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In my state of California (sometimes called the State of Confusion), health and fitness are highly valued, and people focus a lot of time and energy on their appearance and on getting their bodies fit. Many people change their lifestyles, go on all kinds of bizarre regimens and diets, and take numerous supplements and even medications in order to lose weight.

In comparison, very little energy is put toward getting and keeping our emotional selves and our primary relationships in shape. Sadly, many people put more time and energy into their hair than into their relationships (this is where Dr. Phil and I have an advantage over many men) and then complain about the lack of intimacy and satisfaction in their personal lives. The reason why some relationships work and many others don’t is that couples in those working relationships work on them. The most difficult part about achieving emotional fitness in a relationship can be figuring out exactly what to do or what to talk about in order to get there. It’s hard for us to look inside and discover which parts of our emotional selves need to be in better shape. That is why I am a Marriage Counselor.

Getting your relationship emotionally balanced requires doing something about it on a regular basis. With physical exercise, the more we do, the easier it gets, and emotional fitness works the same way. Unlike a physical workout, however, getting and staying emotionally fit can take as little as one hour a week and involve only small changes here and there. When you consider the value of the results, this is an extraordinarily good investment. So put down the remote control, let the weeds in your garden grow a little longer, and send the kids to a movie, so the two of you can be alone and chat about your lives together.

Contact Dr. Goldsmith now for a free 15 minute initial consultation!

Top 10 Tips to Heal Depression

I have received a number of requests for some tips on dealing with depression. Below are things that you can do to help yourself and those you love, but remember that depression is a serious condition, if it persists for more than two weeks seeking psychological and medical treatment is mandatory.

1. Exercise. Just taking a short walk is helpful and a good hike is better. Exercise creates endorphins, which stimulate happiness. It’s also good for your general health.

2. Cry. Letting the pain out will help you heal; holding it in will cause you to behave in ways that can be destructive to yourself and your relationships. So, let the tears flow. Some people are afraid to start crying because the hurt feels so deep they think they may never stop. In most cases this natural release doesn’t last more than a couple of weeks.

3. Write. Daily journaling is a positive and creative way to release painful feelings. Many great books, songs and poems have come from the depths of depression. Begin by just writing about how you feel at the moment and see where it goes from there.

4. Light. Using a full spectrum lamp for 15 minutes a day can heal SAD (Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder), a type of depression that occurs when we don’t get enough sunlight. Even in the summer, fog and dampness can darken your mood. The cold and short days of winter can be especially depressing for those with SAD.

5. Air. Keep windows open, the fresh air is uplifting and makes the brain and heart function better. Fresh air is also better for the immune system than air conditioning.

6. Diet. A balanced diet will help control your brain chemistry and make it easier for you to choose behaviors that will help you pull yourself out of the doldrums.

7. Vitamins. A recent article in “Psychology Today” reported that, “Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) may be as effective as drugs in alleviating depression.” Physicians have long recognized that people who take their vitamins usually feel better.

8. Therapy. Talking about your pain to someone who can help you reframe and heal is a tried and true method for curing depression. Make sure that the therapist you choose has been trained in depression treatments and, if you take medication, works with your M.D.

9. Work. Being successful in one area of your life often leads to feeling successful in other areas. Don’t sit around and mope, go to work or get more involved in your children’s lives, and do the best job possible. The pay off will be much larger than a check.

10. Trust. For most people depression is a temporary situation. Although when you are deep within it, it’s hard to see your way out, know that it will end. It can be helpful to note that there may be a life lesson to be learned in the process and that coming through a difficult emotional time can make you a much better person and partner.

I have successfully used all of these tips in my practice. Start with one or two and see how it goes. People with depression need to be reminded that they do have some control here, and not taking it is a choice to remain in the darkness. Be proactive, healing this difficult disorder may not be easy, but it can be as simple as turning on a light switch.

Top 10 Tips to Reduce Anxiety

Everyone in a relationship has moments, which create anxiety. This particular feeling can be detrimental to your relationship because it may stop you from living a normal life. Here are my top ten tips to deal effectively with this uncomfortable emotion.

1. If you are prone to anxiety you have two choices. Give in to it or learn to live with it. Giving into it also means that your partner will suffer the burden of your fears so, to make your lives a better place to be, find ways to eliminate or at least limit this feeling by taking responsibility for your emotions and knowing you have a choice.

2. When you wake up tomorrow start doing something right away, and keep busy all day. Taking action by doing something, almost anything, will help you work through your anxiety. Sometimes it’s doing the dishes or working in your garden. Other times it’s reading or meditating. Just sitting around and thinking about your worries won’t make them go away.

3. Focus your attention on where the feeling of anxiousness is in your body and keep your attention there until the feeling moves or dissolves. For example the tension could be in your abdomen or your neck. Whenever your attention wanders, bring it back to the place in your body where the physical feeling is. Doing this for five or ten minutes can reduce, if not eliminate, the anxiety.

4. Anxiety will grow if it’s not directed into some positive action. Find someone who needs you and lend him or her a helping hand. It will almost always take your mind off your problems and fears. Helping others is actually a way of taking action and responsibility for your own healing.

