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Freedom From Verbal Abuse

Posted on: September 23, 2020

A home should be a happy place, or at least a safe place. Dealing daily with the outside world, with its tensions, pressures, and surprises, can be difficult. The home is a place to come back to, a place to feel free, relaxed, and comfortable. The home should be the place where we feel loved and accepted just for being ourselves. This is, of course, an ideal description of what a home can be.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Are You Feeling Socially Isolated?

Posted on: September 21, 2020

Quick question: When was the last time you hugged an old friend you happened to bump into at the grocery store? More than likely, you answered – “Well, certainly before last March.”

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Are We All Becoming Socially Awkward?

Posted on: September 17, 2020

There have been obvious ramifications of the pandemic we’ve all been enduring since March of this year. Job losses. Cancelled vacations. New exercise routines. The list goes on.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Managing Chronic Pain

Posted on: August 12, 2020

Pain can be seen as the Body’s Messenger Telling Us That Things Are Not Right – And Let’s See How to Make Them Better

Estimates based on research indicate that from ten to thirty percent of the American population suffers from chronic or recurrent physical pain. Pain sufferers often feel that their doctors are not able to give them the treatment they need to alleviate their pain. They may have been told that it is all in their head, and they feel very alone when nobody can seem to give them support for being in pain. They feel helpless, anxiety-ridden, depressed, angry, frustrated, and out of control. They often turn to prescription pain medication, drugs or alcohol for relief – only to find that these quick fixes can cause more complications and devastation in their lives than the original pain.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Loss Can Bring Gain

Posted on: July 6, 2020

Individual counseling insights brought to you California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Loss Can Be Painful – But It Can Open the Door to New, and Even Better, Life Experiences

Loss is embedded in the process of living. It happens to everyone and it is inevitable. There is no such thing as constant gain in our lives. Despite our wish to live in the security of abundance and perfect health, we necessarily must lose something, over and over again throughout our lives. Time itself eventually creates loss. We come into this world with everything to gain and leave it with everything to lose. And in between we go through a series of gains and losses, ups and downs. Learning to accept both is a sign of wellness, maturity – and even wisdom.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Self-Reflection and the Inward-Looking Person

Posted on: June 19, 2020

Individual counseling insights brought to you California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
Joseph Campbell

We live in a world of extroverts. Our social norms are geared to people who are “out there” – those who achieve, compete, socialize easily, and are energized by the external world. Society encourages us to describe ourselves in terms of what we see externally (like TV ads) and we try to match the models provided for us. Our idea of success is to achieve a life that’s prescribed for us by the social sphere. The extrovert’s idea of happiness is to have lots of friends and to enjoy talking, even when they don’t put much thought into what they say. They like activity and being around excitement. When so much of our attention is directed outwardly, however, we can lose track of our own authentic needs. 

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Aftermath of Trauma – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted on: May 15, 2020

Individual counseling insights brought to you California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Most of us build our lives around the belief that we will be relatively safe. Granted, normal daily life involves many stressors, especially in these hectic times, but we expect these pressures to happen and we become accustomed to handling them. The more flexible we are and the more we know ourselves and are in touch with our abilities, the easier it is to deal with normal everyday stress.

Posted in: Individual Counseling

What About Depression?

Posted on: April 8, 2020

Individual counseling insights brought to you California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Timely information about mental health during the pandemic.

Everyone feels sad from time to time. It’s only natural. Most people go through blue days or just periods of feeling down, especially after they experience a loss. But what experts call clinical depression is different from just being “down in the dumps.” The main difference is that the sad or empty mood does not go away after a couple of weeks – and everyday activities like eating, sleeping, socializing, or working can be affected.

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Family Dysfunction – The Children of Substance Abusers

Posted on: March 4, 2020

Family counseling insights brought to you California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Countless millions of adults in this country had a parent with a drinking or drug problem. A brief look at some of the history of the 1900’s can clarify this phenomenon. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, and this tended to validate, or at least give some justification for, the consumption of alcohol by the World War II generation. Alcohol was associated with good times and the good life for what is sometimes called the “drinking generation” who lived through WWII, the survivors of whom are most gone now or at the very last stages of the life span. Their children, the Baby Boomers, who are now in middle age and entering older age, tended to use not only alcohol but drugs as well. And again, they often associated the use of these substances with good times. This substance-abusing legacy was often passed to their own children, who are now in the their thirties and forties. Unfortunately, and estimates of the numbers involved are vague, a certain proportion of those who use alcohol or drugs become addicted to these substances.

