Dichotomous reasoning involves viewing situations as binary rather than continuous. Dichotomous sometimes called “black or white” thinking, ignores shades of gray. A dichotomous thinker only acknowledges right-wrong, ignoring dilemmas with no right choice and non-normative information; or success-failure, ignoring effort and where success moved to failure; or perfect-incompetent, ignoring learning and practice gains; and big-small, ignoring medium and all sizes in between.


The problem with this type of cognitive distortion is that most of life happens in the grey are between black-white ends, which limits the options for dichotomous thinkers by shrinking their world to extremes. This also makes it hard to make positive meaning out of ordinary experiences, which is an important brain function. To help expand the mind away from extremes and give more meaning to life’s smaller events, try this exercise:

Let’s say you have one or more of these beliefs:

  • You can marry for love or money.
  • You can’t trust rich people.
  • Rich people are shallow.

Now you have won the lottery, you might then think something like this:

  • I can either be rich or be loved.
  • I can either have tremendous wealth or be kind and trustworthy.
  • I can either have money or have a deep, meaningful life.

Now your options are limited to keep the money and be superficial, or give up the money and have depth. To get more options, try rewriting those same thoughts with and instead of or.

  • I intend to be wealthy and live a life filled with love by paying attention to the feelings of my self and others.
  • I intend to be rich and trustworthy and kind by staying in touch with my values.
  • I intend to have both a wealthy and deeply fulfilling life by giving to others who are less fortunate.

Now you have at least 3 options, and possibly many more. To help support your new thinking, find examples (called ‘exceptions’) of people in the world who represent the and-statement.

  • Paul Newman had wealth, and love in his life, staying married to Joanne Woodward from 1958-2008.
  • Oprah is very rich and also stays in touch with her values, people trust her, and see her as kind.
  • Bill Gates is super rich and also has a meaningful life through his many foundations.

Meaningful life     ————————–   Meaning and Matter     —————————–   Material Life

(Depth, love, poverty)              (Authentic, relationships, generosity)               (Shallow, alone, wealthy)

To extend the positive benefits of the exercise and alter negative behaviors in your own life, take a personally held set of dichotomous beliefs and rewrite them as a continuum, filling in the middle with and types of statements.

Source:     Jackie Gartman


According to  David Schnarch, Ph.D., “Virtually all couples have sexual desire problems sooner or later.” The first line of defense is to see if there is a biological origin to the problem.

Next, check your perspective on your sex life. There is a misconception about what a ‘normal’ amount of sex are in relationships.  You may think sex once or twice a week is average for most couples, but Schnark’s research shows that to be true of only one out of four couples (26%).  The vast majority of people (67%) are having sex once or twice a month or less, or less (33%) it’s a lot less. If you once had a great deal of sex but things of slow down, you may have simply regressed the mean.

If partners are struggling to have a healthy a sex life, a mismatch may be occurring in which one partner is experiencing a significant lack of sex drive while the other partner is still functioning at a high level. This can put a strain on the relationship. In order to prevent spillover into other areas of functioning, partners can use a few of the following tips to help manage the mismatch more effectively.


Tips for Partner with Low Sex Drive

1. Make having a satisfying sexual relationship a bigger priority in your life. Your marriage, your future, and both partner’s self esteem depend on it. Don’t think you can have a great relationship without satisfying sex. Take a moment and think back to a time when sex was more fulfilling–Wasn’t it wonderful? Didn’t it feel great? Don’t you want to feel that way again? Forget about doing this strictly for your partner or the marriage, do it for you!

TIP: Start by telling yourself that you deserve to feel sexy and have a sexual life. Explore what makes you feel good about yourself and share that with your partner. Then set aside time each week to engage yourself and your mate in sexual activity.

2. Care about your spouse‘s feelings. Remember, part of a healthy relationship involves your active participation in things that will help your partner feel better. Find ways to boost your spouse’s morale in spite of your difference in sex drive.

