Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am nervous about the idea of going to therapy. I was invited to go in order to build a stronger relationship with a family member, but I cannot imagine how talking to a stranger will help.

Whenever my relative and I are around each other for more than a couple of hours, we get into it, and it gets ugly. We seem to pick at each other relentlessly. The rest of the family staged an intervention and told us we have to get it together. They want us to go to therapy. Considering that therapy is an actual profession where people get paid, I question whether the sessions would be personal or just a person doing their job? -- Does Therapy Work?

DEAR DOES THERAPY WORK?: Many people are nervous about therapy before they try it, which is understandable. It requires you to open up about your feelings and experiences. Usually people go to therapy when they have reached a crossroads in their lives and need outside help. Given that your family intervened to get you to deal with your issues, it sounds like you are at that place.

The good news is that a professional therapist is trained to listen and support people as they address their personal issues. Because the therapist doesn’t know you and has been professionally educated on how to address a broad variety of challenges that people face, he or she will likely be able to help you and your family member talk objectively about whatever is going on. Objectivity is key in sorting through emotionally charged issues.

I recommend that you go to the therapy sessions with the belief that you will gain tools for how to build a more loving, respectful bond with your family.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I sometimes find myself struggling with time management. I know the feeling of being ahead of the game and prepared, and it is great. However, I always find myself procrastinating. Sometimes it is because I can lose all internal motivation. I do want to make a change in the long run. I need advice on how I should better myself. -- Stuck

DEAR STUCK: I am a big believer in lists. I make a to-do list every single day, including weekends, that outlines what I have to accomplish. I include personal care, work projects, family -- everything that is important to me that needs to be addressed. Then I check off each item as I accomplish it. This provides motivation to move on to the next item on the list.

It is important to break down your tasks into manageable bits. If you put a whole project as one item, it will be harder to see small victories. Break down a big job into smaller parts. In this way, you can monitor your progress. This should help you to conquer procrastination. What’s key is that you actually make the list EVERY DAY, and that you check it off. Don’t avoid the tool that can help you. Make your list right now!

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)