Photo by Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash

Meditation teachers speak of groundlessness. My yoga & meditation teacher/friend advised me during a difficult time about 10 years ago to try and “rest in groundlessness.” At that time I knew neither what groundlessness was, nor how to rest in it. The advice seemed worse than none at all.

I think I now know what it is. It is the reality in which we are now mired. In the midst of the pandemic we live with uncertainty, insecurity, fear. The enemy is invisible, microscopic. Protection shifts every day. Yesterday no mask. Today a mask. Yesterday wipe or wash your groceries…


I am a psychotherapist. I treat adults struggling with the adhesive remnants of childhood trauma. On the day described below, long ago in 1991, I had my first encounter with what was then known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), now renamed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I wanted to share with Medium readers a bit of what this encounter was like, what the effects of severe trauma can look like, and how our ingenious brain helps battered human beings survive. …


Cliff, a young man in my psychotherapy practice, was diagnosed with DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder. DID is a consequence of extreme childhood trauma.

Cliff brought his dog to therapy sessions every week. The dog was very well trained, a lovely mutt named Alf. When the adult Cliff was present, usually at the beginning of a session he would always instruct Alf to sit quietly in the waiting room, the door slightly ajar so he would not disturb our process or become upset with changes that Cliff might go through.

Alf, ever obedient, stayed out…


Below is the epigraph from my book Emma and her Selves: A Memoir of Treatment and a Therapist’s Self-Discovery

In the creation myth of mystical Judaism, the world begins with a shattering. The Infinite, in Hebrew Ein Sof, contracted in order to make room for our Universe, for creation. From that contraction came darkness. When Ein Sof declared, “let there be light,” ten holy vessels were created to carry the primordial light to our world. The vessels, unable to contain the perfection of Ein Sof, cracked and the light broke into pieces that scattered throughout the world.

Each human soul…


photo by Cherisse Kenion

I’ve never really understood why the sexual abuse of children is not considered a serious public health problem. I have wondered this for over 30 years since learning of the prevalence of a crime that crosses the boundaries of social class, race, and income.

The World Health Organization noted in 2009 in Their Women and Health report that “The evidence that is available indicates that girls are far more likely than boys to suffer sexual abuse.” The estimates for both non-contact and contact sexual abuse are 8.7% boys and 25.3% for girls in this 2009 report. These and similar figures…


image by renee fisher

This is interesting. Sarah Silverman, the comedian, recently dealt with a troll who posted a hateful, hating slur that appeared on her twitter account in a way that seems uncharacteristic for Sarah Silverman, or at least what I know of Sarah Silverman. Actually it’s uncharacteristic for most of us. He called her a c — — and she responded to his insult in a manner that transformed the conversation from contentious mode to a compassionate and finally problem solving mode. She saw through the veil of invective to the personal pain that drove the offending tweet.

For those who haven’t…


The weather has turned. The days are short and it is darker altogether. A slippery mat of wet fallen leaves accumulates at the end of my street. The palette outside the window is no longer intense, rather muted, soft. I notice for some reason I am happy to see that it is November 1st. It is still warm, but I need a sweater, sometimes a scarf and hat as I head outside for my walk. The rhythm of the seasons and the calendar is always welcome. …


Before I die, I want to learn how to die.

As I celebrate the last birthday before 70, I have reason to be thinking about this process. I am old enough now to have watched my parents die, as well as a dear friend, a lifelong mentor and parental surrogate, and a couple of patients from my psychotherapy practice. Each loss has advanced my place in line. Each has taught me something about suffering, living with pain, and the ubiquitous fear of death.

I have been the shuddering witness to one who chose to die as he had lived, full…

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Psychotherapist, DC metro area. Author of Emma and Her Selves: A Memoir of Treatment and a Therapist’s Self-Discovery, #amazon, #non-fiction

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