May 3, 2017

I: Announcements 

Parenting Webinar Series
I am pleased to announce a new webinar series for parents on parenting.   Adapted from the 4-hour "Relational Parenting" workshop I have been delivering to parents at various clinical venues for the last six years, this material has been organized into a comprehensive online platform.  Drawing from contemporary scientific research in child and adolescent development, neuropsychology, and interpersonal neurobiology, this webinar series will depict the parenting competencies necessary to support a child's movement toward emotional and psychological maturity.  Adolescent developmental issues will be a major focus, including the common parent-teen conflicts that arise during this stage of life.  

Each webinar module within the series will consist of the presentation of didactic material, followed by case examples illustrating the concepts and ideas introduced; pragmatic exercises that feature suggested behaviors for parents to practice will also be included.  Much of the material of these modules will be drawn from actual parent-teen dialogues that I have encountered in my clinical work with parents and families, such as the session interaction between a teenage daughter ("Samantha") and her parents.   For more information on this webinar series, please email me directly at   

Affiliation with "Prepare To Change"
I am proud to announce my new affiliation with Dr. Larry Kuhn and  Prepare to Change.  This consultancy facilitates corporate change initiatives at the individual and group level for organizations in a diverse array of industries.  The firm specializes in providing state-of-the-art assessment and training services for numerous human resources and management needs including selection, onboarding, employee engagement and retention, leadership development, and executive coaching.  I will formally serve as an "affiliate consultant" for  Prepare to Change, a partnership that will afford me the opportunity to support Dr. Kuhn in his service of clients and benefit from his years of expertise.   For more information on Prepare to Change, I encourage you to review the firm's website.

II. From My Desk

In this article, I summarize a course of psychotherapy with a patient that showcases the psychological and emotional dynamics involved in attempting to change one's life.

Dan Gilbert: "The Psychology of Your Future Self"
In this talk, the renowned psychologist unpacks the "illusions" of identity and self-concept across the lifespan, demonstrating that we actually change more than we might think or predict.  

Adam Grant: "Are You a Giver or a Taker?"
The University of Pennsylvania organizational psychologist provides a compelling Ted Talk on the role of givers, takers and matchers in corporate cultures; in this talk, Grant demystifies and clarifies help-seeking and help-giving behaviors.  

Movie Recommendation: "In the Bedroom" (2001)
In the last several weeks I have been finding myself recommending the film "In the Bedroom" to numerous couples in my clinical practice.  With award-winning performances offered by Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, and Marisa Tomei, the film chronicles the despair of a couple as they attempt to overcome a series of events that impact their young adult son.  In an emotionally-wrought and penetrating narrative, the film juxtaposes the impulsivity and power of new love, and the fragility and perseverance of marital commitment.  

III. Group Meetings on May 6, 2017

The Dating and Relationship Group:   Recognizing and Relinquishing Your Toxic Relationship Patterns
In recent meetings, we have considered the work of John Bradshaw.  His contention is that, at our core, all of us have a "wounded inner child" who approaches interpersonal contact in the adult world with extreme caution, defensiveness, and protective motivations. Originating early in development during moments of relational trauma, these tendencies protect us from further injury but simultaneously restrict our potential for joy, fulfillment, and relational freedom.  How to recognize when these relational tendencies are operating in our lives is an important concern; once we can see when and how we are living defensively, we have a better chance of "breaking the pattern" and establishing healthier relationships. 

While there has been much written on dysfunctional relationships, it is my view that Dr. Athena Staik is among the best at illustrating toxic relational patterns and describing how to overcome them.   In the next meeting of the Dating and Relationship Group on Saturday, May 6, 2017 (12:00 to 1:15 PM), we will review Dr. Staik's perspective, specifically her view of the neurologic underpinnings of "scripted roles" and her recommendations for how to break free of these.

The Men's Group:   Perspectives on "Living the Good Life"
What it actually means to live a good life is a complex and controversial topic; perhaps it is ultimately a private, highly personal and subjective conviction that determines, in the end, what each of us values and chooses to prioritize in our lives.  Yet an exploration of how various thinkers conceptualize the good life has important implications, challenging and perhaps even altering our approach to how we live.  In the next meeting of the Men's Group on Saturday, May 6, 2017 (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM),   we will continue our exploration of "the good life" by examining a diverse array of perspectives on this subject from commentators including Carl Rogers, Yi-Fu Tuan, Scott and Helen Nearing, even the views of a contributor to Forbes.  We will also consider an intriguing commentary on how to "innovate" one's personal life in order to achieve greater success and fulfillment. 

**To register for the May 6th meetings of the Men's Group (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM) and/or the Dating and Relationship Group (12:00 to 1:15 PM):  If you would like to attend one or both of these groups on May 6, 2017, 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, and do not constitute psychotherapy or counseling.**

James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 |