Dr. Lynn Margolies
(617) 244.2444
    An Active, Empowering Approach with Integrity and High Standards of Care
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CONTENTS:
 
     About Dr. Margolies
     About Dr. Margolies
    

Dr. Lynn Margolies is a Ph.D. experienced, licensed psychologist and former Harvard Medical School faculty and fellow. She was trained (internship and post-doctoral work) at a Harvard teaching hospital. Working with individuals, couples, and families, she offers consultation, short- and long-term counseling and psychotherapy...(Click for full description)

 
     Approach to Therapy
    

Dr. Margolies was trained in a broad spectrum of approaches to therapy and uses an eclectic, active approach with integrity and high standards of care. Her treatment orientation is tailored to the needs of each individual patient. She is well-versed in a range of psychodynamic approaches and integrates these orientations with family systems, cognitive-behavioral therapy and her own style, which is active, energetic, problem-solving, intuitive, and empowering, often with a sense of humor...(Click for full description)

 
     Executive Functions, ADHD
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 1)
    

A common denominator and basis of all executive functioning is the ability to hold things in mind, step back and reflect. Without this capacity, it is difficult to have perspective, judgment, or control. Therefore, admonishing or punishing children who are not following the rules because of limited executive function is not only ineffective, but leads children who are already often frustrated and discouraged to feel bad about themselves and unsupported...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 2)
    

Without accurately understanding children’s behavior, we may intervene in ways that compound the situation, creating a control struggle on top of the original problem. To be effective in helping children, we must accurately diagnose the problem and be curious: What’s causing this behavior? Though they may look the same, a problem of defiance is handled differently than one of capacity. Learning difficulties involving executive functioning are neurologically based, but executive functioning is sensitive to and impeded by stress. Parents’ reactions can, in this way, become an additional impediment to children’s executive functioning...(Click for full article)

 
     Having a Smooth "Break-up" With Your College-Bound Teen
    

Casey, having just turned 18, is faced with suddenly being “grown up.” The more his mom tells him what to do and what he needs to learn for college, the less confident he feels, requiring him to put up a front of independence and bravado and having to argue the position that he already knows how to do everything. Unimpeded development of self-confidence and independence in children is contingent on mothers’ ability to provide a protective, but not over-protective, or obtrusive presence...(Click for full article)

 
     Is There An ADD Epidemic in Adults?
    

With ADD, lack of capacity can trump the best intentions to use will-power and self-discipline to stay on track. ADD deficits often cause longstanding effects on careers and relationships, leading to underachievement and a chronic sense of frustration, shame, and failure. Educating ourselves and our loved ones about ADD is essential to prevent needless judgment, shaming, and self-blame that are common with this condition. Then, instead, we will be in a position to harness the unique, inspired energy of the ADD mind...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     Family
     A Boy Divided
    

We can all probably easily recognize this story as a clear case of a child being put in the middle between divorced parents. But what can be done?...Children can have qualitatively different attachments with each parent. Research consistently shows that a secure attachment with a parent or other trusted adult can ameliorate the effects of troubled attachments and trauma, creating new experiences and new pathways in the brain...(Click for full article)

 
     A Quiz on Teens: Common Misconceptions Even You Might Still Believe
    

It’s a challenge to understand teens - for both adults and teens themselves. Check out this quiz to sort out myth from reality and get the latest scientific findings on the adolescent brain...(Click for full article)

 
     Barriers to True Forgiveness
    

Well, forgiveness is not so simple. We cannot just decide to forgive and command ourselves to make it happen through sheer force of will...(Click for full article)

 
     Being A Grownup When Your Kid Hates You
    

This column tells a story based on a composite of real-life situations in therapy to represent both teen and parent viewpoints on anger and guilt in families during divorce.Sabrina, 18, was a freshman away at college. Shortly after she arrived at school she found out that her parents had just split up. Sabrina also soon discovered that her dad had been having an affair since she was in high school, and was still involved with the other woman...(Click for full article)

 
     Competing Family Loyalties
    

As the child becomes an adult, a mother with an anxious, insecure attachment style may refuse to let go, secretly needing to remain the primary love attachment. This may not become apparent until her son find a romantic love partner and devotes himself to her, allowing a competitor to enter the scene. The situation is then often enacted in full drama around family events and holidays when the mother’s explicit demands, and (unspoken) expectation of “loyalty” (e.g. exclusive love) from her son, conflicts with his role as a husband...(Click for full article)

 
     Coping With Trauma and Avoiding Misconceptions (aftermath of Sandy Hook shootings)
    

Most of us function by maintaining an illusion of control over life with only dim awareness of possible catastrophe. A basic sense of security runs in the background of our psyche - like a computer operating system - imperceptible until it crashes. When our security is ripped away by trauma, we’re shocked and catapulted into a different reality. Suddenly the threat of danger and loss looms large, making us acutely aware that life is fragile...(Click for full article)

 
     Daughters Growing Up, Mothers Growing Scared
    

Difficulties with separation often are activated during developmental transitions such as the first day of kindergarten, adolescence, high school graduation, leaving home and finally, marriage. At these junctures, mothers need to step back and let go, allowing their children to mature and transition to the next level...(Click for full article)

 
     Having a Smooth "Break-up" With Your College-Bound Teen
    

Casey, having just turned 18, is faced with suddenly being “grown up.” The more his mom tells him what to do and what he needs to learn for college, the less confident he feels, requiring him to put up a front of independence and bravado and having to argue the position that he already knows how to do everything. Unimpeded development of self-confidence and independence in children is contingent on mothers’ ability to provide a protective, but not over-protective, or obtrusive presence...(Click for full article)

 
     High Speed Parenting with Teens - A Common Cause of Broken Connections
    

Without knowing how to decode teens behavior, and/or when emotional factors interfere with perspective, parents are vulnerable to misinterpreting difficult situations based on their own feelings and the literal, often misleading message they perceive from teens...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Be Protective When Your Son Thinks He is Gay
    

Parents don’t have the power to influence whether children are gay but do have the power to influence how children feel about themselves. A close relationship with parents has been found to provide the best insulation from dangers in the outside world...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Get More of the Behavior You Want in Kids (Without Really Trying)
    

When kids independently do what we would have wanted, either their natural inclinations sync with our values - or our values have been successfully transmitted. At these happy moments, an ill-timed temptation to jump in to emphasize a lesson may pop up from anxiety, perfectionism, or difficulty letting go. Instead of riding the wave and following children’s lead, we hijack it, emphasizing our approval, offering rewards, or reminding them this is what we’ve been saying all along...(Click for full article)

 
     Midlife Crises Affecting Men and Families
    

Midlife crises can occur in both men and women but take a particular form in men facing identity crises, often spilling into family life. Men in midlife crises feel hopelessly trapped in an identity or lifestyle they experience as constraining, fueled by an acute awareness of time passing. Finding themselves in a life that feels empty and inauthentic, they feel pressure to break out, and may desperately grasp at a chance for vitality and pleasure...(Click for full article)

 
     Outlawed by Your In-laws
    

Failure to set appropriate boundaries in mother-son relationships often results in persistent in-law tensions, and divisions and factions in marriages. Numerous marital problems fall into this category and can be traced to habitual boundary difficulties between mothers and sons which spill over into the man’s relationship with his spouse...(Click for full article)

 
     Parenting Teens: 7 Important Questions with Answers that Sort Truth from Fiction
    

Parents of teens can use answers. But it’s not so easy to stay updated. This questionnaire highlights common questions and popular confusions to help parents sort out truth from fiction...(Click for full article)

 
     Power Plays Between Brothers & Families
    

Authoritarian parenting and parental aggression, requiring submission and obedience, can backfire. Forcing obedience breeds aggression, resentment, and the need to escape through disobedience or becoming submerged. Also, children internalize blueprints from the family. Experiences in the family become imprinted in the brain, serving as templates for future relationships...(Click for full article)

 
     Protecting Teens from Danger: Tips and Advice for Parents - Part 2
    

​The teenage brain has been compared to a car with a powerful gas pedal and weak brakes when stimulated by the presence, or even anticipated witnessing, of other teens. Drawn to their peers, teens pull away from us - and then rev each other up into risky experimenting and sensation​-seeking. Parents can help teens stay safer and develop the skills to make better decisions by using approaches informed by the teenage mindset. An effective and empowering strategy with teens involves being mindful of their limitations and intrinsic motivations/drives, using their biases to our (and their) advantage​ - and in the service of positive choices.​..(Click for full article)​

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     Serving Up Guilt This Holiday Season
    

Guilt can be used unconsciously to get loved ones to do what we want. Even though this method doesn't always produce the intended effects, we may resort to it when feeling helpless in the face of longing and disappointment...(Click for full article)

 
     Stressed Out Teens - Empathic Parents: What to Do When It's Contagious?
    