 TIP: Engage in overt playfulness, flirt more, use his/her love language to let them know you care. Put more energy into letting your spouse know that s/he is attractive. Don’t just say “no” when not in the mood-  make an alternative suggestion (e.g., oral pleasuring, a different time, etc.) and follow through.

3. Put on your running shoes. Joggers always say that the hardest part about running is putting on your running shoes. So too with sex. When people nudge themselves, even halfheartedly, to “get their feet moving,” their pleasurable physical sensations often override any reason to resist. Women in particular can benefit from this little extra personal push since we are biologically quite good at repressing sexual desire more efficiently over time (use it or lose it). In fact, if it has been a while since you had sex, be prepared to get over a hump (pun intended).

TIP: you don’t necessarily need to feel turned in order to initiate sex or respond to your partner’s advances. If you push yourself a bit, you will see whether the caressing and touching puts you in the mood. Give it some time and have a sense of humor about it.

4. Talk openly about your preferences. As you begin to figure out what you like and don’t like, you have to commit to discussing it openly and specifically with your spouse. Work through embarrassment. Unless you address this directly, you aren’t going to get very far.

TIP: Use action-oriented terms and hands on demonstrations. For example, it isn’t enough to tell your partner, “I would prefer we ‘make love’ rather than ‘have sex’.” You need to be able to show and tell them what you mean. It might feel strange at first to be this specific about your sexual encounters, but your partner won’t understand your needs unless you are.

5. Touch affectionately without worrying that sex is imminent if you do. It may get annoying when each and every touch becomes a means of foreplay for your partner. Then touch has become a warning sign instead of a natural part of affection for someone.

TIP: Remember that touch serves many functions in a relationship; it can signal that you are a couple to others, a way to comfort each other, and to feel close to your partner or express love. Take time to touch your partner in these other ways.


Tips for Partner with High Sex Drive

1. Don’t take it personally. Differences in sexual desire among couples are very, very common. Although it is hard to have your advances rejected repeatedly, remind yourself that you spouse’s lack of interest may not be about you, your attractiveness, or your qualities as a human being. It may simply be a matter of a hormone deficiency, other physiological problems, or feelings s/he has about himself/herself. 

TIP: Use empathy.  S/he probably feels inadequate and questions his/her own sexuality. Don’t underestimate how painful this is for your spouse either. Even if s/he acts defensively, s/he probably spends lots of time wondering why things aren’t easier between you. And plant positive counter thoughts to marginalize negative impact on self esteem.
2. Build Intimacy. If you are a man whose wife is less interested in sex than you, and she wants you to be more communicative and attentive before she is interested in sex, it’s time to start paying attention to your friendship with your wife. Many women are wired this way. They can’t get turned on unless they feel close to you.

TIP: Start doing the things that are important to her. These are the kinds of things that soften women’s hearts. And use love languages to get your mate warmed up for sex. They are much more likely to want to be close to you sexually when you do.
3. Do something different. You pursue him or her for sex, and s/he declines your offer. The more you pursue, the more your spouse feels pressured and angry and pulls away. So, it’s time for you to try a new approach.

TIP: Back off for a while – Stop talking about sex and focus on yourself for a change. And for a certain period of time you should commit to not approaching him or her. Don’t talk about your plan. Don’t threaten. Just back off and wait. Sometimes the lower-sexed person simply needs to recharge and feel valuable without sex pressures. When the tug of war has ended, s/he might feel more amorous.
4. Focus on what works
Have there been times in your marriage when your sex life was more passionate? Ask yourself, “What was different about the times when my spouse was more interested in sex?” See if any of the conditions are reproducible. Then do that.
5. Touch affectionately without thinking sex is imminent. Since many women have a strong need for affection without sexual overtones, they get annoyed when each and every touch becomes a means of foreplay. And if they have been pursued frequently, touch has become a warning sign instead of a natural part of affection for someone.

