Category Archives: Articles written by me

Coping with the loss of a pet


Having recently losing lost my 14 year old cat, I found myself experiencing grief in a way that had its own personality. A friend of mine who recently lost his dog told me “grief is a bully”. This was the fourth time I had to say goodbye to a feline friend and it is still something I can hardly bare. Losing a pet can be a profound loss, and as a therapist who has experienced it firsthand, I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic and offer some guidance for those who may be going through a similar experience.

Our pets are often more than just animals. They are our companions, confidants, and members of the family. They offer us love, support, and a sense of purpose, and their loss can leave a significant hole in our lives. When my cat passed away, I felt a deep sense of sadness and emptiness. I had once again lost a friend who had been with me through many of life’s events, and it was difficult to imagine life without her.

One of the most challenging aspects of pet loss is the feeling of isolation that can come with it. Many people do not understand the depth of emotion that can accompany the loss of a pet, and it can be hard to find support from others who do not share our experiences. As a therapist, I understand the importance of having a safe space to process grief and loss. I encourage anyone who has lost a pet to seek out support from friends, family, or a therapist who can offer empathy and understanding.

When grieving the loss of a pet, it is essential to remember that there is no “right” way to grieve. Everyone experiences grief differently, and there is no timeline for when you should start to feel better. It is essential to allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up and to give yourself time to process the loss. Please do not feel shame if you feel intense grief.  All it means is, you honored your friend and you are caring person who can feel and appreciate love.

One of the most helpful things I did in my own grief process was to create a ritual to honor my cat’s memory. When I got  her ashes back in an urn and I placed her favorite toy next to it. For others it can be something as simple as lighting a candle or creating a small altar with pictures and mementos. Creating a ritual can provide a sense of closure and help us to honor the bond we shared with our pets.

Self-care is also crucial during the grieving process. Grief can be physically and emotionally exhausting, and it is essential to take care of ourselves during this difficult time. This may mean taking time off work, engaging in self-care activities like exercise or meditation, or seeking support from loved ones.

As a therapist, I often work with clients to help them navigate the stages of grief. The stages of grief, as outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While not everyone will experience all of these stages or in the same order, they can provide a framework for understanding the emotions that come with grief.

In the case of pet loss, it is common for people to experience feelings of guilt or regret. We may wonder if we did enough for our pets or if we missed signs that they were in pain or getting sick. It is important to remember that these feelings are normal and to be gentle with ourselves. Guilt sometimes is a way of trying to control a situation where we feel powerless. If it’s our fault we don’t have to feel powerless. It can be helpful to focus on the positive memories we shared with our pets and to remind ourselves that we did the best we could.

When a pet is no longer with us, it can be difficult to adjust to the changes in our daily lives. For example, we may miss the routine of feeding our pets or taking them for walks. It can be helpful to create new routines or to find ways to honor our pets’ memory in our daily lives. For example, we may volunteer at an animal shelter or make a donation in our pet’s name to a local animal rescue.

People who have not experienced the loss of a pet may not understand the depth of grief we are experiencing. They may offer well-intentioned but dismissive comments like “it was just a pet” or “you can always get another one.” It is important to remember that the grief we feel is valid and that our pets were much more than just animals to us. It can be helpful to seek out support from others who understand our experience, such as a pet loss support group or online community.

It is also important to remember that grief does not necessarily end with acceptance. While we may eventually come to accept the loss of our pet, the memory of them will always be a part of our lives. It is common to experience waves of grief even years after our pets have passed away, particularly during anniversaries or special occasions. This is normal and does not mean that we have not processed our grief effectively.

In some cases, the grief we experience after losing a pet may be complicated by other factors, such as trauma or unresolved grief from previous losses. In these cases, it can be helpful to seek out professional support from a therapist who specializes in grief and loss. EMDR a form of trauma therapy, can also help in dealing with complicated grief.

Again, it is important to remember that the grief we experience after losing a pet is a reflection of the deep love and connection we shared with them. Our pets bring so much joy and meaning to our lives, and their loss can be devastating. With time, support, and self-care, it is possible to find a sense of peace and healing after the loss of a beloved pet.

Does your girlfriend suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder?

Dating a Woman with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Women who suffer frоm BPD (Bоrdеrlinе Personality Diѕоrdеr) can profoundly effесt the quality of their significant others lives. One minute everything is fine and the next you fееl аѕ if уоu are walking on eggshells. You never know how she will react to a situation or уоu; will it be with love… or аngеr? Being with her can make you fееl hеlрlеѕѕ and unable to cope. At times you may want to end it, but at the same time you may feel addicted to her. Usually the relationship is an intense one.

It is thought that more than six million реорlе in the U.S. have Borderline Personality Diѕоrdеr and that thеѕе реорlе grеаtlу affect the livеѕ of at least 30 million оthеrѕ. There is some controversy how many women might have BPD compared to men. Old studies say its 75/25, newer studies say its 53/47. The ratio of my caseload is about 75/25, which is why I am writing this article.

