Misunderstandings: Feeling and Thinking

Misunderstandings. There are so many ways that we can misunderstand each other. We like the Myers Briggs for its non-pathologizing approach to understanding and describing the differences among human beings. Yesterday we were talking to a young woman who told us of a “classic” misunderstanding that potentially could have had a catastrophic outcome. The young woman was talking with her …

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 …

Making Good Relationships: 4 Behaviors Predictive of Divorce

In a previous post we talked about our view that what is most important in successful long term relationships is not so much who we choose but how we build the relationship (of course, if you choose someone without morals or who is seriously disturbed, this doesn’t probably apply to you). But we deferred discussing what it takes to make …

Buy or Make: Theories of Romantic Relationships

Every once in a while  we find ourselves reflecting on lessons learned in a lifetime of coaching and counseling people. How we might have lived our lives differently had we known then what we know now. This afternoon, talking to a young man about romantic relationships, we found ourselves thinking about our own relationships, and the relationships of the many …

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 …

Staying Connected: How to Maintain Communication Even When You’re Not in the Mood

Let’s say you’re having one of those shabby old days when your mood’s in the gutter and you’re in the doldrums.If you’re feeling grim and can’t face the thought of a conversation of any kind? How can you possibly do the connecting thing at times like this? Here are five ideas: 1. Opt for a more indirect channel of communication such …

“Too Dependent”

From time to time we hear people complaining that they’re too dependent or that someone they know is too dependent on them. Usually the proposed solution is for that person to become more independent. The trouble is that this doesn’t work. People who have normal needs for social interaction are not able to be independent in the way that we …

Narcissism

“You’re such a narcissist!” It’s easy to see why people with moods are often accused of being narcissistic. When we are depressed we become focused on ourselves and our mood and our pain. This is also what happens to people with chronic pain of other types. And when we are manic, we become preoccupied with our importance and specialness. But …

Relationships and Chronic Depression

Many people with depression, particularly if they have been depressed for a long time, develop a pattern of interacting with others that is designed to protect them from disappointment. Avoiding disappointment is obviously a good thing, but it can lead to relationships that are not satisfying. Addressing relationship issues is important. Almost everybody who is unsatisfied with their relationships can …

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 …

The Importance of Good Relationships

Good relationships are one of the foundations of creative living. In another post, we talked about one of the most effective therapies for people with bipolar: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT). In that post we focused on regular routines (the SRT part) but equally important in that therapy was paying attention to the quality of interpersonal relationships and particularly addressing …