Adaptive Perfectionism vs. Restrictive Perfectionism

This short and sweet show briefly discusses adaptive vs. restrictive perfectionism.  I was about to interview a guest and they were not available. I thought this is a great topic to address “in real time” when my day shifted from original plan.

Part of reaching our own top 1% mentally, physically and spiritually is being able to adapt when situations, challenges or successes do not go our way. It is how we react and the mindset we are able to have when we go through life that defines our happiness.

Listen here:

The Strategic F Bomb


In my blog post entitled “Be Empowered! Our Words, Thoughts and Actions Matter” I discussed the power of words and how one FEELS when we use different words.

I wanted to share how I talk about anti fungal med the topic of profanity in my office as well as how I handle this topic in my own home.

Listen here:


In the show I mention that I love data and I appreciate this article in Quartz entitled, “A linguist’s love letter to profanity explains why it’s fine to curse around kids.” The article goes on to talk about UC SanDiego Professor of Cognitive Science, Benjamin Bergen’s scientific findings that he includes in “What the F: What Swearing Reveals About our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves.”

When you read the article Professor Bergen explains that data is lacking on this topic as it is not easy to get parental consent for a controlled study exposing children to profanity.

“As for everyday four-letter words, there’s no scientific proof that exposing children to “ordinary profanity-four-letter words-causes any sort of direct harm: no increased aggression, stunted vocabulary, numbed emotions or anything else,” writes Bergen.

We need to remember that the words we choose are surrounded around by a context of circumstances in any situation.

A shout out expletive while being cut off in traffic can impulsively just happen, that is how my son learned the F Bomb from me.

Everything in life is a lesson. We have daily opportunities to reflect, to teach, and to engage in discussion with our children about the quantity, quality and context in which words are used. 

 This is part of mindful parenting.

I brought up my 2018 fraud inspired  “Don’t Fuck With My Kindness”  mantra in the show. It is a phrase that you do not even need to say out loud, you can just choose to think it to yourself.

Creating your own mantra can serve as an emotional release of anger, fear, betrayal and can then be alchemized into “compassion in action” towards yourself or others in real time.

You can use the power and energy of any situation to “level up” and this may include or not include profanity.

“Be Loving. Be Kind!” Is my daily no profanity mantra that keeps me in the space of grace.

I reserve the use of the F-Bomb for specific occasions to allow a release of an intense emotion. I discuss this in my office, on my show and in my home. 


Our words, thoughts and actions are powerful. Being aware in the moment of the words we choose is a game changer. Choose wisely and with discernment.

Dr. Denise






Be Empowered! Our Words, Thoughts and Actions Matter

I have a confession to make.

Every time I write or say the word disorder when it comes to mental health it is like nails on the chalkboard to me.  I am not kidding, and this is after twenty years of practicing as a psychiatrist.

Why is this?

My patients tell me that at times it feels shaming or embarrassing to talk about their inner world as being disordered. Once they have medical or psychological clarity as to what is going on with them they want new ways of talking about their mental health.

I know the way we talk about our mental health can be a huge factor and a game changer in the healing process for individuals and as a collective.

After the first session with my patients we start using qualitative words like “my mood, my thoughts , my anxiety, my nutrition” and usually drop the word disorder.

Diagnostic labels are great for insurance codes and scientific uniform discussion but are not “launch into thrive” mindset words for every day use.

Now I am not saying that my patients never use the descriptor “my anxiety disorder” when explaining to love ones what is going on in their inner world. It can be very empowering once you meet with your doctor to find out your path to mental wellness.

It is a very personal decision about who you want to talk to about your mental health.

I know from my Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram followers many people and mental health advocates feel very comfortable talking about their depression, bipolar, anxiety or ADHD with the masses on social media.

It can be healing to read a post and connect with someone that is experiencing what you are. Thankfully many celebrities , athletes and cultural icons have opened up this discussion and it has given us permission to do so in more open forums.