What is Borderline Pеrѕоnаlitу Diѕоrdеr (BPD)?

“Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions and impulsiveness.

With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.”

By Mayo Clinic Staff


The reason why men get trapped in rеlаtiоnѕhiрѕ with women who have borderline реrѕоnаlitу disorder is because of their ability to make you feel special and alive. Their intensity is infectious almost like a drug. At the beginning you will probably want to be with her all the time. You may say to yourself I think I found my soul-mate after a very short amount of time. Many times the sexual chemistry is overwhelming. They also may get you to fееl sorry for them and can make you feel that only you can save them. Then they may pull the rug out from under you. You can be feeling greater than ever you have met the love of your life, then she suddenly pushes you away. When she pulls away you may feel a very painful withdrawal, all you want is to get her back in your life. Then all of a sudden she comes back and you feel you are with that incredible person again. Unfortunately, the cycle usually will start all over again. This will effect your self-esteem and you may find yourself obsessing about her all the time.


Here are some red flags that your girlfriend may have BPD (borderline personality diѕоrdеr.)

  • Dоеѕ she immediately ореn up tо you about abuse in her раѕt?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе trаѕh her еx-bоуfriеnd or ex-husband even bеfоrе уоu hardly get tо know her? Dоеѕ ѕhе ѕееm tо go on and on аbоut her еx and how he ruined her life?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе have an intense bad rеlаtiоnѕhiр with her parents? Especially with her mother.
  • Is ѕhе always ѕауing bad things аbоut her раrеntѕ tо you? Does she blame her parents for all of her problems?
  • Does she seem to want tо move the rеlаtiоnѕhiр forward at a very quick pace? Maybe showing an intеrеѕt in moving in with you very early in the relationship?
  • Has she suffered or is currently suffering from an eating disorder?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе have temper tantrums in front of уоu and others?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе start horrible уеlling fights with уоu and when you try tо lеаvе she bеgѕ for уоu tо stay?
  • Has she bought you extravagant gifts early in the relationship?
  • Is she willing tо еxрlоrе risky ѕеxuаl behaviors?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе аbuѕе drugs or аlсоhоl?
  • Does ѕhе ѕееm very quick to fall in love with уоu and almost view уоu аѕ her knight in shining аrmоr?
  • Does she have a difficult time being friends with оthеr women?
  • Does she have a lot of associates she calls friends?
  • Is she always busy?
  • Dоеѕ it lооk like a lot of bad things kеер hарреning tо her? Thrown out by her boyfriend, trouble with finаnсеѕ, trouble maintaining a job, еtс?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе ѕееm to have very compelling excuses and rеаѕоning that explains why these bad things have happened tо her (example, her еx-bоуfriеnd made her run up her сrеdit саrd debts, and that’s why her credit is bad)

If she has one or even two of these traits, it’s probably alright. But if its more than that, it is probably something to look into.

You also may want to check out another list from Boomerang Love


How to Cope with the Woman with BPD

Dating a woman with borderline реrѕоnаlitу disorder is exhausting and соnfuѕing. This is because they lасk a ѕеnѕе of who thеу are. One minute she might think of hеrѕеlf as a rеаl реrѕоn and the next minute think of herself аѕ evil and flawed. Thoughts аbоut other реорlе fluctuate rарidlу, as well. She might want to trust others, but at the ѕаmе time, she dоеѕn’t think other реорlе are trustworthy. All of this confusion саn lеаvе her fееling empty, sad, and hollow inside.

The best way tо cope is tо try tо understand what BPD is and how it is effecting you. Learn аѕ much аѕ уоu саn about BPD, its ѕуmрtоmѕ and what a sufferer of BPD gоеѕ through. Mоѕt imроrtаntlу, take care of yourself first and do not take it personally.  A qualified therapist can help you understand what is going on. They can also help you see if you can set boundaries and reduce the drama.  A good therapist should be able to give you some strategies on how to try to change the dynamic of the relationship. Remember you can only do so much since she has to work with you. If it appears it is not changing, do some deep soul searching and ask yourself will I ever get what I need out of this relationship?

As you can see there is no winning with someone with BPD. It will always be an intense push-pull. One day you may feel you have it figured out and the next day you are back where you started from. Will the drama ever stop? Unfortunately, many times these relationships cannot be salvaged.


Usually these relationships will end in one of two ways. The most common is she will just kill you off. All of a sudden she won’t talk to you, it’s like the relationship never happened. Almost as if you never existed. She may block your phone, make you feel like a bad person just because you want closure. Other times if you try to end it, they will not let go and create drama. Sometimes they may even stalk you. Usually it is not an easy ending.




Control is what keeps someone co-dependent

By Barry Herbach

This article will explain why you would stay in a relationship that continues to make you feel bad. But the main focus is addiction.

I thought it would be useful to discuss the concept of letting go. This is a process of acceptance. I think this is best illustrated in the serenity prayer.

 “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. “

 Co-dependence is one of the most misused words in psychotherapy. What the word means is that you are a partner in your significant others addiction. The addict is addicted to the drug and you are addicted to the addict. This is why you are co-dependent.

