Wordly Wise

Word choice can make a huge difference in how we communicate with one another.  I recently attended an excellent seminar presented by Terry M. Levy, Ph.D., D.A.P.A, the director of the Evergreen Psychotherapy Center and the Attachment Treatment and Training Institute in Evergreen, Colorado.  During his presentation, he discussed one of the styles of communication…

A Parable of Presence

Once there was an 8-year-old boy named Timmy. He was a good boy who always did what his mother asked him to do. She trusted Timmy and gave him age appropriate freedom. One day Timmy said to his mother, ‘Bye, Mom, I am going bike riding with Johnny”. His mother replied, “OK, Timmy. Just be…

Self-Harm: Understanding What it Is (and Isn’t) and Knowing How to Respond

A quick tour of online resources for parents of teenagers reveals that the subject of self-harm is frequently raised, usually in the form of parental concerns over cutting behavior. Parents asking for advice or support when they discover that their son or daughter is self-harming are understandably alarmed and upset. They also tend to run…

The 5 Love Languages

In our most intimate relationships, partners ask each other all kinds of questions to deepen their bond and get to know the other’s true self. Coffee or tea? Beach or mountains? Dogs or cats? What are your hopes for the future? Strangely enough, one important question is rarely asked: what makes you feel loved? Without…

Parenting and Social Media

Teenagers are living their lives online; they spend a lot of their time on social media, posting updates, checking others’ updates, watching videos and shows, playing games, etc. Given that 75% of teens have profiles on social networking sites and that they value the social connections that social media provides, it is important for parents…

Strategies for Building Empathy in Kids

Empathy represents a complex, often misunderstood, and sometimes taken-for-granted set of skills that help us to navigate our social and emotional world. It includes not just feeling concern for others who are in distress, but also our ability to “see” things from another’s perspective as well as to imagine how someone else might be feeling.…

The Simple Power of Gratitude

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude” – Brené Brown “Gratitude is a potent vaccine that inoculates us against negativity” – Donald Altman In the 1990s, the field of positive psychology ushered in a new awareness of how…

Overcoming Loneliness

More Americans than ever before are feeling lonely. In 2010, approximately 40 percent of Americans reported regularly feeling lonely, whereas only 20 percent of Americans in the 1980’s regularly felt lonely. The feeling of loneliness is all about perception. We become lonely if we do not feel meaningfully connecting with our friends or if we…

Surviving Terror and Grief

My two daughters are graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – Class of 2008 and Class of 2012. As a result, the news surrounding the terrible shooting there a few weeks ago has had a resonance for me even beyond the shock, sadness, fear, and anger experienced by all of us…

Building Resilience in Our Children: Parent First Know Thyself

Resilience, or the capacity to recover or adjust from difficulties, is a vital characteristic to nurture for coping in our complex, ever-changing world.  Children can experience stressors at school with teachers, academics, and peers, with extra-curricular activities such as sports, and within the family with parents and siblings. The newest research on resilience indicates that…