Feeling Already Full

A wonderful friend sent us a note that this post had been very helpful to him. It is, once again, from the Just One Thing site. The practice is called “Feel already full” and it is a perfectly timed reminder that so much of what we see in life (TV especially) is specifically designed to make us feel unhappy with …

Coming Out Can Help Your Health

We saw this article and thought it probably has a lot to say about the reasons to be direct with others about moods, and how they affect you. It is from Psychiatric News, January 29, 2013. The same reductions in stress hormone levels have been shown in a number of studies about disclosing potentially stigmatizing conditions. For more on the …

Take a Chance

If you are feeling depressed or anxious, today’s post from Rick Hanson (part of his Just One Thing blog) may be helpful. If you are already feeling energized, you might not need more encouragement to do something risky/taking a chance… Rick’s post is about how, as children, we learn to avoid certain types of conversations that seem too risky, and …

Borderline Emotions

Originally, the label “borderline personality disorder” was applied to patients who were thought to somewhere  between patients with neurotic and psychotic disorders in terms of psychopathology. Increasingly, though, this area of research has focused on the heightened emotional reactivity observed in patients carrying this diagnosis, as well as the high rates with which they also meet diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic …

Chronic Health Condition

A woman who works in the health care field came in for a visit with us today.  We’ve been seeing her for about five months.  She had a problem with depression and then developed a hypomanic episode. She has continued to have mood cycles for the last several months. It’s now clear that she has developed a bipolar type of …

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 …

Attachment

For most of us there is nothing more important than the quality of our closest relationships. In sometimes frustrating ways, many of us notice that our close relationships seem to follow familiar patterns. Attachment theory derives from the work of John Bowlby, who observed that separated infants would go to remarkable lengths (crying, clinging, frantically searching) to prevent separation from their …

Stranger Danger

I have been avoiding the newspapers for the last couple of days, because I don’t want to get caught up in the frenzy of stories about the Sandy Hook shootings. You may say that this kind of avoidance is exactly what I have written in opposition to in other posts.  However, I have a special reason. I have two young …

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 …

Healing the Inner Child

Right off, we have to say that much of what has been written on this subject sounds pretty flaky. The problem is that the ideas have been popularized and applied to people and situations where they really didn’t apply. “My ‘inner child’ was wounded by your refusing to pay for the ballet lessons that I wanted,” for example. And yet the …

Christian Mindfulness

I will be writing posts from time to time that are a response to questions posed on this site. The first question that we received had to do with whether mindfulness can be reconciled with Christianity. And, if not, if there is an alternative practice that can achieve the same goals. Since I am not a theologian, I am not …

A Little Romance

This week we spent some time with a couple of people who, in different ways, have become “addicted” to romantic relationships. One is a man in his early 40’s. The other is a woman in her early 30’s. They are quite different in terms of personalities, but there are some very strong similarities in terms of their childhood and relationship history. Both had quite …

Family Scapegoat

I had a conversation with two women today about their relationship with their husbands and children. They often find themselves feeling scapegoated for things that go wrong in the household. While I was talking with them, I recalled many other women who have described similar experiences. I started to wonder how this happens, and what can be done about it. …

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 …

Money and Security

How much money does it take for someone to feel really secure? This seems like a sensible question. Certainly, many of us have been dealing with  insecurity because of a lack of money. In other words, there is a relationship between money and security. On the other hand, over the years, we have never run into anyone who managed to …

reclaim your world

Reclaim Your World

Why You May Need to Reclaim Your World Threats from disasters, and other dangers in the world around us, can lead us to withdraw from normal activity and then we may need to reclaim our world from fear. I have always loved what I now call the territorial sports: the cross country skiing, running, hiking, bicycling, etc. These are sports …