Anyone whose spouse develops dementia quickly finds their life profoundly and painfully disrupted.
If you know someone in this situation and would like to be a stronger support to them, please watch this week's video and give me a call.
Does having an unpleasant emotion mean that you have a big problem?
Hear my opinion, then let's chat about how we can work together.
We have all heard of the effects of the smartphone on people being truly present with each other.
In this week's vlog, I discuss the irony that our interface with the smartphone is called a "screen."
Check it out, then let's chat about how we can work together.
I often quote the words of other people.
Why do we do this?
Who quotes your words?
In this week's video, I discuss these questions.
Patients often comment how difficult it must be for psychologists to "listen to people's troubles all day."
Sharon's mother has been difficult forever. Sharon has negative feelings about herself and a hard time keeping friends.
Is there a connection?
People differ in how much emotional closeness they want with their significant other.
In this week's vlog, I discuss how the degree of emotional closeness we have can affect our happiness.
This week's video is about Phil, who has struggled with a difficult father all of his life. As a result, Phil has had trouble relating to certain other people, too.
If Phil's dilemma sounds familiar to you, we should talk.
Helping people through life's transitions is not just my job, but truly my passion.
In this week's video, I describe Denise*, whose pleasant mom has become difficult with the onset of dementia.
If Denise's dilemma sounds familiar to you, we should talk.
*Not to be confused with Clarisse, discussed in my previous vlog!
In this week's video, I describe Clarisse.
Have you ever realized something about your life or work, even though it had been true for many years? I did!
In this week's video, I reflect on the moment I coined the term CODOP, for Children of Difficult Older Parents, and became inspired to write my book, "Loving Hard-to-Love Parents."
Watch this weeks vlog about that moment of "sudden insight." Perhaps a new insight awaits you
In this week's vlog, I describe how a loved one's impairment calls for adjustments to your guiding principals.
Can you accurately describe how you feel?
Do you have a difficult person in your life? This week's vlog discusses my time-tested two-part recipe for avoiding pointless confrontation with an unreasonable person.
This week's vlog highlights a concept I discuss in my book: personality disorders. People with a personality disorder look and act in most ways like everyone else, yet they can cause serious pain to those closest to them.
To learn more about this "pathology masquerading as normalcy," watch this week's vlog.
Do you have any traits of a difficult person?
If you have a difficult relative, you probably have a history of repetitive and unproductive conversations with them. Watch this week's YouTube vlog to learn how to be a "smarter fish" and not take the bait!
I am happy to announce that I will be starting a new video blog series on my YouTube channel. Visit my YouTube channel to see my first of many vlogs.
It's the season of giving! I'd like to gift you a lasting value idea. Here is a gift that truly keeps giving....
Man-made space satellites are a bit like people. They are assembled with extreme care and precision in a single-purpose environment in which they must not remain. Then, with great effort and drama, they are launched into the environment for which they were designed.
The primary service of my psychology practice is individual psychotherapy. Many people call it counseling or consultation, but, by any name, the goal is to create tangible positive change in my patient’s life. In other words, to turn your challenges and dilemmas in life into building blocks of a better you.
Working as a therapeutic team, my patient and I accomplish this transformation by improving their psychological skills. These include self-awareness, assertiveness, courage, empathy, commitment, regulation of emotions, and clarity of values and goals.
Psychotherapy is very much like remodeling the most central room in your house. Let’s say you realize that your bedroom, your kitchen, or your family room simply no longer meets your needs at this stage of your life. You are keenly aware that this room must be improved for you to feel contentment and fulfillment at home. It is time to remodel.
Of course, updating the wiring, plumbing, or floor plan means some wallboard will have to be removed. The exposed areas are not always pretty. Likewise, the psychological skills I mentioned live in a place in us that cannot be reached formulas or by medicine, so we’re going to have to look under the social veneer we all have. There will be dust and inconvenience, perhaps even temporary discomfort, as we grieve old losses and remove old barriers. This is how we create and bring light into new spaces.
Your house is not identical to anyone else’s house. Your psychological needs are not identical to anyone else’s. Therefore, every remodeling job and every psychotherapy plan is a custom project. Your house is updated by hand, one brick, stick, and nail at a time. Your heart is healed one cry, one insight, and one courageous step at a time. We do it through a series of totally confidential conversations. It takes a little time, but the results last a lifetime. That remodeled center room in your psyche will be yours, with you wherever you go in life, forever.
If the center room in your psyche is not a place of contentment and fulfillment, I hope you will call me. Let’s talk about working together to keep you moving forward.
The creation of my new book, Loving Hard-to-Love Parents: A Handbook for Adult Children of Difficult Older Parents, has been a journey of growth for me.
The journey began in late 2015, when the concept of CODOP (adult children of difficult older parents) congealed. I realized that I had worked consistently with adult children of difficult elders since opening my practice in 1982. Despite my total immersion in this work, I did not identify it as a discreet topic with its own body of knowledge until 2015.
Many reasons supported my decision to write a book about CODOP. My own practice had seen hundreds of real families who embodied this phenomenon. Working with these families had allowed me to learn their dilemma in depth, and observe which of their approaches were helpful and which were not. The results of my passing on track-proven approaches to subsequent families validated their robust utility. Finally, it was painfully obvious that the families who came through my practice were just a sliver of the population of families who needed these approaches. For all these reasons, I resolved to write a book.
In parallel with starting the book, I began speaking about CODOP to professional and lay audiences, and holding CODOP support groups. My confidence in the meaningfulness of the CODOP program was progressively strengthened by the strong positive response I found in these audiences.
Undertaking the book launched me onto a learning curve. I decided to forego the challenge of finding a publisher, and instead to self-publish. Of course, I had no idea how one does such a thing, so it was time to start exploring online and finding kind and knowledgeable people who would answer my hundreds of beginner’s questions. With their help, by fits and starts, I wrestled my new learning into this plan:
The journey included many emotions:
So, this has been my journey, my transition, into independent authorship. Like every transition, it involved learning new skills, processing many emotions, and putting in the raw work of time, effort, and money. Like everyone else in the world, I had to GROW INTO my next stage.
I have been very gratified by the book’s reception so far. There will be a gala launch party in late August at Belmont Village in Dallas. Stay tuned here for details as the date approaches. I hope you’ll attend!
An early step in the writing of my new book, Loving Hard-to-Love Parents: A Handbook for Adult Children of Difficult Older Parents, was a review of files of patients I had seen in my practice over the previous five years. Among these, I found dozens of cases of patients who were struggling with a difficult older parent. My notes detailed the unpleasant behaviors of these parents, and the themes running through these cases became the backbone of my book.
My father would now be 98 years old had he not passed away in 1998. He was a fine guy who had a really good life.
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.
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