Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Power of Encouragement

My 44-year-old client Ruben went through his fourth chemical dependency treatment program a year ago and has been clean and sober ever since. A drug addict since his early teens, at no previous time has his sobriety lasted longer than six months. He freely admits that his totally willingness to do whatever is suggested to him by his sponsor and the professionals involved in his care has made all the difference. “I tried it my way long enough to know that doesn’t work – now I’m finally learning to follow directions.”

 For the first time, Ruben has added individual therapy to his 12 Step membership. He is working on family concerns, previously unresolved grief, and the self-esteem issues related to physical and sexual abuse. He attends daily meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous; does service work at his church; works the 12 Steps with his A.A. sponsor; spends quality time with his daughter; receives glowing reviews at his job; recently became a non-smoker; and is whittling down his debt. He smiles broadly whenever I see him and feels deeply thankful to have another chance at life.

Recently I asked Ruben what brought him back time and again to treatment, when each time he had started out committed to sobriety and then lost his recovery. Many people in this position become so demoralized and discouraged by their failures and the people they have hurt that they simply give up on getting better.

Ruben answered immediately, “It was my ex-mother-in-law Ella – she was the only person in my life who never gave up on me. She always told me that she believed in me, that I was an amazing guy and that I was smart. She said that my addiction wasn’t the real me, and that she knew I had what it took to get and stay clean and sober. I played her words over and over in my mind a lot, and, eventually, when I got really sick of myself, her belief in me, when I had none, would lead me back to treatment. I am forever grateful.”

Never underestimate the power of encouragement to help our children become their best selves.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Conversations with Cinthia:
Guest: Wendy Boorn, Psychotherapist and Author of I Thought I'd Be Done by Now, which is written for mothers of adult children.

Listen to the live interview on-line today, Monday April 22, 2013, at 6 pm

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Courage to Be Vulnerable

Today I’d like to share a story about the small miracles that can occur when two people have the courage to share vulnerably.

First, some background: Because he’s always lived within a mile of me and, along with his mom, even lived with me for a time, Kevin, age 21, feels more like my son than my grandson. From pre-school through high school, I attended his games, recitals, competitions and concerts. I helped him through the downs of middle-school angst and the ups of playing his French horn in the All American Marching Band during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have done my best, with notable lapses, to model honest and authentic communication and have always encouraged Kevin to do the same.

Now – moving on to our recent Spring Break at the beach. We watched gorgeous sunsets over the ocean, visited an art museum, ate fresh fish, and went whale watching. Exhausted, I was glad to get a break, since I have been maintaining my full-time practice while getting “I Thought I’d Be Done by Now” ready to publish.

I did follow up with Kevin about the many projects he has in the works as he completes his senior year of college. I do know that sometimes I let my fear about his future drift into a need for control. Though aware of some occasional tension, I brushed it off until my precious grandson told me that he was feeling as though he couldn’t say anything to please me, that I was coming off as Ms. Perfect, and that he really loved the two times I had admitted a flaw and would really like it if I would acknowledge some others.

Though it wasn’t easy to admit, I realized then that I had been coming off as a drill sergeant, minus the cussing. I gradually became aware that, afraid of the increased exposure accompanying my book’s publication, I was feeling quite vulnerable, and, rather than express my feelings, I hyper-focused on Kevin. I apologized and agreed to do better, and – here’s the small miracle – he forgave me and the tension was gone.

The rewards are great when we have the courage to be vulnerable in our relationships.

Though I won't be able to respond to all posts, I will read your comments and share a few entries which seem relevant to the subject matter. Thank you for sharing.

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Book Launch - Just in Time for Mother's Day!

To purchase the book, visit Wendy’s website
To follow Wendy’s blog, go to

ANNOUNCING the release of WENDY BOORN’S NEW BOOK, entitled

Are you a worried mid-life mother or father looking for direction? A friend, family member, or adult child who knows such a parent? A mental health or other helping professional looking for a resource for your clients? Or someone just interested in learning about family dynamics? Then THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!
Parents of adult children are more concerned than ever, and with good reason: 68 percent have at least one grown child with one or more serious issue, including but not limited to divorce, drinking, drugs or illegal activities. More than one-third of 25- to 34-year-olds live with their parents. Depression, addiction, and suicide among young adults have tripled in the last thirty years.
"Wendy Boorn’s book is the perfect Rx for mothers with broken hearts.”
Suzanne G., English teacher and mother
Since studies indicate that their children’s well-being is a major determinant of their own well-being, many parents are suffering. They worry about whether their adult children will ever grow up, and they blame themselves that they haven't. In addition, they are distraught about how strained their relationships are with their kids, and they struggle to find ways to relate.
“Wendy’s wise and practical counsel has made all the difference in relating to my young-adult twin daughters. For the first time in years, our Thanksgiving was peaceful.”
Joanne D., author and mother
I Thought I'd Be Done by Now is a book of 183 one-page stories and essays offering guidance and inspiration for parents who worry about either the problems of their adult children, their relationships with them, or both. A combination of comfort and challenge, inspiration and guidance are administered with gentle compassion and a light touch. These stories help guilt-ridden parents feel calmer and more competent.
An index of topics refers readers to entries on 38 themes, including:

  • Learning to let go of worry and guilt

  • Allowing our dreams for our children to die

  • Learning to laugh at ourselves

  • Improving financial boundaries

  • Discerning whether and when to give advice

  • Detaching from the drama

Although I Thought I'd Be Done by Now was written specifically for mothers, fathers find it helpful, too. This book allows readers to build the “soul muscles” of curiosity, courage, humor, humility, creativity, forgiveness, persistence, and love. It addresses the delicate balance between holding on and letting go.

About the Author: Wendy Boorn, M.C., L.P.C., is a psychotherapist with 35 years of experience. Specializing in training people to create deep and respectful connections, she helps parents learn how to stay close to their adult children without interfering. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, happily just one mile from her adult daughter.

To purchase I Thought I'd Be Done by Now, please visit Wendy’s website at A $2.00 PER-BOOK DISCOUNT will be available through Mother's Day. The book will also soon be available on most e-readers.
Would you like to follow Wendy’s blog? These stories will include practical suggestions, guidance and lessons dedicated to a future of doing better without judging where we are right now! To receive notice via e-mail when a new blog posts, go to and add your e-mail address to the box below “FOLLOW BY E-MAIL,” then click on "SUBMIT."

Wendy would appreciate your passing along this notice to anyone you know who might be interested in learning more about effective parenting. Thank you in advance for your support of this project.

T"hough I won't be able to respond to all posts, I will read your comments and share a few entries which seem relevant to the subject matter. Thank you for sharing."

  • To make a comment from Please write in the “Post a Comment” box or click on “No Comment” to reveal the comment box. 

  • To make a comment from Please click on and then write in the “Post a Comment” box. If white box is not visible, click on “No Comment” to reveal the box.