Approaching - rather than avoiding - problems using a confident, matter-of-fact, respectful demeanor and time-limited, planned approach helps desensitize teens to their fear of anxiety (the cause of panic). The accumulated experience of doing this expands teens’ capacity to tolerate feelings rather than have meltdowns...(Click for full article)

 
     Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Adult Children (and Other People)
    

This article discusses confusing patterns that occur with narcissistic and controlling parents and other people...(Click for full article)

 
     Teens and Internet Pornography
    

What should parents do when they discover that their young teen or pre-teen has been looking at pornography sites online?... And what are the potential negative effects of viewing online pornography?...(Click for full article)

 
     The Paradox of Pushing Kids to Succeed
    

Our teens are embedded in a culture driven by competition and perfectionism, where success is defined by status, performance and appearance. These values are transmitted to our children nonverbally through our emotional state and through what we notice, are impressed with, and praise or discourage in them...(Click for full article)

 
     Transforming Struggles with Kids into Parenting that Works
    

The challenge of getting distracted, strong-willed and many other kids to follow routines and guidelines can test any parent’s patience. The flavor of the struggle varies with age and topic, but begins when toddlers first discover autonomy and revel in saying “no,” persisting throughout adolescence...(Click for full article)

 
     Weddings, Graduations and Other Chapter Endings
    

Milestones such as weddings and graduations are complicated and not always filled with bliss...(Click for full article)

 
     When Your Kids Disappoint You
    

Parents may have a clear vision of their child’s “potential.” When this is discrepant from kids’ actual performance, they may fear their children’s futures. Even more unnerving is when kids don’t share these visions or worries. It’s enough to make any parent want to shake them into shape. “Potential,” however, must incorporate personality, developmental and emotional factors which impinge on resilience and capacity. For example, bright kids may get poor grades when they are unable to withstand pressure, or when energies are consumed by urgent concerns such as fitting in socially or fear of failing...(Click for full article)

 
     Grief
     Coping With Trauma and Avoiding Misconceptions (aftermath of Sandy Hook shootings)
    

Most of us function by maintaining an illusion of control over life with only dim awareness of possible catastrophe. A basic sense of security runs in the background of our psyche - like a computer operating system - imperceptible until it crashes. When our security is ripped away by trauma, we’re shocked and catapulted into a different reality. Suddenly the threat of danger and loss looms large, making us acutely aware that life is fragile...(Click for full article)

 
     Protecting Teens from the Spread of Suicide
    

Although we don’t usually think of suicide as contagious, one of the strongest predictors of suicide in youth is the suicide or suicide attempt of a friend or family member...(Click for full article)

 
     You Should Be So Lucky: Dealing with Tragedy
    

People often avoid and isolate those who are grieving or have terminal illnesses, either literally or emotionally. They don’t know what to say or how to act - staying far enough away to preclude being able to really relate. They change the topic to the luck of it all or steer clear of talking about the elephant in the room...(Click for full article)

 
     Men
     Being A Grownup When Your Kid Hates You
    

This column tells a story based on a composite of real-life situations in therapy to represent both teen and parent viewpoints on anger and guilt in families during divorce.Sabrina, 18, was a freshman away at college. Shortly after she arrived at school she found out that her parents had just split up. Sabrina also soon discovered that her dad had been having an affair since she was in high school, and was still involved with the other woman...(Click for full article)

 
     Dear John (or Jane) Emails: Closing the Door After an Affair
    

An affair that is suddenly exposed or suddenly ends poses a particular risk situation for the vulnerable marriage with an unfaithful spouse. In the aftermath of an affair, feelings of loss, conflict and pressure can make it difficult to let go of the illicit relationship, compounding the lure that led to the affair in the first place...(Click for full article)

 
     Easy Steps to Reconnect: A Guide for Emotionally Avoidant Dads
    

Empathic ability, or “mind reading,” is an aspect of brain development that occurs as parents are able to read their children’s reactions and respond emotionally in a way that helps kids regulate their emotional states. This process also involves the parent helping the child understand what is happening interpersonally and emotionally. The child digests and internalizes such experiences, building the capacity to make sense of themselves and relationships, and to manage emotions in interpersonal situations...(Click for full article)

 
     How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Affairs-Part 2)
    

Crisis forces us to mobilize - or face even greater pain, and thereby offers newfound opportunity for growth. When marriages approach destruction, the painstaking work of self-evaluation and behavior change seems worth it...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Overcome Obstacles to Change
    

We all are faced at times with trying to persuade others to make behavioral changes, or needing to do so ourselves. These efforts can leave us feeling frustrated and helpless; our good intentions seem to be in vain. Why is it that we don’t act to change patterns, even when we promise to do so and it is obviously in our best interest?...(Click for full article)

 
     In The Doghouse... Again: Male and Misunderstood
    

Why do men so often find themselves in the doghouse with women? They try to please. They try to say the “right” thing. They do favors, buy gifts, work hard, and aim to live up to their responsibilities as a man...(Click for full article)

 
     Men's Issues
    

There are aspects of men’s experiences that are particular to being male. In working with men, it is important for a psychologist to understand the differences in men’s experiences, what men need, and how to best help them achieve their goals...(Click for full article)

 
     Midlife Crises Affecting Men and Families
    

Midlife crises can occur in both men and women but take a particular form in men facing identity crises, often spilling into family life. Men in midlife crises feel hopelessly trapped in an identity or lifestyle they experience as constraining, fueled by an acute awareness of time passing. Finding themselves in a life that feels empty and inauthentic, they feel pressure to break out, and may desperately grasp at a chance for vitality and pleasure...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - September 2016
    

This blog discusses research findings on why men need space...(Click for full blog)

 
     Relationships
    

Relationships and the ending of relationships are one of the most common reasons for talking to a psychologist. When relationships end, many people find themselves overtaken by powerful feelings...(Click for full article)

 
     Selfishness in Couples: Narcissism, Lack of Interpersonal Skills, or Something Else?
    

Selfish behavior or lack of empathy frequently is caused by hidden hurt and resentment tied to longstanding unresolved marital issues...(Click for full article)

 
     What Men Say About Their Wives Behind Closed Doors
    

Underlying each of these vignettes, though not stated explicitly, is a feeling that many men share that their wives are not really their friend. For men, a “friend” means someone who likes you, is happy for you when you make it, and who encourages you in your career and personal goals because in spite of all else, they really do want you to be happy. Research on marriage has found that celebrating your partner’s success is an essential ingredient of a good marriage, and actually more predictive of a good marriage than being supportive when your partner is unhappy...(Click for full article)

 
     When Fantasy Crosses the Line
    

Fantasizing about another person may seem like a harmless indulgence, but it actually draws us closer to temptation and can increase the risk of being unfaithful...(Click for full article)

 
     When Men Feel Trapped: A Practical Guide
    

Male midlife crisis is a term used to describe a male identity crisis that occurs at around midlife. Men in a midlife crisis feel trapped in an identity or lifestyle that feels constraining and they want to break out...(Click for full article)

 
     Who Said It's Not Your Affair? - Part 1
    

The truth is that any marriage can be vulnerable to an affair. There are different types of affairs. They may be motivated by the need for: excitement, sex, escape, feeling desirable, emotional connection, or a vehicle to leave a legitimately flawed marriage...(Click for full article)

 
     Midlife
     Dear John (or Jane) Emails: Closing the Door After an Affair
    

An affair that is suddenly exposed or suddenly ends poses a particular risk situation for the vulnerable marriage with an unfaithful spouse. In the aftermath of an affair, feelings of loss, conflict and pressure can make it difficult to let go of the illicit relationship, compounding the lure that led to the affair in the first place...(Click for full article)

 
     How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Affairs-Part 2)
    

Crisis forces us to mobilize - or face even greater pain, and thereby offers newfound opportunity for growth. When marriages approach destruction, the painstaking work of self-evaluation and behavior change seems worth it...(Click for full article)