TIP: Practice nonsexual touch and stopping sexual progression sometimes to show respect for touch. Example, “I want you so bad right now but just touching your arm and smelling your hair feels so amazing I want to keep doing that for a bit.”


Recently, my private practice firm, The Key Counseling Services of SA, put together two trainings for Family Service aSsociation in San Antonio Texas. One of these was focused on social media usage from a mental health professional perspective   We discussed benefits of social media (tumblr, twitter, youtube, facebook, myspace, etc.) and concerns usage generates, as well as tips for managing a personal and professional space on the web.Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.39.47 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.39.55 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.02 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.12 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.20 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.27 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.35 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.46 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.40.53 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.45.15 PM

The slides have been posted here for those who attended and to share the information with other interested parties. If you use these slides for any purpose, please give The Key credit for design and creation. If you are interested in utilizing our training services, please visit our website:



After a Christmas, kids have many new gadgets that  need to be integrated into the home. Tablets (iPads, Google Tablets, etc) smart phones, video game consoles (XBox 360, Wii U, PS3, etc.) and handhelds (Nintendo 3DS, Play Station Vita, etc.), and other devices bring with the excitement a great responsibility for the parent and the child. These devices offer great learning and entertainment opportunities but also come with dangers. Here is a handy guide for parents of kids managing digital devices and media.

  • Account for Development: Early childhood involvement with electronic gadgets may seem easy due to targeted development and marketing of products for toddlers through elementary school; however, many of the toys or applications require or allow access to the Internet and thus require parental control. Young children need constant supervision often for the safety of the devices but as kids develop, they need even more supervision due to increased dangers of their persons related to the nature of the Internet. Any device with social media access needs to be regarded carefully by parents as new risks are introduced. Developmentally speaking, entry into the teen years (10-14 years) is generally a good match for the those devices that involve in social media usage. However, you need to make sure that your child stays away from Facebook until 13 (rules) AND until you are comfortable with him or her having an account.
  • Educate Yourself:  Whatever device is introduced to a child, parents need to have the technology skills to guide kids through usage. Kids can gain a mastery of technology so quickly and can easily pick up on the nuances that any new gadget has, far more easily that adults can in some cases, that adults are often tempted to let the kids become the experts. Yet, it is a parent’s responsibility to know exactly which key features are included in the gadgets kids are using. This takes planning and foresight; prepare and educate yourself BEFORE allowing your child to use technology you bring into the home. This will make integration easier and help better ensure safety.
  • Check Settings:  Make sure devices that offer Internet browsers and social media platforms are managed and settings at each site are set to the strictest levels. This will help marginalize some of the risks associated with online activity but not all. Using a pseudonym is a great additional way to help maintain privacy and anonymity of your child. Increasing access with developmental period is a good way to explore with children increased responsibility, privileges, and safety concerns associated with growing up.
  • Limit Use: Just as a good parent limits candy consumption, limit use of digital devices. Research is suggesting that too much screen time can impair neural development. A good general rule of thumb for developing kids (up through boys=19-21; girls 17-19) is 2 hours a day. To stay abreast of research findings, consult with your doctor for maximum hours a day that is healthy for your child to use digital devices for each developmental stage at regular checkups.
  • Set Rules: It is important to have a flexible but clearly defined ‘play book’ regarding technology usage in the home before it is introduced. Discuss with parenting partners what the rules are and the strategy for managing infractions then stick to the plan. The Key recommends using appropriate and related consequences for infractions and be consistent; for instance, if a 2 hour rule is broken then 2 hours are deducted from future time. If it happens again privileged are revoked for that device for a limited period of time and so forth. Other than time limits, rules might include full parental access to social media sites, only allowing usage at certain hours in the evening, or after homework has been completed. If you have teens of driving age, the most important rule to enforce is that under no circumstances should cell phones ever be used while driving. Remember, kids do what they see, so you have to be a good model for the rules you choose to enforce.  Monitor usage: Net Nanny and PureSight PC let you monitor social media sites, block chats, filter content and much more. The AAP urges parents to talk with their children rather than spy on them. Children are, after all, entitled to (and benefit from) a  zone of privacy so they can develop a sense of autonomy and independence  (Miller, 2011). Interacting with kids around usage is more fun than lecturing and spying. Plus it keeps you in the loop by letting you get to know your child’s interests, skills and habits.
  • Keep Digital Devices in a Central Location: It’s much easier to keep tabs on any online activity when the computer, game console, etc. is located in a high-traffic zone than if your child is using a computer in the privacy of her own room. Place the computer in a central location like your kitchen or family room so that everything is out in the open. If children have handhelds or their own devices, have an open door policy.
  • Protect Their Reputation: Many kids don’t seem to understand the permanence of the online world. They also may experience boosts to invincibility or release from constrain due to anonymity. Cyber bullying is a real problem and if you have ever played video games online with unsupervised kids, you can hear all manner of devil-may-care speak that most parents would be appalled at were they privy to it. For teens, make sure to stress to your kids what a digital footprint is and the impact inappropriate messages or images could have if a future college administrator or employer were to stumble upon them. As stated in the AAP study,what goes online stays online. 
  • Talk About Online Dangers: You may feel like you’re scaring your kids when talking to them about the dangers of being online, but it’s better for them to be scared than to be unaware. Having an open line of communication is crucial the minute your kids start using the Internet more independently. You need to remind your children that these people are strangers and that the standard rules always.
  • Monitor Online Posts:  Encourage kids to run  things by you so that you can discuss any posts they may make on digital devices. Talk about gravatar names and online identities, when it is safe or unsafe to reveal oneself. Make sure the content of a posted photo is completely innocuous and that no identifiable locales in the background are noticeable. DO NOT ‘check in’ or allow GPS access to ping your child’s locations.
  • Be a Good Example: If you are tweeting and updating your Facebook page at a stop light and taking every opportunity to “just check something,” you’re setting a poor precedent for social media usage that your child will surely follow. Always remember to ask yourself if you’re setting a good example and demonstrating proper technology etiquette as well. They will remember what you do, not what you say!
  • HAVE FUN!! There are many benefits to digital device usage for kids and parents such as education, cognitive enhancement, social connectivity, civic engagement, and entertainment so don’t forget to enjoy introducing these devices to your children.

