When You Need Your Space

Old Posts

Some days, you just need your space.

The trouble is, your partner is there, too, and if you try to get some space, they may take it personally. You don’t want to get into a long discussion over why you need your space when you need your space. It may not be good to get into discussions when you need your space. They seldom go well, then.

What you need, at times like that, is a hat.

Not just any ordinary hat, but a hat that is easily recognizable and officially designated as the I Need My Space Hat.

So, some time when you don’t need your space, pick out a hat and talk with your partner. Put the hat in a common area where both of you can find it. Whenever you need your space, put on the hat. Only use this hat for that one purpose. The hat communicates something to your partner, so you don’t have to. It says, I need my space. It’s not about you, it’s about me. I’ll tell you why when I take off the hat.

It’s important that you have this discussion first, before you need it, so both of you understand what the hat means. It’s also important to obey the hat, no matter which one of you is using it. Finally, it’s important to talk after you take the hat off. Tell your partner why you think you needed your space and was going on with you.

Some days, you just need your space and it’s hard to get it. Unless you use a hat.

Psychotherapy During a National Emergency


Here’s a report from the front lines, where shrinks like me, devoted to maintaining or attaining the mental health of their clients, closed their offices, and opened their laptops or tapped their phones to stay in touch in a new world of social distance.Continue reading “Psychotherapy During a National Emergency”

Is it safe to go to counseling during this pandemic?


I’m sending this letter out to all my clients prior to their appointment.


In this age of the coronavirus, you may be wondering if it is safe to keep your counseling appointment. I’ve thought about that, too; and here is what I came up with.

My office does not get a lot of traffic. Compared to a grocery store, a school, a church, a doctor’s office, or a coffee shop, few people go in and out and there’s little physical contact. Moreover, they are generally in good health.

I’m also in good health. I’m experiencing my environmental allergies, but I have no fever, cough, or shortness of breath, the symptoms of coronavirus. I have not knowingly been exposed to anyone with the virus. Nor have I recently been to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea. I’ll let you know if any of that changes.

If you don’t have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath; have not been exposed to anyone with the virus; or have not recently been to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea; then you are welcome to come. I have no reason to be afraid of you.

In between sessions, I can easily clean the places in my office people touch. If you want, you can see me do it. We don’t have to shake hands.

If your kids are home from school and you have no one to watch them, you can bring them with you, provided they are old enough to stay in the waiting room or young enough not to understand anything if they are with us.

So, come to my office, if you can. But, if you can’t; then keep your appointment anyway by phone. It’s not optimal to have a psychotherapy session by phone, but doing so, permits us to maintain progress you’ve made and address any problems you’ve encountered.

I just got clarification from the insurances I take that phone sessions are fully covered. That didn’t used to be the case. So, contact me if you would like a phone session, beforehand preferably.

I’ve done video sessions in the past; but stopped because there were too many problems and not enough demand. I can begin doing video sessions again and try to solve the problems if there proves to be a need. Let me know if that would be important to you.

So, please, keep your appointments if you can, either by phone or in person, but preferably in person.

If you have any questions about the coronavirus, here’s where I’m getting my information. From the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus


Note: Within one day of posting this announcement, it was already out of date. On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, I stopped seeing clients face-to-face in compliance with the Governor’s recommendation that non-essential businesses close. Counseling is often essential, but it is not essential that I see people in person.

Today, March 18th, I’m just having phone sessions. I’ve signed up with a video provider, but they haven’t set me up, yet. They’re probably swamped. Tomorrow will probably be different.

The Shink’s Links on Twitter


If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you may remember a series of mine, called the Shrink’s Links. In this, I posted interesting things I’ve read, seen, heard, or helpful tools I found on the web. If you were a fan, you might have missed it when I discontinued it. Well, weep no more; the Shrink’s Links is back; but to find them, you’ll have to go on Twitter.

If you subscribe, you’ll get a more intimate access into parts of the inside of my writerly head. No, not everything I ever think; I’ll still rope off large parts of my brain for privacy; but you’ll see me at the moment of inspiration, when I encounter a concept, play with a tool, or conceive a metaphor, long before the gestation period is complete, and the blog post is born. You may also be inspired.

I’m always leery of getting caught by the addictive properties of social media. You should be, too. My rules are:

  1. Prioritize the rest of life over social media.
  2. Turn off notifications and go on no more than once or twice a day.
  3. Set a timer when you go on. Get off when the timer goes off.
  4. Never go on just before bed.
  5. Don’t squander time on crap.

I’ve found that by adhering to these rules, I’m able to utilize social media to learn new things and increase my visibility without wasting time and pissing off my family. They may work for you, too.

The address is @theshrinkslinks. See you there.


Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

Suppose you’re angry on Tuesday because someone stole from you on Monday. On Wednesday that person returned what he stole, compensated you for the inconvenience, apologized, and credibly promised never to do it again. If you’re still angry on Thursday, you are said to be holding a grudge.

Plenty of people say grudges should be abolished. They are irrational, lead to unbalanced retribution, and hurt the holder of the grudge. I’ve said so myself in my book, The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. It’s one of the many ways that victims get wrecked on the road to reconciliation and fail to find peace. But an article in The Boston Review by Agnes Callard caused me to reconsider. She says holding a grudge is a perfectly rational thing to do. Could this be true?Continue reading “Grudge”

Noel Bell Podcast

In this video, I appear as a guest on Noel Bell’s podcast/videocast, talking about reconciliation. Noel is a London therapist who is very interested in personal growth, recovery from addictions, and inner transformations. Anyone can learn a lot from listening to his podcasts, but I suspect other therapists would like him best because he’s not afraid to get into the theoretical basis of our profession.


Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

Two heads are better than one; you get multiple perspectives. Two eyes and two ears are better than one for the same reason; plus, you get a spare. Two legs and two feet are better than one, so you don’t have to hop everywhere you go. Two hands are better than one, so you can hold your coffee as you find your keys. Two parents are better than one, so one can follow the energetic toddler when the other is ready to drop.

But, two heads on the same body? That’s just weird. Isn’t it better to be single-minded? No one likes to be ambivalent and unable to decide, do they? It’s painful to sit on a fence, racked by doubt, hesitancy, and indecision. You’d rather be resolute and stay out of a muddied, hazy, confused quandary.Continue reading “Ambivalence”

You Can’t Stop Thoughts from Knocking at the Door, but You Don’t Have to Answer

Old Posts

Every day I work as a shrink I hear someone say the same thing, “I wish I could stop my thoughts.” They’re talking about intrusive thoughts. The kind of thought you wish you didn’t have.

I wish they didn’t have these thoughts. These are usually destructive thoughts, thoughts of drinking, drug use, gambling, violence, worries, or needless self-recrimination. I wish these thoughts didn’t exist, or that they’d go away to wherever thoughts go. But they can stop them if they understand the thought stopping process and practice it whenever they need it.Continue reading “You Can’t Stop Thoughts from Knocking at the Door, but You Don’t Have to Answer”