The experience of  40,000 hours of listening, empowering and seeing people go from crisis to thrive in any situation psychologically has given me real life knowledge as to what is the aha moment” to someone reaching THEIR own thrive. 

Think in terms of reaching your own top 1% during any given challenge.

THE key component to success is a healing mindset to facing the suffering head on.

I have discussions to empower my patients about the power of our words, thoughts and actions.

How do I do this? Here we go…

I ask that you pause while reading this and say out loud


Now say the word “Wellness.”

Pay attention to how you feel after you say each of these words.

 I feel hopeful after I say wellness, dont you?


An awareness of our emotions and physical sensations around the words we choose is part of the healing or wellness process daily whether we suffer with mental illness or are just trying to have our best day.

So I engage, coach and inspire my patients and my followers to pay attention to their own way of choosing words, thoughts and actions that can contribute to their daily mental health no matter what challenge or success they are facing.

Why am I making such a deliberate point of the power of our words, thoughts and actions?

Our inner world and outer world greatly influence our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Have you heard of the word epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read these genes. It works to see the true potential of the human mind, and the cells in our body.

 ~Bruce Lipton, Stem Cell Biologist, Author Biology of Belief

We all want to reach our optimal potential, right?

Think of the thoughts and words you choose as having their own living, breathing energy over your personal success and wellbeing.

Then we need to take action in engaging in the world  to create our own unique THRIVE ENVIRONMENT:

~the anti~inflammation foods we choose to influence our microbiome

~ the exercise we engage in

~ the amount of sleep we get

~the practice of mindfulness or meditation that works for us

~the quality time with loved ones

~the quality and quantity of time we spend on social media

~time in nature

~the acts of service we do

~the purpose we have each day professionally

The list goes on.

The importance of this discussion is that we were initially told that it was a 50% genes 50% environment split that contributes to best health and wellness outcomes.

It is thought by many leading scientists, doctors, spiritual leaders that our environment greatly interacts with our DNA to influence optimal outcomes, some say it can be up to 80% environmental influence on optimal genetic outcome with an individuals DNA.

I am here to tell you that WE can all reach our own personal thrive as our words, thoughts and actions greatly influence having our best life!

Quick thrive stories I have seen in my practice:

~Athletes that have struggled with ADHD and anxiety now striking their thrive with nutrition, fitness and minimal medical intervention & are now reaching their A game.


~A person going from multiple suicide attempts and treatment resistant depression to now being married, working and happy with kids and life.

~A person with schizophrenia that was an addict and on the streets to now having his own business with a wellness plan that includes meditation, rock climbing, cardio, sobriety, & medical treatment.

~A teen being bullied with autism spectrum and anxiety that is now a Ph.D., happily married working and with friends.

Let’s stay hopeful and remember that OUR words, thoughts and actions about any challenge or success we are facing greatly influence OUR outcome.

BE empowered to reach you own personal thrive!

Denise McDermott M.D.





Who Am I? Mikah Maly-Karros, LMFT discusses her transition from NCAA Basketball Star to Beverly Hills Therapist

We all agree that athletes are an integral part of our culture as leaders and as ambassadors of change.

As a former Division I basketball player and the daughter of famed L.A. Dodger, Eric Karros, Mikah possess a unique understanding of sports psychology and the impact of transitioning beyond the court.

Mikah Maly-Karros is now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Beverly Hills and Redondo Beach and has an out of the box and fresh perspective that she brings to her teen and millennial clients.

Thank you Mikah for sharing your journey with us!


Dr. Denise 

Give It Forward Together with Denise Berger Ed.D.

I am so excited to welcome Dr. Denise Berger on the show this week!

Her dissertation was on Corporate Social Responsibility, “Doing it the Right Way!”

She walks the talk!

I have witnessed her integrative social conscious teaching style first hand as I have had the honor of being a guest lecturer at her “Leadership and Service” class within the Master’s program for Social Entrepreneurship and Change at Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education for the last three years.

