Parental Considerations and Responses to Bullying

Bullying pic


Though Herb Tannenbaum, PhD, has built most of his career on relationship counseling for couples, he has also established his expertise in child psychology. Dr. Herb Tannenbaum has served for several years as the director of a children’s day camp and has been invited to offer lectures and lead workshops on various aspects of child development, including the persistent problem of bullying.

Exact statistics can vary because of differing definitions of “bullying” and methods of reporting, but in general, traditional bullying has seen a decrease only to be replaced by cyberbullying. Regardless of its form, however, it’s a critical issue because those targeted by bullies are more likely to engage in violence, bring weapons to school, struggle academically, and experience both physical and mental health issues.

Parental response is a key element in addressing bullying. Helpful actions include informing the child that bullying is not uncommon nor the fault of the child, listening to the child’s concerns without offering judgment or reaction, and building the child’s self-confidence through developing extracurricular skills and talents. Actions a parent should avoid include scolding the child, assigning blame, or encouraging any form of retribution. In the event that it becomes necessary to speak to the parents of the bully, offering analysis or judgment of their child is almost certain to cause offense and exacerbate the situation.

For those who discover their child is the bully in this situation, several common factors need to be considered. Many children who bully others do so because they are subjected to disrespect or disregard at home, acting out in order to gain a sense of power or draw attention. Children who are accustomed to leniency and unused to strict restraints might bully out of a sense of entitlement. In some cases, the child has trouble feeling empathy despite coming from a loving home and active parenting. In any case, it’s important to remember that a bully is still a child in need of guidance.

Herbism of the day: IF YOU WANT TO BE LOVED, BE A LOVER by Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D.

February is famously known for Valentine’s Day- a day to celebrate love and the importance and sacredness of our love relationships.

The importance of celebrating the specialness of our adult love relationships and the one we love is critical to helping keep relationships meaningful and full of a sense of aliveness and passion.

According to Imago Relationship Therapy founded and developed by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LeKelly Hunt, Ph.D. Relationships navigate through various stages in their evolution toward consciousness. The Romantic phase is the powerful elixir that allows us to bond and move forward into the magical mystery of adult love. It is often filled with a great sense of aliveness. There is a sense of familiarity, as if we know this person from another time in our lives. In addition, there is a sense of timelessness, as if we have known this person forever. Furthermore, there is a sense that we cannot live without this person in our lives as our sense of being depends on being in relationship with them. Finally, there is often a sense of wholeness that we get from being in romantic  relationship as if we are whole and fully alive. Ah, how sweet it is!

Inevitably, Romantic Love ebbs away and it is replaced by us not only seeing all the positives of our partners,  but we become aware of the parts of our partner that we don’t like or feel are  misattuned to our needs and that are re-wounding or hurtful to us. Often, folks reply with despair and a sense of hopeless tothis ienvitiable phenomenon. More importantly, often couples get stuck in this stage of the journey leading to less contact and connection. It becomes a power struggle in which each partner tires to will their way in the relationship or withholds in reaction to the hurt or pain they are experiencing. It is a dark time and leads to feelings of unsafety and defensiveness cascading to even more disconnection and despair.

The good news is that there is hope beyond the Power Struggle. In Imago Theory it is referred to as “the Conscious Relationship”. A conscious relationship calls for a tool for partners to stay in connection and to recognize that they are one as a couple and yet have a separate experience than their partner and that each partners world needs to be heard and validated.

In addition, partners need to refuel their relationship by consciously re-introducing caring behaviors form the past (that were lost in the power struggle) as well as being curious and finding out from their partner the ways they feel cared for and loved. Furthermore, by listening to your partner’s desires and surprising them with those behaviors helps shift the neuro-chemistry of the brain from reactive/defensive behaviors into a safer and less defensives ways to experience each other. Safety allows  partners to be more spontaneous and therefore experience more aliveness.

As Valentine’s day approaches, ask your partner how they feel loved and cared for.  Then,  do what you can, even stretch yourself, to help your partner know that you care enough to honor their needs. It is powerful step in creating a safe and passionate relationship with the one you love!

Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D., contact me at or visit my webpage


Couples Therapy Objectives in Imago Relationship Therapy

Getting the Love You Want pic

Getting the Love You Want

Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Effective Living, located in River Edge, New Jersey. In addition, Dr. Herb Tannenbaum has obtained certification as an Imago therapist and has served as a faculty member at the Institute for Imago Relationship Therapy since 1997.

Imago is a therapy method that combines Western psychology, behavioral science, and spiritual doctrine to form a unique love relationship theory that can be applied to both individual and couples therapy.

By helping those seeking or struggling with an intimate relationship adjust their thought processes through an understanding of intimacy defenses and how humans select intimate partners, Imago teaches clients new skills to conquer unconscious and detrimental behavior and ultimately foster “mutual healing and maturation.”

When working with couples, Imago therapy strives to:
Create a safe space for couples to interact and connect
Assist with the development of communication skills that will lead to improved understanding between the parties involved
Help with the transformation of frustration–which can result in a power struggle–into positive understanding and response to the partner’s needs
Develop the inward recognition and acceptance of the qualities within one’s self that provoke hostile feelings and may, in turn, be projected onto one’s partner.

