The blocks to great relationships with friends and family

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Friendship is important


Kids know the importance of friendship.  Without friends kids have no one to play with.  Life is boring and lonely without friends.  Also, friends bring all sorts of wonderful things into your life like birthday parties, playing team games like baseball or giving you courage to try new things.  Friends can even help you out with your homework or back you up when you’re dealing with a bully.

Adults still need friends for basically the same reasons.  Friendships provide additional support and greater opportunities for enjoying the world.  Friendships enrich your life.  Besides, a significant relationship is not a replacement for friends.  Expecting one person, like a spouse or one friend, to be able to fulfill all of your relationship needs leads to disappointment or overwhelm.  No, you need to try out that new cooking class in Woodland Hills with your girlfriends or watch a football game at a sports bar in Encino.

At the same time, finding and maintaining friendships can be challenging.  Here are some of the reasons why:

Time and Priorities

If you don’t prioritize friendship, they can take last place after work, family, exercise and your other responsibilities.  You may be so busy, happy, and active that you’re not missing your friendships…until life slows down and you realize that they’ve drifted away.

Maybe it’s hard to choose hanging out with a friend over spending time with your significant other or your children.  You might have difficulty putting yourself first and choosing to do what you want to do if it means disappointing your family.  You’ll run your kid to every birthday party in the San Fernando Valley because you understand the value of friendship for them…but you might be forgetting the value of friendship for yourself.  You need to make some play dates for yourself too!

Past Disappointments

You’ve had some friends let you down. Perhaps they weren’t there when you needed them.  Or maybe they blatantly mistreated you.  For some people, friendships have been difficult since childhood.  You may feel like you never learned how to choose the right friends for you or how to make a friendship connection.  Some women have a history of only being able to be friends with men and there are men who can only be friends with women.  And yet they would like to form a friendship with someone of the same sex.   If you experienced being bullied as a child, that can leaves a lifelong mark, affecting the way you view yourself and others.

These disappointing experiences with friendships may have made you think that they’re not worth the effort or discouraged you about whether satisfying friendships are really possible for you.

Exploring your feelings about friendship in individual or group therapy can help you regain the freedom to satisfy this important aspect of your life.

Check out my blog, if you would like to read more about relationship with your FRIENDS.

loving your family


Everyone wants to love their family.  It’s instinctual.  From the time we were infants we knew that these people were our protectors.  We belonged with them.  Human beings are not solo animals.  We belong in herds.  Our family was our original herd.

Unfortunately, some of our herds didn’t provide the protection that they were intended for.  Instead some family herds hurt you; physically or emotionally.  You had to protect yourself from your family.  Even loving families can hurt each other in subtle or unconscious ways.

Additionally, our families can hurt us more than anyone else because they matter more.  If some stranger criticizes you or rejects you; you can brush it off, but if a family member said the same thing, it hurts.  That is what makes our relationships with our family so tricky.  Our basic, primal need for love and acceptance of our families is what makes those relationships powerful and challenging.  We are vulnerable to that power, like Superman to kryptonite.

Therapy helps you understand your relationship with your family, healing old wounds, discovering new ways of being, finding alternative ways of feeling, so that you can feel less pain and more love towards your family.

Let’s Talk

Schedule a free 15 minute consultation by calling +1 (818) 245-5298
or e-mailing me at

Rena Pollak, LMFT, CGP  | 15720 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 508, Encino, CA 91436 | 818-245-5298