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The Triangle–What It Looks Like In Family Life

Molly* is a difficult [in my more honest moments I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she chews her toast in the morning.… Continue Reading

Who Owns the Overweight Problem: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Everybody worries about a chubby child.  Thin parents and overweight parents, especially those who suffered from fat-kid syndrome themselves.  Even Michelle Obama weighs in on this topic. Yet nobody knows what to do about it, except make September a National… Continue Reading

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The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”–Part II

In his book, Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls, Robert Burney writes that “there are four basic roles that children adopt in order to survive growing up in emotionally dishonest, shame-based, dysfunctional family systems.” The children take these roles because… Continue Reading

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The Family Hero, or “Morticia and the Psychiatrist”: Part I

Remember the wondrously insane and macabre Addams family? (“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky/They’re all together ooky. . . .”) They were the anti-Partridge family, the inverse Brady Bunch, fabulously perverse, with two ghastly children, Wednesday (as in… Continue Reading

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All in the Family: The Identified Patient

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” You only had to make it through the first chapter [first line, to be honest] of Anna Karenina to find this out–and there will be no… Continue Reading

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The Ties that Bind–Up and Over

As Mario Puzo informed us–and he ought to know–“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” So far, so good. But loyalty to, precisely, which part of the family and… Continue Reading

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All in the Family: The Genie in the Genogram

As some of the past posts have shown (take the post on triangles, for example),¬†utilizing the genogram within the family systems approach often has significant explanatory powers for why a person finds him or herself stuck within current relational patterns.… Continue Reading

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Raising Nice Adults: Overfunctioning for Your Already Launched Adult Children

Over a year ago I posted several blogs on helping to launch your young adults who haven’t yet found work, job, insurance, or significant other.  See “Fixing We’ll Just Fix It For You: Letting Your Children be Adults: the Two… Continue Reading

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No More Monkeys Jumping On This Bed: Few Psych Meds Coming Our Way

There’s nothing wrong with the size of the field. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly one in four adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental order in any given year. And there’s not been much to… Continue Reading

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Winning Small Victories Against a Controlling Spouse

We left off with the story of Lou, the poorly behaved terrior, who got whipped into shape in the last post with a little bit of tough love. That story has a couple of lessons about control that are crucial… Continue Reading