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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Making Mistakes & Your Comfort Zone


When babies reach about 11-13 months of age they begin to walk. Tentatively at first, then more securely, and finally, of course, they walk perfectly, unless there is a physiological or neurological challenge not attributable to their skills. At the beginning, a parent is typically there to help the child, encourage the child, and above all, to watch out for the child's safety.

When pilots learn how to fly, they may practice in simulators in order to be able to gain expertise before actually being up in the air. In the early stages, and prior to earning their license, an instructor accompanies them in their first forays up into the skies, in order to remind the student pilot of procedures, to help in difficult maneuvers, to encourage, and again, to watch out for the student's safety.

When we learn how to write we painstakingly trace shapes with clumsy fingers until at last we manage the skill and progress from pencil to pen ... to this day I remember the pride that overwhelmed me on that day when I was seven when I was allowed to write with a pen!

When we learn how to dance salsa, when we fall in love, when we learn how to make bread, when we speak in public, when we learn how to play football, the violin, or paint with oils, we will always first make some kind of mistake. It's part of the learning process, isn't it?

So why do we believe we should not make mistakes later on in life when we do other things? Admittedly, by now we may be adults, we may even be in mid-life or old age, but since there are always things we are doing for the first time, it follows that we'll make some mistakes in the process of learning them. Is our fear of making a mistake mainly based on what others might think? Or on how we look, making such a mistake at our age? Is it based on maintaining an image - even if just in our own eyes, that we have nothing left to learn? Even the most image-conscious would agree with me that such a thought is just plain silly.

So what's it all about? Could it be our ego? Our comfort zone? That when we make mistakes we feel insecure, as opposed to how we feel when we tread on our well-known and by now - deeply-trodden - path? And yet, we all know that leaving the comfort zone is where and when we begin to grow. We left the safety of crawling on our hands and knees to walk. And so we grew. We left the safety of mother's arms to go to kindergarten. And so we grew.

Let's dare make mistakes and rejoice in their teaching rather than sinking in the thought of failure. Failure is never failure unless you don't get back up. Just as the baby who has fallen back on the floor, grins up disarmingly - never once suspecting that once it's older such a fall, figuratively speaking, would make it feel awful - and gets right back up on its feet to try again. Over and over. Until he's got it right. And then, of course, he starts to run. Does he care how he looks? No! Does he care what others think? No! Is he proud of his accomplishment? Yes!

Let's dare make mistakes and learn what our infant selves knew intuitively: trying over and over again makes perfect. And then, let's run!
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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Monday, November 24, 2014

Seeing Your Future Self


Years ago, in the late 70’s, I chanced across Wayne Dyer’s book Your Erroneous Zones. I was in my twenties, and when I read the last chapter of that book, a chapter that shows a person free of erroneous zones, i.e., a person who is in such a good place inside of him or herself, that he has taken total responsibility for his own well-being, makes conscious choices, and is very aware of him or herself, I asked myself how it could be possible to get to that place. I yearned to get there. And I took the description Dyer offered of such a person as a model to follow. And because I had a model to follow, I was able to grow into that direction. (And of course it wasn't just having the model, it was also determining to actually do something about it, so self-initiative and some kind of discipline also form part of it).

Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs gives another model to follow (which Dyer in fact based much of his early thought on). The self-actualizing individual at the top of Maslow's pyramid, is an individual who indeed gives us something to think about … how many of us are in fact there, or even moving towards that? And if not, why not? Frequently, in particular because of the way our school system works, many of us are not in that place simply because we don't know it exists...

There was another book in my life that was conducive to showing me what I could become, and I didn't chance across this one until I saw it in a bookstore in Geneva in May of 1989, now in my thirties. I had done what I'd like to call much of the psychological work, perhaps less of the spiritual work, until I saw what could be in Gary Zukav's second book The Seat of the Soul. Again, it gave me an excellent road map. This one gave directions towards similar goals as the Dyer book mentioned above, but it focused on the spiritual aspect of moving towards the inner freedom and well-being referred to earlier; it focused much more clearly on the growth of the soul, as opposed to merely the growth of the psyche.

So what this is really about is the fact that growth can sometimes be infinitely accelerated if we see what is possible; if we see what we can become.

But this goes way beyond the little boy who wishes to emulate his policeman or fireman father, or the little girl who wants to be a doctor or lawyer like her mother. This is about what is possible from the point of view of inner freedom, of becoming totally responsible for the self, of taking responsibility for one’s own happiness, of learning how to make conscious choices, and of becoming aware of the self.

