About

Bruce Steven Dolin, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist practicing in Beverly Hills, California.  He can be contacted at poptheworld at att.net.

Born in Chicago, Bruce Dolin’s first love was movies.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in literature and film, and then earned his M.F.A. at NYU graduate film school.  He directed television and wrote numerous screenplays before his travails in Hollywood helped him realize that his true voice, calling and passion was as a psychologist.  He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.  Dr. Dolin went to work in the trenches of non-profit mental health, working with group home kids, special needs kids and severely emotionally disturbed children in the “system.”  He also worked as a consultant at elite private schools and built a private practice in Beverly Hills where he particularly enjoys working with parents, as well as with writers, musicians, painters and sculptors.  Privilege of Parenting represents the distillation of nineteen years of clinical experience as a psychologist.  Dr. Dolin lives in Studio City, California with his wife of twenty years, the film curator Andrea Alsberg, and their sons Nate and Will, and also their rescued bulldog-boxer, Agnes.

In an age of managed care nightmares he is proud to be a member of zero health insurance panels.   Although he practices in Beverly Hills, Dr. Dolin maintains a commitment to giving back and offers sliding-fee treatment and a healthy amount of pro-bono work.  With his book, and with this blog, Dr. Dolin strives to share what he knows and make it more widely available to parents who might not otherwise gain access to the level of care and insight that he is able to offer his clients.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jared September 4, 2009 at 3:07 am

Dear Dr. Dolin,
I really enjoyed reading your comment posted on NYT-online concerning how parents approach the issue of sleep with their infants. Thank you. I look forward to reading more of your posting on your blog.
with best regards,
Jared

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Alana January 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Oh yay! An aware parent who is also a psychologist. Keeping you on file for referral purposes – and very much enjoying the blog.

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Christine "Blisschick" Reed February 9, 2010 at 11:22 am

I keep meaning to come over here and thank you for the long and thoughtful comment you left on my post about traditional talk therapy. Finally…here I am, saying thank you. :)

What you write brings to mind something I was recently listening to — an Anthony De Mello talk. De Mello, I’m sure you know, was a Jesuit Priest and a psychotherapist. When he spoke of therapy, he said most people don’t want a cure, but rather, they simply want relief, and that’s about what therapy has to offer.

It reminded me so much of what you wrote on my blog. :)

I wonder…what differentiates the person who wants a cure from most people who simply want relief? This is a big question for me…one I don’t think can really be answered, though sometimes, I think that reincarnation can explain it a bit — but that is the ultimate NON answer, is it not? :)

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Matt Rhodes April 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and for your comment. I’ve learned that one of the great things about life – and parenting and religion and politics and all that that life entails – is the diversity of opinion that makes us all as unique as the things that we share. I’ve really enjoyed looking at your blog and have linked it to mine for future visits; I hope you’ll do the same!

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privilegeofparenting April 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Thanks for visiting me too, I’ll look forward to comparing notes as we go.

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chris white April 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

hey bruce,
i have enjoyed your blog posts and comments on Essential Parenting. keep them all coming!
blessings

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privilegeofparenting April 13, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Thanks for that—I enjoy and appreciate your efforts to help parents via deeper thinking and particularly like the sense that we’re gathering toward a common ethic of caring about each other and all our kids.

Blessings to you too. Namaste

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Jennifer Gruskoff June 11, 2010 at 8:43 am

Hi Bruce,

I love the Abby Normal piece so much, and I am wondering if we could put it on Goodkin today? I would of course link it right back to you. Let me know if that would be something you’d be interested in.

Yours,
Jen

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privilegeofparenting June 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I’d be honored. Namaste, Bruce

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Barbra August 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I stumbled upon your blog this evening in a moment of needing a little parental support. My heartfelt thanks to you for sharing your experience and wisdom, I wish I would have found your site earlier and know now that I will be checking in often.

My son said he hated himself tonight and my heart sank. I found your post about when kids say they hate themselves and found the words that I needed to find encouragement, strength and wisdom, and the reminder to stop and listen. In the morning I will talk less and listen more.

With gratitude,
Barbra

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privilegeofparenting August 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Thank you so much for taking the time to share these kind words with me, I really appreciate them. Sending all good wishes, Bruce

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rebecca @ altared spaces December 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

I love the new site! Everything tidy and in places I can find it. Thank you.