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Posted in: Family Counseling

Surviving The Life Crisis

Posted on: February 25, 2020

The Bleakest Times of Our Lives Can Give Rise to Remarkably Positive Life Transformations

A life crisis is one of the inevitable features of our lives. Learning how to survive a crisis is a crucial skill, and one that we will probably need more than once throughout our lives. A crisis can occur when things begin to fall apart around us. The things that shape us – our marital status, job title, relationships with family and friends, health, or financial security – have disappeared and we find ourselves adrift without any clear guidelines that tell us what to do next. We feel lost. Do we hide? Do we deny this is happening? Do we rage? Do we fear the world? The answers may not be obvious. Nobody ever told us that the world would turn out this way. But one thing is clear – this is a crisis.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Eating Disorders

Posted on: February 14, 2020

An Eating Disorder Is a Very Serious Problem That Demands Immediate Attention

The Chinese used to bind the feet of women to make them smaller. So tiny and fragile were their feet, in fact, that some women were left essentially crippled, barely able to walk. To the Chinese, this was a sign of beauty and social status. But to us it seems a cruel and bizarre practice. 

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Depression In Men

Posted on: January 24, 2020

The incidence of depression in our society seems to be on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three of us will experience some form of depression within our lifetimes. Others claim that depression may even represent a symptom of our times which are characterized by alienation, lack of strong community bonds, and hopeless economic situations for many.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Looking For Love In All The Right Places

Posted on: January 17, 2020

“This above all – to thine own self be true.” – Polonius in Hamlet (William Shakespeare)

Although some people prefer to remain single throughout their lives, most people strive to connect with and live in partnership with one special person. There are many obvious advantages to finding a relationship partner – physical, economic, social – but there is another significant advantage in that working through the ups and downs of a relationship allows us to come to terms with many of our own personal issues. In fact, these personal issues may make or break a relationship, depending on whether we choose to work on them. If you are single now, you can use this time to learn more about yourself and what makes relationships work.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Working On Your Relationship – By Yourself

Posted on: December 13, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

You Can Create a Successful Relationship – Even If You Must Do It Alone

Conflicts can be expected to arise in even the strongest of relationships. Two people who attempt to create a relationship always bring their own issues, backgrounds, expectations, personalities, and inner difficulties into the interplay that occurs between them. It is not at all unusual that the two people might find themselves, at times, in a deadlock. They see no way to break the impasse and to recapture the spirit of good will that they once had and would like to have again. Each party’s personal conflicts come into play and stifle the communication, sharing and love that seem necessary for harmonious interaction. Rather than confronting our own part in the problem, we may resort to blaming our partner – “If only she (or he) would change, then we could be happy.”

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Communicating When You Have Conflict

Posted on: November 27, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Conflict between people is a fact of life – and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a relationship with frequent conflict may be healthier than one with no observable conflict. Conflicts occur at all levels of interaction – at work, among friends, within families, and between relationship partners. When conflict occurs, the relationship may be weakened or strengthened. Conflict is a critical event in the course of a relationship. Conflict can cause resentment, hostility and perhaps the ending of the relationship. If it is handled well, however, conflict can be productive – leading to deeper understanding, mutual respect and closeness. Whether a relationship is healthy or unhealthy depends not so much on the number of conflicts between participants, but on how the conflicts are resolved.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Handling Stress In Everyday Life

Posted on: November 12, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Stress happens when we perceive an event as disturbing or threatening. Our primitive ancestors experienced stress when they had to fight off wild animals, invaders, adverse natural events, and other threats to their survival. These days we are more likely to feel the anxiety that emerges from stress when we face overwhelming responsibilities at work or home, experience loneliness, rejection, or the fear of losing things that are important to us, such as our jobs or friends. When we are exposed to such events, we experience what has been called the fight or flight response. To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure. This sends more blood to our heart and muscles, and our respiration rate increases. We become vigilant and tense. Our bodies end up on full alert – and this allows us to take action. When these anxiety-inducing conditions continue over a long period of time, however, and have a significant impact on how we live, we may begin to suffer from one of the anxiety disorders.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Resisting Violence in Children

