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Stories

Good for him!

As an MSSW first-year intern, I worked at a residential treatment facility for teenage male sex offenders. I didn't ask for that job, and it was really-really challenging, but I definitely learned an enormous amount there. This is one of my favorite stories from that time. I worked with a psychiatrist who was a super smart guy. He was [...]

The pothole story… a metaphor for change

Once upon a time, on a Monday, a man was walking down a road. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he found himself at the bottom of a big, dark place. It was scary! After several hours, he figured out that he had fallen into a very large pothole. He wasn't able to get out on his own--actually it required a lot of help to get out, but eventually he did get out. It was awful. The very next day--Tuesday,

Are you going to let her get away with that?

True personal story: When my oldest daughter was about 8 months old, she got over-stimulated and grabbed an adult relative hard enough to cause pain. We pulled her off, apologized, went into another room and helped her calm down. About 20 minutes later, I apologized for my daughter's behavior again to my relative. Her response surprised me. She said: "Are you going to let her get away with that? Shouldn't you give her a little swat on the butt?"

What do you wish you had done instead?

A friend asked recently for an example of a natural consequence, so I shared one that had occurred just that morning in my own life.  My older daughter, dawdling endlessly, was just about to make us late for school.  As the absolute last minute approached, I told my daughter that if she wasn’t able to walk out the door [...]

A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf was on the required reading list when I was in college, and the piece I remember best was the famous "A Room of One's Own," in which she argues that a woman must have a room of her own (with lock and key!) and her own money in order to write fiction.  Lately, I'm been thinking about how [...]

Give me that water bottle right now!

A father told me a story recently of a family outing that had a rough ending.  Loading up in the car after a fun bike ride, the dad asked his older daughter to share her water bottle with her baby sister who was crying and asking for water.  Older daughter refused, several times, with rudeness, ignoring, and defiance.  It quickly became [...]

The love… and vulnerability of a parent

I occasionally attend trainings put on by a local professional organization for therapists and social workers who specialize in infant mental health.  Their meetings occur on days when I'm home with my infant daughter, and since they are a very baby-friendly group, I bring her along.  One of the leaders of the group sent me a email the other day, and made a bit [...]

How Does Play Therapy Work?

A dad I know asked me about play therapy the other day. Does it really work? How does it work? How can play be therapy? "Oh," I said, "Good Question!" ;^) Children aren't cognitively or verbally able to process everything that happens to them in their lives (shoot, neither am I!) nor do they have the cognitive or linguistic [...]