 
     Men's Issues
    

There are aspects of men’s experiences that are particular to being male. In working with men, it is important for a psychologist to understand the differences in men’s experiences, what men need, and how to best help them achieve their goals...(Click for full article)

 
     Midlife Crises Affecting Men and Families
    

Midlife crises can occur in both men and women but take a particular form in men facing identity crises, often spilling into family life. Men in midlife crises feel hopelessly trapped in an identity or lifestyle they experience as constraining, fueled by an acute awareness of time passing. Finding themselves in a life that feels empty and inauthentic, they feel pressure to break out, and may desperately grasp at a chance for vitality and pleasure...(Click for full article)

 
     When Fantasy Crosses the Line
    

Fantasizing about another person may seem like a harmless indulgence, but it actually draws us closer to temptation and can increase the risk of being unfaithful...(Click for full article)

 
     When Men Feel Trapped: A Practical Guide
    

Male midlife crisis is a term used to describe a male identity crisis that occurs at around midlife. Men in a midlife crisis feel trapped in an identity or lifestyle that feels constraining and they want to break out...(Click for full article)

 
     Who Said It's Not Your Affair? - Part 1
    

The truth is that any marriage can be vulnerable to an affair. There are different types of affairs. They may be motivated by the need for: excitement, sex, escape, feeling desirable, emotional connection, or a vehicle to leave a legitimately flawed marriage...(Click for full article)

 
     Parenting
     A Boy Divided
    

We can all probably easily recognize this story as a clear case of a child being put in the middle between divorced parents. But what can be done?...Children can have qualitatively different attachments with each parent. Research consistently shows that a secure attachment with a parent or other trusted adult can ameliorate the effects of troubled attachments and trauma, creating new experiences and new pathways in the brain...(Click for full article)

 
     A Quiz on Teens: Common Misconceptions Even You Might Still Believe
    

It’s a challenge to understand teens - for both adults and teens themselves. Check out this quiz to sort out myth from reality and get the latest scientific findings on the adolescent brain...(Click for full article)

 
     Being A Grownup When Your Kid Hates You
    

This column tells a story based on a composite of real-life situations in therapy to represent both teen and parent viewpoints on anger and guilt in families during divorce.Sabrina, 18, was a freshman away at college. Shortly after she arrived at school she found out that her parents had just split up. Sabrina also soon discovered that her dad had been having an affair since she was in high school, and was still involved with the other woman...(Click for full article)

 
     Being a Wise Ally
    

High school seniors are often faced with increasing internal strife and pressure over which school to choose, with a complex array of feelings informing their leanings towards one school over another. Parents have their own biases and may believe they are “right” in their assessment of what school may open more doors in the future...(Click for full article)

 
     Bonding with Your Teen: A Hidden Opportunity
    

How can we tell whether our reactions are coming from our own unresolved issues versus “legitimate”?...(Click for full article)

 
     Competing Family Loyalties
    

As the child becomes an adult, a mother with an anxious, insecure attachment style may refuse to let go, secretly needing to remain the primary love attachment. This may not become apparent until her son find a romantic love partner and devotes himself to her, allowing a competitor to enter the scene. The situation is then often enacted in full drama around family events and holidays when the mother’s explicit demands, and (unspoken) expectation of “loyalty” (e.g. exclusive love) from her son, conflicts with his role as a husband...(Click for full article)

 
     Courage and Limits With Your Teen
    

Recognize that, though they will say otherwise (and that’s ok), teens feel protected by limits. No one likes feeling out of control without anyone strong enough to help them...(Click for full article)

 
     Crisis of Confidence in a Teen: It's a Family Matter
    

This story is about a teenager who undergoes a crisis of confidence, after her identity was challenged by a sports injury. Her resulting difficulties challenged the well-being and stability of the whole family...(Click for full article)

 
     Does Your Teenager Want to Get Caught?
    

This is the story of a kid who feels propelled to act out - yet equally powerful is his unconscious need to get caught. The essence of what’s needed is to listen and respond to danger in a firm and caring way. Protection occurs through interested, open, informed, pro-active, non-judgmental conversation - and appropriate limits delivered in a non-punitive way. The research finding that a close, supportive relationship with parents (as perceived by teenagers) is the most protective measure against underage drinking, sexual activity and violence is good news for us and no surprise...(Click for full article)

 
     Easy Steps to Reconnect: A Guide for Emotionally Avoidant Dads
    

Empathic ability, or “mind reading,” is an aspect of brain development that occurs as parents are able to read their children’s reactions and respond emotionally in a way that helps kids regulate their emotional states. This process also involves the parent helping the child understand what is happening interpersonally and emotionally. The child digests and internalizes such experiences, building the capacity to make sense of themselves and relationships, and to manage emotions in interpersonal situations...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 1)
    

A common denominator and basis of all executive functioning is the ability to hold things in mind, step back and reflect. Without this capacity, it is difficult to have perspective, judgment, or control. Therefore, admonishing or punishing children who are not following the rules because of limited executive function is not only ineffective, but leads children who are already often frustrated and discouraged to feel bad about themselves and unsupported...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 2)
    

Without accurately understanding children’s behavior, we may intervene in ways that compound the situation, creating a control struggle on top of the original problem. To be effective in helping children, we must accurately diagnose the problem and be curious: What’s causing this behavior? Though they may look the same, a problem of defiance is handled differently than one of capacity. Learning difficulties involving executive functioning are neurologically based, but executive functioning is sensitive to and impeded by stress. Parents’ reactions can, in this way, become an additional impediment to children’s executive functioning...(Click for full article)

 
     Getting Unhooked From Pain and Choosing Happiness
    

Dysfunctional behavior patterns are habits with psychological, often unconscious motives. Breaking them requires not only insight into what function they serve and the discipline to stop them, but the courage and initiative to try out new behaviors and allow a different chain of events to be set in motion. On a neurobehavioral level, new behaviors that generate positive feedback create new pathways in the brain, allowing momentum for psychological growth and change...(Click for full article)

 
     Having a Smooth "Break-up" With Your College-Bound Teen
    

Casey, having just turned 18, is faced with suddenly being “grown up.” The more his mom tells him what to do and what he needs to learn for college, the less confident he feels, requiring him to put up a front of independence and bravado and having to argue the position that he already knows how to do everything. Unimpeded development of self-confidence and independence in children is contingent on mothers’ ability to provide a protective, but not over-protective, or obtrusive presence...(Click for full article)

 
     High Speed Parenting with Teens - A Common Cause of Broken Connections
    

Without knowing how to decode teens behavior, and/or when emotional factors interfere with perspective, parents are vulnerable to misinterpreting difficult situations based on their own feelings and the literal, often misleading message they perceive from teens...(Click for full article)

 
     How Parents Can Help Teens Under Academic Pressure (and 5 Common Traps)
    

When grades are slipping and teens don’t seem to be taking action, it’s easy to react from frustration and helplessness. Under pressure, parents can fall into common traps without realizing it. Doing so unintentionally adds to kids’ anxiety and discouragement, which saps motivation and destabilizes them...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Be Protective When Your Son Thinks He is Gay
    

Parents don’t have the power to influence whether children are gay but do have the power to influence how children feel about themselves. A close relationship with parents has been found to provide the best insulation from dangers in the outside world...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Get More of the Behavior You Want in Kids (Without Really Trying)
    

When kids independently do what we would have wanted, either their natural inclinations sync with our values - or our values have been successfully transmitted. At these happy moments, an ill-timed temptation to jump in to emphasize a lesson may pop up from anxiety, perfectionism, or difficulty letting go. Instead of riding the wave and following children’s lead, we hijack it, emphasizing our approval, offering rewards, or reminding them this is what we’ve been saying all along...(Click for full article)

 
     Know Your Limits: A Prom Primer for Parents
    

According to the National Institute of Health, drinking - the drug of choice among youth - plays a major role in death from injuries, and injuries are the leading cause of death for kids under 21...(Click for full article)

 
     Parental Anxiety Over Kids' Perceived Failures (Part 1)
    

One of the most common and difficult challenges for parents is how to contain our reactions, and not make things worse, when children don’t do well or fail to measure up to our expectations. Certain types of families with children who are not high achievers, or who have impediments getting in the way, have a harder time dealing with this issue in their kids and are more vulnerable...(Click for full article)

 
     Parental Guilt Over Kids' Perceived Failures (Part 2)
    

