Licensed Clinical Psychologist. My goal is to use my expertise to make psychology accessible and help people take back control of their mental health.

Don’t put off a meaningful life.

A dandelion blowing in the wind at sunset.
A dandelion blowing in the wind at sunset.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

One of my friends died today. He was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer two weeks ago. Over the past few years, he’d switched from practicing law to working on his dream: writing a book. His family started a GoFundMe to help cover medical and funeral costs; part of the write-up before he died said:

“His days are dwindling…we do not know how many he has left, but time is short. It’s heart-breaking, but he has run out of time and this dream remains unfulfilled.”

One of the quotes on his Facebook page, now a digital tombstone, reads:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” — President John F…

Why person-first language matters

Close up shot of a woman’s blue eyeball.
Close up shot of a woman’s blue eyeball.
Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

Compassion. It has the potential to make the world a better place, brighten someone’s day, or help us make genuine human connections.

Its evil twin isn’t hate; it’s alienation. Alienation is when we see someone as “other” and inferior. Take any derogatory term, and they all have one thing in common: they’re designed to dehumanize — to manipulate us into seeing someone as inferior and undeserving of compassion or human decency.

Do the words we use to describe people influence how we treat them? Is there a difference between calling someone an “addict” versus describing them as “a person with a substance use disorder?” …

Instead of spelling out all the legal and ethical disclaimers on every article I write, I decided to write them out here and just link to it instead. This keeps my articles looking cleaner. If you have any questions, let me know. Enjoy.

  • All content is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical, psychological, or health advice of any kind and we do not warrant or guarantee that the information presented herein is free of any errors or omissions. We are not providing medical, health care, nutrition, psychotherapy or coaching services to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any kind of physical ailment, mental or medical condition, and there is no professional-client relationship unless we have expressly entered into a written agreement with you that you have signed including our fee structure and other terms to work with you in a specific matter. …

Language shapes our identity and self-esteem

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Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you, right? I’ve been a therapist since 2014 and studying psychology since 2009. My experience? Words do hurt.

The labels we give ourselves have a powerful effect on our identity and self-esteem.

Stupid, ugly, worthless, unlovable, broken — these words carry weight. If we label ourselves as broken, our actions align to support how we think — we tell ourselves we’re broken, we self-sabotage and act broken, then we become broken.

Many of us are caught in this self-loathing cycle. …

Learning how to set boundaries is critical for your sanity and productivity.

Tired woman in front of laptop in living room. Children run in the background.
Tired woman in front of laptop in living room. Children run in the background.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

“There’s no place like home.” — Dorothy Gail

There used to be “no place like home.” Nowadays, this isn’t the case. Home used to be our safe haven — the place we went to get away from work. Home offered privacy; only a select few held the honor of being invited into our sacred space. Home was where we didn’t have to wear pants.

It’s debatable how long the current pandemic will last, but what isn’t up for debate is that it has fundamentally altered how many of us do our jobs. …

We get one life. One mind. One body.

A tattooed man sits on a weight bench after a workout.
A tattooed man sits on a weight bench after a workout.
Photo by: Corey Wilks (Author)

Before I became a psychologist, I worked with a director of a multi-million-dollar recreation center. His day was packed with back-to-back meetings, but every day, he worked out for an hour during his lunch break. Business associates would frequently ask him to cancel or reschedule his workout to fit in another business meeting because it’s important.

His response?

“My workout is a meeting with myself. It’s just as, if not more, important than any other meeting I have. I never cancel a workout.”

He recognized his health created a cascade effect. If he maintained his health, he’d be better at his job and able to pursue a quality life. If he neglected his health, his performance and quality of life would deteriorate. …

Why suicide isn’t always selfish

A man in plaid leans on a fence while looking into the distance, pensive
A man in plaid leans on a fence while looking into the distance, pensive
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

It’s difficult to make it to adulthood without knowing someone who has died by suicide. The language we use to describe it is often blaming. “He committed suicide,” as if he perpetrated a crime that victimized people. Suicide hurts — it hurts everyone around us.

I’ve been a therapist since 2014 and formally studying psychology since 2009. I’ve studied suicide. I’ve treated countless people who have struggled with suicidality. And I’ve lost friends and family to suicide.

I’ve often heard suicide described as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” …

Lessons learned from carving a niche as a psychologist

Man wearing dress shirt with tattooed arms crossed
Man wearing dress shirt with tattooed arms crossed
Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

“Take your tongue ring out, even if it’s a phone interview!” my supervisor barked at me as I prepared for an internship interview.

It was the last hurdle to obtain my doctorate in clinical psychology. The last 10-ish years of my college career hinged on getting — and finishing — an internship. No internship = no degree, and a bunch of student loan debt without a way to pay it off. There was immense pressure to dress, act, and talk a certain way to impress the internship committees…

So, of course, I kept my tongue ring in.

Let me preface this article by saying I’m oppositional. Maybe it’s a remnant of adolescence. I’m open to constructive feedback, but I hate being micromanaged. I like to analyze situations and come up with efficient solutions, so inefficiency is infuriating. If I’m forced to confine my personality and be disingenuous, I mentally disengage from my work. …

How ingroup-outgroup bias creates an “Us vs. Them” mindset

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Image for post
Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

Ever wonder where racism, oppression, war, slavery, or any other atrocity related to prejudice and discrimination comes from?

Volumes have been written on the complexities and history of these practices and their societal impact, but the underlying cause remains the same — it’s what psychologists call ingroup-outgroup bias.

Ingroup-outgroup bias is the phenomenon where we show favoritism toward people we share something in common with, and exhibit disfavor or hostility toward people we deem as “different.”

As humans, we’re naturally inclined to group information into categories: good vs. bad, healthy vs. unhealthy, friend vs. enemy, right vs. wrong. This becomes problematic when we create groups based on superficial characteristics. Researchers have found that we’ll develop ingroups for things as arbitrary as having the same birthday, name, favorite sports team, or being from the same geographic area. …

How to stop being codependent and start being happy

Man and woman couple smiling in autumn
Man and woman couple smiling in autumn
Photo by Hannah Cook on Unsplash

Stop me if you’ve heard these before: “She’s my better half.” “You complete me.” “I don’t know what I’d do without him.”

It’s how most of us talk about our partners. Pick up any romance book or turn on any sappy movie and the message is the same: once we find someone to complete us, then we’ll be whole and happy — not before.

There’s something inherently wrong with this way of thinking — that we, as individuals, aren’t enough. Many of my clients come to therapy with this mindset and wonder why they’re miserable. But we don’t have to feel incomplete. …

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