. Do they inspire you to live a long, healthy and happy life? Me neither. I love the slogan of the organization Aging as Ourselves:  “Age doesn’t define me; my attitude does.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But how do we pull this...

How to Raise Your Self-Esteem

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Self-Esteem is a phrase that you hear a lot in the media. I’d like to talk a bit about what self-esteem is and how you can improve yours. When I worked for Kaiser-Permanente Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, I facilitated the “Healthy Relationships Support Group” (which I...

Do I have enough?

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As a psychotherapist, over the years’ I’ve heard many people say that they don’t have enough of the good things in life. This column looks at a few of the things that I think really matter: Fun: Enjoyment, amusement and pleasure…that’s a good definition of fun....

Is American Life Really All About Power and Money?

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The current New Yorker features an article analyzing the work and career of Joan Didion, a writer whose work and life I admire: a writer who has inspired me since reading her essay collection "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" in the 1970's. This article starts off as a pretty...

Why is it so Hard to Change?

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As a psychotherapist, clients often ask me: “Why is it so hard to change?” We know what we want, we know who we want to be, and yet, it’s so hard to stop being the way we are and become this new person with healthier beliefs...

Healthy Boundaries

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If you listen to any kind of psychological advice show – from Dr. Phil to Dr. Drew – you’ll hear the therapist talking about “healthy boundaries”.  A boundary is a marker, a dividing line. It tells me where my property stops and yours starts. Psychologically, it...

Volunteering and Your Mental Health

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When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to volunteer for my church. On many Sunday afternoons, I would join a group of men and women who went downtown and fed hungry people. It wasn’t glamorous work: there are no photographers taking our pictures and some...

Parenting Yourself

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Almost everyone I know complains about their parents – clients, friends and relatives alike. Our parents never got it right, did they? They always screwed up in tons of creative, hurtful ways. But what can we do about it? We can learn to parent ourselves. Many of...