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SaraKay Smullens
SaraKay Smullens ( is a licensed diplomate in clinical social work and and a trained family therapist and educator. She has been certified as a group psychotherapist by American Group Psychotherapy Association and as a certified family life educator by the National Council onFamily Relations.

A recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Social Work, SaraKay is a best-selling author of Whoever Said Life is Fair? and Setting YourSelf Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendship, Love and Work.

Her paper, "Achieving An Emotional Sense of Direction," can be found on her website. This model is described in greater detail in a paper entitled "The Codification and Treatment of Emotional Abuse in Structured Group Therapy, published in the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 60 (1) 2010.

SaraKay's public social work papers, which document a professional lifetime of community organization, advocacy and activism, are shared by the archives of Goucher College and the University of Pennsylvania.

Entries by SaraKay Smullens

The Healing Power of Lucas Hnath's 'Red Speedo:' Visit Philly and See It ASAP

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 3:29 PM

For any who many still require it, last Tuesday's election offered proof that people are talking different languages and vilifying each other -- with no interest in an interpreter or understanding another's perspective and how they arrived at it. The arts offer the much need common language and understanding, even...

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7 Reasons Why Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel Desperately Needs an Infusion of Emotional Intelligence

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 3:24 PM

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, in his Sept. 17 Atlantic Monthly article, "Why I Hope to Die at 75," underscored his belief that age 75 is a dandy time to draw your last breath. With this in mind, Emanuel states emphatically that when he reaches this age he plans to stop all...

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George y Amal: no sólo un matrimonio, también una pareja política

(1) Comments | Posted October 4, 2014 | 12:02 PM

Cuando Joseph "Joe" Patrick Kennedy se casó con Rose el 7 de octubre de 1914 tras un noviazgo de más de siete años, al padre de ella no le hizo demasiada ilusión. Joe era el hijo mayor de P.J. Kennedy, hombre de negocios y rival político de Honey Fitz, alcalde...

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George and Amal: Not Only a Marriage -- The Birth of a 'Wow' Political Couple

(79) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 3:52 PM

When the late Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy married Rose on October 7, 1914, after a courtship of more than seven years, to say her father was not thrilled is an understatement. Joe was the oldest son of business man/politician P.J. Kennedy, a political rival of Boston Mayor Honey Fitz. Joe,...

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Shocked and Surprised: I Will Deeply Miss Joan Rivers

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 1:08 AM

So my husband and I are celebrating our anniversary in Porto and a lovely couple, newly married, join us for white port (which I had never had before and is delicious). Joan Rivers has just died, and my new friend says she found her vulgar. I respond how surprised, even...

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To Breast Or Bottle Feed, A Woman's Choice: Let's Please Stop Judging!

(2) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 4:11 PM

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several years, even if you are not a new mom, you have read and read and read once again how breastfeeding protects an infant from a myriad of illnesses and how important a bonding experience it is. I have...

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Keeping Sexual Love Alive: Six Time-Tested Ways

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 11:54 AM

I think Philip Galanes's "Social Qs" -- found in the Sunday New York Times -- is fabulous. Philip writes like a dream, and his advice is witty, targeted, and filled with film and literary references. (Plus his fascinating, revealing interviews are not to be missed!) One of the generous things...

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'The World Awaits You, Jordana' -- Letter to a Newborn From a Tough Former Philly DA

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Dear Readers:

When my husband and my youngest grandchild, Jordana, was born this past May, her three sisters, who had saved just about everything from their kids, made shopping for Jordana during the next several years completely unnecessary. (Plus, admittedly, I also had saved quite a bit of Jordana's mom's...

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Mad Men's "Dancing In the Dark": The Importance of Choice and a New Definition of Family

(9) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 10:40 AM

For those of you refusing to believe that the stick figure free fall we have watched through the seasons is Don, I continue to be with you! I believe that the last segment supports our hope. Did you find the story line toward the segment conclusion fascinating, as well as...

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Don Draper and the New York Mets: 1969, A Year of Miracles

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 12:50 PM

Listen up everyone who is rooting for Don Draper to make it. OK, I know! Writer after writer is predicting that Don is in the same free fall as the shadowed figure opening his drama each week. And that this final season is going to end with Don's own humongous...

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Help! I Always Pick Selfish Friends and Lovers and They Make Me Feel Rotten

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 7:48 PM

"Why Do I Pick Selfish Girl/Boy Friends and Lovers?" is a question I hear again and again from clients of all ages. Examples are plentiful:

Miriam arrived for an appointment, 15 minutes late and tearful. In her words: "Martha lives next door to me, has full...

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Don Draper's Quest to Be Real: Mad Men's Final Season

(20) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 2:00 PM

OK, I have read lots of negatives about this season's Mad Men. For those who have already bid farewell to Mad Men or are considering it, I urge you to either return or stay turned for this 7th final season. We may not be working toward the genius resolve of...

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Woody Allen's 2014 Win: A Sad Oscar Moment

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 1:10 AM

My heart sank when Cate Blanchett won the Academy Award for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." Undeniably, Blanchett was masterful in her role; but in honoring Blanchett, Woody Allen was also honored.

You see, I believe every word of Dylan Farrow's description of the sexual abuse endured from her father, Woody...

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'The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants': The Damaging Societal Message Exposed in Dylan Farrow's Brave Stand

(3) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 4:48 PM

The recent brave stands of Nicholas Kristof and Dylan Farrow insist that we face the prevalence of sexual abuse of children, the deviousness of adults who abuse them, and the dangers to a society that does not face insidious behaviors that callously inflict pain. It is now common knowledge that...

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When 'Beasts' Are Out of Their Cages: Why Are Some People So Mean, and How Can I Protect Myself From Them?

(1) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 12:59 AM

My 20-year-old client, a college senior, was both sobbing with pain and shaking with rage. She had learned just a few hours before she called for an emergency appointment that her boyfriend of two years had been having an affair with her college roommate for three months. How did she...

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A Prayer for All Cities: About Philadelphia's Election for Mayor

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 5:46 PM

I have lived in Philadelphia since 1964, a transplant from Baltimore, where I attended Garrison Junior High, Forest Park High (each public schools), and graduated from Goucher College. Like most of you who read The Huffington Post, I care very much about the survival of our cities. And right now...

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Life With 'Devourers' and 'Baby/Bullies' -- Your Thoughts Please

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2014 | 8:37 AM

Communication gurus usually advise folks to honestly talk out problems and share intimacies as the most useful means to solve discord and enhance relationships. But here's the catch to this counsel: It only works with those who are determined to develop the capacity for this kind of communication, if they...

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What We Should Have Learned From JFK's Assassination: The Lives of Fatherless Boys Present Statistics That Threaten All We Hold Dear

(2) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 8:48 AM

Although ballistic and forensic findings as well as eye-witness evidence point to a single gunman theory in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the majority of Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone. It is inconceivable to most, regardless of the evidence, that one limited,...

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The Trickling Down of Washington Discord: Family Life Deeply Affected

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 10:04 AM

The majority of Americans are disgusted and discouraged by dangerous stalemates throughout Washington power institutions, within and with each other. Much has been written about grave family fear and anxiety caused by the lack of adequate social programs and safety nets, including health care provisions. Yet few have examined how...

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Distancing Ourselves From a Loved One's Pain: Why Friends and Loved Ones Appear Callous and Removed

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 3:24 PM

Life teaches us that all lives have crisis, and the constancy and availability of friends and loved ones make all of the difference in how we are able to face them. Toward this end, we all do "have to be taught." In addition, facing our own lives and fears allows...

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