Recently she has launched her new company Aliki Designs which has a give it forward together initiative with each jewelry piece. Listen to the show to hear more about this “altruism in action” vision that she and I align with:


Guest Commentary


I am appreciative of and humbled by the invitation to be on Dr. Denise’s podcast. When Dr. Denise and I were talking, I shared my favorite ancient Greek quotes: “a society grows great when old people plant trees whose shade they know they shall never enjoy.” This quote establishes a foundational intention for my work and in my life. It helps me to lead with gratitude for the potential of what is in the now,and the meaningful impact we can have – in the present – on the future. This thinking dovetails elegantly with what Dr. Denise mentioned as her values: awareness, self-love and altruism. I believe our shared values is what created the synergy for our ongoing conversations – both as co-creators and as conversationalists.


Yes, that does sound lovely, doesn’t it!  Ideal, utopian, and just neat. And let’s be even more frank. I get to have these views because I won the birth lottery and have had access to privilege my whole life. So, I have not lived at the bottom of the proverbial pyramid where lofty self-actualized goals come sparingly. By the same token, I have not led the elite silver platter life either. I have worked hard to earn my stripes and gain knowledge and skills through discipline, responsibility, long hours, collaboration, and tenacity. And I have had my share of bumps and bruises. I have experienced gender inequality in the workforce and personal and professional betrayal – the scam, the lie, the arrogance, the empty promises.


Alongside these experiences, none is more poignant and demanding of any of us to grow and learn than tragedy. As I mention in the interview, I was in the World Trade Center on 9/11. In the podcast, we do not go into the details of that day extensively. For me, the more poignant story comes from the choices I made afterwards in striving to live with greater awareness, meaning and purpose.  It is when we all have been emerging from such devastation that the ancient Greek quote above has resonated. My life was spared on 9/11. I was on the 103rdfloor in a meeting. I left the building and proceeded to the ground as soon as the first plane hit the tower. I didn’t hesitate. I was methodical. I was keenly aware of the intuitive state I entered and the conversation in my head. Time slowed down to allow me to be attentive to these inner voices. I have often reflected on these inner workings. But, in all honesty, I was lucky. Truly lucky…. because, I had many friends and colleagues that did not make it out that day, and I cannot say that my inner voices were the only ones kicking in. No.  Instead? Timing. Luck. My good friend was in the first tower. That tower was hit first because that plane took off from the airport at a point in time that brought it to New York about 17 minutes earlier than the second plane that took off from a closer airport that hit my tower. I was a block away from the building when that happened.


Since that tragic day, and (strangely… so strangely) the luckiest day of my life, I have been acutely aware that I must live life purposefully. I think about my legacy and how I can inspire others to leave their own meaningful legacy. I have shifted careers. I stepped aside from global Fortune 500 business, pursued a doctorate in Organizational Leadership, and seek to elevate leaders to their full potential. (Note: if you have a pulse, you are a leader.) I consult with teams. I advise individuals. I help individuals and organizations develop leadership efficacy, strengthen culture and operational effectiveness, and build meaningful impact in society. I volunteer to support the growth of non-profits. I am a graduate level professor in leadership studies. And now I am an entrepreneur, having started AlikiDesigns. My jewelry is hand crafted, Greek inspired and everyday elegant. All pieces have a GIFt (Giving It Forward together) component to key organizations that I have vetted, and every piece comes with a positive intention.


One of the collections, near-and-dear to Dr. Denise and me, is Aliki One. The special pieces, which were carefully curated, are universally tied to Lama Tenzin Choegyal’s work running an orphanage in the Indian Himalayas. He is a change maker, who brings hope and potential to disadvantaged youth by giving them housing, private education, career opportunities and love. Genetiki, Karthia and Siban bracelets set intentionality in the world toward elevating consciousness and collective impact, creating togetherness while respecting individuality, and defining universal inspiration and the infinite potential of one humanity. We GIFt 21% of purchases in this collection to Lama Tenzin’s projects. To learn more, visit the website and on instagram @alikidesigns.

