Category Archives: Family

Interpersonal Freedom

FEAR OF FREEDOM   We have a curious relationship with the whole concept of  “freedom”, it seems to me.  Kind of like sex.  We love it and glorify it.  On the other hand, we deplore it and we’re afraid of … Continue reading

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Coping with Crisis in Families

COPING WITH FAMILY CRISIS   If you’re like me, you eat Chinese a lot better than you speak it.  Nevertheless, you may have heard, as I have, that the Chinese word for “crisis” is the same as that for “opportunity”. … Continue reading

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Severing Family Relationships

EMOTIONAL CUT-OFF       A man refuses to speak to his sister for 15 years.  The reason?  At the time of their mother’s death, he was left alone to care for her as she died.  Then, to add insult to injury, … Continue reading

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Adult Siblings

ADULT SIBLINGS–A NEGLECTED BOND   If there is one family relationship we are most prone to neglect, it is that between adult siblings.  One reason is that this is a “horizontal” relationship–one between peers in which responsibilities are limited and … Continue reading

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Extreme Conflict Management

CONFRONTATION COUNSELING       The ultimate purpose in seeking psychotherapy is to become your own therapist.  On occasion, you may find yourself acting as therapist for your loved ones.  This is very commonly done by parents with their children.  In fact, … Continue reading

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Common Family Dysfunctions

WHAT IS FAMILY DYSFUNCTION?   The most universal trait among dysfunctional families is an inability to manage intimacy.  Intimacy may be defined as the sharing of feelings. To function intimately one must first be a self and express it.  Second, … Continue reading

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Parentified Child

LOST CHILDHOOD: the tragedy of the caretaking child       It is in the interest of every child to have a parent who is reliable, nurturing and mature.  Not every child is so fortunate. Often a child will take on adult … Continue reading

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Are You Really Listening to Your Kids?

LISTEN TO KIDS’ PERCEPTIONS   I am facilitating a conversation between a mother and her teenage daughter.  They had attended a counseling session the previous evening to discuss blended-family issues.  The girl is guarded and seems discouraged.  I ask the … Continue reading

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Emotional Abuse Can Be Subtle

ABUSES OF A SUBTLER KIND:  Witholding Love   I would bet that, more often than not, if you scratch the surface of a case of elder abuse or neglect, you will find a case of child abuse or neglect.  Where … Continue reading

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Intergenerational Coalitions

INTERGENERATIONAL COALITIONS   In an emotionally healthy, well-functioning family there are invisible boundaries that separate the generations.  The adults have their functions such as work, financial decisions, marital sexuality, leadership and other executive roles.  The kids have roles appropriate to … Continue reading

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