In graduate school I learned that self-disclosure begets self-disclosure. I tell you something about me, most likely you will tell me something about you and back and forth it goes. When I started the Secrets of Life website it was as an add-on to my RelationshipTraining site. I had written a blog about the secrets of life and it occurred to me that I wasn't the only person who spent some time reflecting on such matters. So, I brought together some other voices, some inspiring videos and inspirational quotes to which I respond. I invite you to spend some time searching around and if you are inspired please share your reactions and thoughts.
With that introduction let me now share with you what I wrote about myself for the RelationshipTraining site:
Thank you for your interest in learning more about me. My work has grown out of my interest in relationships and the central role they play in our lives. Be it with our friends, children, partners, strangers, our community, the earth or oneself – the quality of your interactions will go a long way in determining your satisfaction with your life.
We all are affected by the parenting we receive and the circumstances that surround us. I grew up in New York and had a rocky experience with the schools I attended. I rarely found myself engaged in my classes. I liked being with my friends, and some of the teachers I had, but the longer I went to school the less value I found in it.
My parents moved to California during my teen years I did study hard enough to eventually enroll at UCLA. Not knowing what to major in, I signed up for a Psychology class and discovered a more interactive learning environment. The professor often had us break into dyads and small groups and discuss various issues. Being encouraged to learn from each other and not just the teacher really engaged me. At one point I looked at the professor and decided I wanted his job. I too wanted to make education relevant and involving.
I realized to get his job I needed to go to graduate school and get a doctorate. So I did. Unfortunately, during all the years I studied psychology there were still very few classes that caught my full attention. But, I had seen what an experiential teacher could provide and I wanted to create my own classrooms where students could learn about themselves and being with others. I figured the more you knew about yourself and your interactions with others the better it would be for all.
After graduate school I opened a private practice that I continue to this day. I see individuals, couples, families, teenagers and have run my share of groups. In my professional life I have also been the Co-Director of a Substance Abuse Program and the Clinical Director of the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. Yet, wanting to inspire others the way I had been inspired I wanted to teach. I was able to become a member of the faculty at California School of Professional Psychology and Antioch University in Los Angeles. After awhile, I was appointed the Chair of the Graduate Psychology Program at Antioch Los Angeles where I taught students how to do therapy and find their way into their career.
The more I studied and taught psychology the more clear it became to me that relationships are the foundation of who we are and what we do. During this time I wrote The Relationship Training Manual for Men and The Relationship Training Manual for Men* *Women's Edition. Initially I wrote a book just for men because I thought for a relationship to be improved the man needed to be on board. The more I wrote to him, the more I realized women needed to be the fly on the wall to this conversation. So, using the Men’s version as a foundation, I added commentaries for women to consider along with some techniques to employ to improve their relationship.
One day I got a call from a colleague who was working at a private school who asked me to come and meet the Head of the School. I really wasn't all that interested. But, she persisted and I was intrigued.
The Head of the School wanted me to be in charge of “Betterment.” I had never heard the word, but had an idea what it meant. He told me he had heard very positive comments about the program I oversaw at Antioch and thought I would be able to help make things better at his school. That job description was hard to refuse.
Eventually he decided my title ought to be the Director of Counseling Services for the Upper School (9th-12th grade). In that capacity I have met with a lot of parents, students and teachers and done my best to make things better for them. Having raised my own child and having learned from the students and parents I encountered I was able to write Parenting Your Teen: A Relationship Training Manual.
Much of my time now is spent writing a mystery series. I've always been a fan of mystery series so I eventually got up the energy to write one. It's been the most rewarding activity for me for it calls forth many of the lessons I've learned in life.
My thoughts on a variety of subjects are available on my blog. I invite you to respond to any of the postings or anything else on the site.