Category: Family

Social Reciprocity

Social Reciprocity By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC Do you ever go to a party or dinner and spend the entire evening putting out a lot of friendly energy and receiving very little back? I always know when I’ve had a good social experience at a party or gathering when I don’t come home exhausted. I feel …

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Mirroring

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC Mirroring is one of the most important concepts in psychology; it is a lynchpin of Attachment Theory. Attachment Theory basically holds that an infant’s attachment to his mother (or primary caregiver) is crucial to his survival.  Not only is attachment a key building block of the baby’s sense of self, …

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Smart Parenting

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC We often have to “wing it” as parents, especially with our first child. Like many parents, there are several bits of wisdom I wish I had possessed early on. One concept I have learned as a therapist would have been especially useful: the concept of containment. Containment means (in terms …

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Reciprocity, or the Golden Rule

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC Reciprocity is one of my favorite concepts—in therapy and in life. Parents do well to model this give-and-take behavior, by nurturing their children and supporting them, while at the same time expecting the child to reciprocate with love, respect, consideration—and yes, even chores! This reciprocity concept harkens back to Attachment …

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Mid-Life Crisis

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC I had my “mid-life crisis” at 30. I began questioning my journalism career, my life in New York, even my marriage. I was confused about the meaning of my life, and could not see continuing on the same self-absorbed path. What was my purpose? What sort of legacy—if any—would I …

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Failure to Launch

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC Last fall, I was asked by veteran therapist Mark White, LCSW/LMFT, to co-lead a parent group called “Holding On and Letting Go: A Group for Parents of Adolescents and Young Adults.” The group was so successful that we are holding it again this fall. A psycho-educational/support entity based on the …

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Dogs

Dogs of Our Dreams I have always loved dogs. In almost every snapshot of me as a child, I am clutching a squirming puppy in my chubby arms or trailing after one of my black, flop-eared Cocker Spaniels. Teddy and Tim, father and son, were the definitive dogs of my early life. They accompanied me …

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Launching Ourselves

By Elizabeth O’Brien My husband and I are decidedly uncool in the eyes of our teenage son. Even though it’s only been a couple of years since our daughter was a high school senior, and four and half years since our firstborn son was this age, it seems we’ve forgotten, again, how to back off. …

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