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The ego’s need to judge

For the last 2,500 years or so, prophets and sages have admonished us to refrain from judging others. Here’s what a few of them have said: “Do not be the judge of people; do not make assumptions about others. A person is destroyed by holding judgments about others.” – Gautama Buddha “Judge not, and you more…

Exiting the psychologically abusive relationship

There are a lot of different problems people face that might compel them to seek the help of a therapist. Among the most common are depression, anxiety, substance abuse, grief, low self-esteem, and relationship issues, plus a few more. When it comes to relationship issues, one problem that is fairly prevalent is the individual who more…

Self-inflicted pain

During the time I worked as a therapist on a trauma unit of a psychiatric hospital in Dallas, I saw a fair number of patients who were “cutters.” These were individuals that would carve on their bodies with sharp objects from time to time. When I first encountered this behavior, I was completely mystified as more…

On being mad at God

Some years ago, I was called as a witness in a case involving the alleged sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl. I had been providing individual therapy to the girl, who stated she had been sexually abused by her uncle. With the consent of the girl and her family, I agreed to testify and to more…

A Commitment to Reality

There is a semi-famous quote from M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author of the best-seller The Road Less Traveled, that goes like this: “Mental health is a commitment to reality at all costs.” That’s a pretty succinct little definition, and one worth thinking about. If it is true that mental health is “a commitment to more…

Shopping for a car

            During my time as a therapist, I have helped a lot of people deal with the pain they feel that comes from the ending of a serious relationship. Quite a few of my clients have gone through a breakup with their significant other not long after starting therapy. Needless to say, this is usually more…

The importance of critical thinking

Most of us, in the course of our lives, have met a person or persons who will “believe anything you tell them.” These are people who are susceptible to hoaxes and scams, and they are often easy prey for con artists. We might describe them as gullible, or even stupid, if we are feeling unkind. more…

Middle ground

You might have noticed how much advertisers like the word “extreme.” It’s mostly used to appeal to young people in order to sell them soft drinks or video games and such. Extreme taste, extreme action, extreme fun. I once saw a church sign that tempted the faithful with “Extreme Praise and Worship,” which conjured up more…

Setting boundaries

  When I was working toward my Master’s degree in social work, I discovered there were certain buzzwords that my professors loved, and that showed up a lot in my ludicrously-overpriced textbooks. Empowerment was one of them. So were advocacy and strengths-based and solution-focused and community resources and a handful of others. I used to more…

Gentle reminders

Most of us humans, at one time or another, have struggled with a bad habit. When we think of bad habits, we usually think of behaviors like smoking cigarettes or chewing our fingernails or putting off paying our bills, and so on. But not all bad habits are observable behaviors. Some of the most problematic more…