Category Archive: Change

Nov 15

Coping with Political Uncertainty

Many of the people that I work with on a regular basis have been experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety related to the recent election results. Unfortunately, mental health professionals are no better as news analysts than the so-called professionals. I have been struggling a little bit trying to figure out what to say to …

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Feb 15

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms …

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Dec 14

Positive Change or Mania?

Positive Change or Mania?

Charlie is concerned that by being too positive he will trigger mania. He has been hospitalized once a year and the pattern always seems to be the same. He will have settled into a seemingly fixed state of depression, and then will begin to feel frustrated with that state and tried to make changes to escape …

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Sep 21

Breathing Practices for Stress Relief

Breathing Techniques One of the oldest “self help” movements is based on breathing, helping us to use our breath, and how we breathe in order to reduce stress and to achieve a sense of connection with the world around us: Prana Yoga. Prana is the Sanskrit word for “breath” and also means “life.” Therefore, prana …

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Sep 04

The Power of Daily Rituals: A Morning Walk

Morning Walk - The Daily Routine

What is the power of a morning walk? Even such a simple daily ritual can have profound effects on mood. After two years working with a young woman who is now heading off to graduate school and bright future, we were reflecting on lessons learned. “I can be a bit dense about cause and effect. …

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Sep 02

Working with a Psychiatrist Effectively

Working with a Psychiatrist Effectively

If you are a psychiatrist, sometimes you have an opportunity to experience a response to treatment that seems like a miracle. But when miracles don’t happen, what are strategies for working with a psychiatrist effectively? Early in my career, the serotonin re-uptake inhibitors SSRIs) were released, and I had a chance to see a number of people …

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Aug 08

Getting Things Done: Four Quadrants and Setting Priorities

First Things First The process of getting well, or of gaining or regaining a greater sense of confidence and control over your life can seem overwhelming to almost anyone. That is part of the reason for having someone who can be a guide or facilitator (a therapist or coach). On this page we talk about …

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Jul 20

Self-Esteem: A Key Aspect of Mental Health

Much has been written about the topic of “self-esteem.” Sometimes the idea almost seems like one of those “buzz” words that doesn’t really mean anything. A significant amount of research points to the development of self-esteem as a key aspect of mental health. Self-esteem builds slowly and its foundation is the sense that we are …

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Jul 09

Mindfulness and Impermanency: The Practice of Acknowledging the Temporary – Arnrow

After reading this article by TV producer-turned-mindful meditation enthusiast, Mark Koberg, I have been reflecting on how my awareness of permanency, or rather, lack thereof, in my life affects my overall day-to-day experiences. In his account, Koberg shares how a medical diagnosis and a newfound indifference to the career he had been building all of …

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Jun 30

Be Mindful of Keeping Your Mind Full of Good – Arnrow

Experience-dependent neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to learn, adapt, and evolve to not only our experiences, but also, and perhaps more significantly, our reactions to those experiences. It is almost as if our brains can form habits, and the types of behaviors and patterns that it develops are dependent on how we choose to …

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Jun 26

Wholeness: Overcoming the War Within – Arnrow

I feel like there is a war within us– an internal battle between the different parts of us, tugging and pulling for control and dominance. On one side is the brain— a soldier of logic and reason, commanded to evaluate all it comes in contact with, and to calculate corresponding plans of actions. It is …

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Jun 17

Summer Vacation: Taking a Break from Therapy

Maybe because it’s summer, and everybody’s thinking about vacations, or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but we’ve been spending a lot of time talking with people these past two weeks about taking a break from treatment or drastically cutting back on treatment, etc. All of it has us wondering about how to think sensibly about …

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Apr 01

Internet Therapies Generate Interest

There is increasing interest in “apps” that can support mental health (one of our most enthusiastic readers recently posted a query on this topic on the forum). Apps are rarely intended to deliver “therapy” – they are usually not written by mental health professionals (although mental health professionals may be consulted along the way). Their …

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Jan 09

Reinvigorate Your New Year’s Resolutions: Connect Change with Your Values

The celebration of a new year is frequently accompanied by hopes, wishes, and goals for the coming year, which take shape in the form of New Year’s resolutions. I will start exercising. I will spend more time with family or friends. I will get a hold of my finances. I will start volunteering. New Year’s …

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Nov 08

Bipolar Treatment: The “Quick Fix”

A young woman came in to see me today. She was in a hurry. She wanted to make a change in her medication, and she wanted to make that change now. She told me that medication she was taking for bipolar was making her sedated and sluggish. She said she thought the medication was a …

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Oct 23

Hardwiring Happiness

Sometimes it is simple ideas that resonate the most powerfully with our psyches.  This week I have found myself, again and again, thinking about the fairly simple but quite elegantly described ideas in the book Hard Wiring Happiness. I should probably admit that I’ve only gotten about half way through the book, but even so, …

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Sep 10

Dual Treatment: Medications and Therapy Work Together to Treat Depression

A review in the prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry suggests that there may be a clear biological explanation of how medications and psychotherapy work together to treat depression. The authors note that recent, unexpected, research findings suggest that antidepressant medications reactivate the brain’s ability to relearn old lessons. The medications allow the brain to modify old …

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Aug 23

Cluelessness: Getting Stupid

Late on a Friday afternoon,  I found myself with two patients (back to back) who were yawning and seemingly drifting off during the course of our conversation. Now, that could have meant that I was being particularly boring. But, in this case, it was the manifestation in the office of something that had been going …

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Aug 23

Something Better Change

Occasionally, I realize that this business of helping people change  their moods is a bit like the false pride that proceeds a fall.  It’s easy to have an overweening sense of power. A woman who I’ve been seeing for a couple of years has been in an increasingly flat, depressed state. She has taken care …

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Aug 15


Proactive behavior refers to actions taken that are forward thinking, that anticipate future problems, and are aimed at avoiding those problems. They are focused on changing the environment for the better. Proactivity contrasts with reactivity as an approach to challenges. Reactive behavior is about dealing with the crisis that is present right now. Reactivity also often …

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