Self-Care Tips for Trauma Survivors

Surviving abuse or trauma presents unique challenges. There’s the emotional storm, with its ups and downs, maybe flashbacks, disturbing memories, the struggle to feel good about yourself, to feel safe.

Nonetheless, you can learn to feel good about yourself and your life.

So I’ve assembled some tips and tools to help trauma and abuse survivors along this healing journey. Anybody can benefit from these tools. But I think they’re particularly important for trauma survivors.

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Radical Acceptance - You're OK Today

What if we all decided today that we’re okay the way we are — not in spite of our imperfection of our lives, but with the imperfection of our lives. What if we could accept our imperfection without anxiety and accept ourselves just the way we are in this moment. What would that be like?

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Mindfulness to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on your experience in the present moment, without judgment – just being with what is. It’s about accepting ourselves, our feelings, our experience, and knowing that we’re okay. It’s easy to believe that just because we’re experiencing difficult feelings – anger, sadness, frustration - that something is wrong and we have to make a change.  But what if it’s alright to feel whatever we feel – pleasant or unpleasant – and we’re still okay, even if it’s uncomfortable?

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Don't Say That - Ten Things Better Left Unsaid to Someone in Grief

My earliest experience as a counselor was as a grief counselor. I continue to do a lot of grief counseling and bereavement work. And I feel honored to be able to sit with people during this profound time. Inevitably during the course of the therapy, people tell me about the things people say that are better left unsaid.

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Questions and Answers About Grief - Demystifying the Process

In this culture, grief is a taboo. We don’t talk about death and dying and we don’t talk about grief. So I’ve noticed over my years offering therapy and grief counseling that people find grief mystifying, confusing and often frightening.

A lot of my work as a grief counselor has been to help people demystify their experiece, to help people recognize that grief is a normal response to loss, intense though it may be, and to find a way back to a balanced life. To that end, I’ve put together this Q&A on grief for anyone who needs it. Feel free to pass it on. You can also download a copy here.

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Child Sexual Abuse - The Warning Signs

Since my last blog, some people have asked about the possible warning signs that a child may be being abused or is at risk. Children and adolescents may show signs they are being sexually abused. No one sign means a child was sexually abused. But if several appear, it may be time to ask questions or seek help. It’s also important to remember that some of these signs can show up as a result of other stressors in a child’s life, including parental divorce, death of someone close, or other anxiety-provoking or traumatic events.

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Inspiring Courage, #MeToo and Shining the Spotlight on Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse was in the news again last week. A parade of remarkably courageous women testified in the sentencing hearing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing scores of teenage and pre-teen female athletes over decades. Nassar also worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and his victims included Olympic Gold Medalists...Tragic though it is, this is not an unusual story...With the rise of the #MeToo movement, we’re beginning to witness just how prevalent this social epidemic really is.

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Clean and Sober Holiday Recovery Guide

The holiday season can be a great time to reconnect with family and friends. But the holidays can also be a stressful time for some people. This is especially true for recovering addicts, alcoholics and their families during the early days of sobriety. The office Christmas parties and family gatherings can present unique challenges for people navigating the stresses of early recovery and sobriety. So, I’m offering a Clean and Sober Holiday Recovery guide to help recovering addicts, alcoholics and the people who love them keep on track, minimize stress and enjoy the holidays.

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Ken's Holiday Survival Guide or the Twelve Ways of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, etc.

Well, it's that time of year again. The holidays are fast approaching. You probably don't need me to tell you that. Personally, I enjoy the holidays. I also know many people find them stressful. I spend a fair amount of time in therapy sessions, helping people deal with the stress and anxiety of the season. So, I've put together a list of suggestions to help you enjoy the holidays without the stress and anxiety. I first published these suggestions a couple of years ago, and several people said they found them helpful. So I thought I'd pass them along again.

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence cuts across all social and economic groups. It affects married and unmarried couples, gay or lesbian couples, heterosexual couples, and where a couple is either living together or separately. One in four women and one in seven men have been victimized by domestic abuse, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). By the time you finish reading this article, about 75 people will have experienced domestic violence in the United States.

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Ten Strategies for Self Care

I’ve always been a big proponent of self-care. And this is especially important if you are close to an addict or alcoholic.

The sad truth is that there is nothing we can do to get someone else to stop using drugs or to get sober from alcohol. We can’t control people’s behavior or the choices they make. That being the case, the question is no longer, ‘what am I going to do about this person.’

The real question is: How am I going to take care of myself given the way things are.

To help with that I’ve put together a list of Ten Strategies for Self-Care for families and friends of alcoholics and addicts:

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