Tag Archive: psychology

Jan 04

Bipolar in Order Study

bipolar in order

Several readers of this blog have been intrigued by Tom Wootton’s “Bipolar in Order” site and the training program that he has developed to help people live well with bipolar. A few years ago I added a chapter to one of Tom’s books, and Tom and I have had a professional relationship for more than …

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Dec 31

Medical Model

Medical Model - Oliver Sacks

The medical model is something that many people with depression or mood swings feel frustrated about. The whole doctor-patient relationship with its power dynamics can seem exasperating, and at the same time, having an “illness” can seem as though it must be a source of stigma and shame. I’m not going to talk about the …

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Dec 08

Psychiatrists Don’t Care About “Why”

psychiatrists don't care about why

Psychiatrists tend to be surprisingly uninterested in discussions about why people are experiencing mood symptoms or anxiety symptoms or terrible stress. Let me try and explain this stance, which often seems bizarre to my patients. A young man who was recently married and had been living at home, and hadn’t been working for the last …

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Oct 16

Law of Attraction – Creating a Hostile World

law of attraction - anger

The law of attraction is the belief that “like attracts like.” Focusing on positive or negative thoughts can bring about positive or negative results. If you are angry or hostile your world responds with anger or hostility. Wikipedia has this to say about the philosophy that is called the Law of Attraction – “This belief is based …

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Sep 07

Treating Anxiety – An Update by Kelsey

Treating Anxiety - The Role of Exposure Therapy

Treating anxiety is an important part of working with people with depression or bipolar. This update focuses on changes that have taken place in the field in the last five years that might be relevant to many people dealing with depression and anxiety. Imagine that you are taking a nice, peaceful walk in the woods. It …

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Aug 25

Wise Selfishness

Wise Selflessness– The Dalai lama says, “It is important that when pursuing our own self-interest we should be “wise selfish” and not “foolish selfish”. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Wise selfishness means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of …

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Aug 23

Foundations of Wellbeing

Rick Hanson’s Foundations of Wellbeing online seminar is going to help many people enjoy better, richer, happier lives. As regular readers of this blog know, we very much like Rick Hanson’s books and other writings, and now he has created a wonderful online seminar. We don’t usually make such a big deal about programs, but …

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Aug 20

Rick Hanson – Trust in Love

It has been a while since we mentioned Rick Hanson’s wonderful website and listserve – Just One Thing. Along comes not only a wonderful blog post from him (see below) but also an exciting online seminar series that he will be leading this coming year. The post below will give you a sense of Rick’s …

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Aug 20

Blowing Things Up: Self-Destructive Responses to Frustration

Why do we sometimes come up with self-destructive responses to the unpleasant feeling of being trapped or the anxiety of an unhappy life situation? I talked about this a little bit in an earlier post that was based on an article in the New York Times. In that article, it was noted that many people  may find it so hard …

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Aug 16

Accepting Uncertainty

We are often trapped more by what we think about how things should be, or “have to be,” than by the reality of the challenges we face.  This week I have been noticing how often the phrase “I can’t stand.XX” precedes a statement that is quite obviously not true.  Someone who has been living with the …

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Aug 11

Being Busy is an Antidote to the Terror of Being Alone

My attention was captured when I read an article that suggested that there was a common human experience that many people in our busy worlds find so disturbing that they voluntarily give themselves electric shocks in order to distract themselves from feeling it. No Time to Think. Nowadays, people can keep negative thoughts at bay …

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Jul 21

Starting Bipolar Treatment – Dr Suzanne A . Black and Mr. Stuart Jessiman

Through the Door : The Initial Consultation – Part I I arrive at the door of an address of an English speaking psychologist in Paris given to me by my wife – This is someone I don t want to see.; but, my increasingly erratic, increasingly violent behavior is threatening my marriage , job and …

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Jul 08

How Mood Can Influence Events

What I do for a living often involves asking dumb questions. For example, we all know our moods are usually affected by events. In fact, if we happen to notice we’re in a bad mood, the first thing we start to do, often unconsciously, is try to figure out what caused that bad mood. It’s …

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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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Jun 12

Hypomania and Sensory Experience

More than a decade ago, Dr. Suzanne Black, who occasionally writes posts on this blog, got me interested in the sensory experiences associated with hypomania.In our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the only reference to these is under the heading of “distractibility.” And, indeed, sometimes people who are experiencing intense and profound sensory experiences everywhere they look …

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Jun 11

Seeing the Other – Kelsey

“I see you.” That is one of the many profound concepts in one of my favorite movies, Avatar. “I see you.” For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, “I see you,” is the greeting of the Na’Vi, which expresses a sense of being aware of being seen by another.* Whoa. To be seen …

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May 29

Longevity and Having a Purpose in Life

Studies in older adults have suggested that having a sense of purpose in life can add years to longevity. Now researchers have taken a look at the question of whether these beneficial effects occur in younger people. The study looked at a group of 6163 people aged 20 to 75 and followed them for 14 …

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May 13

Training Your Brain – by Lyndsey

I’m an avid animal lover in general, and dog lover in specific. I take a lot of life’s cues from dogs because they are such happy creatures.  They greet every day with joy, rarely obsess and generally live in the moment, which seems to make them content. And I want that. I was listening to …

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May 09

Mood Swings – What Causes Them?

What causes mood swings? What do we think about when someone says their mood has been “up and down?”Among the most common causes of mood shifts are the following: A mood disorder such as bipolar, or an atypical depression. Bipolar as a cause is obvious, but an atypical depression can also be associated with mood swings. …

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Apr 30

Why Do We Procrastinate?


Procrastination may be related to impulsive decision making. This somewhat surprising finding is based on a large study of twins. Most modern explanations of procrastination have focused on avoidance and aversion. You put off things because you are afraid of some negative consequence (doing badly, not meeting your standards, etcetera), in other words, you are avoiding a bad outcome. …

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