Recent posts

  • Nov 19 2011 - 11:21pm

    This article by Pete Walker is a good explanation of "emotional flashbacks" which result from childhood neglect and emotional abuse.  In essence, current stress can trigger old pain; recognizing the signs and learning to manage the emotional reactions is important for healthy functioning.  I think that this work provides valuable insights that coincide with my own approach with taming the "idea monster" and learning to actively care for one's inner child.   -- Marlene Winell (more)

  • Apr 9 2014 - 12:04am

    This article by Michael Friedman, a mental health professional and author, explains why self-expression in the arts is beneficial for mental health.  Read the PDF here.

  • Nov 4 2009 - 2:28am

            If you come to San Francisco
            Be sure to wear flowers in your hair
            If you’re going to San Francisco
            You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

                                                                        Scott McKenzie

    I met Jesus in Golden Gate Park many years ago and he helped change my life. He sent me in a new direction – away from Christianity.

    I was reminded of it on Sunday, October 25, because it was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, celebrated with enthusiasm at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. I wandered through the crowd with my grown son, Ryan, as we pushed our bicycles, enjoying the sights and sounds – 60’s music coming from the bands,tie-dyed banners, the smell of incense and herb, and booths selling candles, New Age books and music, psychedelic art, and healthy food. The event was free, and so was the painting – on your face, cloth banners, or sheets of paper on the ground. Peace signs were all around. The folks with gray hair and fond memories were well represented, but so were young people who missed the Summer of Love. Young girls had long hair and headbands, flowers, and even wings.

  • Jun 28 2011 - 11:48pm

    I’m really struggling and am desperate never to go back to the religion I was raised in, but I no longer want to live in fear or depression.  It seems that I am walking through the jungle alone with my machete; no one to share my crazy and sometimes scary thoughts with.

  • Sep 10 2013 - 3:20pm

    I work extensively with couples, using an educational approach.  This means we will address the issues you have now but I will also help you gain skills for new ways of relating that you can apply to other concerns in the future.  Many people have old habits and can benefit from learning new patterns that will improve intimacy generally.  A course of work with me on Relationship Development, is an investment for the long-term if you want to go beyond immediate problems. (see below for package discount)

  • Sep 10 2013 - 3:15pm

  • Apr 14 2013 - 12:20pm

    When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

    A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very  large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

    He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. (more)

  • Jan 24 2012 - 3:13am

    Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society.  (It's also a very clever animation).

    The Empathic Civilization 

  • Dec 21 2011 - 2:48pm

    Most of the work I do teaching communication skills involves talking in person. However, these days people use email for many things and often run into trouble. It can be a mild misunderstanding or a huge disaster, causing such things as the end of a relationship, job loss, or legal trouble. Why? A number of reasons. Email can be easily misunderstood since there are no visual cues or voice tones to convey meaning.

  • Dec 14 2008 - 5:40pm

    Saturday, April 30, 2005

    Occasionally, there is an issue that seems to come up regularly with clients. Recently the topic has been a lingering fear of hell. I invited one client to comment on the way he was dealt with this, and he was kind enough to share with you these thoughts. I invite you to also email me with the methods you have developed to deal with this fear. Marlene

  • Jul 10 2011 - 1:18pm

    July 10, 2011.  This online article for a college class  at William and Mary is an excellent description of evolutionary psychology, which helps tremendously when trying to understand ourselves and others.  Here's an excerpt - go to the link for the rest and enjoy.   MW

    Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer   by Leda Cosmides & John Tooby

  • Mar 2 2011 - 2:29pm

    This is to let you know about a discussion I had about Religious Trauma Syndrome Thursday, March 3 on "God Discussion," which is a call-in radio show on line from 7-9 pm Pacific time.  It has been archived so you can still listen to it.

  • Feb 9 2011 - 3:52pm

    This is a summary outline I’ve come up with for recovering from authoritarian religions like fundamentalist Christianity.

    In my years of experience, I’ve found that for a lot of people (not everyone), the leaving process takes time and has some important steps. This outline is not meant to be a formula or cover the issues in depth, but I hope it is useful for you to think about.


  • Sep 14 2010 - 3:05pm

    Ever want to get better acquainted with someone but wonder what to talk about? If you want to be emotionally closer, it helps to share thoughts and feelings that are deeper than the usual daily chitchat. Here's a game you can play: take turns picking questions off this list and answering them. Feel free to add questions of your own. Enjoy. (click on title to open whole list)

    Getting to know you. . . .
    • Tell me about an important friend that you no longer have contact with.
    • Share an emotional childhood memory.

  • Jun 23 2010 - 7:24pm

    Important to every relationship is time together just relaxing and having fun.  Here are some ideas for things to do.  Feel free to come up with your own as well.

  • May 1 2010 - 12:09pm

    Prestonwood Baptist Church

  • Jan 26 2010 - 6:05am

    I’d like to think that the work I do has lasting effect, so I was thrilled to hear from a client after many years who told me she was still using life skills from a workshop I taught a long time ago.  It confirmed for me that crucial concepts and skills – the ones they never cover in school  – can indeed be learned with ease and efficiency. 

  • Dec 12 2009 - 1:10pm
    Recovering from religious indoctrination can be difficult but it doesn't have to be lonely.  You can take part in a very supportive "Release and Reclaim" virtual group.  
  • Nov 23 2009 - 10:10pm


  • Nov 23 2009 - 3:47pm

    Recently I had a very short, but encouraging little dream right before waking up. I had been feeling burdened by all the problems in the world. In my dream I got the message that “the butterflies are working to lift our spirits.” I woke up surprised and delighted. Later I shared it with a couple friends who also liked it, amused by the image. 

  • Dec 14 2008 - 4:18pm

    Yes, we have an issue of feeling connected to other human beings. And what a lot of ways people try to accomplish that, and not all healthy. Joining a group is certainly one, whether it is a cult or a political cause or a golf club. Another is the love relationship. We all know the pressure brought to bear on that one.

  • Jun 16 2009 - 1:05pm

    Techniques in Touching to Revitalize Relationships

         The skin is the most overlooked and underemployed sex organ of the human body. There are many areas of the body that you may consider nonsexual that respond pleasurably to stroking and caressing. To start developing comfort with touching and being touched, a simple massage of the skin is a good place to begin. A massage of the neck, the face, the temples, the eyes, the back, the buttocks, the legs, and even the feet may be pleasurable and nonthreatening. You may want to soak your feet in a container of soapy water while your partner massages them.

  • Dec 14 2008 - 4:56pm

    This is an invitation for contributions. It seems that many people who have recovered from religious indoctrination and feel rather healed in their personal lives still have a great challenge when it comes to relating to family members who are still "in the fold." What have you found works for you? Please write and I will post your insights for the benefit of others, as well as share some thoughts of my own. marlene

  • Dec 23 2008 - 9:34pm
    I get this question so frequently, I’ve decided to make a better effort to reply.  To be honest, I don’t like the question because it presumes we know what those words mean.  Here are some responses, touching on more or less serious aspects of the topic.  

    1.  Which god?  Do you mean Zeus, Baal, Athena, Shiva, Allah, Jehovah, or some other?  If you mean one of those, then no.   I am not a theist.  I don’t believe in an individual being that created and now controls the world.    

  • Dec 23 2008 - 11:55am

    by Valerie Tarico

    I just love Christmas!" my friend Hannah confessed recently, "even though I'm appalled by Christianity." She sounded sheepish, as if loving Christmas somehow made her bad.

    Poor Hannah. I understand her tone of apology. What Hannah is appalled by isn't the broad range of kind, thoughtful Christians in her community . . .