5. Talking to someone is one of the best ways to overcome your anxiety. Getting together with your family and friends, even your fellow patrons at Starbucks, and talking about what you are feeling can be helpful. If you can’t talk to someone, try writing a letter or visiting an appropriate Internet chat room.

6. Exercise is another good way to keep from letting your fears overwhelm you. Sometimes gentle forms of exercise like walking and yoga can be better than a hard workout at the gym. Do what works best for you at the moment and don’t worry about breaking your normal routine, that change may actually help reduce your anxiety.

7. Start a gratitude journal; write down three to five things that you are grateful for. Do this every night, it works and it’s very easy. Become aware of all the good that surrounds you. You can also have a releasing journal where you write about your anxiety and the actions that you can take to overcome those fears.

8. The opposite of fear is faith. When you are anxious, a great way to get out of it is to find some faith. Believing that things will get better is sometimes all it takes to make it better. It also helps to never underestimate the power of positive prayer or visualization, if it can cure cancer it can also reduce your anxiety.

9. If watching the news fills you with anxiety – turn off the TV! The world will continue to revolve even if you’re not watching it on CNN. Limit yourself to one hour a day of news and don’t watch anything that may upset you before you go to bed.

10. Courage is not the absence of fear, but taking action in spite of fear. Doing something new or confronting a fear by taking some baby steps is much more positive than doing nothing. If you need a better reason pick an action that will be helpful to someone else.

If you find that none of the tips above work, then you should take a serious look and consulting with a qualified therapist and physician and asking about medication. Choose to take control of your life and your emotions and don’t let them run you or your relationship.

Loving an Alcoholic or an Addict

Alcoholism is a problem for many couples. Research shows that over 30% of Americans exceed the FDA guidelines for alcohol use (one drink a day for women and two for men). If your loved one drinks to cope with everyday life, the problem has snaked its way into your relationship and everyone close to you will be poisoned.

Unfortunately most people don’t realize the harmful effects of alcoholism on a relationship until it’s too late. If you’re with someone who is abusing alcohol, it’s time to wake up and drink some coffee.

To find out if you or your partner are drinking alcoholically ask yourselves the following questions.
1. Have you ever felt that you should cut down?
2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
3. Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Answering yes to even one may be the sign of a problem. More detailed information is available from The National Institute on Alcoholism at or by calling 301-443-3860.

Many people abuse alcohol because they cannot deal with the pain they are feeling or they just want to shut down and escape, doing this regularly is dependence. Alcohol may make you feel better for the moment, but it doesn’t last long and it creates a myriad of problems in your relationship and your life.

Some would say that a little excess now and again isn’t a crime. I beg to differ; if you’re driving while intoxicated it’s a crime. And if something unthinkable happens and someone is killed or injured, there is no getting over it or fixing it. Your life and the lives of those you love are damaged forever.

If you ignore your own values by thinking that you are needed or helping your alcoholic partner, a co-dependency is in progress. In truth this is only enabling the destructive behavior.

In order to deal with this demon, you need to get support (like Al-anon) and demand that your alcoholic partner get help. You should also follow these six survival skills developed by Jan Ligon, Ph.D.
1. Detach from the problem.
2. Set strong boundaries.
3. Know where you stand.
4. Support your partner’s sobriety.
5. Simplify by setting small goals.
6. Sustain your physical health.

Additional assistance may be only a mouse click or a phone call away. The telephone number for The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service is 800-662-HELP and you can find The Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator on-line at

If your partner resists getting help through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), going to a treatment center or doesn’t believe he or she has to quit completely there is some good news. According to research, 75% of alcohol abusers recover without professional treatment or 12-step groups, and 20% of former problem drinkers report that can drink occasionally without relapse.

The bottom line is that alcoholism directly affects those you love and no relationship can survive it. If you want to keep what you have, it’s worth giving up the habit.

Contact Dr. Goldsmith now for a free 15 minute initial consultation!

I’ve been helping the businesses nationwide achieve their goals, whatever they may be. My business services include:

  • Corporate Seminars
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Business Consultations
  • Strategic Planning
  • Leadership & Executive Coaching
  • Keynotes
  • Training (Half day and Full day sessions available)

A Leap of Faith – Dr. Barton’s Bungee Jump

On-Set Therapy

I have received many emails asking about my work as a therapist on movie sets. As it turns out, the wonderful Maiken Scott of NPR member station WHYY in Philadephia recently interviewed me about this very topic for her weekly health and science show, The Pulse. We spoke about how on-set therapy can lead to a more productive movie-making experience. This interview and others on the topic of “Why Movies Move Us” can be heard at Here’s a shortened version of the radio interview with me:

Maiken Scott: Emotions can run high on movie sets, and when they boil over, you need somebody to jump in.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith: My role is to alleviate crisis on the sets in the production.

Scott: For production crews, the days are long, often at least twelve hours. There’s a lot of money at stake; everybody is stressed out. The crew spends a lot of time together, they get very close, and [you say] fights are inevitable.

