Blog postings

I write about themes of interest to me: personal development, education, addictions, technology, parenting, and creativity. If you like what you see, feel feel to leave a comment or get in touch to continue the conversation.

Understanding and Working with Addictions

Addictions are pervasive. They are perhaps the most common human frailty. My work involves helping people navigate the complex landscape of addictions, helping them find pathways forward by finding what lies behind addictions (mental health or developmental challenges, typically). Much of this work involves organizational and community development: schools ...

Read more

For Parents: Working with an Addicted Child

After a public presentation on addictions, a mother approached me, in that familiar way — hushed, conspiratorial, a sliver of shame buried in the hopefulness of her manner — and asked me what she can do about her son. Her boy is fifteen, plays online games for countless hours each week, hides himself in his locked room, screams at her when she tries to enter, seldom attends school, and seems to be sliding ever farther from her. She is terrified that he will simply forget everything ...

Read more

On Homelessness and Compassion

Typically I don’t get fired up about online conversations. I’m busy (aren’t we all?), I have actual conversations to attend to, and I prefer not to be drawn too far down the infinitely deep well of digital discourse. But recently, a question on QuoraShould homeless people be allowed ...

Read more

Technology Addictions and Adolescent Development

Technology addictions obey the same principles as substance addictions; that is to say, the addiction involves uncompleted impulses and fractured imprinting typically derived from childhood experience (this is not universally the case, but is almost universally the case). The nature of the addiction involves the way in which the addiction ...

Read more

Parenting, Addictions, and Technology

For many parents, the cultures of technology — gaming, social media, texting — seem foreign, strange, and uninviting. At the same time, our kids have transferred much of their interpersonal developmental into the online world, where parents don't see what's happening. For the first time in the history of humanity ...

Read more

The Challenges of Marijuana

Within the culture of youth there exists a belief that marijuana is harmless, or even beneficial. The argument is straightforward: if kids are using pot, instead of alcohol or cocaine, they are less likely to become violent or to pass out in the park at night in winter. Or to ...

Read more

The Rule of Four

The Rule of Four is a shorthand for thinking about the archetypal symmetries between mental health challenges, developmental themes (which, in turn, are mostly based on the Bodynamic model) nervous system states, and addictions. The Rule of Four is not a comprehensive system or any kind of research-based manifesto; it ...

Read more

The Nervous System, Addictions, and Childhood Development

The nervous system possess habits of consciousness and action. These are developmental, and might be (somewhat arbitrarily) grouped under four themes:

Read more

At Easter; Thoughts on Alcoholism

Alcohol offers the drinker a reverie, a nostalgia for the way things once were, or are imagined to have been. Alcohol halts the inner life, or guides it to splendors of the past, or comforts the lost self in the present. Whereas the stimulant user always gazes forward, hungry, the ...

Read more

The Great Secret to Recovery from Addictions

For those addicts genuinely seeking a resolution to their struggle, I’ll tell you the great secret up front: find something else to be addicted to, something healthier. That’s all. Addiction is not a light switch, on or off; it’s a way of being in the world, a ...

Read more

Heroin addiction and harm reduction

Ray Charles — acclaimed as one of the twentieth century’s foundational musicians — died this week. Some of the retrospective news items, on TV and on the web, noted his 20-year battle with heroin addiction. Many people were unaware of this, and were surprised that such a hard core addiction was ...

Read more

Why Addictions Treatment Fails

The rates of success for contemporary addictions treatment are miserable. The vast majority of people who undergo it, whether at a treatment center or in the so-called recovery movement — AA, NA and their companion abbreviations — fail to improve (though if they keep trying, their chances of success increase ...

Read more