Compassionate Counseling

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Compassionate Counseling

Joyful, Authentic Living


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Joyful, Authentic Living, a Podcast Series of Interviews

  • Each broadcast can be listened to immediately on your computer,
  • Most recent Podcasts are presented first..
The ideas and information in these broadcasts are those of the guests. Their inclusion does not indicate endorsement or agreement by the host.
(Podcasts are ©copyright 2015 by David M. Pittle, Ph.D.)





Reality Therapy and Choice Theory–Kim Olver, M.S., LCPC

Another major innovation/invention of this period is Dr. William Glasser's Reality Therapy. Reality Therapy put the responsibility for healing, improvement and growth on the client in a starker way than even REBT (RET in those days), but it also viewed the client as the locus of success. More recently, Glasser has explicated the underlying basis for Reality Therapy, which is Choice Theory.

In this interview, Kim Olver provides us with more insights into this results oriented model, modality, and technique.

Kim Olver is the Executive Director of the William Glasser Institute. She is also founder of the The Academy of Choice, a Choice Theory-based coaching organization. Click on either link for more information.

Sex-Positive Parenting–Airial Clark, MA




Airial Clark is  a San Francisco Bay Area-based parenting expert and sexologist whose expertise is centered on, but not limited to parenting and sexuality. She holds her master's degree in human sexuality, doing research on race, family structures, parenting and alternative sexuality.

A regular contributor to several on-line media outlets such as Oakland Local, Fearless Press, Good Vibrations magazine, Airial is sought out as an expert on sex-positive parenting, mine was the second interview for her day. She has been featured in and Progressive Talk Radio as a parenting expert.

Her sex-positive parenting workshops are highlighted in the offerings of the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality, a division of San Francisco State University.

More information about Sex Positive Parenting can be found at her website, The Sex-Positive Parent. Her book, The Quick Start Guide to Sex-Positive Parenting can also be purchased at her website.

The Myth of Sex Addiction–David Ley, Ph.D.

Dr. David Ley has written his recent book, the Myth of Sex Addiction, published in March of this year, to challenge the concept of sexual addiction and explore a different model. Because the diagnosis of addiction is applied almost exclusively to men and is therefore a male diagnosis, he also looks at a different model of male sexuality. It is instructive that in the making of the DSM-V, the "bible" of psychotherapy, the concept of sex addition was rejected for lacking any scientific basis.

Dr. Ley's other popular work is Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them. Both books are available from the usual sources including your local independent book store.

I first encountered Dr. Ley in the midst of a strong debate with one of the proponents of the concept of sex addiction and was impressed by the superiority of his argument, but also with the caring and concern of both parties.

Spiritually-Integrated Counseling/Psychotherapy, An Informed Approach—David M. Pittle, Ph.D., M.Div.





For this broadcast, I have decided to interview myself. I usually interview representatives from various therapy modalities, or others who contribute to an enlightened and positive way of life. For this subject, I believe my ideas will open up new avenues for discussion for many people. Let me add that many of my conclusions are not conclusive. I don't think I have the last answer. They are ideas open to discussion. If you have a contribution to make, feel free to add a comment or email me at the address given in my profile. Thank you.

Just as I do for guests, some of my credentials: I am a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a clinical member of AAMFT, of ITAA, NACBT, and of several other professional associations including two sex therapy organizations. I sometimes give lectures and talks on the subject of spirituality and counseling/psychotherapy and that frequently leads to questions from the audience. I also get questions from my clients.

Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy–Jim Byrne, D. Couns.







Our guest for this show is Dr. Jim Byrne who received his doctorate in counseling from the University of Manchester. Dr. Byrne is a Fellow of the International Society of Professional Counsellors. He is also the developer of Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy.

CENT is very interesting because it is almost unique in refusing to reduce human beings and their emotional behavior to only one, or a limited set of explanations. Dr. Byrne has integrated the insights of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Attachment Theory, Narrative Therapy and other approaches, mapping them together in a more comprehensive approach.

To read more about Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy as well as REBT, TA and other modalities which Dr. Byrne has incorporated, you can go to his website at the Institute for CENT.

Sexology and Hypnotism–Dr. Amy Marsh, Ed.D.,







Dr. Amy Marsh, a clinical sexologist, is a creative sex counselor who has developed the use of hypnosis to aid her clients in improving their sexuality. This is just one of Dr. Marsh's contributions to the practice, but it is indicative of someone who has extensive experience in a variety of therapy practices and has integrated the best of it into her work.

