Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tempered Optimism

I recently read an interesting article by a Dutch Psychologist, Ad Bergsma in the September 2010 Issue of Ode Magazine ( Dr. Bergsma discusses the growing movement within mental health in response to the societal pressure, particularly in America, to be in a constant state of "positivity" and "optimism." There is a developing body of research suggesting an alternative more balanced view called "tempered optimism;" hoping for a positive outcome and balancing it with a healthy dose of pessimism. A tempered optimist will want things to go well but will remember that things can go wrong and will plan accordingly. Various studies seem to suggest that when we enter into challenging situations, including relationships, from an understanding that they may be difficult and probably won't come easily, we are more apt to experience more positive, long term success.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Asking Process

Couples and Family Therapy is often about asking a loved one to make certain changes on our behalf. I believe there are 2 significant parts of "the asking process:" how we ask (as opposed to what we ask), and paradoxically in separating ourselves from the expectation that the change request will be honored. The more we ask for change without an attachment to the outcome, the greater the chance it will occur.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I recently read a well developed article about sibling relationships in the August, 2010 Psychology Today Magazine ( by H.E. Marano. Marano describes how this important family relationship, including sibling positioning, shapes who we are and the people we are attracted to as adults. I have a copy of it in my office.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Clear The Mind

I just returned from a drive to Big Sur. This is a good trip to clear one's mind, calm the nervous system, and for couples to reconnect. The enormity of nature can put one's problem-concerns in perspective. Good "therapy" but best to leave the kids at home for this one.