Family

On Grieving and Celebrating the Deceased

Aunt Jane died.  She was 95.  Aunt Jane was the lady who taught me how to play jacks and cats’ cradle in 1969 when I was six-years-old.  She fed me salmon patties, which I grew to like.  She took me on daily walks by the duck pond.

When we all got older, it was my brothers and I who entertained Aunt Jane.  We took her to lunch at the steak house or stopped at a burger joint and picked up food and took it to her apartment, where we laughed and joked and marveled at our aunt, born in 1921.  Jane still called the refrigerator the “ice box.”
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Grief and Loss

Making Room for Change

Change is unavoidable and the part of life we all dread. Change can be hard and uncomfortable. The ways we navigate change are often a reflection of how we have experienced change before. Change can be threatening, inspiring and/or encouraging. Ultimately, the more room you can make for change in your life the easier time you will have dealing with the change when it comes.

How do we prepare for change? What can we do to focus on the positive aspects of change? Luckily, there are some things you can put into place for yourself that will help you effectively manage the changes you confront in your life.
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Aging

Peeling Off the Pericardium

On June 12, 2014, my life changed immeasurably with an unexpected cardiac event. It had been brewing for a while and reached a boiling point with a fully occluded artery sending me careening into a new way of living and loving. A few hours after the initial symptoms, I had a new body part (a stent) keeping it open and the blood flowing.

How many beats per minute? How much love can the heart hold? How do we keep the blood pumping that sustains our lives? How do we become works of he(art)? Each of these is a practical and philosophical question I ponder.
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Anger

Fatherhood: Optional

“We have a personality clash,” my father would flippantly remark before storming off. This was his throwaway line.

I stood there dumbfounded. A sensitive teenager, the words wounded. There was a cold dismissiveness in his voice.

“What have I ever done to you?” I wondered.

The answer: Nothing. But that doesn’t stop the lingering hurt. In 1997, 2007, and, yes, 2017.
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Books

Psychology Around the Net: April 8, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

If you're wondering what's up with the "Happy Birthday" sign, well, yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the anniversary of its launch in 1948 -- as well as the annual World Health Day event.

Other topics in this week's Psychology Around the Net include how climate change affects our mental health, why some people are genetically programmed to be night owls, the tragic loss of Amy Bleuel, and more.

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Addiction

Repaving the Road

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” - Lewis Carroll
Yesterday, I spent 12 hours sitting in my therapy office as I worked with clients who brought with them, a collective steamer trunk of challenges, trauma history, pain, triumphs to celebrate, healing stories, insights, and wisdom. Thank goodness for those last few items, since if all I saw were the first, I’m not sure how I could have continued my career for the 38 years I have logged. If calculated in dog years, that would equal 342 turns of the calendar pages.
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Grief and Loss

Why We Grieve So Intensely for Our Pets


Your own pet is never "just a dog."

My wife and I recently went through one of the more excruciatingly sorrowful experiences of our long married life: the death of a pet -- the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy.

Losing a dog is hard enough; setting the time and date in advance and then counting down the hours that we had left with her was almost more than we could bear.

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Anger

3 Ways to Work Through the Anger Stage of Grief


(And how to get over it.)

Saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I ever tried to do. I couldn't do it.

People told me to reach out to God but I was too angry. People told me to call them but what did they know? I was too resentful. I’d see old men and wonder why did they get to live and he had to die? I was too pissed.

When Kubler-Ross did her seminal work on grief, she was sure to include a stage on anger.

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Children and Teens

6 Ways to Bond with Your Stepchildren

Step-parents have a tough job. Getting on with your new spouse’s children is absolutely essential for a harmonious life together -- but where to start?

Entering into a blended family situation is challenging for everyone, but it can be especially confusing for children. Their idea of “home” has been turned upside down. They may feel lost, angry or abandoned. There’s no question that step-parents have a delicate and difficult role to play.
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