Ask Your Question

Do you have a question about psychology or mental health in popular media that you want answered?  Post your question here and I will answer it.

*Please be aware that this is not a replacement for direct therapy.  I am not able to answer all questions.  If you are experiencing a crisis or in need of psychological help, please contact your local crisis line.

11 Responses to “Ask Your Question”

  1. harpreet October 2, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Hi Alisa,

    I am Harpreet from India.

    I watch all your videos on housewives of Beverly Hills, last one on Rresentment of housewives.. was too cool.

    I am interested in psychology, and intend to do MA in Psychology. Due to doing a job, I will be able to do it through distance education program of IGNOU. Later I aim at doing PHD. Can students to do MA through distance education get acceptance for research fellowship in Universities IN USA? Also if you could suggest me if I do PHD here and then move to USA or Canada for job. Are there good opportunities?

    Please suggest.

    • doctoralisa October 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

      Hi Harpreet,
      I am not sure what the rules are for working in the USA if you get your MA or PhD from another country. I have a coworker who did much of her psychology studies in India, but I am not sure what she needed to do in order to work here. You will at the very least need to get your license in the state you intend to work in. You might want to check out the Board of Psychology in California to see what their requirements are.

      Sorry I don’t have more information for you.

      Good luck in your studies!
      Alisa

  2. Harry Martin August 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Dear Dr. Robinson,

    My 55-year-old (married) sister called me last week, asking for $500 to meet her $1,250 rent. She previously called my 77-year-old Mother (who turned her down, even though she has the money), and then she called me, and I also turned her down (even though I have the money).

    I cited that as a commission salesperson, I was living off of what I made in March and April (even though I have a good amount in savings). My Mother, who is a multi-millionaire, cited her obligations, such as property taxes, mortgage payments, etc.

    But truth be known, our responses were based on that she and her husband are not doing everything possible to make ends meet. Her husband of 3 years was out of work for 2 months, but when he got a minor inheritance earlier this year, they went on a $3,000-$4,000 spending spree, buying two new Macs, an Ipad and two Iphones.

    Moreover, when her husband was unemployed, my sister turned down a job, because it only paid $10 an hour. I also saw no influx of cash that would allow them to pay me back for the $500, when I am coupon-shopping and watching any outflow (despite a healthy savings) because I want to live on what we are making.

    I had two questions:

    • Is there a better way in which to respond when asked for money, when both my Mother and I disapprove of their money-management skills? (My sister lost the house she paid $160,000 for in the early ‘90s to foreclosure, when she owed nearly $500,000.)
    • How do we deal with our guilt of tough love?

    I think, due to the recession, many of us may be in the same boat with siblings and friends.

    Thanks in advance,

    Harry

  3. Harry Martin July 13, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    Hi Dr. Robinson,

    I have an appointment booked with you July 29 at 1 p.m., and I cannot tell you how relieved I was when I found your blog.

    It made me so much more comfortable about seeing you!

    I read how you interacted with people. You realize people have a brain!

    The reason I am writing is that I typed a 2-page summary of what’s going on with me in preparation for our appointment, and I didn’t know the best way to forward it to you prior to our appointment. I thought it could save us both a lot of time so we can get down to business.

    Thanks in advance for any input, and I am looking forward to meeting you,

    Harry Martin
    harryleemartin@gmail.com

    • doctoralisa July 13, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      I appreciate the fact that you found my website. I’m glad that you like it. Looking forward to meeting you soon.

      Dr. Robinson

  4. Lisa July 5, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    Dear Dr. Alisa,

    Can you please tell me how best to handle a nagging and butting-in mother-in-law? Mine actually asked my husband if i contribute on a financial level to the household and makes demands on my husband for work around her house, despite the fact that he has NO time due to his stressful job… I am sure I am not the only one out there that has issues with their MIL! I truly appreciate any help/tips you might provide!

    Best Regards,
    Lisa

    • doctoralisa July 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      That is a good question, Lisa. It is hard to give you specific information about your situation without knowing more details. However, I can give you some general tips for dealing with in-laws that I have found can be helpful towards having more peace in the home.

      First off, you want to assess how much this issue is affecting your relationship with your husband and how much you two are able to sort out your differences on your own. If it is affecting your relationship a great deal, or you find that the two of you can’t seem to see things eye to eye and work together as a team, then you may need to see a couples therapist to figure out how you two can work together on this topic.

      With this being said, it is important to note that you and your husband may never see eye to eye on the topic of his mother. And that is ok. What is important is that you both have respect for each others’ viewpoints and can come to compromises together.

      Secondly, a key to dealing with in-laws is to not take their actions personally. I know this is often easier said than done, but if you can do this, you will find that you are much more reasonable and feel much better.

      In general, I tend to recommend that when dealing with in-laws the difficult conversations and limits setting needs to be done by the child of the parent(s) involved. So, if something bothers your husband about your parents, he can come to you and talk about it, and if something needs to be said/done, you are the one to talk with them about it. Same goes for him. If you are having some problems with his mother, then you and he need to sit down and talk about it, and it is his job to have a conversation with her about it (if that’s what it calls for).

      Hope that helps!

      Dr. Alisa

      • Lisa July 6, 2011 at 4:10 am #

        Dear Alisa,

        Thank you so very much!! I truly appreciate your response and really, really helpful advice, I will take it on board!

        Something that continues to bothers me (and as I alluded to in my posting) is that she asked about my financial contribution, she did not specifically ask how much I contribute, but was interested to know from my husband IF I contribute.
        Is this appropriate from her side, I find it none of her business!

        • doctoralisa July 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

          Although I can see why this would bother you, it is probably best if you work on trying to let it go.

          I understand why her questioning about IF you contribute financially would upset you and possibly hurt your feelings. But, ultimately, what matters is how you and your husband feel about how you each contribute (financially and otherwise) to the relationship.

          If you get too worked up about her behavior, then it only serves to escalate the problem. Like I said before, try not to take her intrusions personally, and focus instead on the positive aspects of your relationship with your spouse.

  5. Eriel July 2, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    I’m interested to know what is it about Ashley Hebert that makes JP” feel alive,” as he states, in episode 6 of the Bachelorette. What is it about her that attracts him to the point of being “smitten”? He even says “it kinda seems meant to be” and he feels so comfortable with her, even starting from their first one on one date when she was very distracted! Clearly Ashley is a sweet and talented woman and there is chemistry there, but JP has dated over 12 years and says he broke off most of his relationships. What do you think it is about Ashley and their chemistry that works for him?

    • doctoralisa July 4, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      Great question, Eriel! It’s hard to say for sure what specifically it is about Ashley that makes JP so smitten. But there are a couple factors to take into consideration when understand why and how two people make a good match.

      First off, just because a guy has been dating for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean he is not capable of being in a committed relationship. Often it is about timing. Sometimes it takes men a long time to finally be ready to settle down, and once they are ready, they can do it.

      Also, some people thrive off of competition. If you are that kind of person and you are on a dating show like the Bachelorette, you may develop feelings for the other person more quickly or more strongly. For some people, the harder they have to work to be in a relationship in the beginning, the more interested they are. Keep in mind, however, that the allure that being hard to get works early on, but will likely not last in the long run. There has to be more substance than just being hard to get in order for a relationship to go the distance.

      It may be that their personalities really do mesh well, and he has developed genuine feelings for her. I guess we will just have to watch the show to find out!

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