When parents feel guilty or excessively bad for children, it’s harder to set limits, be truthful and direct, and challenge kids within their zone of capability. This inhibits opportunities for children to develop self-control, confidence and realistic expectations of themselves and others, perpetuating the cycle of underachievement...(Click for full article)

 
     Parenting Teens: 7 Important Questions with Answers that Sort Truth from Fiction
    

Parents of teens can use answers. But it’s not so easy to stay updated. This questionnaire highlights common questions and popular confusions to help parents sort out truth from fiction...(Click for full article)

 
     Power Plays Between Brothers & Families
    

Authoritarian parenting and parental aggression, requiring submission and obedience, can backfire. Forcing obedience breeds aggression, resentment, and the need to escape through disobedience or becoming submerged. Also, children internalize blueprints from the family. Experiences in the family become imprinted in the brain, serving as templates for future relationships...(Click for full article)

 
     Protecting Teens from Danger: Tips and Advice for Parents - Part 2
    

​The teenage brain has been compared to a car with a powerful gas pedal and weak brakes when stimulated by the presence, or even anticipated witnessing, of other teens. Drawn to their peers, teens pull away from us - and then rev each other up into risky experimenting and sensation​-seeking. Parents can help teens stay safer and develop the skills to make better decisions by using approaches informed by the teenage mindset. An effective and empowering strategy with teens involves being mindful of their limitations and intrinsic motivations/drives, using their biases to our (and their) advantage​ - and in the service of positive choices.​..(Click for full article)​

 
     Protecting Teens from the Spread of Suicide
    

Although we don’t usually think of suicide as contagious, one of the strongest predictors of suicide in youth is the suicide or suicide attempt of a friend or family member...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     Seduced by Risk and Danger: The Teenage Mindset - Part 1
    

Research suggests that adolescence may represent a “critical period” in which the brain is particularly sensitive to being shaped by experiences - creating both vulnerability and opportunity depending on what behaviors are practiced during this time. Teens who take the most risks have relatively poorer outcomes in adulthood in relationships and work. But, interestingly, teens who are risk averse have equally poor outcomes as those who are the riskiest...(Click for full article)

 
     Seeing Beneath The Surface With Your Teen
    

Daniel’s story speaks to the insidious danger of hidden pain in teens who feel unspoken pressure to be “good” to protect their parents or make up for other family problems - however secret or veiled. In such situations teens are vulnerable to using desperate measures to escape their feelings, or break out of their concealed inner life and test their parent’s love...(Click for full article)

 
     Stressed Out Teens - Empathic Parents: What to Do When It's Contagious?
    

Approaching - rather than avoiding - problems using a confident, matter-of-fact, respectful demeanor and time-limited, planned approach helps desensitize teens to their fear of anxiety (the cause of panic). The accumulated experience of doing this expands teens’ capacity to tolerate feelings rather than have meltdowns...(Click for full article)

 
     Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Adult Children (and Other People)
    

This article discusses confusing patterns that occur with narcissistic and controlling parents and other people...(Click for full article)

 
     Teen Drinking: Limits vs. Punishment
    

This article offers helpful hints about talking to your teen about drinking. Intent and motive (easily sensed by teens) are what differentiate consequences and limits (protective) from punishment and control (reactive). Some teens want limits imposed by parents so they can restrict themselves and still save face. But limits should be informed by understanding the teen’s particular unspoken needs and vulnerabilities - and tempered by a calm tone, uncritical language, and positive message...(Click for full article)

 
     Teens and Internet Pornography
    

What should parents do when they discover that their young teen or pre-teen has been looking at pornography sites online?... And what are the potential negative effects of viewing online pornography?...(Click for full article)

 
     The Paradox of Pushing Kids to Succeed
    

Our teens are embedded in a culture driven by competition and perfectionism, where success is defined by status, performance and appearance. These values are transmitted to our children nonverbally through our emotional state and through what we notice, are impressed with, and praise or discourage in them...(Click for full article)

 
     Transforming Struggles with Kids into Parenting that Works
    

The challenge of getting distracted, strong-willed and many other kids to follow routines and guidelines can test any parent’s patience. The flavor of the struggle varies with age and topic, but begins when toddlers first discover autonomy and revel in saying “no,” persisting throughout adolescence...(Click for full article)

 
     Weddings, Graduations and Other Chapter Endings
    

Milestones such as weddings and graduations are complicated and not always filled with bliss...(Click for full article)

 
     When Good Intentions Fall Short
    

Research has shown that regardless of what happened in the past, we can heal and grow and be good parents. Findings in neurobiology further suggest that whether we heal or continue to pass on our pain is determined by our capacity to know and integrate the truth of our experience into a cohesive story - emotionally and interpersonally, past and present. Julius struggled with periodic bouts of anger, mostly towards his children and occasionally his wife, Elizabeth. During these incidents, he projected a superior and critical attitude and became entrenched in rigid, pre-fabricated ways of thinking and acting. He exhibited an impenetrable certainty that he was “right” and was convinced that others deserved what they got and needed to be taught a lesson - a way of thinking and behaving reminiscent of his dad...(Click for full article)

 
     When Perseverance Costs You Success
    

Most of us know that persevering - staying the course and not giving up despite difficulties and setbacks - is an important part of what it takes to be successful in many areas of life. But perseverance, like other intrinsically healthy behaviors, can be taken too far and actually work against moving forward...(Click for full article)

 
     When Your Kids Disappoint You
    

Parents may have a clear vision of their child’s “potential.” When this is discrepant from kids’ actual performance, they may fear their children’s futures. Even more unnerving is when kids don’t share these visions or worries. It’s enough to make any parent want to shake them into shape. “Potential,” however, must incorporate personality, developmental and emotional factors which impinge on resilience and capacity. For example, bright kids may get poor grades when they are unable to withstand pressure, or when energies are consumed by urgent concerns such as fitting in socially or fear of failing...(Click for full article)

 
     Psychology News Blog
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - April 2015
    

This blog discusses recent findings on the long-term effects of childhood emotional neglect and abuse. Other topics: how binge drinking in adolescents affects gene expression in adulthood, and recent finding on marijuana use in people with bipolar disorder...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2014
    

This blog discusses recent data on guns, violence, and abuse...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - February 2015
    

This blog discusses recent findings that women may be more effective than men in negotiating finances in certain situations and making smart decisions...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - January 2015
    

This blog discusses research on the positive effect of psychotherapy in changing the brain and the positive ways the mind can impact biology...(Click for full blog)​

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - May (Special Issue)
    

​This blog summarizes the latest scientific findings on the usage and effects of marijuana (and new types of marijuana) and alcohol in youths...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - November 2014
    

This blog discusses interesting new research on the positive biological effects of love and support...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - October 2014
    

This blog summarizes recent research on the risk to teens when they feel they can’t talk to their parents as well as the dangers of chronic exposure to the pressure to be perfect (not specific to teens)...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - October 2015
    

This blog summarizes recent research findings on the most successful ways to influence people's behavior...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - September 2015
    

This blog discusses recent findings that naps can improve alertness, mood, and clarity of thinking...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - September 2016
    

This blog discusses research findings on why men need space...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - Summer 2016
    

This blog discusses recent research on teen recklessness and how it's not what you think...(Click for full blog)

 
     PTSD
     Are You Confusing Rumination with Problem-Solving?
    

