An interesting article about how current changes in social norms affect how we look back at traumatic situations:
“The cultural shift in what is deemed acceptable, and the recent increase in women holding their abusers accountable, does more than just help individuals realize that they were violated back then…something that is inscribed as a memorable but not necessarily traumatic event can become traumatic through the prism of time and later experience.”
This article from the New York Times uses observation of primates to explore the origins of our generosity.
"The researchers designed an experiment that could provide strong evidence that bonobos could give things to each other simply out of generosity — rather than being pressured into doing so, or expecting some sort of immediate payback” … “Would they do it if there was no benefit to them?” asked Brian Hare, a primatologist at Duke University who helped run the study.
Payam Ghassemlou MFT, Ph.D. explains how bodies, in particular the bodies of gay kids, can be affected by oppression. It's a useful read for anyone interested in stress, trauma, or the somatic/psychological effects of prejudice.
"In other words, under a daily homophobic assault, a child’s sympathetic system (“stress response” or “fight or flight” response) gets overly activated. Often during such stressful situations, neither fighting nor fleeing can resolve the overwhelming situation, and the thwarted or incomplete fight and flight responses can become “trapped” within the body and dysregulate the nervous system. Such a dysregulated nervous system is more likely to get stuck on “high” or hyper-arousal. Anxiety, panic attacks, rage, hyperactivity, mania, hypervigilance, sleeplessness, exaggerated startle response, digestive problems, and many other symptoms are the result of a dysregulated nervous system that is stuck on “high” or hyper-arousal."
Attached is a review of Esther Perel's newest book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Adultery, in which she talks about the surprising concept that affairs, if processed honestly, can actually save a relationship.
In this review Zoe Heller also brings up larger points about how much we can expect from our partners overall. A quote from the article:
"This—the impossibility of absolute romantic security—is the bracing moral at the center of Perel’s book. There is no “affair proof” marriage, she warns, whatever the self-help industry tries to tell you. To love is to be vulnerable. Relationships can inspire varying degrees of trust, but trust is always, as the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips puts it, “a risk masquerading as a promise.” To believe yourself to be the sole progenitor of your partner’s desire, rather than merely its current recipient, is a folly. Elizabeth Hardwick, who stoically endured the countless infidelities of her husband, Robert Lowell, knew something about this. In her famous essay “Seduction and Betrayal,” she described the terrible wisdom vouchsafed to the betrayed heroine of classic literature: she 'is never under the illusion that love or sex confers rights upon human beings. She may of course begin with the hope, and romance would scarcely be possible otherwise; however, the truth hits her sharply, like vision or revelation when the time comes. Affections are not things and persons never can become possessions, matters of ownership. The desolate soul knows this immediately and only the trivial pretend that it can be otherwise.'"
"Just as the airlines recommend putting on your oxygen mask before tending to the person next to you," says Dr. Tepper, "it’s critical to look after your own personal well-being first and foremost."
The first step of addressing potential or impending burnout is to take stock of your work situation and your mental health. If you find yourself experiencing an "underlying anxiety about the unknown" or stress about "the internal demands for success, happiness, perfection or ideals," you might be headed toward a "reactive state of mind: fight, flight, freeze, or faint," according to Dr. Tepper.
While we don't believe that an "8 best ways" list can truly change a troubled relationship, it couldn't hurt either:
"In this video, Paul Bloom, psychologist and Yale professor, argues that empathy is a bad thing—that it makes the world worse. While we've been taught that putting yourself in another's shoes cultivates compassion, it actually blinds you to the long-term consequences of your actions. In this animated interview from The Atlantic, we hear Bloom’s case for why the world needs to ditch empathy."
He says in the video, "If you really want to make the world a better place, spend less time thinking about how to maximize your own sense of empathic joy, and spend more time, in a cold blooded way, about how to help other people."
Therapy works through equal parts catharsis and getting to know yourself (among some other things), which is why we often encourage our patients to write - write letters you don't send, poems, or keep a diary. Here's a fun little video where David Sedaris tells his story about writing for himself.
Unresolved anger can build up and be damaging in relationships. This article discusses the issues surrounding anger, precipitants of anger, and leaves readers with a message of how to handle anger in a healthy way.
A nice take on what we do in therapy:
"Various types of long-term, in-depth psychotherapy have a few things in common. They depend on a safe and trusting relationship with a therapist. They follow lived time, meaning life happens during treatment, enabling a client to work and understand in parallel with actual events and changes. They also allow the client to make manifest internalized material, to dredge up and acknowledge thoughts and feelings they may have otherwise just left alone (Drisko, 2004)."
In this article a professor of Clinical Psychiatry discusses the strong links between sleep and mood - and how to balance out sleep to regulate our mood:
In this article in Departures magazine, one inquisitive reporter takes on the emerging world of mental health apps, where therapy is accessible on your phone day and night. While it certainly is convenient, Dr. Shubert talks in the article about some of the pitfalls of quick and easy psychotherapy.
This award winning, and powerful short film aims to reduce stigma about borderline personality disorder through spreading awareness. It was made for the Self-Regulation Project, whose mission is to create personal growth through increasing emotion regulation skills and self-understanding. It beautifully illustrates many of the daily struggles and triggers for those living with this diagnosis. The short film highlights common thoughts, emotions, and behaviors associated with borderline personality disorder. Take a look here to increase your knowledge about borderline personality disorder.
Lately, attachment theory is getting heightened attention, due to its relevance in the explanation of our current relationship patterns. This article demonstrates how early caregiver relationships show increasing impact on our daily lives. Find out what type of attachment style you have by reading this piece by New York Times.
This article talks about effective coping strategies for those diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). It aims to reduce stigma around S.A.D., spread awareness about the disorder, and provide ways to improve symptoms. Laura Baker shares her passion with others through great tips on DIY, healthy living, and more.Read More
Here's an article from The Week that explains how our brains often misinterpret cues we pick up on in the world, and how that causes us strife. Observing our thoughts in a few specific ways can help us misinterpret less and feel more calm. This is in many ways where mindfulness and psychotherapy meet.
This article also has a number of helpful links for those wanting to learn more about meditating and mindfulness.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is getting a lot of hype lately. Here is a blog post which addresses three myths about BPD: that it's a woman's disorder, that it can't be cured, and that it can't be diagnosed before age 18.
From The Atlantic: Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.