Archive for the ‘Emotions & Feelings’ Category


August 31, 2014

I have been invited to be on a panel when the American Criminology Society conference meets here in San Francisco the middle of November.  The panel’s title is Empowerment: The Resilience of Women in Various Crisis Situations.    I’ll be speaking about my client who is a domestic violence survivor.  She has not only survived the violence perpetrated on her by her now ex-spouse, she has also survived the emotional and mental  violence perpetrated on her by the very government agencies which are supposed to help and protect her. The actions of these agencies has caused her to constantly relapse into her PTSD symptoms as well as her Battered Wife Syndrome.

I’m sure that my client is not the only one to be suffering in this way.  I would be honored to hear from any of you who are willing to share your similar stories. or who have ideas on some of the actions needed to correct these egregious injustices.  There is power in numbers. Please call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at




There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~ Ben Williams

July 6, 2014

I was thinking about a client of mine when I found this quote which is so appropriate.  I don’t know whether you’ve seen my co-therapist, Dafka.  There’s a picture of him on my web site.  Dafka, my client (who gave me permission to tell you this story) and the quote all go together.

About an hour before his scheduled appointment time, my client called to say that he wasn’t coming.

I, of course, asked him, “Why not?”.

His answer was, “I’m full of rage.  I don’t want to see anyone.  I don’t want to do anything.  I’m just going to stay in my room.”

My response, “This is exactly the time when it would be most helpful for you to come in.”

His answer, “No.  I’m not coming.”

I said, “Okay.  I’ll miss you and Dafka will miss you.”

He questioned, “Dafka will miss me?”

My answer, “Of course Dafka will miss you.”

He said, “I’ll be there on time.”

And he was.  Dafka greeted him affectionately and warmly with his tongue and his tail wagging vigorously.

We had a very good session, the three of us.

This is not my only client who finds comfort and reassurance from having Dafka in the room.  If  you would like to meet me and Dafka, please feel free to call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at  I look forward to hearing from you.




June 22, 2014

Being assertive means doing what you need  to do in order to get your needs met.  It doesn’t necessarily mean confrontation, getting angry, being aggressive.  It means taking care of yourself.  This is true for all relationships–not just the intimate ones of family and friends.

I haven’t written for a very long time and, usually, I don’t share personal circumstances.  However, I recently had experiences that confirmed for me, again, the importance of being assertive, not aggressive, when it means taking care of myself, and I want to share them with you.

I had occasion to be in a rehab facility after undergoing some major surgery.  I have special dietary needs which were not being met.  At first, I decided not to say anything.  However, I began to feel ill, and realized I had to say something to get my needs met.  It was quite a process because some of the people didn’t want to listen nor hear.  I was persistent, however, and eventually they realized that I wasn’t going to give up, and I got what I needed.

My message to you is if taking care of yourself means being assertive, don’t give up, whether it be with a partner, friend, your doctor, the plumber–anyone.  If you don’t know how, you can learn.  If you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, you can tell her/him that that is not your intention and this is what you need.  Feeling empowered builds your self-esteem and contributes to feelings of self-worth.

Have you ever experienced this kind of situation–and few of us haven’t?  I’d very much like to hear your comments and experiences.  If you need help in learning to take care of yourself, I’d be very happy to meet with you.  Please feel free to call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at  I look forward to hearing from you.



Five Ways to Take Care of Yourself During Stressful Times

December 29, 2010

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Holiday, and that you have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

This time of year, in spite of the joy, can be very stressful.  Now, in addition to the usual Holiday stresses, we are faced with external circumstances which can be exceedingly stressful, the economy, the wars.  During this times, there often are additional conflicts in relationships.  I know.  I’ve been there.

The most important thing to do is to take care of yourself.  We cannot care for others if we do not care for ourselves.  Here are five actions which you can take so that you will feel less tense and calmer:

  • *Honor the person within you:  treat yourself as your own best friend.
  • *Let yourself grieve and mourn for any losses you may be suffering.
  • *Let yourself feel all of your feelings:  there are no good or bad feelings;  they just are.
  • *Spend time doing what you dearly love to do whether it is a walk in nature, going to the theater, dancing–something that you truly enjoy.
  • *Talk about what’s going on with you with someone you trust–a friend, a co- worker, a therapist:  talking can help you decide what’s important and what is no longer important for you and can help you work through some of your feelings.

I would very much like to know whether or not this has been helpful, and would be honored to support you in following through on any of these actions.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at 415-474-6707 or email:

Again, I wish you Health and Peace in the New Year.



Questions that I Don’t Have Answers To

October 1, 2010

I was just appalled and saddened when I read about the suicide of the young Rutger’s student and the reasons behind it.  Then I heard about more young people committing suicide after being bullied about their sexuality.  I don’t understand.  What ever happened to respecting someone’s privacy and confidentiality?