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Lizbeth November 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Hi, mi name is Lizbeth and I have a 7 year old boy.
His dad and I separated almost 3 years ago and he has gone though lots of changes.
immediately after our separation I went back to school, I have nobody in this country all my family is back in my native country so I have gotten hard time myself trying to keep up with everything.
My son just started grade 2 and overall he is always a happy kid who likes jokes and mingle with other kids, he is active and likes playing sports with his classmates. Yesterday before going to bed after he had finished brushing his teeth he told me… ” I wish I die” I asked him if he knew what he had said and the reason he felt that; he answered ” I hate myself, I am so stupid and I don’t do anything right”. I tried to convince him of the opposite and I told him how much I love him, as well as I told him that he is a blessing in my life… His face was sad and he held his cry repeating several times the same sentence ” I hate myself ” I am scared and I don’t know how to help him.
Seeing my son’s little face caring all that pain, smashed my heart in thousand pieces; somehow I feel responsible for my son’s pain.
As I was looking for some information in regards this topic an something to help me to understand my son better, I stumble with this site. Please help me..
Thank you…

Sincerely,

Lizbeth

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Bruce November 9, 2012 at 8:07 am

Hi Lizbeth,

Welcome and thank you for reaching out to me for assistance. I have been writing about parenting in the hopes of being helpful to parents such as yourself.

My first two suggestions would be specific blog posts on the topics of self harm and how to understand this and intervene effectively. Please read the post and some of the comments and responses and, sadly, you will find that you and your boy are not alone on this topic. In fact, many thousands of parents have searched this very topic looking for similar help. This post is as follows:

http://bit.ly/cmL1jl

As for hating himself, please see this blog post:

http://bit.ly/aHntca

Finally, my book (which is different from the blog, more like a comprehensive guide to parenting) is also a way I have tried to gather all my parenting ideas into one place that takes you through step by step. While this one does cost something and the others are free, I have tried to make it well worth the investment.

http://bit.ly/w76zcY

Meanwhile, I offer you all very best wishes. Feel free to let me know how things go, as your feedback might help other parents and kids down the line

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Michael Lang March 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Bruce,

It has been a long time since those NYU Grad Film days, but your blog has been inspiring and helpful to me as I have two sons myself. Also reading your autobiographical entries have me alternatley laughing and tearing up. I am so glad you are doing well. You have a real talent in writing too. I remember enjoying your student film about the dog. What was the title?

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Bruce March 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Hi Michael,

How fantastic to hear from you… and here at my blog no less :). I was just this morning talking with Bill Judkins about how much we treasured our NYU days.

Thanks for your encouraging words. I’d love to hear more about what you’ve been up to, how old your boys are, etc. (maybe shoot me an email at poptheworld “at” att.net).

BTW, that film was called “Two Scoops For Slugger,” and I’m glad anyone at all remembers it.

Warmest Regards, Bruce

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Randy February 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Bruce,
The other day i had an awful dream that my grandson was fussing and someone (must have been someone I knew) took him and placed him on a table and said to me; “do you know what the best thing about a child is”, confused i replied what; they then reached for a handle and pulled as my grandson sat there looking at me a knife went flying toward his and stabbed him in the check; looking at my grandson not knowing what had just happened the person replied their last breath. I looked at my grandson and his head slumped over, i ran and grabbed him running out of the room i began to yell please help us. What does something like this mean? I have had dreams in the past that have come true, some with the actual person, others represent someone else. It scares me.

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Bruce February 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Hi Randy,

While I cannot continue to provide in depth analysis of reader’s dreams, perhaps this thread will give some ideas:

http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/nightmares-about-children-being-abused-or-traumatized/

Also the archetypal idea of the child sacrificed could relate to the need for some part of the ego-self (or identification with that part of the self) to “die” so that a more fully integrated consciousness might be “born” or so we might become our own best Selves, personally and maybe through this collectively.

Certainly wishing wellness to you and all your family asleep and awake :)

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Teah February 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Hi Bruce,
Last night I had a dream that me and my 18 year old daughter walked to the top of a 102 storey building (don’t know if that number is significant) that people lived in and we stood on the top floor watching the stars that looked like neon lights. Then she got really envious of where they lived and I said to her (words to the effect of), ‘Kels, that’s their life and you have to live your life,’ as I closed the door to one of their apartments and started walking down the stairs of the building. My daughter had a skateboard and she went to ride down the stairs but she flipped over the stairs and I watched her fall 102 stories down while hearing her scream the entire time.
I am very close with my daughter and we go through things together. I have no idea what this would mean but watching her hit the pavement at the bottom of the building woke me right up. Thanks

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Bruce February 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

Hi Teah,

Please see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2016/09/23/what-our-nightmares-about-our-children-could-mean/

One additional note to get you started in your personal interpretation (that you must do) would be a collective interpretation or context for your dream. The 102 “story” building is made up of many “stories” not just floors, but narratives.

