Celebrities Articles

A Close Encounter with Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

A Close Encounter with Thich Nhat HanhI was eating my California wrap outside at a local coffee shop in Boston when without reason I began to weep. Tears began rolling down my face, which made me feel as if I were sitting in a steady rain. It was as if my eyes had suddenly sprung a leak or a nearby sprinkler had found me.

Initially I didn’t have any feeling, but within seconds after the tears began like a fountain, I felt what seemed like an inconsolable pain — a deep sorrow that grew in intensity. It was as profound and moving as any emotion I’ve ever had.

Within the space of a brief moment I had gone from enjoying my lunch at a sidewalk café on a beautiful late summer day in Boston to a crying, blubbering mess. What the hell was going on?

The Importance of Validation

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

The Importance of Validation On Oprah’s final episode of her wildly popular TV show, she highlighted the importance of validation: “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show,” she said, “and all 30,000 had one thing in common. They all wanted validation.”

Validation. What is it? It’s getting feedback from others that “what I do and what I say matters to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.”

The opposite of validation? Non-recognition. “I don’t give a damn what you want, what you say, what you think. Who cares? You’re overreacting. You’re nuts. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Mindy Kaling’s Rules for Creative Writing (& Happiness)

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Mindy Kaling's Rules for Creative Writing (& Happiness)Like millions of others, I’m a huge fan of Mindy Kaling. She is one of the geniuses behind one of my very favorite TV shows, The Office (and also played the great character, Kelly Kapoor).

I also love her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). And I’m looking forward to binge-watching her newish TV show, The Mindy Project.

Mindy Kaling also gave one of my favorite happiness interviews here. One great passage is inside…

True Love & The Bachelorette: Is This For Real?

Friday, August 16th, 2013

True Love & The Bachelorette: Is This For Real?This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Bonnie Ray Kennan.

Come on, admit it. You watched it; I know you did.

This confession comes out in the privacy of my therapy office more than you can imagine. On Monday night you, along with so many others, curled up in front of the TV, grateful to have survived another Monday, and, popcorn in hand, watched the gut-wrenching saga of Des’ and her final choice between Chris and Drew.

This followed a tear-soaked shocker the week before when Brooks, in a first in Bachelorette history, left stunningly picturesque Antigua and a decimated Desiree because he just wasn’t feeling it.

Introducing Psychology & Pop Culture

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Introducing Psychology & Pop CultureMany of us enjoy exploring how psychology works within popular culture. I often find myself looking for larger themes in the stories that capture our imaginations — and attention (especially in our attention-deficit world).

That’s why I’m pleased to welcome you to Psychology & Pop Culture, with Brian Kong, Psy.D. Brian is a licensed psychologist who practices in Ontario, Canada. He currently works with individuals and couples struggling with mood, anxiety, or relational issues.

Is Dr. Phil Barking at the Moon? Is Brian Williams Arguably a Journalist?

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Is Dr. Phil Barking at the Moon? Is Brian Williams Arguably a Journalist? It’s been a weird couple of weeks for people who suffer with a mental illness. During that time, people with a mental illness and their loved ones heard Dr. Phil brushing off a woman’s worries by declaring that her obsession did not mean that she was “insane” because insane people “suck on rocks and bark at the moon.”

Then, just a few days ago, NBC news anchor Brian Williams said of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held three women captive and raped them for a decade, that he was “arguably the face of mental illness.” Arguably? Arguably for whom?

Does Dr. Phil really believe that people with mental illness bark at the moon?

Should a news anchor such as Brian Williams be attempting to diagnose… well, anyone?

Jodi Arias Trial: The Importance of Forensic Psychology Guidelines

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial: The Importance of Forensic Psychology GuidelinesI have served as a clinical and forensic neuropsychologist expert witness for over twenty years. It is of utmost importance that an even playing field be created in adversarial proceedings.

What is conducive to this is use of forensic guidelines as standards by all experts involved in a case.

The Jodi Arias trial depicts apparent omissions of important standards that could influence outcome of assessment. There was a lack of collateral interviews, which the Reference Manual for Scientific Evidence (RMSE) addresses.

In addition, there were other omissions that I believe are important to the outcome of the Jodi Arias trial.

Cory Monteith: A Wake-Up Call about Relapse

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Cory Monteith: A Wake-Up Call about RelapseCory Monteith, Glee actor, was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver recently from a heroin and alcohol overdose. He was frank about his long history of struggles with addiction beginning as a teenager, using “anything and everything” by the time he was 16. Most recently, he checked himself into rehab just this past March.

