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Where are all the children?

depressedchildRemember when you would come home from school and couldn’t wait to finish your homework and go outside and ride your bike, doing tricks off a homemade wood ramp, skateboarding, or going to a friends house to play a game of nurf football in the street, or what about playing catch with your well worn baseball glove? Do you remember begging your Mom to go swimming at the neighbor’s pool, or shooting hoops until dark? Do you remember when kids actually played outside? I do, but, for  the vast majority of families that really never happens anymore.

What has taken over is video games and an increasingly busy lifestyle. Of course, our children are still involved in sports, however, going outside to play with other children their age in the neighborhood has gone the way of the Razor phone. What are the psychological ramifications for these millions of children who no longer play outside and what happens to their view of the world around them?

Certainly this varies, however, I’m treating more adolescents, teenagers, and college students who are presenting with more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety than ever before. The question is why? Well, I find that especially with teenagers and college students there is a sense of the loss of control. Goals are focused on external, meaning those things or possessions that set them apart from others, rather than internal development. There seems to be a poor focus on who they really are, personal insight is very limited leading them to feel quite empty, depressed and filled with anxiety.

Consider this, what playing allowed us to do when we were younger was experiment, explore, and discover who we were. It really was fun, liberating, and exhilarating to be withs friends outside playing. I guess it was our modern day adrenaline rush, our outlet. Now that has shifted dramatically and so has the mental state of our children, and not for the better…

The decline of play


Life is Short, Don’t have an Affair!

large_noelweddingWith the recent hacking of the secretive “Let me cheat on my spouse without her knowing” website aka “Ashley Madison,” a national fallout has begun in millions of relationships. I heard that divorce lawyers expect this to be terrific for their business, sadly, this will also keep therapists, psychiatrists, clergy, social workers busy, as well. Many relationships, quite possibly many already in trouble, will be destroyed by the revelation that their spouse has been unfaithful. This will tear both hearts and families apart.

Infidelity is extremely difficult to work through once uncovered because of the betrayal, deep pain, the loss of trust, and terrible deception that led to the revelation. Naturally, the majority will witness the tragic end of their relationship, but, a few will navigate through these treacherous minefields and become stronger as a couple. However, be forewarned, the journey is painfully long, bitter at times, full of guilt for the one who has cheated, and doubt and mistrust play on the mind of the loyal one who stays despite the affair.

What is truly fascinating is the mental state of the person caught cheating who is then then faced with having to take accountability for their reckless behavior and apologize. Maybe you were caught? Maybe you are facing the prospect of deciding to stay or leave the unfaithful spouse? Are you asking yourself, “Can I make it through this?”  What is for certain is that there are no easy solutions. There are some very rough times ahead for millions of couples faced with this Ashley Madison Fallout. I think it’s better to say, “Life is short, so don’t have an affair!

Interested in the psychology of a cheater, read HERE 


Enough is Enough!!!

-vester-flanagan-car-0828-medium-plus-169Do you see the pattern here? Unchecked and unmedicated mental illness leads to a transference of anger that builds to a delusion full of hate that ultimately leads to unprovoked senseless violence. We have witnessed this play out, yet again, this time in Virginia. Two co-workers just doing their jobs on an early summer morning that ultimately turned horrific and has gone viral with the hope of causing a race war from the shooter’s intent.

The psyche of america is wearing thin with the constant violence, hatred, and civil unrest that has become so prevalent. How are you handling it? What are you telling your children about it, or are they even aware of it?  Do you have a conversation about it with your partner, family etc, or is this topic avoided because it doesn’t affect you personally?

Tragically, this deals a psychic blow to the family, friends, and co-workers who knew Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Some, with time, therapy and possibly medication will come to terms with what has happened and move forward with their lives, but sadly, others will not be able to cope with this tragedy. As the investigation intensifies we discover a profoundly disturbed, psychologically impaired human being who was so angry, so hateful, deceitful, with no sense of accountability for his actions and no regard for human life.

Can you avoid this type of tragedy and recognize the signs? Start reading HERE


Who’s Better Than Me?

bookclub_narcissist1-tmagArticleWhat do  Kim Kardashian, Madonna, Oprah, Matthew McConaughey, and Kanye West all have in common? Well, besides all being celebrities, wealthy, influential, and pleasant on the eyes, what else? Yes, the world revolves around them…warmer. Ok, they all suffer from, or, rather enjoy the effects of narcissistic personality disorder. Surprised?  Yes, you have watched them on the red carpet, their movies, TV shows, videos, listened to their music, and peaked at their selfies, right? They are captivating and we pay a lot of attention to them which serves to fuel their narcissistic behavior.