Let’s say you were in a relationship with an alcoholic, who also has been unfaithful many times. You can continue to hope and pray that he or she will wake up and stop this behavior. You can check their cell phone smell their breath. These are the things that you feel will help you control their being out of control. There are dozens of examples like this, I can give you.  But its denial!!

The bottom line in each of these examples, you are trying to control the uncontrollable.  It is only by realizing and accepting that you have no control in these situations that you can gain control.  If you finally allow your self to see that for right now, this is the reality. That there is nothing you can do to change another persons behavior. Then you will be free to move forward. This is the courage that is described in the serenity prayer. Having to change or do something else, requires courage and determination.  So, if we look at your relationship with the addict and that for the foreseeable future they are not changing; you can leave and free yourself.  You will now have control over your choices. You will see that you are powerless over the addicts choices. Then you can let go of your need to fix the addict and finally work on fixing fix you.

This is starting the first step of AA/Al-anon, you are accepting you are powerless over this. You will never get what you want as long as your partner is an addict. You are destroying your life as they are theres. You will only get sicker as they will, l if they try to become control users.

The irony is both of you are trying to control the uncontrollable. It is a disease of control. The answer is let go of the illusion that you are in control. You blame the addict for no letting  go of the drug, yet you won’t let go of the addict. Explain to me the difference. Both of you have the same choice, LET GO OF CONTROL.

There is nothing more freeing and powerful as saying, “I am leaving.” When you do this. There is nothing the person or situation can do to stop you or control you. Once you let go of trying to control something. You are finally in control.

Why Couples Therapy?

Why Couples Therapy?

In order for a relationship to succeed you need to work on it every day. Sometimes communication problems develop which can make this hard. This can be caused by past resentments, unmet expectations, mistakes made by one or both people in the relationship. My role as a couples therapist is to repair the communication and get both partners to work together for the relationship instead of against each other.

How it works

In couples therapy, the focus of treatment isn’t just one person, it is the couple itself. The therapy is brief, solution-focused and specific, with attainable therapeutic goals. In the first session the issues are explored and then goals are set. These goals are worked on and monitored as we go forward. In a short amount of time sessions are usually moved to every other week to allow you to learn work out conflicts and issues with less input from me.

As we progress my office will become a safe haven, where problems can be discussed without fear of pain, judgment or retribution. In my office you will learn a better way to express your needs and hurts with your partner. By using specific interventions and techniques, hurtful and destructive patterns in the relationship are changed to create a stronger, more open and meaningful relationship.

Situations where couples therapy can be helpful:

-Communication is breaking down
-There is diminished sexual desire and activity level
-You find that you are replaying old arguments and resurrecting old hurts
-You are finding yourself feeling resentment and contempt for your mate most of the time
-One or both of you are having an affair
-Money seems to be a source of conflict frequently You feel that you are being suffocated by the relationship
-It feels easier to avoid talking about issues
-You seem to be fighting about your children all the time
-Infertility issues are tearing the relationship apart You are worried he/she doesn’t care about you anymore
-You are finding yourself worrying that he/she is cheating

The Results

In couples therapy you will learn to identify negative patterns that are getting in the way of the relationship and friendship you once felt. We will work on how the two of you can stop blaming each other so you can work through your problems without creating new hurts and resentments. You will learn how recognize and then to avoid power struggles. I will demonstrate and model healthy ways to communicate and relate to each other, which will strengthen the quality of your relationship

Why a woman should never be the one to call after first date

Before you get upset with me, this article is based on over 30 years of experience being a psychotherapist. One of the things I observed is that it was it a bad idea for a woman to call a man after their first date.  I know it’s not fair and I am not saying it’s right. But the facts prove it.

Why do it?  There is nothing to gain, if a guy likes you he will text you or call you. Usually in 24 hours.  As a man I promise you this is true.  Why wouldn’t he?  If he had a good time and wanted to get to know you better, he has your contact info, he will use it.  If he does not call it means he is not interested.  I know you may come up with other reasons in your mind, but the truth is he just wasn’t interested.

If you do give into temptation it can hurt you, it can turn off a guy that was interested.  Let me give an example. I had a patient that was trying to get up the nerve to ask a woman out for almost 6 months. Finally he got his date and he was very excited by the prospect of going  out.  After the first date, she texted him 10 min later while he was on his way home. That was it, now my patient believed she was needy and his fantasy was smashed.  I do not believe in game play, nor do I think it is healthy. But remember during the first couple of dates,  no one really knows their date.  All you are dealing with is chemistry and fantasy. So these rules give a structure, a guideline of the territory . When they are not followed it rings off an alarm in your date.  I am only talking about the first and maybe the second date.  After that you should feel free to contact him after going out and if you get a vibe from him that it is not OK, then he is probably not going to be a good boyfriend.

To sum it up, if you are the first to call after the first date you will appear needy.

Next topic will be why a woman should never try to be the first to try the first kiss.