Imago therapy is intended to improve the couple’s relationship and leave them feeling fulfilled and more connected to one another.


My work as an Imago Relationship Therapist underscores that one of the challenges that couples face as they move from the romantic love into the power struggle and continue on the journey to a conscious relationship is to be able to reframe tensions and what are perceived as disagreements as opportunities for growth.

Neuropsychological research underscored that being able to think positively allows people to use the resource of the neo-cortex as compared to thinking of situations as “problems” or “challenges” invites more of the old brain structures of the brain to be leading the way. The “old brain” is much more susceptible to reactivity and thus folks can go into “fight or flight” type responses.

Being able to shift to seeing any situation as something that can have a solution harnesses an expansive way of thinking. For couples this is particularly important as they move toward consciousness. Consciousness calls the couple to stay in connection and to learn to navigate moving from emotional symbiosis to differentiation which means accepting that their partner is different and the tension of the difference in the relationship is an opportunity go grow and expand one’s sense of self and access to core energy. 

One of the key experiences that people report about the mulfliouness of romantic love is that there is a feeling of being so alive.  That feeling of aliveness is about core energy. Chanigning the paradigm form “problems’ to “solutions” is about accessing core energy for growth and expansion and allows people to feel more alive. In an adult love relationship the shift from “problems” to “solutions” as a way of connecting and interacting allows the relationship to become a soure and resource for more of a sense of aliveness. 

Given our desire to feel fully alive the paradigm shift of seeing opportunites in everything we do as a way of creating solutions–particularly solutions that promote safety and growth — is a critical path for couples to embrace and integrate into thier relatinship.

For more infomation visit my web site or vist me Facebook Page: herb tannenbaum phd.





Requirements for Psychoanalyst Membership with NAAP

National Accreditation Association of Psychoanalysis pic

National Accreditation Association of Psychoanalysis

A psychologist and counselor with more than four decades of experience, Herb Tannenbaum, Ph.D., founded the Center for Effective Living in 1981, where he primarily practices relationship therapy. Dr. Herb Tannenbaum is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the National Accreditation Association of Psychoanalysis (NAAP).

Established in 1972, NAAP is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the psychoanalysis profession and is responsible for detailing the standards and guidelines required of all psychoanalysts.

To become a member of NAAP, an individual must have graduated from an institution that has been accredited by the American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis, or an unaccredited university or college that offers equivalent training.

The applicant must have completed, at minimum, a master’s degree program and possess 450 hours of theory and technique. Also required is 1,500 hours of clinical experience, which includes individual analysis alongside a certified professional, supervision by at least three superiors, and continuing clinical education training.

Students who have not yet completed the requirements outlined above can apply to become a candidate member until their education is complete.

Signs That You Might Be in a Toxic Relationship




For over 40 years, Herb Tannenbaum, PhD, has been practicing as a psychologist. Dr. Herb Tannenbaum serves as a certified Imago therapist, Executive Director of the Center for Effective Living, and a psychotherapist. In these roles, Herb Tannenbaum, PhD, provides psychotherapy on individual and couples bases and teaches several workshops and courses on relationship matters.

Toxic relationships can be extremely damaging to one’s sense of self and confidence. The effects of such a relationship can last for months or years after the relationship has ended. Following are just a few signs that you might be in a toxic relationship:

– You walk on eggshells: a toxic relationship is often characterized by an intensely controlling partner. The controlling partner may use either physical or emotional methods to keep you under their thumb, but the result is that you are scared to share your opinions or go against your partner. These circumstances can cause you to become worried that anything you say may anger your partner.

– You aren’t yourself: healthy relationships encourage you to be yourself. In contrast, toxic ones leave you feeling that you can’t. You may feel that you can’t act in certain ways and you may lose confidence. As the relationship continues, you may even find that the “new” you is unrecognizable–and your friends and family will likely also notice these changes.

– You’re always to blame: partners who are toxic often will not take the blame for the things that are wrong in your relationship. Instead, they may place the blame solely on your shoulders and spout empty apologies without actually owning up to anything. Over time, you may start internalizing this notion and come to believe that you are always at fault.

The Success of Couples Counseling and What to Expect

The Gottman Institute pic

The Gottman Institute

New Jersey resident Dr. Herbert (Herb) Tannenbaum is a licensed psychologist practicing in New Jersey. A member of the American Institute for Psychotherapy, Dr. Herb Tannenbaum helps couples work through issues at his private practice.

Couples counseling serves as a valuable tool for building a solid relationship. In fact, up to 80 percent of marriages are more successful with the aid of a qualified therapist. However, according to Dr. Michael McNulty who trains couples counselors at The Gottman Institute, many partners do not seek guidance until they have dealt with an issue on their own for six years. The long wait adds to the growing pressure and stress of managing a relationship filled with turmoil.

Couples taking advantage of professional assistance learn problem-solving tools that can reduce conflict as well as open up lines of communication. Depending on the severity of the case, a therapist may suggest up to 12 sessions. Couples should expect to invest ample time with their counselor to achieve desired results. In many cases, clients do not recognize positive changes until they have completed their fifth session. Signs that therapy is working include the deliberate use of effective communication between partners to lessen the potential for argument.