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Counseling/Adopted daughter


Dear Mr. Gerlach,
I came across your website by chance and have been blown away by  the depth of information I found.
My 17 year old adopted daughter is obviously wounded and I can see how my inherited wounds have impacted her negatively. I am willing to work through your program to gain the knowledge to help us both.
My question is, is it important to work with a therapist? We have tried therapy but I have found, not just with her but in my own experience through the years, that therapists have their own perspective, are quick to jump to conclusions and at times do more harm than good. In other words, they bring their own issues to the session. It is also very expensive here  in San Francisco. What are your thought about  the necessity of therapy?
Thanks so much for sharing your valuable knowledge.

Hi Shelley - thanks for your articulate question. A qualified therapist can speed personal healing. If you and your daughter are each wounded, I encourage you to evaluate "parts work" as a reliable way of reducing your wounds. Lesson 1, Module 3 in my Web site describes this process in some detail. You can find trained therapists in your area here: I have done this type of therapy for 22 years, and consult by phone or Skype: You can do a lot of this work by yourself.

See question 5 here for perspective:

If you have other questions please ask! - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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