She has founded the Center for Sexological Hypnotism in order to teach others what she herself has discovered. Also a lecturer at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, one of the major universities which teach doctoral-level sexology and where she teaches the use of hypnosis in treating sexological dysfunction.

Dr. Marsh also looks deeply at culture in sexuality and has researched broadly, with special connection to Hawaiian wisdom and practice. Some of her work can be found in her Loves Outer Limits columns in the archives of Carnal Nation at

Cognitive Behavior Therapy/Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and More–Wayne Froggatt







Wayne Froggatt is a leader in the REBT community. He is the director of the New Zealand Centre for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy and has devoted over thirty-five years to helping people bring more joy and more authenticity to their lives through REBT.

Among his many accomplishments are several books on the subject, training materials in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and REBT and a number of self-help materials to train average people in being their own counselors through REBT. In addition, he is the author of a questionnaire which helps people discover the underlying philosophies and habits that cause distress or problems of living and keep them from joyful, authentic living, so that they can be clearer what they must change to make their lives better.

(This questionnaire can be accessed from the home page menu of TurningPoint Counseling as can other resources from Wayne Froggatt and the New Zealand Centre.)

The Joy of Ageless Sex–Joan Price
Sex and Seniors. Our guest for this interview is Joan Price, who calls herself an advocate for ageless sexuality. At sixty-one Joan wrote Better Than I Ever Expected:Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty, celebrating the delights of older life sexuality. She has went on to write Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and most recently The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50–which it really is. This was in response to hundreds of readers who sent her questions about improving their own senior sex lives. Joan went to forty-three experts in the field to find answers to their questions. Visit Joan's website at and her blog about sex and aging at







Transactional Analysis–John Heath, President of ITAA

With an overwhelming proliferation of therapy modes and a confusing alphabet soup of names, it is easy for Transactional Analysis to get lost in the mix. However TA as it is informally known, has proven one of the most effective forms of counseling or psychotherapy to have come forward in the last sixty years.


Originally developed by Eric Berne, his book, Games People Play, came a long way to describing and explaining many of the interactions people have, where they walk away, shaking their heads and asking, "What just happened? Why do I feel bad? Where did we go wrong?" and giving us tools to analyze and improve our interactions. As TA developed it became a leading humanistic psychotherapy as well as a way for ordinary people to improve their lives. (This is a place for me to recommend what I consider one of the finest "self-help" books to ever come to market. Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward wrote Born To Win [Available on Amazon, but also at your local independent book seller] many years ago, and they have updated it since. It is still a wonderful helpful book.)


Transactional Analysis has been used in education, business, non-profit organizations, individual, group and marital and family counseling, and many more applications.


John Heath is the president of the International Transactional Analysis Association, the professional body of those who use TA either as their primary modality or in conjunction with other forms of counseling. The "Clinical Member" of ITAA is the certified practitioner.

To learn even more information about Transactional Analysis, you can go to the ITAA website.

Spiritual Direction, Coaching, Companionship–Liz Ellmann, M.Div.
An increasing number of people identify themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Some call themselves "recovering" from their religious upbringing. A few say they are atheists or agnostics. "I don't believe in god or gods." Still, even they strive to base their lives on some purpose, some "ground of being;" a spirituality, in other words.

There is a group of people who help, coach, encourage, or "companion" individuals and groups who are on their own spiritual quest, developing their own self-defined spirituality. These "spiritual directors" spend years learning about the variety of spiritual practices in ancient traditions: Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Wiccan and Pagan. In other words, they study the spiritual practices that, for thousands of years, have helped people in the spiritual quest. They also gain practice in spiritual listening, hearing the needs of clients, under the supervision of supervisors who have great experience in this endeavor. Spiritual directors are also called "teachers", "masters", and by a variety of other terms.

Counseling and psychotherapy skills are not indicative of skill in spiritual coaching/guidance/direction. (Of course, a mental health counselor may opt to get the training and skills of spiritual direction as well.)

In this interview, Liz Ellman, M.Div, Executive Director of Spiritual Directors International, will explain spiritual direction and give us hints to finding someone to fulfill that role, helping us develop and grow in our own spirituality.

