I am a psychologist and have written and taught about the essential inner skills of personal well-being, psychological growth, and contemplative practice – as well as about relationships, family life, and raising children.
I grew up in a loving and stable family, mainly in the suburbs of Los Angeles; my mother was a homemaker and my father was a zoologist. A shy and bookish kid who loved the outdoors, I entered UCLA at 16 and graduated summa cum laude in 1974 (and was honored to be one of four “outstanding seniors” chosen by the UCLA Alumni Association). Over the next several years, I founded a successful seminar company, worked for a mathematician doing probabilistic risk analyses for things like the odds of a nuclear power plant melting down, and did management consulting. After fulfilling the course requirements for a Masters in developmental psychology at San Francisco State University, I received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute in 1991, with a dissertation titled, “Gratifying control: Mothers offering alternatives to toddlers.”
My clinical practice includes adults, couples, families, and children, as well as psychological assessments of children and adults related to temperament, school performance, and educational and vocational planning. I have worked as a school psychologist for several independent schools, and have given many talks to meetings of parents or child development specialists. For many years, I served on the Board of FamilyWorks, a family resource agency in Marin County, California, and chaired it for two years. I am a former Trustee of Saybrook University.
My writings have been published in Psychotherapy Networker, Tricycle Magazine, New Beginnings (the magazine of the Le Leche League), and Inquiring Mind; in the Insight Journal, my latest article is Mind Changing Brain Changing Mind. I have a regular blog, Your Wise Brain, at Psychology Today & Huffington Post, and I also offer a free e-newsletter – Just One Thing – which presents a simple practice each week (that’s not in my book) that you can do a few minutes a day to help you feel greater happiness, love, and wisdom.
I’m a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and have been invited to speak at Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford universities. I really enjoy teaching continuing education courses for mental health professionals (e.g., taking in the good, self-directed neuroplasticity, natural happiness, being and doing, steadying the mind, equanimity, calming fear, the loving brain, relaxing the “self”). Some of these courses are available on DVD from CMI or FACES. I also have a YouTube channel where you’ll find lectures, interviews, and teachings.
I began meditating in 1974 and have studied and practiced in several traditions. At the end of 2008, I completed a nine-year term on the Board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. A graduate of the Community Dharma Leader training program, I lead a weekly meditation group in San Rafael, California, and I’ve taught at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, New York Insight, the Sati Center, and other meditation centers.
My personal interests include rock-climbing, sailing novels, travel – I lived one year in Finland and one in Germany – and having fun with my family and friends. You can reach me through my administrator, by filling out this form.