The Psych Central Show is an award-winning, weekly podcast that approaches psychology and mental health in a casual and accessible fashion. Listen as our hosts speak candidly with experts to break down complex topics in simple and understandable ways.
The Psych Central Show is hosted by Associate Editor Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales. Learn more about them here.
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Episodes of the Psych Central Show
Toxic relationships come in many forms. They can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, and more. Most of us, at one point or another, will find ourselves in one… perhaps with a romantic partner, possibly a friend, or even with a family member. Even good relationships can sour and turn toxic. So what do we do when we realize that we’re in such a relationship? Listen for some excellent advice and information.
Service animals have been around for a long time, and we’re all familiar with them. These are animals (usually dogs) trained to assist persons with disabilities of one sort or another. We’re also seeing today a lot of “emotional support” animals. A lot of them. This week’s guest explains the difference between them, how they are used, and some surprising laws (or lack thereof) pertaining to them.
We all know that addiction, severe depression, and other conditions change our personality. What few know, however, is just how deeply ingrained that change can be, and how difficult (and scary) it can be to try to become “ourselves” again. In this episode, we examine such changes through the experiences of our guest, who overcame depression and addiction, and now helps others do the same.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy joins our hosts to talk about mental health and addiction parity, both at the federal and state levels. He shares information about new initiatives, dontdenyme.org and parityregistry.org, designed to help consumers file appeals on their own, if they feel they’ve been wrongly denied coverage by their insurance companies. They speak candidly about the problems faced with regard to parity by those who live with mental health or addiction issues. And finally, they talk about how anyone can become an advocate.
It’s inevitable that we will suffer emotional pain as we go through life. Whether it’s from a death of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, or any number of other issues, sometimes the pain we experience becomes embedded to such a degree that we can’t seem to recover from it. We might dwell on past hurts to the point that it negatively affects our emotional health, preventing us from moving on and growing as we should. In this episode, we examine this kind of emotional baggage and how to break free of the grip it can have on us.
The transition from youth to adult is a difficult one for most people, filled with unexpected events and changes that we are ill-prepared for. Many find themselves seriously lacking not only the life skills needed, but also the psychological and emotional tools that would make this huge change easier. Our guest this week explains how we can use mindfulness to develop these tools and make adulting much less intimidating.
Every year, millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions. And one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight and get in shape. It’s also one of the most commonly failed resolutions. In this episode, you’ll meet a man who lost over 130 pounds and went on to become a transformational coach helping others to achieve the same goals. His success was not because of a New Year’s Resolution, and shows just why such January promises don’t work.
At some point or another, virtually everyone has fallen victim to cognitive distortions – lines of thinking that are based on things that are simply not true. This doesn’t mean to the level of conspiracy theories, but even the tiniest things. In this episode, Psych Central founder, Dr. John Grohol, explains many types of these distortions, as well as how to address them in order to improve our lives.
There are all kinds of suggestions out in the world about how to survive a bad holiday… holidays with people you don’t like, holidays with too many people, all kinds of bad holidays. But what about those holidays that are… well… not bad? Maybe not optimal, but in no way awful. Gabe and Vincent talk about how they are each spending Christmas this year, both of them having the “not optimal” version, but also a “not bad” version. Listen to hear their plans, and why they’re totally okay with not having their preferred holidays.
Living in our fast-paced world, many of us find ourselves stressed out, and many others don’t even realize how stressed they’ve become. Many people choose to ignore their stress, others use meditation, exercise, or other endeavors to reduce stress. This episode shares the story of a woman whose solution to stress involves regularly making challah, a traditional Jewish bread. Not only does the ritual of the making of the bread reduce stress, but the history and tradition of the bread are also important to her.
Growing up with a mentally ill parent can be a traumatic experience for any child. For Ally Golden, her mother’s mental illness was major depression, later diagnosed as borderline personality disorder. Ally’s book, A Good Soldier, chronicles her life growing up in this environment, with a mentally ill mother who frequently threatened suicide, and the psychological trauma that resulted for her. Decades later, her mother carried out her threat. Listen to hear Ally’s fascinating story.