As a doctor who treats opiate addiction every day in my office in San Francisco, I see many accomplished people like Cory who are working hard to get and stay clean.

Unlike the myth of addicts being complete train wrecks — barefoot and disheveled — my patients are high-functioning. They are lawyers, computer programmers, housewives, construction workers and entrepreneurs. They work, raise families and contribute to their communities.

I help each of them plan for relapse because the likelihood is so high and the risks are so deadly. After a period of being clean, the body’s tolerance for opiates lowers and doses previously used become deadly.

Sadly, it’s not entirely surprising that Cory’s overdose came after a recent rehab.

Do ‘Real Housewives’ Make Real Friendships?

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Do 'Real Housewives' Make Real Friendships?It seems like there is a growing segment of the population who makes a weekly date (or, in some cases, multiple weekly dates, depending on how many versions they follow) with their DVR or with groups of friends to watch the “Real Housewives” television show phenomenon.

I have seen enough episodes to ask the question, “Why?”

What draws people to watch faithfully every week or watch every series every week? What satisfaction is had by watching women backstab each other, trash-talk each other behind each other’s backs, steal each other’s men, lie and manipulate others for attention, and flaunt their excessive lifestyles?

In short, what is to be gained by watching women treat each other so poorly?

The Relative Age Effect in Sports: It’s Complicated

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

The Relative Age Effect in Sports: It's ComplicatedMalcolm Gladwell capitalized on research conducted by Roger Barnsley (et al., 1985) by suggesting in his 2008 book, Outliers, that there is an “Iron Law of Canadian Hockey.” This theory is also known as the relative age effect in psychological research and it suggests that the older a player is when they begin training for a sport, the more likely they are to achieve success in that sport.

In fact, in a talk posted on YouTube, Gladwell goes even further, saying, “In absolutely every system in which hockey is played, a hugely disproportionate number of hockey players are born in the first half of the year.” He says this in the context of a talk about society not taking advantage of opportunities to improve human potential.

“Logic tells us there should be as many great hockey players born in the second half of the year,” suggests Gladwell, “as born in the first half. But what we can see here, there’s almost no one born it the end of the year, everyone’s from the beginning.”

But is this actually true — are more elite hockey players born in the first half versus the second half of the year?

Is ‘Blind Love’ Too Much of a Good Thing?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Is Blind Love Too Much of a Good Thing?In his play The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare wrote, “But love is blind, and lovers cannot see / The pretty follies that themselves commit” (2.6.36-37).

Clearly, people have been perceiving love as a force incapable of perceiving the flaws of others for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Even a verse in the Bible states that “[love] keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:5-6).

But here lies the conundrum: how can love both “rejoice in the truth” and “keep no record of wrongs”? Wouldn’t ignoring the wrongdoings of love be an untruthful perception of it?

And yet this is the theory behind the love-is-blind bias.

Taylor Swift Goes Red

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Taylor Swift Goes Red
“I started writing songs ‘cause it’s kind of like a message in a bottle. You write a song, and you can send it out into the world, and the person you wrote it about might hear it too.”
~ Taylor Swift

In October 2012, Taylor Swift became the first female artist in Nielsen SoundScan history to break record sales twice. “Red,” her latest album, sold over one million copies in its first week, and she reached that impressive mark with “Speak Now” (2010) as well. Not to mention, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” her catchy hit single, is taking over the radio airwaves.

Since “Speak Now,” I’ve become somewhat of a “Swiftie” listener myself (apparently that’s the name of her fan club), and I was curious to see how her stories in “Red” would unfold. While her vocals matured, and the styles of music blur between pop, country and some rather eclectic dub step, I was even more pleasantly intrigued by her songwriting. Its bold nature discloses personal details about her life, her words reminiscent of words you would only find on a page in a diary.

Is this why so many adolescents and twenty-somethings can relate to her music?

Recent Comments
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: Thanks for your contribution and insight into this issue. I agree with what you wrote.
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: I never said a word about SSRI antidepressants working or not working. But to clarify,...
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: I have a doctorate in psychology, am a published researcher and author, so yeah, I feel...
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: Absolutely, let me re-emphasize this important point: antidepressants work for many people...
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: This is absolutely not the intention of the article, and I hope most of our readers...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code