From Dr. Larry

Dr. Larry Gelman is fiercely devoted to each client, with a deep and profound respect for their own self-agency and self-determination.

Rafting the Colorado

Not quite twenty-six years ago, my wife, daughter and I rafted the Colorado River with an experienced river guide. The expectations were explicitly communicated by her advising us to “... remain in the raft at all times and follow my instructions to the letter without fail.” Also, if, by chance, we were ejected from the raft for any reason, the guidance was to “immediately assume a fetal position so your toes or feet won’t be trapped by the rocks below, otherwise, the surging river will then drown you.” It was exciting, if not, altogether, quite exhilarating as we donned our...
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Old Beat-Up Violin and Two Masters

In high school, learning to play a musical instrument was an elective requirement. The basic goal was to provide young students with a modicum of exposure to various acoustic arts by actively involving them with an opportunity to convert random noise into progressively more rule-governed audible sounds with musical tools of their choosing. I selected the violin and quickly discovered how extremely challenging it was to induce it to conform to my bidding. To my surprise and delight, the instructor, an elderly Jewish violinist, reminded me often how I seemed to have “an ear” uniquely attuned to the intricacies of this...
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The Dandelion and the Rose

As a young child, I was extremely curious about why so many of the adults around me considered dandelions to be a weed, especially, when dandelions seemed pretty-enough, in my opinion, to simply be a flower of a different kind. Another intriguing observation for me was that many of my neighbors appeared to become frantically obsessed with pulling weeds whenever new weeds reared their youthful stems and shoots, either on their grassy lawns or gardens. To digress, momentarily, an esteemed colleague recently provided me with a fascinating education about the old practice of “walkin’ beans,” which she claimed to have done...
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Judo Lesson

No student was permitted to study judo by my martial arts grandmaster until they had earned a black belt in tai kwon do. The belief was that tai kwon do made you strong from the outside-in, whereas, judo made you strong from the inside-out. I can honestly say that my judo training was the most strenuous physical activity I ever experienced. One day, when I was a yellow belt (the color following white), we had a visiting red belt (the color preceding black) student from a sister-school, with whom I was partnered, as we learned a complex new leg and hip...
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Roses and Thorns

The task in the beginning is to learn to love self. This is accomplished by the provision of healthy caretaker inputs from outside-in. A child must first be loved, in order to learn how to experience love, in order to learn how to love. Learning to love your self is a crucial developmental task for love to have experiential personal meaning. The root word of the root word in meaning is the first two letters or the word formed by “m” + “e” = “me”. Meaning is often self-centered, self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing because the focus is on “me”. With me, myself...
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“I Am Not A Man...”

For much of my professional career as a practicing clinical psychologist, I have articulated a sincere and explicit sentiment with virtually every adult female client and, usually by the end of the first session, that within the context of our professional relationship, “I am not a man but a doctor!” My reason has been to continually remind myself of what I will never know, as a man, about being female in the world! I am often fond of saying that “men live in the world of men but women live in the world of women and they must also live in...
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Foot-In-The-Garbage-Can

Have you ever found yourself deep into something besmirching which was really messy, icky or dirty in your life? If so, consider my counseling and mentoring visual metaphor of a foot-in-the-garbage can. In fact, I challenge you to actually do it right now! Find a garbage can to accommodate your foot and stick it as far down and as deep into the container as possible. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth several times in rhythmic fashion to calm yourself. Contemplate your predicament. Ascertain very deeply how you got into the situation in the first place. Give some considered...
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I Might Just Piss You Off!

Not that I wish to offend, but sometimes I must.The truth hurts and so, too, does a lie. “Mirror, mirror on the wall...” am I the fairest one of all?Of course you are! After all, who wouldn’t see just how very special you are?Except for the fact that you are not always right. Or good. Or kind. Or considerate. Or respectful.In fact, sometimes, you are wrong! And nasty. And mean. And selfish. And spiteful.True or false? Here is where I can help.With a passionate calling to counsel and to mentor. Confess-conceal, pretend-be real!To get from here to there, just sometimes... You...
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“2nd Hardest Thing”

“The 2nd hardest thing that any one of us will ever have to do in our lives is to get up out of bed each morning!” When you get up out of bed, you have made an affirmative choice to pursue a pathway to engage in self-agency as your own prime agent. The first pathway is to be passive and dependent with you watching and waiting to see what will happen. The second pathway is to be active and independent with you doing something to make something happen. The third pathway is to be a frozen sculpture in space and time...
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"Writing on the Wall"

I recall applying for an internal management position at my then place of full-time employment almost thirty years ago. My friendly competition included two candidates, both of whom, I often professionally supervised on an informal collegial basis at their request. Of the three applicants, I was the only one to have been credentialed with a doctorate and all of the requisite job-related experience by comparison. “On paper,” I thought I was the “obvious choice” but I soon realized that I was mistaken because the job went to the least qualified person. I was shocked and requested a meeting with one of...
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Winners and Losers