We often excuse their behavior as just them being celebrities. Maybe we even secretly want to be them (you know who you are). Of course, we would never be in a relationship with someone that is so self serving that our needs don’t matter to them? Certainly not even consider having a marriage and children with a person with this kind of personality, no not me! Um, well, what happens if I did/do, I mean have? Now what do I do?

“To Stay or Not To Stay?” that becomes the difficult question especially if you think that you are suffocating in this type of a relationship. What about the children? Do you think that maybe your husband or boyfriend has it? Interestingly, studies indicate that 8% of males are narcissistic. Maybe  you suspect your wife, or, girlfriend might be a narcissist?  Well, just 5% of females demonstrate this personality disorder, thankfully! So really the question becomes multiple questions. Can and how do I heal from a separation or divorce from a narcissist? How do I comfort and heal my children? But first, you must define what a narcissist is…

To learn if you are living with one click HERE   



Behind Closed Doors

1440478758015I guess that I’m a different type of therapist for my clients. It seems that many prefer to concentrate exclusively on the psychological elements of why their client’s are unable to experience intimacy with their partner(s). Of course, a psychological component is a part of it, however, what I have discovered is that many practitioners tend to dismiss or overlook the physiological elements that are typically at the heart of intimacy issues for both genders. Maybe its my pharmacological training, or, my capacity to just really listen to my clients narrative that clues me in to the real source of frustration and dissatisfaction with their relationship that reveals the physiological obstacles.

You see, when Viagra hit the market “men rejoiced and women ran”. Nursing homes became “Club Med” and many reported that their relationships were reinvigorated, more meaningful, playful, and many couples reported feeling more connected. Frequently, the conversation turned to the inevitable question, “What about a Viagra for women?” At the time their was only the hope that one day there would be a pill that could deliver the same enjoyment for women that men would be taking advantage of for decades. Well, now it appears the wait is over for females everywhere!

Enter a new wonder pill called Addyi (pronounced ‘add-ee’) that interestingly acts on the woman’s brain. Naturally, men and women operate differently, right? Of course, there is concern among the medical community that because this does not increase blood flow to the genitals (keeping this PG) as Viagra does, they are unsure of the physiological and psychological ramifications of this medication. As with any new medication, you have to make an informed decision by deciding if the perceived benefits to your relationship, self esteem etc..outweigh the potential unknown risks to your health?   Is it effective? Will women lose their self-control in their relationship(s)?

Do you want to know more? Read HERE


Sound the TRUMP!

23trump-JP-01-ALT-master675The political winds are in true hurricane form as the most electric personality we have ever seen (at least in my lifetime)  makes his entertaining bid for a presidential run in 2016. Whether you like him or hate him, there really doesn’t seem to be a neutral position out there regarding the straight talking real estate magnate. His inflammatory remarks can make you cringe, roll your eyes, or maybe cause you to shout and clap your hands in agreement. To say that he is polarizing is quite true and possibly an understatement, just ask Megyn Kelly who needed to escape for ten days under the public backlash for her widely perceived attack on the billionaire during the first Fox News Presidential Debate.

I’m interested in the psychology behind the meteoric rise of this electric, outrageous, in your face, and get it done, “Alpha male” that drew twenty thousand people in Alabama last week? Is this what America has been craving, or is this a charade that  “the Donald” has masterfully crafted?  Of course, he’s wealthy, has an ego that would be difficult to squeeze into a Boeing assembly plant, and the hair, well, let’s not get off track. He is taking the United States by storm and the political establishment is pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do about him.

The true “Alpha male” is clearly on display. His language is raw, uncensored, confrontational, and it is resonating with many in our society. What an entertaining time in politics for us to observe and understand the mentality of this unique warrior type that we have not seen since maybe the precarious Teddy Roosevelt.

Interested in more insight, read HERE


My Kid, I’m So Done!

Angry boy blowing steamNot only are kids tech savvy these days, but, they are also becoming more irritable, defiant, and exhausted! How often have you found yourself either battling with them over the amount of screen time and then using the screen time as a tool to punish or reward them? How much stress and divisiveness has this caused in your relationship and household?

