Virginia Foster says use problems to grow and skip the blaming

Virginia Foster, Ph.D., is a psychologist who has been in practice for 35 years. She is also a licensed marriage, family and child therapist. Foster lectures frequently and presents workshops for community groups and businesses on parenting, relationship enrichment and communication strategies.

She has written three self-help books: “The Quest for Love & Money,” “Out of Your Mind” and “Romantic Love: How to Get It / How to Keep It.” Her first novel, “One Good Man,” was published earlier this year.

Foster will be speak about “Romantic Love: How to Keep It Going” at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at The Riford Center in La Jolla.

What brought you to La Jolla?

Love brought me to La Jolla. Twenty-three years ago, when Arthur Hammons and I decided to marry, he lived in La Mesa and I lived in Newport Beach. He suggested we each relocate to La Jolla. We spent a week at the Colonial Inn and were so charmed by this town that we bought a house here.

What makes this area special to you?

I love the Village atmosphere where I am on a first-name basis with the proprietors of the shops and restaurants. My four-mile morning run takes me past the cave, Scripps Park and the Children’s Beach. The beauty is such a joy to see and appreciate. Best of all, wherever I go, I always seem to run into my friends.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would have enforcement for the stop signs, especially on Prospect, Ivanhoe, Silverado and Girard. Many motorists seem to think they are only decorations. The revenue from fines for not stopping could be used to improve the streets.

Who or what inspires you?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sand of time.” This stanza from “A Psalm of Life” has inspired me since I first read it as a child.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would invite my wonderful husband, Arthur, who never misses a party; myself; and Jesus; Buddha; Napoleon Hill; Confucius; and my father, who was my hero and mentor. The eighth person would have to be a translator so we could all talk to each other. I would ask Jesus to provide the wine.

Tell us about what you are reading.

“Eat Pray Love” and “The Help.” I enjoy reading about women overcoming both internal and external obstacles to create fulfilling lives.

What is your most-prized possession?

That would be my license to practice psychology. Over the last 35 years, I have had the privilege of helping thousands of people to improve their lives.

What do you do for fun?

I like to run races — from 5Ks to half-marathons. I enjoy kayaking and spend lots of time downhill skiing at Mammoth. My boxer, Jake, is my loving companion, and I have fun riding my horse, Fancy.

Arthur and I enjoy entertaining and taking cooking classes together. We also enjoy ballroom and country western dancing. We belong to the Circumnavigators Club, and I will take my fourth trip around the globe in October. I like adventure travel; for example, last year we went hot-air ballooning over the Serengeti during the migration of the wildebeest and zebra.

This area provides special opportunities for fun. I love cheering for the Padres at Petco Park and betting on the horses at Del Mar.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

This would be the development of loving relationships with my family and friends. I am surrounded by wonderful people, including our grown children. This is due, in part, to practicing many of the skills I learned during my training to become a psychologist.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

We are here to learn and grow; to become all we can be. When problems come up, the majority of people blame other people and circumstances. Blame is seldom helpful. I think the purpose of suffering is to bring us to an understanding of healing truth. By taking responsibility for our own thinking and behavior, we can see our challenges as an opportunity to develop greater understanding and wisdom.