Posted on: October 28, 2019

Family Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Families Can Do Their Share to Address Violence in Their Children and Emerge Stronger in the Process

Violence in children is a complicated issue with many causes. It is easy to point fingers at some of the more obvious potential culprits. For example, television provides a steady diet of violence. It has been estimated that by the time children turn 18 they have been exposed to 40,000 deaths on TV, usually with no mention of the grieving that families endure when a loved one has died. Similarly rock music, and rap music most of all, often contains lyrics explicitly promulgating killing and other violence. Video games seem to go a step further – they not only are violent but the player of the game is also the shooter. Movies glorify violent deaths and revenge. The Internet is filled with websites carrying violent themes and even sites that tell the viewer how to make bombs. Guns are easy to get and have become a symbol of rebellion and power among some youth. Our schools have become segregated with cliques who intimidate each other – the jocks versus the goths, for example – sometimes in brutal ways. Bullies make some children afraid of going to school.

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Posted in: Family Counseling

Handling Personality Conflicts

Posted on: October 10, 2019

Relationship Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Some people are easy to be around and some are not. All of us seem to have at least a few difficult friends in our lives. They can range from those who are a mild annoyance to those who can make life seem nearly intolerable at times. People at this negative end of the continuum, especially if we have contact with them on a daily basis, can jeopardize our mental and emotional wellness over time – particularly if we lack the tools for responding to them in an adaptive way.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Pets and Emotional Wellness

Posted on: September 25, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

What a revolutionary breakthrough it would be if we found a way to lower blood pressure, lessen the ravages of depression, boost our immune systems, enhance our sense of emotional well being, decrease our feelings of loneliness, increase motivation, elevate our self-image, and promote our ability to trust! These are only some of the benefits of pet ownership. Under most circumstances, having a pet is a healthy and healing experience.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Experiencing Grief

Posted on: September 9, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Grieving comes to most of us at some point in our lives. In fact, statistics show that each person can expect to experience the loss of a loved one once every nine to thirteen years. The resulting sadness may be the most painful of life’s experiences. Because it is painful, however, our eventual adaptation to the loss can bring meaning and integrity to our lives – and this, ultimately, is a gift to us from the one we have lost. It is a reminder to us that the circle is unbroken.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Resilient Personality – Bouncing Back from Hardship

Posted on: August 22, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

All of us experience major disruptions at certain points in our lives. In fact, this is an expected and predictable hallmark of the human condition. For some, these hard times come frequently – the impact of the trauma is overwhelming and recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience – the strength required to adapt to change – lies at the heart of mental and emotional health.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Understanding Anger

Posted on: August 13, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear – but around in awareness.” – James Thurber

We all get angry. Many people choose not to believe this, but anger is a universal human emotion that can help us survive and solve some of life’s problems – or, conversely, it can create further trouble. Anger is an emotion that can occur when there is a threat to our self-esteem, our bodies, our property, our ways of seeing the world, or our desires. People differ in what makes them angry. Some people will perceive an event as threatening, while others see no threat at all in the same event. Our responses to anger differ as well. Some people are able to experience angry feelings and use them as a way of solving problems. Others turn their anger inward and engage in self-destructive behavior. Other people strike out when they feel angry. And some refuse to acknowledge their anger – or they confuse anger with other emotions such as vulnerability or fear.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Crisis of Infidelity

Posted on: July 26, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

The single most destructive threat to a committed relationship is when one of the partners engages in a sexual relationship with another person. This is not an uncommon event. Conservative estimates suggest that about a quarter of women, and a third of men, have violated their marital commitment to their partners. About 65 percent of marriages struck by infidelity end in divorce.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

A Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on: July 12, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub.”  — William Shakespeare, from Hamlet

The National Sleep Foundation tells us that nearly half of us don’t get enough sleep. In modern-day society, because of night work, television, computers, and the profound stress we experience in everyday life, our sleep is often disrupted. Sleep is a basic biological need, like hunger and thirst. When we don’t get enough of it, our bodies let us know that there are consequences. Sleep is a regular, natural state of rest characterized by a reduction in voluntary body movement and a decreased awareness of the surroundings. Sleep is not a state of falling completely into unconsciousness, but rather an altered state of consciousness that performs a restorative function for the brain and body.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Posted on: June 26, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
The Earl of Chesterfield, December 26, 1749