An ill-fated but common problem is failing to recognize rumination as a sign of anxiety, and confusing it with thinking things through...(Click for full article)

 
     Coping With Trauma and Avoiding Misconceptions (aftermath of Sandy Hook shootings)
    

Most of us function by maintaining an illusion of control over life with only dim awareness of possible catastrophe. A basic sense of security runs in the background of our psyche - like a computer operating system - imperceptible until it crashes. When our security is ripped away by trauma, we’re shocked and catapulted into a different reality. Suddenly the threat of danger and loss looms large, making us acutely aware that life is fragile...(Click for full article)

 
     Trauma, PTSD
    

Many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder fail to seek treatment because of not having correctly identified or recognized their symptoms as trauma-related, and/or not knowing their symptoms are treatable. Also, the inherent avoidance, withdrawal, memory disruption, fear, guilt, shame, and mistrust associated with PTSD, can make it difficult to come forward and seek help. The process of integration allows the trauma to become a part of normal memory rather than something to be perpetually feared and avoided, interfering with normal life, and frozen in time...(Click for full article)

 
     Relationships
     A Good Sex Life is Not Just About Chemistry
    

Feelings that are unconscious or unresolved make themselves known through actions and symptoms. Persevering to uncover the true and often underlying meaning of symptoms and behaviors may not only save your relationship, but also open you up to a deeper awareness of yourself and your partner...(Click for full article)

 
     Barriers to True Forgiveness
    

Well, forgiveness is not so simple. We cannot just decide to forgive and command ourselves to make it happen through sheer force of will...(Click for full article)

 
     Competing Family Loyalties
    

As the child becomes an adult, a mother with an anxious, insecure attachment style may refuse to let go, secretly needing to remain the primary love attachment. This may not become apparent until her son find a romantic love partner and devotes himself to her, allowing a competitor to enter the scene. The situation is then often enacted in full drama around family events and holidays when the mother’s explicit demands, and (unspoken) expectation of “loyalty” (e.g. exclusive love) from her son, conflicts with his role as a husband...(Click for full article)

 
     Competition Among Women: Myth and Reality
    

Women seem to have a reputation for being “catty” and competitive with other women, unlike how men behave with other men. This is a curious notion, especially since women are actually less competitive than men out in the world and less comfortable being competitive...(Click for full article)

 
     Couples Therapy
    

Marital/couples therapy is a form of therapy which involves working with both partners of a couple to improve their relationship and/or help them make important decisions about the relationship...(Click for full article)

 
     Daughters Growing Up, Mothers Growing Scared
    

Difficulties with separation often are activated during developmental transitions such as the first day of kindergarten, adolescence, high school graduation, leaving home and finally, marriage. At these junctures, mothers need to step back and let go, allowing their children to mature and transition to the next level...(Click for full article)

 
     Dear John (or Jane) Emails: Closing the Door After an Affair
    

An affair that is suddenly exposed or suddenly ends poses a particular risk situation for the vulnerable marriage with an unfaithful spouse. In the aftermath of an affair, feelings of loss, conflict and pressure can make it difficult to let go of the illicit relationship, compounding the lure that led to the affair in the first place...(Click for full article)

 
     Defending Against ‘I’m Just Saying’ and Other Verbal Annoyances
    

Lately the annoying expression “I’m just saying” keeps coming up in everyday conversation. The remark preceded by “I’m just saying” is unsolicited and provocative. “I’m just saying” creates a confusing interpersonal dynamic. The speaker unconsciously attempts to trick the listener into believing an altered reality in which he or she is blameless, and the listener is implicitly accused of having an unfounded reaction...(Click for full article)

 
     Good News if You Often Feel Rejected
    

We all experience rejection as painful. The need to fit in and be accepted is hard-wired into us - affecting adult relationships, parents and their kids, and kids in peer relationships...(Click for full article)

 
     How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Affairs-Part 2)
    

Crisis forces us to mobilize - or face even greater pain, and thereby offers newfound opportunity for growth. When marriages approach destruction, the painstaking work of self-evaluation and behavior change seems worth it...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Overcome Obstacles to Change
    

We all are faced at times with trying to persuade others to make behavioral changes, or needing to do so ourselves. These efforts can leave us feeling frustrated and helpless; our good intentions seem to be in vain. Why is it that we don’t act to change patterns, even when we promise to do so and it is obviously in our best interest?...(Click for full article)

 
     In The Doghouse... Again: Male and Misunderstood
    

Why do men so often find themselves in the doghouse with women? They try to please. They try to say the “right” thing. They do favors, buy gifts, work hard, and aim to live up to their responsibilities as a man...(Click for full article)

 
     Midlife Crises Affecting Men and Families
    

Midlife crises can occur in both men and women but take a particular form in men facing identity crises, often spilling into family life. Men in midlife crises feel hopelessly trapped in an identity or lifestyle they experience as constraining, fueled by an acute awareness of time passing. Finding themselves in a life that feels empty and inauthentic, they feel pressure to break out, and may desperately grasp at a chance for vitality and pleasure...(Click for full article)

 
     Outlawed by Your In-laws
    

Failure to set appropriate boundaries in mother-son relationships often results in persistent in-law tensions, and divisions and factions in marriages. Numerous marital problems fall into this category and can be traced to habitual boundary difficulties between mothers and sons which spill over into the man’s relationship with his spouse...(Click for full article)

 
     Power Plays Between Brothers & Families
    

Authoritarian parenting and parental aggression, requiring submission and obedience, can backfire. Forcing obedience breeds aggression, resentment, and the need to escape through disobedience or becoming submerged. Also, children internalize blueprints from the family. Experiences in the family become imprinted in the brain, serving as templates for future relationships...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - September 2016
    

This blog discusses research findings on why men need space...(Click for full blog)

 
     Relationships
    

Relationships and the ending of relationships are one of the most common reasons for talking to a psychologist. When relationships end, many people find themselves overtaken by powerful feelings...(Click for full article)

 
     Selfishness in Couples: Narcissism, Lack of Interpersonal Skills, or Something Else?
    

Selfish behavior or lack of empathy frequently is caused by hidden hurt and resentment tied to longstanding unresolved marital issues...(Click for full article)

 
     Serving Up Guilt This Holiday Season
    

Guilt can be used unconsciously to get loved ones to do what we want. Even though this method doesn't always produce the intended effects, we may resort to it when feeling helpless in the face of longing and disappointment...(Click for full article)

 
     Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Adult Children (and Other People)
    

This article discusses confusing patterns that occur with narcissistic and controlling parents and other people...(Click for full article)

 
     Weddings, Graduations and Other Chapter Endings
    

Milestones such as weddings and graduations are complicated and not always filled with bliss...(Click for full article)

 
     What Men Say About Their Wives Behind Closed Doors
    

Underlying each of these vignettes, though not stated explicitly, is a feeling that many men share that their wives are not really their friend. For men, a “friend” means someone who likes you, is happy for you when you make it, and who encourages you in your career and personal goals because in spite of all else, they really do want you to be happy. Research on marriage has found that celebrating your partner’s success is an essential ingredient of a good marriage, and actually more predictive of a good marriage than being supportive when your partner is unhappy...(Click for full article)

 
     What to Do When "I'm Sorry" Doesn't Work
    

Though some people cannot say, “I’m sorry” at all, a necessary ingredient of relationship repairs, many people readily apologize but find it doesn’t get them very far - or even aggravates the problem. Hurts that are ignored or ineffectively repaired can function like clogged arteries psychologically - producing cumulative blockages to connection. This article describes a simple approach to help us effectively loosen the knot when there’s a rift, restoring peace and enhancing connection...(Click for full article)

 
     When Fantasy Crosses the Line
    

Fantasizing about another person may seem like a harmless indulgence, but it actually draws us closer to temptation and can increase the risk of being unfaithful...(Click for full article)

 
     Who Said It's Not Your Affair? - Part 1
    

The truth is that any marriage can be vulnerable to an affair. There are different types of affairs. They may be motivated by the need for: excitement, sex, escape, feeling desirable, emotional connection, or a vehicle to leave a legitimately flawed marriage...(Click for full article)

 
     Women's Issues
    

Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female...(Click for full article)

 
     Self-esteem
     10 Points: Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behavior
    

Shame is: “I am bad” vs. “I did something bad.” Hidden shame often drives self-destructive behaviors and other psychological symptoms such as rage, avoidance, or addictions...(Click for full article)

 
     Competition Among Women: Myth and Reality
    

Women seem to have a reputation for being “catty” and competitive with other women, unlike how men behave with other men. This is a curious notion, especially since women are actually less competitive than men out in the world and less comfortable being competitive...(Click for full article)

 
     Crisis of Confidence in a Teen: It's a Family Matter
    

This story is about a teenager who undergoes a crisis of confidence, after her identity was challenged by a sports injury. Her resulting difficulties challenged the well-being and stability of the whole family...(Click for full article)

 
     Does Your Teenager Want to Get Caught?
    

