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Editor's Note: Each week, one of the three "L.A. Shrinks" will comment on a topic addressed in that week's episode. Dr. Greg Cason kicks us off with a discussion of open relationships.
The professional scoop on me is that I have my PhD in Counseling Psychology from University of Houston; I also did an Internship in Professional Psychology at University of Texas at Austin and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology at UCLA. I also have a Master's Degree in Community-Clinical Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and I have a Bachelor's Degree from UCLA. Wow -- that was a mouthful.
Also, just so you know, I am a licensed psychologist in the state of California, and I have been in private practice in the neighborhood of my fave Real Housewives (Beverly Hills) since 1998.
You also might have heard me mention that I practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short. There are so many approaches in the therapy world, but it is one of the biggies. I love it because it is focused on what people are dealing with in the present and gives them practical tools to achieve their goals, have better relationships, and have happier and healthier lives.
In so many ways, CBT has shaped the way I approach my life and my relationships. (I know, I really practice this stuff!) I learned flexibility of thought and making agreements in relationships, not having expectations or making demands. You heard Dr. Eris brilliantly state, "expectations are just future resentments." And, we wouldn't want any of that. So in my relationship, we talk about what is workable for us and we make agreements for how we want to live. (Sounds simple until you try it at home!)You also heard me describe my relationship as "monogamish" rather than "monogamous." Actually, the term comes from sex-columnist Dan Savage in his July 20, 2011 column, "Savage Love," where he describes "monogamish" as "mostly monogamous, not swingers, not actively-looking." The man is on to something.
Too often we assume all couples are monogamous. If they are not, we don't hear about it. They keep it to themselves because, let's face it, people think if you are not solo with one person, you must be sleeping (or not sleeping) with 1000 people. Take a number!
Humans sometimes think in "all or nothing" terms. And though you may want an "all or nothing" relationship, you might want to check with your partner to see if that works for him or her as well. If so, great. If not, then you got some more talkin' to do.
And, since "coming out" was something we are both pretty good at already, Kevin and I decided to "come out" about our relationship too. Not because we are looking to open up our prospects. Far from it. It was to help remove some of the shame of those in relationships that don't always follow the company line.
When talking about her sexually-troubled couple, Dr. V provocatively blames "leaders and authority figures with sex hang-ups [who] f--- it up for the rest of us." She's on to something too. These non-sexperts often try to tell people what they should do in bed, with whom, and how often. You would think they have relationships of their own to tend to. Oh... perhaps they don't.
So there, we just slid from the professional right into the personal. And that's the whole theme of the show -- we don't just preach, we practice. And, for me, it takes a helluva lot of practice!
In coming episodes, you will see me deal with some very difficult issues in my family and upbringing while trying to plan my wedding. You will also meet my father who courageously confronts the issues with me. Going through this process with him was both one of the most difficult and healing experiences of my life (and I hope his too). We even see a therapist ourselves. I don't want to give it all away, but it is powerful and a testament to the power of therapy.My reason for doing LA Shrinks was to show people out there the power and process of therapy and that they are not alone in their struggles;even therapists have issues in life. I hope in opening our lives up to you that you find both value and entertainment. Thank you for being a part of this journey with Dr. Eris, Dr. V, and me. But be sure to fasten your seat belts, because the ride gets bumpy!