Reacting to pain

I had quite an amazing experience the other day when I was meditating. I’ll preface it by saying that allergy season hit hard last week in NYC. It came suddenly and I believe the pollen count reached a record high. It floored me. It does so every year, but this year has been especially bad.

Dealing with the Detached Protector

In schema therapy, we talk about schemas, which are more entrenched, long-term character traits, and we talk about modes, which are states that come and go depending upon any number of factors. Emotional deprivation is an example of a common schema that is born out of a persistent lack of empathy, nurturing, and/or protection in


Adults have so much to learn from children. I often think that we have a lot more to learn from them than they do from us. Little kids love to play with their friends. They can spend hours playing without stopping, but afterwards they need to refuel. The best way to refuel is by being

Observing the punitive voice

Most of us have critical or punitive voices inside our heads. In schema therapy, the punitive voice is a mode that can get triggered in any situation where one finds fault with oneself. For example, Marla has a tendency to binge on sweets at night. She’s overweight and wants to lose weight and is much

The illusion of separateness

Here is an interesting little exercise: Take your hand and hide it behind something and spread your fingers and slowly lift your fingers up so only your fingers can be seen and not the palm of your hand. If you did not know that this was a hand, you would assume that the five fingers

Emotions and Feelings

I run a therapy group on Thursday evenings with a focus on relationships. A couple of weeks ago we had an interesting discussion about distinguishing between thoughts and feelings and emotions. We decided that it’s useful to distinguish between feelings and emotions by defining emotions as the reflexive reactions that rise and fall outside of


I watched a documentary on stress by biologist/professor and author of Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky. He provides some fascinating information on stress based primarily on his longitudinal research in Africa with a single baboon troop. Here are some of the findings that stuck with me: Stress levels changed based on the order

Listen to your children

Children need to be listened to. Do not assume that you know what they are feeling. The fact that they may not have words for their feelings makes it easier to dismiss them, and when they start crying inconsolably it can be equally challenging as a parent to be supportive, because a crying child moves

Why I meditate

I have been interested in meditation for years, but it was only until fairly recently that I completed a Vedic meditation training here in NYC and committed to a regular practice. In the Vedic tradition, a mantra is used to anchor the meditation. One of the biggest benefits of meditation, as far as I am

The game of assumptions

One of the most common problems that I see when working with couples is the game of assumptions. This is when people infer based on previous behavior what the other is thinking and feeling. No space is left for something new. The assumer feels defensive and self-protective and the “assumee” feels shut out and not

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