Writer, Musician, and licensed Mental Health Clinician

A Mental Health Professional’s Guide to Becoming a Better Partner

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Conflict between romantic partners is inevitable. Whether it be a marriage or some other version of a long-term relationship, attempting to avoid or deny conflict is a losing strategy; a better one is figuring out what to do when conflict does happen.

As a licensed counselor*, I’m practically obligated to tell you that communication is an important part of a healthy relationship — but you knew that already. Everybody knows that. But what’s less clear to most people is exactly which patterns of communication between partners may not be helpful at best, and utterly destructive at worst.

The word “helpful” is key here, and I use that word deliberately. Determining whether behavior is helpful or not is much more effective than the universal — and often more divisive — labels of “right” and “wrong”. …


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Hundreds of miles away, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, smoke billows from the charred remains of buildings set ablaze, and plumes of tear gas engulf a community of black and brown Americans in pain. A great mourning is underway. Rioters in the Twin City area chant “Stop, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe”, while carrying Black Lives Matter banners during a nearly three-day protest after George Floyd was killed by police on Monday, May 25th.

The tragedy marks yet another nightmarish round of déjà vu for a nation of tone-deaf leadership, still asleep at the wheel, and with no substantive agenda on how to prevent death by police while being black. …


Alan Dershowitz raises the specter of a new dark age of monarchy

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In perhaps the most desperate attempt yet to protect the president from being held accountable to the public’s trust, Trump’s lawyers have launched a dangerous theory of defense from which there may be no return.

The claim, made by constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz, effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of what was once a recognizable reality — a reality defined and oriented by a reference to facts and reasonable objectivity.

Dershowitz’s argument landed the coup de gras yesterday when he stated,

“Every public official I know believes that his election is in the public interest…if the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” …


What the business media and older generations get wrong about younger workers

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When it comes to chastising younger generations about lacking in moral fiber, mental fortitude — and just about anything else — millennials get the worst of it.

Try having a discussion about the modern economy with anyone born soon after World War II.

Despite the data, baby boomers are more than happy to wax nostalgia about the good ol’ days and how the Internet generation just can’t hack it — nevermind that the good ol’ days were actually pretty good in comparison with the precarious economic turmoil of a modern America mired in globalism and a cult-like obsession with trickle-down economics. …


Anyone caught toeing the line won’t have a career to speak of when it’s all over

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Never go all in unless you know you can win. Always hedge your bets.

That’s more than sound gambling advice. It’s sound political advice, too — advice that many GOP members are refusing to heed at their own peril.

As the biggest political firestorm since watergate engulfs Trump and his administration, the scandal involving an implicit quid pro quo with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, threatens to take down the entire Republican Party along with it.

But we’ve seen this movie before, right? The Oo’s and ahh’s, an entire electorate gasping in disbelief as the president man-child makes quick work of undoing 300 years of perfecting our democratic republic. But the tension builds to an apex of climactic anticipation that never seems to tip. And those of us sane enough to care resume a roller coaster of hopeless anxiety, waiting for the next shoe to drop. …


The three-part strategy that anyone can learn

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I couldn’t tell you exactly when it all began, but somewhere between an impatient mother and an unstable childhood wrought with uncertainty, I began biting my nails. And I mean really biting them. Not the endearing kind of child-like coping, seen most prominently before a spelling bee or school play debut. The nasty kind.

Because, for me, it’s never been just the nails. It’s always been the complete destruction of the cuticle, too, a devouring of the entire instrumental and aesthetic perfection of what fingers are. That kind.

But when I was a kid, it wasn’t a big deal. Like much of my neuroticisms, nail biting had largely been camouflaged, cleverly hidden amidst the thick of a boy with some talent and charisma. …


The President signals dissatisfaction with one’s country is now a whites-only privilege

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Source: r. nial bradshaw via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Oh boy. The cat’s out of the bag, now.

Until the era of Trump, rank and file Republicans were perfectly happy to engage in the politics of oppression under the shade and safety of reasonable doubt.

That’s because, traditionally, GOP policies have always featured a comfortable degree of plausible deniability in marginalizing persons of color — having just enough meat on the bones to pass as legitamate political ideology.

From voter ID laws, to healthcare bills, to immigration reform, Republicans have had little reservations about limiting the power of black and brown people, just so long as legislation could be packaged under the boring and cryptic guise of national security and fiscal responsibility. …


Healthy people aren’t a cost, they’re a return on investment

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It’s strange to hear sanity uttered in the chambers of congress. It’s not something we’re use to. That’s why I couldn’t help but feel relieved as I watched congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, proclaim in front of millions that healthcare was not a commodity.

Finally, someone in power gets it.

Healthcare unbound from a private market economy is the kind of truth that resonates to the bone.

In her tirade against a drug company CEO — and GOP representative, Chip Roy of Texas, who suggested that criticizing profit was unacceptable, and that life saving drugs are like iPhones — she dropped a bomb on the defense of healthcare as a…


If you aren’t using at least one of them, don’t even bother

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Perspective is one of the few perks of thriving on the bottom rung. When you’ve spent as many years as I have at the back of the pack, you see a lot — the revolving door of underpaid and overworked employees drowning in angst, the ascent of under-qualified and incompetent suck-ups, and management teams who, despite their best efforts, never seem to create the productive team culture they promised from day one.

Years spent watching managers crash and burn while their successful replacements thrive has provided me a clear understanding of leadership approaches that work — and those that never will. …

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