Family Therapy

The White Sheep Syndrome | Family Therapy Sherman Oaks & San Fernando Valley

Sue comes from a frightening background. One which involves every sort of abuse imaginable. Surrounded by poverty, drugs and chaos, she was determined to make her life better and to escape her environment as soon as she possibly could. Her saving grace was her unusual and profound intelligence. She was always recognized by teachers and counselors as someone who would go far.

Go far, she did and thought that she had surpassed the effects of her humble beginnings except that it showed up in her relationships with her family and old friends. They were critical and challenged her constantly saying things like “I guess you think that now you are better than us”

She found herself loathe to admit her successes for fear of punishing comments. She would be self deprecating so as not to be intimidating.

She found that this limited her professionally as well as personally.

She was not satisfied with her current state and was highly ambitious but was afraid to reach her goals. She sought treatment to try to overcome the limitations that she felt that she was putting on herself both personally and professionally.

There are many Family Therapy Cases similar to this one. For example: the gang member who is traumatized that his mates could sexually assault a young girl.

He promptly quits the gang after trying and failing to save the girl and sits in his lonely room in the ghetto with police helicopters above him and gang wars just outside his house. He decides to study social work and completes a master’s degree in social work.

This results in him showing up in an auditorium before a houseful of professionals in full gang attire teaching about how to communicate with gang members.

The intellectual in an athletic family who gets little to no validation for his talents.

The adolescent who realizes he is gay in a homophobic environment.

The challenges for those afflicted with what I call “THE WHITE SHEEP SYNDROME” is this. Being a “White Sheep” is being the healthy member of an unhealthy family or community and the loneliness of both not being able to connect with those closest to you as well as the self doubt elicited by the lack of validation and role modeling.

Group support and modeling are very important to these people in order for them to become successful, fully. They need to find like minded people who can validate their struggles and mentors to inspire them. If we can identify these people before it is too late, we can help groom them into who they really are capable of being. So, if you have identified a “White Sheep” in your family or in your community, lend a helping hand so that they can realize their dreams and finally have the life that they deserve.

Post Traumatic Stress

Am I Blue? | Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome | PTSD Therapy in Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City

Brian says: “I don’t understand it, I have a good marriage, a good job, good health, a stable support system, good friends and family and I don’t feel like anything is fun anymore. I don’t feel suicidal or in any great pain. The point is, I just don’t feel much of anything these days”

Anhedonia- the absence of pleasure or the ability to experience it” is one of the symptoms of depression. Other signs include: insomnia; appetite changes, suicidality, irritability, low libido and social isolation.

Brian’s case could be a signal that something else is occurring that he is not aware of. He may be feeling pressure from work, family, some grief and loss over the idea of aging and “life passing him by”. He may be someone who is overly conscientious and has forgotten about the importance of diversions and fun activities.

He may be dealing with an undiagnosed physical problem such as hypoglycemia, diabetes or other health concerns.

At times, people who have become accustomed to living in a chaotic environment do not notice the effect that stress is having on them due to the fact that, they simply have never NOT had stress.

Someone who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) may have never treated the symptoms and merely have learned to live with them.

There could be substance abuse going on without acting out behavior which makes it more difficult to identify. Also, multiple losses can add up to a feeling of being overwhelmed and a psychological defense of “shutting down” as a protection. Although Brian’s case does not appear to be serious, it does warrant professional attention, so that he could discern what actually is at the root of his sense of apathy towards life and find out once again, “what makes him smile”.