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Tamara McClintock Greenberg
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Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D., M.S., is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Her most recent book is When Someone You Love Has a Chronic Illness. She is also the author of Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness and The Psychological Impact of Acute and Chronic Illness. She teaches and speaks nationally on a wide variety of topics, including health psychology, the culture of Western Medicine, psychotherapy, psychoanalytic psychology, and medical consultation. She is in private practice in San Francisco. More information about Dr. Greenberg can be found at

Entries by Tamara McClintock Greenberg

Been Told Physical Symptoms Are 'All in Your Head'? Think Again

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 12:29 PM

Women have a long, sad and frustrating history of being pathologized for physical complaints. Going back in the history of psychology and medicine, we've been told we are sexually frustrated, that our neuroses lead us to develop physical symptoms, that we are recruiting symptoms for psychological reasons, and...

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An Imperfect Manual

(5) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 5:12 PM

Amidst the considerable controversy regarding the publication of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) -- 5th Edition, I have found myself curiously disconnected from the heated debate.

When I was in graduate school, I memorized the DSM-IV when it came out. I tagged all relevant categories of mental illness...

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Swallowing the Risk of Cancer

(4) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 11:26 AM

The other night, my husband and I settled into what we like to think of as "our" table in our favorite San Francisco restaurant. The lighting is appropriately dim, the tables are all mahogany wood, and an international designer provided the décor. The celebrity chef/owner sometimes shows up and asks...

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How Stressed Is Your Doctor?

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 10:06 AM

I recently received a phone call from a potential patient. A physician colleague made the referral. Over the phone, the prospective patient, speaking in a fast and anxious pace, told me that her primary care doctor "broke down and cried" during a recent visit because of how worried she was...

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How Many Guns Keep You Safe?

(24) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 11:29 AM

Every weekend, while boxing or football blared from the television in our home, my father sat, a beer nearby, in his designated place on the couch. Since he was a man who often needed more than one thing to do, while sportscasters shouted, my dad calmly cleaned his guns. The...

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Should We Listen to Our Doctors?

(3) Comments | Posted June 20, 2012 | 5:21 PM

Many of us worry about our health. The culture of medicine and the way technology has shaped our relationships with physicians has given us a powerful message: If you are nervous about your health, see a doctor and she or he will perform a test or prescribe a medicine so...

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Orgasm Inc.: Filmmaker Liz Canner on Women and the Orgasm Industry

(7) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 5:21 PM

Whether or not women orgasm and how they orgasm has been the subject of speculation for thousands of years. The diagnosis of hysteria in women began with Hippocrates and has been associated with pathology in female sexuality and reproduction. Galen, another early physician, thought hysteria represented a lack...

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Why We Need a Holistic Approach to Mental Health Care

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2011 | 12:10 PM

Health care costs are exploding, and one silent factor in containing costs is rarely mentioned: the underutilization of psychological services. The evidence is clear and has been for three decades. Studies have suggested people who see psychologists for symptoms are less likely to...

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Longing For Life

(1) Comments | Posted October 4, 2011 | 12:12 PM

A striking and provocative article in New York Magazine discusses having a child at a later age. By "parents of a certain age," the author, Lisa Miller, is not referring to women in their late 30s or even early 40s who have children with or without the...

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Till Mid-Life Do We Part: Boomers and Marriage

(36) Comments | Posted July 19, 2011 | 11:56 AM

You may have been hearing about rising rates of divorce among married, heterosexual baby boomers. While I am an advocate for any adult couple choosing not to stay together for any reason, the current rates of divorce in this cohort are striking. The Star Tribune reports that a...

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The Medicare Crisis and End of Life Care

(2) Comments | Posted June 7, 2011 | 2:17 PM

Medicare is on the minds of many baby boomers. It has been on my mind for a while, even before the current political wrangling about its fate. Let's face it; we have been here before, though the stakes seemed much lower.

I am not writing to make...

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Worried About Your Weight? How Much Can You Control?

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2011 | 4:03 PM

How do we know what is really in our control? Many of us do a number of things to prevent illness; we exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, don't smoke, try not to drink too much, etc. But the reality is, some people do everything right and still get sick.

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The Lives Of Therapists and the Limits of Analysis

(9) Comments | Posted August 9, 2010 | 12:42 PM

Daphne Merkin's penetrating, moving, and poignant article in the New York Times Magazine, which describes the hopes and disappointments of nearly 40 years in various forms of analytic treatment, is likely familiar to many. Her article has the blogosphere frenetic, with many bloggers hurling critiques at psychoanalysis. Though...

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Medicare: The Architecture of a Public Health Crisis

(10) Comments | Posted July 2, 2010 | 1:06 PM

For a while, I thought my worries were irrational. One by one, I saw physician colleagues close their practices and open boutique medical concierge services. They decided to stop taking insurance and opened businesses designed to serve the wealthy. Many physicians I have previously referred to now take only cash-paying...

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Truth vs. 'Truthiness': The Price We Pay for Ignoring Reality

(6) Comments | Posted May 21, 2010 | 3:14 PM

I love gossip magazines; they are my one guilty indulgence. I know that half of what I read in them may be false, and until recently that rarely bothered me.

On a recent weekend, when I decided I would take a break from anything academic, I spent a lot...

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Medical Research Spending: Where Does the Money Go?

(4) Comments | Posted April 22, 2010 | 12:32 PM

With the advent of ObamaCare and the promise of prevention as part of the health care debate, it seems important to consider how our tax dollars are spent. I never used to think about the spending of medical research dollars, beyond knowing that three percent of the GNP...

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The Straight View: What We Lose in Prohibiting Gay Marriage

(270) Comments | Posted March 17, 2010 | 12:15 PM

The other night my husband and I got together with some friends. Although we always look forward to an evening with this particular couple, lately our dinners, which were once so carefree, are now conducted in the shadow of sadness and potential loss. Our close friends might be forced to...

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What Happened to Wisdom?

(5) Comments | Posted March 11, 2010 | 3:37 PM

From the three wise men in the Bible, to the witches in Macbeth, to a favorite childhood movie, The Karate Kid, many of us have grown up with the idea of wise elders. Sage mentors warn us, encourage us, and keep us focused in the right direction. Yet, as I...

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Can Overweight Women Trust Their Doctors?

(33) Comments | Posted February 22, 2010 | 12:59 PM

Being a doctor these days is hard. But so is being a patient, especially if you happen to be female and overweight.

A study last year found that more than 40% of doctors feel "frustrated" by obese patients. But feelings among doctors are not the only problem.

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The Assault On Self-Knowledge

(5) Comments | Posted February 5, 2010 | 3:08 PM

I am a huge critic of psychoanalysis. I am wary of the religious aspects of it, as well as the institution of psychoanalytic training. Historically, unquestioned authority of analysts has done a lot of damage, not to mention the profound neglect of reality that some psychoanalysts espouse.

Obviously I...

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