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Life Beyond Therapy: My precious story

As a psychotherapist, clients often ask me: “Why is it so hard to change?”

We know what we want, we know who we want to be, and yet, it’s so hard to stop being the way we are and become this new person with healthier beliefs and behaviors.

One major obstacle to change is all the negative stories about ourselves that we tend to repeat over and over again. These stories bring us pain and keep us stuck in the past:

“I’ll never find a good man.”

“I always screw things up.”

“My childhood was awful.”

“My last girlfriend messed me so much that I’ll never get over her.”

Life Beyond Therapy: Why can't I sleep?

According to research, the average person (whoever he or she is) sleeps six to eight hours a night, almost 50 hours a week, and more than 2,600 hours a year. Without good, deep and regular sleep, the quality of our work, relationships and other activities usually suffer dramatically.

Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Usually, the insomnia is a symptom of another problem, like feeling overloaded with responsibilities.

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Life Beyond Therapy: Letting go of a toxic parent

You can divorce an abusive spouse. You can call it quits if your lover mistreats you. But what can you do if the source of your misery is your parent?

I’m not talking about having a perfect parent, because there aren’t any. But what if you have a parent who is poisonous to you, one who sabotages your happiness, is dangerous to your self-esteem and may literally be “crazy”?

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The moment I knew I was LGBT: Whisper users reveal their time of self-discovery

For some, it was a scene in a movie, TV sitcom or music video. For others, it was a top-secret crush during recess or a pal's slumber party.

As part of HuffPost Gay Voices' ongoing partnership with Whisper, we asked the app's users to anonymously reveal the moment they knew they were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). The responses were powerful, thought-provoking and incredibly diverse.

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Life Beyond Therapy: How to retire happy (the RMO method)

What does it mean to retire? Let’s expand the definition beyond “to stop working.” After all, maybe our grandparents wanted to stop working entirely, and they could. Do we?

Some of my clients have retired at 45, 50 or 55. Some left the military with a full pension, or did their 25 years as a schoolteacher, nurse or public employee. When you retire at that age, what do you do with the rest of your life?

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Life Beyond Therapy: Porn detox

To detox is to eliminate poisons from our system. Too much “junk sex,” like too much junk food, can also poison our system. From talking to my clients, it seems like there is an awful lot of porn-focused sex going on in the LGBT community.

There’s nothing wrong with porn: It’s erotic, it can be exciting, you can use it to get off or to watch with a partner (or partners) to make your sex life even more interesting. But porn, like junk food, is best consumed judiciously.

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In The Raw: Texting tips to prevent harming your relationships

It's so easy to text. In just a few seconds, you can grab your phone, type a brief message and go on with your day.

Texting and your cell phone also serve as a convenient distraction when you’re bored or in silence. People check their phones for messages when they’re in line at a store, during down time at home, and even when they are with a loved one they should be paying attention to.

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Trans* surgeries don't make the man (or woman)

There's a certain amount of run-of-the-mill tact and respect for privacy that starts to vanish when someone comes out as trans*. I'm consistently surprised by the kinds of questions people ask me about my partner, and by the things they say to her or us. One of my favorites is when people tell her how lucky she is that she doesn't have to deal with periods or cramping. I always think, "Yeah, she's really jazzed that she doesn't get to experience fertility and won't ever have the ability to carry a child.

Life Beyond Therapy: High drama relationships

You’ve probably heard some people describe their relationships as “high drama.” I googled “drama” and found some interesting definitions:

- a crisis, spectacle, thrill, sensation or disturbance;

- any number of situations that have an easy solution, which would bring a fairly good outcome, but [high drama people] usually choose another, shitty, bad way to deal with it, like backstabbing, blackmailing/gossiping/betraying their friends; and,

- an exciting, emotional or unexpected event.

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Life Beyond Therapy: How to be (and have) a good friend

In this world of Scruff, Grindr, Mister and all the other social/hookup apps, sex seems to be an awfully high priority. Sometimes, I wonder if the art of friendship is getting lost. After all, if we can’t enjoy each other’s company and be good to each other, sex isn’t going to be very good, no matter how hot the person we’re with is.

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