Running a Marathon

Many of us are strongly motivated by the desire to achieve results, complete tasks and succeed. Often we want to get where we are going quickly. Life is too short. Seize the day. Dealing with moods can be very frustrating. Change may take place slowly. Sometimes you have to put in a fair amount of energy just to hold on …

Of Two Minds

This morning I was thinking about the relationship between your pre-frontal cortex and your limbic system. I know, it’s a little strange to be having these thoughts while out riding a bicycle in the morning… a hazard of the profession I guess. The reason I was thinking about this subject is that people’s moods appear to be affected by both …

No More New Year’s Resolutions

We’re going to make a strong pitch for you to not have to make any more New Year’s Resolutions. Honestly, why this idea of deciding to make big changes in your life on January 1st has persisted, is one of the mysteries of human mythology. Perhaps it’s because we are such incurable optimists at heart. Or maybe it’s because we …

Inspiration and Skepticism

A very dear and cherished friend is visiting us. She has inspired this post. Every time we are fortunate enough to visit with her I have an opportunity to wrestle with the dichotomy of faith and inspiration, as opposed to science and skeptical inquiry, that is at the heart of Western medicine. Carey has vigorously embraced healing and faith. And …

Traveling

Traveling can be exciting, but it can also be very stressful. It is particularly important for people living with moods to do prepare for travel before they leave. A surprisingly high percentage of serious mood catastrophes, in our experience, happen during trips. And they are almost always preventable. First, if your traveling to some place without good medical care, it’s a …

ACT

The “hot” thing in the therapy world these days is something called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The radical notion behind ACT is that therapy should not be primarily about reducing symptoms (like depression) but rather increasing our ability to have a valued life (a life that is based on our deepest values) even though we have symptoms. And, by …

Giving Thanks

A friend asked “What is Thanksgiving all about?” There is the traditional answer about the Pilgrims and the Indians, but Thanksgiving as a national holiday has a shorter history. The holiday was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863. The idea was largely the product of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for …

Aikido for Bad Behavior

We had an opportunity to visit Japan several times, over the course of a decade working with Japanese psychiatrists to improve how Japanese psychiatric hospitals work with potentially violent patients.  During one of those trips, we came across a wonderful story that has stuck with us ever since.  It is the story of a young man who is confronted by …

Relationships: Love the One You Are With

We had an interesting conversation this morning about the reality of romantic relationships… which ended up being about much more than relationships… When I did more couple’s counselling, I often would think to myself, these two folks are coming in here complaining about each other. But really, if they want to know if the relationship is a good one and …

Should or Could?

The idea for today’s post comes from a wonderful online resource for folks with moods –  MoodScope.com (they have an interesting mood tracker app and blog). They wrote about the power of changing a single word in one’s thoughts – going from I should do something, or I should have done something, to I could do something. Give it a …

Starting a Forum

We have finally gotten started with our online forum. This is a place where frequent visitors and subscribers can ask questions, make suggestions, offer advice, share wisdom, etcetera, related to living creatively with moods. We want this forum to be lively, positive, candid and meaningful. To that end we can promise that we will give top priority to answering questions …

Practice

We have been blessed to work with many very, very intelligent people over the years. It always stimulates us to have smart people ask challenging questions about the work that we do. One of the common complaints of smart people in therapy is: my therapist isn’t telling me anything I don’t already know. We used to try to point out …

Partners

This past week we had a chance to meet with a number of people who were very distressed when they first came to see us, and who made huge progress in creating lives worth living…. in living creatively with moods. It got us to thinking about why they succeeded. There are a number of reasons for their success – they …

Healthy Pleasures

Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed, or so depressed, that we forget what it is that gives, or used to give, us pleasure. This list is adapted from Peter Lewinsohn’s Pleasant Events Schedule. You won’t enjoy many of these things, but you should find a number that are somewhat pleasurable (or would have been if you were not depressed) and …

Magic

It’s hard not to believe in magic when you have the experience of mood shifts. What can be more extraordinary and more magical than waking up one day, after a long stretch of struggles and pain, and seeing the world transformed all of a sudden into something positive and hopeful and vibrant and alive. This is about as close to …