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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 Brian Williams and George Stephanopoulos Upheavals: Is It Human To Err?

(2) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 5:01 PM

Many have weighed in about Brian Williams' inaccurate statements about traumatic news events and George Stephanopoulos' donation to the Clinton Foundation. About the former, research has validated that more studies about the impact of trauma on memory are needed. At this point there seems to be no consistent association between...

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10 Reasons Why the Long Goodbye of Mad Men Was Worth the Angst

(2) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 11:40 AM

Because of the final season intermission, the ending of "Mad Men" seemed like a very long goodbye. However, it was worth the angst, as we watched and wondered about the fate of those we have followed for 92 episodes. The ending had both depth and authenticity, with just the right...

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'Every Day Love's A Little Stronger': Mad Men Winding Up

(6) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 1:16 PM

The debates about Mad Men have been everywhere and fascinating: Will Don Draper, master of manipulation and disguise, and others he has interacted with in varying degrees of trust and intimacy, crash and burn? Or will there be a more hopeful resolve? I have seen and written about hopeful signs,...

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Déjà Vu Hell: 1968 Baltimore Riots Revisited

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2015 | 4:20 PM

Like many Americans sleep would not come on Monday night. Each time I tried to rest I found myself once again in front of the television set, watching the horror and suffering in Kathmandu, Napal, due to a devastating earthquake, as well as shocks closer to home, ones that felt...

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"New Business" Re Mad Men's Megan: Confirmed Evidence of Don's Guilt and Self Loathing

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 4:49 PM

If anyone needs concrete evidence that self loathing and self hatred lead to self-destruction, Sunday's Mad Men cynical episode, "New Business," offers it. Who can forget the longing in the opening moments on both Betty and Don's faces (hers swifter and earlier than his) as each saw the dreams they...

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The Necessity of Letting Go, of Severance, in a Life Well Lived: Mad Men Returns With a Message

(7) Comments | Posted April 7, 2015 | 10:49 AM

Many may have been too full of family, Easter eggs and Manischewitz to have been able to end the drought of life without Mad Men. Therefore, I offer both a spoiler alert and promise that although I will discuss Sunday evening's banquet of "Severance," the title given this episode, I...

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Let's Get Used to It: Mean Girls Are Forever!

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 11:38 AM

It has finally been acknowledged that mean girl behavior and bullying, especially of the older and infirm, has ever been a fixture in nursing homes and assisted living facilities (January 18, 2015, SR4, "Mean Girls in Retirement Homes"). It is further now understood that those in the "powerful groups" (quotations...

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Say Hello to a Common New Year Condition: 'The Envy and Jealousy Flu'

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 12:48 PM

Phone calls with a consistent theme happen like clockwork during the first two months of the new year. Clients want to discuss how to deal with the startling unkindness of supposed friends. This happens with such regularity that I have begun to label what I hear in these weeks as...

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"The Halo Effect" and "Blinding Charisma": Food for Understanding and Thought, Thought, and More Thought

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 5:47 PM

In 1920 psychologist Edward Thorndike (1874 to 1949) coined the phrase, "The Halo Effect," which grew to define one's overall impression in his or her life --- of a person, a leader, a product, of absolutely anything -- as experienced only positively, with any neutral, conflicting or negative thoughts completely...

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Color Me Angry!: Amazon's Woody Allen Hire

(7) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 7:59 PM

A mom I had never met who lives in another state reached me on my office phone today. She was upset, really upset, as moms will get when the possible suffering of kids is callously ignored. The mom called me because she found a Huffington Post piece I had written...

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Pope Francis for President in 2016, Help for the Angels, and Happy New Year!

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 1:11 PM

I never thought I would see the day: The headline in my home town's December 23rd The Philadelphia Inquirer, with a colored photo above (perhaps as evidence) read, "Pope Rebukes Vatican." Above the photo was the following quote in bold: "The Curia is called on to always improve itself and...

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

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 2:29 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 | 2:24 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 | 11:02 AM

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 | 2:52 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 | 12:08 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 | 3:11 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 | 10:54 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

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 11:56 AM

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 | 9:40 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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