For Therapy Services: The Key Counseling of SA

Over the past 6 months, many clients have asked me for recommended books. I have decided to compile a book list that reflects the principles of the therapy I conduct, existential-cognitive therapy. By no means exhaustive, this is list is just a start. I plan to add to this list from time to time, and would be happy to get recommended books from readers in the comments.

I have decided to start with  inspirational and existentially minded fiction:

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1.Hoff, B. (1994). Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet Boxed Set. Penguin Books.

Through brilliant and witty dialogue with the beloved Pooh-bear and his companions, the author of this smash bestseller explains with ease and aplomb that rather than being a distant and mysterious concept, Taoism is as near and practical to us as our morning breakfast bowl. Romp through the enchanting world of Winnie-the-Pooh while soaking up invaluable lessons on simplicity and natural living .

“It is hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a very small animal.” Yet Piglet — with his keen eye for every pitfall — is asked to be brave again and again. When it comes to problems or facing any Major Danger, one can always count on Piglet. Which brings us to the wisdom of the Taoist masters as revealed in the The Te of Piglet: The Virtue of the Small.(Hoff, 1994)

2. Coelho, P. (2006). The Alchemist. (A. R. Clarke, Trans.) (ANNIVERSARY EDITION.). HarperCollins.

PAULO COELHO‘S enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts (Coelho, 2006)

3. Beckett, S. (1994). Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts. (S. Beckett, Trans.). Grove Press.

Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett‘s first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater. The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone or something named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning.(Beckett, 1994)

4. Kundera, M. (2009). The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel (Deluxe.). Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals–while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel “the unbearable lightness of being.”(Kundera, 2009)

5. Hesse, H. (2012). Siddhartha. Simon & Brown.

In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life — the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.