This is the story of a kid who feels propelled to act out - yet equally powerful is his unconscious need to get caught. The essence of what’s needed is to listen and respond to danger in a firm and caring way. Protection occurs through interested, open, informed, pro-active, non-judgmental conversation - and appropriate limits delivered in a non-punitive way. The research finding that a close, supportive relationship with parents (as perceived by teenagers) is the most protective measure against underage drinking, sexual activity and violence is good news for us and no surprise...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 1)
    

A common denominator and basis of all executive functioning is the ability to hold things in mind, step back and reflect. Without this capacity, it is difficult to have perspective, judgment, or control. Therefore, admonishing or punishing children who are not following the rules because of limited executive function is not only ineffective, but leads children who are already often frustrated and discouraged to feel bad about themselves and unsupported...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 2)
    

Without accurately understanding children’s behavior, we may intervene in ways that compound the situation, creating a control struggle on top of the original problem. To be effective in helping children, we must accurately diagnose the problem and be curious: What’s causing this behavior? Though they may look the same, a problem of defiance is handled differently than one of capacity. Learning difficulties involving executive functioning are neurologically based, but executive functioning is sensitive to and impeded by stress. Parents’ reactions can, in this way, become an additional impediment to children’s executive functioning...(Click for full article)

 
     Is There An ADD Epidemic in Adults?
    

With ADD, lack of capacity can trump the best intentions to use will-power and self-discipline to stay on track. ADD deficits often cause longstanding effects on careers and relationships, leading to underachievement and a chronic sense of frustration, shame, and failure. Educating ourselves and our loved ones about ADD is essential to prevent needless judgment, shaming, and self-blame that are common with this condition. Then, instead, we will be in a position to harness the unique, inspired energy of the ADD mind...(Click for full article)

 
     Power Plays Between Brothers & Families
    

Authoritarian parenting and parental aggression, requiring submission and obedience, can backfire. Forcing obedience breeds aggression, resentment, and the need to escape through disobedience or becoming submerged. Also, children internalize blueprints from the family. Experiences in the family become imprinted in the brain, serving as templates for future relationships...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     The Paradox of Pushing Kids to Succeed
    

Our teens are embedded in a culture driven by competition and perfectionism, where success is defined by status, performance and appearance. These values are transmitted to our children nonverbally through our emotional state and through what we notice, are impressed with, and praise or discourage in them...(Click for full article)

 
     When Your Kids Disappoint You
    

Parents may have a clear vision of their child’s “potential.” When this is discrepant from kids’ actual performance, they may fear their children’s futures. Even more unnerving is when kids don’t share these visions or worries. It’s enough to make any parent want to shake them into shape. “Potential,” however, must incorporate personality, developmental and emotional factors which impinge on resilience and capacity. For example, bright kids may get poor grades when they are unable to withstand pressure, or when energies are consumed by urgent concerns such as fitting in socially or fear of failing...(Click for full article)

 
     Women's Issues
    

Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female...(Click for full article)

 
     Sexual abuse
     10 Points: Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behavior
    

Shame is: “I am bad” vs. “I did something bad.” Hidden shame often drives self-destructive behaviors and other psychological symptoms such as rage, avoidance, or addictions...(Click for full article)

 
     Getting Unhooked From Pain and Choosing Happiness
    

Dysfunctional behavior patterns are habits with psychological, often unconscious motives. Breaking them requires not only insight into what function they serve and the discipline to stop them, but the courage and initiative to try out new behaviors and allow a different chain of events to be set in motion. On a neurobehavioral level, new behaviors that generate positive feedback create new pathways in the brain, allowing momentum for psychological growth and change...(Click for full article)

 
     Trauma, PTSD
    

Many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder fail to seek treatment because of not having correctly identified or recognized their symptoms as trauma-related, and/or not knowing their symptoms are treatable. Also, the inherent avoidance, withdrawal, memory disruption, fear, guilt, shame, and mistrust associated with PTSD, can make it difficult to come forward and seek help. The process of integration allows the trauma to become a part of normal memory rather than something to be perpetually feared and avoided, interfering with normal life, and frozen in time...(Click for full article)

 
     Women's Issues
    

Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female...(Click for full article)

 
     Teens
     A Quiz on Teens: Common Misconceptions Even You Might Still Believe
    

It’s a challenge to understand teens - for both adults and teens themselves. Check out this quiz to sort out myth from reality and get the latest scientific findings on the adolescent brain...(Click for full article)

 
     Being a Wise Ally
    

High school seniors are often faced with increasing internal strife and pressure over which school to choose, with a complex array of feelings informing their leanings towards one school over another. Parents have their own biases and may believe they are “right” in their assessment of what school may open more doors in the future...(Click for full article)

 
     Bonding with Your Teen: A Hidden Opportunity
    

How can we tell whether our reactions are coming from our own unresolved issues versus “legitimate”?...(Click for full article)

 
     Courage and Limits With Your Teen
    

Recognize that, though they will say otherwise (and that’s ok), teens feel protected by limits. No one likes feeling out of control without anyone strong enough to help them...(Click for full article)

 
     Crisis of Confidence in a Teen: It's a Family Matter
    

This story is about a teenager who undergoes a crisis of confidence, after her identity was challenged by a sports injury. Her resulting difficulties challenged the well-being and stability of the whole family...(Click for full article)

 
     Does Your Teenager Want to Get Caught?
    

This is the story of a kid who feels propelled to act out - yet equally powerful is his unconscious need to get caught. The essence of what’s needed is to listen and respond to danger in a firm and caring way. Protection occurs through interested, open, informed, pro-active, non-judgmental conversation - and appropriate limits delivered in a non-punitive way. The research finding that a close, supportive relationship with parents (as perceived by teenagers) is the most protective measure against underage drinking, sexual activity and violence is good news for us and no surprise...(Click for full article)

 
     Easy Steps to Reconnect: A Guide for Emotionally Avoidant Dads
    

Empathic ability, or “mind reading,” is an aspect of brain development that occurs as parents are able to read their children’s reactions and respond emotionally in a way that helps kids regulate their emotional states. This process also involves the parent helping the child understand what is happening interpersonally and emotionally. The child digests and internalizes such experiences, building the capacity to make sense of themselves and relationships, and to manage emotions in interpersonal situations...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 1)
    

A common denominator and basis of all executive functioning is the ability to hold things in mind, step back and reflect. Without this capacity, it is difficult to have perspective, judgment, or control. Therefore, admonishing or punishing children who are not following the rules because of limited executive function is not only ineffective, but leads children who are already often frustrated and discouraged to feel bad about themselves and unsupported...(Click for full article)

 
     Executive Function Problem or Just a Lazy Kid (Part 2)
    

Without accurately understanding children’s behavior, we may intervene in ways that compound the situation, creating a control struggle on top of the original problem. To be effective in helping children, we must accurately diagnose the problem and be curious: What’s causing this behavior? Though they may look the same, a problem of defiance is handled differently than one of capacity. Learning difficulties involving executive functioning are neurologically based, but executive functioning is sensitive to and impeded by stress. Parents’ reactions can, in this way, become an additional impediment to children’s executive functioning...(Click for full article)

 
     Getting Unhooked From Pain and Choosing Happiness
    

Dysfunctional behavior patterns are habits with psychological, often unconscious motives. Breaking them requires not only insight into what function they serve and the discipline to stop them, but the courage and initiative to try out new behaviors and allow a different chain of events to be set in motion. On a neurobehavioral level, new behaviors that generate positive feedback create new pathways in the brain, allowing momentum for psychological growth and change...(Click for full article)

 
     Having a Smooth "Break-up" With Your College-Bound Teen
    

Casey, having just turned 18, is faced with suddenly being “grown up.” The more his mom tells him what to do and what he needs to learn for college, the less confident he feels, requiring him to put up a front of independence and bravado and having to argue the position that he already knows how to do everything. Unimpeded development of self-confidence and independence in children is contingent on mothers’ ability to provide a protective, but not over-protective, or obtrusive presence...(Click for full article)

 
     High Speed Parenting with Teens - A Common Cause of Broken Connections
    

Without knowing how to decode teens behavior, and/or when emotional factors interfere with perspective, parents are vulnerable to misinterpreting difficult situations based on their own feelings and the literal, often misleading message they perceive from teens...(Click for full article)

 
     How Parents Can Help Teens Under Academic Pressure (and 5 Common Traps)
    

When grades are slipping and teens don’t seem to be taking action, it’s easy to react from frustration and helplessness. Under pressure, parents can fall into common traps without realizing it. Doing so unintentionally adds to kids’ anxiety and discouragement, which saps motivation and destabilizes them...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Be Protective When Your Son Thinks He is Gay
    

Parents don’t have the power to influence whether children are gay but do have the power to influence how children feel about themselves. A close relationship with parents has been found to provide the best insulation from dangers in the outside world...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Get More of the Behavior You Want in Kids (Without Really Trying)
    

