Category Archive: Psychology

Apr 13

Cognitive Recovery from Mania

Cognitive recovery from mania or depression seems to lack behind the improvement in mood symptoms. In our experience full cognitive recovery may take up to three months after the mood symptoms have remitted. One way of thinking about this is that an episode of mania, or depression, upsets the normal function of the brain and …

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Apr 03

Pace Yourself for More Manageable Moods

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to pace yourself so that you can capture some of the energy and creativity associated with being mildly energized while not getting so involved that you burn out or edge into full-fledged mania. There’s nothing quite so exciting as entering a time of increased energy …

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Mar 25

Hope and Self Efficacy – Gina

Believing you can create change in your life is the foundation for successfully making the change. Self efficacy is the sense that you can make change and thus hope and self-efficacy are intimately connected. Often people with bipolar or depression are overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness. They feel stuck and unable to manage their moods. And yet a …

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Mar 19

Positive Emotions

We had a wonderful conversation (see the conversations tab on this site) with two smart young UC Berkeley graduate students in psychology (Janelle Capnegro and Erica Lee) who have developed an intervention designed to help people with bipolar regulate and develop positive emotions. It started us thinking about emotions in terms not only of how …

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Mar 05

Sustained Attention and Denial

What to do when a loved one is refusing necessary medical care? Is an “intervention” the answer, or can sustained, loving, attention accomplish the same goals?

Mar 04

Happy Acts by Gina

The Happy Acts Challenge Did you know that giving can activate the reward centers of the brain? We think regularly about techniques to support us in managing our mood including exercise, eating healthy, regular sleep routine, etc. Is giving back or volunteering also on your list? If not, you should consider it. Researchers are finding …

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Jan 28

Interpersonal Effectiveness and DEAR MAN

For many people with depression, it can be hard to find an assertive, but not hostile, way of dealing with conflict. Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) addresses many practical problems such as this with straightforward answers. This comes from the “Interpersonal Effectiveness” module of DBT. The acronym to remember is DEAR MAN: Describe Describe …

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Nov 20

Hamster Brain

A young woman who has been making good progress tackling the problem of severe depressive episodes suddenly is having trouble managing the opposite end of the mood spectrum.  She gets energized and is consumed with getting stuff done. She is unable to stop until she is exhausted and she crashes. I call this state of mind “hamster mind” …

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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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Oct 24

Friends and Purpose

Maff Potts spent his professional life working with charities for the homeless in England. But he was frustrated that all of his work did not seem to be changing outcomes for the people he was working with. The result of his reassessment is a program that focuses on addressing what Maff feels are the two psychological …

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Oct 19

Blessings of a Bipolar Crisis

A mental health crisis, once it resolves, can leave people with a sense of overwhelming anxiety that co-workers, distant friends, family, and strangers might find out about what happened. Jayson Blair, however, never really had the opportunity to worry about that… His was an extraordinarily public mental health crisis. In an article in Bipolar Hope …

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Sep 24

Living Alone and Depression

living alone and depression

“I just really want to live in my own home with my own garden and without having to deal with all of those jerks.” A young woman living with several roommates told me that she was thinking of moving to a house in the country. The idea seemed very appealing to both of us, since we …

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Sep 21

It Takes Two to Fight

“I just can’t believe what my mother told me on the phone, she said I was a bad mother, can you believe it? I wasn’t going to put up with that, believe me…” A delightful and pretty feisty mother came in the other day brimming with frustration. We spent the entire session talking about how …

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Jul 02

Mindfulness for Depression -Research Update

Mindfulness has received a lot of attention recently as an approach to improving mental health in a number of conditions. But is it really effective as part of a strategy for treating serious depression? And, if so, how can we best incorporate it into treatment, given the great difficulty that many people with depression have …

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May 22

Mindfulness Warnings

A recent visitor to this site sent us this link and some thoughts about mindfulness… This article about the dangers of mindfulness was posted by a friend of mine from smartrecovery.  I just thought I would pass it along, definitely going to store this in the back of my mind for later. The cases discussed …

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May 13

Atlas of Emotions

Psychologist Dan Kalb recently posted a link to a wonderful resource for people who are interested in understanding and exploring emotions. In his post, Dan explains a little bit about the background for this site… The Dalai Lama commissioned psychologist Paul Eckman to create a secular interactive map of human emotions. Eckman, in turn, surveyed …

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Apr 29

Accepting the Loss

One of my patients wrote to me this morning asking if she could get a medication to help with her anxiety. She has been trying to find a good therapist for quite a while and I think she might have found someone who could really help her. But this is making her feel anxious and …

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Apr 26

Staying Up Late

Staying Up Late

Andy and the Nighttime Child – Staying Up Late In our practice we work with a lot of bright young people in the information technology industry. It often seems as if all of them stay up until all hours of the night certainly many of them do and sometimes to their detriment. We know that …

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Apr 05

Secrets are Dangerous

A young, attractive, and very successful man who recently got married came in to see me the other day and told me that he was in recovery from sex addiction. That caught my attention and, I have to admit, living as I do in a very mental health oriented world, made me wonder if this …

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Mar 05

Kevin Briggs and the Golden Gate Bridge

I am away at the annual meeting of the Northern California Psychiatric Society this weekend and while taking a break from the presentations I wanted to try to come up with a quick post that might be relevant to this blog. Probably the most moving part of the weekend was last night’s presentation by Kevin …

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