About Arlene


Arlene HarderI believe that even when people have had an unfortunate childhood and live in less than optimal conditions, in every person there is love. In every person there is healing power. In every person there are sources for both serenity and vitality. In every person there is potential for beauty, wisdom and success.

As a licensed psychotherapist for thirty years, I developed an interest in the use of guided imagery techniques to reinforce the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual qualities that arise from deep within each one of us.

Unfortunately, we are often too busy or distracted to realize that these qualities can help us solve the very problems that keep us from living fully, even in the face of difficulties.

It was from my work in this area that I co-founded The Wellness Community in Pasadena, CA, (now the Cancer Support Community). It is the largest professionally-led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide.

Out of that experience I co-founded and managed a non-profit online cancer support website, CancerOnline.org, as executive director. (It is no longer active).

Later I created three other websites. LearningPlaceOnline.com offered information on a broad range of topics. ChildhoodAffirmations.com was designed to help parents raise resourceful, resilient and compassionate children. Support4Change.com had hundreds of articles to help people understand how they could achieve peace within themselves, their families, work, community and the world.

Tens of thousands of people visited my websites every month and it gave me great pleasure to know that I made a difference in their lives. Now I am focusing online on just this blog and hope it makes a difference in your life. The topics I cover here are pretty much whatever I am currently interested in writing about. Hope you find something to interest you here as well.

In addition to creating websites, I have written four books.

Letting Go of Our Adult Children: When What We Do Is Never Enough is based on my personal experience and the experience of my clients. It is out of print but I will someday excerpt some of it for the blog, as I am now doing with two of my other books.

Ask Yourself Questions and Change Your Life is based on the idea that when we know the questions to ask, we can find answers within ourselves rather than assume that someone else knows what’s best for us.

Healing Relationships is an Inside Job offers advice for healing strained and broken relationships.

How to Love a Perfectionist Without Going Crazy is a digital book to help people who are partners, dating or otherwise, with a perfectionist; that is, someone who hasn’t yet learned that life is a whole lot easier when they are able to distinguish between those things that are most important to do well — and those that are not.

On a personal note, I was married for 54 years to a wonderful man who tolerated my rocky path to becoming a recovering perfectionist. He died in 2014, several months after we moved into a retirement community. Now I have learned how to be a widow from fascinating women I would never have met had I not moved to Villa Gardens.

I have two sons and two daughters, two sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law, nine grandsons, three granddaughters, and two great-granddaughters. I enjoy all of them and all of my life very much!

15 thoughts on “About Arlene

  1. Hi Arlene,

    I found your e-book very comforting. Thank you very much for helping my mind to deal with my adult daughter’s decisions. I continue to read the web-site and find it very helpful. Continue to assist us to change in a positive way….I applaud you for this.

    Kind regards,
    Miami, Fl


    1. Dear Marlen,

      I’m Renee, the Webmaster for Support4Change.

      Thanks for your lovely comment! Unfortunately, Arlene has been ill recently, and has asked me to respond to her comments and emails. I know that she really appreciates reader comments. I will pass your appreciation on to her.

      I hope you enjoy the many articles we have both here, and on the Support4Change website. Arlene puts so much work and thought into each and every one. May they continue to give you hope and encouragement.



      1. Marlen,

        I am cleaning out old email files and came across the email my assistant sent to you in Oct. (when I was out of commission with a virus). As I wrote to the person below, I enjoy it when people like what I write and tell me about it.

        Have a great New Year (since this is being written on Dec. 29).



  2. Thanks so much Arlene for your ebook. I feel like you are my new best friend – we think alot alike! You make me feel less alone and more hopeful of peace in my life. Thank you and God bless you


  3. Arlene~ I stumbled upon your book “letting go of our adult children” yesterday morning. I CANNOT walk away from it for very long, it has had my full and complete attention for almost 24hours. I have completely read the first 4 chapters. Even signed on to my kindle last night and kept reading until I couldn’t hold my eyes open. Even though my situation is dire straights, I would not wish this situation on another soul. Over the course of the past 14yrs, I have read everything I could find about schizophrenia, but your book is the very first to even come remotely close to helping the care giver cope. I just wanted to say thank you, you are a lifesaver :)C


  4. Candy,

    Letters from parents like yourself make my day. I know how isolated we can feel from all the parents who seem to have “done it right.” If nothing else, I know it can feel great to realize you aren’t alone.

    Best wishes.



  5. Greetings, I am a Mother Estranged from her only son who’s 22 yrs old, for about a year. Long story, which is very difficult in itself. I recently four months has formed a social support group for Mothers Estranged from Adult Children. We get together near Walnut Creek, CA. I came across your site today and found it very interesting. I hold a monthly meeting and wondered if you are ever in the SFO Bay Area? Would you come and speak to my group called ME Mothers Estranged, currently there are 25 members. Please email me at your convenience and let me know. Thank you, Caroline


  6. Caroline,

    Glad to hear you have a group that can support mothers who are estranged from their children. Knowing you aren’t alone is extremely important. I don’t often come to the San Francisco area, but I am developing an online class that your group may want to attend. That will come after I finish the writing of the second edition of “Letting Go of Our Adult Children,” which I believe will be about the middle of March.

    I’ll write you directly and see how I can help your group in various ways.



  7. Arlene, I came across your site and book last night in a desperate attempt to find help as I deal with moving through this stage in my life. Without getting into too much detail, your book about letting go of adult children is an answer to prayer! I already had an “intellectual” understanding of much of what you write, but getting my “heart” to catch up with my head has been another story. I know I am grieving, but it has been hard for me to express that to others, and to get them to see that I need to grieve in order to work through my situation, so thank you for validating the grief process for me. I think it will still be awhile before I can get through a day without tears, and before interacting with my daughter will be anything more than awkward, at best, but you have reminded me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. At a time when I felt I had no one to turn to, this book and site have given me hope. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


  8. Sherry,

    It is always a good day when I get an email, or comment like yours on the blog, that tells me my story has helped someone realize she isn’t alone.

    I do think the grief stage is frequently dismissed. But losing the expectation that we would have a different relationship with our child is no small loss.

    Glad I could help.


  9. Hi Arlene, it’s been a long time since we were last in contact. It’s lovely to hear that you are doing well. Did the scientists ever do more about The Nature of the complexities of hope, that you wrote to me about 2002.
    regards from Deidre


  10. Hi Arlene,
    Like many of the previous posts, I feel so grateful to you for putting this information online and lucky that I stumbled across it. It is something I refer to often. My husband and I read the chapters and they allow us to constructively discuss the pain we are feeling. After too many years, I have finally begun the grieving process for the hopes and dreams that I thought would be my “reward” for years of offering unconditional love to my son. I have stopped blaming myself and am releasing him a little more, day by day. Can you please help me to understand what to say to him? He’s in AA and his wife is in NA. They understand the practice of detachment and I feel that my releasing him is similar to that. I want to say to him, “I am releasing you with love to live the life you wish to live. I am gently closing a door that can be reopened if you wish. Until that time arrives, I choose not participate in your life because it brings me too much pain”. Is that appropriate / recommended / necessary or too harsh? Thank you again for your comforting work.


  11. Hi Arlene,
    I just read your book, letting go of our adult children, and feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon it. it’s been just a week and a half now since my world came crashing down. I’m licking my wounds and trying to keep from falling into a major depression. Thanks to you I feel I have an avenue to learn techniques and gain knowledge in order to heal and prosper.

    I’m sorry to hear you and your husband are going through such a hard time. I do hope it all works out for you. I just want to let you know how much your writings mean to me during this time of sorrow in my life.



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