Charita Cole Brown was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 21. After reaching recovery, she became very active in her local NAMI affiliate for many years. Recently, her book – Defying Bipolar: My Bipolar Life – was published. Her goal with the book is to show that people can live well with bipolar disorder, despite how the disease is often portrayed in the media. In this episode, she talks about her story and also shares her views on the ways mental illness is viewed in different cultures.
Amy Gamble’s most surreal moment was when she walked into Olympic Stadium in Seoul, Korea, in 1988. In the years that followed, her bipolar disorder led her on a strange journey that included being paranoid that her family was trying to poison her, that she owned a cabin on a mountain in Montana (and how breaking into it led to a stint in jail), and finally to the path of recovery. From there, she has gone on to become an author and outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, speaking to audiences of all sorts, from high school students to the elderly.
It’s often claimed (and not without good reason) that we are addicted to technology, from the tiny screens of our phones and the temptations of social media to the progressively bigger screens of that multi-generational babysitter: our televisions. But is it actually true that we have such an addiction? This episode looks at the effects of technology on our personal and social lives. You’ll hear about how technology is a double-edged sword, making our lives easier and more complicated at the same time. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to form and maintain a healthy balance in your relationship with technology.
Emotional overeating is an extremely common problem for many people, particularly among those who live with depression. Many of us have a tendency to “eat our feelings,” resorting to food to make us feel better and as an escape from the things that bother us. As one would expect, this kind of behavior leads to weight gain, which only adds to the negative feelings that we’re trying to escape from. In this episode, we’ll learn about emotional overeating, including what it is and isn’t, its relation to hunger, and how to deal with the ever-present food during holidays, work functions, and more.
Despite all the efforts being made in suicide awareness and prevention, death by suicide is still rampant in society. The obvious observation, then, is that bringing awareness is not enough, and that our current methods of suicide prevention are not working or, at least, not working well enough. Spurred by her brother’s death by suicide, our guest this week became a self-described “change agent” who stresses the importance of being more innovative in our approach to suicide prevention. She speaks of different approaches she has taken, herself, including “Man Therapy,” a social enterprise approach, and various initiatives she has started.
Bullying is a huge problem in society. Many people believe that it’s something that takes place just in school and online, but it’s also unfortunately present in the work environment, as many listeners will likely agree. This episode looks at the topic of workplace bullying, covering the definition and causes of it, the extended damage it can inflict (including the damage “taken home”), and the pattern that workplace bullying often follows. Also discussed is “mobbing,” where entire groups of employees are being bullied. Listen to this episode to learn just how widespread workplace bullying is, and about instances where perceived bullying really isn’t bullying at all.
When future NFL player Erik Coleman was eleven years old, he discovered that both of his parents were addicts (one to alcohol, one to harder drugs). This was a traumatic discovery, but made worse when, one day, he returned home from school to find his father had moved out. Erik shares this and more with us, including how this affected him as a child and as an adult, even through his years playing in the NFL. He shares his thoughts on what is most important for children of addicts to know, and of what happened to his parents later in life.
Blue is for boys and pink is for girls, right? That depends on what generation you live in. Today, many people disregard such silly color assignments, or at least go for “gender neutral” colors. But a hundred years ago, all the top fashionistas insisted that pink was a masculine color and blue was feminine. Masculinity has long had an identity complex. How much “girly” stuff can a man enjoy without being viewed as non-masculine? Women have redefined femininity, so why can’t men redefine what it means to be masculine? Listen to this week’s episode and you might begin to understand.
Bipolar disorder is an often misunderstood (and misdiagnosed) disorder. Our guest this week is a psychotherapist who has worked with many individuals with this diagnosis. He discusses the nature of the disease, therapy plans for treatment, and the multi-phase stabilization process. He also talks about the “Grand Bargain” between the bipolar person and his/her family, which helps keep everyone informed. Most importantly, he makes it very clear that bipolar disorder is a very manageable disease that will not prevent someone from leading a stable, satisfying life, on one’s own terms, rather than the terms dictated by the disease.