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What the season truly brings

December 9, 2011

For me, this time of year is the most special.  As a therapist, I have seen how our hearts are softer and I have had the pleasure and joy of seeing many a relationship heal.  I cannot begin to share with you how special these moments are for me as I know they are for all involved.  It truly is a magical thing.
Too many of us have people in our lives that, for whatever reason, we still keep at arm’s length.  Why?  Because they have hurt us in some way I believe.  I know there may be someone in your life that harmed you extensively and irrevocably.  Ok.  Yet there may also be others that you had a falling-out with and yet, as you may think about it, wonder why the result of ending that relationship even came to be — meaning that we come to the conclusion that the issue may not such a big deal anymore.
I say to you that it does not have to remain that way.  Don’t let pride get in the way.  Reach out to that person.  Acknowledge and take responsibility for any of your actions that have effected the relationship. I can imagine you may still feel hurt and even hesitant about reaching out.  Among other things, this will lighten your emotional load.  This is also how we can move forward in life and I want that for you.  Be true to yourself and grow as a person.  Good luck and Happy Holidays!!

Exorcising our Demons

October 30, 2011

Every one of us has things we worry about or that frustrate us.  These are stressors and, whether big or small, eat up space within our minds and bodies.  Now, it can be easy to discount how these thoughts can bother us with statements like “I don’t think about it every day,” or “I can stop the thoughts when I need to.”  The reality though is that each one of these pains or unresolved issues, that our mind continues to dredge-up, is keeping negative energy within us.  Imagine each and every unresolved thought like puss that is stuck inside your body and in need of purging.

Now if you think you can try and ignore the thoughts, or experience the feelings, and it will somehow go away, you are sadly mistaken; it doesn’t work this way.  We need to face them.  We need to release the hold the issues may have on us.  When we talk about it, how it affects us, and what we may want to do next, we are best able to take that next step.  If this involves someone who may have said or done something and we were hurt, by taking time to reflect on what happened, talk it out with a friend, loved-one or even in counseling, we may best be able to come back to the person and discuss it.  In fact, we will probably be calmer and in a better personal space to get your wants and needs met in the conversation.

Another way to address the things that are on our minds is to write them out.  Here, we can be as angry or hurt (or whatever) as we need to be without attacking anyone or anything.  From what is then jotted down, you can calmly take kernels from the writing to later address with the person you we may choose.

Whatever appropriate way you want to soothe the thougths or pain is ok.  These are only a few of the ways we can assertively exorcise the demons that make-up our angst.

Choosing the Right Therapist for you

October 23, 2011

Years ago, the idea of going to therapy would bring up a lot of anxiety for people.  “What will people think if I see a therapist?  What does it say about me if I can’t handle things myself?”  Questions like these actually cause us undue stress.  My fear is that many still get bugged down by these same questions.  Life is not about what other people think of you.  Your interests, hopes, and dreams are what matter.  You are going to get stuck sometimes; a good therapist can help you through.

So what am I looking for in a good therapist?  Some people have heard about specific theories that they think might work for them.  For example, some know that a cognitive-behavioral approach is good for challenging patterns and behaviors without getting too deep into the emotional component.  Similarly, many have heard of the work of Freud, where clients were seen more as patients and would lie on the couch and talk about deep-seeded issues like with your mother.  These days, there are hundreds of clinical theories that therapists may practice.  If you have enough insight about a theory or motivation to experience a certain one then so be it.  Personally, I want someone I can connect with.  Of course, I hope for insight and experience, as well as I want to know that the therapist has my best interest at heart.

The journey might be uncomfortable.  Honestly, a little discomfort  means we are digging into the emotional dirt we need  to be in.  When someone comes in, I expect there is a presenting problem that I believe will stem from the past.  This is valuable for me to explore with clients and helping them truly understand the issue. As you consider therapy for yourself, feel free to research the therapist on-line and call to ask questions.  A dedicated therapist will take the time to be there.

Stuart Kaplowitz

Marriage and Family Therapist

Chino & Chino Hills


Anger and Hate – What’s the Benefit of having either of these in our Lives?

September 6, 2011

Silly question? Perhaps not.  I have learned that there is indeed a method to our personal madness, meaning there is a reason why we do things.  Believe it or not, by holding on to these intense feelings, we are pushing others away.  Think about it….who wants to be around someone who spews venom at us or those around us?  Subconsciously or unconsciously, we may want to hold onto the pain we may be experiencing, and holding that anger will stop us from addressing the issue and possibly growing in the process.

Now, I also have seen how we cannot get this upset about something unless we are truly passionate about it.  That part holds value, as I see the benefit of caring.  When it gets to an extreme level, however, I think we shoot ourselves in the foot.  So let’s keep the passion and direct it in more appropriate ways to get your needs met.  If something is bothering you, take time to reflect on how and even why, as you may see a pattern in your life including how you see yourself from progressing through issues.  If it is someone who has affected you, imagine being able to  discuss it with them and getting your needs met.  This would be a beautiful thing and model to yourself that whatever comes up, you can address it before the feelings grow into something is painful and caustic.

Good Luck!

What a Friend Means To Me

August 31, 2011

What is a friend to me?

A Friend is someone to lean on

A Friend is someone to look in on us when we are in need

  • A Friend is someone to laugh with as well as cry with when we need to
  • A Friend is someone to  bounce ideas off of
  • A Friend is someone who can handle our frustrations


I do not know where I would be without friendship.  The kindness and support I receive are things I would not trade and I am fortunate to be blessed with special people in my life.  Are you fortunate enough to have such friends in your life?

Interestingly, many I have worked with have shared feeling uncomfortable leaning on a friend and getting the support they may be struggling to find. Why?  Some have said they would not want to burden their friends.  Others have shared being embarrassed and needy to keep their pain even from their closest friends.  Ah!  Then what good is having a friend, I say!  A true friend can handle what you need to say.  Have faith in you and lean on them when in need.

Shame the Tie that Binds Our Pain

August 29, 2011

No matter who you are, your life circumstances in what you have been through, any of us tend to get stuck and feel shame.  While this can be experienced
emotionally in a number of ways, it tends to be unresolved issues that hold us
down and which we feel shame about.

It is easy to imagine a negative experience in our lives and the idea that we have harmed others or negatively affected them in some way.   Of course, if we have not made amends, it is quite possible that others could be upset and have shared this with us.  In this situations, other persons words and the hurt we know we have caused could indeed feel shameful.  Many times though that shame is self imposed.

Suffering in Silence: Why not reach out for help?

August 7, 2011
There are a number of reasons that seem to stop us from getting the necessary support when we are in need.
1. The idea that I should be able to manage this myself.
2. The thought of appearing weak or somehow being judged by others.
3. Doubting that others can truly help you.
4. Perhaps believing we then owe that person who helped us and sensing a one-down position.
These may be only some of the reasons  we don’t get support when we need it.  The truth is we will not have all of the answers to everything that comes up in our lives.   Somethings may confuse us or worry us.  Here are but a few of the realities of suffering in silence:
1. If we turn down help, the problem does not get any easier.
2. We are not likely to magically resolve the situation when overwhelmed.
3. We may become more and more frustrated/agitated/worried, etc.
This can impact other areas of our life.  If we do reach out and find out that support we can see new possibilities to succeed, not only here, but in future situations as well.  You can feel hopeful and excited to check this off the list.  The benefits are overwhelmingly positive.  Try it. It maybe easier than you realize.