The Dating and Relationship Group:  What Is "Interdependence"? 
At their core, most romantic relationship problems involve conflictual dynamics having to do with the fear of "fusion" (i.e., becoming "one"/dependency/union) and the fear of "independence" (i.e., remaining separate).  This conflict within a relationship is both intrapersonal (each person both wants connection and longs for separation, to some degree or another) and interpersonal  (one partner generally emerges as the fuser and the other partner the separator/distancer).   In my clinical practice, what is most concerning is that the very characteristic that initially attracted one partner to the other becomes the very characteristic that causes distress years later.  For example, a husband may say that, when he first met his wife, he was very attracted to her independent lifestyle and attitude.  Yet, when the couple eventually seeks therapy after years of conflict, the husband may despise his wife's autonomy.  The concept of interdependence is perhaps the most optimal component of a highly successful relationship, yet it is seldom talked about or even considered to be an important defining characteristic of viable partnerships.  In the next meeting of the Dating and Relationship Group on Saturday, February 6, 2016, 12:00 to 1:15 PM noon, I will present the emotional and psychological elements of interdependence and explain why it is so illusive and often untenable in many relationships.  A process for cultivating interdependence will be presented. 

The Men's Group: 
Michael Diamond's "Transformation of Masculinity at Mid-Life" 
The Los Angeles-based psychoanalyst Michael J. Diamond is a renowned expert on the psychological and emotional factors impacting male development across the lifespan.  Some of his most intriguing ideas concern the important transition of mid-life.  At this stage of development, Diamond argues that a man needs to subvert an investment in the "phallic ego ideal" (the cultural model of "masculine gender identity") for a focus instead on "interiorized masculinity."  Ultimately, Diamond suggests that at mid-life a man needs to "become less sharply gendered" in a process of reclaiming and synthesizing gender components associated with maternal and feministic qualities that have been abandoned or suppressed.  In the next meeting of the Men's Group on Saturday, February 6, 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM noon, I will describe Diamond's perspective on men at mid-life in detail and the factors that may hinder or block the necessary transition Diamond conceptualizes.  More specifically, the lives of most men involve unconscious conflicts about synthesizing both gendered and non-gendered roles into a self-concept that successfully negotiates the demands of social reality and ever-changing cultural trends.  

To register for the February 6th meetings of the Men's Group and the Dating and Relationship Group:   If you would like to attend the Men's Group (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM noon) and/or the Dating and Relationship Group (12:00 to 1:15 PM) on Saturday, February 6, please RSVP ASAP to Dr. Tobin at 949-338-4388 or There is a limit of 14 attendees for each group and registrants will be accommodated on a first-come/first-serve basis.  The fee is $25.00 and the location is The Water Garden Business Center, 23421 South Pointe Drive, Suite 130, Laguna Hills, CA, 92653.  Please note that these groups are educational in purpose, not therapeutic.  
James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 | 
Men's Group Flier: 
Dating and Relationship Group Flier: Flier
Previous Newsletters:  

Catalogue of Talks and 
Presentations: Summary