General

Psychology of Empathy: Why It May Hurt More Than You Know

As a child, many of us are taught that it's important to put ourselves in another person's shoes, to feel what they're feeling. "How would you like it if Joey took your toy and smashed it?" This is an attempt to understand that our behaviors can have a negative impact on another person's life -- that our actions can hurt others.

So it's no surprise that as we age, we tend to believe that it's important to keep empathy in our lives when thinking about other groups of people -- such as the poor or disadvantaged.

But what if everything we think we knew about the value of empathy is wrong? What if empathy hurts us more than it helps?

Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

How Do You Stay Motivated When You Want to Give Up?

“Of course, motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Ziglar
If you are like most people, there are days when you just aren’t feelin’ it. It might mean hiding under the covers rather than throwing them off to face the day. It could look like setting goals and then missing the mark, as in archery, followed by taking your ball and bat and going home. I know, I'm mixing metaphors, but I'm sure you get the idea.
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

No, Researchers Have Not Discovered the Cause of OCD

If "fake news" is an epidemic, we see it no place more clearly than in the media relations offices of universities that promote their professors' latest research results. Some of the blame falls on the researchers themselves, who have eschewed conservative, careful language in their studies and instead have turned to hyperbole and over-generalization.

The latest example of scientific "fake news" is the supposed discovery of the single cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And we don't have to look any further than the news release published by the University of Würzburg to see how bad the problem is.

Continue Reading

College

Advice to My 13-Year-Old Self

I write as a nineteen year old student. After two years of studying psychology -- particularly child and developmental psychology -- I have a newfound appreciation of the stresses and strains of my 13 year old self.

I am not a parent and therefore I don’t feel in any way qualified to advise or comment on parenting techniques. I can, however, advise my former self. I hope to offer an insightful look into the trials and tribulations of entry into adolescence and, although this is in no way an exhaustive list, it may offer a brief insight into the mysterious mind workings of a 13 year old child.
Continue Reading

General

2 Things We Say that Dilute Contact

How do you respond when people offer a heartfelt compliment or word of appreciation? Are you able to receive it gracefully or does it make you uncomfortable?

Often we don't avail ourselves of the simple intimacies that can affect the quality of our day. We let moments slip by without being alert to the possibilities of a richer connection, however brief it might be. Paying attention to our language and how we feel inside when someone does something kind can create a lovely bridge between our worlds.

Continue Reading

General

Two Essential Factors for Effective Communication

Couples often enter my office complaining about a communication problem. Oftentimes, this is true. But there are two more fundamental issues that are often hidden. When uncovered, it can help move relationships from an impasse to deeper intimacy.

The Mindfulness Factor

We can communicate only to the extent to which we’re aware of what we’re experiencing inside. It takes a hefty dose of mindfulness to notice what we’re actually experiencing.

Continue Reading

Anger

How to Dialogue through Successful Conflict Resolution

Relationships are hard work and in order to create healthy communication patterns, one must learn to have successful conflict resolutions. Many times you might find yourself at a communication impasse and feel increasing frustration.  It’s common to feel as though there isn’t a way around it and just to escape the conflict or to react negatively to it… but there is a better way.
Continue Reading

Happiness

6 Ways to Recover Your Mental Health

If you are emerging from a period of mental distress, the most important thing to remember is that you are the key person on the treatment team.

Although other people can give you advice, encouragement, recommendations and even love, the ultimate person in charge of helping you get better is you. There are practical, doable, affordable steps you can take to work on your recovery. By regularly following these steps, you can regain stability and get on with life.
Continue Reading

Children and Teens

5 Ways You Can Emotionally Connect With Your Child


PLUS: The hidden benefits.

We live in a fast-paced society. I hear it all the time in my practice: "How can I connect with my child?"

Parents want to connect with their children more than ever these days. Living in the Bay Area can be demanding, and not leave as much time for your family as you would like to have. You are not alone in feeling this way. I see many families that are going through this.

Continue Reading