Books Articles

14 Recommended Books for Psychiatry Patients

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

14 Recommended Books for Psychiatry PatientsAn effective psychiatrist or psychologist will own a bookshelf stocked with recommended reading for his patients. 

He will have read a host of books on various topics, from sleep strategies to marital advice, so he knows what he is recommending. My psychiatrist has compiled the following list of recommended books for patients. It may be helpful to you too.

An Alternative to To-Do Lists for Getting Tasks Done

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

An Alternative to To-Do Lists for Getting Tasks DoneMost of us use some kind of to-do list, whether it’s tasks scribbled on a sticky note (like me), projects typed into a computer or an app on your phone, or a snapshot of your day written into a planner.

Author Sam Bennett finds to-do lists to be “too dictatorial.” It makes her feel like a high schooler who’s being told to do her homework.

Instead, she prefers creating a could-do list.

These very words, “could do,” remind her that she has a choice about the tasks she works on.

Trying Not to Try: The Art & Science of Spontaneity

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Trying Not to Try: The Art & Science of SpontaneityAnyone who has struggled with insomnia knows that the harder you try to sleep, the more likely you are to stay awake all night.

There have been stories of folks falling asleep in the chairs outside the emergency room of a hospital because it is there that they must do the opposite — stay awake – in order to articulate the severity of their insomnia. Trying too hard can surely backfire with sports, public speaking, any type of performance, dating, and just about everything at which you want to succeed.

Resolving the paradox of trying not to try, or securing relaxation in order to succeed, has engaged great thinkers throughout history.

Why Novel Reading Reduces Anxiety

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Why Novel Reading Reduces Anxiety“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
~James Baldwin, American author (1924-1987)

In The Power of Myth, the late scholar and famous mythologist Joseph Campbell explains that stories help give us relevance and meaning to our lives and that “… in popular novels, the main character is a hero or heroine who has found or done something beyond the normal range of achievement and experience.”

In response to Campbell’s discussion about how the hero’s journey in myth and literature is about creating a more mature — and better — version of oneself, the distinguished journalist Bill Moyers pointed out how everyday people — “who may not be heroes in the grand sense of redeeming society” — can still relate to a protagonist’s transformation, allowing even the most outwardly meek of us to embark on an inner kind of hero’s journey.

The simple act of reading a novel, then, can give us a psychological shot of courage, encouraging personal growth while reducing anxiety.

How to Build Better Boundaries in Your Marriage

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

How to Build Better Boundaries in Your MarriageImagine the following scenario: A husband and wife are in a session with their therapist. She says that he’s always angry with her and makes mean comments. When the therapist asks her husband why he’s constantly mad, he replies that it’s because his wife tries to control him.

According to the wife, she tries to exert control because her husband doesn’t give her any time or attention. He says that’s because she’s always nagging him. She says she nags because he won’t do anything she wants.

It’s a prime illustration of not taking responsibility for your own actions, attitudes, thoughts or feelings. And that’s where boundaries come in.

The Powerful Parenting Tool of Validation

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Powerful Parenting Tool of ValidationThe concept of validation comes from Marsha Linehan, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and creator of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

In her 1993 book Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Linehan notes the essence of validation:

The therapist communicates to the client that her responses make sense and are understandable within her current life context or situation. The therapist actively accepts the client and communicates this acceptance to the client. The therapist takes the client’s responses seriously and does not discount or trivialize them.

Validation is also a powerful parenting tool.

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Carl Jung’s Psychosis

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

3 Things You Didn't Know About Carl Jung's PsychosisAs the founder of one of the most influential schools of psychological thought — analytical psychology — Carl Jung (also known as CG Jung) experienced what today we might call a form of psychosis. It probably wasn’t a complete psychotic break, because Jung still functioned in his daily life.

His psychosis began when he was 38 years old, when he started finding himself haunted by visions in his head and started hearing voices. Jung himself worried about this “psychosis” — things that today we’d might say were consistent with symptoms of schizophrenia (a term he also used to describe himself during this period).

Jung didn’t let these visions and hallucinations slow him down, and continued seeing patients and actively engaging in his professional life. In fact, he so enjoyed the unconscious mind he had unleashed, he found a way to summon it whenever he wanted.

Should You Have Weekly Meetings for a Better Marriage?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Should You Have Weekly Meetings for a Better Marriage?Every marriage takes work. Every marriage has issues. And, over time, in every marriage your tight bond as a couple may loosen.

Having a marriage meeting — where you discuss everything from chores to challenges — can help. Psychotherapist Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, shares the details of the four-part process in her book Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted.

A marriage meeting helps couples reconnect on a regular basis. It prevents problems from building and escalating. It keeps a household running smoothly and helps couples work as a team.

3 Tips for Reconnecting to Your Family

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

3 Tips for Reconnecting to Your FamilyIn many — if not most — of today’s households, life is hectic. The hustle, bustle and chaos starts early in the morning and continues well into the evening. School, work, errands, sports, cell phones, computers — here are many activities and objects to fill our days.

But in the midst of the madness, you might be craving to slow down, find more ease and connect on a deeper level with your loved ones.

In her book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, life coach, speaker and author Renée Peterson Trudeau helps families identify their values and priorities, savor the present moment and really connect.

Below are three tips from Trudeau’s Nurturing the Soul of Your Family for helping you reconnect to your family.

Practicing Kindness During Difficult Times

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Practicing Kindness During Difficult TimesWhen we’re going through a rough time, many of us tend to berate ourselves and focus on what we “should” be doing. I should be grieving better. I should be more productive. I should know better by now. I shouldn’t let this bother me so much.

We judge our pain or how we’re handling it. We ruminate about our past mistakes in hopes that doing so will somehow undo them. We feel guilty. We feel humiliated. We feel angry, maybe even like failures. We feel alone. We get stuck.

The next time you’re struggling — in any kind of situation — consider practicing kindness instead.

The Most Amazing Parkinson’s Book You’ve Never Heard Of

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Most Amazing Parkinson's Book You've Never Heard OfWhen one of the foremost online communities for neurological and brain conditions went offline without notice back in 2006, we stepped up to the plate and created NeuroTalk, now the premier support community online for these kinds of conditions.

One of the conditions we cover at NeuroTalk is Parkinson’s disease. After talking in the Parkinson’s support group for a few years, a group of patients with Parkinson’s decided that their stories weren’t being told very well by books available at the time. And that there really wasn’t a comprehensive guidebook for patients with Parkinson’s, their families, and their loved ones.

So this group of e-patients decided to create their own. The amazing result is called The Peripatetic Pursuit of Parkinson Disease and it is now available.

Practices for Having a Happier Day at Work

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Practices for Having a Happier Day at WorkMost of us face various frustrating challenges at work that spike our stress — everything from burnout to boredom to increasing demands to distraction.

In her latest book Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement and Peace , bestselling author and meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg invites us to think of these obstacles and blocks differently using meditation practices.

“Through meditation, we can come to understand work problems as a potential source of achieving greater clarity, rather than as obstacles without redeeming value, and begin to recognize the true potential of the challenges that work brings our way.”

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