When my children were young, I would never think of opening their mail.  I didn’t go into their rooms without knocking.  I didn’t share any of their “secrets’ with anyone else unless they said okay.

What ever happened to empathy and compassion?  Does our society’s use of technology, and the value we place on it, have something to do with the disappearance of these human values?

As I stated above, I don’t have answers to these questions.  Have these issues ever troubled you and impacted  your life?   I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts and feelings about any of these concerns.

I invite you to get in touch with me.



Victory Over Sexual Abuse: A Client’s Story

August 4, 2010

I was so moved by a note that I received from a former client that I asked and received permission from her to share her story.  She stated that if hearing her story helps someone else, she’s all for it.  I am, of course, changing the details so that she won’t be identified, and the basic facts are true.

It has been ten (10) years since Chloe (fictitious name) started treatment with me.  We worked together for approximately two (2) years.  She had been referred to me by another client.

Chloe was a very attractive young woman in her early thirties.  She was very bright and extremely creative.  She had her own successful business, designing, making and selling beautiful handmade, expensive, usable items.

Chloe came to see me because she was having a “nervous breakdown” as a result of finding out that her sister had been molested by their father.   

Her story was heartbreaking.  She had been sexually abused by her father from the age of seven (7) until she was in her teens.  At the age of ten (10), she started to think about suicide.  She started drinking regularly and using drugs occasionally.  She was in a major freeway accident in her early twenties, and hadn’t driven since.  She felt she just couldn’t continue living the way that she had been.  She wanted much more from her life than she was getting.  She picked very unsatisfactory men and her relationships were unhealthy.  She often deliberately cut herself.  She knew that she had to do something.  She couldn’t go on living feeling as though she were damaged goods, and that she would never find love.

Chloe had both male and female siblings.  As we worked together and I heard her story, I knew that I had to report her father.  She did not want me to do that.  I was very concerned because she had another sister at home.  We made a contract that if she found out that he had sexually abused her youngest sister, she would give me the information I needed to report him.  She never would give me that information.  I took what little I had and reported him.  She was very angry and left treatment with me.

Before that happened, however, she met a man with whom she fell in love.  Although still not totally sure that she really deserved love, after our work together, she allowed herself to at least test whether or not she could accept his love and caring.  The last picture I have in my mind of her was the two of them, holding hands and walking away.

I thought about Chloe often over the years and wondered how she was doing.  Suddenly, a week or so ago, I received a note from her that brought tears to my eyes.  She thanked me for the work that I did with her, although  she is the one who actually did the work.  Since we last met, she wrote that  she had closed her business and is thinking about opening a new one.  She reported her father and is facing and coping with the consequences of her family’s wrath against her.  She is with the man whom she loves and he loves her deeply and she has the most gorgeous little girl.

To quote her, “In a nutshell I have to say that I no longer feel like the abuse I endured defines me. I had to shed those shackles in order to get past it and be happy being me.”

Hearing from Chloe and learning how happy and content she is–this is what makes me so passionate about this work and so grateful to my clients for letting me accompany them on these extremely painful journeys.


If any of you reading this have any comments or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me either by phone, 415-474-6707, or email to

Have You Had to Say “Good-Bye” to Your Pet?

July 15, 2010

If you have looked at my web site, you have met my co-therapist, Dafka.  If you haven’t met him, I invite you to check out my web site, therapywithzora.

Dafka is big and black.  He is English bull terrier, lab and pit mix, and he is almost four years old.  I love my dog dearly.  He makes me laugh, and I do get very angry with him.  It took me a long time to get him.

Before I got Dafka, long before I got Dafka,  I had a cat, the first cat I had ever owned.  He was a beautiful gray Siamese Lilac Point, and I loved him dearly.  His name was Khamudi which means “My Sweet” in Hebrew.  Cats are supposed to live a long time, right?  I expected to have Khamudi with me for at least twelve or fifteen years.  This, however, was not to be.  At age four or so, Khamudi got sick, very sick.  I won’t explain to you what was wrong with him.  Suffice it to say that I did everything I could to save him.  I feel very badly at what I did with him trying to save him, and I would never do that again.

I know, now, that what I was doing when I subjected him to all those indignities, when I humiliated and tormented Khamudi by all of the treatments I put him through;  I was trying to postpone my feelings of grief and loss over not having my beautiful cat in my life.  We do grieve our animals and this is normal and natural.  We have tended them, and nursed them, and caressed them.  They, in turn, have tended us, nursed us, and caressed us.  They have made us laugh, and maybe made us cry.  They have also made us angry.  No matter what our other feelings are, we love our pets, and it is wrenching to say good-bye to them.

