Local Therapist’s Latest Work Shares Advice for Happier Families

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(Courtesy of Margie Ryerson)
Margie Ryerson, MFT, with her new book, Family Focus: A Therapist's Tips for Happier Families, which offers tools and support for parents, couples and grandparents. It’s available at Orinda Books and Amazon.com.

    The inspiration for Margie Ryerson’s latest book came from her 13 years of experience writing a local column that shared a name with her newest title: “Family Focus.”
    According to Ryerson, Family Focus: A Therapist’s Tips for Happier Families came together as a product of the 95-plus columns she wrote over the years, the extra time that the pandemic allotted her over the last year and a desire to help families like her own.
    “I wrote my columns with my own family in mind. I wanted to help them avoid certain pitfalls,” she said.
    After 35 years of working as a therapist, Ryerson said one of the best pieces of advice she can give people in any sort of relationship is to avoid giving unsolicited advice.
    She admitted, however, over the years she has accumulated a variety of tips she wished she could give, and in a way, her latest book was a way of making sure that advice got to the people she cared about.
    Ryerson, a long-time Orinda resident and practicing marriage and family therapist, has two other books in print: Appetite for Life: Inspiring Stories for Recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, and Compulsive Overeating and Treat Your Partner Like a Dog: How to Breed a Better Relationship.
    Ryerson started her career specializing in eating disorder treatment at Mt. Diablo Hospital, but after nearly a decade working primarily in that specialty and in marriage counseling, Ryerson found herself searching for more.
    “I really wanted to expand and have a variety of experiences,” Ryerson said.
    In the last 10 years of her career, Ryerson gradually expanded her clientele to include people from all walks of life. She said that the key to making herself available to a larger variety of clients was mainly taking the time to become knowledgeable about a topic before taking on patients dealing with that issue.
    Although she acknowledges therapy can be a very emotionally taxing profession at times, she said that she has stuck with it for so long because it is “one of the most deeply rewarding professions out 
there.”

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