Denise Berger, Ed.D.






Author & Advocate Kirk Miller on “Chaos to Cured”

What an honor to interview Kirk Miller this week!

“Chaos to Remission” were his powerful words he used to describe his journey from crisis to thriving.

Kirk Miller is the author of “Chaos to Cured”, co-host of the radio show Beyond Clarity, and founder of

After overcoming and successfully managing  his emotional and physical challenges he now coaches and helps families, couples and individuals realize there is more to who they are than their diagnosis.

Here is our interview:

Guest Commentary

Kirk Miller

I am extremely honored to be a guest on the Dr. Denise podcast, a show I believe can positively change and enhance the way we talk and communicate about mental health.

When Dr. Denise talks about NeuroStyle, “We all process and perceive information in our own unique way,” she is encompassing a way we can all talk about our mental health, negating the negative labels and misunderstandings we have with mental health, and promoting us to embrace who we are, why we are, and that being different is not bad, but actually something that makes us special.

There is no ‘normal’ in life, and were everyone normal, life would not have the same excitement and creativity that leads to greatness in everything, whether sports, scholastics, art, music, and any endeavor of the heart and mind.

After suffering with physical health throughout much of my life, I was diagnosed with two rare physical illnesses: Linear IgA and erythrocytosis.  I was also diagnosed with Bipolar One, OCD, ADHD, and generalized anxiety.

Having all of these problems was, at first, something that made me feel like less of a man, less of a human, and less of a son, brother, and friend.

In the interview Dr. Denise brought up information (the role of inflammation that is part of many disease processes) which was one of the clues I utilized in helping to lead me to a unique way of treating bipolar, a method and medication which I use now and will continue for the remainder of my days.

I wanted to make sure everyone knew that I did some unique self-experimentation.  It could’ve cost me my life, but no doctor would’ve ever allowed me to follow my instincts.  It is crucial to know that coming off of anabolic steroids can cause many of the same symptoms as bipolar, definitely depression and even suicide and homicide.

Please follow your doctor’s advice and do not take steps towards self-treatment without professional guidance.

If anyone listening to the show has questions, I look forward to being back, but in the meantime, find me on Twitter as @Chaos2Cured or at  I’m always there to listen and help in ways I can.  Big or small.

One thing I can say, with complete certainty, is that Dr. Denise shares with us to make the world a more beautiful place where we embrace our struggles, finding the beauty in a tree that clings to the edge of a cliff.  Life is not easy, there is no shame in being different, so Embrace your NeuroStyle and enjoy a great podcast from a wonderful person, doctor, friend, and advocate of all.




Embrace Your NeuroStyle

This week we discuss the importance of changing the way we think, talk and act about mental health. This is my heartfelt intention as so many people suffer in silence with the stigma of discussing a diagnosis or feel shame that words cannot describe if they are going through an emotional rough patch.

I have been using the word neurostyle since 2016 with my clients, on shows, on interviews and when I was honored to be guest speaker on “Nurturing Children’s Mental Health” at the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Medical Society in Dharamshala, India  in 10/18.

Scholars, teachers, patients, and influencers have given me feedback that it is a neutral and nonjudgmental way to talk about the way we all process and perceive the world in our own unique way.

Here is this week’s show, Embrace Your NeuroStyle:


 ” It’s not often that we get to come up with a new word that’s helpful and inspirational.  But I think my friend, Dr. Denise, has done it!   The word is NEUROSTYLE.   And it’s easy to understand.

Dr. Denise defines NeuroStyle as the unique way in which we each process and perceive the world.

 So why do I think this word can be transformational? While we are making gains in understanding and talking about the importance of mental health, there’s still so much stigma in our world about the way our minds work.  “Oh, he’s bipolar.”  “She’s OCD.”  It can be destructive and debilitating.

