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Books

8 Ways to Support Yourself Through Bereavement

As we age we are inevitably bereaved more often, and it is at a time of our life when we are more vulnerable. Research shows that the generation that are in their 60's and older are the least likely to access or receive appropriate support when someone dies, and this is particularly true of men.

Through my work as a bereavement psychotherapist for the last 25 years, I have learned from my clients what can help them at such a difficult time, and I have developed the concept of "pillars of strength" -- these are active things we can do to help us manage the pain of loss, and build an internal structure when we feel there is a terrible black hole inside us.  
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General

When the Rug Gets Yanked Out from Beneath You: An Interview with Joel Metzger

I have known Joel Metzger for perhaps 20 years and was told I needed to meet this resilient thriver and hear his story of rebirth following a traumatic event that forever changed his life.

When we wake up each morning, we generally don’t imagine that this day could be our last on the planet. We go about our business, interacting with family, friends and co-workers, "clocking in and clocking out" on the job, assuming that another 24 hours will be granted to us or that they will be predictable.
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Men

Empowering Our Girls: Being Part of the #MeToo Solution

Recently, a memory of an experience I had made me think about how we can empower our girls and young women in a culture that is wrought with many obstacles to do so. A number of years ago I saw a new male doctor for some medical issues I was experiencing. He was warm and friendly, but instead of putting me at ease, something didn’t feel right. In his brief exam (with my clothes on) he lingered in a way that gave me an uncomfortable gut feeling. He asked me questions about my sex life that seemed irrelevant to my issues. He sat unusually close to me and gave me a hug when I left, which no other doctor had ever done.
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General

How to Feel Normal Again

“The possibility of stepping into a higher plane is quite real for everyone. It requires no force or effort or sacrifice. It involves little more than changing our ideas about what is normal.” – Deepak Chopra

When I was a young girl, I often felt as if I was not normal. It wasn’t that I had a noticeable birth defect or considered myself ugly or stupid, though. My feelings likely stemmed more from a sense that I was too sensitive or fragile or in need of protection and couldn’t stand up for myself. I had an older brother who sometimes was tough on me, yet I loved him dearly. He was my protector against the bullies in the neighborhood. Still, I wondered why I didn’t feel normal. My quest to achieve what I considered to be normal took many years. Maybe some of these hard-learned tips can help others learn how to feel normal, or normal again.
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Habits

What a Beautiful Life: The Fulfillment of Failure

Can you imagine things going right on the first try?

It would be fantastically … boring!

Just picture sitting down to center clay on the pottery wheel. Your hands wrap around the mud. Your foot hits the pedal. And within seconds, the job is done. Instead of clay flying out to splatter your neighbor’s face with a roar of laughter, it stays put. Instead of trying and trying and finally learning something new, you simply know how to craft a pot from the start. The sense of accomplishment would be lost. The beauty of brilliant artwork would be commonplace.
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Happiness

Why It’s Never Too Late to Heal Your Mind

Brian had suffered for years from an intractable depression for which he had been hospitalized.

He had been through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalytic psychotherapy, supportive therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

He received varied diagnoses from major depression to bipolar disorder to dependent personality disorder. He had tried many medications that had proven ineffective. The psychiatrist who referred him told me he was hopeless.
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Brain and Behavior

Genealogy in the Psyche Department

Perhaps a psychological mapping of the human genome would tell us the future odds of being bullied in school, or of becoming a priest.

Genes inherited from the "family tribe" contribute to the formation of self through a complicated process that incorporates a fusion of interrelated factors: genetic traits, familial relationships, societal interactions, educational opportunities, random influences, etc.
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Brain Blogger

Clinical Observations: Combat and Its Ensuing Trauma


I am now retired and conducting research on killing in combat zones. I served as a medic in the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) in the emergency room of Malcolm Grow hospital. I served from Nov. 1969 to Nov. 1973. There I was, also part a team who started to process prisoner of war (POW) airmen. I also served temporary duty (TDY) at Lackland AFB treating airmen who were transferred out of Vietnam and presenting with substance use disorder (SUD). I never served in Nam. Upon discharge and with the GI Bill, I obtained my advanced degrees in clinical social work and psychology.

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Anxiety and Panic

How to Ditch Perfectionism

I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend, watching her scroll through Facebook. “I don’t want to deal with another summer. I can’t handle the bikini selfies.”


Summer is still several months away, but I understand the sentiment. On Facebook, everyone seems perfect. Even the photographs themselves are perfectly lit with photo editing software or phone apps that let you clear blemishes or play with exposure. Whether my friend and I are uncomfortable because of seemingly unattainable ‘yoga bodies’ or because destination weddings are a trend, perfection seems not only achievable, but expected.
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