Disorders

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Misunderstood But Effective & Powerful Treatment

Today, psychodynamic psychotherapy tends to get dismissed or outright rejected. It’s seen as ineffective, unscientific and archaic. It’s associated with Freud and some of his “outlandish” theories -- many of which have become caricatures. If you’ve ever learned about psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy in college or even grad school, it’s likely your professors got it wrong.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy arose out of psychoanalysis, but it’s since evolved. A lot. As psychologist Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D, writes in this fantastic, myth-busting piece: “The development of psychoanalytic thought did not end with Freud any more than the development of physics ended with Newton, or the development of the behavioral tradition in psychology ended with Watson.”

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is depicted as inferior to other interventions, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
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Anger

What’s Your Intent?

We all say hurtful things from time to time. Sometimes we lash out from anger, saying mean things on purpose with the intent to hurt. Sometimes we just don't think before we speak. We do not mean to cause hurt. But it is easy to forget to use empathy, which tells us to be aware of the impact we are having on the person with whom we are communicating. When we say things without thinking, we sometimes inadvertently cause pain.

When someone hurts my feelings, I find it helpful to question the intention of the one who hurt me. I ask myself, “What do I think was his or her intent?”

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General

Happy Mother’s Day, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day!

None of us would be here if not for our moms, even if they later they found ways to let us down or not be in our lives the way we wanted or had hoped. For some, this day is a painful reminder of the break from their own mom (or child), and the unhappiness of that relationship.

But for many others, moms are a happy reminder of the joys of our childhood. Of a supportive person who was (nearly) always there for us, helping us understand the ways of the world. How to be a respectful individual who treated others the way they themselves want to be treated. Who stood by us even during very trying or difficult times... Someone who may not have always agreed with our decisions, but respected our right to make them.

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Men

3 Reasons It’s So Tough to End a Toxic Relationship


Sometimes life is freaking TOUGH.

Bad relationships don’t happen all at once, they creep up on us. If they were bad in the beginning, no one would ever enter into them. So, why do we stay in bad relationships long after it dawns on us that it’s time to go?

Here are three reasons why leaving a bad relationship is a lot harder than it sounds:

1. You Feel Like You've Invested Too Much Time to Give Up Now


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General

The Difference Between Sex and Love for Men

As a psychotherapist who specializes in emotions, and as a woman with my own personal history of serial monogamy, I have come to realize that some men channel their need for love, intimacy, soothing, care, and comfort into sexual desire.

Here are some examples:

Dylan wants sex when he feels sad because he likes the comfort the physical holding provides. Dylan, like most people, wants to be held when he is sad. In fact, the need to be held when we feel sad is biologically programmed into our brains.

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Anxiety and Panic

A Doctorate in Life: Dual Degrees

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since the age of 4,” an ex-girlfriend once confided. She said this with absolute certitude.

At age 4, I was whimpering for Little Debbies. Doctor? Sure, I was a precocious child, at least according to my mother, but terrorizing babysitters and sparring with brothers was my chosen profession.

I marveled at Haley’s preternatural obsession with medicine. She knew, like, in her bones knew, that medicine was her destined profession. “How do you know?” I would inquire -- a touch of amazement and disbelief lining my voice.
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General

5 Signs of Covert Narcissism

We all have come in contact with the flamboyant narcissist. Their self-absorption can't be mistaken. But there is also the covert narcissist, who is not so easy to decipher. They are equally as self-absorbed as the outward version and equally as destructive in relationships.

Narcissistic personality disorder is created in one of two ways in childhood. Either the child is given too much attention or not enough. This leaves a large void as they enter adulthood. Their never-satisfied "taker" stance becomes the perfect magnet for the unknowing “giver” personality. Narcissists will attempt to find someone who will give them the attention they either had or lacked as children, putting others at an emotional deficit.

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Brain and Behavior

Awareness: A Hardwired Gift and the Science Behind It

Awareness is a hardwired gift. It may cause us to frown when we see another frown, find food when our stomach growls, smile at a baby, or hold the door open for another. You may or may not remember telling yourself to do these things. You just did it, because on some level you were aware, which led to your response.

Intentionally practicing mindfulness allows us to tune into varying depths of our awareness, beyond those that are on automatic pilot. This deeper level of awareness gives us the flexibility and buoyancy to self-correct, helping us to better serve and navigate ourselves and our community.

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Friends

Love Thy Boundaries

“Love thy Neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.” -- Benjamin Franklin
Boundaries. You know you’re supposed to have them. Maybe your boundaries are abstract, and you just go with the flow. Maybe you think it’s only people who are “too nice” or forgiving that have their boundaries violated. But at some point everyone has their physical, emotional, and spiritual limits pressed.

Perhaps a friend going through a breakup leaned on you too much to meet their emotional needs. Maybe someone violated your spatial boundaries by standing too close or being touchy-feely. At some point, you’ve probably accommodated people who have fundamentally different core values at the expense of your own emotional well-being.
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Addiction

The Physical and Emotional Parallels of Hoarding

In the newly-released indie film "Hello, My Name Is Doris," sweet and eccentric Doris (played by Sally Field) is an older woman who lives in her deceased mother’s immensely cluttered house. Needless to say, Doris grapples with hoarding issues, tightly clinging to all kinds of items from her past. Her home’s disarray is a barrier of sorts, physically creating entrapment to what was - and not what could be.

Doris blossoms through a new relationship with a younger man (played by Max Greenfield). Though the outcome of their relationship may not be the one she unequivocally pines for, their time together symbolizes hope for what is very well possible in her next life chapter. She’s merely grateful for the friendship they share -- for its impact.

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