Almost everyone has been afflicted by procrastination at one time or another – that nagging menace that compels us to put things off for another day, another time. For some people this is a persistent problem, and for others it appears in only some areas of their lives. The result, though, is the same for everyone –  increased anxiety, wasted time, poor performance, missed opportunities, guilt, excusing ourselves, and avoiding people who depend on us. There are better ways of dealing with the demands of our everyday lives. Procrastination is not a trivial problem – it causes suffering for many people.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

To Forgive

Posted on: June 14, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  
Mahatma Gandhi

All of us have been hurt, in one way or another, by someone else. While it is easy to forgive a friend for the slight distress we feel over a phone call that was not returned, it is not so easy to forgive those who have harmed us in a major way. The greatest hurt seems to come from those who play the most significant roles in our lives. The enormity of the hurt may lead us to conclude that we can never forgive the other person. To forgive or not to forgive is one of our life choices. It is important for our own emotional well-being to understand that it is a choice, and a choice with consequences.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Understanding Anxiety

Posted on: May 29, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“The bow too tensely strung is easily broken.”
    – Publius Syrus (42 B.C.)

Anxiety is the body’s reaction to an event that is experienced as disturbing or threatening. Our primitive ancestors experienced stress when they had to fight off wild animals and other threats to their survival. Now, in the contemporary world, we are more likely to feel the anxiety that emerges from stress when we face overwhelming responsibilities at work or home, experience loneliness, rejection, or the fear of losing things that are important to us, such as our jobs or friends. When we are exposed to such events, we experience what has been called the fight or flight response. To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure. This sends more blood to our heart and muscles, and our respiration rate increases. We become vigilant and tense. Our bodies end up on full alert – and this allows us to take action. When these anxiety-inducing conditions continue over a long period of time, however, and have a significant impact on how we live, we may begin to suffer from one of the anxiety disorders.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Maintaining Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Posted on: May 14, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

A successful relationship is composed of two individuals – each with a clearly defined sense of her or his own identity. Without our own understanding of self, of who we are, and what makes us unique, it is difficult to engage in the process of an ongoing relationship in a way that functions smoothly and enhances each of the partners. We need a sense of self in order to clearly communicate our needs and desires to our partner. When we have a strong conception of our own identity, we can appreciate and love those qualities in our partner that make him or her a unique person. When two people come together, each with a clear definition of her or his own individuality, the potential for intimacy and commitment can be astounding. The similarities between two people may bring them together, but their differences contribute to the growth, excitement, and mystery of their relationship.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

The Committed Relationship

Posted on: April 29, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Download this blog post as a PDF

Emotionally committed relationships bring excitement and passion into our lives, especially when they are new.  Over time, however, we come across roadblocks, for example, our personal issues or family experiences, that can distance us from our partners.  When we first enter into a committed relationship, we may think that we have found the answer to life’s problems, that we have a partner to share in the turmoil of daily life, that we will never be alone again, that it will be smooth sailing from here on out. If we base relationships on these assumptions, however, we may be sorely disappointed when our partner fails to live up to these expectations. There is a strong probability that if we look to another person to provide fulfillment, we will begin to focus on the failings of that person as the cause of our own disappointments in life. This pattern is the reason for a great deal of discord in committed relationships. Many people who come in for relationship therapy actually hope that the therapy will change their partner because they are convinced that the partner is the source of the problem.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Relationships and Manipulation

Posted on: April 9, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

We are all vulnerable to being manipulated in relationships, whether between romantic partners, friends, parents, children, employers, coworkers, or neighbors. When we allow another person to manipulate us, we are colluding with their desire to control our feelings, motives, and even our thoughts through deceptive, exploitative, and unfair means. A manipulative relationship is one-sided and unbalanced, advancing the goals of the manipulator at the expense of the person being manipulated. These relationships become troubled over time. If you want to change this kind of relationship, you must first recognize the features of manipulation and then look within to understand your contribution to the manipulation. There are effective ways to stand up to manipulation and bring balance back into the relationship.

