CULTURE

Why I Won’t Work with Poly Relationships

I was 22. It would be years before I would go to graduate school to become a psychotherapist, but I was already playing that role unofficially with friends. It was the middle of the night, and Alexa and I were up late talking. We had gotten to know each other while working as counselors at…

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The Small, Vital, Necessity of Using Your Blinkers

While driving the mean streets of the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve taken to religiously, nay, even aggressively, using my turn signal; and when I see another driver doing the same, find myself at times crying out, “You, Sir or Madam, are a good human!” A friend of mine once said that society is kept…

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Perfectionism’s Dark Side: Lessons from Japan

Until you’ve been to Japan, you have never really experienced attention to detail. Have you ordered a humble pour-over coffee? In every simple cafe in Kyoto, the experience is astonishing: it is liquid gold. Have you ordered a hasty tea while waiting for the train? In Kyoto station, the Matcha tea is served so elegantly…

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Apartheid and Trump, or Gas Station Confrontation

I recently heard an excellent speaker—an older gay man who dedicated his life to advocating for children in the school system—talk about the importance of compassion in these fraught political times. “I grew up with the people who voted for Trump,” he said. “They are not my enemy. If we see each other as enemies…

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Transgender Teens: Sometimes Caution is the Right Approach

When Marci and her husband James* showed up in my psychotherapy office, they looked tired and worried. They had driven nearly four hours to come to a consultation with me, but that was not the reason for their exhaustion. Marci and James are part of the growing number of families who have consulted with me…

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From the Front Lines: Fighting Back at WPATH

Trans*identities cannot be prevented, any more than sexual identities can. What can be prevented is the suffering caused by refusing to accept a trans*person, by shaming them, by subjecting them to behavior modification therapies that will not work, or by stigmatizing them and making their lives literally unlivable.

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After the Women’s March, What Do the Men Do Now?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about men. Not just the out-of-work, “forgotten”, rust belt men who voted for Donald Trump, but also about the smart, progressive 18-year-old son of a friend of mine, who confides in his mother that it’s hard to hear so much about how much white men have screwed everything up. I’m angry…

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Humanity Needs Empathy Now More Than Ever

What would the world look like without empathy? In a recent LA Times piece, Yale psychologist Paul Bloom opined that empathy is an overrated emotion, one that leads us into all manner of irrational choices and that ultimately leads to burnout. The capacity to put ourselves in each other’s shoes, he argues, is nothing more…

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The Best Way to Remember Carrie Fisher, George Michael and our other lost heroes.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/300147700″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /] I don’t know about you, but 2016 has taken way too many of my heroes. I’m pretty pissed that I’m supposed to survive without George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Bowie, Cohen, Prince.  Losing these lives who symbolized my youth shook me with the too sudden awareness of my mortality…

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The Way Out of Psychic Numbing

“The Oakland fire happened basically right in my backyard,” my friend and co-doctorate-student Helena told me as we were waiting for class to begin. “And while it was so horrible,” she dropped her voice to a whisper, “I haven’t really felt anything about it. Maybe I would if I knew the people who were inside.…

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