Posts tagged “self-help

Embracing Life Beyond 50: Begin with “Yes”

Paul BoyntonHow best to move forward through life is one of the questions author, life coach, and non-profit CEO Paul Boynton asks and attempts to answer on a daily basis.  As author of the inspirational Begin With Yes and the host of both its accompanying Facebook page as well as the Facebook page Being Gay, Becoming Gray, he helps others take big issues and distill them into manageable bites.  Unique to his beliefs is that while having a positive attitude is helpful in creating change, it isn’t an absolute necessity.

Boynton recently took the time to share with me more about his thoughts on initiating change, as well as on being gay, aging, and other aspects of negotiating life.

Kergan Edwards-Stout:  Paul, I’ve been looking forward to our chat!  Before we get into your book and Facebook pages, tell me a bit about your backstory…

Paul Boynton:  Well, my story is very similar to that of many other gay men of my era.  I was married for many years to a wonderful woman, with whom I had three amazing children—and now four grandchildren.  As I grew older, however, I realized that I needed to deal with myself in a more authentic and honest way.  Consequently, my wife Susan and I eventually separated almost 15 years ago.  Happily, we were able to maintain and even expand the best part of our relationship as dear friends and parents, and she and my partner Michael had a wonderful friendship too.  Sadly, she passed away 3 years ago.    

Edwards-Stout:  What led you to marry Susan? (more…)


What to Consider Before Tying the Knot: An LGBT Primer

As the tide of marriage equality begins to turn, with same gender nuptials becoming a reality for increasing numbers of couples, along comes a perfectly-timed guide to provide insight into what elements to consider before taking such a step.  Pamela Milam, MA, LPC, a counselor in Dallas, TX, has just released an essential primer for any LGBT individual considering matrimony, Premarital Counseling for Gays and Lesbians.  Drawing from her many years of experience as a therapist, Milam lays out common areas of potential discord couples may experience, and shares scenarios, gleaned from her patients, which demonstrate how such issues have played out for others.

While targeted towards those considering marriage, the issues she discusses are equally applicable for anyone interested in bettering their relationships, as the book touches on such considerations as religion, sex, monogamy, open relationships, degrees of “outness,” having children, and much more.  Recently, Milam graciously sat down with me to discuss the book, her personal journey, and issues within the LGBT community.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk. 

And you as well.  I am a big fan of your novel, Songs for the New Depression, so getting the chance to chat is an added bonus!

I really appreciate that–thank you!  But I want to talk about your book.  After many years spent counseling individuals and couples, what prompted you to write a book–and why this one?

In my career, I’ve done plenty of premarital counseling with straight couples.  I’ve listened to straight couples discuss their dating situations, their feelings about commitment, and eventually their plans for marriage.  I’ve helped them understand each other better and move toward their weddings feeling stronger and more prepared for what marriage entails.

During much of that time, I was an unmarried lesbian.  It was not lost on me that while I was spending many of my waking hours helping to launch and/or save heterosexual unions, I could not legally marry the person I loved most in the world.

Then, laws started changing.

Exactly.  And as they did, I began receiving more and more phone calls and emails from gay and lesbian couples who were planning weddings and requesting premarital counseling.  It’s a relatively new phenomenon.

That’s great that they’re seeking that out…

Yes, it is.   But I knew that for me to recommend a book to a gay couple, that resource needed to be tailored specifically to their situation, as there are particular issues gay couples routinely face which straight couples do not.

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Author Spotlight: Ken Howard, LCSW

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ken Howard since our days together at UCLA, many moons ago.  Since then, he has gone on to become a renowned therapist in Los Angeles, and has written a book, Self-Empowerment: Have the Life You Want, which I’ve been hearing terrific things about. Ken was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his book and work.  Welcome, Ken! 

Q & A: Ken Howard, LCSW

Thank you for taking the time to chat!  First of all, congratulations on your new book, which is getting great buzz.  What prompted you to write it?

I get great inspiration from self-help books written by others, and have done this both before and after I became a therapist.  I recommend books to my clients, depending on their situation, as an adjunct resource between sessions.  But most self-help books aren’t written by actual licensed psychotherapists who are currently in full-time private practice, as I am.  So I decided to write a self-help book for a general adult audience based on my 18 years of experience in practice at the time of the writing (now 20 years).  I wanted to bring my message of inspiration, hope, and support to more people than I can possibly see in my office in a week.  It’s also, I believe, the first self-help book for a general audience written by an openly gay, openly HIV-positive author, so I’m proud of that.

I know that much of your psychotherapy work has been within the gay community, but I understand this book has a larger reach.  What can people hope to gain by reading it?

This is a book for people who are struggling what I call the gap between how life is, and how you would like it to be, in important areas of life such as mental health, health, career, relationships, finances, family, community, and spirituality.  The main benefit is that it helps people feel empowered – self-empowered, hence the name – to confront their challenges, and take their quality of life to the next level.

Each chapter of the book – which corresponds to those different life areas – includes ways to empower yourself, a list of common challenges that get in the way (and what to do about them), and a “case study” vignette of how someone  from my practice actually put these ideas into practice (altered to protect their confidentiality).  This way, you look at things from all sides.

I was moved to become a therapist when I was younger and just coming out as a gay man, and many of the people I knew, or at least knew of, were affected by AIDS, or even dying from it.  I couldn’t just sit around and watch; I had to do something.  I developed a niche in working in HIV, but also with gay men who don’t have HIV, along with others with psychiatric disorders, since I have specialized training in those (Depression, OCD, ADD, PTSD, etc.).  Today, my practice is still largely made up of gay men.  Being in West Hollywood, I also see a lot of creative professionals from the entertainment industry, who are straight, gay, male, female, older and younger.  With this book, I wanted to share some of the lessons on self-empowerment developed in my practice with a broader audience beyond the gay community. (more…)