Breathing Ooouuuttt to Create Calm

38 years ago, when I did my first meditation retreat with Stephen Levine, we would do long OMs at the start of many other kinds of practice.  Last night, 35 years after my last class, I started another meditation class, this time with Jamal Rahman, a Sufi teacher. With each of the nearly 40 OMs

By |2020-01-07T11:30:59-08:00January 7th, 2020|Comments Off on Breathing Ooouuuttt to Create Calm

Problems with Dear Evan Hansen

Last night, I saw Dear Evan Hansen, the musical about an anxious, shame-filled high school senior. The play deals with broken families, suicide, OCD, social anxiety, and attachment. The music and the singing in this touring production was fantastic. I cried several times, and laughed a few. Still I was distressed with some serious problems:

By |2019-01-29T08:50:45-08:00January 29th, 2019|Comments Off on Problems with Dear Evan Hansen

Research: CBT FAIL!

Huge study in Sweden finds that CBT often doesn't work on anxiety and depression and can make the problems much worse:  REVOLUTION IN SWEDISH MENTAL HEALTH PRACTICE: THE COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY MONOPOLY GIVES WAY Please don't flame me, I'm just reporting the study.

By |2012-06-19T20:40:56-07:00June 19th, 2012|Comments Off on Research: CBT FAIL!

Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Epidemic of Mental Illness

The New York Review of Books carried and a scathing and mostly right-on article about the medicalization and over-medication of mental illness by Marcia Angell. It's a review of three books about the history of psych meds, the power of the drug companies, and the minimization of psychotherapy. Read it here.

By |2011-06-17T15:00:06-07:00June 17th, 2011|4 Comments

Trauma and Trauma Therapy: Interview on “Public Exposure”

I was interviewed by Stan Emert on his cable TV show, "Public Exposure" a few weeks ago. Here is the YouTube link to the show:  Topics include trauma definitions, PTSD, EMDR, Ego State Therapy, and a minute of traumatic grief. Due to a neck injury, I've been unable to spend more than a few minutes

By |2011-05-31T16:08:42-07:00May 31st, 2011|Comments Off on Trauma and Trauma Therapy: Interview on “Public Exposure”

The King’s Speech

Some of the best therapy I've seen on screen is in a great new movie, The King's Speech. Geoffrey Rush plays Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist who tackles the debilitating anxiety-driven stammer of Colin Firth's, "Bertie", who become the king of England on the eve of World War II.  The film shows the stifling lives

By |2011-01-02T10:29:19-08:00January 2nd, 2011|3 Comments

Trauma Treatment Handbook: Protocols Across the Spectrum

My copy of the new book arrived today. Here is what Diana Fosha says about it:"This is a thorough, accessible, and very practical book, filled with resources and sound ideas, filtered through the intelligence and experience of a savvy, compassionate, down-to-earth, and very experienced clinician. It is like a travel guide to the land of

By |2010-08-17T19:22:38-07:00August 17th, 2010|5 Comments

“Anxiety” on To The Best of Our Knowledge

A great hour of interviews about anxiety on one of best radio shows around. This one includes Patricia Pearson, author of A Brief History of Anxiety, Yours and Mine, and her own experience with anxiety medications and learning to self-soothe; Ethan Waters, talking about the globalization of American psychiatric diagnoses and pharmaceutical cures; Dr. Daniel Carlat,

By |2010-07-09T21:57:32-07:00July 9th, 2010|Comments Off on “Anxiety” on To The Best of Our Knowledge

Narcolepsy and EMDR Processing

A client has given me permission to post about her situation: the effects of Provigil, Prozac, and time on trauma processing:   Round 1, 15 years ago: She was bright, effusive, and had the odd habits of jerking her head up to look around and writing down everything I said. We worked for eight months

By |2009-08-09T13:50:01-07:00August 9th, 2009|10 Comments

Avoidance, AIDS Dementia, and Chosen Families

Last Wednesday I flew down to Fresno, CA, and flew back up with an old friend who, after battling AIDS for 25 years, is losing the fight. R''s brother and a few other friends and I have been managing his care up in Seattle for the last week. R is one of my favorite flavors of

By |2009-07-28T15:37:51-07:00July 28th, 2009|2 Comments

Mindfulness Through Pleasure

Mindfulness is a major goal of psychotherapy. We want our clients to be able to savor the moment free of intrusive memories or worries about the future: Right Now. There are many ways to bring a client to the present moment: teaching mindfulness meditation, body awareness, or playing what do you notice? ("Name 3 things

By |2009-04-17T20:33:05-07:00April 17th, 2009|6 Comments

Trauma and Temperment

I recently took on several new clients and am on my 3rd session with several new people, I'm struck by how much temperment affects people's experience of trauma. Some people have iron constitutions. It's hard to scare these people. It takes a truly life-threatening trauma for them to experience PTSD symptoms. Others are traumatized by

By |2008-10-31T22:04:08-07:00October 31st, 2008|Comments Off on Trauma and Temperment

Therapy During Troubling Times

More than half of my clients have mentioned the economy and/or the election in the last two weeks. Some of them are in real world trouble, having lost jobs or facing foreclosure or eviction due to the "downswing" Many are troubled by the divisive discourse in the political realm. What do we do when the real world intrudes on

By |2008-10-28T22:01:51-07:00October 28th, 2008|Comments Off on Therapy During Troubling Times


According to Daniel Goleman, in Vital Lies, Simple Truths, (1995, Simon & Schuster), when we avoid thinking about or doing that which makes us anxious, our brains reinforce us  with really pleasant chemicals. Thus we have epidemics of procrastination and avoidance.     With this in mind, I've developed several strategies for my avoidant and procrastinating clients. I

By |2008-10-02T21:35:18-07:00October 2nd, 2008|Comments Off on Procrastination

PTSD Has Genetic Aspects  is a link to a website that discusses the connection between a stress-related gene and the likelihood of developing PTSD. The new issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association features an article by Dr. Kerry  Ressler and several co-authors found that specific variations in the gene appeared to be influenced by child

By |2008-03-19T19:15:50-07:00March 19th, 2008|Comments Off on PTSD Has Genetic Aspects

The Instinct To Heal

My new favorite book is Instinct to Heal by David Servan-Schrieber (Rodale, 2003). It is simple enough for most clients and innovative and interesting enough for most clinicians. I recommend it to psychiatrists, any kind of physician or "alternative" medical practitioner and all psychotherapists. Why? Instinct to Heal gives clear explanations, references to good research

By |2008-01-18T17:31:12-08:00January 18th, 2008|Comments Off on The Instinct To Heal
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