Dr. Mary Lamia: Clinical psychologist, professor, & author

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Bio:

My name is Dr. Mary Lamia. My career-long passion for encouraging emotional awareness in adults, adolescents, and pre-teens is exemplified by my books. I am the author of What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, and Success; Emotions! Making Sense of Your Feelings; and, Understanding Myself: A Kid’s Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings. I co-authored The White Knight Syndrome: Rescuing Yourself from Your Need to Rescue Others and The Upside of Shame. My blog posts for Psychology Today, Therapy Today, and Thrive Global websites illustrate my endeavor to convey an understanding of emotion and its  significant role in who we become. With this same goal in mind, I am also a professor in the doctoral program at the Wright Institute in Berkeley and have a private practice in Kentfield, California.

What do I do best?

I listen with my feelings. Certainly, working as a psychotherapist for 40 years has refined this skill that developed when I was a child. Although I could not understand the Sicilian language of my parents, their voices had conveyed the emotions evoked by my mother’s fatal illness. More incisive than words, vocal tones and rhythms communicate emotion that can be felt by a recipient or bystander, and through this experience I became proficient at listening to prosodic communication. Thus, I am hyper-attuned to the communications of my patients.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I am driven. It’s not unusual for people to become driven as a result of a positive adaptation to childhood adversity. As a result of childhood circumstances that can be disavowed by achievement, many of us become repeatedly driven in order to maintain the perception that we have overcome our own limitations and the limitations of family members before us.

What are my aspirations?

My career-long passion has been to encourage emotional awareness in adults, adolescents, and pre-teens. For nearly a decade, I hosted a call-in talk show for children on Radio Disney stations, “KidTalk with Dr. Mary,” that promoted emotional awareness for children of all ages. My aspirations are also exemplified by my books: “What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, and Success”; “Emotions! Making Sense of Your Feelings”; and, “Understanding Myself: A Kid’s Guide to Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings;” and my co-authored books, “The White Knight Syndrome: Rescuing Yourself from Your Need to Rescue Others” and “The Upside of Shame: Therapeutic Interventions Using the Positive Aspects of a ‘Negative’ Emotion.” My blog posts for Psychology Today, Therapy Today, and Thrive Global websites illustrate my endeavor to convey an understanding of emotion and its significant role in who we become. I apply this same goal to my work as a professor and in my private practice.

My Biggest Success?

My biggest success was discovering that any obstacle I faced was an opportunity. It wasn’t that I had to reverse a negative outcome, because in many cases that is impossible, but rather that I could learn from any experience. This attitude has governed my life.

My Most Challenging Moment?

It’s very curious to me that I cannot think of anything pertaining to this question. Every choice I make meaningfully impacts my life.

My Motto?

Learn from everything.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Role models are not always obvious. There is something we can learn from everyone we meet, if we take the time to get to know them and do not sort people on the basis of what we imagine they can teach us or do for us.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

There is no place like home, and I am not home enough. I live adjacent to a majestic open space which I share with owls, hawks, foxes, coyotes, and many other wonderful creatures. Home is my paradise.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Beautiful and masterfully-constructed shoes.

My Current Passions?

Nurturing my orchids and experiencing the thrill of watching them re-bloom.

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