Books

Be My Witness

Most of us suffer a crisis of loneliness at one time or another; sometimes, it's a constant unseen presence by our side. After all, who really knows the things that make my heart pound or skin prickle, and the thoughts that haunt me in the middle of the night? Who knows my doubts and shame, my laundry list of regrets? I'm a therapist, so it's my role to ask questions as I work to get to know a person. It's my job to see each individual, connect, and get to know them as fully as possible. It tak

A Message From Your Future Self

Years ago, when I was in my early twenties and struggling to find a direction for my life, an excellent therapist helped me create my optimal career path. Her influence, combined with my passion for psychology, resulted in my decision to also become a therapist. Since then I have made it a point to pass on the most helpful things I learned from that wonderful woman to my own clients. One of those consistently helpful things is the future-self exercise. The method used for this is guided medit

When Television Kills

It’s official now, though I already knew it. Television shows have the power to tip fragile young people into taking their own lives and as a society we’ve consistently underestimated the power of media to influence behavior. Social contagion is real, and we have had data for years to prove it. Teenagers are particularly prone to it. Social contagion is why we see suicide clusters in communities after one suicide. People often deny that media has any influence on their behavior, but behavioral

Personality Traits Common in Mass Killers

Mass killers are not identical but there are specific personality traits that they tend to share. Paranoia, narcissism, and psychopathy are the most common that cluster together. Though many people have these traits and never commit violence, it’s an area of concern that indicates the need for careful screening by mental health clinicians. Personality is the characteristic way we perceive, think, feel, and behave in the world. It’s stable over time and in a variety of settings and circumstances

We're Wired to Survive

When I was in my early twenties, my best friend was kidnapped while walking home from a grocery store just after dark. I’ll call her Rina. She was then gang-raped and stabbed before escaping. Rina survived after a harrowing two hours held in the back of a van. Rina’s story is a vivid example of the body's intricate and innate response to crises, also known as the fight-flight-freeze-fawn response. This response occurs without our conscious awareness in times of danger. Humans have evolved to s

How the Parkland School Massacre Could Have Been Prevented

I’m passionate about violence prevention, and mass shootings have been an area of study for decades. As a mental health therapist for over 30 years, I’ve worked as a member of multidisciplinary treatment teams in forensic mental health programs and residential treatment centers. I’ve worked with all sorts of violent people, including murderers. We know mass shootings are one of the most preventable kinds of violent crime; if we want them to stop, we must do some things differently. I’ve watched

How the Parkland School Massacre Could Have Been Prevented

I’m passionate about violence prevention, and mass shootings have been an area of study for decades. As a mental health therapist for over 30 years, I’ve worked as a member of multidisciplinary treatment teams in forensic mental health programs and residential treatment centers. I’ve worked with all sorts of violent people, including murderers. We know mass shootings are one of the most preventable kinds of violent crime; if we want them to stop, we must do some things differently. I’ve watched