Two months ago, I retired from my job as Director of the Behavioral Health department of The Everett Clinic. I was hired 25 years ago to start the department, and for a quarter of a century I was at the helm. It was a great job. Sure, I had my ups and downs, but I loved having the opportunity to try out different ways of providing a high quality service to our patients. During those years, I also saw patients half-time as a psychologist. I had the privilege of working with many kids in the 1990’s who became adults and then had their own children. They always thought of me as their family... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
On April 1st, my father would have celebrated his 99th birthday.
When he was 87, he learned that he had inoperable lung cancer. When he told me, I was surprised how sad I felt. He had always been relatively healthy—despite having the usual cardiovascular problems of older age. I thought I was prepared for the inevitable. I wasn’t.
As an adult, I always felt distant from my father. We spoke different languages. He was a scientist, a technician, an engineer who lived in the world of facts, symbols, and numbers. I am a psychologist, who lives in the world of people.
... Read More
The recent news, about wealthy parents enlisting the help of a “college admissions” company to falsify their children’s college application, has received a great deal of publicity. Frankly, what these parents did was disgusting. Some of the kids had no idea their parents were pulling strings, while I’m sure others knew perfectly well what their parents were up to. Children growing up in wealthy families know all about privilege—getting to the head of the line isn’t a new experience for them.
But it raises a number of issues for us ordinary parents who don’t have the means to grease... Read More
While flying home from a visit with my granddaughters, I saw the recent remake of “A star is born”. It’s a well done film. I had no idea that Lady Gaga (Ally) had such a beautiful voice. Ally’s rise to stardom, based on good fortune and amazing talent, was heartwarming. But Jackson’s story, is sad, painful, and all too familiar. It’s the story of alcoholism and drug addiction and the rising suicide rate among middle aged adults. It’s a tragedy that touches all of us—either directly or indirectly.
Statistics only show us the view from 30,000 feet. In 2017, the highest suicide rate... Read More
Growing older brings greater wisdom and perspective. But it also brings aches and pains that come with an aging body. When I get up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom, my body is stiff and tight. I hate to think about what I might look like as I take those first few steps.
The good news is that once I get going in the morning, my body warms up, and moves more comfortably. But there’s no question about it, my flexibility, endurance, and strength is declining. This is, despite the fact, that like many North Westerners, I’m reasonably active. I like to walk and bike... Read More
It’s tough being a parent—even when your children are fully fledged adults.
For so many years, Moms and Dads are involved in every aspect of their youngsters lives—what they eat, when they go to sleep, what they wear, and what they do. The first 18 years comprise the biggest responsibility a person will ever have. I remember the sense of wonder I felt when we brought our first baby home from the hospital. With that awe came the dawning realization-- I was completely responsible for this helpless being. I knew my life would never be the same. And it wasn't.
With the teenage... Read More
What do you do when you’re bored? In the 19th century, perhaps you went for a long walk by a flowing river or read a book. In the 20th century, maybe you listened to the radio or watched television. Now, in the 21st century, it’s likely that you flip through your Facebook or Instagram feed. What did Charlie have for dinner last night? Where did Louise go on with her husband? Or perhaps you turn on your computer, grab your joystick, and play— “World of Warcraft” with folks in five different countries. It goes without saying that in earlier times in history just surviving took up all of our... Read More
Several days ago I sat with a group of adults who lost a colleague to suicide. As we talked about his death, several of the group started crying. Despite the passage of time, simply talking about him brought waves of grief. But unlike other causes of death, the group also felt guilt. Why didn't they know how depressed he was? Why didn't they see his pain?
Sadly, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United State. Over 45,000 individuals die of suicide yearly. It’s the 4th leading cause of death among adults between the ages of 35-45. Despite advances in the treatment of... Read More
Social media and smartphones are a vital part of 21st-century life. Even I, a veteran device scoffer, have a Facebook page, a smartphone, and an iPad. (I draw the line with Twitter!) So, I’m part of the internet revolution, like it or not. My social media life is limited to family and close friends, despite friend requests from colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors, and people I hardly know at all. My main social media interest—pictures of my grandchildren.
But, the other day I encountered something new. An old family friend posted a video of herself sharing a personal story. I was... Read More
I’m old enough to remember when TV dinners were first introduced in the early 1950s. Wow! They were revolutionary at the time. They were packaged in aluminum plates with little compartments for the turkey, peas, mashed potatoes, and desert. Just throw these pre-cooked, frozen meals in the oven, set them on TV trays, and you could eat a piping hot meal while watching television. And no dishes to wash! What could be better? My mom loved them.
Human beings are engineered to find easier and more convenient ways of living, surviving, and thriving. Rubbing two sticks together every time... Read More