• Social Fitness

    Posted on April 21, 2023
    By Tom Horvath, PhD We regularly see criteria for evaluating our health, physical fitness, or financial well-being. If our relationships are the primary source of our emotional well-being (a statement apparently accurate for most people), then guidelines for evaluating our relationships would also be valuable. Having both one or a few intimates, and a wide range of other relationships, is conducive to well-being. We need to have one or a few people we know very well, and then many other relationships that could be meaningful in various ways. We can compare this situation to the specialist/generalist distinction. We need to be a specialist in one or a few areas (often to make a living), but we also need to have much general knowledge, to get along well in the world. The followin...
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  • The Languages of Love

    Posted on March 23, 2023
    By Tom Horvath, PhD, ABPP   “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” from How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) By Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861   [caption id="attachment_13904" align="alignright" width="281"] "I Love You" written in different languages.[/caption] This poem focuses on the writer’s experience of being in love. That experience could occur even if the love were not returned. We could have a “crush” on someone who does not know of our feelings. In this blog, I focus on the day-to-day experience of mutually expressing love and receiving it. The five “languages of love” have been popularized by Gary Chapman. Anyone not familiar with them would benefit from knowing them: kind and loving words, meaningful time together, physical affection, helpful...
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  • Coping with Grief

    Posted on February 9, 2023
    By Tom Horvath, PhD, ABPP When we experience anguish (despair, heartache, melancholy, sorrow) after a significant loss, the depth of the anguish reminds us of the depth of the loss. Usually, the anguish does not surprise us, but we may be surprised at how powerful it is. Even our bodies can hurt. We feel anxious and confused. We ruminate about the past and imagine “if only” over and over. We neglect ourselves, and possibly others. We fear for the future. We think we need to talk about how we feel, but we don’t know where to start. Most often we think of grief as arising from the loss of a person or a relationship, but grief can arise from any significant loss. Like other aspects of human life, grief is an experience we will likely have several or more times. We will somehow get th...
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  • Addiction and Relationships

    Posted on March 11, 2022
    Addiction and Relationships: How Well Do I Engage in Relationships? by Tom Horvath, PhD, ABPP If I live just for myself I can do what I want when I want. If I do not mistreat others they probably will not mistreat me. However, if I have no connections with others no one is likely to help me or care for me. If I live just for myself I can do what I want but be alone. If I am connected with others, then I also live for them and for us, as well as for me. Now others will help me and care for me. However, at times I will need to act for them and for our relationship, even at my own expense. At times I will need to address relationship concerns, to keep the relationship growing, even if raising these concerns is uncomfortable. Addiction and Relationships: Questions to Consider Have...
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  • Asserting Myself

    Posted on September 10, 2021
    How well am I asserting myself? It is an increasingly competitive world. We need to assert our wants and desires in order to thrive. It is also an increasingly (socially) distant world, and not just because of a pandemic. It is easy to get distracted by the limited connections provided by social media, and not have the richer experience of direct interaction with others. To connect with others we need to be comfortable revealing ourselves. Considerations when answering the question, "Am I asserting myself?" Assertiveness is the direct expression of my experience and reactions, including my thoughts, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and the like, while recognizing that others may have (and have a right to) different experiences and reactions. Assertiveness is a mean between aggressiveness...
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  • Finding Personal Space During Shelter-in-Place

    Posted on April 3, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Last week we covered five ways to cope with isolation.  This week we address the other side of the shelter-in-place coin – the challenges of finding space for oneself when sheltering with others.  Most of us live with people, and most of us can relate to the notion that enough time spent with anyone within the same set of walls drives conflict up to the surface like a thermal convection.  Below are five ways to find personal space while sheltering-in-place with loved ones. 1. Headphones Noise cancelling headphones, ideally, but any headphones will do.  As anyone alive and awake in a city for the past 20 years will attest to, as the emergence of ipods and their corresponding iconic white ear buds proliferated through society every sidewalk and bustling str...
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  • How to Forgive

    Posted on February 21, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. Forgiveness is often discussed in addiction treatment, and in general has been shown to bolster mental health, hope, and self-esteem.  People are frequently told that they ‘should’ forgive a loved one, or that they ‘need to’ forgive themselves.  Tangible tactics on how to forgive are oft-omitted.  This article neglects philosophical pontifications as to what forgiveness is and instead focuses on specific techniques, based on the Enright model of forgiveness, that actually result in the experience of forgiveness. According to researchers, forgiveness starts with an unflinching look directly into the nature of the offense and the objective and subjective effects caused by it.  To forgive, one must identify and work through the layers of pain, shame, guilt,...
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  • 5 Factors to Consider Before Staging an Addiction Intervention

    Posted on January 24, 2020
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D.   If a loved one is struggling with addictive problems and not interested in treatment, the overwhelming message from society is that staging an addiction intervention is the best way to help.  Interventions, like the ones depicted on television, generally involve a paid interventionist who coaches family members and friends on how to confront so-called ‘addicts’ and get them to agree to go to rehab.  For some, it may be surprising to learn that addiction interventions are only successful in encouraging a loved one to enter treatment around 30% of the time.  Furthermore, when interventions are not successful they can backfire in truly horrific ways.  Thus, it might be helpful to consider these five factors before staging an intervention. You migh...
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  • When Substance Abuse Affects the Family

    Posted on May 31, 2019
    Substance abuse affects the family and when someone in your family is struggling with addiction, it can be complicated, exhausting, and confusing. You must find a delicate balance between being supportive and protecting your own boundaries. Navigating through this environment is often times draining and most families have questions. If you are experiencing problematic substance use in your family, there is support for you. It is important to realize that drug and alcohol use can affect the entire family and it’s wise for family members to get help as well. Below are a few common questions shared by family members of those with problematic substance use issues.  Substance Abuse Support for Families Q&A Do I have to stop loving my family member who has a substance use issue? No. Yo...
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  • Rebound Relationships in Recovery

    Posted on February 3, 2017
    by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D. If (as the current paradigm shift in recovery suggests) the opposite of addiction is connection not sobriety, then it makes perfect sense that initiating new romantic relationships early on in recovery is commonplace.  As with so many facets of recovery, there is an abundance of "advice" on relationships.  The recovery "wisdom" on relationships has some worthwhile points to consider, but is often fraught with arbitrary absolutes and unfounded, unrealistic mandates.  Thus far, there has been no empirical data linking horticultural adeptness to interpersonal effectiveness.  So if you buy a plant and it doesn't go so well, fret not, that doesn't mean you can't succeed in building meaningful and lasting relationships. Anyone  with experience in 12-step c...
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