Neurostyle is a fresh way of talking about the “style” with which we process the world around us.  Instead of heading into a new relationship and having tell a partner that you’re on medication for anxiety, imagine being able to say, “My neurostyle is that I have more concerns than you do.  So I might be cautious about trying that cliff-diving you like, but you’ll come to enjoy my neurostyle and how I’m careful and considerate with your feelings.

 Teachers, friends and colleagues can talk about individual neurostyle without judgment.   Dr. Denise explains that the names of diagnoses are still important as we all make improvements to our mental health, but hopefully this new word can help young and old as we take on the world around us.”

Emmy Award Winning Cathleen O’Toole, Co-Host of The Dr. Denise Show


Serial boundary busters can really push our limits, right?

Tune into this podcast episode with Emmy Award winning cohost Cathleen O’Toole  joining Dr. Denise on the importance of setting healthy boundaries for optimal mental health!

“How do I love myself and set limits to create “win win” situations for self and others?”

Dr. Denise talks about the core ingredients of awareness, self love and altruism to have clear intentions to set clear boundaries!


Let food be thy medicine! Clean Eating Dirty Sex with Lisa Davis M.P.H.

“Clean Eating Dirty Sex” is an amazing powerhouse nutrition handbook/memoir/cookbook  that you need to have in your hands. NOW. You will love the vulnerability, knowledge, and wisdom that Lisa brings along with the experts in this book!

Listen to our interview:

Lisa Davis has two decades of experience as a health educator and a broadcaster. She has worked as a in a variety of settings as a health educator in the realm of sex, HIV, and Hepatitis C as well as a personal trainer and health coach.  With a master’s degree in public health, she is creator, host, and producer of the syndicated It’s Your Health radio heard on regional NPR as well as host/producer of Talk Healthy Today and Talk Fitness Today by AIM Media (of Clean EatingVegetarian Times, and Better Nutrition magazines). She is host/producer of Clean Eating Dirty Sex Naturally Savvy Radio heard online on RadioMD, iHeart Radio Talk, TuneIn, Stitcher, iTunes, UberRadio, and TalkStreamLive.  In addition to developing radio shows, Lisa has created, produced, and hosted health television shows.  Her first show, Health Power was seen on KRUZ-TV in California.  She was also a regular contributor to Carol Alt’s national health TV show on FOX News Channel A Healthy You  Her book, Clean Eating, Dirty Sex: Sensual Superfoods and Aphrodisiac Practices for Ultimate Sexual Health came out in February 2019 with Skyhorse Publishing.

Live Limitless Campaign!

Have you ever been given a new opportunity that pushes your boundaries?

Were you excited? Nervous? Having doubts? All of the above?

 This is when WE grow the most.

Earlier this year I was approached by Elomi Lingerie to help develop thirty challenges as part of their continuing “Live Limitless” campaign.

I asked myself, “Was this a good idea? Is this in alignment with my vision of inspiring others to lead their best lives? Would I be able to pair up with Elomi to bridge ideas that would empower women to reach their fullest potential?”

Yes. Yes. And yes!!

Do you know how excited I am to be working with Elomi on this  “Live Limitless” campaign?


As a mother, doctor and influencer everything I think about has to do with living my best life and influencing others to do the same.

Elomi’s vision and the Live Limitless Campaign is all about empowering women to embrace both their inner and outer beauty.

It is important that we learn how to be our own best friend and to be present in this moment.

Ask yourself, “How do I make the most out of this moment right NOW?”

This is a key component to allowing ourselves to achieve inner peace and to reach our full potential!

It is important to remember that if 80-90% of the time we are making healthy mind, body and soul choices we are on our way to unlocking our full potential.

The Live Limitless Campaign will challenge you in a way that is fun, thought provoking and meaningful.

Be gentle on your journey, remember it is yours, no one else’s.

If you engage in one or all of the challenges you are on your way to living limitless!

Are you ready to start the challenges?

Right: HERE


Dr. Denise