Entries by Katharine O'Connor

How much does therapy cost?

People often ask how much does therapy cost, and some evey ask how much is it worth?

So, how much does it cost? How much is it worth?

These are two simple questions; however they do not have simple answers.

What something costs is about the time, energy and often money we associate with the desired object.  What it is worth can mean a myriad of things.

I think of cars as a great topic to discuss cost.  You can look up “cost to own” on the internet. Someone asked if a hybrid costs less to operate than a regular auto.  The answer is often that the “cost to own” a hybrid is more in terms of money.  The cost question is answered from the point of view as to the money it takes over time to own a hybrid.  The further answer has to do with the cost of the emissions to our environment.  So what is it worth to get a hybrid?  For the person who is concerned about his/ her carbon footprint, it is worth whatever the cost.

School starts and Anxiety Rises

This week and in the next few weeks high school will begin again. Summer will fade into Fall and games, cheerleading and dances will be the fare for many teens. Doesn’t that sound great? For some kids that is what it is, but for many kids there is way too much drama and anxiety associated with school to earn it a “great” label.

Surely there must be ways to lessen the difficulty so many teens experience in the social setting of their high school. Let me suggest some coping skills that have proven helpful to teens I’ve worked with:

Get involved: Sports, theater, student government, band, academic debate clubs, and service groups, choir etc. These groups help you belong and have a feeling of value.
Plan your day: Figure out how to be with friends. Lunch, and other unstructured times of the day can be difficult and unnerving if you do not find support.

Dealing with Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is so subtle and so blatant at the same time that it is confusing and baffling to those who are its targets. What is the seduction of emotional abuse? How can anyone be treated so badly and still stay in a relationship that is replete with this type of treatment?

A few thoughts come to mind:

There is a pattern that we accept as normal when we have grown up with sarcasm and repeated “put downs”. We just think that this is the way it is supposed” to be.

Many children have seen their parent used as a whipping “boy”….”girl”….”post” and have taken this behavior to be the way of romance and intimacy.

An additional twist on the “romance” side of abuse is that the abusing parent only speaks or deals with the one he/she abuses the most.

Cinderella vs. Elsa – Child Ego State

How envy, jealousy and feelings of inadequacy come straight from the Child Ego state.

Could you imagine Cinderella and Elsa in a tug of war?

Think of it…dresses flying …shoes in the air and some cross between pumpkins, mice and frozen everything. Who do you think is the more beautiful…Cinderella or Elsa? They are both a type of victim that evoke pity and a general “this is just sad” reaction. They also have had plenty of press in terms of their stories. Cinderella is the story that is the older and Elsa, or Frozen, is the newer story, waiting to be replaced in the near future by some other Disney creation. From an adult point of view these two young beauties are in a series of young girl triumphs with the help of some male hero story lines.

So let’s go into the world of a child and see if there are insights for us when looking at these two popular figures.


Holidays. The word either excites you or depresses you.

For some people the holidays are joyous occasions for which to hope and plan times of family and friends in the most idyllic of settings. For others the holidays are times of anxiety and depression over unmet expectations and desires for the all perfect mythological dream.

Something must drive us to the desire for holiday bliss.

There are all those songs…
There are all those ads…
There are all those lights…
There are all those religious images…

There are all those children, who sing, and dance and pageant their way into our dreams of the perfect Christmas, if not for us, at least for them.

The child in most of us wants to have a “most wonderful time of the year” whether it is Christmas, Hanukah or another celebratory time with family and friends.

Teen issues are like dirty diapers

What new parent would complain about changing a diaper? What parent does not expect a wet one or a “poopy” one? And, if babies don’t have a dirty diapers something is wrong and a possible call to the doctor is in order!

So, why do parents expect teens to not have “issues”? Really? Isn’t becoming an adult exactly what teens are doing? This becoming has to have “issues”!

Why are adults surprised when an “issue” just like a dirty diaper shows up? What are kids supposed to do to get the help they need to move through the confusion and “issues” of their teen years? Working with kids has clued me into some of their struggles. I call them their little, sometimes big, secrets. Adults either don’t know about their kid’s lives or are afraid to face a kid’s “issue”…which is about as helpful as not changing a dirty diaper!

Aging and Depression

Aging is a pretty all-encompassing concept. We are all aging, aren’t we?

I love it when someone says they are concerned about getting another year older because it gives me the possibility of telling them that the alternative is not good. We all are aging but the reality is that as one begins to get older there are certain things or occurrences that can cause depression.

Many people decide to retire at 60+ years.

For many folks this is a blessing but for many others this is a time of loss. Losing the meaning of a job and the relationships that go along with a job can be very painful. The loss of meaningful employment can cause a person to question his/ her worth. The ability to be a “bread winner”, even though one may have enough retirement money, is another loss of stimulus for the aging person.

Divorce is so common we take it for granted

Divorce is so common we take it for granted that “D I V O R C E “ is not just an old country song. Divorce touches the lives of at least ½ of all families. It is so common that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, the common is all too tragic when it hits close to home.

The family, as the base unit of society, is often replete with expectations of and desires for stability and consistency. It is like an earthquake when a son or a daughter gives the grandparents/ in-laws the news that a divorce is in the near future. When there are children involved it makes a marital breakup even more difficult to get through.