How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again

Apo Book Cover 4If you’re in the doghouse and would like to get out, today is your lucky day. I just published a new book that can show you how: How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again.

This is the third in a series, all designed to help you have more satisfying, and less damaging relationships with the people you love. The first was Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments, followed by The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad.

This one is different in that, when you complete it, you will become the co-author of your own, personalized book. It’s a workbook, in other words. I lead you through exercises that will prepare you to make an effective apology and transform yourself into the person who never commits that misdeed again. Reading this book is a lot of work, but if you’re the type of person who repeats his transgressions, even though you want to change, then it’s worth it. Today is, indeed, your lucky day.

How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again is available only in ebook at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Announcement: Online School

I’m pleased to announce the opening of the Road to Reconciliation’s Online School for all those who need step-by-step instructions to find peace when relationships go bad.

The first course available is How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again. Click here if you would like to find out more.

Soon, I hope to develop other online courses that deal with other parts of the book such as finding peace when you are hurt, cultivating change in others, and dealing with pervasive problems.

Announcement: The Road to Reconciliation is Available

After at least two-and-a-half years since I started it, my book, The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad, is available in paperback and on Kindle. Now comes the part I hate: pitching it and talking about it at a time when I am ready to go on to other things.

It’s like that phase of a marriage when the initial excitement and wonder has passed and you’re left with a disordered house full of crying kids, a spouse with morning breath, and a hot colleague at work who seems like a better option.  It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself until you realize that you wanted this.

In other words, when I conceived this book, I wanted this: to have written something that can help many people find peace and reconciliation. The thing is, writing it helps no one if it doesn’t get in the hands of those who need it.

If you need this book, go here to get it. If you know someone who needs it, please get it for them, or at least tell them it exists. Christmas is coming, you know. What’s a better Christmas present than the Road to Reconciliation?

Introduction to Dialectical Behavior Therapy Class

shrinbks-links-photo1Bringing you the best of mental health

If you live near Rochester and are interested in learning more about Dialectical Behavior Therapy, either as a patient, a therapist, or a family member, then I recommend attending this class on October 20th, by my colleague, Kate Knapp.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, as it’s generally known, is the treatment of choice for people with borderline personality disorder or anyone who experiences strong feelings and has trouble keeping on track without reacting like ping pong ball. If you are close to someone with these challenges, her class may help you help him, and maybe, help you, too.

Kate can break it down and make Dialectical Behavior Therapy comprehensible. She has lots of energy and loads of personality. Also, the class will only take up two hours on a Friday morning and cost only $50, a small investment that can change your life.

Click here to sign up.

Announcement: Coming out of the Closet

The other day I went to a workshop so that I could learn something new. Us shrinks do this frequently because we don’t already know everything. This workshop, entitled, Can We Talk, was held at the Gay Alliance of Rochester. It promised to teach me about transgender issues. I learned about transgender issues. I also learned that I, too, needed to come out of the closet.

I’m no stranger to trans clients. I’ve worked with a few because I work with everybody (except kids and people who don’t speak English, that is), but, by no means, can I call myself an expert. I was eager to learn.

We started with a brief lecture on Trans 101: what it is, what it’s not, and all the myths and misconceptions that abound. Then we formed two concentric circles. Eight trans people, in splendid variety, sat in the middle, with a dozen therapist types listening on the outside. The trans people stated how they were trans, what pronouns they prefer, how out they were, and all the mistakes therapists have made with them in the past. There were a lot of mistakes therapists had made.

Then, after a break, we switched places, with the therapists in the middle. We were supposed to talk about our reactions to hearing these trans people and of earlier encounters.

What was my reaction?

Utter, abject terror.

I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, offending someone, making a mistake, committing a social faux pas. I was wondering if I could get away with not saying anything.

The other therapists went on and on, decrying the fact that there was so little training on the subject. Some therapists in the group said they would never work with a trans person because there wasn’t enough training and they felt incompetent. They would leave this for the specialists. They spend a good five to ten minutes talking about how we need to have more workshops like this.

