Children and Teens

Are We Losing Touch with Our Sense of Touch?

In a society where digital connections are accepted as the norm, "Skinship," written and directed by London-based filmmaker Nichola Wong, implores us to ask a disconcerting question: are we losing touch with our sense of touch, with human skin-to-skin contact?

"'Skinship' was conceived on an idyllic beach in San Sebastian, where I found myself captivated by a group of 20-something Europeans, whose obsession with their devices rendered them oblivious to the beauty that surrounded them and also one another,” Wong told me via email. “I thought it was a shame, but I thought ‘who was I to judge?’ I'd done the very same on many occasions. It was something that got me thinking about my own relationship with technology, and I had observed at that time in my life that I was feeling very disconnected from myself with the increasing prevalence of technology in my day-to-day life.”

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Disorders

Being a Contender in Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is not for the faint-of-heart. Entering therapy is a substantial risk, especially when considering there is no blue print or written guarantee that you will get better. At the same time, it is just as thrilling as it is terrifying, like a sedentary extreme sport or emotional skydiving. Based in art, philosophy, and science, psychotherapy is fierce and a force to be reckoned with, so it still surprises me when patients worry about being judged as weak for stepping up to that level of commitment.

As a licensed social worker and post-graduate fellow, I was recently ask to speak to a group of interns about entering a program for psychoanalytically-informed psychotherapy after graduation.
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Bipolar

Touched with Fire: A Film about Bipolar & Artistic Genius

My name is Paul Dalio. I’m a filmmaker, husband of my NYU film school classmate, father of two children, and bipolar. Of these labels, the one I'm certain stands out in your mind is bipolar -- and not in a good way. That’s no fault of your own, since you probably don’t know much about it, other than what you’ve heard.

So how do I deal with this label? What other label do I have to choose from that’s not a disorder, disease, illness, or defect in my humanity? I remember when I received the label at age 24. All every medical book had to offer was that if I stayed on these meds, which made me feel no emotion, I could live a "reasonably normal life.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I was pretty sure it sounded like "just get by."
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Brain and Behavior

Learning to Accept Our Emotions: Lessons from Disney’s ‘Inside Out’

I recently had the opportunity to see Disney Pixar’s latest animated feature, "Inside Out." I didn’t need much prompting: it's a movie about feelings, and I'm a psychologist. It did not disappoint.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the film’s premise (spoiler alert): An 11-year-old girl named Riley moves cross-country with her family. A move is a huge transition, especially at such an impressionable age, and she experiences a gamut of emotions as she leaves her home, friends, and hockey league behind. Riley's feelings -- the main characters of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust -- provide a glimpse into the workings of Riley’s mind as she navigates this life-changing experience.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: May 9, 2015


This week's Psychology Around the Net focuses on teachers and psychological concepts in the classroom, how exercise relates to your career, how we're "allowed" to enjoy movies about mental illness, and more.

The Most Important Psychological Concepts for Teachers to Apply in Classrooms: A new American Psychological Association report outlines and explains 20 psychological concepts to enhance teaching on the elementary and secondary school levels.

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General

9 Quotes about Life from ‘Garden State’

"Garden State" is a comedy-drama movie featuring Zach Braff and Natalie Portman that captures the state of transition young adults experience in a refreshing light. The narrative features psychological undertones.

Andrew Largeman (Braff) has been medicated since he was 10 years old, resulting in his emotional detachment. He is simply going through the motions of day-to-day life. Sam, a vivacious 20-something with problems of her own, inspires Andrew to start really living.

Following are some thought-provoking quotes from the film (along with my own interpretations).

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General

Lessons from ‘Eat, Pray, Love’

If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet as a teacher … and if you are prepared, most of all, to forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you. ~ Liz Gilbert

If I’m seeking an ‘emotional cleanse’ of sorts, I watch the film "Eat, Pray, Love." Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir, the movie documents one woman’s quest to heal, find peace and restore balance in her life, as she travels through Rome, India and Bali. Her ventures bring forth painful lessons, self-discoveries and resonating truths.
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Celebrities

Movie Review: Frankie & Alice


It's been 57 years since The Three Faces of Eve premiered in move theaters. One of the first cinematic portrayals of serious mental illness, the movie starred Joanne Woodward. She would end up winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance portraying three different personalities in one individual in the film.

Enter Halle Berry and her performance in Frankie and Alice. Although first released to very limited audience in 2010, it garnered Berry a Golden Globe nomination in 2011 for her lead role in the film. In it, she portrays Frankie, a go-go dancer in the 1970s who experiences blackouts she can't explain.

Finally released more generally this past week, it's an interesting and engaging addition to the film category of movies portraying multiple personalities.

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Brain and Behavior

Why Are We Drawn to Horror Films?

My relationship with horror films is one massive contradiction. On the one hand, I can’t peel my eyes away from the screen. On the other hand, I know that I’m surely going to be spooked in the aftermath (the more paranormal content, the creepier it is). And yet, I’m drawn to frightening movies anyway, in dark rooms and late at night. (Go big or go home, right?)

“Lauren, why do you do that to yourself?” family members ask, after it’s apparent that my vivid, disturbing dreams are probably a byproduct of the storylines I watched before sleep: John Cusack spends the night in a haunted hotel room and loses his mind. He escapes the room, physically, but does he ever really leave? The spirit of a murder victim lingers around the Yankee Peddler Inn -- she’s seeking vengeance. Religion turns dark and exorcisms occur. Ouija boards just encompass freakiness.

Why are we so drawn to things that scare us?

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General

When You’re Running Toward Something

I had run for three years, two months, 14 days and 16 hours.
~ Forrest Gump

Apparently, I’m a bit behind on the Forrest Gump bandwagon. After viewing the film in its entirety recently, I knew I had to flesh out a concept that was thematically addressed throughout -- running. Whenever I think of ‘running’ from a psychological standpoint, I conjure up images of people trying to escape life, avoid their problems and mentally recharge elsewhere, without coping effectively.

However, when I saw Forrest run (“Run Forrest run” is the famous line), I gathered that he wasn’t running away -- he was running toward something. In fact, maybe the notion of chasing your dreams isn’t such a cliché after all.

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