More and more behavioral problems like depression, ADD/ADHD, and bipolar disorder are the prevailing mental illness labels that are diagnosed because of the electronic overload. Many parents just find it so much less confrontational to let their child play video games to calm them down or pacify the present situation. Most parents come in and feel their at their breaking point and need medication for the behavioral problems that have spun wildly out of control.

There is hope, yet, in a different way that will take some determination and willpower to follow through. If you think about it, when we arrive at a point that our physical health needs to be “reset,” the experts recommend that we “cleanse” with a fast. This actually shocks the body, can rejuvenate, detox, and reset our metabolism which are all positive effects. Well, it’s time to take the same concept and apply it to children who are wearing down because of the screen time overload. Now is the time  for an “electronic fast.” You can do this! You know it has to be done and for your own sanity. So, take take control and act!

If you think it’s time for a “reset” then read HERE


Date Responsibly

biting laptopMaybe you are trying to move on from a broken marriage, or a dead end relationship, or possibly you’re just feeling lonely and you would like some adult companionship. How do you meet people, well, many click on dating sites to connect with the hope of filling the void they now have in their life. This is the reality of our internet age, however, as with everything else, there are those dark, sordid predators who will manipulate the vulnerable, crush their romantic hopes while stealing their money. This is a sobering article, sad, as this might of happened to you?  Many times we are not sure who we are really talking to, what their real age is, or where they are located (could be prison for all we know). Are they already in a romantic relationship and you are just an “adrenaline rush” for them? So many questions with few answers!

So often I have listen to my client’s tell me that these conversations turn sexually explicit quite soon and it becomes a real “turn off.”  What is the psychological impact when you find out that the person you think you have a promising relationship with actually isn’t who he or she say’s they are?  You feel violated, embarrassed, angry, and certainly betrayed!  Then you discover your credit card has been maxed out and the hurt and pain is compounded. This could lead to depression, anxiety, and despair. We all still need to have a “buyer beware” mindset that certainly applies to dating, as well.  The internet really is the “Wild West of Dating,” anything goes! You really need to be so careful, smart, and please do your research. Remember, if he or she sounds to good to be true, they might be, because we are all imperfect.

Learn how to avoid being scammed by dating sites by reading HERE


Are You A Hater?

police-shooting-misso_wils-3What a horrible thing to say and hear! So, why do we hate? What is it that drive us to this maddening state of mind? It is commonplace to read of the inexplicable hate crimes, the racial tensions that escalate into senseless violence tearing our communities apart, media hyping and overexposing the obnoxious behavior of our entitled celebrities, and of course lest we forget our politicians vomiting their own brand of democracy for all to consume. Again, Ferguson is burning, it is both tragic and so troubling that this racial frustration, vitriolic anger, and hatred surfaces once again. Have they learned nothing except that violence creates more violence? Another killing, racially motivated? I’m really not sure, but, what I am sure about is that “HATE” is behind the killing! Interestingly, when hate is directed outwardly (like at other people) it represents pride, however, when directed at ourselves it indicates that we feel guilty. Think about that for a moment as you reflect on the events of Ferguson. Remember, “Hate” is one of the most powerful emotions we as humans can experience. Also, it is the emotion that causes so much pain, suffering and sorrow in your’s, mine, and our lives. So, ask yourself, “Are you a hater?”

To understand the cycle of “hate” read HERE 


Never Give In, Wait…What?

couple fightingWhy is it so hard to say you’re sorry? Well, for starters, we all want to feel that we’re right about whatever was said that made the other person upset, right? However, we need to remember that we are all flawed and imperfect human beings. All too often we only see those flaws and imperfections quite clearly in others and we like to bring it to their attention so they can improve. Do we forget that we make mistakes too? I cannot tell you how many relationships become negatively impacted by the insensitive words and actions from the ones they care most about. Consider for a moment the energy that is put forth in trying to minimize or justify poor behavior in an effort to avoid apologizing for our part in the problem. Now, think about what impact an apology can have on the “receiver” and ourselves? Release the guilt and unchain yourself from the bitterness, anger, and exhaustion that the “blame game” needs to survive. So how do you say you’re sorry, deal with the regrets, and make life easier on yourself?

You want to know how, read HERE