I was like, right, get on with it, then; but don’t ask me to speak.

Here’s some relevant things you should know about me. I’m a heterosexual white male, approaching sixty. In the workshop I learned I was cisgendered, meaning I identify with the gender assigned to me at birth. A few years ago, I didn’t even know there was a choice. My preferred pronouns are he, his, and him; although, I wouldn’t object to they. If you used she, I might be confused, but not offended. I draw the line at it.

I’m what everyone thinks of when they think of the people who have it easy in this country. They’re right, except for one thing. In my sixty years we have seen one group after another rise up and assert their rightful claim to be accepted as fully human. In every case, we learned about the injustices they have suffered at our hands, us heterosexual, cisgendered, white males, and how we continue to offend. We’ve had preconceptions to challenge and privileges to concede. Many of us heterosexual, cisgendered, white males have been told we are wrong so much that we are on the defensive.

Why are we on the defensive? Some of us are on the defensive because we are bigoted pricks who refuse to learn anything. But, I think most of us are on the defensive simply because we want to do better and don’t trust ourselves to keep up with all the changes. We’re on the defensive because of that terror I was speaking of.

It was then that I realized something. I was in the closet. I don’t mean that I have secretly been transgendered and didn’t want to tell anyone about it. I mean, I have been a heterosexual, cisgendered, white male and didn’t want anyone to notice that it mattered. I’ve been bigoted in ways that I didn’t know were possible. I’ve been ignorant and didn’t want my bone-headed, tone-deaf, tactless blunders to reveal what a dope I am. I needed to come out of the closet and admit the truth.

Coming out of the closet can free me to be honest and engage authentically with others. It means that I may make mistakes and offend. Sometimes I can’t help it. But, it also means that, when I do, they are available for correction. It means that I welcome the chance to work with any transgendered person, or, for that matter, anyone who is not a heterosexual, cisgendered, white male, if you will have me. If you understand that I have my closet, too; and need an extraordinary degree of safety, or bravery, to emerge.

The Shrink’s Links: Intersections

Bringing you the best of mental health every week.


When I’m not shrinking heads, or writing about shrinking heads, I’m often writing fiction. For instance, I have another blog, At the Epiphany Cafe, where I experiment with new ideas and characters under the pen name, S Harry Zade. When these ideas and characters work they eventually become a book. One such book, Intersections, just came out. Maybe you’d like to read it.

Click here to go to Intersection’s Amazon website.

How to pay for marriage counseling

If you’re hoping to use insurance to pay for marriage counseling, you’re likely to be disappointed. Couples’ counseling is rarely covered by health insurance because marital issues are not considered by the insurance companies to be a health problem. The exception is when one of the parties is in treatment for a mental health or substance abuse condition. Then, marriage counseling can often be covered as part of that treatment. If that is the case, then the partner with the condition will have to be considered the identified patient and billed under his or her name.

If one your employers has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), then you may be in luck. You and your partner can go see a counselor for a limited number of sessions (usually 3 to 6) paid completely by the program, no questions asked. If you have this kind of benefit, human resources will be able to tell you or it’ll be in the employee handbook. Just call the number to the EAP and the person there will set you up with a counselor in their network. You are not able to work with anyone out of network with an EAP.

Many counselors, including myself, are willing to reduce their hourly fees if it’ll mean that you can commit to a frequency and duration of treatment that can make a difference. This is called a sliding scale. Ask about it.

If you’re involved with a religious organization, many pastors are willing to work with couples in marriage counseling as part of their pastoral duties. Some are very good marriage counselors and this can be a good option if you both buy into the faith they represent.

Marriage counseling can take a big chunk out of most peoples’ budgets if it continues frequently for an extended period of time. It’s impossible to know in advance how long or how often you’re going to need to meet, but, chances are, it’ll have to be for an extended period of time. It’s not cheap, but it can save you the cost of a divorce.