California Therapy


These are a few blogs that caught our eyes as we sifted through the internet.  We'll be publishing some of the more interesting articles we encounter each month and we hope you'll enjoy browsing through them.

Dealing with Difficult Emotions - Jim Christrup, LCSW

Living In A World That Overwhelms You – The Highly Sensitive Person - Joy Tsai-Yuan Hung, MFT

Psychotherapy Has an Image Problem, Part I - Ryan Howes, Ph.D.

Sex Addiction is a Relational Disorder - Darren Haber, MFT

SHAME AND GUILT - Tammy Fletcher, LMFT

12 Most Annoying Bad Habits of Therapists - Dr. John Grohol

Celestial and Cerebral Reunions - TherapyDoc

Dealing with Difficult Emotions
Jim Christrup, LCSW
Therapist in San Francisco
Its easy to be overwhelmed by the difficult experiences life throws at us and by the strong, uncomfortable or scary emotions that accompany difficult experiences. For example illness, loss, having experiences we don’t want, or not getting something we want can make us frightened, depressed or anxious. Sometimes strong emotions can seem overwhelming. And sometimes we may turn to destructive behaviors or withdraw from life to try to escape from difficult emotions.

One thing that can help is to remember is that emotions are just emotions. We cannot control them, we can only accept them. They come and go like waves on the ocean. They may provide texture, color, and depth to life’s experiences. They can be very uncomfortable, but they are not in themselves dangerous if we allow ourselves to feel and process them. They often have something to tell us. Staying with rather than avoiding our experience may put us in touch with a life lesson or a deeper meaning.  read more

Living In A World That Overwhelms You – The Highly Sensitive Person

Joy Tsai-Yuan Hung, MFT
3636 5th Ave.  Suite100, San Diego, CA 92103
Being a highly sensitive person (HSP – Highly Sensitive Person is a term used by widely published psychologist and researcher, Dr. Elaine Aron, after her extensive research on this population.  To read more about this, click here) can be quite challenging when the environment we live in promotes faster, louder, multi-task, high performance oriented culture.  Once upon a time, HSPs probably could have blend in with the rest of the population without being noticed.  In today’s world, though, HSPs stand out when they find the need to retreat.  The demands of the modern society can be overwhelming and put HSPs under stress, feeling over aroused and over-stimulated. read more

Psychotherapy Has an Image Problem, Part I
Ryan Howes, Ph.D.

To say psychotherapy is in trouble is picking low-hanging fruit these days. It’s easy to point to the changes of Obamacare, the economic downturn, or the credibility-eroding dispute between the DSM-5 and NIMH when we anxiously profess the demise of the talking cure. While I recognize that these are clearly game-changing issues in need of attention, I’m afraid I need to introduce yet another harbinger of doom, one that is even more dangerous:

Psychotherapy has an image problem.

People have to want to come to therapy. They have to believe therapy is a socially acceptable, effective, economically viable response to emotional and relational problems before they’ll be willing to endure the emotional, social and financial risk and give therapy a try. Without this basic trust in the process, the issues mentioned above are a meaningless. If therapy seems like a waste of time, money, and effort, they’ll take the pill instead. Or suffer in silence. read more

Sex Addiction is a Relational Disorder

Darren Haber, MFT - Therapist in Los Angeles

I’m struck by the fact that people with addiction issues, when confronted with the destructive effects of their behaviors, often find it harder to stop. This is especially true, in my clinical experience, when it comes to compulsive sexual behavior, aka sex addiction. Why is that?

Therapy clients who struggle with drinking or substance abuse tend on the whole to accept – eventually, and with my ongoing support – that they do have a problem with drinking or using, and that these behaviors are an obstacle to happier living. Once “the cat is out of the bag”, they usually attempt to reduce or quit using, over time, or else quit therapy altogether.

Those struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors, however, may remain ambivalent for years, while remaining in therapy – aware of their dependence on these behaviors and the destructive effects of same, while wrestling with whether or not they want to stop. It’s a matter of two steps forward, two steps back, over and over again, with no change in sight. read more


Tammy Fletcher, LMFT

Individual and Couples Counseling in San Diego

In this blog post we will be talking about the difference between shame and guilt, where shame comes from, and how you can begin to heal from feeling shame.
Guilt is generally a reaction to something you have done.  It may be something you have actually done, like telling a lie. Or it may be something you’ve done or thought of doing that really isn’t wrong, but you still feel guilt about it anyway. More about that a bit later. Guilt is an emotion that is experienced when you violate your own values.
Shame, on the other hand, is less about something you have done, and more about feeling a sense of disgrace about who you are. Let me go back to the example of lying. If you lie and you feel guilty, you may think, “Lying is wrong. I should not have told that lie. I feel bad about doing that.” Shame says “I told a lie, I am no good. Something is wrong with me for having done something like that. I feel bad about myself.” read more

12 Most Annoying Bad Habits of Therapists

 Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine.

Psychotherapy is a unique relationship, a kind of connection that is unlike any other kind of relationship a person has in their life. In some ways, it can be more intimate than our most intimate relationships, but it also paradoxically values a vestige of professional distance between therapist and client.

Therapists, alas, are just as human as the clients they see and come with the same human foibles. They have bad habits, as we all do, but some of those habits have the very real potential of interfering with the psychotherapy process and the unique psychotherapy relationship.

So without further ado, here are twelve things you wish your therapist didn’t do — some of which may actually harm the psychotherapeutic relationship. read more

Celestial and Cerebral Reunions

Clinical Social Worker, Chicago

When patients come to me distressed about a recent loss, we go through the process of differential diagnosis because there are many types of depression associated with grief.  At some point we get right down to facts:

How we grieve, or bereavement, is beyond our control. We're powerless for the most part.  Crying, tearing up, feeling adrift, lost, disengaged from the rest of humanity-- is a natural response to having lost something of tremendous value, something, someone, that we cannot see anymore, can't feel, touch, hug, cherish, even care for anytime soon, maybe ever.  It is especially natural when the object of grief was complicated, difficult to grasp, or the relationship suffered strain and miscommunication. read more