Liz Ellmann was featured in a 2010 PBS documentary on this subject. As a former Vice President of Global Markets for a major corporation, she has a keen appreciation of the challenges of spirituality in the real world.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy–Jonathan Von Bretton, CCMHC
Jonathan von Breton is our guest on this episode of Joyful, Authentic Living. Jonathan is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, trainer and coach with over twenty years experience is a Rational Emotive Behavior therapist trained at the Albert Ellis Institutes. REBT is the original form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and is the CBT which get closest to the root of emotional health issues.







Jonathan is an REBT Clinical Supervisor, helping others learn this most powerful and original form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Mr. Von Breton has worked in a variety of settings from private practice to residential and day treatment agencies. One of his interests and efforts is as a volunteer as a professional Advisor to the SMART Recovery Online community, training other SMART Recovery coodinators and advisors. For more information about Smart Recovery, please listen to my interview with Tom Horvath in this podcast series. SMART Recovery is a very successful abstinence based, scientific self-help program for overcoming addictions.

The Value of Group Psychotherapy–Haim Weinberg, Ph.D.

Group psychotherapy is dismissed as "second class" or "therapy on the cheap" because it may cost less financially than individual counseling. However, group psychotherapy often has advantages. It provides a more real-life context for feelings and behaviors. It gives the clients a chance to practice new learnings with real people. The group itself elicits feelings, relationships and behaviors that are difficult to get to in individual counseling. Also clients learn by others experience and are able to apply some of those learnings to their own lives, even if their primary issue seems different. So while the financial cost may be lower, the payoff can frequently be higher for many people.

With the facilitation and interventions of a qualified group therapist–and not everyone who leads groups is qualified–it may be the best option for many clients. What is a "qualified group therapist?" In this interview, Dr. Haim Weinberg, a national and international leader in the field, explains the advantages and kinds of group therapy as well as how to discern a qualified therapist.

Dr. Weinberg is president of the Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society, a member of the board of the International association, and on the faculty of both Alliant International University and Wright Institute. He is an internationally acclaimed leader in this field.

SMART Recovery–Tom Horvath, Ph.D.
Many people believe that for those who are addicted to alcohol, there is only one treatment program, Alcoholics Anonymous. Not so. There are a number of alternatives to AA. Some of them are science and evidence based but others are not. Some are residence programs like the famous Betty Ford Center, while others are, like AA, community-based.







The premier alternative to AA is SMART Recovery which comes with a history of helping many people overcome their addictions to substances like alcohol and  behaviors like sex addiction.

My guest for this program is Dr. Tom Horvath, president of SMART Recovery. Dr. Horvath has many years of experience and has held several important positions at state, national and international organizations dedicated to treating addictions and substance abuse.
Dr. Horvath's excellent workbook Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions is published by Impact Publishers and available through Amazon.

Internal Family Systems Therapy–Jay Earley, Ph.D.
IFS recognizes that our psyches are made up of different parts, sometimes called subpersonalities. You can think of them as little people inside us. Each has its own perspective, feelings, memories, goals, and motivations. For example, one part of you might be trying to lose weight and another part might want to eat whatever you want. We all have parts like the inner critic, the abandoned child, the pleaser, the angry part, and the loving caretaker.







IFS has discovered that every part has a positive intent for you, no matter how problematic it might be.

For example, Sally has a part that says, “You couldn’t be successful at your ambitious goals. Who do you think you are?” This is hurtful to her and prevents her from taking action in her life, but when she got to know this part in her IFS work, she discovered that it was actually afraid she would be punished if she stuck her neck out, and it was trying to stop her to protect her from that pain.

Jay Earley has written very valuable popular books to help individuals apply IFS to their own lives.

Pastoral Counseling/Psychotherapy–John C. Carr, Ph.D.







In the 21st century we are seeing a resurgence of interest in the spiritual unpinning of life. That certainly doesn't mean a resurgence of traditional religion, but many more people are asking not just the general "Why?" but "Why me?" and "Why am I?" Those questions are a part of emotional and mental health. Without a purpose, life loses meaning. The quest for purpose is the spiritual quest.

Pastoral counselors are particularly trained to be coaches on the path of their client's spiritual quest. A pastoral counselor is herself on the same quest, but by training is self-conscious about that quest. Thus she or he has some insight into possible dead-ends and useful or useless detours. She is careful never to impose her own purpose on the client, but to aid the client's own pursuit.

Of course pastoral counselors, are also call pastoral psychotherapists because they have all completed the same kinds of training that other therapists either do or should. And they usually call on the same tools in their work. But they go beyond this, having a second masters or doctorate degree in spiritual studies. Their spiritual training adds another dimension which serves the client well.

