Accepting the Loss

One of my patients wrote to me this morning asking if she could get a medication to help with her anxiety. She has been trying to find a good therapist for quite a while and I think she might have found someone who could really help her. But this is making her feel anxious and irritable. Now she has to wrestle …

Secrets are Dangerous

A young, attractive, and very successful man who recently got married came in to see me the other day and told me that he was in recovery from sex addiction. That caught my attention and, I have to admit, living as I do in a very mental health oriented world, made me wonder if this was an example of over …

Breaking Up without Depression

Some people seem to find it much easier to weather the breaking up of a romantic relationship than others. Sure they may feel sad, they may worry about what it means that their relationship ended, but relatively soon they’re able to move on. Others get mired in doubt and find it hard to reenter the dating world. A study from Stanford …

Awe Reduces Inflammation

What if you knew that the experience of awe could measurably improve your health, would you approach the world differently today? At the most recent TEDMED, psychologist Jennifer Stellar presented evidence that the experience of a number of positive emotions (joy, pride, contentment and awe) was associated with reduced levels of interleukin – 6 (IL6) a well validated blood measure …

Sleep Deprivation in Western Society

In February the National Sleep Foundation announced the publication of new guidelines for the amount of sleep that we should be getting based on a rigorous review of the literature. The guidelines suggested that adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep. The results were widely distributed and commented on. It was noted that many people in our …

Self Affirmations by Songify

A good friend and colleague suggested a new technique for “self affirmations.” A technique which makes something that can seem ponderous, but is also a powerful technique for positive change, seem like a lot more fun… Self affirmations are things that you tell yourself about yourself and the world. In psychological terms, they are about reshaping our constant internal dialog through …

Hypomania and Success

During the 1990s clinical psychologist John Gartner was planning on writing a book about religious movements started by manic profits, but he began to be distracted by the energy and excitement swirling around him as people became immersed in the Internet “bubble”. He decided instead to write a book about the relationship between hypomania and success in the business world (The Hypomanic …

Mentalize

Sometimes a word just seems to show up everywhere.  This past week the word “mentalize” has come up in conversation a number of times.   A colleague who is looking for a referral for therapy says that she needs someone who can “mentalize well.”  One of my patients who just completed a DBT-based treatment program says that she is doing better because …

Romance and Depression

Jack is a delightful older gentleman who loves sailing and beautiful women, but who has also been wrestling with depression for a year or more. We recently had a fascinating conversation about how romance and depression relate to each other in his life. He has a loving girlfriend who’s been very supportive to him during the past year, during which …

Attentional Bias Modification Prevents Depression

A middle-aged nurse wrestling with depression said she want to do “everything” that she possibly could to improve her mood. She doesn’t have access to therapy through her insurance, and she’s already vigorously pursuing mindfulness practice, but her request reminded me of an article I recently read on Attentional Bias Modification as both a possible treatment of depression and as …

Spock is Dead

Spock is dead. Leonard Nimoy passed away this past Friday at the age of 83. I have to date myself by saying that reruns of the original Star Trek series were a very important part of my adolescence. And I loved the character of Spock. Of course, I was a nerd at a time when that was not universally recognized …

Boredom

Boredom is one of the most common negative emotions, and yet relatively little explored in the psychology literature. A woman, Kate, wrote to me recently – “I am bored all time.  I have very few friends.  I can’t get motivated to do anything to move my life forward. I don’t know what to do except mess around on my computer, watch movies and generally …

Medical Model

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 topic of the doctor-patient relationship, …

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 six months because of anxiety …