Trying to Save Your Mother

Having a sick mother can have important repercussions for a child’s sense of safety as well as her sense of responsibility and guilt. In some cases the child’s  raison d’etre becomes saving her mother.

Googling your therapist

For psychoanalytic treatment, fantasies about the therapist offer the patient an opportunity to explore his/her unconscious through the transference. Google makes it difficult to parse what part of the patient’s view of the therapist is based on transference from early relationships and what part is Google.

Mixed Packages--coping with the good and the bad

In the end, we have to accept the mixture of good and bad in ourselves in order to see it in other people. Those we love have weaknesses and frailties that frustrate and disappoint us; and those we idealize and envy have weaknesses and frailties that we may not know about. So simple and yet so difficult. The fantasy that we can be perfect and/or that we can find someone to love us who is perfect dies hard. It’s a struggle.

Coping with Loved Ones' Adult Temper Tantrums

Adult temper tantrums are difficult to deal with. Whether you are responding to a spouse, sibling or adult child, you need to develop a strategy that sets limits and keeps you safe.

Fear of Regret as Resistance to Change

In order to change, we also have to tolerate regret and forgive ourselves for having behaved in a self-destructive or destructive way for a long time.

Psychoanalytic Interpretation and Metaphor

The essence of psychoanalysis is that the present is understood in terms of the past. And the way the analyst interprets what is being repeated in the present, is by making reference to the past often using metaphors and similes as interpretive tools.

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Renovation anxiety

Many underlying problems in relationships come to the surface during an apartment or home renovation. They can be worked through more easily if they are understood in psychological terms rather than the concrete issues. 

Attachment styles

Attachment theory is a body of research that began in the early 1950’s with the work of John Bowlby. He asserted that children suffering maternal separation are at increased risk for physical and mental illness, even if they have been in a clean, well-run institution unless it provided a true maternal substitute.

Thoughts about sublimation

Sometimes I am less attuned to the purely aesthetic dimensions of a film or book than the psychological dimensions. How did the author's life affect her novel? Or what does the repetitive themes in this artist's paintings reflect about his inner life? If you want to read more CLICK HERE.

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The schizoid-depressive dance

The dynamic in a schizoid/depressive couple is that one partner is desperate for connection and afraid of being abandoned. The other partner experiences demands for connection as intrusive and demanding. FOR MORE DISCUSSION CLICK HERE.

Migrants and Separation

President Trump instituted a policy of separating parents and children at the Mexican border without regard to the lasting effects it would have on the families—particularly the children. When the reunions finally happened, many mothers were met with rejection. As heartbreaking as this is, it is not surprising. The reality is that the child has been traumatized and his/her secure attachment to the parent has been undone. What was once a secure attachment has been transformed into an insecure one. The child who seems to be ignoring his mother has developed an avoidant mode of attachment as an adaptation to the stress of not being able to understand being abandoned by his mother. The child cannot distinguish the reasons why his mother left him; he only knows she deserted him. To read the complete article below, CLICK HERE.

Splitting

Idealization is a defense mechanism which is usually discussed as part of "splitting." The world is split into good and bad with no place for reality in-between. Many patients split the world into good and bad and apply this to themselves as well. This makes it very difficult for them to tolerate their own problems and mistakes in judgment which increases their resistance to my interpretations and the likelihood of repeating the same dynamic that brought them into therapy. This is one of the reasons therapy takes time.

 

Acting Instead of Speaking

Slamming the door once might mean you were holding coffee and a briefcase and couldn’t grab the door handle. But letting the door slam regularly indicates that it has some psychological meaning. Understanding nonverbal behavior is a fruitful way of understanding the unconscious. 

To read the entire article CLICK HERE.

Am I the right therapist for you?

How do you know if someone is the right therapist? Some people choose therapists by cost, i.e. if the person is covered by insurance. I'm not on any insurance plans, but most of my patients get out-of-plan payments and I have a sliding scale to accommodate people without insurance. But therapists are not washing machines. If you choose a therapist because he or she is on sale, you may not be getting the most experienced person or a therapist who has the ability to help you with your unhappiness. 

When people say "trust your gut," that might be a problem if your "gut" is what's been getting you in trouble and/or making you unhappy. So you cannot always trust your gut. It takes a while before you can tell if I am a good fit for you. For example, a lot of my patients have difficulties with boundaries or anger (or both). It will take a while for those issues to emerge in the treatment. I believe that what happens between the therapist and patient in the office is the key to understanding many unconscious dynamics of the patient. I am going to talk about our relationship as well as your relationship with your spouse, friends and boss. Do you want a therapist who is going to tell you when you are breaking boundaries and is not afraid of your anger?

That takes time, so how do you know within a few sessions whether I am a good fit? First and foremost, is a therapist has to be a good listener. Feeling "heard" is one of the most important things in a therapy experience. When you tell me something about yourself, it will be clear from my response that I listened carefully to what you said and can frame it in a helpful way.  That may not be evident in the first or second session because I will be listening and trying to understand what you are saying and get some idea about what is bothering you. But in a few sessions time, I will have some things to say. And from that time on, I will always be responding to you.

Temper Tantrums

Many of my patients are not able to calm and console themselves when they are frustrated or disappointed. Instead, they have temper tantrums. Adult temper tantrums may not be physical, but sometimes they are--e.g. slamming the door or walking out of a session.  The first few times I tell patients they are having a temper tantrum, they generally get insulted and angry at me. But eventually, they are able to realize it themselves and have more control over it quickly.

To understand more about adult temper tantrums CLICK HERE.