Choosing a therapist is one of the most important decisions anyone can make. Like tradespeople, there’s a therapist for just about everything. You don’t want to hire a plumber for an electrical problem, and you don’t want to hire the wrong therapist for your unique issue. Psychotherapy is a big commitment of your time and money, and you want to be sure that you get back the benefits of your investment.

The Interview

Making an appointment with someone does not mean you’re going to work together. Therapy, like any relationship, needs to be a good fit. Scheduling an initial consultation…


When the codependency label first came out, the term was paired with chemical dependency rather than addict and co-addict. At the time, the only reference to addiction was hard-core drugs like heroin. Some diagnostic manuals still don’t use the word addiction, but that only keeps people in denial and prevents early intervention. Like any other addiction, codependency has all the same symptoms, and the sooner they are recognized, the more hope for early recovery.

Reason # 1 — Definition

Addiction is continuing the same behavior, despite negative consequences. The codependent continues to enable the addict by covering up, buffering the…


When it comes to addiction, some people spend more time resisting change than getting well. They’re more afraid of living without the vice than being fully alive. Sometimes decades will pass before they even admit they have a problem. More years will drift by before they decide to do anything about the obsession. By then, the consequences may be so dire it’s almost impossible to stop.

Hijacked

The mind of the person with an addiction has been hijacked. Rather than caring about health and well-being, getting the next fix takes priority over all else. Whether it’s food, substances, or any…


I once knocked a small figurine off my desk. It had some sentimental value, so I was upset when it shattered into hundreds of pieces. It had been broken and fixed a couple of times before, but this time, the damage was beyond repair. So as much as it meant to me, I had to face the fact it couldn’t be fixed.

The figurine became a metaphor for some of my past relationships; some became too broken to be fixed. No matter how many attempts to repair, they kept getting knocked over.

A Course in Miracles teaches that relationships will…


You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a Harvard Graduate to be financially successful. During several decades of working with individuals in the top-tier of income, I’ve found having a high I.Q. isn’t the main factor in their success. However, several factors do create wealth, and it’s not as complicated as one might think.

Factor # 1 — Drive

Surprisingly, most of the people I’ve worked with were bright, but they didn’t hold the status of genius. What they did have was drive — the motivation to take an idea and make it happen. Whether in the construction…


Just when we thought it was safe to breathe again, we get hit with another wave of Covid, the Delta variant. Some people’s nerves are frazzled to the max, while others seem to be relatively unaffected. Let’s face it, getting heated up is not going to change anything — other than feeling upset.

Fortunately, one of the takeaways of this ongoing global crisis is how to manage our own reactions and stay cool no matter what. There is a way to make the best out of a terrible situation.

Limit Your TV Time

If you’re staying glued to the latest…


There was a popular song in the ’70s written by Paul Simon, “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” It was a punchy, satirical song that provided “logical” drama-free departures from relationships. The lyrics proposed being logical when it’s over and when you’re done, simply “set yourself free.”

Of course, a relationship rarely ends without some pain. But, often, people push their loved one away without even realizing what they’ve done. These endings are the most painful because they are never expected. In most cases, the reject-ee felt everything was just fine and never expected to get dumped.

Solid relationships can…


Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “Don’t quit before the miracle.” So many people do. They get tired of waiting and think things will never get better, either for themselves or others. But giving up is always a mistake.

There are three things in life in which you never want to give up; yourself, the addict, and time.

You Are Worth the Effort

Never give up on yourself because you are worth all the effort it takes to achieve your highest dreams. …


Last September, I was visiting a friend out of state. Checking my voicemail, I was stunned by the following message:

“Hi, Donna. Some bad news. Jessie died last night, and we need to know what to tell her daughter. Please call me when you have a chance.”

Jessie had been a friend for the past few years. She was a friend of my daughter who was trying to help Jessie’s business. We met weekly, and I became close with her. She had told me all about her recovery journey, long term addiction to drugs and alcohol. Her disease had progressed…


A few days ago, I visited the V.A. for the first time. It was one of the most touching experiences of my life. I was there to check on my mom’s assisted living benefits as the widow of a vet.

I‘d dreaded going to the V.A. I have a disdain for bureaucracies. I’d always felt like there was too much red tape, too few answers, and a lack of caring. But this time was different.

From the time I drove through the front gate, I felt flooded with emotions from the past as well as what I witnessed in the…

Dr. Donna Marks

Dr. Donna Marks is a licensed psychotherapist and an addictions counselor. She is certified in Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy.

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