Psychology Articles

Low Serotonin Levels Don’t Cause Depression

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Low Serotonin Levels Don't Cause DepressionOne of the leading myths that unfortunately still circulates about clinical depression is that it’s caused by low serotonin levels in the brain (or a “biochemical imbalance”). This is a myth because countless scientific studies have specifically examined this theory and have come back universally rejecting it.

So let’s put it to rest once and for all — low levels of serotonin in the brain don’t cause depression.

Let’s find out why.

How Somatic Therapy Can Help Patients Suffering from Psychological Trauma

Friday, September 12th, 2014

How Somatic Therapy Can Help Patients Suffering from Psychological TraumaWhatever happens in our lives impacts our mind either consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes events — such as the unexpected death of a loved one, illness, fearful thoughts, near-death accidents or experiences — result in traumas. Psychological trauma causes damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event.

How Somatic Psychotherapy Helps

Somatic psychotherapy is one of the best ways to help patients suffering from psychological traumas cope, recover and live a normal life.

How Music Heightens Our Experiences

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

How Music Heightens Our ExperiencesThere’s a whimsical, charming scene in Begin Again, starring Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, that showcases two of the characters strolling through the streets of New York City, bonding through music. The gold and silver lights of Times Square shimmer in the dark, and earbuds are plugged in as they absorb favorite songs and guilty pleasures off their playlists.

These snapshots were not only a beautiful love letter and ode to the city, but they paid homage to the power of music as well. Music was a vibrant color to a blank canvas; music lit up the night and made it sparkle; music smacked them awake.

Music has the capacity to heighten our daily experiences — to alter our emotional states, to enhance, transcend and inspire the present moment.

3 Thorny Obstacles to Being Authentic

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

More Questions to Help You Deepen Your Connection with Your PartnerWe long for intimate connections, which are essential for our emotional and physical health. But oftentimes we don’t know how to create the connections we desire. Summoning the courage to reveal what we’re experiencing inside allows people to see us and know us. Showing our authentic heart rather than blaming, attacking, or shaming people allows them to feel safer coming toward us.

Yet, we often have blocks to moving toward the authenticity that would create a fertile climate for warm connections with people. Here are some obstacles I’ve observed in my work as a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years:

Talking to Someone About Suicide

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Talking to Someone About Suicide

So you suspect a friend is grappling with thoughts of suicide. Maybe they’ve withdrawn more and isolated themselves from their normal social life. Maybe they’ve just seemed more down in the dumps and depressed. Maybe they’ve even expressed a desire or thought in passing about how things would be better without them.

What do you do?

Some people feel uncomfortable talking about these kinds of feelings. Others may feel ill-prepared or unequipped to handle someone talking to them about suicide. Others still may fear unleashing a torrent of despair from their friend, one they wouldn’t know what to do with.

Here’s how you talk to someone about suicide.

Introducing Private Practice Kickstart

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Introducing Private Practice Kickstart

As the online world has grown, so have the potential pitfalls a psychotherapist can make while navigating this increasingly interconnected landscape. But with pitfalls also come wonderful new opportunities to grow and market your private practice online.

There are so many business and marketing aspects to your clinical private practice, but few of them are discussed in much depth in most graduate school programs. This leaves new practitioners searching for the basics of business and marketing on their own.

But search no more. We’re happy to be bringing two of the pros in this area to the Psych Central family with a new blog called Private Practice Kickstart. If you’re a clinician or professional psychotherapist, you’re going to want to put this blog on your “must read” list.

The Sad Truth about Your Smile

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

The Sad Truth about Your SmileIf you’re subscribing to the old adage of “grin and bear it” “keeping smiling” or “chin up” to mask unwanted negative emotions, you’re not doing yourself any favors, or fooling anyone else for that matter — science shows us homo sapiens are not that easily fooled.

Researchers say that over time, putting on a fake smile can actually cause people to associate smiling with feeling unhappy, an internal cognitive dissonance, causing not only temporary confusion, but a sense of  uneasiness. The better option that is recommended is that people should instead forgo a smile until whatever negative emotion they’re feeling is resolved or subsided.

It’s the Little Things That Lead to Happiness

Friday, September 5th, 2014

let it go butterfly freeWhat’s the best part of your day?

For me, it’s waking up early and having coffee on my porch as I watch the sun rise. There’s just something calming about this little morning ritual. I never miss it, it’s truly one of the highlights of my day.

Of course there are other things that can brighten your mood during the course of your day that you might not think so much about.

The Psychology of Personal Space: Seat Reclining

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

The Psychology of Personal Space: Seat Reclining

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard more and more accounts of airline flights being diverted because of an argument over reclining seats. Reclining seats are obviously not the problem — they’ve been available on most airlines’ flights for the past five decades.

The problem is that as airlines seek to eek out every dollar of profit from your pocket, many have decided to reduce the space between seats, making your personal space up to an inch smaller than it was just a year or two ago. The person in front of you trying to recline their seat isn’t to blame — the airline you’ve chosen to purchase a ticket from is.

But all of this really a battle over personal space. And no battle may be more emotionally involving than this one.

Is It Guilt or Shame?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Child punishmentI started this column about guilt — why it stalks me. Why, no matter how hard I try to be a good girl, I can’t get rid of the knot in my stomach that says I’ve been busted, just like I was with a bottle of vodka at band camp in high school. However, upon doing a little research on this topic, I don’t think guilt is so much my problem as shame.

They are related but different.

Dealing with Insults: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

P3270051My friend is waiting for a table at a local restaurant. She is one of those table stalkers, who intuitively knows who is getting up when. She’s been hovering over a certain table for a good half hour. She is most certain the table is hers until some guy comes out of left field and starts talking to the couple who is leaving. Then he sits down with his girlfriend.

This does not deter my friend from her mission. With the confidence of Marilyn Monroe, she plops down at the table with the guy and his girlfriend and unfolds a napkin over her lap.

Can Weather Affect Your Mood?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

weather-affect-mood

As most of the nation suffers through some of the hottest temperatures on record this summer, people are asking the question of how exactly does weather impact our mood. For instance, how does hot weather affect our mood? Does it make us more aggressive — or even more violent?

Does rain make us sad? How about cold temperatures… do they make us feel more like wanting to hunker down, hibernate, and isolate ourselves from others?

Let’s revisit how weather affects our mood and impacts our lives.

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