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Posted in: Marriage Counseling

When Your Partner’s Feelings Don’t Show

Posted on: March 21, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“Fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

– Bette Davis

When we commit to a relationship, we usually expect that our partner will reciprocate with roughly the same level of emotional involvement that we put into it. Many of us hope to find a soulmate, a partner who can share and understand our feelings and ways of thinking on an intensely personal level. Others don’t expect such an intense level of involvement and feel more comfortable maintaining personal privacy within a more boundaried relationship. Conflicts may arise when the two partners differ in their expectations of how close they should become. One partner may feel emotionally stranded, feeling abandoned and craving more closeness, while the other partner may feel smothered or pressured into providing more of his or her emotional self than can possibly be given. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Finding Intimacy

Posted on: March 7, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Many people search for that special intimacy in their relationship

Some of us search our entire lives for a feeling of oneness with another person. It’s hard to describe, really, what we search for, but we know it when we finally achieve it. Maybe we tire of that dark feeling of being ultimately alone as we struggle through life. If only there were someone else here, we say to ourselves, who could understand and share these burdens. Then it wouldn’t be so lonely. It wouldn’t be so hard. Or perhaps, in our more positive moments, we want to share not just the burdens but our pleasures too, our strength and beauty. We want the powerful impact of our internal experience to have an impression on someone else, as if to say that we count, we are whole, and we want to impart this feeling to another person. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Staying Healthy At Work

Posted on: February 26, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working? (Or Both?)

The atmosphere of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent times. Ever since the exploitative practices of the industrial revolution were removed through legislation, work has been defined as a place where a person could find fulfillment through a job which was rewarding and paid a fair wage. But this definition has reverted in recent years to one in which the needs of the employee have become less important. Finding personal fulfillment through our work has become more of a challenge. Progressive occupational stress leading to job burnout has become a painful reality for many people. This is especially true during times of high unemployment – when the workers who are still employed are expected to carry the load of those who are no longer with the company. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Loneliness

Posted on: February 12, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Only the lonely

Know the way I feel tonight

Only the lonely

Know this feeling ain’t right

  – Roy Orbison

If you feel lonely, you’re not alone.

Loneliness is a subjective sense of isolation – a feeling of not being able to connect with other people, a sense of being apart. As humans, we feel the need to be with other people. We need to relate to others, to get involved in their lives, to work with them, and to express our emotions around other people. Our social needs are nearly as powerful as our other basic needs, like our needs for food, water, and shelter. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Lasting Relationship

Posted on: January 29, 2019

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

A Successful Relationship Takes Work, Insight, and Commitment – and the Rewards Can Be Priceless

One hallmark of success in life may be the ability to sustain a long-term relationship. People in lasting relationships tend to live longer and stay healthier. Research shows that they report more happiness in life, more rewarding social interactions, and lower instances of substance abuse. Maybe the most important aspect of living within a successful permanent relationship is that a person not only feels loved, but also is able to share love with somebody else. Sharing love with a partner allows us to experience trust, nurturance, and a feeling of belonging. When we spend our years with another person we have a feeling of continuity in our lives which may otherwise be difficult to attain. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Worry, Worry

Posted on: January 18, 2019

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

It’s a good thing that almost all of us worry. Think of worry as a built-in alarm device. When it is used wisely, it alerts us to danger and prompts us to navigate our way through a maze of solutions to life’s various problems. We need to think through our options when we are faced with problems, weighing the benefits and pitfalls of each alternative, and then come up with the best solution. From there we take action which, we hope, solves the problem. Worry is helpful when it is used at the right time and at the right level for resolving our difficulties. Like many things in life, however, too little worry, or too much of it, can be harmful. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Influence of Birth Order

Posted on: December 20, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Birth Order Affects Our Behavior and Relationships

If brothers and sisters are raised by the same parents, how do they end up so different? How is it that one sibling grows up to be successful academically and professionally but with few friends, while another becomes the athlete with loads of friends? To the degree that one of the siblings is a responsible person, another will be attention-seeking or rebellious. One follows the ways of the parents and another looks outside the family for support. The strategies we learn in childhood for dealing with our parents and siblings has a lasting influence on our behavior, often in ways we barely recognize. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Distortions in Your Body Image

Posted on: November 26, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“What disturbs people’s minds is not events, but their judgments on events.”