So when you meet someone who lives in an inner place that you find wonderful (even though it may seem light years from where you find yourself), or when you read about someone who does so, or when you read about an ideal you can aspire to, and you see that this is showing you what you could become, then use it as a map. Because you can also go there.

P.S. and in case you are curious, since then - since the experiences recounted above - there has been much fine-tuning in my life, much re-visiting of areas and issues that needed greater work, as I know there will continue to be until the day I pass, and much of the fine-tuning came about through other books, and also through human beings I've been fortunate enough to meet or observe or study, but the essential bits were put in place through those two early books by Dyer and Zukav.

Image: Photograph by Grégoire Sieuw, National Geographic Your Shot
From a northern promontory on the Faroe island of Kalsoy, the Kallur lighthouse boasts a panoramic view of the sea and neighboring islands. About a hundred people inhabit four villages on remote Kalsoy, one of 18 islands making up the North Atlantic archipelago.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Risks & Their Benefits


In which areas of your life do you take risks? Perhaps you like white water rafting in Costa Rica, or perhaps you enjoy parasailing. Perhaps you play the stock market, or perhaps you allow yourself to seek love even when there is no guarantee you will be loved back. Perhaps you open your own business during a time such as the current recession because you believe there is a niche for your product, or perhaps you decide to take some money you have inherited, using it to not only pay your tuition as you go back to school, but also to live on during those years as you re-engineer your life, in order that you may start a totally different career at your age.

What are the benefits for you in the taking of such risks? Isn't a part of it that it makes you feel alive as little else does? And another part of it is that you know that your existence has value, that this part of you is allowing you to grow, is bringing you closer to purpose and meaning, and above all, is bringing you closer to yourself. Wouldn't it be devastating - having realized the benefits that risk can bring - to live a life of staid security and conventional safety in order to not deal with the risk that risk entails?

Paul Tillich wrote: He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Approaching the Self


You know that to come closer to your self - your inner self - the you that is always you, and that was always you, even before you were born and became who you are now - you know, don't you, that in order to come closer to that self you may have to spend some time with yourself?

This is easier said than done if you have been busy being busy. If you have dedicated much time to developing your outer self (your professional, social, and financial prestige, your knowledge of good wines or aged scotch, your skill at golf or tennis, and your ease in even the most exalted of circumstances - all of which are admirable elements to develop), but have spent little time developing your inner self, then you may not take to this business of approaching the self as a fish takes to water. Rather, you may feel very much out of your element.

Oh, you say, but I have been busy raising a family, being a breadwinner, and doing all those things that life requires of us in that process. Yes. Life requires much of us that appears to lead us away from the self, so part of the process of approaching the self involves using life, and all the activities it asks of us - sometimes in near never ending fashion - as part of that. That means, in other words, remaining conscious while you participate in many activities that normally serve to keep you in a blind place, and anything but conscious and aware.

So that brings us to mindfulness. It is one very simple way of approaching the self due to the fact that it leads you to being aware at all times. Whether you are in the shower, preparing breakfast, driving to work (with a car full of children or teens that you are dropping off at their respective schools on the way there), or whether you are sitting in a board meeting, chairing a global conference on aid for Ebola victims, or getting ready to go out for dinner with a few of your friends after a friendly neighbourhood baseball game - if you follow the precepts of a simple mindfulness practice - you will be aware at all of these times. Or - if you are still working on getting there - you will frequently catch yourself in momentary blindness or reactivity, but quickly enough to take you back to awareness before long.

Read this for a brief post about beginning a mindfulness practice that - if done on a daily basis - will impact your life very quickly

You see, what this means is that you never get 'lost' in life so much that you forget that you are you and that by approaching yourself in this conscious fashion through your daily activities, you will come closer and closer to the part that always was, is and will be you. This leads to inner peace. It leads to self-love of a very caring kind, and it leads to inner well-being.

Image: Lotus blossom emerging from the mud, as the self may emerge from life

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friends & Enemies


It's easy to distinguish between your friend and your enemy when they are out there - visible to the naked eye, not only for how you recognize their faces, but also due to how you recognize what they do to and for you, proving by those words or acts the fact that they are your friends or enemies.

It's slightly  more complicated to recognize when we're talking about the friend and the enemy we all have inside of us. You know - the voice that tells us we can't, or that we're not good enough, or that we'll never make it, or that we're a failure. That voice - the voice of our inner enemy - is insidious and potentially so sabotaging that it might prove itself right if we commit the mistake of believing it. Furthermore, that voice is often heard within the secure confines of our comfort zone and hence it keeps us there, and by so doing, it keeps us from growing.

