Attention Bias Modification

Attention Bias Modification (ABM) – also sometimes called Cognitive Bias Modification – may be an inexpensive and effective way of enhancing standard treatment for social anxiety. The standard approach to social anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on teaching people to modify their thoughts about social situations. First the client is asked to track thoughts before a group …

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is the relaxation technique that I have had the most success with, (and I have tried many of them!) – by that we mean a technique to help in the moment with stress and anxiety, as opposed to something like mindfulness meditation or another meditation technique, which works best as a regular practice that over time reduces anxiety. …

Feeling Trapped

Feeling trapped is one of the most painful emotional experiences. The need to escape from this place can sometimes lead us to do things that are irrational and self-destructive. A young woman who I’ve been working with for couple of years and he was struggled with depression on and off for many years, finally seem to be making some headway …

Meditation

This is a quote from one of my patients which illustrates how profoundly a regular meditation practice can affect mood and anxiety. The woman who shared this experience with me is a genuine skeptic about all things “new age” and that made her words even more meaningful in my mind… “The most important thing to know is that for the …

Avoid Intimidation

Rick Hanson has written an elegant and timely newsletter article about how to avoid intimidation and fear from paper tigers and media demagogues. I love his weekly email newsletters and it is again time to encourage readers of this blog to sign up. Here is the link. One of Rick’s themes, elegantly outlined in this most recent article, is how …

The Science of Slow Breathing

In an April 5, 2017 article in the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds reviews new research on the science of slow breathing and how this ancient technique may work to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and prevent panic attacks. The technique of controlled breathing or pranayama (प्राणायाम) is referred to in the Bhagavad Gita, and thus dates back at least to …

Mixed Depression and Anxiety or Bipolar ?

A young man who recently graduated from chiropractic school came in for a second opinion. He has had a many year history of depressive episodes with prominent anxiety symptoms. Is this mixed depression and anxiety? This past summer, he went to see a new psychiatrist to get help with another episode of depression. The psychiatrist started him on Lexapro (a serotonin …

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 these people. Coping with Political …

Anxiety and Bipolar

For many people with bipolar anxiety is a bigger problem than mood swings. It is not that unusual for someone with bipolar to report that their first “symptom” of a psychiatric nature was the onset of anxiety early in childhood. Let’s take a look at this information again… 90% of people with bipolar have an anxiety disorder diagnosis. 2/3rds have had …

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 2: Defusion

Defusion is one of the six core processes that make up Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These core processes, which also include acceptance (click here to review this process as described in Part 1), present-moment awareness, self-as-context, values, and committed action, are aimed at cultivating psychological flexibility, or the ability to have all of our thoughts and feelings while continuing …

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Part 1: Acceptance and Willingness

I recently attended the Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference in Philadelphia, where I offered a two-hour workshop on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and deepening experiential practices in ACT sessions (largely based on the book The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy*). This post is Part …

Herd Instinct in Humans: The Source of Anxiety and Depression?

Jeffrey Kahn has written a fascinating book (Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression in Oxford Press) suggesting an evolutionary source for much of human psychopathology. He gave a Grand Rounds presentation at UCLA in February of 2015 that outlined some of his theories and that presentation has been the subject of a vigorous discussion online. In essence, Jeffrey argues that …

Through the looking glass 2 – Meeting the Therapist

The last blog posted some three hours ago jumped over this one, much as thoughts are given to do in my head. This, in fact is a description of me meeting the therapist for the first time. My earnest apologies. Maestro, the music if you please. …My wife, caught up in a Maelstrom of hypomania, seeks and finds a Therapist. I am …

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: 2 – Depression Assessment

  …I’m returning to do the test suggested by my therapist in our previous meeting – the Beck Depression Inventory II. Tremendous. Doing a test sounds like something you see in those silly magazines that tell you how good a lover you are are some such other rubbish, but apparently this test is rather serious. So I return that afternoon and Dr Black …

Through the door 1 – Therapy needed

A few years back and I am living in Paris with my Irish wife who works for a large International think-tank based in the city. I work in London and return to Paris on weekends via Eurostar. I have had many ‘episodes’ in the past, but for a while now I’ve been free of them. But I am working hard redesigning a national …