Epictetus

In China, parents once bound the feet of their daughters in pursuit of beauty. In parts of Africa, both men and women elongate their earlobes and decorate their skin with minerals to look attractive, and this trend may be found in the United States now. At one time in this society, we found plump, rotund people to be the epitome of beauty. Old movies show us that the Tarzans and Supermen of past decades would hardly pass muster in today’s gyms. Today we define beauty as a thin, youthful, and muscular look. Today we go under the knife and on extreme diets to achieve a socially acceptable appearance – not to mention tattoos and body piercing – all practices that are similar to the early Chinese custom of binding feet. Strong social standards dictate, especially through the media, how we should look – and if our own bodies deviate from these expectations, which is the case for almost all of us, we feel inferior and ashamed. We hide. We cover up. We don’t like an important part of our selves. We feel depressed. We feel anxious in front of other people. We feel powerless – and we are apologetic when we show the world who we are.

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Posted in: Individual Counseling

Men and Depression

Posted on: October 29, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

The incidence of depression in our society seems to be on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three of us will experience some form of depression within our lifetimes. Others claim that depression may even represent a symptom of our times which are characterized by alienation, lack of strong community bonds, and hopeless economic situations for many. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Sometimes It Takes More Than Love

Posted on: July 25, 2018

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

When we make a commitment to our partner, our usual expectation is that our relationship will last for life and that our love will see us through the inevitable hard times. Yet, when reality sinks in, we have to acknowledge that while love is one of the components of a relationship’s longevity, it really takes more to make it through the long haul. It takes community and family support (which isn’t as available as it once was in our society) – and it takes skill. Many of us have failed to learn how to negotiate our way through relationship difficulties to build a lasting connection. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Social Support and Friendship

Posted on: May 15, 2018

Good Friendships Depend Less on Who They Are Than On How They Make Us Feel

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Since 1985 the number of people who say they have no one to talk to has doubled. The lack of social contacts and social support, despite our technological advances over the past decades, is one of the downsides to the huge transformations that have taken place in our society. Despite the advent of e-mail and mobile phones, people today have fewer meaningful social contacts than they had in the past. We have traded our face-to-face contacts for technological forms of communication. We tend to drive alone, work alone, eat alone, and live alone more than we did in past years. Our public presentation may reflect less about who we are on the inside than on our ability to conform to the latest look that we pick up from the all-pervasive media. We go to the gym and work out alone to the beats stored in our devices. We go for coffee and immerse ourselves in our laptops. And we don’t talk to strangers, who may, as many believe, pose a danger to us. Yes, we’ve changed. Friendships are harder to come by. It is more difficult these days to get to know who another person really is – or for them to get to know who we are. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Healthy Pursuit of Pleasure

Posted on: April 24, 2018

Engaging in Simple, Healthy Pleasures Can Restore Balance to Our Hectic Lives

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Pleasure guides us to better health. When experiences are enjoyable, we want more of them. Our bodies tell us that sleep, reproduction, eating, companionship, and exercise — to name just a few of our more common daily activities — are enjoyable. Our survival depends on engaging in these activities. The brain has several pleasure centers which are activated by chemicals which speed satisfying sensations from one nerve to the next. Children the world over, when they are left alone to do what they choose, engage in endless hours of play. They pursue fun. Childhood may be the time in life when our brains are trained to experience pleasure. If we accomplish this task well as children, we may have healthier lives as adults — as long as we don’t lose the ability to play that we acquired in childhood.   (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Weight Management

Posted on: April 17, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and most Westernized countries. If you are overweight, you are hardly alone, as you can see by looking around you. About two-thirds of Americans are overweight and the statistics climb by the year. Even children now are heavier than they have ever been – and this is happening during a time in our history when the thin look continues to be defined as the ideal (although this is gradually changing). Type II diabetes and hypertension (or high blood pressure) are two diseases associated with obesity, and the rates of these diseases have been increasing steadily over the years. Obesity is also linked to heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Distorted Thoughts… Getting Back to Reality

Posted on: April 10, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.  

