Promised Photos / Inner Hiking

Hi friends and colleagues,

Yesterday I promised to show you some photos from our Sunday hike, which was 3 1/2 hours long. There were six of us on the hike.We went up through the Hidden Villa Ranch, which is gorgeous, but one of our hikers, found two embedded tics in his back and side when we got the to the top. The tics can be frightening because some of them carry Lyme disease.

So here are the photos, thanks to Maryam Hamidi, our official hike photographer. Maryam is on the Stanford staff, working on wellness for physicians. She is an expert in nutrition, and a member of our Tuesday psychotherapy training group.

First, here are some photos she took of our new kitty, Miss Misty! In addition, you can see me in the current moment, beard and all! I am still grieving the loss of our beloved Obie, who is featured on one of the tabs on my website,, but my wife and I are both deeply in love with the new arrival! We brought her outdoors for the first time Sunday and yesterday (Monday). Exciting brave new world out there!


IMG_1025The next photos show some of the fabulous spring flowering trees as well as our gorgeous California poppies, plus one of the trails we were hiking on.





The tree below with the red bark is cold to the touch, for some reason. I believe the Indians who populated these hills long before California folks lived here used it for refrigeration in the summer. At least that’s what I’ve heard from a local expert in the wildlife and plants and trees in this area.


We do personal work on the hikes, along the idea of “Physician, heal thyself,” and sometimes tears are shed. There are three common themes for the personal work. First, we do a lot of work on the perfectionistic, self-critical thoughts that create depression, anxiety and self-doubt for mental health professionals, as well our patients, such as “I should be better than I am.” Second, we do a lot of work on personal relationship conflicts. It seems that many individuals struggle with conflicts in intimate relationships, or have trouble finding someone to love, and mental health professionals are no different from anyone is this regard. And third, we often work with habits and addictions, such as procrastination, binge eating and so forth.

The personal work is what makes the hikes really wonderful. These are the “inner adventures” that bring us together and create magic every Sunday morning. So when we are hiking up steep hills, we are often conquering inner mountains at the same time.


Here are five of the six from the Sunday hike, along with other shots along the way.




Below you can see my friend and colleague, Stephen Pfleiderer. Stephen joined our Tuesday training group several years ago with the dream of doing work in the addictions field. He worked his butt off studying my psychotherapy eBook (he read it cover to cover three times) and practicing between training sessions. His effort paid off bit time. Now he is a certified addiction counselor doing tremendous work, including interventions, from his office in San Francisco. Stephen is doing effective, creative work integrating the new TEAM-CBT into the treatment of individuals struggling with drug and alcohol problems.


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