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 …

Mood Phobias

We were talking with a couple of wonderful psychologists about what it is that helps people come to terms with moods and learn to live with them creatively.  One of the barriers to successful mood surfing is a fear of moods.  I suppose the analogy is of someone who is afraid of the waves trying to learn how to surf. …

Depression is Depressing

Sometimes helping someone deal with their moods can seem a bit like being a gynecologist in Victorian England. How can you help someone with something (sex, or depression) when the topic itself is off limits. We are exaggerating, but there are so many ways that the idea that “depression is depressing” interferes with actually dealing with the mood. Not to …

Appreciating Depression?

We are indebted to Tom Wootton for his observation that the key to living creatively with bipolar is accepting and making use of depression. Tom wrote a book about depression (The Depression Advantage) that was one of the first things he wrote about bipolar (for more, see his website, Bipolar Advantage). He noted that it was a difficult book to …

Imperfect Bodies

In his book, “The Heart of Man,” Erich Fromm wrote about two modes of being – one he called biophilia (the love of life and living things) and the other he called necrophilia (a love of order, control, and, ultimately of death). Fromm was very much affected by the experience of Nazi Germany. And much of his understanding of the …

Negative Emotions

We’ve all been there. Maybe we’ve noticed feeling impatient while driving in traffic, or expressing anger towards the barista who didn’t leave you room for milk in your coffee. Whenever we express our dissatisfaction towards the mundane events that don’t go our way, we are more than likely misplacing anxiety, fear, anger, or hurt that stems from one of the …

Running a Bit Late

This has been a super busy week and for the first time since we started this website we missed a couple of days of posts. That, plus the experience of waiting for someone to show up for coaching, made me think back on when I used to always be late for events and appointments. I was an absolutely incurable late …

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! …

Anxiety and Accepting the Unknown

Accept yourself for who you are. That’s been a long-held maxim that we try to live by, but what does it actually mean and how does it really help? For those who are anxious, lack of acceptance can often be at the root of the problem. Anxiety is often about wanting to feel secure and safe, therefore the opposite is …

Dealing with Perfectionism

Society puts a premium on perfection, for good reason. Perfection fascinates and inspires. I am particularly drawn to the symmetry and complexity of buildings, bridges, and visual art, often staring at such creations with awe and wonder at how such perfection was achieved. In addition to architecture and art, perfection is expected in vocations where the slightest mistake could be …

Acceptance: Helpful Readings

Acceptance. We have been influenced by many people in setting up this website. One of those great thinkers is a man whose vision of psychotherapy was founded in acceptance, Carl Rogers. In his book On Becoming a Person he wrote: “The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” This phrase has resonated …

Mindfulness and Helpful Resources

Mindfulness: it is the “in” thing in mental health. The practice of mindfulness really does work to help create more satisfying lives. But what is it and how do you get started practicing mindfulness? Jon Kabat-Zinn is the man who popularized mindfulness approaches to improving health in this country. He has written a great number of books and produced audio …