But we also have another 'person' inside of us, and that is our friend. That's the one - although its voice is often much, much weaker than the voice of our enemy - that says yes you can or it may say of course this is possible, just give it a try or it may say remember when you did such-and-such and you believed you wouldn't be able to manage it and yet you did ... you made it ... just do that again, and so on. This is the voice we need to listen to and this is the inner person that needs to receive precedence in what we believe and what we don't. This is also the one you need to foment, and help grow in strength. One of the easiest ways of doing that is by robbing the other voice of its strength. So each time the other voice pops up, tell yourself that while you don't yet know how to get where you want to go, you choose to focus on the encouraging voice. And so you pivot in your mind away from the thoughts that sabotage towards the thoughts that - while you may not yet be 100% certain of them - at least are encouraging you to move in the direction of your dreams.

Become acquainted with those inner people of yours and make sure that you can easily distinguish between your friend and your enemy and make even more sure that you make the conscious choice of showing one the door and giving the other your hand. There is a wonderful Costa Rican proverb that goes: All people have their friend and their enemy within themselves. 

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things To Do While Waiting For Happiness & Success


Waiting for success to arrive can be a daunting business. It can elude us, with the slippery qualities of a fish in the water. You may despair of anything ever happening, and so you continue to wait hopefully that success will finally alight on your doorstep.

But what are you doing during this waiting period? 

Let's look at another scenario. Imagine you want to be happy - also a daunting business. But again, happiness always seems to elude you like that proverbial slippery fish. You never get that promotion, without which you can't be happy. You  never have a vacation that is long enough to allow you to take a road trip from Mexico to Patagonia, without which you can't be happy. You never get that Porsche, without which you can't be happy. You never lose those ten pounds, without which you can't be happy. You never got the public acknowledgement and praise for that thing you did, without which you can't be happy.

So here you are in another kind of anteroom to happiness: a waiting period, where you wait to achieve or receive or do something in order to then - finally, ipso facto - be happy.

In both examples you can choose to do something different - something that allows you to feel a measure of that success; a measure of that happiness now! You find success in what you do every day, every step of the way, along that road to the other success you are aiming at, and by finding this success every day in your daily steps, you will bring another kind of energy to your life than the helpless, hopeless energy consistent with that continual hoping. And in the case of happiness you can choose to find happiness in the everyday activities of your life. You can be happy now - your happiness does not depend on outer circumstances, but on inner choices. Jonathan Winters said: I could not wait for success, so I went ahead without it. The same applies to happiness.

Image thanks to dpshots.com
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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Friday, November 7, 2014

Learning To Be Unconquerable


Over the millennia of recorded human history we have countless examples of beings who may have been ill, suffering, in chains, or suppressed in some other way, and yet their spirit was never conquered because they had made some inner choices

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition politician who remained under house arrest in Burma for a period of 15 years, even when her husband was dying in England is an excellent example of being unconquerable. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the midst of this in 1991. Nelson Mandela (my perennial favorite, as I always feel so inspired by him), is another unconquerable hero due to his 27 years as a prisoner of the Apartheid régime in South Africa, where he did not allow this harrowing situation to gain power over his inner self. As we all know, when he was finally released, he served as South Africa's first black elected president from 1994-1999. We can also go back in history to heroes such as Joan of Arc in France, Spartacus in Rome, or Winston Churchill in England. 

What unites all the people I've mentioned is the indomitable aspect of their spirit; their refusal to allow their inner selves to be conquered by very difficult circumstances. Part of this may be due to the fact that they strongly believed in some goal or ideal, and part of it may be due to the fact that they took extremely good care of their thoughts.

Taking good care of your thoughts implies being conscious and aware (and loving yourself enough to want to do so and therefore to practice being so, while this is not yet a habit in your life). Imagine you are not aware of your body needing a shower, or your teeth needing a good brushing. You simply wouldn't do it if you were not aware of it. This, unfortunately, is what happens to so many who are not aware of their thoughts. They therefore allow these thoughts to run away with them, i.e., they allow their thoughts to dominate their mind, their emotions, and ultimately, their lives, resulting in a situation where they are not able to be unconquerable in the way I have described the mind of the above heroes.

Learning to take good care of your thoughts is a question of awareness, as said - a question of being mindful about your present moment - and practicing being aware, until it becomes second nature. That's it. Seneca said: It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable. 

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Anger & Joy are Unable to Co-Exist


Imagine - just for a moment - that the next time someone makes you angry, you choose not to give way to that anger and choose instead - very deliberately - to focus on something that normally brings you joy. I'm talking about the kind of anger - when you normally express it - that leads to greater problems in your relationships or even public spectacles; the kind of anger that we call explosive, and that you often find yourself incapable of controlling. (And you know that if you can imagine it, you can do it).

