Volumes have been written speculating how therapy expands the lives of clients. Far less is understood about the impact of doing clinical work on the therapist’s own life. In the process of the therapeutic journey, clients are not the only ones in the room who contact buried grief. Therapists too, inevitably revisit their own buried darkness, which offers ongoing opportunities for growth and renewal. I realized this when I said to one of my clients: “Ella, we have a lot of work to do this year so you don’t make the biggest mistake of your life.” Read the remainder of this entry »
Published Articles Archive
What is the source of our first suffering?
It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.
It was born in the moment
When we accumulated silent things within us.
– Gaston Bachelard
Writing is an axe to break the frozen sea within.
– Franz Kafka
People with eating disorders come to therapy talking endlessly about food, fat, dieting and losing weight, a focus that distracts them from deep wells of pain. Disconnected from their inner hunger, they are isolated from themselves and others. A major goal of therapy is helping them develop connections; to their therapists, to other people, to their inner psychic worlds and eventually, to the larger world – of spirituality, nature and community. Read the remainder of this entry »
Every person alive has demons; inner demons that gnaw at the soul in the dark hours of the night. People come to therapy when this darkness becomes too black, too bleak to bear. Women with eating disorders come to therapy hoping to escape their inner darkness, with little awareness of deep layers of psychic pain masked, contained and expressed in their bodies and in the three simple words, “I feel fat.” Read the remainder of this entry »
We all have priceless things in our lives. Have you ever stopped to consider what is the most precious thing you have in the world. What is the one thing you have that if it were taken away, you would never be the same again? Think about it. Take a minute.
You may find that a particular relationship you have is the most precious thing in the world. Perhaps it is your health and the health of those around you that is most precious. Perhaps you have a different answer, though when you consider this question very carefully, is there not something that takes priority over it all? Read the remainder of this entry »
It is Halloween, an unusually warm evening for late October, and not yet dark. Answering my bell, I open the front door to find two adorable young girls costumed in long evening gowns and rouged cheeks. A large shopping bag is held firmly between them. The girl wearing long blond braids speaks first.
“I’m Sleeping Beauty,” she says.
“And I’m Barbie,” chimes in the second.
I tell them how wonderful they look.
“Your choice,” I say, pointing to my selection of candy. “M&M’s or Tootsie Rolls.”
‘Barbie’ speaks up. “Candy?” she says, “Oh no – No candy for us! But do you have anything not fattening?”
“Not fattening?” I repeat. “Why?”
“I don’t want to be fat like my mom and my older sisters, so I’m starting to diet early.” Read the remainder of this entry »
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein
People with eating disorders are frequently described as concrete, flat and difficult to make contact with. Often they report feeling empty inside. Disconnected from their inner worlds, they are isolated from themselves, other people and oftentimes even their therapists. A major aspect of the therapeutic journey involves helping them connect to other people as well as with their disowned thoughts and feelings. Read the remainder of this entry »
My mother, Peggy, was turning eighty. To live a decade beyond the biblical life span of three score years and 10: a blessing! Physically healthy, mentally alert, adventurously purchasing her first computer (“I think it’s time I got onto the web!”) she was a model of healthy, vigorous aging. Certainly, a celebration was in order. And yet, our family was raw with sorrow, still mourning the recent death of my sister-in-law, Shira, my brother’s wife. How could we celebrate growing older while still grieving the cruel loss of youthful, fifty-two year old Shira? How could we celebrate with the presence of Shira’s illness and death looming, for it was only months from diagnosis to death and then, she was gone. Read the remainder of this entry »
“Help us find the courage, to make our lives a blessing.”
Healing remains one of the genuine mysteries of life. Throughout history, artists, poets, writers and healers have grappled with the question of what heals. Psychotherapy is a relative newcomer to this quest, for as therapists, ours is the work of healing. Ancient healers speak of creating moments of “spiritual transmission,” where a personal connection to the sacred is a crucial factor in healing. I have, at times, felt privileged to be a participant and witness to extraordinary moments of spiritual connection. Cultivating an appreciation of the healing power of the spiritual is explored in this chapter/piece. Read the remainder of this entry »
“Dr. Rabinor? Do you remember me?” I hadn’t seen Jenny Brooks (pseudonym) in over 20 years, yet I recognized her immediately when we met serendipitously on a busy Manhattan street corner.
At thirty-six Jenny was an attorney, married with twin daughters. Recently she’d made partner at a prestigious New York Law firm. On a windy April day, we stood on the street corner catching up.
Just last year her father had passed away, she said ruefully. She had “sort of” reconciled with her mother, who now lived in New York again. And her eating disorder was a thing of the past. Read the remainder of this entry »
My husband unwraps his birthday present. A low gasp escapes as he gazes upon the brass gong. hanging delicately from a hand-carved mahogany stand. Our apartment is small and the gong is enormous. It glints in the June sunlight.
“It is so beautiful,” he says. “How did you find it?” I shrug. He persists. “Where did you get the idea?” he continues, picking up the cloth-covered mallet. He softly touches mallet to brass and a low note reverberates as the gong sways, back and forth and I am reminded of a cold day in February. Read the remainder of this entry »