One of the best tools we have for living a healthy life is our ability to think. Our world is composed of a large number of events that happen constantly. Some are positive and some are negative, and most are neutral. We interpret these events as they happen with a series of thoughts that flow continually through our minds. This process is called our internal dialogue. We constantly think about present and past events, and sometimes about things that will happen in the future. And here’s the important point – these thoughts need to be accurate. We need good reality testing in order to live effectively. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Relationships and Manipulation

Posted on: April 3, 2018

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

We are all vulnerable to being manipulated in relationships, whether between romantic partners, friends, parents, children, employers, coworkers, or neighbors. When we allow another person to manipulate us, we are colluding with their desire to control our feelings, motives, and even our thoughts through deceptive, exploitative, and unfair means. A manipulative relationship is one-sided and unbalanced, advancing the goals of the manipulator at the expense of the person being manipulated. These relationships become troubled over time. If you want to change this kind of relationship, you must first recognize the features of manipulation and then look within to understand your contribution to the manipulation. There are effective ways to stand up to manipulation and bring balance back into the relationship. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Obsessions and Compulsions

Posted on: March 27, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder was once thought to be a fairly rare but serious mental problem. Specialists saw it as serious mainly because the behavior of a person with this disorder appears quite abnormal to other people. About one in forty people suffers from OCD, and many cases go undiagnosed, so we now know that it is not so rare a condition. The more researchers discovered about OCD, the more they saw that people with this disorder are normal in most respects. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Posted on: March 20, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” The Earl of Chesterfield — December 26, 1749

Almost everyone has been afflicted by procrastination at one time or another – that nagging menace that compels us to put things off for another day, another time. For some people this is a persistent problem, and for others it appears in only some areas of their lives. The result, though, is the same for everyone – increased anxiety, wasted time, poor performance, missed opportunities, guilt, excusing ourselves, and avoiding people who depend on us. There are better ways of dealing with the demands of our everyday lives. Procrastination is not a trivial problem – it causes suffering for many people. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Arising From Codependence

Posted on: March 13, 2018

Emerging From Dysfunctional Childhood Experiences Can Lead to a Journey of Self-Discovery and Independence

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

The households we grew up in can have a powerful influence on the way we deal with life as an adult – often in ways that we never stop to think about. We simply keep on living, repeating the same mistakes and enduring the same conflicts over and over again. We may wonder why the same old patterns keep repeating themselves even when we change friendships, jobs and relationships. The answer may lie in a less-than-nurturing childhood characterized by neglect and other forms of abuse. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Looking For The Right Partner

Posted on: March 6, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Although some people prefer to remain single throughout their lives, most people strive to connect with and live in partnership with one special person. There are many obvious advantages to finding a relationship partner – physical, economic, social – but there is another significant advantage in that working through the ups and downs of a relationship allows us to come to terms with many of our own personal issues. In fact, these personal issues may make or break a relationship, depending on whether we choose to work on them. If you are single now, you can use this time to learn more about yourself and what makes relationships work. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Finding Happiness

Posted on: February 27, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Most people seek a life filled with meaning, contentment, gratification, and pleasure. In moments of reflection, we may wonder what we can do to direct our lives not only away from anxiety, anger, stress, and depression – but toward a state of personal fulfillment. We may realize that the typical markers of achievement in our society – a graduation, a marriage, a job promotion, the completion of a project, buying a home – don’t always bring us the happiness that we expected, and often they increase our stress levels. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Distortions In Your Body Image

Posted on: February 20, 2018

Family Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

“What disturbs people’s minds is not events, but their judgments on events.” — Epictetus

In China, parents once bound the feet of their daughters in pursuit of beauty. In parts of Africa, both men and women elongate their earlobes and decorate their skin with minerals to look attractive, and this trend may be found in the United States now. At one time in this society, we found plump, rotund people to be the epitome of beauty. Old movies show us that the Tarzans and Supermen of past decades would hardly pass muster in today’s gyms. Today we define beauty as a thin, youthful, and muscular look. Today we go under the knife and on extreme diets to achieve a socially acceptable appearance – not to mention tattoos and body piercing – all practices that are similar to the early Chinese custom of binding feet. Strong social standards dictate, especially through (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

A Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on: February 13, 2018

“To sleep, perchance to dream — ay, there’s the rub.”

William Shakespeare, from Hamlet

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.  