When kids independently do what we would have wanted, either their natural inclinations sync with our values - or our values have been successfully transmitted. At these happy moments, an ill-timed temptation to jump in to emphasize a lesson may pop up from anxiety, perfectionism, or difficulty letting go. Instead of riding the wave and following children’s lead, we hijack it, emphasizing our approval, offering rewards, or reminding them this is what we’ve been saying all along...(Click for full article)

 
     Know Your Limits: A Prom Primer for Parents
    

According to the National Institute of Health, drinking - the drug of choice among youth - plays a major role in death from injuries, and injuries are the leading cause of death for kids under 21...(Click for full article)

 
     Parental Anxiety Over Kids' Perceived Failures (Part 1)
    

One of the most common and difficult challenges for parents is how to contain our reactions, and not make things worse, when children don’t do well or fail to measure up to our expectations. Certain types of families with children who are not high achievers, or who have impediments getting in the way, have a harder time dealing with this issue in their kids and are more vulnerable...(Click for full article)

 
     Parental Guilt Over Kids' Perceived Failures (Part 2)
    

When parents feel guilty or excessively bad for children, it’s harder to set limits, be truthful and direct, and challenge kids within their zone of capability. This inhibits opportunities for children to develop self-control, confidence and realistic expectations of themselves and others, perpetuating the cycle of underachievement...(Click for full article)

 
     Parenting Teens: 7 Important Questions with Answers that Sort Truth from Fiction
    

Parents of teens can use answers. But it’s not so easy to stay updated. This questionnaire highlights common questions and popular confusions to help parents sort out truth from fiction...(Click for full article)

 
     Protecting Teens from Danger: Tips and Advice for Parents - Part 2
    

​The teenage brain has been compared to a car with a powerful gas pedal and weak brakes when stimulated by the presence, or even anticipated witnessing, of other teens. Drawn to their peers, teens pull away from us - and then rev each other up into risky experimenting and sensation​-seeking. Parents can help teens stay safer and develop the skills to make better decisions by using approaches informed by the teenage mindset. An effective and empowering strategy with teens involves being mindful of their limitations and intrinsic motivations/drives, using their biases to our (and their) advantage​ - and in the service of positive choices.​..(Click for full article)​

 
     Protecting Teens from the Spread of Suicide
    

Although we don’t usually think of suicide as contagious, one of the strongest predictors of suicide in youth is the suicide or suicide attempt of a friend or family member...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - October 2014
    

This blog summarizes recent research on the risk to teens when they feel they can’t talk to their parents as well as the dangers of chronic exposure to the pressure to be perfect (not specific to teens)...(Click for full blog)

 
     Seduced by Risk and Danger: The Teenage Mindset - Part 1
    

Research suggests that adolescence may represent a “critical period” in which the brain is particularly sensitive to being shaped by experiences - creating both vulnerability and opportunity depending on what behaviors are practiced during this time. Teens who take the most risks have relatively poorer outcomes in adulthood in relationships and work. But, interestingly, teens who are risk averse have equally poor outcomes as those who are the riskiest...(Click for full article)

 
     Seeing Beneath The Surface With Your Teen
    

Daniel’s story speaks to the insidious danger of hidden pain in teens who feel unspoken pressure to be “good” to protect their parents or make up for other family problems - however secret or veiled. In such situations teens are vulnerable to using desperate measures to escape their feelings, or break out of their concealed inner life and test their parent’s love...(Click for full article)

 
     Stressed Out Teens - Empathic Parents: What to Do When It's Contagious?
    

Approaching - rather than avoiding - problems using a confident, matter-of-fact, respectful demeanor and time-limited, planned approach helps desensitize teens to their fear of anxiety (the cause of panic). The accumulated experience of doing this expands teens’ capacity to tolerate feelings rather than have meltdowns...(Click for full article)

 
     Teen Drinking: Limits vs. Punishment
    

This article offers helpful hints about talking to your teen about drinking. Intent and motive (easily sensed by teens) are what differentiate consequences and limits (protective) from punishment and control (reactive). Some teens want limits imposed by parents so they can restrict themselves and still save face. But limits should be informed by understanding the teen’s particular unspoken needs and vulnerabilities - and tempered by a calm tone, uncritical language, and positive message...(Click for full article)

 
     Teens and Internet Pornography
    

What should parents do when they discover that their young teen or pre-teen has been looking at pornography sites online?... And what are the potential negative effects of viewing online pornography?...(Click for full article)

 
     The Paradox of Pushing Kids to Succeed
    

Our teens are embedded in a culture driven by competition and perfectionism, where success is defined by status, performance and appearance. These values are transmitted to our children nonverbally through our emotional state and through what we notice, are impressed with, and praise or discourage in them...(Click for full article)

 
     When Good Intentions Fall Short
    

Research has shown that regardless of what happened in the past, we can heal and grow and be good parents. Findings in neurobiology further suggest that whether we heal or continue to pass on our pain is determined by our capacity to know and integrate the truth of our experience into a cohesive story - emotionally and interpersonally, past and present. Julius struggled with periodic bouts of anger, mostly towards his children and occasionally his wife, Elizabeth. During these incidents, he projected a superior and critical attitude and became entrenched in rigid, pre-fabricated ways of thinking and acting. He exhibited an impenetrable certainty that he was “right” and was convinced that others deserved what they got and needed to be taught a lesson - a way of thinking and behaving reminiscent of his dad...(Click for full article)

 
     When Perseverance Costs You Success
    

Most of us know that persevering - staying the course and not giving up despite difficulties and setbacks - is an important part of what it takes to be successful in many areas of life. But perseverance, like other intrinsically healthy behaviors, can be taken too far and actually work against moving forward...(Click for full article)

 
     When Your Kids Disappoint You
    

Parents may have a clear vision of their child’s “potential.” When this is discrepant from kids’ actual performance, they may fear their children’s futures. Even more unnerving is when kids don’t share these visions or worries. It’s enough to make any parent want to shake them into shape. “Potential,” however, must incorporate personality, developmental and emotional factors which impinge on resilience and capacity. For example, bright kids may get poor grades when they are unable to withstand pressure, or when energies are consumed by urgent concerns such as fitting in socially or fear of failing...(Click for full article)

 
     Therapy Topics
     10 Points: Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behavior
    

Shame is: “I am bad” vs. “I did something bad.” Hidden shame often drives self-destructive behaviors and other psychological symptoms such as rage, avoidance, or addictions...(Click for full article)

 
     Approach to Therapy
    

Dr. Margolies was trained in a broad spectrum of approaches to therapy and uses an eclectic, active approach with integrity and high standards of care. Her treatment orientation is tailored to the needs of each individual patient. She is well-versed in a range of psychodynamic approaches and integrates these orientations with family systems, cognitive-behavioral therapy and her own style, which is active, energetic, problem-solving, intuitive, and empowering, often with a sense of humor...(Click for full description)

 
     Are You Confusing Rumination with Problem-Solving?
    

An ill-fated but common problem is failing to recognize rumination as a sign of anxiety, and confusing it with thinking things through...(Click for full article)

 
     Barriers to True Forgiveness
    

Well, forgiveness is not so simple. We cannot just decide to forgive and command ourselves to make it happen through sheer force of will...(Click for full article)

 
     Being a Wise Ally
    

High school seniors are often faced with increasing internal strife and pressure over which school to choose, with a complex array of feelings informing their leanings towards one school over another. Parents have their own biases and may believe they are “right” in their assessment of what school may open more doors in the future...(Click for full article)

 
     Couples Therapy
    

Marital/couples therapy is a form of therapy which involves working with both partners of a couple to improve their relationship and/or help them make important decisions about the relationship...(Click for full article)

 
     Getting Unhooked From Pain and Choosing Happiness
    

Dysfunctional behavior patterns are habits with psychological, often unconscious motives. Breaking them requires not only insight into what function they serve and the discipline to stop them, but the courage and initiative to try out new behaviors and allow a different chain of events to be set in motion. On a neurobehavioral level, new behaviors that generate positive feedback create new pathways in the brain, allowing momentum for psychological growth and change...(Click for full article)

 
     Good News if You Often Feel Rejected
    

We all experience rejection as painful. The need to fit in and be accepted is hard-wired into us - affecting adult relationships, parents and their kids, and kids in peer relationships...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Overcome Obstacles to Change
    

