August 31, 2022
Moving to the small town of Sonoma, CA in the 1990’s was an eye-opening experience in regard to dual or multiple in a small community. Soon after I opened my private psychotherapy practice, I got a call from a couple who sought couple therapy. When I asked them how they got my name, the husband told me that he played basketball with the local old-men league and he liked the “ferocious” way I played. The wife added that she was on a field trip with our 1st grade daughters and witnessed me impressively helping a group of 1st grade girls negotiate a heated disagreement. As they shared their familiarity with me, I readily recalled my graduate school, ethics and risk management instructors warning us repeatedly that, in the words of K. P., one of the most renowned ethicist psychologist at the time “. . non-sexual dual relationships, while not unethical and harmful per se, foster sexual dual relationships.” When I inquired with top ethicists and risk management experts whether it is ethical or advised to see the couple in therapy, they unanimously warned me that dual relationships are unethical and likely to lead to sex. I wondered if they were concerned that I would have sex with the husband, the wife, or perhaps, with both at the same time 😋.
Early on in my residence in the town of Sonoma, I stepped out of the shower stall in the only gym in town, realizing that I was standing naked next to one of my clients. I had heard similar experiences from therapists who served on military bases, aircraft carriers or retreat centered,
These experiences and many similar others, led me to study the faulty beliefs about dual relationships, to publish articles, authors books, teach hundreds of workshops, consult with hundreds of therapists, testify in licensing board hearings and in civil lawsuits on the myth that all dual relationships are unethical and to expose the fact that dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable in certain settings, such as military, prisons, small and isolated communities and, in some situations, positively contribute to the therapeutic process.
August 31, 2022
During graduate school, I worked as a forensic psychologist in one of the most dangerous county jails in the country. It was crowded, noisy and short-staffed. Often, I had to make suicide assessments in only 1 minute through a jail-cell door’s pothole. Putting an inmate on suicide watch was not a decision I made lightly because it meant that the prisoner would be checked upon (and if asleep, woken up) about every 15-30 minutes. This level of sleep interruption can cause someone to become suicidal, even if he/she had not been suicidal prior to being placed on the suicide watch list.
After I realized that I didn’t have 30 minutes to conduct a thorough suicide assessment, nor could I sit with them face to face in a private office, I developed a 20-30 second interview to determine whether an inmate should be placed on suicide watch. This included 3 questions: 1. What is your name? 2. Why are you in jail? and 3. Are you suicidal? If the person clearly stated they were suicidal I placed them on suicide watch.
However, if the person stated that he/she was not suicidal, but I doubted whether they were coherent, oriented, or truthful, I would say, “I will not put you on suicide watch, but if you kill yourself, I will kill you!” I would then wait to observe their response. If they realized how crazy the statement was and told their roommate something like “The doctor is crazy,” I was more likely not to put them on suicide watch. However, if they responded back to me with “Doctor, you cannot do that to me,” I knew that their judgment was probably impaired and I placed them on suicide watch.
August 31, 2022
Serving as an Expert Witness in administrative licensing board hearings and in civil lawsuit trials has been an exciting and invigorating experience for the last 30+ years, as I have been able to shed light on numerous misconceptions and errors in understanding the standard of care, the importance of context, and, of course, boundaries, such as dual relationships, physical (non-sexual) touch, gifts, home visits, sessions taken place outside the office, and bartering. The explosion of TeleMental Health in 2020 has also been the focus of many of my depositions. On a weekly basis, I provide phone or zoom consultations for therapists all over the US (and abroad) on standard of care, context and boundaries.
In 2021, I was highly honored for my expertise in psychotherapy ethics, when asked to submit an amicus brief (amicus curiae) to the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding psychotherapy and mental health standards. This is in addition to being nominated in 2008 as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) Div. 42 of Independent Practice, as well as the publication in 2007 of my book, Boundaries In Psychotherapy, one of the most comprehensive books on therapeutic boundaries published by, no other than, American Psychological Association, APA Books. I have authored and edited 5 books and hundreds of professional articles on a variety of psychological topics.
July 22, 2022
In 2022 at 72 years old, I have decided to confront fear, challenge, and adventure by going to Brazil and spend time in gorgeous, adventurous Rio de Janeiro, on the magnificent enormous Amazon River and encounter unique personal challenge with the legendary dangerous awesome Piranhas.
I travelled in this 3 weeks adventure with my beloved nephew, Tal (52) and a young friend Jenn (32) a Scottish doctorate-mathematician, and ultra marathon runner.
A short video of our delightful time in Rio, Santarem and the gorgeous Amazon
The city that never sleeps
Majestic, draped in a rainbow of colors
The heartbeat of life
The soul of Brazil
A short video of my amazing encounter with the awesome piranhas and the rational for this rather ‘crazy adventure’
Our first encounter
Your sharp famous teeth
a reminder of your legendary power
My eagerness to engage
June 22, 2022
After 2.5 years of corona virus hysteria and multiple remote teaching, primarily via zoom, the Lutheran Community Services Northwest, in Portland, OR invited me to teach live, in-person, seminar on TeleMental Health and Digital Ethics. It was an exciting hearty event where in-person exchanges, hugs, laughs, and even present exchange took place… again.
June 22, 2022
We celebrated my seventy second birthday in May 2022 by gathering in our back yard and inviting people to share memories, stories, narratives, and anecdotes about me or to share a poem or song. About 25 people joined the hearty celebration, catered beautifully, by King Falafel and with celebratory, funny and, of course, embarrassing, stories and creatively funny original poems.
June 10, 2022
My 3 weeks visit to Israel in May 2022 was diverse, challenging, longer and more unique than in the past. It included riding in Negev Desert on 250cc off-road motorcycles with 3 nephews, I attended ‘Memorial Day’ for those who died in wars and being reminded of my own intense-profound war experience, and enjoyed a high school reunion for the first time in… 54 years.
June 10, 2022
I was schedule to teach ethics class on zoom for psychologists in California while in Israel. Many friends and colleagues stated the obvious to me: “What is so special about teaching from Israel, it’s the same Internet and same Zoom”. Yes, it is the “same” indeed, yet it felt surreal to me: sitting in front of a screen in the Middle East and teaching ethics to psychologists in the USA, half way around the world. A sure reflection of modern times.
A surprisingly unique event took place during this visit when David Eldar invited me to the 54th year reunion of our mathematic/