The Bliss of Pets

Why loving a pet is good for your health and happiness.

Originally posted in Psychology Today

While precise health benefits of having pets are still being researched1, there is no question that millions of us take great pleasure in cohabitating with them. There is so much to love! Therapy dogs are taken for comfort to clinics; horses are ridden for sensitivity training; cats—when in the mood—are cuddled with; birds are taught words and crazy dance moves. We’ve seen it all. (more…)

Collective Trauma and Four Coping Mechanisms for COVID-19

Learn what does and what does not work.

Originally posted in Psychology Today

A long time ago, probably from age 14 on, I asked myself if people like me can be happy. I had my doubts. Too much was missing in my life; too little under my control. Nothing could stop the threat to which I was subjected daily.

Time stood still. I could not conceive of a better future, even though the thought was offered to me on occasion. It was as if the ocean floor of my mind was too deep to (more…)

Menopause and Empowerment

Tips for unleashing female leadership qualities.

Originally posted in Psychology Today

Talking about menopause with someone who has gone through it can make a big difference in how you feel about yourself and your symptoms. Psychotherapy is often very beneficial. However, there are some things we should all just know: (more…)

The Silent Treatment

Learn to distinguish between golden silence and harmful silence.

Originally posted in Psychology Today


They say silence is golden. And it is. Unless, of course, it is meant to be a wordless punishment, quiet aggression that is supposed to “show him” or “show her” how horrible he or she was.

Many have difficulties distinguishing the virtuous or wise behavior from the destructive form of communication. Unable to differentiate, they suffer needlessly. In addition, people often feel at a loss for how to respond to either silence or the silent treatment. While silence can be uncomfortable when we were raised in a loud family, the silent treatment can be outright terrifying when, in the past, our primary caretaker withheld love. To have knowledge and pointers on the subject can be considered an essential communication skill. (more…)

How to Build Yourself Up After a Disastrous Relationship

The three courageous acts of self-worth.

Originally posted in Psychology Today

Authentic, meaningful relationships are so hard, I do not think I could persuade anybody to seek out this challenge when they have made up their minds to avoid relationships. And yes, it is fine and possibly wonderful to be single. But often we avoid being in a relationship because of previous, overwhelmingly negative experiences. No rational reason could be powerful enough to take the risk to get burned, and we have all been burned. Nothing can ruin us quite like a person to whom we have entrusted our own heart and then get it, along with our bank account, broken into a million pieces. You might choose to try again for the crazy reason of love alone. (more…)

5 Ways to Overcome Loneliness in a Relationship

Together alone.

Originally posted in Psychology Today


“Only in relationship can you know yourself, not in abstraction and certainly not in isolation.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

While alone-time can be a welcome break from the noise of life, a truly wonderful chance to recuperate and concentrate, loneliness is always a downer. We can rationalize away loneliness when we are indeed alone. It seems to be a grounded response. There might even be hope for the future. On the other hand, feeling lonely in the presence of a life partner is the type of loneliness experienced in underground dungeons where “tomorrow” makes little sense. It is painful to feel estranged when looking at the one with whom we share a bed. Coming home full of impressions without being able to (more…)

The Nirvana of Sleep

The nine natural conditions for letting yourself fall and stay asleep.

Originally posted in Psychology Today

Ironically, there is no waking up to the light if we cannot give ourselves to the dark. Magic happens when night falls. Most of us find inner peace at night when the analytical mind relaxes, giving way to silence, fantastic dreams, nonsense, and unrestrained possibility. Creative solutions might pop out of the uncensored mind, especially when we pose a meaningful question before we go to sleep and turn it over to the unconscious. Sleep restores us, detoxes neurons and sorts out memories. (more…)


There are many reasons for feeling disconnected from one another, reasons that many seek to understand in psychotherapy. There may have been trauma in the past, be it in childhood or adulthood, leaving you too scared to stick out your head and risk to be injured again. Even when you have merely learned that revealing your true thoughts and feelings is somehow “wrong” and uncomfortable, you may shy away from connecting with others. (more…)

What Is Happiness? An Interview.

1. Everyone wants happiness in our lives. The more the merrier they say. How does happiness play a big part of our life?

I am glad you ask.  Most people think of happiness as “feeling great” and that’s indeed an experience of which we can never get enough. Happiness is much more to me. It’s my answer to all of life’s questions, miracles, and conundrums. Life goes up and down, and I want to be present with everything it brings. (more…)


According to Leo Tolstoy, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” As a clinician I find the same goes for depression, which may be what Tolstoy meant in the first place. We know depression hurts. It’s not good for us to try to function with a low mood as our effectivity is greatly diminished, not to mention our subjective well-being, overall health, and longevity. But what triggers a depression differs very much from person to person. Loss of a loved one, trauma, stress, childbirth, the feeling of not belonging to a social group or to this world, failure, drugs, a medical condition are just some of the causes. And the way depression unfolds also differs very much from person to person, that is how long and intense our depression is, whether or not it goes hand in hand with anxiety, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, loneliness, sleeplessness, rumination, lack of focus and fulfillment, et cetera. (more…)