It’s hard to watch clients sink into despair about wanting
to spend the holidays with family who aren’t very nice to them and who are,
frankly, toxic to be around. Clients could feel joyous and proud choosing
to be with healthy, loving friends without fear of family dynamics ruining “normal”
eating or a good time, but instead, yearn desperately for a happy, functional
family that never was or will be. This is a natural concern for folks in their
20s who are just breaking away from home and learning to be independent, but
it’s downright self-destructive for people who are older and who need to move

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Lack great female role models in your life, women who are assertive, take care of themselves, and succeed at reaching their goals? Know or love a woman who could use some healthy models of women who've achieved and enjoyed success? A friend and colleague, Karma Kitaj, Ph.D., has written two wonderful books about successful women: WOMEN WHO COULD AND DID…LIVES OF 26 EXEMPLARY ARTISTS AND SCIENTISTS and her just published book, WOMEN RIDERS WHO COULD…

Read More Female Role Models

As a therapist, I often get asked what I do with difficult emotions,
that is, how I handle life’s rough spots. Although I believe that all
emotionally healthy people have a range of techniques for dealing with intense
feelings, I know we all have certain skills we rely on. Recently I’ve set up a 48-hour
rule about a certain kind of emotion visiting me, and have found it very useful.

Read More The 48-Hour Rule

My friend and colleague, Rich Whitman, COO of La Hacienda Treatment Center, recently shared with me the words below. I think his message of living in the moment and doing the next right thing is very appropriate and helpful for the holiday season. Thanks, Rich, for letting me share your words here! In this fast passed world that we live in, it seems like more and more people want to get from here to there.…

Read More How Do We Get From Here to There?

When feeling morose (yes morose, not down, sad, depressed or upset, but morose), there's a tendency to reach for the songs that only deepen those feelings.  You all know them.  I won't list any.  You all know the artists with the hallowed appearances that match their ever so haunting voices.  You play these songs over and again because the pain resonates.  Well, in my family there is a name for this; we call them "Depression Soundtracks." Thinking more about the…

Read More The Soundtrack of your life

I admit, I’m fascinated by the science of eating and weight
and thrilled at how far we’ve come from the simplistic notion that slimness is merely
a matter of self-control and willpower. The newest headline to catch my eye is “Bacteria
in Intestines Play Key Role in Weight Gain, Study Finds”( LA Times, 11/12/09). Its conclusions are

Read More The Role of Bacteria in Weight

If you were severely or chronically emotionally wounded in
childhood or later life, you may fear “wounding” others if you say no, turn
down advice, refuse to be their only support, or simply desire to focus on
yourself rather than on them. Many disregulated eaters abuse food (and
themselves) rather than hurt another person’s feelings. Hurting someone’s
feelings is not a comfortable thing to do, but when appropriate, it is an
essential life skill for quality mental health.

Read More Emotional Wounding

Thanksgiving… For people struggling with eating disorders and food issues, Thanksgiving is perhaps the single most stressful day of the year. Thanksgiving has seemingly become a day wholly devoted to food with the part about giving thanks being a convenient vehicle for the food focus.  The origins of Thanksgiving date back to the origins of the United States. The earliest settlers of this nation devoted time each year to express gratitude. LIfe was hard, food…

Read More Soul Food Part 2