I am a licensed psychologist practicing in Durham, NC.  I offer a safe, non-judgmental space where we can work together to create new possibilities for you.  You can learn more about my theoretical orientation and areas of specialization on the Psychological Services page.  My blog can give you a sense of how I help people work towards growth and change in their lives.

In general, I use the latest evidence based practices along with some very old ideas like mindfulness to help clients change unwanted habits, reduce suffering, and increase their sense of contentment and well-being. I also believe a good therapeutic relationship is as important as using sound therapeutic techniques.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Frances Ulman, PhD


Some quotes that I enjoy:

January 30, 2014:
“The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because they are like us, too.”
–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
January 11, 2014:
“The dominant society teaches us to be in front, be aggressive…Our culture teaches us not to compete but to cooperate with each other, to find balance [and] unity.  We go as fast as the slowest person. The warriors need to lead from the back.”
–Phillip Whiteman, Northern Cheyenne
December 29, 2013:
“People who cannot accept that the future cannot change the past only become stuck in the past rather than creating a brighter future.”
November 30, 2013:
“The practice is keeping your mind clear and your heart loving.”
-Sylvia Boorstein, from Pay Attention, For Goodness’ Sake
October 29, 2013:
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
October 9, 2013:
“Please enjoy your life.  And please be always curious about other people.”
-Louis CK
October 7, 2013:
“What are our ceremonies celebrating?  We may discover that the status quo that we believe to be reality was in fact created by somebody else’s game plan.”
-Sakyong Mipham
September 25, 2013:
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”
~A tattoo I saw
June 27, 2013:
“But what?  Everyone I know has a big but!”
-PeeWee Herman, from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in response to someone explaining that they have a dream BUT ….
March 4, 2013:
“We contain conflicting desire systems that may push an object away one moment and grasp at it the next.  These conflicting desire systems may want to do something at one time, but not at another.  These conflicting desire states and their concomitant judging of each other cause much of the friction that we experience as guilt….  Because of the changing nature of mind states, some people try to control the mind.  But it is more important, I think, not to allow the mind to control us.”
-Stephen Levine, in A Gradual Awakening
February 20, 2013:
“Knowledge becomes the weight upon wisdom.”
-Shekhar Kapur
February 4, 2013:
“Categories are human impositions upon nature…”
-Stephen Jay Gould, in Full House
January 21, 2013:
“It keeps slipping our minds that the difficulties we keep running into are not personal flaws, that there really isn’t some way to get everything just right and keep it that way, that challenges – one after another – are what life is.”
-Sylvia Boornstein, in Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake
December 30, 2012:
“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it?  What is true for writing and for love relationships is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know where it will end.”
Michel Foucault
December 28, 2012:
“Desire pulls so hard, it’s surprising to find that it’s empty.”
-Sylvia Boornstein, in Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake
December 11, 2012:
“Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz, in The Four Agreements
December 1, 2012:
“Done is better than perfect.”
-Chris Gutierrez, long time friend and ally
November 28, 2012
“For all the traveling I’ve done I found that all roads in life lead nowhere.  So you might as well choose the road that has the most heart, and the most fun.”
-Kate Bornstein, from A Queer and Pleasant Danger
November 26, 2012
“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”
-Desmond Tutu
October 26, 2012
“If you don’t respect your emotions, everything else is harder.”
-Rachel Simmons
October 10, 2012
“Words do not create facts; they either describe them or distort them.  The fact is always non-verbal.”
-Sri Nisargadata, from I Am That
October 3, 2012
“The significance of SpongeBob SquarePants to contemporary gender norms, I believe, cannot be overstated… “
-J. Jack Halberstam, from Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal
August 25,2012:
“…there are no pronouns in the English language as complex as I am.”
-Leslie Feinberg, from Transgender Warriors
August 19, 2012:
“How we change is as important as what we change.”
August 6, 2012:
“There is another world, but it is in this one.”
-W.B. Yeats
July 29, 2012:
” Disney will never make a movie about my life story, and that is a shame because I would make a really cute animated creature.
-Kate Bornstein, from A Queer and Pleasant Danger
July 22, 2012:
“…there are so few words in our language to articulate “body feelings” of any sort.  I’m sure that this lack in language is related to our cultural tendency to dismiss or discount the way that our bodies feel to us.  Indeed, many of us tend to think of ourselves as brains or souls crammed inside of a shell – a shell that is our body.  We delude ourselves in believing that the shell itself is not important, not connected to our consciousness, that it’s merely a vessel that contains us, or a vehicle that we move about with our minds.  But the truth is, our bodies are inseparable from our minds.”
-Julia Serano, from Whipping Girl
July 15, 2012:
“Some people worry that self-compassion is a private cocoon that will close them off from other people by making them selfish and self-centered.  The reverse is actually the case: the more openhearted we are with ourselves, the closer we feel toward the rest of life.”
Christopher K Germer, from the mindful path to self-compassion
July 8, 2012
“Problems occur when we unconsciously recoil at discomfort, grasp for pleasure, and slip into mental fantasies about how things should be.”
Christopher K Germer, from the mindful path to self-compassion
July 1, 2012
“The child in me is still, and sometimes not so still.”
-Mr. Rogers
June 23, 2012
“Under certain circumstances failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing may in fact offer more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world.  …failure can be a style… and it can stand in contrast to the grim scenarios of success that depend upon ‘trying and trying again.’ “
-J. Jack Halberstam, from The Queer Art of Failure
June 17, 2012
“Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.”
-Lily Tomlin
June 10, 2012
“We are the only species that follows unstable pack leaders.”
-Cesar Millan
June 3, 2012
“Any claim that one has superior knowledge about womanhood is fraught with gender entitlement and erases the infinite different ways for people to experience their own femaleness.”
-Julia Serano, from Whipping Girl
May 27, 2012
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
-Audre Lorde
May 20, 2012
“You can’t respect yourself until you respect your emotions.”
-Rachel Simmons
May 13, 2012
“It is both necessary and troubling to seek out a home as a gendered and sexual being: necessary because community, recognition, and stability are essential to human flourishing… and troubling because those very practices too often congeal into political ideologies and group formations that are exclusive or hegemonic.”
-Cressida J. Heyes
May 6, 2012
“Confronting our feelings and giving them the appropriate expression always takes strength, not weakness.”
 -Mr. Rogers