6. Robbins, T. (1995). Skinny Legs and All (Reprint.). Bantam.

An Arab and a Jew open a restaurant together across the street from the United Nations…
It sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, but it’s the axis around which spins Tom Robbins’s gutsy, fun-loving, and alarmingly provocative new novel, in which a bean can philosophizes, a dessert spoon mystifies, a young waitress takes on the New York art world, and a rowdy redneck welder discovers the lost god of Palestine—while the illusions that obscure humanity’s view of the true universe fall away, one by one, like Salome’s veils.  Skinny Legs and All deals with today’s most sensitive issues: race, politics, marriage, art, religion, money, and lust. It weaves lyrically through what some call the “end days of our planet. Refusing to avert its gaze from the horrors of the apocalypse, it also refuses to let the alleged end of the world spoil its mood. And its mood is defiantly upbeat.

7. Dick, P. K. (2011). VALIS (Reissue.). Mariner Books.

What is VALIS? This question is at the heart of Philip K. Dick’s ground-breaking novel, and the first book in his defining trilogy. When a beam of pink light begins giving a schizophrenic man named Horselover Fat (who just might also be known as Philip K. Dick) visions of an alternate Earth where the Roman Empire still reigns, he must decide whether he is crazy, or whether a godlike entity is showing him the true nature of the world. By the end, like Dick himself, you will be left wondering what is real, what is fiction, and just what the price is for divine inspiration.

8. Yalom, I. (2006). The Schopenhauer Cure: A Novel (Reprint.). Harper Perennial.

Suddenly confronted with his own mortality after a routine checkup, eminent psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeld is forced to reexamine his life and work — and seeks out Philip Slate, a sex addict whom he failed to help some twenty years earlier. Yet Philip claims to be cured — miraculously transformed by the pessimistic teachings of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer — and is, himself, a philosophical counselor in training. Philips dour, misanthropic stance compels Julius to invite Philip to join his intensive therapy group in exchange for tutoring on Schopenhauer. But with mere months left, life may be far too short to help Philip or to compete with him for the hearts and minds of the group members. And then again, it might be just long enough.

To help make sense of existential psychology and particular issues I work with:

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1. Identity and Meaning:  May, R. (2009). Man’s Search for Himself (Reprint.). W. W. Norton & Company.

Loneliness, boredom, emptiness: These are the complaints that Rollo May encountered over and over from his patients. In response, he probes the hidden layers of personality to reveal the core of man’s integration–a basic and inborn sense of value. Man’s Search for Himself is an illuminating view of our predicament in an age of overwhelming anxieties and gives guidance on how to choose, judge, and act during such times.

2. Existence work in therapy:  Yalom, I. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books

Organized around what Yalom identifies as the four “ultimate concerns of life”—death, freedom, existential isolation, and meaninglessness—the book takes up the meaning of each existential concern and the type of conflict that springs from our confrontation with each. He shows how these concerns are manifested in personality and psychopathology, and how treatment can be helped by our knowledge of them.Drawing from clinical experience, empirical research, philosophy, and great literature, Yalom has written a broad and comprehensive book.

3.  Understanding Being and Isolation: May, R., (1983). The Discovery of Being — Writings in Existential Psychology. New York: W.W. Norton.

Rollo May draws on the insights of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, and other great thinkers to offer a helpful roadmap of the ideas and techniques of existential psychotherapy. He pays particular attention to the causes of loneliness and isolation, and to our search for stability in an age of anxiety. This was one of the first books on existential psychology I read and it still has a profound influence on how I see the human struggles.

4. Meaning Making As Coping: Frankl, V.E. (1946) Man’s Search for Meaning, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1964.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

5. The importance of relationships to the self: Buber, M. (1923) I and Thou, Transl. Kaufman W., Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1970.

