Ordinary Change

The process of change often makes us think of the shape of a parabola. Imagine, if you will, a graph in which time is along the horizontal axis and successful living is along the vertical axis (the higher you are on the vertical axis the better you are doing). Often, when people come to see us for a consultation they …

Therapy and Curling

Therapists are like the sweepers in the winter olympic sport of curling. Curling, for those who are not intrigued by the sport,  involves hurling a heavy sphere down an icy lane (like a frozen bowling lane) with the goal of landing in a particular spot. What really makes the sport odd is the addition of two people who use brooms …

Codependent no more

We have never been big fans of the way the term “codependent” evolved in the non-professional world into a way of describing almost any show of compassion for someone with difficult problems. On the other hand, after years of struggle (and, yes, our own therapy) we finally came up with our own rules of thumb for when to back away …

Shamelessness

We think it’s about time for a little shamelessness. We have spent our entire lives trying to help people with moods find happy, satisfying lives. Honestly, one of the biggest challenges that we face is the shame and stigma that accompanies, for so many of us, any thought about depression or bipolar, or any of the other labels that we …

Mood and Reality: Mood’s Ability to Shape Perception and Interactions

We have been thinking for a while about how mood powerfully creates our reality. And how hard it is to hold on to a consistent sense of the world as moods change. Mood affects what we notice and remember and how we see it. It also affects where our thoughts naturally tend to go. We ran across an intriguing article …

Vulnerability

Recent research points to vulnerability as an important component of deep, meaningful connection to others and to life. But, for some, just hearing the word can conjure up strong feelings of fear. But what is vulnerability exactly? What is its relationship to mood? And, if it is such a good thing, what is the fear about? Vulnerability can be simply defined as taking an emotional …

Self Compassion

I once worked with a lovely woman who had a personal assistant who yelled at her all day.  She hurled insult after insult, screaming loudly in her ear things like—You’ll never get that done! There you go again, you idiot! Give it up, you’re never going to amount to anything! This is pointless, you may as well throw in the towel! …

The Antidepressant without Side Effects

Medications for depression can be life saving, but for many people they have disturbing side effects. But there is one antidepressant that doesn’t have side effects – behavioral activation (BA). Behavioral activation is a treatment that has been shown to work for people with moderate and even severe depression and, in some studies, it works about as well as antidepressants. …

Negotiation: How to Deal With Conflict

Some of the best ways of dealing with conflicts in relationships, whether business or personal, are contained in the books about negotiation written by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In our own lives and in the lives of people we have counseled we have often seen a situation that seemed to be incredibly scary and full of potential catastrophe turn …

Changing Bad Habits: Helpful Resources

If you talk to anyone who has worked to help people with serious bad habits (smoking, sex addiction, gambling, drug use) they will probably end up mentioning the “Stages of Change” model of Prochaska. The notion that people don’t just “flip a switch” and change was pretty revolutionary at the time, and the useful notion of stages of change: from …