Category Archive: Family

Sep 04

What IS Therapy, Anyway? Part 1

What goes on in a therapist’s office is a mystery to many who have never pursued psychotherapy. First-timers are often nervous and uncertain, not knowing what to expect. A common misconception is that therapy is some sort of cathartic, secular confessional, or that the therapist will magically “fix” the client—cure depression, anxiety, grief, social isolation, …

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Aug 17

The Poignant Dichotomy of Old Age

Every Thursday, my husband and I drive 10 minutes to my mother-in-law’s well-appointed retirement community to have dinner with her at 4:30. On those days, we have to make sure to skip lunch so we can be hungry at an odd time of day. Although the helpings are small—suitable for the elderly residents’ diminished appetites—the …

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Apr 25

When Our Bodies—and Time—Betray Us

Recently, our daughter, Owen, 28, followed by her older brother, Jesse, 30, got married within two months of each other. While both were joyous celebrations—and a long time coming—I experienced a massive crash after the festivities. And I’m not just talking about the emotional kind. My right hip went out. Suddenly, the hip simply didn’t …

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Apr 24

Jesse/Wedding Speech

It is not easy to describe one’s child. As parents, our perspectives are skewed by blind love, fear, frustration, hope, tenderness, anger, forgiveness, joy, and our own narcissism. After all, aren’t our children reflections of ourselves? But here goes. When Jesse (on right in photo) was born, and the doctor placed him in my arms, …

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Mar 11

I Am the Cosmos*

Our daughter Owen got married a few weeks ago. It was, by all accounts, a joyous occasion. It was the one cold, damp evening of the month, but her happiness was so contagious that it didn’t make a whit of difference. Everyone partied on until the wee hours—outdoors, mind you, in the limestone, twinkly-lit courtyard …

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Aug 25

Why I Left New York By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S

I was keen to stay home and raise our three children. Happily, in New York City, where we were living in the 80s and 90s, it made more economic sense for me to quit work. But this choice was fraught: women in New York who leave their jobs to raise their children generally vaporize into …

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Aug 16

The Empty/Emptying Nest

The Emptying/Empty Nest: Part I By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S Many of us baby boomers are in the throes of launching our young adult children into the world. Whether the launch involves going off to college, getting first jobs, beginning serious careers, relocating to another part of the country, or simply moving into their own places, …

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Feb 20

Rapprochement at BurgerFi

By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S We have a family tradition of gathering on Sundays at BurgerFi in South Austin. BurgerFi, a small and seemingly little-known chain, happens to make some of the best burgers in town: grass-fed, hormone-free, organic beef that simply tastes better than most burgers I’ve tried. The place is located at Mopac and …

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Mar 31

The Pets We Love—and Mourn

By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC   Among the clients I see are those grieving the loss of a pet. In fact, the other day, I received a call from my veterinarian asking that I drop off more of my business cards. Ours is a particularly dog-friendly neighborhood, featuring dozens of wild Greenbelt trails. It might sound …

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Dec 10

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC The holidays are fraught with angst. Since late October, clients have been coming in with anxiety over upcoming family visits, tales of previous drama or longtime estrangements, and sadness over those who are no longer here. Many are financially strapped and feel pressure about spending money they don’t …

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