This work is the centerpiece of Buber’s groundbreaking philosophy. It lays out a view of the world in which human beings can enter into relationships using their innermost and whole being to form true partnerships. These deep forms of rapport contrast with those that spring from the Industrial Revolution, namely the common, but basically unethical, treatment of others as objects for our use and the incorrect view of the universe as merely the object of our senses, experiences. Buber goes on to demonstrate how these interhuman meetings are a reflection of the human meeting with God. For Buber, the essence of biblical religion consists in the fact that — regardless of the infinite abyss between them — a dialogue between man and God is possible.

Ecumenical in its appeal, I and Thou nevertheless reflects the profound Talmudic tradition from which it has emerged. For Judaism, Buber’s writings have been of revolutionary importance. No other writer has so shaken Judaism from parochialism and applied it so relevantly to the problems and concerns of contemporary men. On the other hand, the fundamentalist Protestant movement in this country has appropriated Buber’s “I and Thou encounter” as the implicit basis of its doctrine of immediate faith-based salvation. In this light, Martin Buber has been viewed as the Jewish counterpart to Paul Tillich.

This is the original English translation, available in America only in this hardcover edition of I and Thou. Martin Buber considered Ronald Smith’s the best of the English translations and it was prepared in the author’s presence. The more poetic rendering, this translation can be looked at as the King James Version of Buber’s I and Thou.

To help make sense of specific issues:

1. Teenagers: Walsh, D. (2005). WHY Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen. Free Press.

In this national bestseller, acclaimed, award-winning psychologist Dr. David Walsh explains exactly what happens to the human brain on the path from childhood into adolescence and adulthood. Revealing the latest scientific findings in easy-to-understand terms, Dr. Walsh shows why moodiness, quickness to anger and to take risks, miscommunication, fatigue, territoriality, and other familiar teenage behavior problems are so common — all are linked to physical changes and growth in the adolescent brain.

2. Marital conflict: Johnson, S. (2008). Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (1st ed.). Little, Brown and Company.

Hold me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson presents Emotionally Focused Therapy to the general public for the first time. Johnson teaches that the way to save and enrich a relationship is to reestablish safe emotional connection and preserve the attachment bond. With this in mind, she focuses on key moments in a relationship-from Recognizing the Demon Dialogue to Revisiting a Rocky Moment-and uses them as touchpoints for seven healing conversations. Through case studies from her practice, illuminating advice, and practical exercises, couples will learn how to nurture their relationships and ensure a lifetime of love.

3. Family Conflict: Satir, V. (1988). The New Peoplemaking (1st ed.). Science and Behavior Books.

Revised and expanded seminal work on families, with over a million copies sold in 12 languages. The New Peoplemaking expresses Satir’s most evolved thoughts on self-worth, communication, family systems, and the ways in which people relate to one another. Drawing on Satir’s lifetime of experience with thousands of families around the world, it is written in the engaging style for which she is famous.

4. Managing Anxiety:

Bourne, E.J. (2000). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 3rd ed. MJF Books.

This is a classic, best-selling workbook on anxiety and phobia that explains cognitive-behavioural techniques in a step-by-step format. It is widely recommended by therapists and other mental health professionals, and I have found that along side existential explorations, these tools can significantly reduce severe symptoms and allow clients to return to functional life.

Orsillo & Roemer (2011) The Mindful Way Through Anxiety

This book is user friendly, practical, and includes insights and exercises on using mindfulness techniques to manage worry and anxiety. I find mindfulness relevant to existential premises and use  many of these cognitive tools in my practice and daily life.  I believe this book can help you create a more meaningful existence and open new possibilities for you too.

5. Grief and Loss:   Therese Tappouni  (2013) The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss.

The Gifts of Grief: Finding the Light in the Darkness of Loss explores the grieving process and examines new ways to heal from the inside out. Couched in Tappouni’s warm and comforting prose, and steeped in examples from her own experiences with deep loss, Therèse is able to walk the reader through the grieving process, while keeping in mind that the journey will be different for every person.

