3 Strategies for Supporting a Loved One with Depression

Your loved one has depression. Maybe they’re isolating themselves. Maybe their energy and mood have taken a nosedive. Maybe they’re irritable and angry. Maybe they aren’t enjoying much, if anything, anymore. Maybe they’re having a hard time concentrating or remembering things. Maybe they’ve mentioned feeling hopeless or worthless. Maybe they make negative comments about themselves. All. The. Time. Maybe they wear a happy face, but you know they’re struggling.

And, understandably, it’s really hard to watch. Because all you want to do is fix their pain. To make it go away. To make it all better.
Continue Reading


The Powerless Pose: How the ‘Power Pose’ Debacle Illustrates Good Science at Work

The recent news that Amy Cuddy, a co-author of the original “power pose” study (and TED Talk presenter on the subject) no longer believes in this effect has grabbed headlines. And in January 2016, Slate published an article whose headline trumpeted the claim that the original study was “the latest example of scientific overreach.”

Many people are surprised, and maybe a bit angry, that scientists were wrong. Maybe the millions of people who watched the TED Talk feel a bit foolish because they unnecessarily struck silly poses in the mirror before going on a job interview!

The sky is falling, Chicken Little! How can we trust anything that researchers say?!

There’s just one problem with such a reaction: this saga is a pristine example of science working the way it’s supposed to!
Continue Reading

Proof Positive

Love on the Beach

Love, like all emotions, surfaces like a distinct and fast-moving weather pattern, a subtle and ever-shifting force. ~Barbara Fredrickson, Love 2.0

The summer is ending and it is morning on the boardwalk. It is as perfect of a morning as there is going to be.

An elderly couple walks past me and find, what I assume to be their usual spot on the boardwalk. They are nuzzled up to the railing overlooking the beach. Each are carrying their provisions. He has his chair, a newspaper and a small neon blue and silver insulated lunchbox. She carries two small sun umbrellas, her chair, and an identical cooler.
Continue Reading


Are You Turning Towards Your Partner?

Well known couples therapists and founders of the Gottman Method for couples therapy, John and Julie Gottman have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what keeps couples together in a healthy relationship and what can break a relationship apart. In what they coined The Sound Relationship House, the foundation and inside of a healthy relationship rest on things like trust and commitment, fondness and admiration, turning towards and a positive perspective of your partner, as well as a healthy conflict style, and shared meaning.

Today I am focusing on the idea of turning towards instead of turning away from your partner. In Gottman’s research (in which he interviewed newlyweds and again after 6 years) he noticed one thing that stood out was that those who were still married after 6 year were turning towards one another 86% of the time, and those that divorced had turned towards only 33% of the time. What I gather from this piece of evidence is that the idea of turning towards instead of turning away plays a huge role on the health of your relationship and overall success of it.
Continue Reading


6 Tips for Cutting Off Contact with Narcissistic Family Members

Our family has the ability to frustrate us like no one else can. But what can you do when the family you were born into is not only frustrating, but cruel, condescending and downright abusive?

We all have our limits and if you were raised in a household where abuse or mental illness was part of everyday life for you, your willingness to tolerate your family’s bad behavior may be higher than most people’s.

Continue Reading


Moving on from Dysfunctional Relationships

Not so long ago, I joined a Facebook group for abuse survivors, in hopes of finding support and encouragement. While I was encouraged and supported in the best way an anonymous person on the Internet could be, I felt there was too much reliance on the word “narcissist.” As I tried to find intelligent solace in reading members' posts, I discovered many people playing the martyr. (I had observed that behavior in my own mother). Many of these people seeking and offering advice probably suffered from some mental or personality disorder as well.

I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I have also been told I have low self-esteem. Despite my plethora of issues, I am still able to see myself and others through a clear lens.

Continue Reading


Psychology Around the Net: September 24, 2016

Well, it's finally fall, y'all!

Though my neck of the woods is still squeezing out every last drop of 90-degree weather it can.

If you're chilling at home like I am (and hey, even if you're not you can check them out later!), take a minute to catch up on the latest about a possible connection between internet addiction and mental health issues, how to cure your fear of flying, a new plan for schools to support students' mental health problems, and more.

Continue Reading


Vulnerability Equates to Success

As a society, we tend to hide from being vulnerable. We are taught from an early age to be strong, be confident, to be anything but vulnerable. This thinking, however, is flawed. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. It is not weakness.

When we are vulnerable, we are showing courage. We are thinking with our brains while also using our intuition. We are creating change and learning to adapt. We are, in the best sense, living. So, if we are afraid of being vulnerable, are we afraid of truly living?

Continue Reading


Why We Can’t Accept Ourselves — and Small Steps to Start

There are all sorts of obstacles that stop us from accepting ourselves. For starters, it might be a combination of scarce self-knowledge and wounds from our past, said Alexis Marson, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with individuals, couples, families and children.

We often lack knowledge and awareness about our emotions. And the most damaging past wounds tend to stem from our caregivers. Marson shared this example: You feel angry and interpret your parents as disconnecting from you. You do everything you can to dismiss or ignore your anger so you can maintain the connection. “If we've cut off our ability to feel anger, we aren't aware of that part of our self. You cannot accept something you don't even know is there.”
Continue Reading


There’s No Such Thing as a Simple Question

You would think that a simple question would be met with a simple answer. On occasion, that is true. But often, a simple question stirs up a barrage of emotional baggage. Here are two examples:

He says: Do you know where the flashlight is?
She says: You never put anything away and then you expect me to find it. How am I supposed to know?

She says: It’s raining; will you drive carefully?
He says: Get off my back! I’m not an idiot!

Communication is not what you say; it’s what the other person hears you say. And when you have a history with that person, a simple question can conjure up a frenzy of emotions.
Continue Reading


When You Rely Too Much on What Others Think

Caring what others think is totally normal. It’s also adaptive. “[V]aluing other people’s thoughts and opinions is what helps us build relationships [and] integrate socially into society,” said Ashley Thorn, a LMFT, a psychotherapist who works with individuals, couples, and families on improving their relationships. “[It] keeps us respecting and following rules and pushes us to think and challenge ourselves.”

Caring what others think becomes a problem when we hyperfocus on their opinions -- and let them override our own. When we do this regularly, we send “a message to our brain that says we can’t ‘look out’ for ourselves or self-protect.” Which triggers self-doubt and insecurity.
Continue Reading