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For the new year, I thought I’d try a new theme for my website… and it’s called, appropriately enough, “Twenty-Sixteen.” Yes, I know it’s a standard theme that WordPress puts out there and revises every year, but sometimes simple is best. I’ve been experimenting with some others and didn’t like them too much.
So what’s everyone thinking about the new year? Judging by the TV commercials yesterday, it was all the sad animals that need your help, if you just pick up the phone and call the toll-free number on your screen. And starting today, it will be about all that weight you can lose in the new year, if you just pick up the phone and call the toll-free number on your screen.
Me, I like Johnny Cash’s list of resolutions:
At this time of year, I and my family want to wish all of you reading this – my clients (past, present, and future), my students, and my colleagues – much “Comfort and joy” and true peace. This is a time of year when we all realize the need to address one of life’s main tasks – the task of spirituality and meaning.
Alfred Adler described three main areas in which we are called upon to rise up and meet life’s challenges: Occupation, love and relationships, and friendship and affiliation. But one of my teachers, Harold Mosak, along with Adler’s colleague Rudolf Dreikurs, spoke of two more areas of life in which we are challenged: The task of the self (or identity), and the task of spirituality and meaning. Many humanistic psychologists have considered the need for meaning in our lives, including Viktor Frankl, Carl Jung, R.D. Laing, and Irvin Yalom. We need to consider how we fit in among other people, certainly, as Adler stressed. But we also need to consider our place in life, and what life should be for us. We also need to consider our own mortality and what lies outside of our brief time on Earth.
The recent tragedy involving the murders of a news reporter and camera operator on the air in Roanoke, Virginia is a reminder that workplace grievances and grudges can erupt into violence very easily, and that terminating a person’s employment can be the trigger that causes a marginally disturbed person to become violent. Taking away a person’s job not only threatens his or her sense of survival (because a job is the means we have to provide ourselves with food, clothing, and shelter), but also threatens a person’s self-image and self-worth, when being fired is equivalent to a rejection. One of the most difficult aspects of such a situation is that the breaking point may not occur when the employer and co-workers might expect it and can prepare. Often, as in this case, it simmers for months or even years before a violent incident occurs.Continue Reading Predicting and Preventing Workplace Violence: An EAP’s Worst Nightmare
For people who’ve made positive changes in their lives, holidays can be slippery spots. Individuals who have quit drinking, smoking, or using drugs, people recovering from compulsive gambling or overeating, and people who have been substituting healthier behaviors for unhealthy ones, may be at increased risk of lapses or relapses when holidays approach. Celebrations, added stresses, nostalgia, and disruptions in routine can all increase the likelihood of slips and returning to previous harmful or addictive behaviors.
On May 14, the American Psychological Asociation is encouraging members to blog on subjects related to mental health and mental illness. This is an opportune time for me to reflect on what has been accomplished in the nearly forty years I’ve been working in this field, and what still needs to be done.Continue Reading Blogging for Mental Health – Reducing Stigma and Supporting Treatment
Mindfulness has become a hot topic in mental health and addictions treatment in recent years. Mindfulness techniques, including mindfulness meditation, have become standard items in the cognitive-behavioral therapy toolkit. This makes sense if you understand that many symptoms (including anxiety, depression, and cravings or urges to drink or use substances) represent experiences or expectations of psychological pain and distress that we instinctively try to avoid.Continue Reading Mindfulness Basics
If you asked me what one thing I would say to couples to help improve their relationships, I might say that they should stop treating each other like there’s something wrong with the other person. Continue Reading Just Stop It… For Couples
You may notice that each page on my website now has a little green doohickey near the bottom with an elephant’s head and the word “Clip.” If you are a user of the app called Evernote, you’ll know what this is already. If not, let me say a little bit about it.
Continue Reading The Little Green Elephant
Last night I visited the downtown office of the Center for Contextual Change, an established psychotherapy organization that specializes in treating the effects of trauma. I had the opportunity to speak with Mary Jo Barrett, LCSW, a founder of the group and currently the Executive Director. Continue Reading Colleague Shout-Out: The Center for Contextual Change