There are certain feelings which we go through when we are grieving the loss of a loved one, including our pets.  They are:






We do not go through these feelings in a straight line, from one to the other.  We jump around and may certainly feel more than one at the same time.  There is also no “acceptable” time for going through these feelings.  People may say, “Get over it already”.  Please do not believe them.  It will take you as long as it takes you to grieve the beautiful animal that was a part of your life.

If you would like to talk about your feelings, about the loss of your pet, or any other losses, please feel free to get in touch with me.  Just know that whatever it is you’re feeling is normal and natural;  and it is important for you to go at your own pace.


April 4, 2010

Eastern philosophies and cultures, including medicine, have always recognized and acknowledged the unity of mind, body and emotions. Western culture and philosophy, on the other hand until recently, have taken a very dualistic approach to healing. Still, within that dualistic approach there has been an unacknowledged recognition of the impact the emotions have on the body and vise versa.

Try this: close your eyes, imagine you’re hearing the most beautiful music. It gives you goose pimples.  Let yourself feel the goose pimples. What are the emotions that go with hearing that music? Now, someone in the orchestra hits a discordant note. What happens in your body and what are the feelings that go with that discordant note?

Now imagine someone is hollering at you.  You feel angry. How do you know you are angry?  What are your body’s clues, and what do you feel like doing? What is going on in your body that tells you are angry; or, in reverse, you have a pain in the neck. What are the emotions that go with that pain in the neck? Is there someone you want to tell to get off your back?

Are you sometimes so overcome with emotion that you feel weak in the knees? Have you ever been broken-hearted?

These are just a few examples illustrating the mind/emotion/body connection. Self-awareness is Somatic – in the body. Therefore, the most effective way in which to relearn and work through early emotional deprivations and emotional traumas is to deal with the body – emotional holding patterns that are fixed and held within the body. Recognizing the mind/emotion/body connection and working with it enables people to expand their options and to find their voices so that they may be truly present in the world.

I would love to speak with you about this.  What do you do when you feel this way?  Please feel free to call me at 415-474-6707 or email me at


November 7, 2009

I have the most wonderful clients and I’m so honored that they allow me to journey with them.  One of them is a young Lesbian woman whom I treated for several years.  I still see her occasionally, and have her permission to tell her story.

She came to me because she was in a difficult relationship.  She knew that she wasn’t happy and didn’t know what to do about it. Should she stay or should she go?  She was a very successful scientist working primarily on cancer research, very bright and very much in her head.  Her primary feelings were mad, glad, sad or bad.

During her first visit, she didn’t want to answer some “personal” questions which she didn’t see as relevant to what she was going through.  She did work very hard and eventually came to realize that she was entitled to be in a warm and loving relationship.  She learned to receive and didn’t always have to be the giver.

As luck would have it, she was offered a very high position in a biotech company in San Diego and moved there.  She has a warm and loving relationship and realizes that she is worth having good things in her life.

Very unfortunately, she contracted ovarian cancer, and she is now a three (3) year ovarian cancer survivor.  She decided that she wanted to do more than survive.  She wanted to make a contribution and help others who are attacked by this horrible disease. She started THE CLEARITY FOUNDATION which helps fund research and helps cancer patients who can’t afford treatment.  Please check out their web site.

A few weeks ago, THE CLEARITY FOUNDATION had a fund raiser at the new Academy of Science here in San Francisco.  What a thrill it was to hear about some of the research which is focusing on individualized treatment of cancer based on a person’s genes.

As I said before, I am so honored to be allowed to accompany someone on a journey that starts with a small step and that can lead to help for so many others.

Thank you so much, Laura.

Is anger bad, scary, powerful, forbidden, masculine?

October 4, 2009

Most of us have been taught to associate anger with the adjectives listed above, and these are difficult words to eliminate from our heads. There is actually nothing wrong with feeling anger. Anger is a very powerful emotion which can be used in either a positive or negative way. It can empower us to achieve our goals or impede and distract us. As with other emotions, anger, by itself is neither good nor bad, it just IS. It is what we DO with our feelings, including anger,our behaviors, that can uplift us or damage us. Thus, the more we become aware of our emotions, the more options we have.


1.  Acknowledge that you are feeling angry.

2.Tune into your body sensations: Blood pounding; Teeth clenched; Jaw tight; Breath rapid.

3. Begin to focus on your breath, saying “in” and “out” as you inhale and exhale.

4. Be aware that anger can give you important information about your beliefs and feelings.

5. Take a time out or weigh another possible appropriate action that will allow you to deal with your anger.

6. After being honest with yourself and accepting responsibility for your anger, congratulate yourself on handling your anger in a positive and life-affirming way.

I am very interested in hearing from you about how you deal with anger and how it impacts on your relationships.  I look forward to your comments.  If you’d like to talk with me about any of this, I’d be delighted to talk with you.  You can reach me at 415-474-6707 or email to

Thanks for reading.