We all are faced at times with trying to persuade others to make behavioral changes, or needing to do so ourselves. These efforts can leave us feeling frustrated and helpless; our good intentions seem to be in vain. Why is it that we don’t act to change patterns, even when we promise to do so and it is obviously in our best interest?...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Tell If Your Decisions are From Your Evolved or Primitive Brain
    

Decisions can be motivated by thoughtful consideration from our higher mind (frontal lobe/executive functions), or fear-based survival instincts (amygdala, impulses) from a more primitive mind. When decisions are informed by our higher mind, they are more likely to lead to positive outcomes. Alternatively, decisions driven by fear and survival instincts from the past can leave us stuck in old patterns and hold us back...(Click for full article)

 
     Men's Issues
    

There are aspects of men’s experiences that are particular to being male. In working with men, it is important for a psychologist to understand the differences in men’s experiences, what men need, and how to best help them achieve their goals...(Click for full article)

 
     Psychotherapy
    

A clinical psychologist is a highly trained expert of the mind and heart who understands feelings, thinking, behavior, relationships, healthy and unhealthy coping, painful and disruptive symptoms, psychological growth and change...(Click for full article)

 
     Relationships
    

Relationships and the ending of relationships are one of the most common reasons for talking to a psychologist. When relationships end, many people find themselves overtaken by powerful feelings...(Click for full article)

 
     Trauma, PTSD
    

Many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder fail to seek treatment because of not having correctly identified or recognized their symptoms as trauma-related, and/or not knowing their symptoms are treatable. Also, the inherent avoidance, withdrawal, memory disruption, fear, guilt, shame, and mistrust associated with PTSD, can make it difficult to come forward and seek help. The process of integration allows the trauma to become a part of normal memory rather than something to be perpetually feared and avoided, interfering with normal life, and frozen in time...(Click for full article)

 
     What to Do When "I'm Sorry" Doesn't Work
    

Though some people cannot say, “I’m sorry” at all, a necessary ingredient of relationship repairs, many people readily apologize but find it doesn’t get them very far - or even aggravates the problem. Hurts that are ignored or ineffectively repaired can function like clogged arteries psychologically - producing cumulative blockages to connection. This article describes a simple approach to help us effectively loosen the knot when there’s a rift, restoring peace and enhancing connection...(Click for full article)

 
     When Perseverance Costs You Success
    

Most of us know that persevering - staying the course and not giving up despite difficulties and setbacks - is an important part of what it takes to be successful in many areas of life. But perseverance, like other intrinsically healthy behaviors, can be taken too far and actually work against moving forward...(Click for full article)

 
     Trauma
     10 Points: Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behavior
    

Shame is: “I am bad” vs. “I did something bad.” Hidden shame often drives self-destructive behaviors and other psychological symptoms such as rage, avoidance, or addictions...(Click for full article)

 
     Are You Confusing Rumination with Problem-Solving?
    

An ill-fated but common problem is failing to recognize rumination as a sign of anxiety, and confusing it with thinking things through...(Click for full article)

 
     Coping With Trauma and Avoiding Misconceptions (aftermath of Sandy Hook shootings)
    

Most of us function by maintaining an illusion of control over life with only dim awareness of possible catastrophe. A basic sense of security runs in the background of our psyche - like a computer operating system - imperceptible until it crashes. When our security is ripped away by trauma, we’re shocked and catapulted into a different reality. Suddenly the threat of danger and loss looms large, making us acutely aware that life is fragile...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - December 2015
    

This blog discusses the unique strengths of sensitive kids...(Click for full blog)

 
     Trauma, PTSD
    

Many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder fail to seek treatment because of not having correctly identified or recognized their symptoms as trauma-related, and/or not knowing their symptoms are treatable. Also, the inherent avoidance, withdrawal, memory disruption, fear, guilt, shame, and mistrust associated with PTSD, can make it difficult to come forward and seek help. The process of integration allows the trauma to become a part of normal memory rather than something to be perpetually feared and avoided, interfering with normal life, and frozen in time...(Click for full article)

 
     You Should Be So Lucky: Dealing with Tragedy
    

People often avoid and isolate those who are grieving or have terminal illnesses, either literally or emotionally. They don’t know what to say or how to act - staying far enough away to preclude being able to really relate. They change the topic to the luck of it all or steer clear of talking about the elephant in the room...(Click for full article)

 
     Women
     Competition Among Women: Myth and Reality
    

Women seem to have a reputation for being “catty” and competitive with other women, unlike how men behave with other men. This is a curious notion, especially since women are actually less competitive than men out in the world and less comfortable being competitive...(Click for full article)

 
     Daughters Growing Up, Mothers Growing Scared
    

Difficulties with separation often are activated during developmental transitions such as the first day of kindergarten, adolescence, high school graduation, leaving home and finally, marriage. At these junctures, mothers need to step back and let go, allowing their children to mature and transition to the next level...(Click for full article)

 
     Dear John (or Jane) Emails: Closing the Door After an Affair
    

An affair that is suddenly exposed or suddenly ends poses a particular risk situation for the vulnerable marriage with an unfaithful spouse. In the aftermath of an affair, feelings of loss, conflict and pressure can make it difficult to let go of the illicit relationship, compounding the lure that led to the affair in the first place...(Click for full article)

 
     How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Affairs-Part 2)
    

Crisis forces us to mobilize - or face even greater pain, and thereby offers newfound opportunity for growth. When marriages approach destruction, the painstaking work of self-evaluation and behavior change seems worth it...(Click for full article)

 
     How to Overcome Obstacles to Change
    

We all are faced at times with trying to persuade others to make behavioral changes, or needing to do so ourselves. These efforts can leave us feeling frustrated and helpless; our good intentions seem to be in vain. Why is it that we don’t act to change patterns, even when we promise to do so and it is obviously in our best interest?...(Click for full article)

 
     In The Doghouse... Again: Male and Misunderstood
    

Why do men so often find themselves in the doghouse with women? They try to please. They try to say the “right” thing. They do favors, buy gifts, work hard, and aim to live up to their responsibilities as a man...(Click for full article)

 
     Midlife Crises Affecting Men and Families
    

Midlife crises can occur in both men and women but take a particular form in men facing identity crises, often spilling into family life. Men in midlife crises feel hopelessly trapped in an identity or lifestyle they experience as constraining, fueled by an acute awareness of time passing. Finding themselves in a life that feels empty and inauthentic, they feel pressure to break out, and may desperately grasp at a chance for vitality and pleasure...(Click for full article)

 
     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS BLOG - September 2016
    

This blog discusses research findings on why men need space...(Click for full blog)

 
     Relationships
    

Relationships and the ending of relationships are one of the most common reasons for talking to a psychologist. When relationships end, many people find themselves overtaken by powerful feelings...(Click for full article)

 
     Selfishness in Couples: Narcissism, Lack of Interpersonal Skills, or Something Else?
    

Selfish behavior or lack of empathy frequently is caused by hidden hurt and resentment tied to longstanding unresolved marital issues...(Click for full article)

 
     Weddings, Graduations and Other Chapter Endings
    

Milestones such as weddings and graduations are complicated and not always filled with bliss...(Click for full article)

 
     What Men Say About Their Wives Behind Closed Doors
    

Underlying each of these vignettes, though not stated explicitly, is a feeling that many men share that their wives are not really their friend. For men, a “friend” means someone who likes you, is happy for you when you make it, and who encourages you in your career and personal goals because in spite of all else, they really do want you to be happy. Research on marriage has found that celebrating your partner’s success is an essential ingredient of a good marriage, and actually more predictive of a good marriage than being supportive when your partner is unhappy...(Click for full article)

 
     When Fantasy Crosses the Line
    

Fantasizing about another person may seem like a harmless indulgence, but it actually draws us closer to temptation and can increase the risk of being unfaithful...(Click for full article)

 
     Who Said It's Not Your Affair? - Part 1
    

The truth is that any marriage can be vulnerable to an affair. There are different types of affairs. They may be motivated by the need for: excitement, sex, escape, feeling desirable, emotional connection, or a vehicle to leave a legitimately flawed marriage...(Click for full article)

 
     Women's Issues
    

Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female...(Click for full article)

 


 
Copyright © 2004 - 2017 by Lynn Margolies, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
Psychologist, Newton Centre, MA.
        Skilled, respectful, empathic, strong, open-minded, caring, supportive