We all have our narrative, or point of view, or opinions, but then even those who seem to “come out on top” and live in a “Tower” are dwarfed by the heavens and the stars.

We all saw on 9/11 that hundred story towers do not last forever, and that hate can destroy towers but hate cannot destroy love, or courage or the true essence of democracy.

But the wrong response to hate can start a war, and cause more loss and suffering, more misunderstanding, more parents watching children die.

If you don’t know that great work of literature by Dr. Seuss called “Yertle the Turtle,” perhaps take three minutes to read it; then think not of the people at the top of the tower but of the people at the ground floor on whose back the top “story” rests.

Perhaps your dream is a warning personally about managing your own envy, hurt, confusion about why the worst people seem to be in charge or “on top” sometimes. Perhaps your daughter is the less sophisticated part of you who thinks that the view is nice at the top (and perhaps it is, if you don’t think about the backs of the poor upon whom too often wealth is built with stories about merit and hard work obscuring less comfortable stories of luck, inheritance, deception and ruthless greed).

I’m not any sort of expert in social issues, but I’m talking about the hope that we individuals will recognize that the egotistical and petulant tower builder/little-king within us is basically our biological wiring to survive (get more, compete, get above it all and away from the danger below). When we are loved, loving and connected that ego-brain is balanced by the mother/father/sister/brother/friend brain.

When the ego is in charge the kids are the ones who “take the fall”

The tragic realization about this (after the war, the divorce, the addiction, the never there because we were working) either changes us so we “wake up” and forgive ourselves and others; or we cannot look at it, like Oedipus and put our own eyes out in shame and horror.

Odiepus is a story, so is Hamlet, so is politics, so is your dream. Let’s try to see that after the stories come and go, whatever remains and does not change turns out to be Truth.

So far the only thing that even comes close to that ideal is Love, especially when we love someone else to the degree that we want what’s best for them even if it doesn’t make life richer or easier for ourselves.

For heroes like Ghandi or Martin Luther King that may be world consciousness changing, but for the rest of us it’s more about loving our children. Not on top of a tower but in car pool and bath time and diaper time and pay for college time and love them as they launch and we cry time…

I write these words in support of you as you get ready to let your 18 year old take her next steps, and as you fear she will fall, and as you hope you can both have a good experience and neither of you feel like you’re not as blessed, important, loved or valuable as anyone else in the world. Not better than our fellows, not worse than our fellows. That would be recognition of equality.

Isn’t that a principle that levels the false towers and elevates the unfairly down-trodden?

Hope this makes sense and wishing you and your daughter sweet dreams and a great waking life too :)

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cheyrl November 1, 2017 at 3:02 am

Hi i suffer mental health issues since i was 13 now im 36 it getting tougher i had a bad childhood my mom was an alcoholic and i was emotional/mental&physical abused from young age used to self harming myself all the time i been diagnosed with Emotionally unstable personality disorder and it horrible every day i wake i think im still here pff i have 5 beautiful children all perfectly healthy but i got 6 yr old who might have autism so it pressure coping with my own horrors and helping my son to flourish in his future and love all thm unconditionally but i more protective of them all but i never got shown love a when i was young so i struggle to love mine tht way i no deep down love them more than anything but dont show it i tired of being survivor it never ends i close my eyes at night but when i do i see something tht hurts my children so it takes me while to sleep and i go late to bed bout 1am and up at 7

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Bruce November 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Hi Cheyrl,

Certainly wishing you luck with your parenting and for healing your pain. In addition to therapy to help you with your struggles, the book I wrote was intended for parents like you; the basic idea is that by better understanding your children and giving them the sort of lives and childhoods that you sadly did not get might even end up helping you heal as you continue to mature and your brain continues to become calmer and more loving.

If you think that could help (even if you just read one page every day for awhile as I know parenting so many kids leaves little time for reading) see this link: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bruce+dolin+privilege+of+parenting&x=0&y=0

All Best Wishes in any event :)

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erricka grannel November 19, 2017 at 6:30 am

dear bruce my 13teen year old daughter wrote me a note telling me that she don’t want to be alive.what should I do?

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Bruce November 19, 2017 at 10:27 am

Hi Erica,

Please see this link

http://privilegeofparenting.com/2010/01/22/suicide-what-to-do-when-kids-say-they-want-to-kill-themselves/

The main emphasis is safety, so if you have any doubts, take your daughter to the nearest clinic and have them evaluate her

Warmest regards, Bruce

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