Goldsmith: There’s no way you’re not going to step on somebody else’s toes or they’re not going to step on yours. When that happens, I handle it like a family. I handle it like family therapy.

Scott: He says having a therapist on the set saves time and money. People talk through their issues, big blowout fights are avoided, everything runs more smoothly.

Goldsmith: By just adding another person to the crew, that allows their cast and production crew to blow off some steam in a constructive way rather than a destructive way.

Scott: Another part of [your] job is to help actors when they are transitioning between scenes.

Goldsmith: Think of a performer who in the morning has to get ready to play a very emotional scene. A lot of crying, maybe some hitting, fighting, that they have to bring up a lot of pain and personal experience to do it really, really well. Then, in the afternoon, they have to completely switch roles and be funny and light. In the meantime, they’ve still got all the adrenaline and cortisol from all of the anger they had to manufacture in their brains and hearts coursing through their bodies.

Scott: So they need some help switching gears.

Goldsmith: You can’t push that stuff away. It’s going to keep staying inside of you until you process it out. And that processing can be talking, it can be crying, it can be beating pillows with tennis rackets. There’s a lot of different ways to go about doing it, but if you don’t process it out, it’s going to stick with you, and that meltdown is going to continue until you are able to get in touch with the feelings and release the pain.

Scott: I would think there’s so much adrenaline involved too, in acting, especially when you’re acting out stressful scenes, violent scenes, and that adrenaline has to go somewhere.

Goldsmith: As does the cortisol, and it wipes out all of your serotonin and dopamine as well. So yeah, when you’re getting into a violent scene or a very, very dramatic scene, adrenaline, cortisol, are coming into your system and, yes, it takes a while for that to go away.

Scott: And sometimes [you help] actors create those deep emotions in the first place. I’m wondering if you can give me an example. Let’s say I’m preparing for a scene in the afternoon where somebody dumps me, and I’m heartbroken, and it’s terrible, and it comes out of nowhere, how would you prepare me for that emotionally?

Goldsmith: We’d go back to the last time you were dumped, and we would talk about that, and how that made you feel, and you would get into that feeling—what you are still holding on to, what it is, how it affects you, did you use memories from your past? And then after the scene you would come back to me, and we would get you out of it. Not only does that help you get in touch with what it is you want to do on set, but it also helps you get in touch with the feelings that you had so that you can drill down on those and get rid of them, let them go after you have exploited them on stage, used them, gotten them out of your system, and then you can really get rid of them. It’s actually kind of therapeutic.

Scott: Yeah, I was thinking that it sounds empowering in a way.

Goldsmith: It can be. Let me give you another example of someone who I worked with. This person had to do a scene where she was dying of cancer, and she actually was dying of cancer. It was a very, very difficult day on set for everyone because no one knew up until this point. We had to slowly walk through the entire process, and she had a lot of processing to do about her own fears, her own loss of life—and she loved life, loved it. One of the finest performers and performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing in my career.

Content to come.


Dr. Barton Goldsmith has had over three decades of direct counseling experience. He is trained and licensed to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to help them achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social relationships. His practice also includes premarital and child counseling, and divorce or separation counseling. He utilizes a variety of therapeutic interventions and is well qualified to deal with a number of issues including emotional stress and anxiety, behavior problems, depression and loneliness, sexual disturbances, unusual eating patterns, excessive drug and alcohol use and grief or emotional pain.

At no time have there been more pressures on us than there are today. Our health, happiness and productivity are directly related to the amount of stress and dissatisfaction in our lives. The goals of therapy are to help you get in touch with the natural abilities that we all possess, and to assist you in living a more fulfilled life.

The simple techniques that he uses have helped thousands of people discover their own unique abilities and bring more of what they really want into their lives. Dr. Barton will help you understand the ways we limit ourselves and prevent joy and prosperity from manifesting daily. In addition to “talk therapy” he uses proven emotional exercises that will allow you to remove negative patterns and self-limiting beliefs.

Dr. Barton shares tools and techniques that you can take home and use immediately. His insights and experiences related through non-judgmental communication, sensitive questioning and gentle humor make counseling an enjoyable and high return experience.

My practice specializes in treating individuals, couples and families and I offer comprehensive services dealing with:

  • On-Set Psychotherapy
  • Individual Psychotherapy
  • Couples and Family Counseling
  • Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling
  • Parenting Support
  • Grief Counseling
  • Work and Career issues
  • Stress Management
  • Conflict Resolution

A note from Dr. Barton….

It is my hope that the combination of Psychotherapy and practical applications that I have continued to study over the past 20 years will give my clients the most complete experience of personal growth. I believe that we must balance the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual sides of our beings to fully enjoy what life has to offer.

My desire is to provide counseling services that reflect the needs of the individuals and their families. It is my wish that the opportunity for emotional and psychological well-being be available to anyone in need and I have a vast referral base for those that are not in the area or need Psychotherapy in an area that is outside of my scope of practice.

If you are interested in creating a life of happiness, meaning and fulfillment or working through blocks in your life and gaining a better understanding of yourself and your relationships, please call. I am committed to working toward these goals with you.