After the Insight, Now What?

After The Insight Part IBack in the days when Freudian lying-on-the-couch therapy was all there was, insight into one’s problem was considered enough to provide a cure. However, insight-as-cure didn’t turn out to be the case – we’ve all heard about Woody Allen in treatment for decades, his neurosis only growing. Many people walk around with great insight into why they do what they do, baffled as to how to use the information to change their lives.

Caitlin understands there’s a correlation between her father’s abusiveness and her attraction to unkind men, but still she continues to date them. Josh knows Read More

You Might Prefer an Active Meditation

Active MeditationWhen most people hear the word “meditation,” they envision a serenely calm person sitting blissfully, probably with their legs crossed in the lotus position. What is going on inside that meditator’s head, however, may be a different story. Their mind is most likely struggling and overwhelmed with its many dramas, anxieties, and infatuations. Many people can’t stick with a meditation practice because it is just too darn uncomfortable.

The benefits of meditation have been well documented: reduced stress, better health, concentration, spontaneity and creativity. There are purported psychological and spiritual benefits, such as Read More

Is There Such a Thing as Sex Addiction?

tantraSteven is remembering the active days of what he calls his sex addiction: “I was at a party and noticed this overweight, not so beautiful woman across the room who was obviously attracted to me.” He drums his fingers on the table. “I did my number on her and got her to go out to the barn behind the house where we had sex, then we went back inside to the party. Later, I remember I glanced over at her and she was crying.” He breaks eye contact and Read More

What Do We Mean by “Spiritual Relationships?”

What Do We Mean By spiritual Relationship“WIFFM” is the primary motivator for many people in their relationships. WIFFM is a marketing term for “What’s In It For Me?” We have been taught to value people for how good they will look on our arm, how close they come to our fantasy of the ideal lover, or how we imagine they will fulfill our desires. It’s about how it all looks, right? Except that when we focus on the outside, nobody is going to be good enough because everyone is flawed. Everybody. This is why we love the tabloids — we get to see seemingly perfect celebrities Read More

How Can You Feel Sexy When You’re All Stressed Out?

cute-relateSure, I know, there’s work, and working out, and eating right, and the economy, and relationship struggles, and, and, and, … and then if you have kids, there’s even more. What a balancing act! Sometimes it’s a wonder we have any energy left for sex at all. To make sure it doesn’t get that way for you, learn to become better at managing your stress. Here are some tips: Read More

The Seven Principles for Making Relationships Work

7 Principles to Make a Happy RelationshipThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (Crown, 1999) is a book that I often recommend for people who are wishing to improve their relationships, married or otherwise. The author, Dr. John Gottman, actually hooked couples up to electrodes and watched what happened to their blood pressures and heart rates while they talked to each other. He found that he could predict with 91% accuracy whether their relationship was slated for the long term or headed for Read More

Four Ways Spirituality Can Hurt You

Four Ways Spirituality Can Hurt YouDon’t get me wrong – spirituality is a good thing. In today’s world, most people could benefit from becoming more in touch with their spirituality, not less. In my practice, however, I see ways that new age spirituality is hurting people. Here are things to look out for:

1) You believe that by thinking positively or by saying affirmations, life will follow your whims and dictates. In psychology, we call this ‘magical thinking.’ In reality, it takes a lot of hard work to accomplish your dreams, to live the life to which you aspire. Thinking right is an important part of the process, but it is only the Read More

Spiritual Emergency

Spiritual EmergencyI got a call earlier this week from a couple trying to get help for a beloved friend who was unable to get off the couch due to experiencing visions, flashes of color and light, sensations of energy coming out of her body, and ecstatic trance states. She also believes that the Messiah has returned, and it is she.

The couple had found me through Google as a ‘transpersonal’ therapist, or one who has had training in assessing and treating what is called “spiritual emergency.” For although their friend has a history of severe mental illness, many of her symptoms are the same or similar as those of spiritual awakening.

She was also experiencing evidence of a broader spiritual understanding, of increased compassion, of expansiveness, of the knowledge that everything is made of swirling energy, and that she has an important role to play on earth. Unfortunately, Read More

Spiritual Bypass: How Not Working on your Stuff can Stunt your Spiritual Growth

Spiritual BypassThroughout yoga class, Jennifer feels fat. She’s obsessed with the other women’s bodies – how much thinner, limber, and more beautiful they are. Afterwards, at Whole Foods she buys a package of Organic Fig Bars and a pint of Carob Almond Rice Dream, goes home, eats it all, and throws up. Self-hatred quickly follows.

Kyle is late on his rent again, and can’t be sure he’s not overdrawn. It’s always this chaos, every month. That reservation he made for the weeklong meditation retreat was more than he could afford – but maybe Read More