August 14, 2017

The Click’s the Thing

The Click.. So often, couples report, when talking about how they met, that “we just clicked“. Its worth taking a moment to understand that click. What we call clicking with someone, is actually the experience of being seen and understood. If you come from a European background, chances are high that you will “click” with someone who also has a European background. You “get” each other, you “recognize” the shared cultural values, the language, the nuances of unwritten rules first generation kids had to learn, for example. If you click because you both come from solid family backgrounds, imbued with respect, an understanding of empathic attunement, whether you call it that or not .. You again will feel seen and understood and […]
August 7, 2017

Radio Days….

I am sharing several radio segments I was invited to do on Montreal’s CJAD .. Boomer’s View with Elizabeth Stafiej. This particular segment was about the Sandwich Generation, and how to cope.
July 20, 2017

Boundaries… the most important work you will ever do.

One of the things I do when working with a client is an interpretive exercise about boundaries. It’s an exercise that was originally developed and taught to me by Mia Lobel, back in my university days. It has morphed pretty significantly since then, but I would not have had this tool if it weren’t for her. Thanks Mia! So, clients are given a roll of masking tape, my chair is moved out of the way to give them as wide a berth as possible, and they are asked to “give us a visual representation of your psychological/emotional boundaries”. I almost always get a “what?” kind of look, confusion, worry about “getting it right”, and lots of questions. I leave the […]
July 20, 2017

Holiday Season

Holiday seasons are tough on a lot of people. Those of us with “special” families have our share of Christmas horror stories …. too much drinking, too much drama, too much expectation. The media doesn’t help. We are bombarded from mid November on with the expectation that this is a time to be happy, to be connected to family which is supposed to be in and of itself a good thing, that we should buy, buy, buy, … Little wonder why the Help hotlines are overwhelmed at this time of year.  Those of us with out of step families feel well, out of step. We ask ourselves how is it that we don’t have the pie in the oven, the […]
July 20, 2017

March to a Different Drum

I march to a different drum, do you? I am not a 9 to 5er. As a psychologist in private practice I get to set my own hours, decide what days I work and when I take time off. My partner is a consultant who also works from home. Sometimes I feel a little out of step with the world. I was recently telling my osteopath what my day was like: I get up, I have the time to exercise – which means driving to the mountain for a run, or walking up to the summit – both taking an hour plus in the morning. I come home, shower up, eat and then relax (or run errands) – often I […]
July 20, 2017

Men and Work

Men, sadly, are socialized to believe that who and what they are in the work world is who and what they are period. While there has been a sea-change insofar as realizing the 25 year career in the same company is something from a by-gone era, what hasn’t changed is how men  develop their identity and define themselves according to work. Workaholism is still an acceptable form of escape for men – escape from family participation, self evolution and self reflection, from the intimacy in one’s relationship, from dealing with going after what your heart “wants” rather than what you “should”  …  I say it’s acceptable because it’s often not recognized as workaholism in the first place. Most people look at a […]
July 20, 2017

Helpers..


I watched Requiem for a Dream (2000) over the weekend. It’s a sad, sad story about addiction, loneliness, and the impossibility of some to deal with feelings. Ellen Burstyn plays the mother of a heroin addict. She herself lives alone and is, I guess, dying of loneliness. While I “appreciate” addiction – I get it, I’ve seen it, it’s awful, mostly an illness – but somewhere along the line I believe it’s a choice, usually of how one copes with feelings and anxiety. What I saw happen to Ellen’s character is not so much a choice – sort of. She comes from a time and culture that puts a lot of value in what a doctor says and believes. They are the professionals, […]
February 13, 2016

What We Long For

Well here we are, St. Valentine’s Eve…. and all over the airwaves people are talking about what to do, how to do it, how to deal with this day – that ostensibly is there to honour love. I was interviewed on the radio over the weekend, asked what I thought about the holiday – and I couldn’t get away from the idea about how it accentuates our loneliness, how tough it must be to live up to the pressure this holiday proposes. As I think further I’m astounded at the psychological pressure we are all put under – by the media. Think about it. Todd van der Hayden told me Valentine’s is an 18 BILLION dollar industry – what? All […]
July 7, 2013

On Receiving Care

June 2013
 There is a whole population out there of parentified, uber-responsible, probably over-functioning people who have missed the boat on being taken care of. One of the hallmarks of this population is the absolute misery experienced when asking for help ….if they even permit themselves to do that. That’s kind of a sin isn’t it, this asking for help? It demonstrates some sort of flaw or weakness when we finally face the fact we can’t do it alone. And it never ever occurs to us that we shouldn’t face it alone! And if any one of our loved ones presented themselves to us the way we present ourselves to the world (stoic, self-contained, but suffering, miserable) we would tell them why aren’t […]
April 13, 2013

The things we believe

I am not sure where I read it but I learned a while ago – that we all behave in ways and make choices that reinforce unconscious beliefs we have about ourselves. We need to think about the ramifications of that.  Oprah Winfrey grew up believing in her child’s magical thinking mind – that God, yes the God, the big guy, was her father. If you grow up thinking that God is your father, and that He has your back, and the He is benevolent and good and loving – then you must grow up thinking you can handle pretty much anything. You must grow up thinking that you don’t really need to be afraid of too much. Now I’m sure that Oprah […]
April 20, 2012

The Precipice

I’ve been listening to Tony Robbins lately. He’s pretty inspiring I have to say. He is also exhausting to watch and to listen to if you ask me. On the other hand I felt that way after a Paul McCartney concert – please, stop, I can’t handle any more! Where do some people get their drive? How do they get the energy to do the things they do? It’s obvious these men are living out their passions. They believe in what they do with every fiber of their being – they know they are doing what they are meant and want to do. But that’s Tony Robbins and Paul McCartney… I want to figure this out for us ordinary folk. […]