Perfectionist. High Achiever. Overly critical. Lofty expectations. Many of us resonate with these phrases, and maybe even had them placed on us by others or by ourselves. I am one of these people – I have always set extremely high expectations of myself, and struggled when not able to meet these standards. I remember times as a child that I...

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I love doing couples work.

I had not worked with couples before I started working at Live Oak.  Most graduate social work programs provide minimal training in this area, so my exposure was limited.   I had always been so interested in and focused upon doing psychotherapy individually that doing couples work barely registered on my radar.  And for whatever reason,

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We live in a time when traditional conceptions of masculinity are subject to critique and revision.  The legitimacy of the critique only makes the conflict more acute.  Here are some examples, based on men I know but presented as composites to preserve confidentiality.

A man is working in a field he enjoys—but his colleagues are in more responsible positions because...

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I am a therapist. I am white. I am a man. I am a little beyond middle aged. I am in a relationship. I am organized. I like the color blue.   I like plants.  I like dogs.  I like turning flea market finds into useful furniture. I have a bad back. I am Jewish. I am busy.

Knowing Without Telling

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Jordan was seeing me weekly for several years to help him manage his divorce, relationship with his children, and decisions about his career.  It became apparent after the first year of therapy that he had started to use alcohol to reduce his anxiety.  Slowly and steadily, his use of alcohol increased until he had reported several blackouts and came to...

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There are many times in therapy when I am told something by my client that few other people know.  Sometimes, I am the only person who knows other than the person who has told me.  It takes courage to open a secret, and takes careful listening to know when a secret has been shared.  I try to be mindful during...

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Marty consistently talked about his garden each time we met for therapy.  It was his greatest source of pride and, since he retired, where he spent most of his time.  He described it in great detail, often telling me about new plants he had bought or perennials he had transplanted.  He brought in pictures of his garden frequently and eventually...

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