Hardwiring for Happiness

by Rick Hanson

I share this classic TED talk yearly. I was fortunate to hear him speak a few years back on meditation, the brain processes, and how we can rewire/change our negative thinking patterns.

500 Days in Prison

The Seven Laws of Pessimism

"If life is better than ever before, why does the world seem so depressing?"


January 2024
“I hate pictures of myself.” OK, screw that. In five years, I will look back and love this photo and think of how great I looked here.
Turning the calendar year, I want to take a minute to appreciate my many, many blessings:
Fam - two cute kids (😘), hard-charging parents, the kindest in-laws, my favorite tio & primos.
I think I have the best friends in the world. Most of us go back decades together.
My colleagues are always there for me: golden wisdom & skilled expertise. It’s not always easy to build a support system. Smart, smart peeps!
Lastly, I love my work (clients & community) and the people that share their experiences with me. Such an honor.

 What To Do With Emotions

Say No To Police Profanity

Male Caregivers


On Bullying

The latest research on bullying has some helpful takeaways.

1) Bullying exists in all cultures; this informs the likelihood that bullying serves a purpose for human development and evolution.
2) Administrative sit-downs between both parties (victim/bully) do not work; in fact, they make matters worse.
3) Bullying pays off. We see it on social media, in athletes, politicians, and celebrities.
4) 80% of bullying happens in front of others, suggesting it's performative.
5) Workplace bullies feel entitled, as if they deserve more. They score lower in honesty and humility than the average person.
6) Bullies cycle through targets.
7) Females bully for resources (mates).
8) Bullying can be learned from parents; winner take all mentality.
9) Long-term effects of bullying include altered expression of genes and compromise our immune response for decades.
10) Solutions lie in a "carrot and stick" approach: punishment and seduction towards better behavior.


"I won't assume anything about you based on immutable characteristics.
I respect the cultural values of my clients and their families.
I believe in teaching children to accept their bodies.
I believe in empowering my patients and helping them find agency.
I welcome clients who wish to integrate their faith into counseling.
I will treat you as a whole person. I will explore underlying and complex issues you face as an individual.
I believe in working collaboratively with parents and helping families build stronger connections.
I do not judge people for their personal medical decisions."

courtesy of


This is how the human brain works: we have evolved to fear the worst and remember all the bad things to protect ourselves and the future of our species. We ruminate on the prior fails and fire/wire all threat response memory. Knowing this, we can hack our hardwire and find a way to embellish the positive experiences (truly embed them!) and minimize or dissipate those harmful and disturbing encounters.


The greater the love, the greater the grief. Monday was the one year anniversary of Chris's passing. I was reminded that his suffering ended that day, so I survived the day with less sorrow. Chris didn't go around with a bumper sticker on his car that said, "Family First." He just did it. He didn’t draw attention to himself about how devoted he was to our family. He just did it. Day in and day out, he never faltered in giving the most that he could each and every day. He didn’t brag or boast. He had disdain for people who did that. My favorite story that I heard after Chris passed was from Japheth, our "bumper guy." He told me that Chris was his only client that sat in the car all the while work was being done. Just sort of...participating. There is no love without loss. My husband loved Christmas...Christmas music. He loved the beginning of summer. He loved the smell of night air that reminded him of Vista in the wayback days. He loved good fruit. He loved a great meal. He was scuba certified and he jumped out of an airplane via parachute maybe 50 times. He didn’t mention these things often but I believe he released himself to the next world having gotten the most out of the marrow. Because I loved him so much, I don’t think he deserved what he got in the end. The ugly monster of cancer. Another friend sent me the quote from C.S. Lewis: "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." Chris absolutely had his faith in The Great Spirit. If there is a heaven, I know he is there. Measure twice. Cut once. Honorable.


Are you a boy or a girl? Or something else?

The AMA, APA, AAMFT, ACA and our once reliable agencies that traditionally represented evidence-based research and science, have lost sight of what’s happening on a mass scale.

Pharma has thrown their hat in the ring as well. 
Puberty blockers for children as young as 11 with the Dora the Explorer type advertising are on kids YouTube channels.

My formal childhood development training tells me that gender and confusion is normal in the early years. I spoke with an elementary school librarian last week. She said this has always been the case: 
The awkwardness, Who Am I, How can I fit in and be liked?

Social transitioning is a medical slide... it’s almost impossible to slow as social media celebrates their "journey." A young male (to female) on TikTok is chronicling his transition weekly. His audience is now at 5 million.
  • Puberty blockers are not reversible.
  • LGB, a lesbian gay bi alliance is loudly peeling away from the T ideology.
  • Nurses are speaking up. I personally know a nurse at Rady. She is horrified at what she sees but unable to risk losing her job.
  • Hospital training videos and documents are leaking out (Boston Children's, Vanderbilt) revealing the true age of minors "consenting" to breast removal. After this week's media scrutiny, several gender clinics have removed pages on their site.
  • A lifetime of hormone therapy during crucial reproductive years will cause cancer.
  • These kids become lifelong patients. 
  • They will fight infections their entire life.
  • 75% of teens referred to Gender Clinics are girls.
  • They will never experience an orgasm. 

GSA's (Gay Straight Alliance), clubs, once a fantastic haven for gay kiddos on high school campuses, are now commercially sponsored, in place at elementary schools (4th/5th graders) with perceived pressure by gay kids to begin their identity/gender change (pronouns, secrecy from parents.)

I can’t believe parents go along with these transitions.” They don’t!!! They can't stop it.

My son is 9 and has some school anxiety. Counseling has always been helpful for me but to be honest, I have serious fear about taking my son to a therapist. My son’s favorite color is pink. He is a gentle, sweet boy. He hates sports and loves to read, color and quietly daydream. Will a young therapist tell him that he is really a girl?” Who would you take him to?

Helpful approaches:

This parent coaching program is excellent 

As well as the ROGD parent support group.
A full podcast series here. Weekly updates.