John Carr is among the most experienced and well-considered practioners of this art and science of pastoral counseling. In this podcast he shares some of his wisdom with us.

Surrogate Partner Therapy–Cheryl Cohen Greene







In this fascinating and informative broadcast we are speaking with Cheryl Cohen Greene, a Surrogate Partner Therapist.

Surrogate partner therapy is a part of sex therapy pioneered by Masters and Johnson in the 1960's and '70s. Surrogates work with clients under direction of sex counselors/therapists to help women and men overcome their sexual problems. Unlike the sex therapists, who are themselves limited by their licenses, the surrogate partner therapist does hands on practice and coaching. He or she sometimes, though not always, may become sexually intimate with the client.

Cheryl is one of the founders of the Bay area surrogates association. In addition to being certified by the International Professional Surrogates Association, She holds a doctoral degree in human sexuality as well as several other certifications in the field. She lectures at local universities and with various professional groups.

AEDP:Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy–Karen Pando-Mars







"AEDP changes how our brains work. It is widely known that we all develop coping strategies and patterns from our early life experiences and relationships. Currently, the research in neuroscience shows how these patterns and reactions are wired in our brains and nervous systems. AEDP helps clients forge a safe and secure relationship with a therapist to strengthen and build their capacity to face the distress that has driven them to seek therapy. By learning new ways to process old feelings and emotions, AEDP literally changes neural pathways in the brain. This enables clients to process incoming information differently. What previously may have triggered a defensive reaction, can be recognized for what it is and thus responded to directly after AEDP. When change is experienced so viscerally, clients truly come to new places of self understanding, acceptance, and confidence from which they can engage more fully with life."

In this interview with Karen Pando-Mars, the author of the quote above, explains in more depth how and why AEDP helps people trade joy for pain and brings healing and new growth to people.

Naturism/Nudism–Rich Pasco







Social and family nudism involves the practice of complete nudity in a communal setting. It promotes the wholeness and stability of the human body, mind and spirit, especially through contact of the body with nature.

Naturism/Nudism is founded on family participation. A small but significant amount of research suggests important psychological advantages for children raised in naturist families. Children in naturist families learn to appreciate the body as part of their natural environment and are less influenced by the oversexualization of the advertising world. They grow up with healthy attitudes and accept the physical nature of all people and all ages without fear or shame. They become accustomed to physical change as they see their own, their parents and other generations change with age.

To share some of insights about Naturism/Nudism, I have invited Rich Pasco who has years of naturist experience to speak about this subject as it contgributes to joyful, authentic living.

Gottman Method Couples Counseling–Michael Basta
Several years ago I heard about a psychologist who claimed that, after spending a short time with a couple, he could predict with 93% accuracy, whether they would still be in a relationship in 5 years. Moreover he claimed to be able to identify specific behaviors that led consistently to better odds and to be able to teach those behaviors to couples.







Skeptic that I am, I had trouble believing. So when John Gottman offered a workshop on his Gottman Method, I had to go. I did and was very impressed. I didn't take the bait to become certified, I have enough certifications and credentials, but I did try to learn from his work. The results of integrating the Gottman techniques with my work have been gratifying. Divorce attorneys have been known to cry.

Then three weeks ago I discovered that two counselors in the Sonoma County area near me who had been trained by Gottman and were certified were offering the Gottman Method in couples counseling and in workshops. I contacted Michael Basta, and he graciously agreed to an interview.

Michael Basta has been working in the mental health field for over twenty years, supervised interns and provided training to other professionals. He has a private practice and also works for the Kaiser Permanente Department of Psychiatry.

Introduction to Self-Hypnosis–David Pittle, Ph.D.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. The hypnotherapist is only a guide and facilitator. Here's Self-hypnosis 101, the basics: what is it good for, how to do it on your own and when that is appropriate. Hint: Most of the time, but not always.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy–Long-term Hedonism (Pilot program)–David M. Pittle, Ph.D. M.Div.







What is a joyful life? Is it the same as happiness? Hedonism? How can Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy/CBT and Mindfulness contribute to making your life joyful?

This first  program is an interview with Dr. David M. Pittle a well-regarded cognitive behavior therapist/counselor and educator. Further programs will include interviews with life coaches, group therapists, sex counselors and coaches, and others who can contribute to your life.