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The Family Member Who Absorbs the Whole Family's Anxiety

Family members are intensely emotionally connected. This connectedness can  be a source of intense joy but it can also foster reactivity.

As family members, we react not just to each other's behavior but to what we believe are each other's needs and  expectations.  Seeing a family member craving attention, approval, or support from other family members can trigger powerful feelings.

In families, we watch each other carefully for changes in each other’s behavior. Our observations are meant to help us predict what will happen next. Our predictions are based upon the clues we pick up in the moment together with memories of past experiences.

When a family member watches another member’s behavior, the observer reacts in line with what they believe will be reciprocal to the action they are predicting is about to occur by the member they are observing.  Around it goes, a change in one person's behavior or functioning leads to reciprocal changes in the...

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We carry rules of how to be, painful memories, and self judgments everywhere we go.

We all develop patterns of holding tension in our bodies as we move through life and experience tension, fear, and stress.  Do you notice yourself clenching your jaw or making a fist when you are experiencing difficult emotions? Perhaps you feel your chest constricting when you run into someone with whom communication is challenging.

In between practicing law and being a psychologist I did a ton of yoga. I experienced much healing on a yoga mat. Before that time, I would work through, run through, or suppress what was uncomfortable or painful. Turning my attention elsewhere seemed like the healthiest thing I could do. It was counterintuitive to actually pay attention to what was painful or uncomfortable.  Doing so can provide you with much freedom.

The physical tightness and pain we feel in our bodies can teach us more about ourselves.  These sensations often result from certain thoughts and emotions. When we start to notice the correlation, between certain thoughts...

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Letting Go of Longing for a Past Lover is an Act of Self-Love


For whomever is out there who needs some real talk in order to give up being OK with unrequited love.

First, let me define precisely what I am referring to. In unrequited love, one person gives love to another who doesn't reciprocate that love. 

As a psychologist, I often hear of the pain of a love relationship ending. Having become out of sync, the loss of the relationship is experienced in different ways and at different times by each member of the couple. Sometimes one partner continues to long  for the  other partner, although there is no prospect of reuniting.

 It won't surprise you that unrequited love is associated with more negative psychological outcomes than mutual love (e.g., depression, anxiety, poorer well-being). You knew this. This is true with highly unbalanced love just as it is with unrequited love.

Yes, sometimes the relationship is ongoing and a break-up hasn't occurred but there is an imbalance in each partner's commitment to the...

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Look For The Lovely

The way we look at people, places, and things influences what we see. By looking for and tuning into moments of resilience, which has it's own special beauty, we nudge ourselves toward manifesting the tendency toward being resilient ourselves.

Today, focus on noticing people, places, or things that literally or metaphorically illustrate resilience. What you give your attention to becomes amplified. When you pay attention to seeing resilience in action, you bring light to your mind.

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Seven Small Surprising Changes to Instantly Have More Energy

Here Are Seven Great Little Changes to Help You Instantly Feel More Energetic

Feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, and anger can deplete our energy. Depleted energy then contributes to circumstances which increase the energy sapping feelings and the cycle goes on.

We don't need to strive for optimal performance every day. We don't need to strive every day- period. However, if there are little things that can lift our level of energy, why would we not try them?  Of course, certain moods grip us with a feeling like quick sand and we falsely believe we are stuck in them with no way out. 

This is where the seven little changes come in. With a bit of an energy boost, we have the power to suspend disbelief and give doing healthy things a try.

What does optimal performance feel like? It doesn't matter what it feels like to Oprah or Rhianna. What matters is: "How do you feel when you're performing at your best'?"

For many of us, the answer is a combination of energy, focus and...

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If This Were the First Day of Your Journey to Be Free


Working with individuals recovering from divorce, I help them to see the landscape from differing perspectives. When one has experienced the lifequake that is divorce, there are many directions and layers of planning, goals, values, and understanding that await.

Break Up to Brilliance is a program to help women emerge from divorce happy, whole, and full of hope.


We begin with finding peace and contentment in alone time. No small task. It does take time. But, when you arrive at that soft sanctuary of your self and you can feel you can always return there, you experience a degree of freedom that isn't available in the world that is dominated by a fear of loneliness. 

 When we learn to enjoy our alone time, we learn that there is a comforting refuge to return to regardless of the cacophony and rumbling of the outside world. There is tremendous freedom in that knowledge.

In our peaceful alone time, we are free from the damaging thoughts that we must be something or...

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Children don’t need perfect parents or perfect lives to be healthy.

Enlightened Coparenting

A coparenting approach that aims:
to improve the relationship between coparents,
to deepen the relationship between parents and children, and
to help parents begin the process of healing and improving their relationships with themselves.

Children don’t need perfect parents or perfect lives to be healthy.  The goal of Enlightened CoParenting is to work to maximize family and individual strengths while minimizing family and individual risks.

Dr. Jodi Peary

In Enlightened CoParenting the emphasis shifts from who is at fault for the dissolving of the marriage and toward the degree to which parents are able to minimize the risk factors associated with negative outcomes in children while maximizing protective factors.

Relationship Between Parents

Divorce is a complex process involving a chain of marital transitions, family reorganizations, altered roles and relationships, and different stages of individual adjustment. This makes coparenting...
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Using Imagination to Heal When The Body Keeps the Score

In The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma ,
Bessel Van der Kolk describes the way imagination is an important ingredient in the recipe for healing from trauma:

“Imagination gives us the opportunity to envision new possibilities” 

After experiencing trauma, fragments of original memory need to be re-­‐integrated through narrative, either verbal or nonverbal. In creating narrative, we make meaning, which is powerful step in trauma recovery.

To be a coping and healing process, making meaning from our traumatic experiences must involve more than the way we mentally construct our thinking and the way we are evaluating “things” or developing an understanding of the way the world works: it is also about the meaning of relationships in one’s life. This element is particularly important to heal from trauma that involves betrayal.

Questions like, “why me?” “why now?” “What can I learn from...

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Lessening Kids' Anxiety Now and In Their Futures with Enlightened CoParenting

Anxiety is a common childhood mental disorder. Nearly 1 in 3 children suffer from anxiety.  During the teen-age years, nearly 1 in 3 adolescents will suffer from anxiety.

Anxiety makes normal things and seemingly regular days hard for children. 

When being coparented, especially in the beginning days, week-days and week-ends tend to feel abnormal, thereby making the transition to their new home situation even harder.  On top of that, children may be simultaneously undergoing other intense transitions such as a new home, beginning school, moving into a new school, or beginning puberty. The cumulative impact of multiple transitions also contributes to anxiety.

Enlightened CoParenting includes specific steps to minimize anxiety through developing a parenting plan that provides children with ease in daily living, parenting communication that models healthy conflict resolution, and emotion focused parenting which promotes emotional health and increased cognitive capacity...

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Who Put That Idea In Your Head?


I asked, "If your life could be and include anything at all that you wanted it to be and include, no obstacles in the way, what would that be like?

Madeleine responded to my question, "The last time I shared my dream life with Darron (Madeleine's former partner) said 'Who put that crazy idea in your head?" and I felt foolish for even thinking I could have the kind of life I pictured."

Wow. Words can be so powerful that they they obliterate our agency to dream. 

We went on to discuss how Madeleine's family also discounted her ideas and intelligence.  A woman who worked with her hands making jewelry in a family of nurses and doctors, Madeleine felt she wasn't the thoughtful or brainy type. 

Madeleine accepted her family and Darron's opinions of her as truth. As she realized that what she had accepted turned out to be false, she realized it would take time and mindfulness to undue the automatic thinking that aligned with their unfounded opinions.

Has anybody ever...

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