The National Sleep Foundation tells us that nearly half of us don’t get enough sleep. In modern-day society, because of night work, television, computers, and the profound stress we experience in everyday life, our sleep is often disrupted. Sleep is a basic biological need, like hunger and thirst. When we don’t get enough of it, our bodies let us know that there are consequences. Sleep is a regular, natural state of rest characterized by a reduction in voluntary body movement and a decreased awareness of the surroundings. Sleep is not a state of falling completely into unconsciousness, but rather an altered state of consciousness that performs a restorative function for the brain and body. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Posted on: February 6, 2018

Family Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Most people with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder don’t know they have it. Indeed, the disorder was not recognized until the 1980’s, and it was not until the 1990’s that the recognition of adult ADHD was established. However, it is a condition that can have a significant impact on the way a person functions in the world. Unfortunately, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is poorly named. It is not so much a disorder as it is a difference in the way some people process information and focus their attention. And to call it a deficit fails to recognize the many strengths that these people have. ADHD, however, is perhaps a better name than the old word for it – minimal brain dysfunction. (more…)

Posted in: Family Counseling

Making The Most Of Our Life Transitions

Posted on: January 24, 2018

There Are Times To Let Go Of The Old And Embrace The New

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Throughout the course of our lives we experience many endings and many beginnings. In nature we observe times when things move slowly without visible change – and then suddenly an acceleration occurs followed by a transformation. Daffodil shoots emerge from the cold ground, and then before we know it bloom in a dazzling array of perfumed beauty. Tree leaves which have been green all summer suddenly turn gold and within a short time are blown to the ground, the tree’s branches left bare. Transitions are as natural as night and day. And so it is with our lives. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

The Passive-Aggressive Partner

Posted on: January 24, 2018

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Anger Expressed Covertly Is Both Infuriating and Destructive to a Relationship

Some people just can’t admit that they’re angry. Anger is one of the basic emotions which touches all of our lives to one degree or another. Indeed, a person who is incapable of experiencing anger would certainly be at a disadvantage in trying to survive. Used constructively, anger helps us to protect ourselves. It motivates us to solve problems and to resolve conflicts with other people. (more…)

Posted in: Marriage Counseling

Healthy Pleasure

Posted on: January 24, 2018

Individual Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Engaging in Simple, Healthy Pleasures Can Restore Balance to our Hectic Lives

Pleasure guides us to better health. When experiences are enjoyable, we want more of them. Our bodies tell us that sleep, reproduction, eating, companionship, and exercise – to name just a few of our common daily activities – are enjoyable. Our survival depends on engaging in these activities. And we define these basic actions as sources of fun or pleasure, and this may explain why we feel impelled to engage in them. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Dealing With Controlling People

Posted on: January 24, 2018

Family Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Control, like most facets of human behavior, is probably best experienced in moderation. At one end of the spectrum, control is a positive, adaptive tool. For example, control over prolonged and constant chaos in our lives is usually a good thing. At the other end, control can be seen as negative. People who are over-controlled to the point of being unable to feel or express emotion can find life’s expected turmoils to be difficult or even impossible to handle. (more…)

Posted in: Family Counseling

Healthy Pleasure

Posted on: January 23, 2018

Family Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Engaging in Simple, Healthy Pleasures Can Restore Balance to our Hectic Lives

Pleasure guides us to better health. When experiences are enjoyable, we want more of them. Our bodies tell us that sleep, reproduction, eating, companionship, and exercise – to name just a few of our common daily activities – are enjoyable. Our survival depends on engaging in these activities. And we define these basic actions as sources of fun or pleasure, and this may explain why we feel impelled to engage in them. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

An Awareness Of Time

Posted on: December 31, 2017

Marriage Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Give Yourself The Time Of Your Life

When we get right down to it, we have to draw one inescapable conclusion: time is our most important asset. And like most assets, there never seems to be enough of it. There are always so many things to do, so many pressures, so many things to keep track of. Our lives seem to whiz by, and where has our time gone? If time is our most important asset, why do we know so little about it? Why do we stay so busy yet accomplish so little? Are our accomplishments all that important in the overall scheme of our lives? In a sense, when we simplify our lives and become aware of the rhythms of life that occur internally, we can cultivate our sense of time – and we gain self-knowledge that generally escapes us within the bustle of our daily lives. (more…)

Posted in: Individual Counseling

Actively Listening

Posted on: December 31, 2017

Family Counseling insights brought to you by Westlake Village-based California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

Active Communication Requires One Person to Talk and the Other to Listen… and Both to Do Their Parts Well

Listening is the other half of communication. Our first thought, when we think about communication, may be to consider the speaker’s ability to convey ideas effectively. What we often forget is that without a listener the speaker may as well be talking to the wind. Just as effective speaking is an acquired skill, so is good listening. Some do it better than others. But all of us can learn to enrich our own listening skills. (more…)

Posted in: Family Counseling