6. Trust and betrayal.: John Gottman (2012) What Makes Love Last? John Gottman plumbs the mysteries of love: Where does it come from? Why does some love last, and why does some fade?

Gottman has spent decades observing the conversational patterns and biorhythms of thousands and thousands of couples in his famous “Love Lab.” Now he applies this research to fundamental questions about trust and betrayal. Doubts are common in relationships. Partners often worry. Can I trust my partner? Am I being betrayed? How do I know for sure? Based on laboratory findings, this book shows readers how to identify signs, behaviors, and attitudes that indicate betrayal—whether sexual or not—and provides strategies for repairing what may seem lost or broken. With a gift for translating complex scientific ideas into insightful and practical advice, Gottman explains how a couple can protect or recover their greatest gift—their love for one another.

For Therapy Services: The Key Counseling of SA


Anti-bullying Tips AntiBullyHANDOUT

Have some strategies ready to help manage a bully situation.

What to do if your friend or classmate is a bully: (HAHASO) Make a paper bracelet that says HAHASO so you can wear it to school and remind yourself what to do once you have learned the strategies below.


  • Who can Help?  –  teacher, nurse, counselor, principal, coaches (adults)
  • How can you get Help? –go by yourself, with a group of friends, or write a note to an adult at your school.


  • Use this if you are alone
  • Look the bully in the eye
  • Use “I” statement   ex. “I don’t like it when you pull on my backpack!”
  • Make your statement and walk away


  • Use humor in a positive way – no mean jokes.
  • Make a joke about what the bully, NOT the bully.
  • If they make fun of your hair you can say “ Wow, I didn’t know you cared that much about my hair!”


  • Avoid places where the bully hangs out
  • Join a group of other kids rather than playing by yourself


  • This can help you feel better about yourself
  • Ex.  “This is his problem”     “That is not true!”       “I know I’m smart”


  • Agree with the bully and then walk away
  • You can own it and use humor too…. “Yep, this is a bad haircut, I was out of control with the scissors!”
  • You can own it and be assertive too…. “Yep, I did fail the test and I don’t appreciate you looking at my paper!”

*IMPORTANT REMINDER:   If the strategies aren’t working… leave the situation!

How do I handle name-calling?

  • Ignore it: pretend like the person doesn’t exist so you can’t hear anything they are saying
  • Have good comebacks ready: Use a classic or new comeback to protect against name calling, like “I know you are, but what am I?”
  • Practice with a friend: Have a friend be a bully and practice your comebacks on them, then switch.

For Therapy Services: The Key Counseling of SA


2. Youth Services at Family Service Association
3. Our Kids Magazine
4. Community Centers
Bode 901 Rigsby 532-1212
Copernicus 5003 Lord Road 648-1072
Cuellar 5626 San Fernando 436-0908
Dawson 2500 E. Commerce 227-1627
Denver Heights 700 Porter 533-5242
Dorie Miller 2802 Martin Luther King 333-4650
Father Roman 11030 Ruidosa 627-2138
Garza 1450 Mira Vista 435-6806
Gill 7902 Westshire 675-2123
Hamilton 10700 Nacogdoches Rd. 654-7749
Harlandale 7227 Briar Place 924-8021
Meadowcliff 1240 Pinn Road 674-0820
Miller’s Pond 6175 Old Pearsall Road 623-2900
Normoyle 700 Culberson 924-0770
Palm Heights 1201 W. Malone 922-1034
Ramirez 1011 Gillette Blvd. 921-0681
San Juan 2307 S. Calaveras 225-5410
South San 2031 Quintana 927-1640
South Side Lions 3100 Hiawatha 532-1502
Tobin 1900 W. Martin 225-0941
Ward 435 E. Sunshine 732-2481
Woodard 1011 Locke Road 225-5445
Yates 528 Rasa 673-1152

5. Church Groups: Try your church. For example:

Youth Summer Referrals HANDOUT


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