Richard Curtis' 2003 film classic, Love Actually, is the ultimate Christmas ROM-COM. I watched it again this holiday. And with Christmas not far behind us, I'm still thinking about how much this film says about love. After all, Christmas is the season of love, romance and family. But, what if love isn’t working or runs into its inevitable stumbling blocks? Worse, what if you can’t find love and you’ve just spent another lonely holiday? It’s no secret that family (and family history) can get in the way of making love work. Childhood trauma makes it even harder. How do you get through the...

We all need love. Age doesn’t lessen that. Yet, sometimes it’s hard to trust love, for complicated reasons, even though you want it. John Madden’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gives us a bird’s eye view into 6 serious obstacles to love. In my experience as a psychologist, the reasons for putting love off are often not conscious. That’s where help comes in handy - especially if you keep coming up against the same problem again and again. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel illustrates some of these emotional roadblocks quite well: Expecting not to be wanted  Evelyn (Judi Dench) and...

With The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opening on Friday, March 6th, I thought I’d review what the first heartfelt and hopeful film tells us about change at any age. Change is hard. Especially if you’re discouraged by losses, disappointments, stale marriages, difficult parents, and unresolved fears. Yet, this film gives us some important pointers about what allows for change – whether you’re in your senior years or still young. Here are 6 I’ve found helpful in my work as a psychologist and psychoanalyst. 1. Let Go of Old Grievances: Muriel (Maggie Smith) Carrying around grievances shuts you down. Isolates you. Can...