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Dr. Tian Dayton
Dr. Tian Dayton is the author of The ACoA Trauma Syndrome, How Childhood Pain Impacts Adult Relationships, Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance and twelve other books and numerous articles. She has been a national speaker for twenty years doing keynotes on a variety of subjects related to addiction, psychology and psychodrama. Her work in psychodrama has been featured on film, TV and documentaries. She is the director of The New York Psychodrama Training Institute. For more information on Dr. Dayton log onto

Dr. Tian Dayton, has a doctorate in clinical psychology, an M.A. in educational psychology, and is a fellow and "Scholar's Award" recipient from the American Society of Psychodrama, Sociometery, and Group Psychotherapy as well as the Mona Mansell Award and the Ackerman/Black Award for contributions to the addictions field.She taught psychodrama at NYU for eight years and is a regular guest expert on TV and radio appearing on MSNBC, CNN, CBS, John Walsh, Ricki Lake, Montel and Geraldo.

Entries by Dr. Tian Dayton

Adult Children of Alcoholics and Trauma

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 5:05 PM

PTSD is a much-talked-about-syndrome these days. Soldiers who experience battle muster psychological defenses to get through. However, when they return home the pain that they couldn't allow themselves to feel then comes crashing in on them weeks, months or even years after the fact. The pain gets triggered by some...

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New York: The City That Gives Birth to Artists

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 2:22 PM

Last week, I had that experience of being immersed in art that is so much a part of living in New York City, that sense of pleasure and privilege at being a part of something that you know adds beauty to the world. A group of sophisticated New Yorkers were...

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Mindfulness: Using the Holidays as a Healing Moment

(1) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 6:07 PM

Welcome to the holiday season, with all of its joys and pleasures! If ever there were a moment when memories and feelings are heightened, this is one.

Holidays have the elusive power to reach into our treasure box of memories. Each song, scent or sight triggers a quiet rush of...

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Mother Love: Molding Our Capacity for Intimacy

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 10:00 AM

Mother love, the kind that sinks deep into your mind, body and heart and shapes forever your ability to live comfortably in your own skin, is a gift that lasts for a lifetime; a legacy that passes down through the generations. Neuroscience tells us that love is a full brain...

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The Gift My Parents Gave Me After They Divorced

(1) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 1:26 PM

My parents divorced when I was 15 years old. It was scarring, one of the most painful periods of my life, but as I look back, I see that it was the best thing for them and ultimately, for me as well. I have now been married for 38 years,...

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The Importance of Modeling the Behavior You Want to See

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 5:28 PM

I work in the field of addictions. Most of the addicts I treat report having discovered alcohol or drugs at a very young age, 11 or 12. Teenage years aren't easy, but when a teenager discovers that alcohol or drugs take the edge off their anxiety, gives them that little...

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A Child Near You May Need Your Kindness: Living With the Drama of Addiction

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 2:12 PM

Feb. 9-15 is National Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week

When you live with parental addiction, a little kindness, can go a long way. When you are sad, or lonely or feeling unwanted, the smallest gesture from someone who sees you can change the course of your day, it can strengthen...

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100 Million Bill Pulls Mental Health Out of the Shadows

(2) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 2:01 PM

Long ignored and misunderstood as a driver of billions of dollars in lost revenue and absenteeism among workers, mental health and addiction may, because of efforts over the past few years, finally be seen as real rather than imagined issues. It has been generally true that illnesses to the body...

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Using Drugs to Belong, Drinking to Manage Depression: Chiara de Blasio Tells Her Story of Substance Abuse

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 1:25 PM

Nearly a million people have watched Chiara de Blasio describe her journey of recovery on YouTube since the video was released over the holidays last month. Chiara wanted to speak out to help all those who are suffering in silence.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 3.1 million Americans need treatment for a substance-abuse problem.

Chiara sounds like so many young people who struggle with belonging, or who hide feelings of depression or anxiety. Chiara has used pot and alcohol to manage emotional pain that she didn't know what else to do with. Her parents care, and so do so many parents. But alcohol and drugs are out there, easy to get, and they do the job. They make uncomfortable feelings that threaten to become overwhelming just sort of go away. They make sliding into a group feel smoother. When you feel insecure, they shore you up, at least for a while. They provide a sense of closeness, albeit a drug-induced one, that takes away that sense of separateness that we all carry somewhere inside. They drug you. They are a synthetic solution to a very human problem. And they work. But not for long. Eventually the solution becomes a problem that eats away at the infrastructure of your life as you feel yourself slowly slipping away from "normal," slowly becoming someone you no longer recognize as you.

"Every kid who grows up in New York grows up pretty fast," Chiara says in the video. "It's astonishing." She continues, "I've had depression, clinical depression, for my entire adolescence. ... [Drinking and doing drugs] made it easier." She goes on to describe how pot and alcohol gave her a sense of being a part of something, how they helped with her insecurity at college, being so far from what was familiar. "It didn't start out as a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me," she says. "When I went away to college, I didn't really do the proper mental and emotional work to prepare myself. I kind of just thought that all my problems would go away if I just got on a plane and flew 3,000 miles."