Clearly you are aware of the fact that such anger wreaks havoc on your life in a way that is similar to the kind of havoc an alcoholic may wreak on his or her own life. Why? Because both come from a lack of being in charge of yourself. It's that simple. That's where it destroys. Anger is both an expression of a strong emotion and the expression of a weakness. And to be quite clear, to express a strong emotion is not wrong and is certainly not something I want to discourage you from, but it is the way the strong emotion that is expressed that might be done differently. When the way that strong emotion is expressed takes you out of yourself, out of control of yourself, and furthermore is hurtful to others, then you probably need to rethink your way of behaving. 

Another aspect of explosive anger is the ego's need to explode, just to show the other person how important this is to you, and it is, in fact, the ego that might have the greatest sway over you to not follow my suggestion here, because a voice in your head will tell you that of course you aren't going to focus on something joyful when you need to show the other person how wrong they were to do or say whatever it was that they did, and how right you are to show them how angry you are. So it may be that your battle will be with your ego and not your anger, although the two are very interlinked if your anger expresses itself in the way described in this post. You might also want to click on the label 'ego' here on my blog, or read some of the other articles I've written about the ego on my website.

Hence my suggestion of deliberately cultivating - each time you feel that incipient surge of anger - the focusing on something of joy. Perhaps the smell of freshly-brewed coffee, or newly-mown grass. Perhaps the feel of a brisk breeze as you clip over the waves in a small boat, perhaps the savor of nachos on your tongue as you sit down to watch a ball-game. Whatever strategy you use, remember that its purpose is not to make you burst into ballroom dancing, but to change the state of your inner energy so that you are able to catch yourself, to hold on to yourself and to treat the whole situation in which you are involved differently. Not to pretend it's not there. Not to avoid it, but to carry it to a different kind of conclusion where your explosive anger no longer plays a role. Anger and joy simply can't co-exist. One cancels the other and you can use your power of choice to make that happen and to change your world.

Image: The Wave, Gold Coast, Australia / Credit National Geographic

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Monday, November 3, 2014

Staying on Your Goals in All Your Now Moments


Reaching a goal is not necessarily what gives you satisfaction. Fully accomplishing a task is not necessarily where you find joy. Part of it - part of the satisfaction and joy you achieve, you receive on your way there when you get out on a daily basis and take the - perhaps quite minute - steps that are necessary to take today in order to get to that goal that you want to reach next week, in five months or in several years.

You all know the story about someone being congratulated on their 'overnight' success. They answer: thanks, it only took 20 years. But that is rarely the part that other people see - or even that they want to see.

George Lorimer said: You've got to get up every morning with determination if you're going to go to bed with satisfaction. That holds true for just about anything you set out to do. Studying for a degree at university? It will take a minimum of three or four years, depending on your country and educational system. That's just for an undergraduate degree, not to mention masters and doctoral degrees that take much longer. So during that time what keeps you going? Part of it is your determination to do each day the bit that corresponds to that day in order to get to the end of the current semester, study the texts, write your papers, make your presentations, take your exams, and achieve a grade that will allow you to move to the next level. But that is precisely what gifts you with satisfaction with yourself on that daily basis. If all you think about is the end result, not even the degree, but the professional position such a degree will allow you to have, you will not only - in some fashion - waste those years for lack of enjoyment and satisfaction, but you will also deny yourself the daily satisfaction you are meant to have.

Leonardo da Vinci said: People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. And of course, what they did, as they were 'happening' to things, was not accomplish a goal at that very moment, but to take the daily steps to get there. And feel satisfaction for it.

We have a current average life expectancy of approximately 87 years in the Western world. Assuming a child has a relatively decent childhood and family environment, it can be filled with much joy every day simply because of the wonder and amazement it experiences with every new thing it sees and smells and hears and learns about. It can seize satisfaction from every moment all day long.

That gift, however, tends to be taken from us at some point in our childhood due to the kind of socialization we receive in the home, our churches, and our schools. We forget how to enjoy the moment, and we forget how to enjoy the journey. This literally means that years and decades of our lives are spent looking towards the future, towards a goal, but not living and enjoying the present moment - no matter what we might be doing. Sometimes that may mean that we can only enjoy something that is inside of us.

Today's post is about recapturing that, about remembering how to 'get out and happen to things', about remembering how to feel determined, and about remembering how to get satisfaction from all we do, as we move towards our goals and accomplishments.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy