Monthly Archives: March 2011

Can’t Be Said Much Better Than This…

Life’s never easy.  We can decide what we want.  (Well,  some of us can;  for others, even knowing what we want is not so easy). 

There’s much we can choose, if we are fortunate.   And we are all, all of us, quite fortunate (even when, on those bad days, we don’t feel that way).  And though there’s no sure-fire path to getting it all, good psychotherapy can help find – and clear – the path to happiness.  Search, question, focus, discipline, know what matters, meditate, learn about and face oneself honestly in the company of a therapist who listens and “gets it”: safe landing, real contentment and true happiness are indeed possible.

Even if there’s no guarantee of getting/having even what we (think we) need.  Even if it’s finding and traveling the path to, not being and staying at some desired destination.

Sometimes therapy’s about listening – both the therapist, and the patient – to the felt need.   Permitting the feelings, the desires, the sense of urgency:  wanting what we want, when we want it.

And then accepting that it is however it is.  And if we share our most private wishes with someone who hears, gets it – and accepts us as we are – well, sometimes, maybe, that’s really as good as it gets.  And it’s quite good enough.

Is it any wonder people fall in love with their therapists?

Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash.  All rights reserved.


Doing Well and Doing Good: The Soul Hits the Big Time

Who’d have thought?  This morning, Maria Bartiroma of the Wall Street Journal interviewing Deepak Chopra, “a spiritual leader” on the practical application of the spiritual to leadership in politics and business.   How?

He says leaders can learn spiritual leadership skills.  “You learn to ask the right questions.  Where are we now?  Where would we like to be?  How do we get there?” Chopra says.

So what is Chopra’s definition of what a good leader does?

His acronym for effective lead-from-the-soul leaders:

  • Look and listen
  • Emotional bonding
  • Awareness
  • Doing
  • Empowerment
  • Responsibility
  • Synchronicity

Bartiroma questioned – on her mainstream Sunday morning business talk show – how he keeps the focus on his “core values, the integrity of the brand that has (his) name on it.”   Seems like any lingering stigma connected to the application of growth psychology, psychotherapy, emotional intelligence and questions of meaning and values to Wall Street companies has all but disappeared.  The words “spiritual” “soul” “psychological” “emotional” can now be found in the same sentences as “business growth” “practical” “successful company” “the economy” “the stock market” – and those sentences can be spoken out loud!

Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash.  All rights reserved.

When the Family Business Owner Needs a Psychologist. (Or his kids, partners, attorney think he does)…

As a psychologist working in this space for over 25 years, I’ve learned how difficult it often is for a family advisor – attorney, banker, accountant – to introduce a psychologist into a family business. It’s a delicate matter, one requiring tact, diplomacy, impeccable timing, a real understanding of the business’ needs and a strong belief that the understanding of oneself and one’s relationships with others is central to success in business.

Part of the problem is the commonly held assumption that behavioral consulting requires the family business owner to admit he has a problem, something that’s tough for anyone to do, let alone the person who’s been leading – and has often created – a successful business enterprise. So I don’t even go there: the business owner need not “admit” emotional weakness, nor be forced to face what he prefers to avoid. Because even if one could overcome such resistance, it sets up an initial relationship based on taking sides: right/wrong, argue/defend, consultant/business owner.

Far better, in my experience, to engage a psychologist who understands business in general, the business in question in particular. One who is able to admit what s/he doesn’t understand, to ask questions, to learn. Far better to focus not on fixing emotional problems but on helping the business owner increase organizational effectiveness, by utilizing state of the art behavioral psychology research and methods. Far better to focus on problem solving, ridding the organization of obstacles to profitability, considering new approaches and ways of looking at longstanding unresolved concerns the owner brings to the attention of the advisor. When the focus is on the business problem, rather than the business owner’s problem, when the psychologist views herself as a resource rather than the expert, and when she can translate psychological insight into real business terms,  well, then you’ve got a fighting chance of helping a family firm transition profitably into the next generation – and still want to see one another at the Thanksgiving table!


Copyright © 2011 Marlin S. Potash.  All rights reserved.