In describing how drug and alcohol use kept creeping into her life, she says, "I kind of just kept reasoning, using this really fake rationale that was so justified to me...." She'd decide to just smoke pot, or to just drink, which, at the time, made complete sense to her as a way to manage her use and eventual abuse of drugs and alcohol. She didn't know that she was slowly losing her grip on reality, that she was becoming another person, that drugs and alcohol were taking over her life, that her solution to make pain go away was just creating more pain.

She was one of the lucky ones. Her therapist made the right call, realizing that she needed to get sober in order to get better, and she referred her to an outpatient treatment program in New York City. Chiara says, "I was looking for an institutional, group-therapy sort of thing where I could just work with other people around my age on these issues of depression and anxiety that I was facing." She adds, "Removing substances from my life has opened so many doors for me. ... Now I'm doing well in school and actually getting to explore things that aren't just partying."

Chiara says, "I think it's just important for people to realize, anybody who's watching this, that if you're suffering, and if you're depressed or dealing with mental illness, and you think that it might have something to do with your drug abuse or drinking, or if you're just suffering from both of those at the same time and you think that they're completely unrelated to one another, that getting sober is always a positive thing. And it's not easy. By no means is it easy. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's so worth it."

In Chiara's words, wise beyond her years, "Nobody can do sobriety on their own. You really just have to keep on relying on those that have been there, finding people that have gone through it, being honest, open, and willing...." And if you are willing to tap into the collective wisdom of those millions who have gone before you and found sobriety, she says, "you will see the most immense change that you've ever seen...

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An Attitude of Gratitude: What This One Little Emotion Can Do for Your Life

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 11:55 AM

It's the holiday season, and everyone talks about being grateful. For those among us who find it easy to feel grateful, here's research to back up your natural inclination. For anyone who might need a little prodding, just keep reading, you may decide that gratitude isn't just a word, but...

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How Modern Lifestyles Activate Ancient Stress Responses

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2013 | 11:10 AM

Do you feel fried, get easily irritated, or sink into negative states of mind faster than you used to? Do you want to collapse and cocoon at the end of the week? If so, consider what might be going on with your stress level that might be affecting your mood....

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How Being an ACoA Impacts Our Adult Intimate Relationships

(1) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 4:03 PM

Growing up in a family where there is parental addiction shapes how we learn to live in intimate relationships. Anxiety levels around the kinds of behaviors that surround addiction and the inevitable relationship despair worms its way into our hearts. It's especially true when we watch those we love change...

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The Role of Love in Mental Health

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2013 | 9:21 AM

I love words like attachment and attunement, attending and caregiving. I suppose it's because they put me in touch with what I know to be at the center of everything, and that is love. Why is it so much easier for us to talk about "attachment" than love? Because it...

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Why We 'Self-Medicate' Our Own Depression or Anxiety

(2) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 3:34 PM

This is mental health awareness month. Which means, in my experience, that it is still, to some extent at least, alcohol awareness month. Many people who suffer with undiagnosed depression or anxiety reach for alcohol or drugs to calm their nerves or relieve them of emotional pain. In other words,...

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5 Easy Stress Busters

(3) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 9:20 AM

How does environment and behavior actually become biology? Our mind's response to stress sends out body signals as to whether or not to rev up or ease up. We were probably not designed for the kinds of constant stressors that are part of most modern lives. Daily traffic, beeping, tapping,...

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Forgiveness Is a Verb: It Takes Work

(3) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 3:03 PM

Life includes pain. About this we have no choice, it comes with the territory. What we do have choice around is how much we suffer. Life is full of ups and downs, but feeling wounded occasionally doesn't necessarily indicate that we're doing anything wrong. Sometimes wrongs can be addressed, sometimes...

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Denial in Addicted Family Systems

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 2:48 PM

Denial is a word that people in recovery use often. It generally refers to an addict who is denying their own increasing use and abuse of alcohol and/or drugs and its affect on their life. Or, it refers to someone around the addict who is denying the progression and impact...

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New Year's Resolution: I Will Become a Positive Thinker

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 5:45 PM

Is happiness a choice, or a fleeting experience that occurs only when all our stars are all perfectly aligned? Can we lose happiness as easily as we find it, or are there attitudes we can adopt that will counter feelings of pessimism and help us to build a stronger, more...

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When the Holidays Hurt

(3) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 10:50 AM

Sugar plums aren't the only things that dance through our heads during the holiday season. For those among us whose holidays have been shaken up by loss or family rupture, addiction or illness, the holidays can remind us not only of what we have, but of what feels missing. There...

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Growing Up With Toxic Stress or Addiction and Its Long-Term Impact

(2) Comments | Posted November 19, 2012 | 10:31 AM

If we grow up with toxic stress in childhood, does it change us? Does growing up with parental addiction, abuse or neglect affect out physical, mental and emotional health? Are we making it up? Researchers tells an interesting story.

According the website for the Center on the...

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