The problem with “winners” is that the “losers” almost invariably seek revenge and retaliation.  And when the “losers” eventually become the “winners,” the process recapitulates itself, ad infinitum. Human beings seem to innately discern, very quickly, what is deemed to be “fair” or “not fair.”  When someone believes they have been treated “not fair” the feelings engendered often are to “get even.” By “leveling-the-playing-field” and “making the other guy pay” we seek to “even the score.”  Of course, a “tied-score” gets all combatants to “even” or the equivalent of being “zero-ed-out.” At “zero,” there can be no compelling justification for “the...
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“PSYCHOBIOSOCIOGEOPOLITICOECONOMIC”

In my opinion, symptoms, typically, do not occur within a vacuum but, rather, within an ‘n’-dimensional, multi-latticed, multi-tiered, multi-multipled context! This multi-dimensioned context provides a crucial staging ground from within which, and out from which, the adaptive meaning, purpose and value of any given “symptom” becomes readily identifiable and, eventually, understandable, albeit, relative to its experienced context. The context is, simultaneously, one which is predicated upon a certain “consensual reality,” as well as, the “subjective experiential reality” of the individual (or group) afflicted by their unique or particular symptoms. Years ago, it occurred to me that an “effect” could, theoretically, be...
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“, for now.”

No matter what major, moderate or minor crisis, challenge or conundrum you face in any area of your life, please consider adding the words “, for now” to the end of any thought or communication about your problem or concern. The phrase, “, for now” is a constant reminder that when “stuff happens,” it is usually reasonable to expect that any “hope, wish, and prayer” for both people and circumstances to change are likely over time, space, and perspective. “Nothing lasts forever” even though it may seem, otherwise, so whatever may appear to be the case in a particular moment of...
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How to Be a Good “Crazy” Person!

Many years ago I stumbled upon the ‘secret formula’ of how to be a good “crazy” person:Simply live your life in such a way that you “know you know and know you mustn’t...”Then whatever follows can only remain a compensatory adaptation to living your life a lie! The ‘antidote’ is equally straightforward:When you “know you know, and know, and act accordingly and consistently with that which you know...”Then whatever follows can only result in living your life a truth! I suspect that most of us “know” what we “know” even when we don’t “know” how we “know.”In addition, we often “know”...
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32 Edits

I recently wrote a very short article which required 32 edits. My written work, I thought, was substandard and the message, I thought, was unclear. When I write, consistent excellence is my minimum standard and my point must be sharp and penetrating... Unless, “journalistic license” wins-out and I choose to implicate my meaning by intentional design. All works of art, I suspect, are perceived, interpreted and experienced in the subjective eye of each beholder. My writings, much like a famous inkblot test, provide the reader a standing invitation to see whatever they wish to see. It is not my intent to...
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Once A Murderer

“Once a murderer, always a murderer.” I have pondered these words for years. Is it really true? If someone commits a sin, must they, forever, remain a sinner? We recall King David as “the giant slayer” who became a wise and good ruler. Yet he coveted his best friend’s wife and killed him to take her as his own. Was he a great man or a liar, thief and cheat; worse, yet, a murderer? A young doctor, over-estimating his surgical skill, operates prematurely on his patient and she dies. The physician learns from his mistake and is scrupulous, thereafter, with all...
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"Baby Adult"

I am indebted to my wife for instructing me how to view our then-24 year old daughter who, while increasingly more capable of fending for herself, might, on occasion have a transient meltdown, necessitating an assist, from either one or both of her parents, coupled with judicious application of just the right kind and amount of TLC. It seems that when we were her age, my wife and I were already grown-up. Well, sort of, because in retrospect, I can now better appreciate how long it takes to cook-up a healthy, mature adult. But when we were that age, we had...
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Safe, Healthy, Happy

What do parents really and truly want for their children? We want them to be “safe, healthy and happy.” Everything else is “frosting on the cake.” Parents can survive anything save for the loss of their child. If a child is dead “all hope is lost.” If a child is alive “anything is possible.” It is my contention that we best protect our children from life by inoculating them with life... In doses commensurate with their readiness, willingness and ability... To navigate and integrate the experience. Along the way, our kids will get their fair share of “boo-boos” and they will...
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Child's Lament

Is life so dear Or death so near That victories are our food? Competition is tough And winning is rough And our mannerisms are crude. Is striving for gains Or wracking our brains For wealth and ugly power... All that we are living for In these rugged Uncomfortable hours? Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor PMS Blog Comments Policy | PMS Copyright | PMS Disclaimer | PMS Citation Information www.personalmentoringservices.com © 2016 Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA), Personal Mentoring Services (PMS) Dr. Larry B. Gelman, Dr. Glenn B. Gelman, All Rights Reserved.
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The Thinker

In quiet moments when I am in deep contemplative thought, pretending I have introduced myself to a new imaginary playmate, I increasingly find myself conjuring a brief conversation with Rodin’s sculpture, The Thinker. While I certainly appreciate that the artist may have been motivated by forces, either demonic or divine, and intended an entirely different “take” in his own mind, as an appreciative observer, my own “take,” I submit, is mine. As I view The Thinker what I perceive is an extremely powerful figure who, appears “larger-than-life” and seems capable of achieving any goal he sets his mind to, yet remains...
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About You

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